In many ways, the ideal house or apartment isn’t just a home. It’s a time machine, a gallery, a library, a museum. It holds the lifelong collected reflections of its inhabitants. And it must – ideally – be a bridge that connects life as it was and is, to the life we hope and dream for, whether it involves families, adventures, play or retirement.

According to the work of Melbourne interior design firm Without Studio – run by Sarah Shinners and Mel Hasic – one of the connective tissues between these stages of life is the belongings to which we attach emotions and memories.

“We want our clients to fill their homes with objects that feel joyful to them,” Hasic says. “[Things] that work with the ways they live in their houses and the rituals that take place there. We love telling clients to focus on investing in special pieces you know are going to bring you daily pleasure.”

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It’s for this reason the pair are wary of trends, both in their practice and in their advice to others. “I think there’s a sense that the interior design industry is one of rapid turnover, fast fashion and having to have the latest and greatest, but to us, [it’s] more than just buying a new colour-coordinated set of homewares every season because a blog told you to,” Hasic says. “It’s about building the narrative of your life, so that in years to come you can share stories with your grandchildren about how you carried that ceramic halfway across Tokyo to make it yours or saved every $2 coin you received over the span of five years to buy that lamp.”

“Sarah and I are both big believers in the idea that if there’s a bunch of stuff you like in your home, it will look good together because it’s representative of you,” says Hasic. “Don’t worry about everything looking perfect and matching. If you like all the stuff individually, you’ll probably like it together. Take the time to buy something you personally see value in.”

Such an attitude is hard to stick to when you have an immediate need to fill, or money is tight. But Shinners says the small plans you make now can pay off down the track. “In my house I’ve needed a new sofa for so long, so it’s tempting to rush out and grab something. But it’s nice to go without so when you do get it, you really value it. You know that you want it. I think both of us would rather go without an item instead of rushing to fill that gap.”

Hasic agrees – and says it’s that philosophy which guides Without Studio. “One of the biggest mistakes we see people making is trying to sprint to the finish line and ‘finish the house’,” she says. “But that will never happen.”

A different, yet equally important, philosophy is wealth. Not financial wealth but a wealth of belief in yourself and knowing how you got to where you are today. “Wealth to us is that feeling of contentment you get,” Hasic says. “When all the cogs in your life are turning smoothly and in alignment, your loved ones are thriving, your body feels good, work is creatively engaging, there is a general positive energy. Feeling lucky, but also knowing you’ve worked hard to be here and [are] proud of your achievements.”

Shinners has similar ideals. “Although wealth in its financial sense plays a huge role in feeling secure, we feel wealthy in so many other ways. To have creative freedom, knowledge, family, health, love, which all in turn combine to provide a feeling of support and the ability to live and work confidently and capably.”

When designing homes for clients, Hasic and Shinners are always leaving space for their clients to add to their home organically over the years. In fact, they say a home isn’t a home until it evolves beyond their initial design. It helps that, according to a report by AMP, Australia is ninth overall in the world in GDP per capita, just above Demark. In 1980, we were number 20.

“I’ve had houses when I’ve been back years later and nothing has moved or changed in the house and it actually feels quite stagnant,” says Shinners. “It doesn’t feel like the person is comfortable. Your home should grow with you. I love seeing that happen. When someone feels confident enough to layer on top of what we’ve done, it’s a really nice feeling because the home feels like a reflection of them.”

This philosophy of Without Studio remains consistent in their work and, according to Hasic, will continue – no matter the project. She says their hopes for the future fit with their design principles for their clients. “Stability and certainty [is]a foundation for personal and business success, health and happiness.”

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Bank and Wealth Manager, AMP. AMP is committed to sharing Australian stories about redefining wealth.