Juliette & Sarah-Jane in their Potts Point studio. You know, making fabulous happen. Photo by Nick Scott.


Vaucluse House is smoking hot! Photography Will Meppem. Styling Megan Morton.


I am extremely proud and super excited to share with you an interview with two very good friends of mine – Sydney based interior designers Juliette Arent & Sarah-Jane Pyke of Arent & Pyke. Woot! And when I say good friends, I mean friggin’ amazing friends. Sarah-Jane and I met while studying together at UNSW, and the rest they say is history. We’ve shared our fair share of laughs and tears over the years, and our friendship has been forever cemented after SJ married Husband’s best friend from school. I know, crazy stuff.

Juliette & Sarah-Jane met a few years ago while working together at another practice, and they formed Arent & Pyke in 2007. In fact, I believe they are about to celebrate their 3rd anniversary any day now. Since then, they’ve completed a range of residential projects, won Best of State award for residential design in 2009 DIA Awards, received two commendations including one for Emerging Interior Design Practice, and had a series of shortlisted project in both DIA & idea09 awards. Not bad, huh? Their practice is going from strength to strength and their work is getting better and… well hotter, if that’s possible! But than again, you all know by now that I am completely biased. So I’ll let you be the judge.

Thank you Juliette & Sarah-Jane for being a part of yellowtrace and congratulations on all your amazing success so far. The crazy thing is, I am sure that your best is yet to come. See you on the moon or something. Hooray!

x dana

Completely gorgeous finishes boards for A&P work in progress.


Hello Sarah-Jane & Juliette, welcome to yellowtrace and thank you for taking the time to e-chat. Could you please give us a quick introduction on yourself?

JA: We met working at a leading Interior Design Practice. Even as colleagues, there was a very strong meeting of minds. We are both spirited, strong-willed women and were passionate about creating a business that would tick every box. It would be a business where the service was generous, the work exuded style, intelligence and flair, and one that generously(!!) supported our lives and those around us.

What you are seeking to portray in your work? What is fundamental to your practice – your philosophy and your process?

What we strive for is interiors that are natural, uncontrived and optimistic.  Clever, not tricky. Timeless, not boring. We are largely led by our clients, we love for them to get as much out of the process as we do. It is a process of discovery and appreciation.

Randwick House is featured in June issue of House & Garden – “A Terrace With a Twist”. Photography by Jason Busch/ Room Images. Styling Megan Morton.


What are some of your main sources of inspiration? Are there any specific references you are drawn to regularly – books, websites/ blogs, artists, designers etc?

SJP: I tend to trawl the web, reading blogs while I’m on hold! Favourites: yellowtrace (really!), The Design Files, mrjasongrant, kris’s colour stripes.  There is so much on the web that I get completely overwhelmed.

JA: I am definitely more of a magazine person: Elle Decoration(UK), Elle Décor(Italy), Abitare(Italy), Vogue(Italy), Vogue(UK), and of course all the local mags as well. When I am trawling websites, they are typically sites for hotels somewhere abroad. I always imagine that I will end up living the island life at some point in my life……hhmmmmmm

Your practice has the good fortune of being feature in most major glossy magazines since the very beginning. Other creative people often find it really difficult to network and market themselves – how do you approach this side of your business?

Before we started the business we knew that building the profile of the practice was important to us.  It takes a lot of work!

We launched the business with a punchy mail out to all our contacts – suppliers, tradespeople, friends, family – and everyone in the design media, and we had a great response. We have also worked with a stylist (Megan Morton) who has placed our stories with different publications.


More images of the Randwick House. Photography by Jason Busch/ Room Images. Styling Megan Morton.


Concept boards of kids bedrooms and living areas for Randwick House which A&P prepared for their client presentations.


What advice do you have for young designers wanting to start their own business? What was one of your biggest lessons learned in setting up your practice?

We both had such a strong desire to work for ourselves – it’s not just about being a designer, you become a business owner by default, so you need to be ready for that.

Spend some time really thinking about what it is you want to get out of having your own business – how it will be different to working for someone else, and how your work could differ from the work that’s out there.

Planning is always critical to the business, but in the end, you have to take the plunge and go for it.

Is there something professionally you would like to try that you haven’t done yet?

We love working with people on their homes, so can’t imagine a time when that wouldn’t be the core of the business. Having said that, the ten year plan for the business could see us working with clients overseas, or branching out to develop a product.


Punchy stationery and mail-outs. Aren’t they just awesome?! I love love love that yellow. Swoon! A&P original identity, orange card, business cards, 2008 Christmas card (white and yellow stripes) are designed by agreenorange. 2009 Christmas card (bottom right) designed by Squad Ink.


A&P keep their clients in the loop with these punchy electronic mailouts. Designed by the clever Squad Ink boys. {Btw, you totally need to check out Squad Ink’s cool website – I love their cooky profile photos on rotation.}


What are you working on at the moment?

We are just about to install a furnishing project in Vaucluse (the house was designed by Bruce Stafford Architects) that we are really excited about.  It’s going to have a gorgeous, natural, easygoing feel to it. The clients have put great faith in us, and really trusted us to push them a little bit aesthetically.

We also have a great design project on site at the moment – a house in Mosman with Tim Shellshear and Associates. This one has pushed us a little bit, with details, and sourcing some special finishes like hand-made cabinet hardware from New York.

What’s next – can you share with us your vision and some of your goals?

It is our intention to work with brilliant architects on beautifully and intelligently designed homes. And we’re ready to grow the team and work with some more clever people.


Coogee House was published in Home Beautiful in December 2008. Photography Anson Smart. Styling Megan Morton.


Let’s Get Personal:

What are the qualities you most like about yourselves?

JA: I always think of myself as being very loud and strong willed, I am also guided strongly by my heart. This is also a quality I most admire in Sarah-Jane. I laugh out loud and dance large…when I should probably behave ‘more like a lady’ (my grandmother’s words..). I look at this as enjoying life as best I can. I love eating and love good food. I love looking at interesting and beautiful and unique things….and I love having those things around me.

SJP: hmmm… that’s a tough one. I like to think I’m open-minded and fair, although sometimes that means I’m a bit too sensible! And I care a lot – about people, my work, my family….


More images of Coogee House. Photography Anson Smart. Styling Megan Morton.


What are the qualities you most like in others?

SJP: generosity of spirit, honesty & being able to laugh at yourself.

Apart from your work, what other interests or hobbies do you have?

JA: I don’t sail, but would love to sail. Eating and buying stuff.

SJP: It’s sad to say, but I don’t have any hobbies! Isn’t design a hobby?


Mosman Kitchen featured in Belle Magazine April-May 2009. Photography by Ben Pyke. {Yes, that’s Sarah-Jane’s husband. Hi Ben!}


What are some of your favorite local galleries and shops {music, fashion, books, accessories, furniture vintage, other bits and pieces}?

JA: Take 2 on Fridays for vintage pieces, Ariel Booksellers in Paddington late on a Saturday night, Iggy’s sourdough bakery in Bronte on Sunday morning for fruit buns.

SJP: I always leave Papier D’amour with an armful of cards, alfie’s friend rolfe for fashion, and I love Fitzroy (Gertrude/Smith/Brunswick St) in Melbourne for food, and quirky handmade pieces.

Your favourite cafes/ restaurants/ bars?

SJP. We get our daily caffeine fix at Uliveto, and you’ll often find us there for lunch too.

JA. My new local favourite, The Corner House for pizza and wine. Fratelli Paradiso is also one of my faves. I wish my name was Juliette Paradiso, that’s cool, no??

What is your most treasured belonging?

JA: My grandfather’s camera and photos of mum and dads wedding taken at the Garrison Church and the Argyle Cut (The Rocks, Sydney).


Award winning Darling Point Apartment originally published in Inside Out Nov-Dec 2008. Photography Anson Smart. Styling Megan Morton.


It’s not very cool, but I really like…

SJP: Anything crafty! Crocheted tea cosies, quilting, embroidery, knitting, you name it. I always imagine that I’ll be an old lady crafting away somewhere.

JA. …….when everything is super clean and tidy

Your favourite joke?

Probably one of your jokes Dana!

How would you like to be remembered?

JA: As a true, warm, loving over-achiever!!


These images are on A&P’s website in the section called ‘pinboard’ which they update once in a while. Check it out. Extreme love!

About The Author

Founder & Editor

With a disarming blend of authority and approachability, Dana is a former refugee-turned-global design visionary. Through her multi-faceted work as a creative director, keynote speaker, editor, curator, interior designer and digital publisher, Dana empowers others to appreciate and engage with design in transformative ways, making the sometimes intimidating world of design accessible to everyone, regardless of their familiarity with the subject. Dana's been catapulted to the status of a stalwart global influencer, with recognition from industry heavyweights such as AD Germany, Vogue Living, Elle Décor Italia and Danish RUM Interiør Design, who have named as one of the Top True Global Influencers of the Design World and counted her among the most visionary female creatives on the planet. Her TEDx talk—"Design Can Change the Way You See the World"— will challenge and transform your understanding of design's omnipresent and profound influence. Through her vast experience in interiors, architecture and design, Dana challenges the prevailing rapid image culture, highlighting the importance of originality, sustainability, connecting with your values and learning to "see" design beyond the aesthetic.

7 Responses

  1. Priscilla Millner

    From a fellow UNSW buddy, I loved reading this! You guys make me so proud. Much love, Cil xx

  2. Jane Holmes

    Thank you so much for sharing this interview!
    I’m currently studying interior design and Arent and Pyke’s work was one of the main motivators for me to take the leap and change careers.
    So very inspiring!


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