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Meet the mother/daughter duo taking over the Northern Beaches design scene.

The Property Addict / Architecture & Design

Nov 24 2016

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Angela Neylon always wanted to join the family business.

It seems like a lucky stroke of fate - or good genetics - that she inherited mum Joanne's dab hand at design. But whilst Joanne's area of expertise lies past the back door and out into the garden, Angela had her eye firmly on the home's interior.

Based out of Sydney's Northern Beaches, Angela works with her mother at their family-founded landscaping and interior design company, "Ë?Joanne Green'. Together, they transform private residences, from the inside out. Fair to say that as they work among sprawling seaside estates and stunning natural surrounds in the balmy weather; Angela is in residential design heaven.

But it took quite a seachange to arrive here.

[caption id="attachment_4682" align="alignnone" width="810"]A beautiful sunny veranda in Sydney's Newport. (Image: supplied) A beautiful sunny veranda in Sydney's Newport. (Image: supplied)[/caption]

Angela left her tropical home turf for the not-so-tropical city of Melbourne as a young student to study at Melbourne's prestigious RMIT. Moving through their famously kooky interior design degree - "...it was quite conceptual and not cemented in reality!" she laughs - Angela went on to score a role at Rice Architecture.

It was a year of "Ë?eye opening' learning for Angela. She worked across a range of high-end interior design projects, including Mark Best's "Ë?Pei Modern' in Collins Street, Melbourne CBD. But perhaps it was wide-open spaces of Sydney that were calling her home - in 2012, she packed her bags, and returned to the Northern Beaches.

"It was always our dream that I would join the business," says Angela. "I always had a strong interest in interior design. Until then, Joanne Green was purely a landscaping business, known for its stunning residential garden work. But with Angela now on board, they were looking to expand.

[caption id="attachment_4676" align="alignnone" width="677"]A Joanne Green creation in Whale Beach, NSW. (Image via http://www.joannegreen.com.au/) A Joanne Green creation in Whale Beach, NSW. (Image via http://www.joannegreen.com.au/)[/caption]

From her early days working in just small courtyard design, Angela worked with mum Joanne on existing projects for an initial year as she learned the ropes, matching practical experience to her "Ë?conceptual' education. Their first job as an interiors-landscape duo actually came about by accident.

"One of our regular clients bought a house in Manly," says Angela.

"I was brought on just to help with the custom-made pot selection. After doing that, and speaking with the client, I was engaged to carry out some work in the apartment downstairs for her son. Then that moved upstairs, and another bedroom...and that was it! That was my first interiors project on my own. It really evolved quite naturally."

A few years on, and business is booming. The perfect marriage of an a landscaper and an interior designer has gathered a slew of clients looking to create a cohesive narrative between their home and their garden.

[caption id="attachment_4677" align="alignnone" width="531"]Lush interiors courtesy of Angela Neylon. (Image: supplied) Lush interiors courtesy of Angela Neylon. (Image: supplied)[/caption]

So, is there ever a mother-daughter clash of aesthetics? And if there is, who wins?

"We don't have a similar design aesthetic, but we don't clash. I respect what my mum does a million percent, and learn so much from her. We have a strong mutual respect for what the other does and how they work."

But if the Joanne/Angela working working arrangement sounds suspiciously peaceful, maybe this will clear it up: their biggest challenge isn't their own clashes - it's those of their clients!

For Angela, the greatest joy in their business is untangling clashes between husband and wife as they try to unite two ideas of how they want their home and outdoor areas to look.

"The husband and wife always want something different!" laughs Angela. "But that's the best part, trying to figure out a way to work with both visions and create something they both love."

[caption id="attachment_4678" align="alignnone" width="810"]Stunning outdoor setting in Sydney's Northern Beaches. (Image: supplied) Stunning outdoor setting in Sydney's Northern Beaches. (Image: supplied)[/caption]

Their 15-strong team includes landscape construction tradesman, horticulturists, and landscape designers, and is growing. Traditionally, the Joanne Green team would be bought in following the interior design planning, but they are finding more and more they are being involved from the start of the process.

"The big reason people are coming to us because we do the landscape and interior design," says Angela, "and people really want those two elements to work together."

Angela looks to the growing trend of outdoor living spaces as a major reason behind their booming business.

"With this push for indoor-outdoor living - which, in Sydney, in so important - clients are engaging us because we're offering that service that will allow the spaces to work really fluidly."

A fluidity, says Angela, that isn't always that easy to achieve. Differences in flooring, mismatched indoor/outdoor furniture, and even the wrong choice of plants can friction between the two areas.

"It's all about the design elements," says Angie. "Even if they want a tropical garden, and that's what they're set on, reflecting some of those influences inside is so important to marry together the styles."

[caption id="attachment_4679" align="alignnone" width="810"]Light, bright, and airy is the order of the day at Joanne Green. (Image: supplied) Light, bright, and airy is the order of the day at Joanne Green. (Image: supplied)[/caption]

Warmth, texture, and interest are three words Angela uses a lot when describing the "Ë?new look' for Australian residential. She points to the influx of velvet chaise furniture, playful wallpaper, and classic wrought iron outdoor furniture as just a few design features moving away from the spartan, Scandinavian-style aesthetic of recent years.

Working from tropical Sydney, the team at Joanne Green find themselves working mainly within large residential projects, with the majority being families looking to create their ideal "Ë?forever home'. "The "Ë?contemporary beach house look' is definitely the most exciting thing that is unique to Australia, and that Australia does well."

Angela says that for now, Joanne Green will continue to focus on growing their interior design side of the business, and work on providing the "Ë?complete package' for prospective clients.

We can't wait to see what these two do next.

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