Inside AYU Founder Alanna Quin’s Sun-Drenched Sydney Home in partnership with The Sheet Society
Welcome to our brand spanking new series, In Bed With, made in collaboration with our pals at The Sheet Society. On the surface it might just look like a really cool apartment series featuring really cool people, but in reality it’s so much more than that. In Bed With is an excuse to live out our most thrilling voyeuristic dreams (and, let’s be real, yours too): snooping around the homes of people with exquisite taste, becoming a fly on the wall to their shopping habits and interior styling choices.
In today’s edition, we visit the charming sanctuary of AYU founder, Alanna Quin…
Introducing Alanna Quin, the woman behind your favourite heavenly-scented oils, candles and incense at AYU. What our olfactories did before she arrived on the scene with her sleek packaging and locally-made, Ayurveda-inspired scents is anyone’s guess. But one thing is for sure: our beauty cabinets and décollateges have never looked back since.
We dropped by Alanna’s harbour-side home in Sydney recently to capture the charming and laid-back effortlessness that abounds within its four walls. With its high ornate ceilings, marble fireplace and adjoining sunroom, her favourite spot in the house to chill is her bedroom, with her ultra-cosy bed its pièce de résistance.
Get to know Alanna better below before peeping her beautiful home in the above gallery. Spoiler alert: it’s impossible to feel anything but warm and fuzzy looking at the pictures of Alanna and her daughter Stevie, hair wild, goofing around on her tie-dye-adorned bed.
Name: Alanna Cooney
Star sign: Scorpio/Sagittarius cusp
Hi Alanna! Can we have your elevator pitch?
I use flowers and plants as a medium that's really intertwined with human emotion, working and transforming their beauty and language into an array of scents.
Where does your mind go when you hear the word ‘home’?
The only place I want to be in...
How would you describe your home in five words?
Charming, sanctuary, comfortable, quiet and character-filled.
What kinds of things do you think about when you’re decorating?
Being comfortable is the most important thing, as we spend so much time at home. We live in a beautiful heritage building so we’re always mindful of respecting the architectural heritage when we’re decorating our place. We’ve just had some plans drawn up to begin renovations and we're looking at ways of how we can celebrate rather than compromise the integrity and charm of the place, like keeping the beautiful ornate detailing of the cornices, the ceilings and two fireplaces.
Is there any correlation between your personal style and your approach to decorating? Elaborate!
I’ve never really made the correlation before, but my approach to personal style and decorating is quite similar come to think of it. My personal style can vary quite dramatically depending on my mood that day; I don’t really gravitate towards trends but are more mindful of comfort and how the piece makes me feel. We have lots of beautiful artworks in frames dotted around the house and each one recalls a memory of somewhere I’ve travelled, or a particular time in my life that’s resonated with me. We also tend to collect little items on our travels, so you could say overall I’m quite driven by emotion when it comes to both my personal style and decorating.
What is your most treasured possession and why?
My grandmother’s wedding ring. There’s so much history behind it—namely the struggle my grandfather had in buying it when they had nothing to their names and were living in a refugee camp. There is so much meaning and sentiment behind the ring—it embodies my grandparents’ fearless escape as World War II refugees, in search of a better world to live in.
What’s the best thing about your neighbourhood?
The fact that we’re so close to some pretty spectacular ocean and harbour beaches, good food, and only a short ferry ride into the city. Our neighbours are all super nice as well so that really makes all the difference.
Where is your favourite spot in your home to chill, and why?
Definitely my bedroom. I’m such a homebody and it’s the perfect room to lie around and read in. It has loads of character with high ornate ceilings and a marble fireplace, and it opens onto a sunroom with large windows that sunlight pours through every morning.
Best place online/IRL to score a bargain?
Curated Spaces manages to source some pretty incredible vintage items, but you have to be onto it as everything sells out so quickly.
What are your hot tips for styling a bedroom?
Make your bed really comfortable so you never want to leave: pillow toppers, beautiful linen bedding in soft colours and nice dim lighting helps. I like to burn a candle at night to gently scent the space to help me relax and unwind after my day. A nice rug adds little character and can warm up the space as well.
On the Marie Kondo to hoarder spectrum, where do you sit?
Low-to-medium level. I go through a cycle of buying things and holding onto them and then have a sudden urge to clean it all out. We’ve moved a little over the past few years so that’s forced us to get rid of a lot of stuff we don’t need. I can be quite sentimental at times and will hold onto things that I have a strong emotional attachment to.
Best Sunday morning read?
‘Modern Love’ on The New York Times. They’re short, real life stories about the complicated, multi-dimensional love lives of people around the world.
Where do you find most of your decorating inspo?
Mainly Instagram and it would be a mix of design and travel-focused accounts. I have so many saved references for when we start renovating: @archdigest, @condenasttraveller, @hooniture, @carolinastorm, @est_living.
What are your morning and nighttime rituals?
I meditate every morning to ground me—I really feel it if I don’t. I follow this with Nasya (dropping medicated Ayurvedic herbal oils into each nostril) and massaging oil onto my skin before taking a shower. At night, I always rub warm medicated oil onto my feet as there are a myriad of nerve endings there and it helps with sleep and relaxation. I like to light a candle and read before switching off the lights, to help unwind. I turn off my phone at least an hour before bed, otherwise it makes me too wired.
What is the best piece of decorating wisdom you’ve ever received? Decorating a space is really about wellbeing—you want people to feel good in a space.
Words: Madeleine Woon
Images: Belle Coutts