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There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing a fellow design-obsessed Aussie killing it abroad. The now L.A.-based Editorial Director at Create & CultivateSacha Strebe, is very familiar with all things architecture and design as she’s made her living documenting striking interiors. She’s the definition of a multihyphenate; outside of her creative work, she’s also a mom, wife, skincare enthusiast and occasional panel moderator, and you can bet we’re dying to book her next speaking gig right here in Melbourne.

Contemporary Apartment Design

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNA PEFFLEY FOR MYDOMAINE

When the native Australian made the move to Los Angeles, she found it wasn’t difficult to acclimate. “L.A. ticked all the boxes,” she tells us. “I wanted to live in a creative and diverse melting pot that inspires me and continually pushes me outside of my comfort zone, while also providing a foundation and comfort that feels like home.” 

Aside from the easy, breezy climate, L.A.’s community-oriented culture drew her family of three to find an apartment in the sunny hot spot. Sacha then brought on another favourite Aussie of ours, designer Tali Roth, to co-design her eclectic L.A. apartment that you’re going to go bonkers over.

Sacha Strebe and Tali Roth

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNA PEFFLEY FOR MYDOMAINE

Contemporary Small Space Design

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNA PEFFLEY FOR MYDOMAINE

We tapped the accomplished design-savvy writer on the move from Australia to California, how she’s cultivated a best-of-both worlds combo in her L.A. apartment, and of course what designers she’s following on Instagram.

Barnaby: It’s hard to ask “what do you do” for a living when people are so much more than their one job title. What hats do you wear?   

Sacha: Such a good question. I consider myself what my good friend Athena Calderone labeled as a “multiphyphenate” meaning I am not confined to just one line of work or one career path but many—and that suits my Gemini personality just fine. I am a writer by trade but in actuality, I am a storyteller and I use any means necessary to help that story unfold. Sometimes that means expressing through the written word (I’m the editorial director of Create & Cultivate), other times it’s visually (either via photos on my Instagram or for original home tours), physically (I loved designing our apartment with Tali Roth, another Aussie) or it’s through tangible experiences and events (I have a side hustle of moderating panels or hosting events).  

Outside of that, I am also a mom to our 10-year-old, Neon and wife to Troy Strebe (senior wash designer at Paige Denim). There’s a lot of multi-tasking going on in my life but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Barnaby: Where in Australia are you from? What brought you to the US? 

Sacha: I was born in Cairns but grew up on the Gold Coast and spent the last four years of my time in Australia before moving [to the US] in Melbourne—we still have mad love for that city and love to visit when we’re back. We moved to the U.S. four years ago now because we knew there would be more opportunity in our creative line of work. My husband works in denim and the industry is practically based here in L.A. so it made sense for him. I am a writer so I can really work from anywhere but I wanted to live in a creative and diverse melting pot that inspires me and continually pushes me outside of my comfort zone, while also providing a foundation and comfort that feels like home. 

Los Angeles ticks all of those boxes and I’ve fallen madly in love with it and the people who inhabit it. In fact, the people and the culture (outside of the glorious weather and the light) is what I truly love about L.A. and California in general. There is a real sense of opportunity here and a “you can do anything” vibe that I’ve not experienced anywhere else. People really lift you up and want to see you succeed, in fact, they help you by connecting you with the right people or sharing it with the world or collaborating with you to maximize the message. Despite how large L.A. is, it feels like a small community. Everyone’s here to bring it and collectively raise the vibration. It’s inspiring.

Barnaby:  We wonder what the change was like for you! What have you missed most about AU? 

Sacha: Life in Australia was different for us because it was slower. Everything feels so fast-paced here. We live in a “now” economy. I’ve honestly never worked so hard in my life. I miss my family the most. They still all live on the Gold Coast and I am an aunt to 9 nieces and nephews, so it’s definitely hard to be so far away when they’re all growing up so fast. My sister and I are incredibly close and it’s tough knowing we aren’t in each other’s lives as much anymore. I definitely wish Neon could spend more time with his cousins. 

But aside from my loved ones, I don’t miss living in Australia. The transition was easy because I just felt so at home here—it was almost immediate. I can’t imagine living anywhere else—maybe Italy!  I do miss my Aussie designers though and there are so many amazing brands coming out of there right now in both the fashion and home space. I still wear primarily Aussie designers, mostly Dion Lee, Josh Goot, and Ellery. I’m always getting compliments on my outfits here. 

Barnaby: It appears you’ve seamlessly married principles from both Australian and American design in your L.A. apartment. How have you incorporated Australian design practices in your home design? 

Sacha:  I think that quintessential laid-back vibe and sense of effortlessness in design is also prominent in Californian homes so fusing them together was really seamless. I was also incredibly proud to bring in one of my favorite Australian rug brands, Armadillo & Co. I wanted our apartment to feel lived-in and cozy yet elevated and sophisticated too. It was the first time my husband and I had designed a space together and it really was a lot of fun exploring our likes and dislikes, where we could compromise and what were deal breakers. Since he’s American, it was a very natural way for us to bring the two countries and their design styles together in one space. It feels like a mix of Cali-cool and Aussie laid-back style.

Modern Apartment

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNA PEFFLEY FOR MYDOMAINE

Barnaby: In your opinion, what characterizes Australian design? 

Sacha: Due to our geographic location underneath the rest of the world, we’re exposed to so many varied cultures, architecture, and design styles and you can see this manifest in our homes. Australians have harnessed a truly global aesthetic. They have a way of bringing in all the elements of our neighboring countries but making it their own. I also think we can do color really well like nowhere else I’ve seen. And I’m talking major brights and metallic gold like the Kip & Co co-founder, Alex Van Der Sluys' Melbourne home. While there are so much color and pattern in this home it doesn’t feel overdone or too maximalist because the interior design is so clean, minimal, and pared back. It’s definitely something I find unique to Australia. That and open-plan design. We have such beautiful light Down Under that it makes sense to find every design way possible to let it all in. 

Modern Dining Room
Edgy Decor
 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNA PEFFLEY FOR MYDOMAINE

Barnaby: What about American interior design? Anything that separates American designers? 

Sacha: I love the influence of traditional American culture in U.S. homes. There is something really nostalgic about that. Americans really enjoy paying homage to their history and unique architectural style in their homes. In Los Angeles, there are a lot of really beautiful Spanish-style homes that were built by the Spanish colonizers in the United States, some dating back to the 1600s. They’re made of white stucco and adobe brickwork and typically feature exposed wooden beams—who doesn’t love that? People who buy these homes are really into preserving the heritage and architectural “bones” of the house, only modernizing it with a contemporary color palette, furniture, and decor. This home by Lisa Larson is one of my favorites along with this Spanish revival by my friends and renowned interior designers, Shannon and Brittany of Studio Lifestyle.

Barnaby: What overall feeling do you think a typical Australian home conveys? 

Sacha: Laid-back, effortless, cool, minimal, comfortable, stylish, light-filled, and forward.

Barnaby: How about an American home? 

Sacha: Considered, detail-oriented, modern-traditional, stylish, elevated, cozy.

Barnaby: Any major differences in the colour palette? 

Sacha: I would say Australians are braver with color, they go out on a limb and try bold hues whereas you tend to see more restrained color palettes here with more traditional accents of navy blue or forest green. 

Barnaby: What Aussie designers are you following on Instagram these days? 

Sacha: I’ve lost touch with a lot of my Aussie designers unfortunately since moving out here but here are a few I love:
@stevecordony is a wonderful interior stylist whose aesthetic is unwavering and very Australian
@jodiefried is the co-founder of Armadillo & Co and I love following her travels
@marloemarloe is a ceramicist and friend of mine from the Gold Coast and her work is super cool and inspiring
@richardsandspence just designed the Calile hotel in Brisbane and I can’t wait to stay there @mudaustralia always have great pieces I want for my table
@wearetriibe is my friend Christina Symes and they are doing amazing things back home in design.

Barnaby: How about your favourite American designers? 

Sacha:  There are SO many I don’t know where to begin but here are a few I look at on the regular: 
@amberinteriors is the definition of Cali-cool, I mean she invented it 
@em_henderson has nailed modern traditional style and she’s just super fun to follow 
@jeremiahbrent and  @nateberkus are two of my favorite humans and both have incredible design taste (our  home tour with them proves it) 
@katiehodgesdesign is quintessentially California style with a vintage twist 
@well__received is a dear friend and her style is super minimal and modern (she has an amazing eye for vintage furniture) 
@eyeswoon is the work of my beautiful friend Athena Calderone and everything this woman touches turns to gold whether it’s interiors, food, or fashion
@talirothdesigns who is a fellow Aussie now living in NY and launched her own design studio recently (she also helped me with the design of our  L.A. apartment)


Follow Sacha's Instagram for a peek into the stylish Aussie's L.A. life. 


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