Faces of AWNY: Tali Roth

Tali Roth moved to NYC with her husband in October 2013 as newlyweds from Melbourne, Australia. Tali is a freelance interior designer and speaks to us about the difference in design aesthetics between Australia and America, having a baby in New York, and how she started working in interior design.


Tell us an ‘only in New York’ moment:

Hmmm…I think it was our second week of living here and we were about to sign the lease for a West Village apartment and this guy in his ground floor apartment saw us sitting on the front stoop through his window. He opened it up and asked us why we were hanging around the building and then invited us in. Together we drank wine and danced to Rhianna. He became a close friend and turns out he was a well known photographer who lived in the factory with Warhol.

Where do you live and why did you choose that area?

We just moved to Chelsea! When we first arrived, we lived in the West Village and loved it. I fell pregnant after a year of living here and towards the end of the pregnancy I wanted to move uptown to be closer to Central Park. Although we loved our time there my husband and I craved downtown a lot and so we eventually settled on Chelsea as its close to my son’s preschool and the space we found was better than the West Village. So far, we are loving it.
What do you like/dislike about living in NY?
I love the people – that everyone is encouraging and that there is so much room for you to be yourself. I hate how focused on careers it is, but I also love how focused on careers it is. I hate the bitter winters. I love, love, love the summers. I also love the energy, accessibility and that nothing is too far away.


Any advice for people moving to NY?
Be open, non-judgmental and be active. Nothing will come to you if you aren’t engaging with people. It is very expensive though, so save up!


Tell us about your day job: 
I am an interior designer. I am a curator of objects, furniture, lighting, finishes, soft furniture and more. I bring it all together to create a strong mood and atmosphere for your home. I work mainly in the residential realm but do a few commercial projects here and there. I am obsessed with what I do and I love my clients. I didn’t work in interiors in Australia so I can’t really compare the two. I feel like there is many more affordable decorating options here and obviously a larger marketplace which makes it really easy for me to design for very different types of aesthetics and budgets. Also aesthetically speaking Melbourne is SO different to New York. I was completely shocked and confused by the style here when I first arrived. New York is more moody, industrial, luxe and distressed whereas Melbourne interiors focus more on light, minimalism and contemporary design. I try and mesh my Australian roots with my new found appreciation of the New York aesthetic to find a balance.


How did you get into your job in NYC?
I am part of an agency called Homepolish. They represent me and I also do some private work. I was following the company in Australia and then when I arrived I emailed them, got myself an interview and was accepted into the agency. I love working with them and feel very proud of what they have achieved over the past few years.

What was your biggest win this week?
I had the best interaction this week! I bumped into a friend I used to work with and they were telling me all about their new and exciting business ventures. It was like playing a game of creative ping pong…very fun! I think I have the biggest wins when I meet wonderful people who inspire me to stop and evaluate where I am at.


As a professional working in NYC what are the differences to working in Australia?
I might to be the best judge of that as I was still studying in Australia before I moved here, and before that I was running my own business in a different field. The obvious differences to me is that in New York there appears to be a market for everything and everyone; whereas at home in Australia the market is smaller and there can be less opportunities. Here, I am able to generate enough work for myself purely on word of mouth and with no real marketing.


Any advice for other professionals coming to work in NYC?
Know when to say no. Be open to everything and don’t be scared that you are not the right person for a project… go on the journey and see where it leads.


What’s your favorite New York spot?
That is a hard one. We love the West Village – who doesn’t? We also love love love Fort Greene. We used to spend loads more time there before we had our son.


Anything you miss about Australia?
My friends and family of course and fresh salads on every menu 🙂


What are your top 3 tips for friends visiting NYC?
  1. Go to Beacon and stay at the Roundhouse Hotel
  2. Go to Sylvia’s in Harlem for brunch
  3. Eat breakfast at Egg Shop


Favorite NYC brunch spot
Can’t pick just one. Sadelle’sNourish Kitchen or Bluestone Lane.


Favorite NYC cocktail spot & cocktail of choice
An Old Fashioned at the Waverly Inn.

What’s the biggest challenge or road block you’ve been faced with since being in NYC and how do you overcome it?

I would say the biggest challenge came from having my son in New York without a strong network. The healthcare and post-natal care is very different to Australia and culturally I found it hard how quickly mother’s go back to work and the whole nanny hiring thing. It was all a huge adjustment, but now as he is turning two things are much easier to navigate and I think I have learnt a lot about myself through the process.


Who are some Aussie/Kiwi ladies doing awesome things in NYC who are currently on your radar?
Pippa Lee is a gun Australian Interior Designer who inspires me daily. Brooke Holm is a gun photographer and artist who photographs are breathtaking. My girlfriend Jacqui Rosshandler has an amazing breath mint company called ‘Eat Whatever‘ and is killing it. Lauren Kozika and Sara Saxty run a start up bag company called ‘Overt‘ which is revolutionary.
Aimee Kestenberg has a self titled hand bag empire. Shany Ellenberg is a senior marketer at MAJE and Sandro.


Connect with Tali:

Author: Tarley Jordan

Tarley has been an AWNY volunteer since 2012. She is award-winning marketer from Sydney (with stops in Brisbane and Rockhampton), who moved to New York for love. Find her on Instagram: @tarleyj

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