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  • Writer's pictureSheree Hoddinett

Rhondda Devin: A De-sign of the Times

Rhondda Devin certainly has a flair for putting the right colours and textures together. As the interior designer for Seasons Living, Rhondda is the face (and hands) behind all the fixtures, fittings and splashes of colour you see in and around their retirement communities.

You may not be familiar with the name Rhondda Devin, but there’s a pretty good chance you may have seen her work. Rhondda is the interior designer for Seasons Living and is the brains behind all the colour, décor, bricks, render and more, that you see when you make your way around one of their retirement communities. Rhondda knows a thing or two about tiles, the best colours to match in a room and despite being in the industry for more than 30 years, still shows a passion and flair that seems to come naturally.

“There have been times where I’ve spent months searching for just the right fabric and the same with carpet. You just keep looking until you find it.”

Believe it or not, Rhondda used to be an accountant. Her path into the world of interior design started when she was decorating houses for her own benefit and after requests from others, she decided to take the journey even further.

“People kept asking me if I’d help them with their houses, which is a great compliment to what I could do but I didn’t feel right helping them without the proper qualifications,” she says. “I decided to go and study architecture interior design. But, I dropped the architecture after about a year because I'm not good at the drawing side of things, but I was doing really well in other aspects of the course.

“So I decided to go to the interior side and leave architecture to the architects that can draw better than I did. Because back then, we're talking 35 years ago, it was sort of freehand drawing and you had to be pretty good at it. I made interior design my focus, gave up accounting and started up my own business.”

It was while she was undertaking work for a Chinese developer that Rhondda met Philip Usher, the man behind Seasons. When Philip started his own business, Rhondda joined him and she’s now been working with him for 30 years.

“Philip is a great guy to work with because for the most part, I get to do what I want,” Rhondda says with a laugh. “He draws up the building and then I have input with how things will look both inside and outside. If Philip decides to build it in brick or use render and I come along and mark the placement of a brick or where render should be used. It may not sound exciting to some, but I really enjoy it.”

Interior design certainly involves a lot more than most people realise. For Rhondda, her role with Seasons Living even involves letter boxes, choosing where the gardens go and even working out where plumbing and lights should be placed. Everything you see in the building comes from what Rhondda has chosen. So, where does she get her inspiration from?

“Sometimes it’s on the hop,” she says. “What I actually look for first is the floor coverings. I used to look for tiles, but now it's all coverings and fabric. And so the inspiration comes from the fabrics, of floor coverings that suit those fabrics.

“There have been times where I’ve spent months searching for just the right fabric and the same with carpet. You just keep looking until you find it.”

Rhondda admits that there’s often a lot of different ideas ticking over in her brain and it’s difficult to turn off. But it’s her connection to her work that allows her to walk into any Seasons she’s worked in the last 20 years and know if something is missing or out of place. Working in the same industry for so long, also means Rhondda has had to adapt to many changes along the way.

“The biggest change would have to be technology,” she says. “And I’m still not very good at it. I’m a bit old fashioned where I don’t even have emails on my phone.

“But I remember long before we had computers to do the work on and we used to do everything by fax machine. Technology today is definitely advantageous in getting everything done and submitted a lot quicker, it certainly makes life a little easier. Could you imagine trying to write out all the plumbing and lighting specifics for a high rise building down the Gold Coast, it would take forever!”

One of Rhondda’s favourite projects to date is the second stage of Seasons at Mango Hill along with some apartment building projects sticking in her mind. There has been plenty of design success mixed with a few failures, including incorrect roofing colours and tile installation which went horribly wrong. But Rhondda appears to take it all in her stride, even if she hides the stress.

“Nobody is perfect,” she says. “When you’re doing interior design work for other people, you actually have to think about them and how they’re going to live because what you give them may not represent what you like.

“I like a very modern, minimalist style. I’m the type of person who has nothing sitting on my benchtop. We’re all here to work for our client and it’s about what the client wants.”

Although Rhondda has been working in interior design now for more than 30 years, she’s not quite ready to hang up the fabric samples and colour swabs just yet.

“I’m definitely not getting any younger though,” she says. “But I think I’ve still got a few years of design left in me yet.”


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