A view to a thrill …

Julie Teng­dahl’s home lets her re­lax and cre­ate

The Weekend Australian - - MANSION - ROBYN IRON­SIDE

When Julie Teng­dahl was just 15, the man who would be­come her hus­band promised he would one day buy her a house with city views.

“That was his wish for me,” says the Bris­bane fash­ion de­signer, of hus­band Brett.

“I wasn’t at­tached to that prom­ise at all but he was de­ter­mined to ful­fil that vow, gor­geous man that he is.”

Thanks to that prom­ise, the Teng­dahls now call High­gate Hill home, where their hill­top house obliges with stun­ning views of the CBD.

The de­signer played a ma­jor role in ren­o­vat­ing the tim­ber worker’s cot­tage, pur­chased in its orig­i­nal state in 2002, into a three-storey dream home with amaz­ing city views.

“At the time, I felt I had a lot of chaos in my life,” says Julie.

“The (three) kids were very young, I was strug­gling with the ex­pan­sion of the busi­ness and I just needed a clean slate, a space I could cre­ate from.

“And as I started hav­ing that clean space, I think I started blos­som­ing as a de­signer as well. I think the house did help a lot with that for me.”

Af­ter mak­ing her name in the fash­ion world for styling exquisitely printed fab­rics into flow­ing, clev­erly cut gar­ments, Julie Teng­dahl made the de­ci­sion to re­main small with her Bris­bane Ar­cade store and West End work­room, rather than try to take on the world.

“For me suc­cess is who I’m meet­ing, who I’m talking to,” she says.

“It’s not about how many stores you have, how many peo­ple you sell to. For me that’s vac­u­ous.

“I’m there for women, whether they’re the women in my store, the women in the work­room or in the busi­ness.”

Her clear vision of suc­cess is re­flected in her home, which she de­scribes as a “to­tal ex­ten­sion of my per­son­al­ity”.

“I did have a won­der­ful woman, Su­san Driver, with whom I col­lab­o­rated (on the ren­o­va­tion),” she says.

“We all need sup­port and it’s about trusting some­one with your vision and there was a very strong vision about how I felt I could use the space.”

But Julie ad­mits that as she has evolved so has the house with the orig­i­nal “ul­tra mod­ern” style of the ex­ten­sion mak­ing way for a blend­ing of old and new.

“Orig­i­nally it was all black and white but we’ve since changed the floors from black Ja­pan to nat­u­ral tim­bers,” she says. “There’s a core value of earth­i­ness, and there’s that gypsy, that trav­eller.”

Cer­tainly, me­men­tos from Julie’s fre­quent trips to In­dia, Africa and Europe are art­fully dis­played through­out the house — from colour­ful saris draped over chairs to sooth­ing med­i­ta­tive wa­ter­colours on the wall.

Or­ange cubes and or­ange­hued art­work are also prom­i­nent in a nod to the vi­brant colour’s en­ergy. “You res­onate at a higher level with or­ange, and I in­cor­po­rate a lot of that in my col­lec­tions,” she says.

A va­ri­ety of in­ter­con­nect­ing ar­eas for peo­ple to con­gre­gate and “have con­ver­sa­tions” is the main fea­ture of the sec­ond storey, which also houses the enor­mous open plan kitchen, and three bed­rooms.

“Our room is up­stairs be­cause I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant for par-

Julie Teng­dahl, main pic­ture, and some of the trea­sured items at her High­gate Hill home in Bris­bane GLENN HUNT

ents to give chil­dren some space, to be there but not be in their face the whole time,” Julie says.

“I was re­ally con­scious with my daugh­ters es­pe­cially: I wasn’t bring­ing them into my in­dus­try, and they were de­vel­op­ing their own per­son­al­i­ties not at­tached to mine ”

“As they’ve got older, they moved down­stairs to a base­ment area, which has its own ac­cess.”

To­day daugh­ter Brid­gette, 25, works in the ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try in New Zealand and Jemma, 23, in IT in Bris­bane.

Son An­ders, 18, is hop­ing to study busi­ness at univer­sity, hav- ing just fin­ished school. “The girls do help me a lot with the busi­ness, par­tic­u­larly with the on­line and so­cial me­dia ideas, like what’s trend­ing,” says Julie.

“I sup­pose as they get older, our re­la­tion­ship has changed from mother-daugh­ter to great friends. I’m very blessed in that sense.”

Along with the main sit­ting room with its fire­place and strik­ing “War­rior Princess” art­work, Julie’s favourite place in the house is her med­i­ta­tion room.

“Ev­ery morn­ing I put my med­i­ta­tion mu­sic on, and it gives me what­ever I need to know for the day,” she says.

“It takes about an hour but I try not to get pres­sured about time, and if I’ve only got 10 min­utes I’ll just sit here and think and breathe.”

A more re­cent ad­di­tion to the house is an African drum or djembe, which Julie is now learn­ing to play.

“As a lot of women move into their 50s they start shrink­ing their world, and re­ally it should be expanding,” she says.

“The kids are older, the work part of your life is sorted, it’s the most in­cred­i­ble free­dom and we should be do­ing those things we al­ways wanted to do.”

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