Megan Morton is utterly infectious, both as a person and through the immense energy conveyed within her work. Of all her ventures – founding The Studio in Sydney’s Rosebery, running The School and its various workshops, and leading her guided trips overseas to India, France and more – her work as a stylist underpins it all.
“Styling is so enduring,” Megan offers. Her work in this field is layered and far-reaching; it spans more than two decades and precedes the burgeoning digital world of styling and interior design we know today. Kick-starting her career at Dolly Magazine at the age of 18, she worked in marketing at some of Australia’s biggest titles and later launched Elle Cuisine “with a party in an abandoned warehouse filled with 3,000 heads of cabbage on the ground.” It was the day before giving birth to her first child; this momentous time paired with “the most supportive husband you can imagine” prompted her to shift her focus to styling.
While Megan admits “people have found it hard to work out where stylists fit,” she is unperturbed and a true believer in what she does every day. “Styling is really scalable – which is probably why it is so misunderstood – but it’s so rich and rewarding and when it’s done right, no one knows who did it.” Identifying the very crux of her clients’ desires and “hitting the bull’s eye of how people want to live” is a responsibility she proudly wears. She clearly values the role she plays alongside architects and interior designers in creating meaningful spaces with resolve. “I’m constantly trying to educate people – be it on a budget-breaking job or not – that styling is both a noun and a verb. We’re ultimately trying to direct the tempo of how a client is going to live,” she says, adding, “and the really juicy stuff happens when everyone is working in harmony.”
Megan backs styling with an endearing confidence, but her demeanour is anything but elitist. She is a sharer – of tangible things, experiences and knowledge – and this extends to every facet of her life. This inherent attitude is why her every endeavour is enjoyed by so many. The School and The Studio were both created from a desire to impart knowledge and to support other creatives, and both have succeeded, partly due to Megan’s clever eye and vigour but also for her genuine approach in wanting to reach people and share design.
Her latest venture may be the biggest yet but it carries the same sentiment. Recently selling their family home in Sydney and purchasing a 150-acre property in the Northern Rivers, this exciting new project has her focus for now. “I saw this house out of the corner of my eye while up in the region for work,” Megan says. Immediately inspired by “lovely ideas of being generous and hospitable” reminiscent of the early days of The Studio in Rosebery, she bought the property with a vision for its future and now plans to split her time between the Northern Rivers and Sydney. The homestead will become their new family home, and the property itself a destination for creatives and lovers of design to meet and thrive. There will be guest accommodation, a studio, events and, of course, The School. “I’ve realised that The School can exist anywhere, so we’ll make it destination based.”
Reflecting on the industry she loves and citing a shift in the way her clients are more readily approaching good design, Megan offers a striking proposition. “I find myself wondering if we’re in the golden age of architecture and interior design, because whether you’re at the architectural end of the scale or – let’s call it – the object appreciation end, there’s something in it for everybody, isn’t there? It’s the idea that if you’re going to have one jug, why not make it the most beautiful jug.”
It is an intriguing concept and, golden age or not, there is strength in Megan’s belief that styling plays an essential role in the “invisible, non-verbal” aspect of a space that simply makes someone tick. Whether that experience is captured in a photograph or lived in by a client, it is transferable, and it is why her work will, in fact, endure.