If you’re familiar with wildly successful homewares brand Kip&Co, then chances are you’re not a minimalist. Known for their glorious celebration of colour, pattern, and a chunky tassel or ten, there’s an irreverence and effervescence to the brand that’s stayed true to itself amidst the sea of neutral linens ruling trends. That quiet confidence comes back to its three founders.
It was 8 years ago that Hayley Pannekoecke launched Kip&Co with sister Kate and best friend Alex. What began as a bright and beautiful bedding business quickly expanded into a lifestyle brand, with a cult following and ranges for kids and babies as well as homewares, apparel, and even pet products.
As a trained naturopath, Hayley had previously run an organic lifestyle store along with her sister. But she says the move into designing was “an organic process…It wasn’t something I necessarily woke up and decided to do one day. It was part of my life already.”
Those natural instincts have served her well. Showing us through her stunning Barwon Heads home, it’s hard to imagine that she was ever destined for anything but design. A cacophony of colour and texture, her spaces are yet calming and warm. Quirky combinations – pattern clashing is a hallmark of Kip&Co – surprise and delight, and she has truly perfected the art of the kids bedroom. The key? “Let’s face it, all kids like colour.”
And with three children, the youngest of whom was only a baby when Kip&Co was founded, Hayley’s story is even more remarkable. Like many creatives, she found the return to work was “what I needed at the time…to get back into something for myself”.
We asked Hayley how she maintains such a breathtaking home with three kids, and were relieved to hear that the secret is the same as ours: “‘hiding’ things in cupboards!”
You started Kip & Co with your sister and your best friend in 2012. How far into your motherhood journey were you at that stage, and what was it like juggling a new business with kids in the mix?
When we kicked off in 2012 Chloe, my eldest, was 5, Baye nearly 2, and Floyd, my youngest, was only a baby. Like most mums, that time is a little bit of a blur, but I do remember some of the challenges of getting myself sorted to work again. Let’s just say I had my hands full! What I will say is that a creative outlet was just what I needed at that time, and after 2 years not working it was time to get back into something for myself.
Coming from a background as a naturopath, what inspired you to take the leap over to design?
The move to design was an organic process for me. It wasn’t something I necessarily woke up and decided to do one day, but for me, it was part of my life already. My husband James was a builder and so designing interiors was really familiar and something I thoroughly loved doing. The fun part was that now I had the ability and resources to design pieces that I actually wanted for my own home.
Do you think your work with Kip & Co has influenced the way you designed your home? Or are they both just a reflection of your personal style?
Both are definitely a reflection of my personal style. Being that there are three of us in the design team, there’s always a great mix of our own personal styles in every Kip&Co collection and it seems to work. James and I have had the opportunity to design several houses now and each time our house is tweaked slightly, but all in all we try to stick to using materials we love and not get too side tracked by trends of the moment.
Texture is such a hero feature of your home. Is that a natural instinct of yours, or did you study how to incorporate texture?
Personally, I just love texture and pattern and colour. Most of what we own has been collected along the way from travels and trips and vintage finds, things we have collected and inherited. It’s a real mish-mash of pieces that have caught our eye on our journey.
Your kids rooms are the perfect balance of incredible design, while still looking like children's rooms and not showrooms. What's the secret?
I really just wanted their spaces to feel homely and comfortable but also fun and interesting. They are ever-evolving as they seem to grow and collect their own bits and pieces. I think it’s important to create functional spaces foremost and then throw in the colour always! Let’s face it, all kids like colour.
Do your children get involved in the design of the home?
I think there is always enough opinions with my husband and I – ha! So I try not to over involve them too much in the decisions, but I know them so well and always try to personalise the space for them.
Your home features lots of pink, peach and purple tones, without looking frilly. How do you manage to ground those colours?
I think the colours work when they are mixed back with an eclectic mix of old and new. The colours are grounded well when you also incorporate natural textures such as wool, concrete and timber. I don’t stick to any one style and am certainly not precious about mixing and matching. I think it helps actually.
Tell us about that loft! What was the concept behind it?
I love my loft and it is underway as our 2020 project. Initially it was an afterthought in the building process. I woke up one day and just said to James ‘could we lift the roof higher and create this whole other space?’ I had always loved the idea of a loft but it wasn’t in the initial budget, so we just painted the whole thing white and filled it up with beds and rugs. This year we are building in a bathroom and finishing it off. It will be all white still, but with linen apricot curtains and some honey coloured American oak joinery. We love the feel of the space and love a family sleep over up there some weekends!
If you could change anything about your home, what would it be?
We would love more yard so I would reduce the size of the house.
What's your best piece of design advice?
Choose things you love and build on your collection over time. Don’t try and buy everything brand new just to fill a space. Take your time and add pieces with a story that have meaning in your life and add a real richness to your space and personalise it for your family. There’s no rush!
What about parenting advice?
I’m always learning every day: be kind to yourself.
You run a business, have three kids and pets - but your home is immaculate! What's the key to keeping it all running smoothly?
I do like things neat but of course images for house shoots take hours of cleaning and ‘hiding’ things in cupboards! I get a cleaner to come through for a couple of hours a week which helps. I’m trying to teach the kids not to just throw absolutely everything in the wash after one wear and also to help put things away.
What's been the most challenging part of motherhood for you?
The never-ending balancing act. It’s not easy and I am not sure you ever feel like you get it right. Every child is different and the gig changes every single day, but that’s what I love about it.