A Scientist Turned Interior Designer On Why It’s Never Too Late To Change Careers

Space Grace & Style principal and interior designer Rebecca Jansma has always had a keen eye for interiors. As a kid, she took notice of upholstered sofas her grandparents had in their traditional, English-style home and her parents had furnished their home almost exclusively with furniture from renown Australian mid-century designers like Fler and Jack Parker.

‘There was a refined simplicity to both of those childhood homes, and I do think that aesthetic has influenced and stayed with me,’ Rebecca says. But it wasn’t until the late 90s, when she was diagnosed with lymphoma, that she realised she needed to chase her dream job of being an interior designer.

‘This is my third career,’ she adds. ‘I was a haematologist and microbiologist by trade, and worked contentedly in diagnostic pathology for many years before switching up to managing mining laboratories on the West Coast of Tasmania.’

‘Along the way, I bought and renovated houses and helped friends with their renovations. It didn’t really occur to me that I could establish a career in this field until much later.’

She went back to university, studied interior design, slowly started building up her clients before opening her own studio in 2011 – and she hasn’t looked back since. ‘My story is a testament to anyone looking to change careers – if you’re not 100% in what you’re doing, then change!’

Now with a team of three behind her, Rebecca works on everything from residential to commercial projects, based in the new Space Grace & Style office right in the heart of Geelong’s arts and dining precinct. They were drawn to its ‘abundant natural light, dark stained timber floors, and soaring ceilings’, but they’ve made it their own with a few special pieces, including a ‘beautiful big marble table’ and vintage Trega chairs by Tormod Alnaes. Shelves decorated with layers of art, ceramics and other sentimental ‘beautiful things’ complete the polished atmosphere.

The office also reflects Rebecca’s own design ethos of mixing eras of furnishings in order to ensure her projects are comfortable and timeless, without being too ‘predictable’. ‘We design homes that are for living in and enjoying; sometimes that means we throw in a marketplace find and for me that is unexpected and honest,’ she adds.

See examples of Rebecca’s work below or visit Space Grace & Style’s website here.

Ida E. Glass

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