Interior designer Nicole Chapman shares her Home Truths
Nicole Chapman is an interior designer and founder of Empire Interiors
Where do you live?
In St Kilda West. I bought here because of the leafy streets, great walks and closeness to school for my son, Max.
What property do you own?
Currently this place, plus a cute little Edwardian cottage in St Kilda East that I plan to renovate with my partner, Ben, who is a builder.
What do you love most about your home?
Home to me is a sanctuary, so I love the simplicity of the colours and furnishings. I’m a bit of a minimalist in all areas of life. For me, less is more.
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Have you changed anything about your home?
Ben and I renovated the St Kilda West home in 2018, bringing a stunning Victorian-era apartment back to its former glory.
One more thing you’d change?
Add a second fireplace. There is something primal about looking into a fire — it’s so relaxing.
Your first foot on the property ladder?
I designed and built my first home when I was 23. I have always been drawn to the property world. While most of my friends were buying fashion mags during high school, I had a House & Garden subscription. I started saving for my first home the day I started earning money.
Are you a keen or reluctant property buyer?
Keen. I’ll jump on the real estate websites the night we move into a new home.
How many homes have you ever bought and ever sold?
Bought six and counting. Sold four and counting.
The highlights of your property journey?
I love following my own intuition when buying a home. When I think back to a lot of advice along the way, I’m glad I trusted my own instincts.
Biting off more that you can chew and chewing like crazy can take its toll if other areas of life are unsettled. Property is not for the faint hearted or impatient. It’s a long game.
Best property advice you’ve heard?
An oldie but a goodie: buy low, sell high.
Worst property advice you’ve heard?
Buy for pure profit. For me, the fun is in creating something new and transforming a property. It’s that artistic side that is my purpose for being in the property game. Seeing a buyer fall in love with the property is the icing on the cake.
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Tips for homebuyers?
Buy the best home you can afford in the place you love over buying a massive home in a location you are not drawn to.
Any future property plans?
Always. Ben and I are looking to create a little retreat in the country. Our future long-term family home will be in Albert Park. We spend a lot of time in the area and it feels like home for both of us.