Bali-born, Byron Bay-based Taliah Lowry is quick to admit that Byron Beach Abodes – a small family run business specialising in boutique Byron Bay accommodation – was a wholly unintentional business venture and something of a very happy accident…
Combining her lifelong loves of design and Byron Bay, property investment transitioned into holiday rentals and, her business – now in its seventh year – is only going from strength to strength. To stay in one of her properties is to experience the unique soul of Byron Bay and the epitome of comfort, style and timeless elegance – all qualities that Lowry prides herself on. Each of her properties – from her own home, Magnolia House, to The Chalet, The Cottage and The Chapel – is expertly and lovingly designed and renovated and quickly feels like home. The continued popularity and success of Byron Beach Abodes stands as a testament to her passion and drive. Yet Lowry is foremost a devoted mother to three boys – Jai, 14, Blaze, 13, and Reef, 7. The busy mum admits that it’s not always easy to balance her “crazy schedule” with being present in her family life, but she credits becoming a mother with teaching her the meaning of selflessness and absolute love. We caught up with Lowry to talk about her family, her love of design and how she balances motherhood and career. Photography: Raegan Glazner | Words: Sara Duncan | Go to www.byronbeachabodes.com.au
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Passionate, hard working and fiercely loyal.
What has motherhood taught you so far?
I always wanted to be in control of everything around me, plan ahead and have a clear idea of how I wanted things to be. Motherhood has turned all this upside down and taught me to relax and go with the flow. It’s not easy. It requires fewer expectations and more trust. From day one of becoming a mother to each of my three boys they have taught me selflessness and the meaning of unconditional love.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Not to put so much pressure on myself. Passion, learning and opportunity present themselves when you least expect.
What has been the most challenging part of motherhood?
Juggling career with ‘presence’ in the day-to-day, minute to minute life of my family. I have learned I can only overcome the challenges by stepping up, by trying to set family values, by being the best role model I can for my boys and that can mean facing up to the difficult parts of my own childhood.
Growing up, did you always love interiors?
From day one. I always loved design and beautiful spaces. My doll house was redecorated every day.
Can you tell us about your childhood?
My childhood was a mix of countries. I was born on the beach in Legian in Bali and I have experienced a bright and messy spectrum of communities and schools and alternative lifestyles. I lived in a chicken coup in New Zealand, an Ashram in India, an island in Seattle and one of the rainiest places on the planet, Haiku, Maui, as well as back and forth to see my dad in Byron. One day I’ll write a book so I can understand my own childhood.
What did your own mother teach you about life and motherhood?
To want stability and a home base. But she also gave me the opposite, the desire for a gypsy life that will always be a part of who I am.
How often do you entertain at home?
I love to entertain. My crazy schedule can make it difficult to manage at times but recently, in the last year or so, I made it a priority to really connect with friends and welcome the company of like-minded people and families. I love to cook but we also have some amazing caterers in Byron.
When did you launch Byron Beach Abodes and can you tell us about your properties?
We launched BBA about six years ago, unintentionally really. One property investment lead to another and over the years BBA was formed as a vehicle to support our love of real estate and design. We wanted to create beautiful spaces that felt like home, each with their own unique design and features.
What’s your approach to renovating – what are some tips for those about to embark on a renovation?
Have a clear vision of the end result and work backwards from there. Research outside the “box”. I often find unique pieces from all over the world. I never follow trends as they will pass. Do things differently, there is always another way of achieving an interesting outcome.
Where do you source your homewares?
What took you to Byron Bay and what do you love about living there?
I was a month old when I first arrived in Byron, straight off the plane from Bali. Byron has been a constant in my life… it’s a beautiful bubble. A bubble that for me is very important to escape every once in a while and always a treasure to come home to.
What are your favourite family activities?
Travelling, skiing, beach time, road trips and our family spa time when we exchange the news of the day.
How do you keep your house tidy with children?
If my home is clean and in some sort of order I can think clearly. So I make the time throughout the day, between meetings and projects to keep on track. I’m trying hard to let this go a little to show the boys that not everything has to be perfect… but to be honest I’m getting worse as I get older.
Did your career change after you became a mother? Were you more or less ambitious?
I was never ambitious as far as a career goes. I did however want to find a passion, that thing I could be good at in my life, really for myself rather than anyone else. I was a stay-at-home mum for about 7 years before BBA was launched. I loved it. Yet after I developed my love and interest in design and the business took off, the determination grew to make each project better than the last… but it has never been about being better than anyone else, just feeling a responsibility to my vision and our business.
What have been some of your biggest career highlights?
Being featured in a number of amazing home and design magazines. As a little girl this was my dream.
Which women in business do you admire?
Elly Bradbury and Sybil Steele.
Do you focus on or follow interior trends?
I would love to be able to read all the latest magazines and scroll through Pinterest all day long but the reality is I simply don’t have the time. After these years of back to back projects I have began to trust my instincts and I am learning how to nurture and develop the early design bubbles in my head. I try my best to steer away from trends wherever possible. Classic, timeless design is what I try to achieve.
How do you juggle motherhood with work – what are your time management tips?
I’m so not a morning person. I’m often up way too late emailing and researching. Most of my emails are sent after midnight. I’m also learning to delegate as there is not enough time in the day to do what has to be done. My aim this year was to have something baking on the oven for after school snacks for my boys and to put my phone and computer away when they get home. I’ll let you know how that is working out!
What kind of role model do you want to be for your children?
A realistic role model. It’s important for my husband and I to show our boys that life is not always easy and perfect. That parents can be tired and grumpy, just like they can. It’s okay to be honest about how you are feeling as that’s a part of life. We also want them to experience the world and the people outside the Byron bubble. To set an example of compassion and helping others.
Taliah's little list of loves:
Swimming every day in the ocean no matter the weather conditions or how busy the day. Working on three very exciting projects. Planning a New York trip for my husbands 50th. Researching living in New York for a gap year with my family. Training with my good friend Deb from Squad Method. Feeling more secure in myself and slowly getting rid of crippling self doubt that has plagued me most of my life. Any and all family time. Planning a trip to Greece!
Taliah in a flash:
Coffee or tea? Both. Typical breakfast: Tea followed by coffee – I’m never hungry in the morning. On your bedside table you’ll find: Paw Paw ointment, Saya hand lotion, a stack of unopened magazines and my phone. Exercise of choice: Running Book you’re currently reading: Rising Strong by Brené Brown Heels or flats? Flats Baby bag (did you use one?): Never Sunglasses: Sunday Somewhere Dream travel destination: Greece Websites you regularly visit: Hale Mercantile, MCM House. Must have essentials for a beautiful tabletop: Linen anything, Island Luxe candles, greenery from my garden and some vintage cutlery.