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Styling at home with Mariah Burton of Folk Studio


Mariah Burton is the creative director and Co-Founder at Folk Studio, a boutique interior design and styling studio based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Offering an end-to-end service for both commercial and residential clients, Mariah says that she and her team take a human-centred approach to design. 

With her finger on the pulse of good design, Mariah gives us a glimpse inside her newly styled Newport residence, featuring the King Living 1977 Sofa. She also shares her tips for styling at home, particularly in small spaces.


Featuring the 1977 Sofa in Leura Biscotti, Sandstone and Natural.

Destined for design 


Even from as young as age 7, Mariah Burton, was destined to be an interior designer. She grew up in a home that echoed strongly with Japanese minimalist design and her mother imbued in her a love of interiors. 

“I knew that interior design was what I wanted to do and I never strayed from that,” she recalls. “When I was 7, I used to conduct design and colour consults for the kids on my street to style their bedrooms. Even at that age I understood the power of good interior design to make people feel good.”

It’s no surprise then that the Folk Studio takes a human-centred approach to design, creating homes that promote physical as well as mental well-being 

Mariah studied residential design followed by commercial design, going on to work across a range of interior design firms. But something was missing. She craved a stronger connection with her clients. And that’s what she created in Folk Studio with her Co-Founder Chris Polain. 

“I wanted to create a firm that really put the client first,” she explains. “A lot of our success comes from the beautiful connections we build with our clients throughout each project.”


Mariah is pictured at her Newport home in Sydney, Australia. 


 A considered approach 


Overlooking lush rainforest, Mariah’s Newport home is styled in a neutral palette to create a feeling of connectedness to the beautiful landscape. A centrepiece in Mariah’s home is the 1977 Sofa in Leura Caramel, Sandstone and Natural. She first discovered the sofa when working on a recent client project – Woodland House. 

“The more I read about and work with the 1977 Sofa, the more I fell in love,” she shares. “More than just the flexibility of the sofa, I love the ethos and Australian design principles behind King Living.” 

While every project is customised to the client, the signature Folk Studio style leans into bold colours and earthy tones. Mariah describes her own personal interior style as “pared back maximalism that’s liveable and heavy on texture.” 

One thing that Mariah’s own style preferences have in common with the work she does for her clients through Folk Studio is a focus on sustainable design. This is not only about choosing sustainable pieces but investing in design for your long term needs. 

“One thing I often tell people when styling their own homes is to make sure those critical pieces – your sofa, armchairs, bed frame etc. – are flexible,” she adds. “Be really considered with every choice that you make and be sure that it’s flexible enough to evolve with your needs as they change.” 


Featuring the 1977 Sofa in Leura Biscotti, Sandstone and Natural.

Curves create flow 


Curves are a popular interior design trend that Mariah says can add a subtle playfulness and lightness to a space.  

“If you don’t love an L-shaped sofa, then having a curved sofa helps achieve the comfort of the traditional L-shaped sofa without the harsh angles,” she adds. “In small spaces, curves help to soften the interiors and create more fluidity.” 

In Mariah’s own living area, curves are a prominent feature, creating an organic elegance and flow. The 1977 Sofa, with its deep organic curves, anchors the room. Subtle curved details, like the cylindrical side tables and lamp bases, add a sculptural element to the space.  

Each piece of furniture is thoughtfully positioned, opening up the space in the room to create a smooth flow and movement throughout. 

“My living area is quite small and I wanted the space to feel light, flexible and soft,”  she explains. “Including curved furniture in this space has helped achieve this, as well as a more relaxed atmosphere.” 


Featuring the 1977 Sofa in Leura Biscotti, Sandstone and Natural.

Flexible design 


It’s not uncommon for Mariah’s clients to be thinking about their future needs throughout a project. This is particularly the case with smaller spaces, where clients want to design for now with the flexibility to adapt in the future. 

In smaller spaces, Mariah advocates for a less is more approach. 

“In smaller spaces you need to be especially considered in your furniture choices,” she explains. “You might only be able to fit the sofa in the space, so look at modular options that allow you to remove the arms, for instance, so you can make the space feel bigger.” 

Mariah adds that modular sofas work particularly well for small spaces because they not only evolve with your needs but also can adapt to your daily life. 

“I always talk to my clients about their home having two modes,” she says. There’s the everyday mode and then the entertaining mode. I love a modular sofa, because you can pull it apart to have people facing each other in the living room or you can move it to the side if you need to bring in a table. 

“This is why we always love putting forward modular furniture that can move around with our clients. It’s a lot easier to invest in a piece that’s timeless and can grow with you.” 


For more interior design inspiration, follow Folk Studio on Instagram.


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