Celia and Jay Athumani met in one of the most exotic places — on Safari in Kenya. In a scene straight out of the movies, Celia fell for her handsome safari leader. Love blossomed and several years later they are now married and living in Lennox Head, owners of our newest main street business, Ohana Vintage Style.
Celia has 20 years of experience in soft furnishings and interior design under her belt, including work on several homemaker TV shows including Burke’s Backyard, Changing Rooms, The Block and Selling Houses Australia. And from her home in Lennox Head she still supplies cushions and soft furnishings to Tara Dennis from Better Homes and Gardens.
But two years ago Celia had to pull back a bit on her own business as a designer and seamstress after injuring her shoulder. From there she and Jay decided to focus on their own home makeovers, renovating and selling their unit in Sydney for a ‘very good price’.
They also decided to move out of the big smoke, checking the length of the North Coast before settling on Lennox Head which offers just the kind of lifestyle they were looking for.
‘The shop was really designed to give me something to do during the day’, says Celia. ‘The inspiration obviously comes from Africa, but also from our travels in Asia.’
Celia has a daughter who runs an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, so holidays to Thailand are frequent, and exquisite Thai pieces feature among the range in Ohana.
Celia is attracted to the vintage style, combined with tropical motifs and original pieces from places like Thailand, Kenya, Madagascar and parts of Australia. Classic vintage cane is a strong theme in the furniture range, and her bold tropical leaf motifs on cushions and lamp shades create a fabulous feel. But Celia also sources old wooden dressers, tables and occasional furniture.
Among the homewares there are also leather sandals and scarves, and an amazing range of artworks, many of which have been commissioned by Celia specifically for the shop.
See the Ohana ad on page 6.