A lifetime of collecting, creates a legacy of memories for future generations.

Today is “Pink Ribbon Day” and in honour of the late Wendy Mattern, and with the permission of her family, I would like to share this interview with you. This article was intended to be published earlier this year, however, due to the complexities of the print publishing world, was not published.

Rob, Bronwyn and Wendy enjoy time together in the formal lounge area, just off the entrance of the house.

Rob, Bronwyn and Wendy enjoy time together in the formal lounge area, just off the entrance of the house.

When Interior decorator Wendy and her husband Rob decided to downsize after their daughters left home, they were looking for a house that would incorporate modern open plan living with the ability to house the grandkids for sleepovers.

Their single level elevated house is located in a quiet cul-de-sac in the western suburbs of Brisbane, and allows enough space for entertaining as well as showcasing the collection of memories from their travels, and careers in Interior Decorating and Styling.

Asian head, a gift from Wendy's dear friend Charles in LA now sits in the entrance foyer of the home.

Asian head, a gift from Wendy’s dear friend Charles in LA now sits in the entrance foyer of the home.

Wendy began collecting miniature containers and other silver boxes, when she was given her Paternal Grandmother’s Hobnail Glass perfume bottle. This she says, “sparked a life long love of all things miniature, including hat pins, “Netsuke” and a collection of “Limoges, which was a gift from my mother”.

Hobnail Glass

Wendy’s hobnail glass and hat pin collection.

Upon entering the combined lounge and dining area you are immediately struck by the careful curation of oriental pieces, seamlessly integrated with charcoal sketches, and family heirlooms.

The formal lounge area of the family house is filled with special memories and antiques collected from around the world.

The formal lounge area of the family house is filled with special memories and antiques collected from around the world.

Wendy, a Brisbane girl and Rob from Pennsylvania met and married in Los Angeles when Wendy was on a working holiday in America. During their time in LA they met Charles Phillips, who assisted clients sourcing special features for movie and television sets. Wendy joined him on some of the forays into interesting haunts in LA. Charles became such a good friend that he even sketched the design of Wendy’s wedding dress. The sketch, however, no longer exists as it was left with the dressmaker.


Wendy and Rob were visiting friends in a little town near Sarlat in the Dordogne region in France when they spotted this plate in an antique market

Ten years and two children later, they returned to live in Brisbane. Charles sent them many hand drawn charcoal sketches as Christmas cards during their life long friendship, and some of these are now framed and hang on the walls.

The antique furniture in the lounge area was collected in Los Angeles and brought with them when they moved to Australia. Wendy’s mother’s hope chest, one of an original three, was sent out from Hong Kong. On it sits a delicate collection of Easter themed miniatures. There is a pair of antique Chinese porcelain lamps of “Kwan Yen”, the Goddess of compassion and mercy beside the chaise.

Faberge Eggs adorn the hand carved antique chest

Faberge Eggs adorn the hand carved antique chest

Many locals of the western suburbs of Brisbane will remember when Wendy and a friend ran the highly successful “Shop 91” at Indooroopilly Shopping Town. “There wasn’t a significant birthday or wedding gift that wasn’t purchased from us in the area”, Wendy laughs. Shop 91 allowed Wendy and Rob to keep in touch with trends in collecting and enjoy continuing to collect themselves.

After this, Wendy began her career as a stylist, preparing homes for sale. Many of her clients loved her so much that when they moved to their new home, they hired her to purchase and decorate and design their new interior. Husband Rob, began the management of the trades people involved in the design and decoration projects.


The kitchen has a server window and over looks the covered entertainment area beside the sparkling in-ground pool.

Bronwyn, Wendy and Rob’s youngest daughter has begun to follow in her mother’s footsteps, launching her styling career on Instagram. “It’s been really interesting listening to mum talk about all her collectables today. You take things that appear in your family home for granted- it’s been wonderful to hear the background stories of so many of the objects, that until now, I have not stopped to think about the significance.”


Bronwyn serves tea in the kitchen for her mother, Wendy who says that tea always tastes better in porcelain cups. Bronwyn relishes the time with her mother.

Bronwyn can be found on Instagram at BRONLOVESDESIGN.

Note from author: Sadly, Wendy Mattern died as a result of secondary Breast Cancer June 5, 2015. It was an honour to have met her, and I will be forever grateful that even when terminally ill, she took the time to tell me about her life, and graciously allowed me to photograph her house.


Soothe, Balance and restore

Soothe, Balance and Restore

Brisbane is lush and green at the moment. It is the rainy season here and everything gets renewed after the scorching summer heat and takes a long drink, turning everything in its path green.

This rejuvenation has made me reflect on colour, and the colours which I love. Colour has the ability to change how we feel, and it is no surprise that green and blue are my two favourite colours. These are the colours I love to wear and the colours I like when I choose furnishings and homewares. Green for its balancing and harmonising nature, and blue for its tranquility and calming effect.

The colours we use in our home help make it a haven, not just a house.

Inject some soothing green energy into your home with nature’s best inspiration and add a dash of sunny yellow to create balance.

Is it time for an injection of soothing colour in your life?  Copies of these fine art prints and canvases are available here and here.

For further interiors inspiration, follow my “Tranquil Tropics” board on Pinterest.

Follow Katische Haberfield’s board Tranquil Tropics on Pinterest.