From Software Developer to Sustainable Design Maven: Bianca's Enchanting Eco-Retreat Journey

Have you ever dreamed of transforming your passion into a fulfilling career? At The Interior Design Institute, we believe that with the right skills and guidance, you can turn any dream into reality. Our courses provide more than just a qualification—they equip you with the technical know-how to bring your creative vision to life. Today, we share the inspiring journey of Bianca Lucille, who transitioned from a successful career in software development to becoming a sustainable design maven. With the guidance of The Interior Design Institute’s comprehensive online Diploma course, Bianca has successfully created an enchanting eco-retreat and embarked on a journey that seamlessly blends traditional craftsmanship with innovative design.

Student Interview

Image source: #IDIstudent Bianca Lucille from @bianca_lucille

Meet Interior Design Graduate, Bianca Lucille

I’m Bianca Lucille, a nature lover, yoga enthusiast, reader, gardener, and designer. I live in the countryside with my partner, Rob, and our 11-year-old French bulldog, Duke.

Student Interview

Image source: #IDIstudent Bianca Lucille from @bianca_lucille

What inspired you to become an interior designer?

While I’ve always loved designing and styling my interiors and homes, it was not until I undertook the design work for our country cottage that my passion for design really took hold. Everything from the architectural designs to the layout and elevations was drafted by myself—immersing myself in the creative design process felt natural.

My partner Rob always dreamed of building his own home, so he championed our sustainable build project. Our future home began to take shape as envisioned—witnessing your vision come to life is hugely rewarding and that was a turning point for me. I emerged from our home journey changed and realised that if I could design for myself, I could definitely design for others.

How would you describe your design style?

My design style is one which takes inspiration from nature, its organic forms, textures, and shades. I embrace simplicity and love working with curves, texture, natural light, and handcrafted elements. I stick to a few simple elements in my design then weave them together for maximum effect.

Tell us more about the ethos behind Sempre:

The work and projects we’ve undertaken at our nature retreat, Sempre, are inspired by a desire to live slower in harmony with our natural surroundings. We opt for authentically sustainable construction not only due to the proven environmental benefits of natural building but the resulting healthy home benefits experienced living in a natural home.

Our style of sustainable construction utilises reclaimed car tires as foundations, adobe earth bricks, and natural plasters make up the structure. To date, we’ve saved over 350 used tires from overburdened landfills and our construction practices drastically reduce the carbon footprint of construction as most building materials are made on-site (i.e., adobe earth bricks, mortars, plasters).

Student Interview

Image source: #IDIstudent Bianca Lucille from @bianca_lucille

What are some of your home design insights?

Organic design meets sustainable construction resulting in a unified composition where the nature of the materials, nature of this building’s purpose seamlessly integrate with its natural surroundings. Sempre is surrounded by natural beauty so it was against this stunning backdrop that I took inspiration for our cottage. My interior design took the lead from the natural building elements featuring handcrafted, bespoke finishes, the tactile rich plaster nods to the textural finishes of boucle and natural wood. I love the seamless open plan layout, it’s supremely livable. There is an abundance of soft curves, texture, and natural light. The highlight windows are a treat, serving as moving artwork, each framing a beautiful natural perspective.

Are there any themes that run through your work?

I have five essential themes that underpin my work: Natural, Sustainable, Synergy, Longevity, and Less is More.

Do you have an ethos behind your work?

I do. There is no denying that we are part of the natural world, and I believe our homes should embrace this fundamental connection thus cultivating an environment which nourishes us and allows us to thrive. There is a place for luxury and a place for simplicity. Homes should age gracefully.

Student Interview

Image source: #IDIstudent Bianca Lucille from @bianca_lucille

What’s on your wishlist?

I’ve lived in my fair share of poorly designed, cold, uninviting, and unhealthy homes. Now that I’ve experienced a well-designed, healthy home which is constructed without harming the environment, I believe we owe it to ourselves and the environment to live better. Through my journey and work, I wish to empower others with knowledge and insights about natural design as well as sustainable and natural home construction.

We all deserve to live beautifully, in a kind and healthy home which operates in harmony with its surroundings.

What are some of your goals?

Where do I begin?! I love designing bespoke finishes and furnishings and am working on a core collection of ceramic vessels and textiles made in collaboration with skilled, local artists.

We’d like to take on empowerment and charity projects with the aim to train and empower individuals with the knowledge of natural building so they can build their own safe and healthy homes.

I’d love to include ecotourism work in our portfolio—collaborating with nature reserves and lodges on their development plans. Lastly and importantly, I've worked on the design of our dream home for years and it's our shared goal to build this home at Sempre (so watch this space!)

Do you follow any trends?

I’m not one for trends.

How do you find a healthy work/life balance?

This is tricky, even more so when you love what you do! But I’m a firm believer that we shouldn’t sacrifice home and family life for work, so I manage this balance by limiting the number of projects I take on in a year or at a given time. I stick to a single project at a time and am selective with projects I take on.

Student Interview

Image source: #IDIstudent Bianca Lucille from @bianca_lucille

What makes you most happy?

The lifestyle and home we’ve shaped for ourselves. I believe that when your home, your lifestyle, and your work mirror your values, your passions, and your soul, you begin to exist in harmony; you then really begin to thrive.

Is the online community important to your work?

Definitely—an engaging community of followers who resonate with your work is essential to not only build your brand but some of whom may inevitably become your clients.

Student Interview

Image source: #IDIstudent Bianca Lucille from @bianca_lucille

Rapid Questions:

Favourite pastime/hobby:

You’ll often find me amongst the wild things in my gardens or out in wine country!

Favourite colour:

Sky Blue and Beige!

Favourite quote:

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do” – Rumi.

Favourite book/magazine/show:

My preferred design magazine is House and Leisure SA, and we’re big fans of The Block AU.

Favourite IG accounts to follow:

Long time fan of the work by House of Grey, love the designs by Comun Interiors, and am currently enjoying the character-filled work by Sue Bond.

Favourite artist/designer/stylist:

Love the organic, sculptural ceramic work by Jan Ernst and the handcrafted, hand-painted ceramics by Gemma Orkin. Love the woven art by the lovely ladies at Crossing Threads and the textile designs by Leila Atelier.

Describe your work in three words:

Natural, Organic, Neutral.

Student Interview

Image source: #IDIstudent Bianca Lucille from @bianca_lucille

Course Questions:

Why did you choose to study with IDI?

The flexibility and self-paced nature of the course is why I chose IDI.

What was your favourite part of the course?

I really enjoyed the insight into the history of design and loved redesigning the home in Assignment 4!

What advice would you give to new students?

Soak up the theory provided, acknowledge your sources of inspiration, then be brave and define your own style.

What projects are you working on now?

Our guest studio—I’m really excited about this project. The studio embraces curves, showcases embedded design elements, and is the perfect representation of my design style. We’re wrapping up construction as we speak and are moving into the finishing stage. I’m currently working on my core ceramic collection, a design collaboration with Gemma Orkin. I have a redesign project lined up too, which I’m looking forward to getting stuck into!

How can people connect with you?

I’m active on Instagram, sharing moments of my slow life, interiors, and projects @bianca_lucille. Our website has been launched, but is still a work in progress. PS. If our work resonates with you or you’re keen to work with us, I’d love to hear from you, get in touch with me on Instagram or via email

Student Interview

Image source: #IDIstudent Bianca Lucille from @bianca_lucille

What is Sustainable Design?

Sustainable design is all about creating spaces that are not only beautiful but also environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout their entire life cycle. This design approach is gaining traction in modern architecture and construction as we aim to reduce our ecological footprint and promote healthier living environments. By integrating sustainable practices, designers can contribute to a more sustainable future.

Understanding Sustainable Design Principles

Key principles of sustainable design include:

  • Energy Efficiency: Implementing strategies to minimise energy consumption, such as passive solar heating, photovoltaic technology, and effective insulation.
  • Water Efficiency: Employing techniques to reduce water usage, including water recycling systems, rainwater harvesting, and green plumbing solutions.
  • Use of Sustainable Materials: Selecting materials that are locally sourced, recycled, and have a low environmental impact to support eco-friendly construction.

Expand Your Interior Design Knowledge with The Interior Design Institute and Kickstart Your Career

At The Interior Design Institute, our courses provide an in-depth understanding of essential design principles, combined with hands-on experiences that equip students to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios. As demonstrated in Bianca’s inspiring journey, our programs empower students to integrate sustainable practices into their designs, making a positive impact on the environment and enhancing their clients' lives.

Ready to study with us and master the principles of sustainable design?

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