For Christie Maartensz, work is a chance to indulge her interiors addiction. She gets bored easily, which can be an expensive habit when it comes to redecorating your home. Luckily, as head of homewares at Freedom, Maartensz gets to not only change up her abode whenever she fancies, she also influences the interiors and lifestyles of all of us.
Marie Claire: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Christie Maartensz: I adore the versatility of my role—it satisfies my creativity and passion for business. I am always looking at new opportunities and challenges and love problem solving. The adrenaline rush of every day being completely different, working at a fast tempo and the reward of seeing conceptual ideas come to fruition on the shelves and in people’s homes [are a thrill].
I love negotiating, trading with our international partners, making a deal happen, creating a tangible product and of course developing the next generation of talent.
MC: Is there a style mantra you embrace?
CM: I like to collaborate and blend cultures from the past with new, contemporary pieces. I love products that are versatile and allow me to move them from room to room—giving them new life. I also believe your style and the products you choose need to resonate and bring you happiness, whether it’s from a past memory or inspiring you for the future.
MC: Who are your top five style muses?
CM: I fell in love with Philippe Starck when I was 17 and staying at the Royalton hotel in New York [Starck designed its lobby in the 1980s]. Sibella Court seamlessly translates from residential to commercial projects but always makes you feel like you’re at home.
I also love Megan Morton’s exotic textiles from global markets. Vincenzo De Cotiis is always on my radar for his interesting use of directional stonework and the simplicity of his forms. And finally Missoni for their classic eclectic patterns and colours that always work.
Nesst coffee table, $1299 from Freedom.
MC: Where do you look for inspiration?
CM: Travelling really inspires me; all my senses come alive. I can draw inspiration from the most obscure places: billboards in metro stations, hardware on handbags and shoes, and fabrics, materials and colours in fashion.
A few years ago, I was at a bistro in Paris [while in the city for trade fair Maison & Objet] and fell in love with the texture on a cocktail napkin. This led to a new weave we developed as part of a cushion collection.
MC: What is your favourite piece of furniture right now?
CM: My Freedom Nesst coffee table [pictured above]. I love the workmanship—it takes two strong people to assemble by hand—and the blend of timber with marble. I always get compliments. It’s so timeless!
MC: One colour you can never get enough of?
CM: Green: it’s all about new beginnings. It’s funny because green in interiors used to be such a taboo, [seen as] really difficult to decorate with, and was always the lowest-selling colour. Now it’s everywhere. We have really welcomed this colour into our homes. It’s so nurturing and works so well with neutrals.
MC: Flowers or foliage for decor?
CM: I used to be a fresh flower girl, then during lockdown I started experimenting with modern artificial stems that look like real succulents and flowers, with a real-touch feel. They are minimal maintenance and last longer.
MC: Your secret to succeeding as a woman in business?
CM: Always have fierce focus, determination, ambition and drive. Know what you want and go after it. Nothing good gets handed to you on a silver platter but success tastes so much better when you have worked for it.
Always be authentic and true, as your integrity is your brand. And always follow your gut.
HARROWE Fabric Armchair, $2499 from Freedom.
MC: Your dream overseas holiday destination?
CM: We have booked Puglia [in southern Italy] twice now but unfortunately had to cancel, so hopefully it’s third time lucky! I ticked Türkiye off my bucket list last September with Freedom, as we are developing quite a lot of products [there], such as rugs, towels, bed linen, ceramics and cushions.
MC: No home is complete without…
CM: Rugs. [Have] one in every room—even the kitchen. Cushions add so much character and warmth and can move from room to room. And finally, photos of loved ones and places you have travelled to.
MC: What have you learnt about interior style in your time at Freedom?
CM: Always buy your larger core pieces well. They need to be something with elasticity for your unique, growing lifestyle. Then, change your soft accessories and hard decor as often as you can. I keep layering my rooms over time. I’ve also found that using tonal shades of the same colour is beautiful when seeking to add depth and sophistication. We’re now doing more of this at Freedom.
CHIAPPO Table Lamp, $246 from Freedom.