Tour the Beautiful Beachside Home of Florist Naomi Watt
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we head to the south of Sydney, where florist Naomi Watt of The Sisters lives with her family by the sea.
Whenever Naomi Watt considers a purchase for her home, she remembers her father’s advice. “Buy once and buy well,” he would tell her, the words applying to everything from homewares to art, fashion, and beyond.
It’s good advice. And it means that the florist – who co-founded floral business The Sisters with her sister Esther – has been able to fill her home in Sydney’s beachside suburb of Kurnell with supremely adored pieces. “We have saved for things that we love,” explains Watt.
One such piece is the solid timber bed from Mr. and Mrs. White, which sets the tone for the rest of the house’s colour palette: all earthy neutrals, with lots of timber, clay, and linen. “We slept on the floor for a few years before we bought that,” she admits. And the one-of-a-kind artwork from Bonnie and Neil. “I ripped a picture out of a magazine back in the day and knew I had to have it,” says Watt.
Everything about Watt’s sun-drenched beachside home, which she has shared with her young family for the last three years, reflects her approach to both life and business. When it comes to floristry, Watt’s approach is all passion, instinct, and drive. “Loving what you do is important,” she explains. “Passion ignites creativity and that fire is important. But I also think trusting your heart and instinct and not overthinking helps, too. Because then, I believe you naturally evolve and change and push forward, which is all critical in growth.”
At home, the principles are the same. Buy once and buy well, be realistic, and fill your space with love and joy. “I’ve always loved pieces that have heart and soul,” says Watt. “With all the bits and pieces that I have styled in my home, a lot of them have a story. A clamshell from Italy, or a vase from the markets made by a local potter. I love that they aren’t just what is trending at the second,” she adds. “Pieces that are well thought out and adored means that they are more timeless.”
Hi Naomi! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
Hello, and thank you for having me! I’m lucky enough to make and create with everything floral and fauna has to offer, alongside my sister and fellow flora-adorer Esther! Currently, weddings and events are our sweet spot, but we occasionally do a pop-up for old times sake.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I’ve always loved flowers, I was raised in a Dutch family, where that European culture of never turning up anywhere empty-handed is ingrained in me. So I grew up, wandering the garden, picking blooms, foil ready in hand to wrap them up and take en route to school or a friend’s place. For me, flowers bring so much joy and always seem to soften every moment in life, so I just knew it was what I wanted to do for work.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
I always knew I wanted to do something with my hands and heart, which is a sweet way of saying I was never an A-grade student. We were living in rural NSW for a season with my parents, and I did work experience in a little flower shop. I fell in love. Hard. Scroll ahead six years and Esther and I had the opportunity to buy a flower shop, we were 18 and 21, no fear, and all fire to make it work.
We soon started doing weddings and then, purely through word of mouth, the wedding side of things outgrew the space of the store. That's when we launched The Sisters, set up a studio, and ran two businesses for a few years.
When I fell pregnant with my daughter, I realised I physically couldn’t juggle two businesses and a baby. It was perfect timing really. Esther met her now-husband and it’s been such a dream to have a bit more of a work/life balance.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
For me, there is always something that triggers my creative process, it could be something obvious like a flower that catches my eye in the flower market, or just seeing a colour and that begins the rambling that is the creative process. To me, nature is so beautiful and inspiring that I can truly say that the art is already forming well before I get my hands to start creating.
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt since you started your business?
Oh gosh, there are so many lessons, that literally could be the lesson, to be prepared to always learn and improve! But more recently, I’ve realised the importance of just staying in my lane, head down, working hard! The arts are so visual now with social media, and while I think inspiration is important, I think too much inspiration is detrimental to staying true to what you do well.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your business?
I think the older I get the more I realise how blessed I am to work with my sister and to have found a work that is also a love. So that would have to be a highlight. But also, we have worked on some insane projects during our careers, projects that have exceeded dreams, we’ve created hanging clouds of blooms, we’ve worked with ice and flowers, we’ve done runways, made bouquets for couples as they whisper their wedding vows, we’ve done editorial, the list is endless, and not in a bragging way, but in what-the-heck, pinch-my-self way.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self/ someone looking to start their own business?
Be prepared to work hard, it’s not all perfection. It’s sacrifice, and pushing boundaries and learning to be comfortable in the discomfort. But all that to say, it’ll be the best damn thing you’ll do!
Now, the home stuff. How did you initially know this was the space for you?
We fell in love with the clear water and quiet streets of Kurnell when we first got married. I’m an ocean lover, and Kurnell was my happy place. So we just kept our eyes open, scouring real estate for a little beach cottage with our name on it, and we found it!
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
Absolutely! We lived with a bright orange kitchen for ages! We’ve done all our renovations in stages, in between babies… We started with the must-haves when we moved in, painting all the bedrooms, adding wardrobes and carpets, and then before our second baby was born we painted the living spaces and painted the floors and put in a new kitchen.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
I love interiors, and have had to be very practical and realistic with what I love and then what actually works for our home. We have a little beach shack, and so the interiors reflect that.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I’m holding off till the kids are a bit older, and then we’ll get our beloved Jasper couch recovered and then I’d love a beautiful statement seat, I’ve got a whole collection of pieces that I love, I’m obsessed with Roly-Poly chair from TooGood in cream, yes, please!
Which is your favourite room in the house?
I love the living area, we get beautiful morning sun so the kids love playing there, so I usually set myself up with a cuppa in the mornings and love watching them potter around.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
Our latest dream/project has been halving the granny flat out the back and making it a studio for me to work from. It will double as a space for hubby too, he is very hands-on with all the renovations and building we have done. We’ll then make the rest of the granny flat accommodation for friends and guests on Airbnb, I’ve always loved the concept of hosting and making a gorgeous little space out the back!
And for The Sisters, well we have some stunning weddings coming up, we are hoping that come summer, some of these COVID restrictions relax and our gorgeous couples can make it forever!
We are also working hard on a project to open up the books for delivering a creation from The Sisters. We used to do this all the time when we had a retail store, and haven’t offered it since, but since COVID hit, we offered deliveries and were blown away by the response! So we are now just working out how we can offer this consistently, while still doing what we do wedding-wise and with the juggle of babies… One to keep an eye out for!
Loved this home tour? Inside the Art-Filled Paddington Terrace and Studio of Painter Hannah Carrick