You should meet Jackie Dunstone. Her Dad was a Dutch immigrant who served in the Canadian and Dutch armies as a photographer in Indonesia. He was forced to flee to Fremantle and then to Bondi after landing in hot water for selling photos to the CIA. He eventually met Jackie’s Mum who was working as a journalist in Forbes, NSW and they settled in our nation’s capital (Canberra for those readers outside the territory). Jackie spent her early years hanging out soaking up the Marimekko textiles and modernist timber furniture at interior design store "Studio 12” in Manuka, owned by Heather ‘Nikki’ Paral (Jackie’s Godmother). That’s the short version. It’s a rich story that undoubtedly set the scene for Jackie’s adventures as a multidisciplinary artist, entrepreneur and creative do’er.
One of the standout features in all Jackie’s cabins and apartments is the warmth and nostalgia created by her expert application of recycled timbers. Every room tells a story that is often built around a single unique piece salvaged and re-purposed as something entirely different - like ornaments from fly fishing equipment and vintage bookshelves of turpentine timber from an old bridge that surround a circular staircase.
"I love the rustic finish possible with recycled timbers,” says Jackie. “But for Nanook, it’s also about creating that nostalgia both of a time gone by and in memory of the timbers. I walk into a new room and I can immediately start to see how I want it to come to life – starting with removing original interiors that had no soul or warmth. I’ll wait for one piece to inspire the overall design concept and Thor’s Hammer is my go to for solutions – like the timber panels we used on each side of a door originally from the Dept of Finance.”
Jackie’s skills have been fine tuned over more than 20 years studying multiple manual and fine arts at ANU – including gold smithing, sculpture, wood working, printmaking, water colour to name a few. But she’s a big believer in the idea that anyone can be an artist if they have the patience.
“People think they can’t draw. But anyone who can hold a brush can draw. You can do it. You just have a mental block because you don’t draw like Michaelangelo. You have to practice!”
Nanook is one of those opportunities that Jackie stumbled upon almost by accident and has become a creative obsession. The stories told by Jackie’s room designs are made richer by an ever growing list of like-minded brands woven into the experience. Brands like Leif Products in the bathroom and Bemboka linens on the beds, toweling in bathrooms and throws on the lounges.
Perhaps one measure of success in creating rooms that transport you to another place is the revolving door of interesting guests at Nanook…but it would be rude to name drop.
We asked Jackie what advice she had for aspiring and DIY interior designers and home renovators.
"Think about what are you trying to embody...are you trying to go back in time or create a modern feeling?
Create your own board of what you like and don’t like (Pinterest is your friend).
Dig through on instagram for examples of interesting things that can be done - Thor’s Hammer for nostalgia, P.E Nation, #boutiquehotel, Urban Cowboy, Christian Watson (1924.us) and his partner Elle May Watson, and one very interesting lady in Tasmania @Ladyjo_tasmania who is part of a great local community down south. Design and Detail (and owner Dianna) in Jindabyne has so many old nostalgic things for sale and is where I found the tray of hand-tied flies for fly fishing (this became my inspiration for KoKo Nanook).
Do it once and do it right."
All the Nanooks are located in the Squatters Run complex at Thredbo. For bookings and enquiries, visit their website.