Introducing the Family Love Tree, makers of fun, colourful furniture that will add a unique touch to any nursery or kids bedroom
After designing furniture for her daughter’s bedroom, Katie Graham decided to start her own home-wares business, The Family Love Tree. Committed to producing environmentally sustainable products, The Family Love Tree is a celebration of colour and fun in design, as we discovered when we stepped inside Katie’s new Prahran store.
We were lucky enough to learn more about Katie and The Family Love Tree's story.
How did you start the The Family Love Tree?
I first started The Family Love Tree after I made a bedhead for my daughter. It hadn't been fashionable to use bedheads for a long time, but I went to Indonesia and found a factory to make some for me. That’s when I came up with the idea of a business and so I started selling them. It all just started from there.
Some of the furniture at Family Love Tree is rehashed vintage furniture and some of them – all the recycled timber pieces – are designed by me. I've tried to make our designs look as different as possible because often home-wares and furniture can start to look all the same. We take a few risks – it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but we try to keep our designs colourful and happy and fun, and not do simply what everyone else is doing. We try to go against the trend, but still create beautiful, appealing designs.
What's important to you about design?
Design needs to be practical. You can create a fabulous looking piece, but is it practical to use? Does it suit your home? Does it suit your lifestyle? Is it comfortable? Our bedheads are so easy – you just put them against a wall and push the bed against them. You don't need to buy a special base to go with it; it's an easy thing to use. Most of our pieces are like that. They're not complicated.
The Family Love Tree is also very much about sustainability. That's why we use a lot of rattan, and all our wood is recycled. Rattan plantations are grown sustainably – you're not pulling down forests, because the rattan just grows against the trees. It preserves the forests. It's a really wonderful organic, evolving, sustainable product.
For many of The Family Love Tree pieces, I’ve chosen to go for a vintage look so that they don't date too quickly; I hope that a piece stays in a family for a long time and isn't just some fad that lasts six months. Hopefully the furniture resonates; people might be reminded of their own childhood – of pieces that they had back in the '70s. That's what I like to design, and that's what I'm attracted to in other designs.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by old movies, op-shopping, travel – those sorts of things. I could be watching a scene out of a movie and notice a chair in the background and I get excited. Inspiration pops out from all sorts of places.
A person’s home is very important, and if you're proud of your home it can give you confidence. As you get older your taste matures; it's not necessarily something you're born with. Over time, the experiences you've had in your life can dictate your taste in design.