Shooting at the "Sweet Sunny Casita"

Shooting at the "Sweet Sunny Casita"

For out "Morning Sun" collection, we decided to shoot the collection at an Air BnB called "Sweet Sunny Casita" on the Sunshine Coast. Much to our delight, Ieysha was kind, welcoming and ecstatic at the idea her home was being used for an ethical fashion brands new collection shoot. We had the privilege of staying there three days, two nights, and had a wondrous time in the homey environment of the Sweet Sunny Casita. To share such an amazing experience, we went ahead to interview Ieysha on how her place came to be, and the incredible feel the home has. I'll let her describe;

1. Tell us about yourself. 

I’m a “what you see is what you get” kind of person. I hate being cold and I love living on the sunny side of life. I’m most passionate about my family and friends, travel, home décor & amp; interiors and living a life that is true and kind to myself and others.

2. What gave you the idea to open up your home to Airbnb?

When we came across the opportunity to buy both sides of the duplex, I could immediately see its potential to be something great. I knew this would allow us to live in one side and comfortably host family and friends in the other. I didn’t want The Casita sitting empty in the in-between times and wanted to share the beauty of The Casita with others. So, with my combined background and love of travel, people, home décor and making others feel welcome, it felt like the right journey.

3. What inspired the Mexican style “Sweet Sunny Casita”?
Well, I’m of Mexican descent but am originally from San Diego. When I was a kid, I lived in Rosarito and have always loved Mexican culture, food, music and the boldness and life in Mexican style. I really wanted a home that made me feel like I as always on holiday, but also made me feel connected to my Mexican and southern Californian roots. When we found the duplex, the bones leant itself to being a Mexican Casa (meaning home) and the idea flourished from there.

4. Why did you name her “Sweet Sunny Casita”?

Prior to The Casita, I had my own second hand homewares business called Sweet Sunny Home, which is a dedication to our beautiful daughter, Sunny. It felt natural to make The Casita an extension of this because this is where a lot of the pieces and ideas for The Casita stemmed from. The word casita in Spanish means small house and although each side makes two smaller houses, The Casita is packed with a tonne of character.

5. How did you cultivate your selection of décor in the home?

Like our daughter, Sunny (who is named after the sun), almost every single one of my décor pieces (both in our side of the duplex and in The Casita) pays reference to the sun in one way or another. It is both lively and subdued and every treasure makes you feel warm and balanced. The décor doesn’t just represent Mexico, but spans from artisans across the globe in both past and present decades. I collected pieces that represent my love for travel and my bohemian heart. My aim was to curate a space that was earthy, inviting, relaxing and most of all, made you feel like you were getting a warm hug.

6. Is everything thrifted or second hand?

I would say a good 80% of décor and furniture is second hand. Most things were picked up on Marketplace, the tip, garage sales or op shops. Once I knew we were going to own a duplex, my thrifting went through the roof. I went from small time collector to borderline hoarder, picking up pieces that I knew would work well in the space and the vision I had created in my mind.

7. What is your best thrifting story in regard to a hidden treasure?

One day, I was in the bargain basement of a well-known op shop. The space was basically a dumping ground for things they didn’t want in the main shop and it was a room of wonder and amazement. You’d walk in knowing you’d find something but were also aware that you’d have to sift through a tonne of stuff to find that special something. On this particular day, I was pushing around my very irritable toddler in the pram. I gave her almost everything in the shop to play with, but she wasn’t having a bar of it. I had rushed through, knowing my time was limited and as we were about to leave, I had spotted a super big storage tub buried under a heap of other items. For some reason, I was drawn to this tub and my curiosity peaked. I quickly grabbed everything off that was stacked on the tub until I got to it. When I opened it, I found the most amazing earthy crockery set. There were dinner plates, side plates, bread plates, serving plates, teacups, saucers, mugs and every inch of this massive tub was full. I quickly realised, at the bottom of the stack next to the tub, was an equally as big, cardboard box filled with the same crockery. I was stoked. My toddler was really starting to lose it at this point, but I really wanted to look through the tub and box more carefully. I spotted an Emma Wiggle doll in the corner of my eye, grabbed it and bought myself a couple more minutes. I carefully looked at every single piece and placed aside a set of 8. I loaded as much as I could into the pram and made multiple trips to the counter. When I got there and the man at the counter (who knew me as I was in so often) smiled and said $20, I couldn’t’ believe it. I felt like I had won the lottery. At this stage, I wasn’t super knowledgeable about what was valuable and was purely picking pieces that made my heart happy. When I got home, I unloaded all the crockery from my car. Almost all the pieces had blank bottoms, but there was one plate that had a name. I looked up the brand online and realised that I had stumbled across a perfect set of 1960’s Arabia Ruska crockery, which sold for a small fortune for just a couple of pieces. I now had in my possession 50 of these pieces (8 x 6-piece set and 2 large serving trays). I went back and forth as to keep it or sell it and they sat in my garage for a good 6 months before I decided what to do. We were moving house and I had started packing everything up. During my packing fatigue and the, I’m super over packing phase, I (now, regretfully) decided to sell the set, so I didn’t have to pack another breakable thing. I took them to the local auction house, and they went into an online mid-century auction that ran over the course of 7 days. For 5 days, not much really happened. I think they had gotten up to around $50. On the last day of the auction, things started to get livelier. The price had jumped from $50 to $200. When I checked back later that day (about an hour before the auction was due to close), the price had jumped to around $500. I couldn’t believe it. I watched the auction unfold over the next hour and it just kept going up and up and up. Every couple of minutes there was a new bid. Eventually the auction finished and the set sold for almost $900. My mind was blown.

8. In a world of cookie-cut homes and apparel, what decisions have you made to help you be apart from the crowd?

As cliché as it sounds, follow your heart. I saw a post on Instagram before we commenced the renovation of the duplex and it was something to the effect of, “Design your home how you want it or else you’re just renting off the future buyer.” This really resonated with me and pushed me to be bolder with my design decisions. How do you want your home to feel? What is that instant feeling you want to get when you walk through your door? If you dream of bright colours or bold interiors, then do it. Even if it’s not the home itself, fill it with furniture and décor that make your heart sing, that makes it feel like home with your own personal sense of style. In terms of what you fill it with, the same thing applies but I also add to try shopping second hand or sustainably sourced where possible. Not only is it significantly better for our environment, but it is often significantly more unique. You’d be amazed at what you can find. As beautiful as it can be having your home look like the showroom of a major retailer, it can lack your own sense of self and personality. Make your home uniquely you, give it the vibe you want to feel and don’t be scared to be bold because your bold might be someone else’s inspiration.

 9. What made you so eager to work with Desert Lily Vintage when told your home was going to be used as a photoshoot space?

 When Sara booked The Casita and reached out, advising what the space was going to be used for, I was beyond stoked. Our shared love for sustainability and second hand/vintage materials, made this feel like the perfect pairing. The Casita had not yet opened its doors to be a shoot location and I was thrilled at the thought of Desert Lily Vintage being it’s first. Although not widely advertised, the core of The Casita is sustainability. To be able to work with such an inspiring brand, who shares this very ideal, is Australian owned and operated and is all inclusive is exactly the type of partnership I dream of. Sometimes you just get a really killer vibe from a person right off the bat and that’s what happened with Sara. The whole experience was amazing, easy, and full of good vibes.

 10. I hear you have a passion for ethical clothing, tell me more about that.

Don’t get me wrong, I do buy new, but I always try sourcing second hand and sustainable first. I’m really passionate about this because we live in a world of fast everything so when I can shop this way and support slow fashion and/or local businesses, I will. After having my daughter, I really changed a lot of my thinking, making small shifts to live a healthier, happier life and one that would benefit the world my daughter will live in, in the future.


Ieysha, thank you for your home and your time. Thank you for your passion and your "Sun". We loved staying in your home and are eager for our future partnerships. 

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Desert Lily Vintage would like to acknowledge the true custodians of this land Gureng Gureng Country where we work and live. We would like to pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.