Style is never far from Neale Whitaker’s side. From his beginnings as a fashion publicist in the UK, Neale has shaped a twenty year career in magazine publishing that spans continents and now sits firmly in Sydney, Australia and the worlds of food and design. In addition to an impeccable sense of personal style, Neale carries the dual role of editor-in-chief of Belle (an Australian interiors magazine) and associate publisher of ACP Magazines’ home and food titles. He spoke to us about his home office space and other obsessions.
How would you describe your home and how long have you lived there? I live with my partner David, who is a stylist and our three dogs – Otis and Oliver are Weimaraners, and Avard is an elderly Italian greyhound. We have lived in our house for almost five years. It’s a renovated late-Victorian terrace in Surry Hills, a vibrant inner-city suburb of Sydney.
Where is your home office? How would you describe the aesthetic? At the very top of the house – as far away as possible from mischievous, barking dogs. My aesthetic? Confused. The home office is a work in progress. It’s a small space so it has to be kept ruthlessly tidy.
How much time do you spend in your home office? What kind of work do you find yourself doing there? It depends on the changing demands of my life. I work full-time at the moment, so I try to keep home-office time to a minimum. It’s mostly emails – particularly to friends and family overseas – but I seem to spend far too long paying bills and generally keeping house. I’m an iTunes obsessive and I love searching for music that I have no intention of buying. I tend to research any articles I’m writing at home and I wrote my one and only book (The Accidental Foodie, Murdoch Books) there.
Does anyone else use your home office? Yes – David uses it in much the same way I do.
What item from your desktop can you not do without? Large paperclips, the biggest size. Small ones drive me nuts. Do you sense an obsessive nature?
What is your favourite piece of furniture? In the office it would be the Thomas Jacobsen desk. Elsewhere in our house it’s the bright orange Thonet dining chairs.
You’re exposed to such amazing design through your role on Belle. Is there a piece of furniture that you covet? Not as many as you might think. In my job I see many beautiful and desirable things, but the quantity diminishes the appeal. That said, I could happily share my life with the limited-edition Egg chair in chocolate brown leather.
What inspires you? Knowledge gained from past experience and the opportunity and unpredictability of the future.
Photograph by Steve Baccon, courtesy of Belle Magazine