One look at Emma O’Meara’s spectacular home and you can tell she’s an interior stylist. The creative Melbourne mother of two adorable girls Leni and Ginger spent most of her career in newspaper advertising, but after having her children, decided to follow her passion for interior design and styling. I had my own home shot for Real Living magazine a couple of years back and I think seeing my work translated in a magazine just made me realise that it was something that I wanted to do, she says. I loved designing our home internally and externally it was such a great creative outlet for me. I loved interior magazines growing up and always thought I would be an architect or a builder. She’s since styled editorial interior shoots for some of Australia’s leading Interior and lifestyle magazines such as Real Living, Inside Out, House and Garden and Home Beautiful and also offers private and commercial styling services. These days, with both her children in school, it’s easier to juggle work with family life: Before the girls were both at school, it was always a struggle to organise care for one or both of them, but I have family close by so that helped a lot. O’Meara is also lucky that her job happens to be her passion and creative outlet. What Im doing now doesn’t really feel like a job and I always make it work around my family. They come first and I’m lucky to be able to make work fall around that, she says. We were invited into her beautiful coastal home to find out more.
What has motherhood taught you?
To be patient and prioritise what’s important. My life pretty much revolves around them.
How has life changed for you since becoming a mother?
That I have little people dependent on me and I need to do what’s best for them. It’s a selfless and rewarding job, but I know I can’t do what I want, like I did prior to being a mum. It’s not about me anymore and I need to consider them before me.
What is your advice on balancing motherhood and marriage?
It was really lovely being married prior to kids so I know we have had some great quality time together before the family came along and now, it’s about sharing my time with both my girls and husband. Even though my children need me more than my husband, it’s still important for us to have time and talk about our other interests and things in common and not always the girls.
What advice would you give to a woman going from one child to two children?
It’s not so bad, it is just doubling up on what you do! Just remember that your firstborn got your undivided attention for sometime and that your second baby deserves some of that too. It’s hard sharing yourself sometimes, but I often have to remind myself that my second daughter Ginger can’t always have hand me downs or get dragged along to her big sisters activities.
Whats your daily beauty routine consist of?
I don’t have as much time anymore so yes it has changed. I like to use a facial polish every night followed up with some moisturiser. In the morning, it’s usually rushed, so I put on a BB cream that is a tinted moisturiser and I’m good to go!
What about exercise whats your fitness routine like?
I like to run and do boxing training and have just taken up yoga and dance now that the girls are at school. I run with a buddy twice a week and I love the giggles and chatter while we jog along.
Did you exercise during and after pregnancy?
I only went for walks while I was pregnant. Both pregnancies were breach and right up under by ribs, so breathing was sometimes a struggle. I only started running again when my second baby was eight months old. It took sometime to decide when it felt right to do it. Breastfeeding was my best form of exercise.
Do you enjoy pregnancy?
The first six months were great for me until I became uncomfortable. There’s always something lovely about being pregnant. I also loved eating all the vanilla slices I wanted when I wanted! With my second baby, I had morning sickness until 17 weeks and I thought I was having twins and was upset to know I wasn’t!
What pieces in their rooms do your girls love the most?
They both love their beds and are super excited when I buy them new fun linen.
What is the secret to getting your children to sleep?
Both my girls were and still are fabulous sleepers, both from seven weeks of age. There was no real trick to it and maybe it was just them, but bedtime was very routine and when they were newborns, I would bath them right before bed and wrap them up in a blanket I had warmed in the dryer.
What is your advice to first time mothers?
Don’t put expectations on yourself and always go with your instincts.
Can you tell us about your background and how you came to work as an interior stylist?
I worked in newspapers for most of my career and after having children, I was keen to do something I was more passionate about. One day I was helping out a friend who was having her home shot for a magazine and got chatting with the stylist on the job and later began doing some work experience with her that lead me to where I am now.
Did your career change after the birth of your children?
Absolutely, I went back to my job in newspaper advertising for 10 months (two days a week), but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do and didn’t push myself into anything it just evolved for me, which was great.
How would you describe the interior of your home?
We have been in our current home for three years and now ready to have a change. I need a new project to work on, so we will sell this one. The interior of my home has a warm welcoming feel to it. I do have a lot of cold surfaces like face blocks and concrete, but also a lot of timber and textiles to soften it. I have a lot of colour in almost every room.
What mum bag do you use day-to-day?
It changes every few days. I love a big leather slouch bag when I’m working to throw in a notebook, some snacks and a drink etc. Otherwise I just carry around my Bonnie and Neil suede pouch with my purse, phone and lip balm.
Emmas little list of loves:
I have just come back from Vietnam, so anything Vietnamese. Im totally hooked on that place.
Yoga I just started and my body needs it.
Watching Vikings on Thursday night.
Looking at my latest shoot in Inside Out’s June issue so rewarding.
Ticking jobs off my list.
Redecorating my girls rooms.
Painting my hallway.
Friday night movie night with the girls on the couch.
Date night with hubby.
Photography: Nikole Ramsay Words: Georgie Abay
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