Crushing On… Kelle Howard

The creator of Bajo el Sol, a stunning living space and photoshoot location in Queensland’s Burleigh Heads.

I spoke to Kelle about all things interior design, and how she runs her business alongside balancing solo parenting.

How did Bajo el Sol come about?

Initially, I was looking for a house to renovate in a coastal luxe style, but I couldn’t find anything that matched my requirements. I decided to build my own place instead. 

I always knew I wanted to use the house as a photoshoot location, and I love the idea of different creatives using the space too!

I am inspired by European architecture — I love the rawness of the buildings, the tactile rendered walls and minimal decor. I also love spaces from Mexico and Palm Springs.

How did you get into interior design?

After the birth of my first child, I knew that I wanted to change careers. I had always been passionate about renovating and interiors so I decided to study a Diploma in Interior Design. Whilst I was studying, I interned for Adore Magazine and also started a successful design blog called Habitat + Beyond which is also my business name.

What was the building and design process like?

Thankfully very smooth! I spent about a year before meeting my builder deciding on a lot of the features I wanted, and I designed Bajo el Sol to showcase my aesthetic as a designer so it helped to be so clear on the overall vision before I found my team. 

Communication is paramount and I think you can really tell a lot about the possible working relationship if the builder is listening and hears your vision during your initial meetings. 

I made sure that I hired a team that communicated well and understood what I wanted to achieve. I think the key factor was everyone being super organised which helped keep the build on track and stress-free!

You’re a mum to two beautiful children. How do you balance running your own business and solo parenting?

Some days it is a juggle, especially the days that I also have shoots booked in at the house. That being said, I really enjoy the variety that I have in my business now, so it makes it more worthwhile.

They are also with their Dad half of the time, so I get some space to concentrate on work or on myself.

Do you have any advice for young women who want to follow a similar business path to yours? 

First and foremost, remember that most career paths aren’t linear. There will often be a lot of shifting and pivoting along the way! 

One exercise I did was to brainstorm how I wanted my life to feel  — I use the guiding words ‘free, alive, connected’ to make decisions along the way and decide which projects I want to work on. I also got really clear on the types of people I wanted to work with. I think that is so powerful and allows you to manifest the life and career you want!

I am so blessed to be able to create my own home to truly showcase my aesthetic as an interior designer. As a designer, there are always many ways that you can create a space, but I feel so blessed to be able to wake up every day knowing how much of my heart and soul went into creating Bajo el Sol and how much it has inspired people to create a beautiful space of their own.

Check out Kelle’s website here. If you’re interested in Bajo el Sol, have a look at their stunning Instagram here!

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