Blog - Carla Coulson
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claire lloyd, carla coulson, my greek island home, white interior, nurturing spaces, lesvos Dear Friends,

What a joy it is to introduce the first in a series of interviews titled Magic is in the Doing  with women who have followed their passion to make it an essential part of their life. I have a strong belief when you are passionate about something and take baby steps towards it each day with inspired action you eventually create magic!!

And that is exactly what Claire Lloyd has done. Claire  is a dear friend of mine and her passion for interiors has been with her since she was a little girl. She found a way to incorporate her love for interiors whilst working as an art director in magazines in London by slowly buying one property at a time,  feeding this love of beauty and creativity whilst creating a nurturing space.

Her passion for interiors kept calling her and over the years she has created beautiful apartments and homes in London, Greece and Sydney whilst still working at her ‘day job’.

I’m so honoured to have Claire share her story about how she wove this love of beauty into her life.

  1. How did your love for interiors start? 

As a young child I remember laying in bed at my grandmother’s home, looking up at the ceiling and being in awe of the beauty of the ornate cornicing and ceiling rose. I was extremely aware of the morning light and how it revealed interesting details. I would often imagine turning this image upside down in my head so the ceiling became the floor. I would step over the doorway as if it was not an obstacle and imagine different rooms. I was led by my imagination and furnish each room simply in my head. I would find peace and calmness in what I created. Perhaps this was the start for me.

  1. Did you have someone or something that inspired you to buy your first apartment and renovate it? 

The first apartment I bought was in London on the New Kings Road. I had been living in London a few years and was working for The World of Interiors magazine, a dream job and one that truly inspired me on many levels. The flat was very small but completely perfect for my life at that time.

When I first arrived in London a friend had lent me her flat until I got on my feet. I went on to rent the flat and then when I could see I was not returning to Australia I bought it from her. It was a gift having a place to make my very own. My new found freedom in London was my inspiration and the many influences of my job led me to making it a beautiful space.

Not long after that, on a trip to Sydney I decided to buy a small apartment, a little place to retreat to on my yearly visits. My sister Monica was instrumental in my purchase as she took me to view the small apartment a few days before my return to London. On entering the property, I knew it had to be mine.

The decor didn’t interest me it was the light and feeling of the space that grabbed my imagination. There was one other factor too. When I was a child we would visit my grandparents regularly. I must have been no more than 6 years of age and each time we would drive up into Wylde Street in Potts Point this newly created building would catch my eye, I was fascinated by it.  It was a new building and very different to the others that surrounded it, it had something special about it and I wanted to live there. So you can imagine my surprise when this was the building my sister took me to. This was to be my first flat in Australia. I quickly set about making a space I would love.

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Photo copyright Martyn Thompson 


Photo copyright Martyn Thompson 

  1. I love that you continued to work as an art director and indulged your passion for interiors at the same time. What was the benefit of this and how did it support your creativity?

I really don’t think one thing defines your creativity. I am a great believer in the bigger picture. It is your picture and you can paint it in any way that suits you. For me everything I do is visual, it’s my language. I don’t feel there are boundaries it’s just a natural flow and the more you flow the more you create. All areas of creativity support one another in some way and add another layer to each other.

  1. Creating an interior for yourself I imagine is a vastly different process to doing it for someone one else. What has been some of the joys of creating your nurturing spaces in London, Greece and Sydney and how do you adapt your style? 

I have a very definite vision when it comes to my nurturing spaces, simple but clear. I experience a huge amount of joy finding a space I love and breathing fresh energy into them. My style is constant no matter where I am. I use the building, the form and the environment as a guide. I like the space to have an authentic,  to create a tranquil light filled home that gives enjoyment and pleasure. I love a blank canvas and making something cosy, understated and beautiful. Simply … I LOVE beauty and making anything look beautiful.

In Greece the look is much more rustic. We live in an authentic Greek village so I felt the house needed to reflect that authenticity. Matthew my partner, an artist, is great at finding old pieces of furniture and other bits and pieces. He can sniff out all sorts of things and because he is extremely creative he can turn his hand to anything even restoration. Matthew builds furniture for us. He built our bed based the design on the traditional Greek daybed. He white washed it and its fabulous.

White is always my colour of choice, however here on the island I have introduced turquoise for doors and shutters. It looks fantastic against the white and pings when hit by the Greek sunlight. The inspiration for this colour came from the house itself. When we bought the house it was as full with the previous owner’s belongings, some of which Matthew restored so they could be incorporated into the new simpler look. The whole process was fun.

In London the space is less eclectic than Greece and much more minimal. The apartment is large and spread over 3 floors.  Living in London I felt the need for light and clarity was essential. The building is late Georgian so the ceilings are high, there are original fireplaces and there are lovely cornicing details. I wanted to keep the large spaces simple using art and natural fabrics and layering textures to cosy it up.

Sydney is a small apartment with fabulous views and beautiful natural light. Being located in a city the importance again was to create simplicity and serenity. I used Australian cherry wood for the kitchen and all the cupboards, it sits really well with white. To emphasise the dazzling light, because nothing is ever too bright for me, I had a white, high gloss dance floor laid. It really did the trick,  sometimes you almost need to reach for your sunglasses.

Claire lloyd, bresic whitney, white, nurturing spaces, interior sydney, potts point, interior stylist,

Photo Copyright Bresic Whitney


Photo Copyright Bresic Whitney


Photo Copyright Bresic Whitney

  1. You are a renaissance woman and are the author of Sensual Living, photographed and wrote My Greek Island Home, I believe all of us are creative, what would you say to someone who wants to try more than one creative art or blend them like you have?

Just do it! Listen to yourself and what you want to do and what makes you feel happy and alive and focus on that. Also give yourself space to create and let it flow naturally.

  1. In what ways have you always said YES to yourself? 

I like to think YES is a word I use often. YES, has taken me far, sometimes it’s been scary but I have never regretted saying it.

It took me to London led me to taking on jobs I felt were far beyond my ability. It took me to Greece to experience a new life which taught me so very much about living authentically.  I really hope there will be a mountain of YES’S ahead of me and I never stop saying YES.

Huge thanks to Claire for sharing her beautiful story, eye and passion for creating spaces. You can follow Claire on Instagram HERE

Light and love

Carla x

PS: One of Claire’s beautiful properties is on the market in Potts Point Sydney via Bresic and Whitney and you can find more out HERE


Belief Beginners’ Photography Workshop in Puglia, Italy

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It’s all razzle-dazzle here today as we are releasing for the first time ever BELIEF, a BEGINNER’S PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP in Puglia Italy, where we inspire and guide you through the basic elements of photography, taking you from ZERO TO HERO in  5 exciting days. We have organised a veritable ‘buffet’ of the best of Puglia including visits to Martina Franca, Oria, Bari and a once in a lifetime styled portrait shoot in Masseria Potenti to inspire you to create the best images possible.

I believe everyone is creative if you give yourself the time and my wish for you on this workshop is that you will walk away with a feeling of confidence and excitement about your photography and the BELIEF in yourself that you are a creative soul and always have been and know that photography and creativity can change and inspire the rest of your life (this is the bit where we need Aretha Franklin and her back-up singers).

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Imagine becoming really, really good at something that could start you on a new path and open your life to exciting creative possibilities, friendships, personal discovery, connection, a whole lot of fun and a greater connection to YOU.

After the wonderful Heartland Environmental Workshop in October 2018 at the exquisite Masseria Potenti, workshop co-ordinator Athalee Brown and I have the greatest pleasure in presenting another unique workshop in this heavenly location in Puglia, Italy.

Many people have asked me throughout the years to create a safe, fun environment to learn manual photography and that is exactly what we have done. Master Photographer Loc Boyle and myself will teach you the basics of composition, ISO, shutter speed and creating a great exposure so that you can start to bring your creative vision to the images you have always dreamed of creating. We will show you how to use light to create mood and emotion in your images and to take your photography to the next level. Then we’ll let you loose on the most beautiful streets of Martina Franca and Oria and let you test your skills on a very special styled portrait shoot in Masseria Potenti. As the grand finale, we’ll finish our workshop in the historical centre of Bari, photographing the ladies who make pasta and the daily street life.

bari doubles 2

We will take you from zero photography skills to feeling confident using your camera on manual and that feeling of achievement and excitement when you learn something new.

There will be classroom lessons each day in the gorgeous Masseria Potenti as we slowly build your skills, knowledge and love for photography and hands-on lessons. You will practice your newfound skills and creativity each day and learn to use light to create images of people, markets, and local architecture and culture.

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There will be daily critiquing of your images and we are confident you will walk away from this workshop taking fabulous photos with a skip in your step for YOUR newfound skills, creativity, for what YOU have achieved, and the photographic adventure you have been on and the experiences you have lived. Not to mention, the fabulous new tribe of creative pals you will count as friends.

All of this will be taught in a place close to heaven, the beautiful Masseria Potenti. A place that will nurture and inspire the soul and serve as the perfect backdrop to start mastering THE BASICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY, have BELIEF in your creativity, know how to use light and space, made easier in a supportive environment where you can push and challenge yourself to take those photos you dream of taking.


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Medieval Maiden – Private Portrait Shoot



I had the utmost joy to photograph the beautiful Erica in this recent Paris Film Noir shoot.

Now I love a challenge as much as anyone and this beautiful gal studied medieval tapestry and wanted to use the medieval as a creative starting point for her shoot.

To be quite honest, medieval Paris is not exactly my forté but what a great opportunity to get to know and to be inspired by a new world, idea, and her individual story.

And what a dream it was to photograph the beautiful, joyous, creative energy of this girl that was was made for the camera.

We went through the gamut from Game of Thrones to the ultimate Parisian girl and no matter what she did she was fabulous.















I skipped home that day, so very happy with the world, the chance to express a little more of what is bubbling up creatively inside of me and to have had one of the most divine mornings in Paris with my crew and Erica.

Huge thanks to Erica for allowing me to share these photos…

Light and love,


P.S. If you would like to be captured in a Paris Film Noir shoot and express your creative muse, you can check the details HERE.

Related Post: Paris Film Noir – Sneak Peek

Five Ways To Get More Creative With Your Photography


black and white photography, portrait workshop, carla coulson, paris portrait, creative portraiture, creative photography, paris photographer,  maiden, games of thrones, medieval princess, wood nymphDear Photographers,

I hope you are having a beautiful week. Spring is in the air in Paris and with Spring comes a whole new beautiful energy of renewal, hope and joy. I love Spring!!

I had the greatest joy on the weekend to photograph this beautiful gal in the last moments of Paris’s winter and really tap into a dream like world. It was a true collaboration between the beautiful Erica, my team and I, so looking forward to showing you more photos from this shoot.

As I was preparing for the shoot, I asked myself ‘how far do you want to go creatively’?. It got me thinking about how you can become more creative with your photography and these are some of the techniques I have used over the years to keep pushing my butt out of my comfort zone.

Here’s a little inspiration to get your creative juices flowing:

  1. Grant yourself permission

Now this one is going to seem like an obvious one but it’s the thing we struggle with the most. Giving ourselves the ‘green flag’ to push our creativity further than what ‘we think others want’ is the thing that holds most of us back. Yes, folks when we constantly create from a place of pleasing others, we aren’t digging into our biggest creative selves. When you are looking to what others do and that becomes your benchmark, you have it all wrong. Make YOU,  your benchmark.  Let your inner dreams, visions and wonderment out! Unleash your emotions into your photos. Go one, give yourself permission!!

  1. Values & Life Experiences

So many of us have deep rooted values we live by or have had big life experiences that have impacted us personally in a profound way. Ask yourself how could you bring what matters to you, into your work or your vision as a photographer? What stories are important to you? What values are important to you? What life experiences have profoundly changed your life? And take a courageous step forward, it could be creating a series of photos around strong women that inspire you, bring an element of your personal style into your work or ask yourself how YOU would express ‘honesty’ if it is one of your values?

  1. Enjoyment

This old chestnut. Imagine if you could actually take photos of things that brought you joy!!! This is exactly what I did when I granted myself permission to go to the beach. I knew I wasn’t changing the course of history with my beach photos but quite frankly I didn’t give a hoot. Instead  I allowed champagne bubbles of joy to jump up and down in my blood about going to my favourite beaches and taking photos of them. End of story. Had fun, got excited, got really happy and other people loved them. Win, win.

  1. Let your voice out

For so long so many of us have kept our voices quiet. Imagine if your inner dialogue ended up on paper in the form of a photo!! Wooooo what would you like to say? Would it be a story of joy, love, romance, heartbreak, fear, courage or something else? I found this a lovely way to tell a story when I created the Young Girl in Bloom series. I brought a story of my teenage years to a photographic project and let it all entwine in its own natural organic way.

  1. Fail forward

Make mistakes!! That’s where the learning and the beauty is. By allowing yourself to play, experiment and make mistakes, you might just find the secret to your soul or a technique you never knew was possible and you really, really love. I decided on the weekend to put a scarf over my lens to see what would happen. Stop playing it safe!!

Yes folks, safe keeps you where you are today and as creatives, we need to keep moving, to evolve, move on and doing the same things over and over again means we mostly stay in the same place. Let go of perfectionism and embrace playing.

So, my lovely photographers, I hope this gives you a little inspiration for your week to bring more of YOU and YOUR INNER WORLD into photography.

Wishing you a spectacular week.

Love and light,

Carla x

P.S. A huge thanks to the beautiful Erica for allowing me to share these images.


Related Post: My Photography ‘Gap’ Year That Became My Calling

My Photography ‘Gap’ Year That Became My Calling

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Left: Palermo; Right: Ballero market, Palermo | Copyright Carla Coulson


Dear Creative Souls,

I am having the best time with a great bunch of women who are saying Yes to themselves in my Yes, Yes, Yes – The Year You Say Yes To Yourself online course.

There are all sorts of marvellous souls bringing what is important to them into their life and it is such a joy to see these different things come to life.

One of the gorgeous ladies coined this phrase for her year of creativity and travel, she calls it her ‘Gap Year’. I loved it instantly, the name often used for teenagers having a break from studies to go out and experience life, let their hair down and have fun. Who says it’s only for teenagers?

Photography workshop Italy, black and white photography, life photography, reportage photography, Carla Coulson, fashion photography, vespa, ischia, Palermo, markets Italy, portrait workshop, portrait workshop Italy, Paris photographer, Florence

Procession Ischia | Copyright Carla Coulson

I remembered back to my ‘Gap Year’ back in 2000 (although I didn’t call it at the time) that led me to Florence and photography and I thought of all the amazing sensations that year brought me.

Finally, time, peace and ease in my life with a giant dose of adventure, friendship, curiosity, travel, the search for knowledge and feeling of being inspired by every day.

This Gap Year led me to photography and whilst doing a little de-cluttering the other day I opened one of my boxes of photos I printed in my first year of photography school in Florence and it felt like a treasure trove of memories.

I hardly knew what I was doing but I can see the excitement, wonder, joy of travel and trying to capture what I saw on those old prints. Often I ‘failed’ at what I was trying to achieve, going out with a friend at night onto the streets of Florence and trying something a little Helmut Newton-like yet not managing to get the picture in focus or having the shutter speed on the right setting (is there one?) and getting a little too much blur.

But it was these failures that taught me the most about photography, myself and often what I liked! It was this willingness to play, to try, to experiment that brought so much fun, joy and creativity. Some of my failures led me to my style and vision that I still see cropping up in my photos today.

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Left: Jill on the streets of Florence; Right: Jessica in Popi’s bathroom | Copyright Carla Coulson

Photography coaxed me to get on a 24-hour train to Palermo and fossick around a market on my own, it led me to a religious procession on Ischia and walking the streets trying to capture the rich street life.

The photographs I took of my flat-mates in Popi’s bathroom would one day lead me to shoot for Collezioni and Harper’s Bazaar, the shots of markets all over Italy to shooting for Gourmet Traveller and Vogue Entertaining and Living.

Photography is my calling, I do it every day even if it is with an I-phone I am looking, feeling and seeing life in the moment.

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Left: Vespa, Naples; Right: Boulder Kalgoorlie Australia | Copyright Carla Coulson

I really enjoyed this podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert the other day and I think you might too, it’s about the difference between a hobby, job, career and vocation.

So many people think if you love something you ‘have’ to make money from it but I agree wholeheartedly with Liz Gilbert, if you love something as much as I love photography just doing it is your greatest pleasure.

My Gap Year where it was just my camera and me, was one of the greatest years of my life, it was my best friend, my travelling partner, my teacher and my source of joy and inspiration. Some friends you don’t need to make money from!!!

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Collezioni | Copyright Carla Coulson

May we all grant ourselves a Gap Year one day in our lives or at least give yourself permission to do something creative you love for the pure pleasure of it – no pressure, no outcomes just joy.

Love and light,


P.S. You can join the list for Yes, Yes, Yes next year HERE.