When the name Yolande Kjestrup was mentioned by a couple of different people recently, Dael and I decided to track her down. We styled the home of artist, Rae West, for a photo shoot (see page 50 of the August issue of Your Home & Garden), and her amazing Mexican-inspired outdoor room was designed by Yolande. We then visited the home of new clients and when we commented on their lovely backyard, they too had used Yo.
In our job, we often work on exterior colour schemes as well as outdoor rooms, decks etc, so we'd been looking for a garden designer that we could work side by side with. We really love Yo's work and are excited about working with her on future projects - for our clients, and also for our new office and showroom.
Yo Designs is the name of her business, and under that banner comes The Green Room (garden consultation & design), and The Dressmaker's Wardrobe (vintage inspired fashion). "I never grew out of playing with dolls," says Yo. "I have three life size dolls I love to dress". She's talking about her three grown-up daughters who live in Auckland and Wellington - Hannah, 29, Romany, 24, and Brynne, 21.
The Green Room (website to come) is a garden design service based on sustainable principles. It's very important to Yo that she creates environmentally friendly gardens, and that she is able to educate people. "It's all about soil and water quality, and reducing plastic waste," she says. Yo can visit you for a consultation and provide you with her ideas along with the names of the plants she recommends, or you can take it further for a complete garden design. Her designs are like a work of art and all carefully hand-drawn.
I asked Yo a few questions so we could get to know her better...
What do you love most about your space - your work room?
Having the room to have several projects on the go at once. It's my multi-purpose creative space. I can set up a garden plan on the drawing board and think about it while constructing a garment at the table. What with the light, view of the garden from the window, music playing, I can stay there for hours.
What is your favourite time of day?
Early morning. I'm an early riser. I'm at my most productive first thing. I like to start work when it's still dark, check out what I've drawn the night before, see if I still like it, watch the morning come, walk the dog.
What are you reading at the moment?
I'm reading "Beautiful Me" by a local author Natasha Jennings.
What inspires you?
I believe you can't create in a vacuum. I like to get out and about to find inspiration. You can find it in the most surprising and everyday'ish' places.
Sweet or savoury?
Free range and ethically sourced.
That first early morning coffee!
Favourite item you own?
My photograph of the three girls. It was taken one Christmas by their father, Phil Tasker-Poland, who is a photographer and videographer. I love the joy and the movement.
Top of your wish list?
To turn the garden shed into a 'green' studio to showcase my designs.
Yo is weaving her magic on some living creations for our Bibby + Brady showroom, so you'll be able to pop in and see them soon. If you don't live locally I will be sure to post photos, and keep an eye out for her new website also.
Thank you to Florence Charvin for her fantastic photography skills.
I'll leave you with some more words from Yo...
"Green is not something you can buy. Green is a way of life. Treasure everything. Think permaculturally. Live sustainably in all ways. Make it, grow it, build it. Do all you can with what you have".