At Home With Bailey Meredith Of BAINA
We take a peek around the New Zealand house of one half of our favourite new homewares brand.
You might have seen it at the beach: chequered, luxurious, sprawling. Ever since the brand launched in late 2019, a BAINA towel has become something of a must-have item among those who spend every summer day ending in a Y by the sea. Over the course of writing this story, I saw three people unfurling one of the Roman pool towels onto a stretch of sand at my favourite tiny little Sydney harbour beach.
I could tell it was a BAINA towel by the colouring: tomato red and stone in alternating squares all the way to the edge. When designing, BAINA’s co-founders, Bailey Meredith and Anna Fahey, are drawn to colours first – the rest of the small, but perfectly formed range is cast in shades of misty blue, pale chalk and one very soothing sage green. Woven from organic cotton in a mill in Portugal, BAINA towels combine a truly sustainable mindset with quality, care and craftsmanship. It’s why both me, and Badlands editor Talisa, have loved incorporating pieces from the collection into our own homes.
But what about the homes of BAINA’s founders? We caught up with Bailey Meredith, one half of the team behind the range, at her home on the fringes of Auckland’s inner city in New Zealand, to learn about her daily routine, her essential bathtime ritual and the one lesson she’s learned from the strange year that was 2020.
How would you describe your style – both personal and interior?
My personal style is ever-evolving. I would say that I generally gravitate towards a more practical, uniform style way of dressing. This is a reaction to the many years of dressing up everyday for work during my time at Kate Sylvester. I like familiarity in my wardrobe but I also like to explore my sartorial boundaries. Often it becomes a mental tug of war for me when getting dressed in the morning. My interior approach is in many ways the same. Our home is made up of a collection of pieces we have found along the way over our last 10 years. Many pieces purchased for practicality while splashed with moments of indulgence or nostalgia.
What is your favourite room in your house?
The living room. It’s the space that brings our nearest and dearest together. These days we gravitate towards staying in and hosting friends rather than going out- a subconscious result of this year’s unpredictability and social restrictions.
And what about furniture? Is there a piece you love the most?
Our Valley sofa from Jardan. I purchased it when I worked for the brand in 2019 and at the time it was our first major investment piece. While compact, it also has these big rolling curves which are so inviting for afternoon naps or late night lounging.
We’re all spending more time at home right now – can you describe a perfect day at home for you?
We start our day early as we have a new puppy that demands to be let outside around 6am. My husband brews a pot of coffee and we hop back into bed and catch up on emails or read the news. This is such an indulgence as mornings prior to lockdown were always a rush.
Then we take a big walk around our neighbourhood. We live in a place surrounded by bush and I find that early morning inhale of fresh air so vital to the rest of my day. Once we return home, we make breakfast (and more coffee) and sit in the dining room where the sunlight floods in until midday. At the moment we are doing a bit of DIY around our property so we spend the afternoon pottering around the house, painting the fence or discussing plans for our upcoming renovations.
Because it’s still cold here, we light the fire in the late afternoon, Ali (my husband) gets into cooking a delicious dinner while I check a few work emails or read a book. After dinner, I take my glass of red into the bathroom and have a nice relaxing bath to end the day – total bliss.
What about bathing rituals – what are some of your must-do things when it comes to the baths?
I keep my baths pretty simple & minimal. I don’t tend to use essential oils or bubbles, rather, I light a few candles, use a face mask and have a glass of water nearby. I’m not one to sit still so while a bath is a place for me to decompress, I still like the added company of a book or a podcast. A new ritual I have adopted since the inception of BAINA is around extending the moments post bathe. Meaning I take my time drying myself, followed by applying a nice body oil, creating a sort of meditative rhythm before bed.
What is your favourite thing to wear around the house? What’s a typical ‘home’ outfit for you?
At the moment I am living in my General Sleep Wrap Set. It’s perfect to wear when my days are unpredictable. It means I can be comfortable and relaxed but also nip out to run errands and not have to change. I’m always wearing a pair of Bed Socks – they are the perfect alternative to slippers.
How long have you lived in your house? When did you know it was ‘the one’?
I don’t think I can say this house is “the one”… yet anyway. We bought our home back in 2013 and moved out of the inner city of Auckland. At the time, none of our friends were buying and we found the first six months pretty isolating. These were the days before Uber so it was hard to justify the expensive cab ride. Seven years on and we have just returned to the house after living in Melbourne for two years. I love this home because it has great bones and so much potential. My old boss advised us to wait and live in the home for a few years before starting any major renovations so we could understand what was the best use of the space for our lifestyle – it was the best advice we ever received.
What are some of your favourite things to do in your neighbourhood?
Taking our dog Gruff to Piha Beach and letting him run wild. We’re slowly convincing him to get in the water but given it is a rough west coast beach, he is taking a little extra convincing.
I love to go on a bush walk in the Waitakere ranges which are a 20 minute drive from our house. I think I took this part of my neighbourhood for granted before I moved to Melbourne so now that we’re home, we make the most of what’s on our doorstep. Luckily the restrictions in New Zealand have lifted slightly which means we can now pop out for brunch or dinner again. My favourite spots to visit are Amano, Lilian, Apero & Germayze Street.
Is there a lesson or something that you have taken away from the past year? Something that you are going to keep in your life going forward?
I have learnt many lessons throughout the past six months. One of them being the importance of pausing to reflect. In business, Anna and I took this time to refine the brand’s values at every level. We found it was a hugely beneficial exercise to review each component of the business to better strengthen its foundations. From a personal perspective, I’ve learnt the importance of self preservation. This is something that doesn’t come naturally to me, I’ve learnt to make sure there’s a balance between socialising and work, and am now aware of when to prioritise rest.
Photography Greta van der Star
Words Hannah-Rose Yee