One gets the impression that Kate is a little bit shy. When you follow her on Instagram (@katier444) you notice a quiet elegance unfolding in her narrative: there are glimpses of real life (she lives with her family in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia, which she has described to me as the kind of place where town and country meet), snippets of her exquisite attention to detail (ribbons, bows, buckles, books, blossoms, patterns, and shapes), and some forays into fantasy. When she posts a photo of an iconic interior scene, it’s almost always one with many layers, textures, and (one guesses) stories. Kate Rees is a gardener, candle maker, reader, and a forager of beauty. I’m always inspired by her, not to mention the fact that since our seasons are reversed, she brings full blooming flowers into my winter days.
ECS: What 5 everyday objects would you use to create a “signature still life” that shows your style?
Kate: I love moving things around at home and am constantly reassembling tabletops. I have always used piles of books & magazines, fresh flowers, vintage lamps, candles and treasured found objects. I am an obsessive “hunter gatherer” from way back!
ECS: Tell us about the candles.
Kate: I started making soy candles about eight years ago. After gifting them for years to family and friends I recently created my brand, “The King & Caroline” which is all about the art of small-batch, bespoke candle-making.
Candles have always been an essential part of our home and we burn them every night and during the gloomy winter days to enliven a space. I still love what lighting a candle represents and the actual process of creating something beautiful to use every day is so rewarding for me.
I am currently expanding my existing range and am in the midst of developing a website to facilitate e-commerce. More to come on this soon!
ECS: Which style icon (dead or alive) would you most like to have coffee or tea with? Why?
Kate: This is a great question! There is a myriad of people who come to mind… I think Lauren Hutton would be incredibly interesting. She was a trailblazer in so many ways and has led such a rich and varied life. Also, I have always had an affinity for 70’s style and I think she encapsulates that era so beautifully – denim shirts, tuxedos, Halston…she rocked it all. She is also an inspiring older woman who has embraced aging with grace and dignity, I love that.
ECS: What is your favorite flower?
Kate: I grow camellias, roses and hydrangeas en masse because I adore them all. If I had to choose one flower, perhaps predictably, it is the rose. There really is nothing like the scent of fresh garden roses and I am still completely overwhelmed by their remarkable beauty at times. I have three “Jude the Obscure” bushes (a David Austin variety) and I plan on getting more! It is my favourite among favourites.
ECS: What books are on your nightstand?
Kate: A Christmas gift from my husband, “The Gardens of Bunny Mellon” by Linda Jane Holden and the “Collected Short Stories of John Cheever.” There is also a pile of unread magazines….how does that happen?
Thank you Kate! Happy Friday!
* photographs by Kate Rees