Sprezzatura Spotlight: Michelle Leslie
Each month, we speak with some of the country’s leading experts in style, art and design on all things Sprezzatura.
At Espresso di Manfredi we are inspired to partner with skilled artisans and crafts people, producers and personnel who share our core brand values and display that certain sense of Sprezzatura, and who may assist us in our constant endeavour to deliver a unique and finesse customer experience.
Michelle Leslie is the proud interior designer of Manfredi’s latest project, Pretty Beach House. After a career in modelling, Leslie embraced a new calling in interior design, leading the restoration of the Pretty Beach property. Together with a carefully selected team of craftsmen and highly skilled artisans, Leslie has created an extraordinary property that reflects the relaxed and charming nature of the local environment.
1. How did you develop your passion for interior design?
I have had the opportunity to work with really creative and inspiring people since I was 17. I have worked internationally around fashion, design and in events for 15 years. My travels have also influenced me, being drawn to the timeless nature and permanence of interior design.
2. Where do you look for inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere. The smallest little brass detail can spark a thread of creative thought & can then developed into an entire interior concept . It’s almost always detailing that inspires me , galleries, culture and film.
3. How would you describe your personal design aesthetic?
Tactile and layered because I always like to use a combination of new, found, antiques & vintage elements. Its important that our interiors tell a story , which is why we like to use pieces that have their own history -‐ classic and timeless.
4. What is your favourite element of the Pretty Beach House property?
It would have to be the history and geographical location. There is incredible beauty and natural light at the site and it pays tribute to its Aboriginal heritage.
We sourced decommissioned bridge, built by hand in 1893, which originally supported the railway from Theebine to Kingaroy in Brisbane. We used this as a structural element and tie throughout the new interior. The posts, their shape, hand tooled and 100+ years of patina ,gives a truly unique element to the property.
5. What was your driving inspiration behind Pretty Beach House?
It was important for Pretty Beach House to both reflect and support its local environment with inspiration pulled from the seven and a half acre promontory of the Bouddi National Park and Broken Bay.
I wanted the property to feel quintessentially Australian where possible, have many of the interiors handcrafted, yet maintain an intimate luxurious experience for a 5 star guesthouse.
6. Who epitomises sprezzatura for you?
The many artisans and craftsmen who worked with us on Pretty Beach House.
The Italian linen house Busatti supplied the exquisite beddings and table linens, an 8th generation family who work with looms that are 450 years old; Artisan potter Leno Alvarez of Hill End supplied the beautiful pottery dishes and plates mixed with the white French porcelain Limoges dinnerware from Bernardaud; this is to name a few…. We worked with many more!
Stefano Manfredi and Julie Manfredi Hughes are also such incredible people to work with and possess an incredible nonchalance to their craft and dedication to their skill.