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Inspiration Profile: Amanda Holland

Welcome to this week's Inspiration Profile - we have the delightful Amanda Holland of Small Acorns.
For those Wellington born and bred, like myself, you will know that Small Acorns has been a mainstay on the interior and retail scene for as long as I can remember. Small Acorns stock a great range of products (Designers Guild, Orla Kiely, Tivoli, Kartell, Minti to name a few) and to visit is always an enjoyable shopping experience. I proudly brought my first serious home purchase from here with my savings in my late teens - a Designer Guild blanket which I still have and use. So it is a pleasure to have Amanda featured here today. Enjoy.

Amanda Holland

Name: Amanda Holland

What do you do: I am the owner of Small Acorns, a boutique lifestyle store which specialises in everything I love about homes and interiors  - personal treasures, beautiful fabrics and contemporary design, infused with colour, pattern and a touch of eclectic whimsy. I don’t believe in following trends. I believe in personal style, designs that stand the test of time and a room that tells a story. Interiors which evolve organically and have soul. Quite unbelievably, Small Acorns will be 20 years old next year.

Where do you live: Wellington, New Zealand.
What are you working on: The retailer in me is always thinking about ways to improve the store, my next store display and keeping an eye out for treasures and ideas that will hopefully keep our customers as excited as we are. We also have some plans for another online magazine and some more workshops.
The designer in me is working on some lovely client projects as well as things for the store which might provide more of an instant interior quick fix, such as cushions and some fun upcycled furniture pieces. A little of the past updated into the present.
Who/what inspires me: Tricia Guild and the Designers Guild ethos has always been a huge inspiration. Personally I couldn’t live without colour, texture and pattern in my home, as I find it hugely invigorating, uplifting and no-one, but no-one does colour like Designers Guild. Colour doesn’t have to be about bright intense colours either. You have to be selective to make it work. Amongst the jewel bright shades you will always find pale greys, duck egg, lots of white and always a little black. I just can't get my head around what I call, a 'porridge' interior - bland, dull, and uninteresting.
Other inspirations are stylists Liza Giles and Sibella Court, my family, flowers (I love a little florabundance), typography and old signage, vintage modern, clothes, great retailers like Anthropologie, and amazing women like Estee Lauder who have the courage to pursue their dreams and vision.
I work best: Well, it’s a longstanding joke in my family that no-one should try and talk to me before 9am, or at least not until I’ve had my first cup of coffee, so I guess I’m not known as a morning person. I’ve always been a bit of a night owl I think.
What I do when I’m stuck for inspiration: Look blankly at the computer screen as I’m doing right now. I’ll head for one of my favourite interior books, or magazines, or even immerse myself in a Designers Guild brochure. Just looking at all the little styling details in any of these is usually enough to get things flowing again. I’m a detail person so it’s the little things that I notice first and that often captivate me the most.
The best advice I have been given is: Anyone is capable of achieving whatever they want in life, so long as you are prepared to work hard for it.
My latest discovery is: Realising that my love of old vintage pieces and junk stores, which I have honestly had since I was a teenager at school, is bordering on the obsessive. Actually I’ve probably known this for some time. 
Books that I get inspiration from: I return to Tricia Guild’s books over and over, in particular, Flowers and Inspiration. I also read and re-read Sibella Court’s etcetera etc, and am enjoying her latest book, Nomad very much also. As a fellow magpie collector I love looking at other people’s collections and ideas for displaying them.

Magazines that inspire me: Inside Out, Elle Decoration (UK) and Living etc are three I never miss an issue of.

Blogs that I enjoy: How does one narrow it down? What Katie Ate, The Design Files, Vintage, Pia Jane Bijkerk are all so visually inspiring, and then I have so many other blogs that I enjoy and never miss because I’ve become friends with the blog authors.

My favourite room at home is: Having just lived through and (almost) completed a major home renovation throughout most of 2011, every room at home is a favourite just now, but if I had to single out just one, then ooh, this is hard, maybe my bedroom, or the bathroom, or maybe the living room? The kitchen? I guess this is a sign that I just love it all!

My office is: Sadly neglected because I just don’t get to spend enough time there. (It’s offsite from both the store and home) It’s a shame because I love the space and have filled it with so many personal treasures and inspirations. It’s the ideal ‘room of one’s own’ and I love it.

What am I looking forward to: I always love and look forward to new beginnings and the opportunities that a new year brings. On a personal note I’m looking forward to enjoying my new ‘old’ home, armfuls of dahlias from the garden, the girls going back to school (!!) and helping my clients see their homes afresh. I’m also aiming for a little work life balance this year!

Thank you Amanda! Want to know more about Small Acorns? You can take a look at their website here and Amanda's blog here.
Photographs used with permission from Amanda Holland.


Oh Charlotte, thanks so much for treating us with this fabulous interview of gorgeous Amanda. A treat indeed! J x

Thanks for all the great comments. I'm so pleased that you all have enjoyed reading Amanda's profile - and a huge response to Amanda's now revealed identity! I did not realise it would such an 'un-veiling' to the world! C.x

Lovely to *meet* you Charlotte!

I already adore Amanda- I feel in love with her blog when I was living and blogging from the countryside in England.

Now we are back in Sydney- I love it more as she's on my side of the globe at last!

Thanks for getting her to post a picture of herself...divine of course- as I had expected.

I'm going to find more of your profiled bloggers now- great reading.


Melissa- Miss Sew & So

Amanda is so much more than just a retailer, as she often refers to herself. She is one of lifes naturals when it comes to design, everything she does has so much soul, her home is jaw-dropping gorgeous, but not in a OMG heaps-of money-has-been spent way. Her home and store are places where you want to just sit and take in the beauty, (and shop of course...)

Amanda, you look nothing like I imagined! Somehow, without realising it, I'd created a mental vision of you, now to be replaced by the actuality. You're just as goodlooking in real life, but I still can't get over your not having fair hair. But you look just as dynamic as I imagined! And I love your conviction and ethos and the obvious pleasure in your work you display here.

I love Amanda's blog and aesthetic. It is quite inspiring to read more about her. I've just started following this blog, too. Glad to have found it!

Just discovered your blog via Amandas. Exciting to find a kiwi blog that holds my interest. Jane :)

Amanda! How can you say that - it's a great photo!
It was lovely to have you here and thanks for being involved in the Inspiration Profile feature. As you can see from all these comments, it has been enjoyed by many. C.x

Lovely piece about a lovely woman and a really lovely shop. A x

Fantastic interview, I love Amanda and am pretty sure (hope) I'm one of the bloggers she's become friends with because her style, creativity and personal charm make her a fav of mine.

Ooh dear Charlotte - putting that photo first may be a little offputting for your readers! Otherwise, thank you so much for featuring me on your lovely blog. I'm flattered to be asked! xx

Thank you for this interview. Finally we get to see Amanda's beautiful face! A great interview but more so I just loved seeing more snippets of Amanda's home :)