Despite embarking on a journey far from the publishing industry, Emma Ross still finds herself caught in the pages of a magazine while operating her own gift and homewares store.

The art director and stylist opened LAKE Home Garden Gift late 2016, and the little shop’s unique niche stems directly from her magazine-orientated background. “Because I worked in magazines for so long, I still feel as if I’m living in the pages,” she explains. “To me, this store is a story, and each piece of furniture or homeware is a page,
or excerpt.”

LAKE has a striking dark blue feature wall, complemented by a mix of French-inspired pieces, surrounded by draping botanicals in eclectic pots, intricately woven cushion covers, and timeless blue and white ceramics. “But like a magazine issue, the colour of the feature wall will change throughout the year,” reveals Emma. “I intend to repaint and redecorate the entire store according to the season, even changing the style of furniture to suit.”

LAKE Home Garden Gift stocks a vast collection of handmade items, many made locally, and the majority one-offs. “A few of the furniture pieces we actually make and restore ourselves. We also import some unique pieces from distributors overseas, with some made in Europe, others handcrafted in Asia, and older pieces that come from England,” Emma explains. “We select what we consider the most beautiful interior pieces available at the moment. These items are unique, bespoke pieces that complement any space.”

Emma regards each piece, big and small, as prized and precious, iterating in elaborate detail the origin of all brands, bits and pieces. “We’ve got Hunt+Kelly, which is a Brisbane designer [see our profile story on]. My supplier in Boondall makes the pillows by hand. We have pieces put together by a man in Cairns. And my uncle paints these artworks especially for the shop.”

Emma operates LAKE Home Garden Gift from a store in Yeronga, a location carefully chosen after an 18-month long hunt for the perfect spot. “I believe Graceville, Yeronga and Fairfield are all underserviced. There are not a lot of homeware or interior stores that stock bigger pieces, as well as smaller giftware. You tend to have to go to James Street,” she says.

Besides targeting local home owners in the area, Emma hopes the store will become a destination spot for a wide demographic of interior design enthusiasts. “We even offer styling packaging, where we visit you in your home and edit your existing rooms to create the perfect space that complements your lifestyle. Our mantra is to use as much as there is to begin with, and not to be wasteful. Repurpose where we can, while adding bits and pieces.”

In the future, Emma hopes to open another store or two in Brisbane, keeping the Western and Bay suburbs in mind as potential options to home LAKE’s sister shops. “A living space that you love makes life so much better. If it looks beautiful, you feel content. You can truly come home to your sanctuary.”