Conversations + Colour: Read & Hall
After years of voraciously following their career trajectory, their collective love for nesting their homes (one a bungalow, the other a converted church - and both INCREDIBLE), and renovating and creating beautiful AirBnbs - we're thrilled to chat with the two sisters behind Read & Hall.
Based in South Australia, Emma and Sarah, have created a cult-like following for their instantly recognisable aesthetic, down-to-earth charm, and a relaxed, yet cultivated approach to life.
Emma and Sarah - please introduce yourselves:
Emma:I live in South Australia, in a small town - Willunga, near my sister who I get to work with everyday. We own two Airbnbs and rent our houses out for photoshoots, we sell vintage furniture via our website. I’m 44.
Sarah: One half of Read & Hall, finally living my passion in terms of career, styling, making beautiful holiday accommodation, and trading vintage wares. All with my sister who lives down the street. I’m 46, and we have two younger siblings who have no interest in this biz at all.
How did Read & Hall come about?
E: As most things in life, Read & Hall came about in a roundabout way over time. Sarah moved to the same town where I lived, we were knocking around a bit more together and our time was rudely interrupted and inconvenienced by having to go to work. Sarah worked as a solicitor for the state government and I was a social worker. Our first holiday accommodation was thriving so we decided to take the plunge, buy another holiday house, leave our jobs and just go for it. When they were up and running we kept getting asked where we bought various vintage pieces so we decided to source and sell them ourselves firstly from our instagram and then from our lovely new website. Read & Hall is really just us being us and will evolve with our own interests.
When did you first fall in love with interiors? As children for sure. Our homes were always creative, we were allowed to play around with our bedrooms, paint colours, bed linen, we were constantly moving furniture around. It was just something that we always did.
Tell us about your AirBnbs? Both My Sister & The Sea and Love & Mutiny are on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. It’s prime holiday territory, road trips, shipwrecks, lighthouses, native bushland and a jaw dropping coastline. My Sister & The Sea is a white weatherboard cottage originally built in Sweden and rehomed in Australia. It has a large outdoor deck and verandah, outdoor bath, French linen, vintage glassware, handmade mugs and 5 minutes drive from the Dhilba Guurranda-Innes National Park. Love & Mutiny is a true 1950s fisherman's shack on the beach in a tiny shack community, we restored it’s original pink paint exterior, kept its beautiful steel rafters and added bohemian colour and celestial touches. The night sky here unimpeded by artificial light all reflected in the ocean is a must-see.
Both of our houses are true shacks, we are trying to preserve the history and feeling of the shacks in this region and feel so satisfied having done so.
Love & Mutiny is very different to My Sister & The Sea. Tell us how that came about: Love & Mutiny IS very different from My Sister & The Sea and deliberately so. We wanted to have fun creatively and make the accommodation we could never find ourselves. It would not have been satisfying for us to repeat the same formula even though we know it works. Each house speaks to us and this one wanted to be feminine and bohemian, and attract artists and creatives. We wanted to play with colour and have a view from every window and just add all the fun that you never generally do in your actual real house.
Where do you find inspiration?
Emma: Nature, inspired by other women taking risks to make their lives better, Instagram, people that don’t follow trends for the sake of it.
Sarah: Images of artists and writers eclectic homes, I’m desperately seeking individuality in the sameness of interiors, fashion, etc. and how people tell their story. Inspired by women talking honestly, bravely, telling the truth of their lives. I do love Pinterest and vintage interiors books.
How do you juggle your multiple roles in life? We don’t really feel like we are juggling and if something can’t get done - it can’t get done and we are ok with that. Sometimes work is so inspiring and we throw ourselves in and want to work non-stop and other times we are very uninspired and so more gets done in other areas. When our kids were much younger, not as much got done and now our lives are more flexible. It's opened up more time for our creativity.
What’s the best vintage piece you’ve ever found?
Emma: My astrology tea tin which I love so much and use everyday. It’s the little vintage things that make daily life so much more pleasurable.
Sarah: I love my bed that I made by combining two Danish single beds I found on Facebook Marketplace, giving it a whole new life.
What’s something you’re super passionate about?
Emma: I’m honestly passionate about understanding myself and the different states of consciousness. This has been fuelled by my many years of struggling with mental health.
Sarah: Making new spaces anyway anytime is the thing I just fucking love, creativity is everything.
What are you looking forward to? EVERYTHING - going to India and Europe, making our homewares, more Airbnbs, speaking more about our process, showing up, championing other women.
Em: The Mukti marigold face cream and the ritual morning oil. I swear by both these things and they are a pleasure to use everyday.
Sar: An ice roller for my face, I love it. Reduces puffiness and I love that blast of cold, so refreshing.
Em: Little Tienda dress which I will have always and dress up or dress down. Also a wide leg pant - I love them.
Sar: Linen clothing, I’m looking for the perfect robe at the moment that I can live in all summer.
Em: Ceremonial grade cacao which I do not shut up about because it makes my life better in every way.
Sar: I’m a toast person, so sourdough in all its forms, plus seeded bread, focaccia, I love different toast for different moods
Em: Spilled Milk because it’s light and we need a bit of lightness these days but I do like to deep dive with Glennon Doyle and her wife Abbey
Sar: Anything that talks about creativity, I just browse and hit go
Song on repeat:
Em: I listen to a huge variety. It does include mantra and chanting but you know the 90s are back and we are reliving our youth. My teenager and I are both waiting for Taylor Swift to come here.
Sar: Hamilton the musical
Em: We both love @oddbirdclothing, two sisters with their hand loomed robes and loungewear, bring it on!
Sar: Erika from @ahistoryofarchitecture,@rudyjudeco for authentic life presented in a non smug way
Day or night? Both sisters - Day
Beach or bush? Both: Beach, we go most days
Coffee or tea? Sar: Tea and cacao.
Weirdest thing in my handbag?
Em: A tiny brass ganesh figurine
Sar: Takeaway chopsticks
Can’t leave home without…
Em: @bushorganics lipbalm.
Sar: my wallet, I still have not connected by bank account to my phone.
Tonight for dinner I’m eating…
Em: Usually curry or salad which my kids complain about a lot.
Sar: Roasted veg with haloumi and added greens.
Last text I sent…
Em: To Sar saying do you need anything at the general store?
Sar: To husband telling him I’d already bought the kindling, we are a bit over the wood fire by late September, still so cold in Adelaide.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
Em: Don’t let anybody tell you how your future is going to go.
Sar: Never give up on yourself.
Favourite Little Tienda piece?
Em: My La Vie Lucille black dress.
Sar: Maribel in Clay, it’s on my list!
In one month we will be…
Hopefully in warm weather, swimming daily, wearing short sleeves and bare feet.
You can follow Em and Sarah via Read & Hall on Instagram here, or their AirBnbs here: My Sister & The Sea and Love & Mutiny.
Em wears the Lucille dress and Sarah wears the Waverley dress. The Apple Melon tablecloth is featured throughout.
Additional photography by Dylan from @apricotskies.photoandfilm