Catherine from TUBU Kids, designs and styles beautiful eco friendly kids bedrooms and playrooms – with a focus on making them fun yet organised, and clutter free, with lots of different storage solutions.
“It makes such a difference to a parent when you can find their stuff when you need it! And I watch my own kids respond to a room that’s well put together as they have the space for imaginative play. Every time I go in, I can see how they have interacted with different shelves / displays – whether it is the way they have moved the pom poms (like an abacus) or changed the décor on their My Treasure Board shelf” she says.
Catherine does not insist on clients getting brand new big-ticket items – and often uses much of their existing furniture, changes the layout, buys second hand (and revamps), and opts for sustainable makers and creators.
Catherine likes to buy from eco-friendly suppliers and small businesses, many of who hand make their products. Some of her faves are One Two Tree, Moonlit Sleep, Little Olive & Co, JEANBAG, LUMMI+Co, and Soda & Stitch. She also sources second-hand, vintage furniture and products and revamps them – therefore reducing landfill. She uses an amazing Eco-friendly, zero VOC paint totally free of nasties, Fusion Mineral Paint.
“I find it very hard to sit still. I’ll be restyling my home, de-cluttering, making something, taking photos… but I’m trying to practice ‘mindfulness’ more and recently picked up my first book in about 6 years. Madness! I used to read all the time! I work from home a couple of days a week and am thankful for being able to be around my kids more that way (6 yr old and 4 yr old twins) And I have wonderfully varied clients across TUBU and TUBU Kids so am always super-charged with new ideas and learning new things which is wonderful” says Catherine, when we had a chat about managing home and business life together.
How did you start the business and what inspired you?
I was having a tough year with young twins and no family here to help. I had downsized my TUBU client base to a couple of clients, one of which was taking up nearly all my time and energy. What I normally do when I’m stressed is to re-organise things, so I did Hunter’s bedroom. I put some images on Instagram and started to get asked to do friend’s kids rooms.
From there I spent 6 weeks working from 9pm to 1am building my own website and launched after doing a kids’ bedroom shoot with Shannon Elise Photography. It was nuts actually but I’m glad I did it! And an offshoot of all this is styling for small businesses that specialize in kids products.
What are your thoughts on sustainability and how is this part of your business and own home?
I cringe at the amount of mass-produced product out there and the wastage. And I genuinely love the look, feel and history of second-hand vintage pieces. So my home has much of this dotted around. It’s a little bit Boho Scandi I suppose. We have loads of timber and I do love my plants as well!
We recycle of course, and all the kids old toys go to a wonderful local business – the Toy Restoration Centre in Jannali. I often buy from there and return the products years later and see them go up for sale again. It is run by Seniors who enjoy restoring the toys. It is so like Santa’s workshop there! And because I don’t have the older generation here in Australia we have made friends with some of the ladies and sometimes pop in for a cup of tea and cake!
Do you have any tips for other people wanting to create a sustainable home?
Before you head to a big chain store for big-ticket furniture items, have a look at what you can find on eBay, Gumtree or Etsy. Not only will you be reducing landfill but you’ll have a low-cost, completely unique item for your home which adds depth and character.
Would you like to share a favourite piece of work?
My favourite bedroom makeover is Bobby’s. His Mum was totally on board with my philosophy and was happy to “shop small” as well as use my services for a revamped 1970’s bookshelf.
My favourite current revamped piece for sale on my site is this new kids desk which I finished yesterday! It has Queen Anne legs, a “dog-tooth” style engraving around the top and scallop dot wallpaper from These Walls underneath a piece of toughened glass. The colour is the lightest grey/mauve from Fusion Mineral Paint’s “Tones For Tots” range.