Interior designer Rosina Di Maria spent her childhood in the foothills of Adelaide among the vines in Magill, before moving to London as an adult with her husband, whom she met at a Moonlight Cinema screening of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver at the Botanic Gardens. The next few years were spent travelling to places like Saint Petersburg, Dubai, Zurich and New York for work, before returning to her hometown in 2010.
“What I love about Adelaide now is its attitude and bold ambition,” she says. “What that’s doing, I think, is giving people confidence to open a small bar, try a retail opportunity, create a festival or experiment in the arts. I think that creates a really rich tapestry for life.”
Now, Di Maria lives in North Adelaide with her two daughters and husband, working as the principal and Adelaide’s studio chair at Woods Bagot. “What Adelaide gives you is a quiet space to think and be, which the rat race can sometimes take from people,” she says. “I feel like I can be my absolute best here … because I have a wonderful baseline to lead from. You can push boundaries and [find] those real moments of surprise and delight.”
With her days filled with work and family, Di Maria has a bit of a schedule she likes to abide by. From early morning walks and client lunches during the week, to regular weekend spots, Di Maria talks us through her typical week. “That’s a real secret specialness [to] living in a smaller city like Adelaide… it actually just lets you think about things you might want to achieve,” she says.
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Di Maria is early to rise – most days she meets her neighbour for a 5.45am walk along the River Torrens before heading home for a quick breakfast with her family. Once the school run is over, it’s either a four-minute drive or a 20-minute walk to Woods Bagot’s studio on Waymouth Street in the city – not a bad commute for the workday.
After checking in with each member of her team, it’s into work. “I’ll do design reviews, or client meetings and design workshops, or go to site to see a project,” she says. If a meeting calls for coffee, it’s likely to take place at breezy diner Part Time Lover.
For lunch, when she’s not taking clients to hotspots like Press Food & Wine, Fugazzi Bar & Dining Room, Osteria Oggi or Shobosho, she walks across the road for a lemongrass chicken banh mi or prawn cold rolls. “It’s this gorgeous Vietnamese place called Rolls ‘N Rice,” says Di Maria. “They are the most beautiful husband and wife that produce yummy banh mi. Usually the line is so long.”
She usually leaves the office to pick the kids up from school, and the family is known to take an afternoon walk to Lefevre Park (Nantu Wama, in Kaurna language) to watch the horses roam around before heading back for dinner. Di Maria admits she’s not one for meal planning, often heading to Tynte Street Quality Meats butchery one street over for schnitzels, with breadcrumbs coming from Perryman’s Bakery across the road, or fresh fish, which she can get from the butcher on a Tuesday. “Maybe that’s the Italian in me, but we just go with what we feel like,” she says.
Di Maria will get up early to make a cooked breakfast of bacon and eggs or pancakes with her girls on Saturday mornings. The couple then divide and conquer the kids’ activities – one will head to Hahndorf for horseriding lessons, and the other to ballet. Saturday nights are reserved for entertaining, so the afternoons are for shopping and prepping before guests start arriving for cocktails at 4.30pm.
“On a Sunday, it’s really our day,” she says. The family will drive to the Adelaide Hills for a special lunch at Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard, or walk into the city to see an exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia or watch the live glassblowing at the Jam Factory. Lunch is usually at Hey Jupiter, “which is like being in Paris but in Adelaide,” says Di Maria. She also loves a jaunt to the Barossa Valley, making sure to head to her favourite organic and biodynamic winery Alkina to fill up the boot.
When it’s warm, the family might spend the day at Henley or Grange Beach. But when they don’t have any weekend commitments, they make the two-hour drive to their Port Hughes holiday house to spend a few days – a place that Di Maria remembers fondly and shares with her kids now, too.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with South Australia – A New State of Mind.