BEHIND THE BIZ // Superb Design
Meet Carol and Andre, the creative minds behind this iconic Mittagong business.
Beyond the beautifully styled windows of Superb Design on Main Street in Mittagong is an array of colourful fabrics, comfy cushions, gorgeous textures, stunning furniture, stylish homewares, gifts and fashion!
Yep, there’s more to Superb Design that meets the eye. This second generation, family run business has been creating beautiful homes for over forty years with personalised customer service and the loveliest, most approachable team you could meet.
We caught up with Superb Design’s interior design duo, Carol Thompson and Andre de Borde to find out more about this successful Highlands business and how they fuse style, service, quality and affordability into everything they do.
Tell us about the history of Superb Design.
Carol:: My parents started the business over forty years ago here in Mittagong. It was a little curtain shop that developed and grew over time, and I’ve worked in the business forever! My husband, Brad and I have owned Superb Design for over ten years now. Since we’ve taken over, we’ve expanded the space and also added to our range of what we sell in-store.
Andre:: A few years ago, we gave the store a total refresh, and made it lighter and brighter. Now, there are three beautiful zones within the store – the design area here where we chat with clients about everything from upholstery to window furnishings to full refurbishments, the central part where you can browse the homewares, gifts and fashion items we sell, and the third area at the top is where we have furniture on display.
Carol:: It’s always been three separate stores, but we’ve opened it up now. Parts overlap with each other a bit and it’s a lovely light space to wander around in.
Did you find interior design or did interior design find you?
Carol:: It’s always been what I’ve done and what I’ve loved, so I’ve never questioned it really. I studied interior design via correspondence with Rhodec London and have always worked within the business.
Andre:: My sister ran an interiors business in Sydney for thirty years, so I learnt the ropes there to some degree. But I actually have a fine arts background and ran my own gallery in the Highlands for six years. I met Brad and Carol and did some installing work for them and then ended up working with them!
Carol:: Andre’s understanding and experience in art gives him fantastic insight into colour and translates across to the styling and design field really well. Our skills and experience overlaps and works really well together.
Tell us about the Superb Design team.
Carol:: Andre and I look after the design services part of the business. You’ll meet the lovely Jill and Raelene in the lifestyle and retail part of the store, and then there’s Brad who you won’t see much of but is always busy making sure we’re all doing what we need to do – his role is very important.
Andre:: Brad looks after everything else! From deliveries to logistics to admin to the business side.
Carol:: Even though Brad and I are married, some days we’ll barely see each other because we’re doing such different things – that may be the secret to our marriage!
What sort of design projects have you been working on and what services do you offer?
Andre:: We’ve always been busy but in the last six months or so, it’s really ramped up thanks to people being home more and becoming motivated to update and refresh their home, or start on that project they’ve been meaning to start on for ages. We’ve been working on everything from smaller projects like updating window furnishings to full fit outs of large homes.
Carol:: Superb Design caters for every home, every budget and every style. From a complete renovation to a simple makeover, we provide guidance on colour, furnishings, lighting and more to create the ideal living environment. Andre and I spend a lot of time with our customers, so we can personalise each project to them. We guide them through the process because they don’t really know where to start.
Andre:: We might be working with existing items that customers have brought from another home or are keeping for sentimental reasons, so we incorporate that into a new look for them. Or we might be creating a new look for an older home, or injecting personality and warmth into a brand-new build. Our design work is definitely varied.
How would you describe your interior design style?
Carol:: You could describe both of our styles as eclectic, but our skills lie in the ability to turn our hands to lots of different looks. The projects we work on range from contemporary to classic and everything in between.
Andre:: You don’t want to restrict yourself to being able to create just one look. Some clients want something flamboyant or sophisticated, timeless or rustic. We have to be able to do it all – and we do!
What is unique about Superb Design?
Andre:: We have one of the biggest fabric and wallpaper libraries not just in the Highlands, but across Sydney too. We have great relationships with our suppliers so we’re regularly updating our library with lots of samples for people to look at and choose from. It helps us create a particular aesthetic for a project, and the client feels confident when they’ve felt and seen the sample for themselves.
Carol:: We love the retail aspect to Superb Design too. Having homewares, fashion, accessories and all sorts of things for sale in the store gives people the opportunity to look around the store, connect with us, and understand all the different services we offer and the products we sell. You don’t just come in to do a full home refurbishment, you can also come in and buy a scarf, a vase, a card, a new dress, or whatever!
Andre:: Many of our design clients come back in and buy something new for the home or for themselves, because they’ve built that relationship with us and feel comfortable and connected.
Carol:: And we pride ourselves on offering great quality items and services at affordable price points. It doesn’t matter if you are buying one candle or redoing the interiors of your entire home, we can cater for all budgets and our personalised customer service is a big part of our ethos and success.
So, what do you love about living and working in the Highlands?
Carol:: The commute. I live a 2-minute walk away from the store! I love that we’re close enough to everything but can feel like we’re in the middle of nowhere.
Andre:: People are more relaxed in the Highlands. They’re friendlier and you’ll often find yourself chatting away to strangers in the street. We’re so lucky with our clients too – we’ve worked with some really nice people.
If someone hasn’t been to Superb Design before, what can they expect?
Carol:: It’s a beautiful, bright, welcoming space and there really is something for everyone here – for every style, for every purpose and every budget. We’re very approachable, we love what we do and we love doing it in the Highlands!
Superb Design & Interiors in Mittagong is a second-generation family business with over 40 years’ experience in the soft furnishing and interior design industry.Their beautifully spacious, light and bright store is a must-visit for all things homewares, gifts, fashion and interior design. Personalised service and beautiful products and finishes mean Superb Design’s customers come back again and again (and tell their friends and family about it too!).
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