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The talented stylist has made over his inner-city rental with neutral tones and natural textures aplenty.

| By Rachael Thompson | Home tours

Content Creator Loui Burke’s Melbourne Apartment Is a Zen Oasis

The talented stylist has made over his inner-city rental with neutral tones and natural textures aplenty.

Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we celebrate innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types by taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour content creator and creative director Loui Burke's wabi-sabi home in Melbourne.

Loui Burke's Instagram feed is a neutral palette lover's heaven. The content creator and creative director has a knack for styling a fabulous display and his social media accounts offer a plethora of inspiration for those who have an affinity for warm, stylish interiors (and a well-made bed).

While studying creative direction and styling at Whitehouse Institute of Design, Loui began using social media to document his move to Melbourne and his journey into the design industry. In doing so, he built connections and began working with brands in the home, fashion, and lifestyle spaces. After graduating, he worked as a stylist and now is the acting creative director of a homewares brand.

Storytelling is what drives Loui to do what he does. “I love being able to tell a story and all the facets that go into building a brand and all the details that contribute to making a cohesive and strong brand,” he shares with Bed Threads Journal. "I love making beautiful things and the challenges that come with that."

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As someone who works in the interior design space, it’s unsurprising that Louis has a stylish home. The zen space presents a successful homage to wabi-sabi, the Japanese philosophy of finding beauty in the imperfect. The building’s industrial warehouse design is warmed up by an aesthetic which features neutral tones and a materials palette of timber, jute, linen, and hammered brass. “What lacks in colour, I like to think I make up for in texture,” he says.

Despite the home centering around a pared-back sense of design, there are unique and one-of-a-kind details scattered throughout that make it feel special. These include a painter's ladder bought from a warehouse in Richmond, bowls from local brand ‘Made in Japan’, and crystal glass candle holders from India. "I'm always on the lookout on Facebook marketplace for some second-hand treasures," he shares.

Large paper lanterns hang from the high ceilings in the living areas and bedroom, further playing into the Japanese-inspired style. The primary bedroom is swathed in calming Mineral & Fog linen which helps transform it into the ultimate zen retreat.

We spoke to Loui about his career journey to date, how he achieved the wabi-sabi look in his home, and his top styling tips for a well-designed space.

Shop Loui Burke's home edit.

Hi Loui! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?

I’m a home and lifestyle content creator and creative director based in Melbourne, Australia.

How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?

I don’t mean to turn off any non-star sign believers, but I’m a Virgo sun, Taurus moon, and Capricorn rising. So essentially, I love to organise everything, be extremely comfortable, and be very proactive and practical, which I feel best explains me and why content creation and design is where I ended up.

I love making beautiful things and the challenges that come with that. I love working within budgets and briefs. And I especially love to share what I find along the way with anyone and everyone. No gatekeeping here!

Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?

My passion for design probably starts within my family’s business. Shout out to Mum and Dad who let me build as many cubby houses as I wanted back in the day. They also let me work for them in their restaurant, event and accommodation business in the Hunter Valley. There I learnt all about the layers that go into making up a beautiful space with flowers, tablecloths, cutlery, glassware, and food – all the small details that go into making a space feel inviting and special.

From there I went on to study Creative Direction & Styling at Whitehouse Institute of Design to contextualise my experience. Along the way, I started my social media accounts to document my move to Melbourne, and share my journey into the design industry. From there, I built a connection with a small collection of brands to work with that had a similar passion for home, fashion, and lifestyle. When I graduated I worked as a stylist at Adairs where I learnt a lot about creating sets and the smoke and mirrors behind a lot of photographic styling. I also learnt how to make a seriously good-looking bed! It’s all in the layers.

That experience led me to make videos making my bed throughout the pandemic which was a hit, mainly because everyone has a bed and an opinion around how it should look and feel. Currently, I'm the acting creative director for a childrenswear and bedding brand.

Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?

My creative process for content creation usually focuses on a problem or challenge I’m faced with in day-to-day life. I then go on to figure out the best way to solve it. While at the same time I pick up the camera and take everyone on my journey on how to solve it.

The challenge is usually; “How do I make something look good, be super comfortable, and practical all at the same time?” And can I just say that’s no easy feat a lot of the time! Haha. But I love that process.

What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your career?

Not everyone is going to understand or value what you do. And that’s okay. But it’s always a good idea to gather as much data from your work to show when it matters. Design, art, or anything creative is something that can be underappreciated. So it’s wise to document some data and stats around your work to show its value in other ways than just the beauty for those who don’t get it.

What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?

The best thing would probably have to be seeing people love what I create and growing my community on social media. I feel like there’s been a lot of wins. Working among brands I love and surrounding myself with people who enjoy the same things I do, be it virtually or in person. I really think it's about the relationships I’ve made along the way.

Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?

Feedback is your friend. Be it a comment on a video, or from a brand on a brief. It’s all there to help you grow. But also, make room for things that are just for you so you don’t fall out of love with why you started.

Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?

Just under 12 months, but a lot of the furniture and decor that make up my home has been with me for around 8-10 years.

How did you initially know this was the space for you?

I always dreamed of an urban loft-style apartment. I'm a big rom-com fan so was inspired by all the apartments of the main characters living in the big city. As soon as I found this place I almost knew I was going to live in it.

I love how calm the space feels. The amount of room I have is amazing and the high ceilings are awesome. The industrial old-world shell with all the rough edges and large beams just brings so much interest and added texture to the space that compliments my style. I just love the contrast of that clean urban cityscape with a more rustic, honest look and feel. I also like how many spaces there are to sit and gather throughout the living, kitchen, and dining areas.

Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?

I rent this apartment so no major facelifts or anything. Mainly just replacing a few fixtures and a bit of paint. Oh, and my curtains were an epic DIY project, haha! You can find it on my TikTok.

What are your favourite pieces in the home?

I’ve got a mix of pieces that are from stores and random local finds. A favourite piece of mine I’ve had for years is my painter's ladder I randomly bought from a warehouse in Richmond. It wasn’t for sale, I just asked the guy there If I could buy it and he sold it to me for $50.

I love my arch bedhead and gas lift bed from Brosa because of its amazing storage and spa-like look/feel. The crystal glass candle holders I got from my num for my birthday from her trip to India. And I love the beauty/functionality of those everyday kinds of pieces like my ferm LIVING rippled glassware, Alessi Plisse kettle, and bowls from local brand ‘Made in Japan’.

Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?

I'm always on the lookout on Facebook marketplace for some second-hand treasures. I think I’d like to pick up a few sculptural art pieces and vessels to have on a few plinths. Or a piece of wall art that's an object or something.

Which is your favourite room in the house?

I’d have to say my dining space/my home office. I prefer the look and feel of a dining nook in comparison to an ‘office.’ The furniture is a lot nicer in dining rooms as opposed to office decor, haha! I decided to create a dining space that could stand in as a WFH space during the pandemic. It's so nice to have friends around and escape to a small dining space. It feels like a private room in a restaurant. Sure, it's not everyone’s cup of tea to work out of I imagine, but I love getting creative with my spaces and opting for the alternative. Also, a very important approach to have when designing mall apartment spaces.

For more from Loui follow him @louiburke.

Photography by Amelia Stanwix. Styling by Beck Simon.

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