She’s been called New Zealand’s ‘encyclopaedia of design’, and working with a leading supplier of world-class furniture, Matisse, means Caroline Montague is a wealth of knowledge and style. We took the chance over lockdown to quiz her on her current inspirations and frequent fascinations.
My personal style can be defined as: Ironic Havelock North.
The last thing I bought and loved was: The austerely plain Lemaire low heels from La Garçonne.
An unforgettable place I visited was: The giant Sequoia forests in Northern California (currently a fire hazard).
The next place I’d like to go to: Anywhere with snow.
An object I would never part with is: My Andy Warhol silver Elvis Cowboy vase.
On my wish list is: An industrial/hospital-style bathroom.
When I was younger, I wanted to be: A cartoonist.
I am inspired by: Youtube declutterers.
My favourite app is: RNZ for the Concert Programme.
My guilty pleasure is: You can’t have too many furniture books.
My secret talent is: A well-placed backhand.
My favourite cultural/style icon is: Andrée Putman (French interior and product designer).
The best book I’ve read in the last year is: Tom Stoppard: A Life by Hermione Lee.
I can’t miss an episode of: University Challenge, UK Version — Work that cardigan!
In my fridge you’ll always find: S.Pellegrino and not much else.
I recently discovered: I am more likely to show up for a personal trainer.
My favourite website is: 1stdibs.
If price were not an issue, the one artist whose work I would collect is: Jacques Henri Lartigue.
The last meal out I had that truly impressed me was: Amano — Lamb shoulder with roast potatoes, then rice pudding — an actual proper dinner.
The podcasts I listen to are: Matt Bradshaw’s Coffee Break Tennis.
The best gift I ever received was: Either a hardback set of Proust with the original Enid Marx covers or my apartment.
The latest music I’m loving is: I love Baroque Opera, especially Rameau and Handel — those very weird, avant-garde French and German productions add another layer.
I’m obsessed with the work of: Konstantin Grcic (German industrial designer).
My favourite piece of his work is: Table B Concrete for BD Barcelona.
The one thing people should invest their money in when it comes to furniture is: What they absolutely love and cannot live without. I recommend always buying authentic, original furniture that can be used for a lifetime then handed on. Matisse, of course, has a superb selection of both classic and contemporary designs to meet your requirements.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is: Comfort is a visual thing.