When Claire Donaldson, the director of the Auckland-based event styling company One Lovely Day got in touch recently, she included a link to photos of her gorgeous home. Even though they were taken nearly four years ago for a feature in Your Home & Garden, I remembered the article right away. She had the most amazing glass balustrade around her deck which I referred back to when we did our house plans (sadly we decided against glass) and an unforgettable round table with stunning metal stools that I tried to source at the time (sadly they were no longer available). Since then Claire has launched her fabulous business, and knowing how much I love Claire's style I couldn't wait to feature her on the blog!
Claire's portfolio showcases a diverse range of events, from weddings and baby showers to product launches and birthday celebrations. With bucket loads of talent and creativity, Claire expertly turns her ideas into the most vibrant, memorable occasions possible. Each event is presented on her website with a beautiful photo series, telling a story of the day and making you feel like you'd been there, or at least you wish you had! It was hard to choose, but I picked out some of my favourites to share throughout the post and interview.
Claire also works with interiors, shop window styling and fit outs. One store that she often does work for and a favourite of mine is Superette. The Ponsonby boutique is looking more incredible than ever after the recent launch of Superette Space, a carefully curated selection of lifestyle products and homewares within the existing flagship store. I was super excited to learn that Claire assisted with the styling, and I'm thrilled to be able to show you these exclusive photos of the store.
Gorgeous details at Superette Space.
As well as sharing some recent photos of her home which I've included at the end of the post, Claire very kindly agreed to being interviewed. Going far and beyond the call of duty she answered these questions via email yesterday with her three year old (who is sick with chicken pox) sitting on her lap!! I'm sure like me, many of you Mums will relate to this type of scenario, but even so I take my hat off to Claire. Her efforts are hugely appreciated!
Tell us a bit about your background - how did you end up becoming an event stylist and when did you launch One Lovely Day?
I have always loved creating spaces, whether it's a room, a display, a house, a table setting, a garden, I just really enjoy turning the bland into fabulous. A few years back I decided that styling was what I really wanted to focus directly on, so I took myself off to study event management, and design. From there I started slowly doing the odd wedding, promo, display, party and basically from word of mouth I grew. Last year I decided it was time to actually launch my styling company and so One Lovely Day was born and I haven’t looked back. It's been such an amazing journey; I've had fun playing with venues, swinging from rafters, foraging for products and just constantly creating. I love it.
A vibrant Mexican-themed Celebration. Love these colours!
You have an amazing portfolio of work. Have there been any events or projects you've worked on that you would consider favourites and if so, why?
Every event offers something different; my favourites are ones that challenge me, turning tired old venues into magical spaces for a night, working within the biggest or the tightest budgets to produce exactly what my client is after. I love it when my client has total trust in me and lets me surprise them. I love watching their faces when they see what’s been created. That's my reward.
An incredible Waiheke Island Wedding for which Claire made large agee jar chandeliers, filled with candles, ivy, orchids and fairy lights.
You also do interiors and shop windows and fit outs. Can you tell us a bit about the recently launched Superette Space at the flagship store in Ponsonby?
My role for Superette was helping them create a way to display their gorgeous home pieces, while adding a quirky touch. I filled vintage trucks with logs, rocks that I covered in golden glitter and homemade sand bricks. An old ladder was bought and suspended from the ceiling from which products were hung, including stools and wire baskets, all mixed up with skyplanters and a bit of greenery. Plants and other little mini scenes with tiny trees, trucks and logs were created for other areas around the store. Maple trees were dotted around and covered in beautiful autumn leaves which continue to drop throughout the store. Magic.
What inspires you in your work - other creatives, international events, magazines, websites etc?
I'm always being inspired. I'm terrible - even the hardware store can send me into a creative frenzy. I love interior magazines, they are my absolute downfall. I spend so much time and money on them. There is nothing nicer than flicking through the pages of a new magazine. I also spend hours online pouring over images featuring overseas weddings and events. I love taking bits and pieces from them and taking it to the next level. Plants inspire me, I love adding greenery and florals in everything I do. Nature has such a gorgeous way of creating a beautiful space, whether it's a hanging basket, potted herbs, a posy of flowers or even some moss and acorns. I just love incorporating it in my work. It always adds that special touch.
A Birthday Long Lunch, in delectable Italian Style.
How is your business structured - have you employed other staff to ease the load?
I started out as a one woman whirl wind, but quickly realised you need a great team behind you. I still do most of it myself, all the briefs, creative ideas, client meetings, budgets, and so on. But for on-the-day set ups, I have staff that come and help with the pack in and out if needed, and I have a great resource of vendors who work with me to create the perfect space.
What are you working on right now? Do you have any exciting projects in the works?
It's funny, just as I'm about to wind up one exciting project, another one always comes along. I'm in the process of expanding One Lovely Day, so some really exciting ventures are brewing for our customers, in terms of hirage and our services. Watch this space - I'm really excited.
I’m also involved in some divine store refits, and filling a beautiful new build in Omaha with furniture for an overseas client. Weddings too are always on the go. It's amazing how many people enjoy a lovely candlelit mid winter wedding. Just beautiful x
How do you find juggling motherhood with running a business - any advice for others trying to achieve a work/life balance?
Having a supportive partner and family is a must for me. My husband takes over childcare duties in the afternoons and my parents are amazing. I don't think I would have even attempted it yet without them. My youngest starts school in just over a year, so I'm sure that will help the situation. Getting used to working well into the night is also a prerequisite, perfect for uninterrupted work!!
Fun, florals and splashes of colour were served alongside with lunch & beverages at this delightful Baby Shower.
How would you describe your personal style and how is this reflected in your own home?
I love the old with the new. I'm a sucker for old finds, so unfortunately my home which I once prided myself on being a good mix of both, is now quite lop sided! It is also used as the One Lovely Day storage area at the moment which doesn't help. I'm in the process of planning a beautiful office/meeting space and in turn building a storage unit, so I can unclutter my clutter… although many things are far too beautiful to pack away, so I will struggle!!
Claire Donaldson and her gorgeous Auckland home.
Images courtesy of One Lovely Day and Superette