COLLETTE Dinnigan has launched a high-end version of Airbnb as she continues to fashion a new career in interior design.
After being appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List on Monday, Dinnigan has told Wentworth Courier detailsof her latest project.
She and husband Bradley Cocks have today unveiled their new website for Dinnigan & Cocks, their high-end answer to Airbnb, which will centre on a small portfolio of authentic, luxury properties in the eastern suburbs, the southern highlands and the south coast.
“There is a shortage of short-term boutique accommodation in Sydney, so the aim is to acquire properties and then creatively outfit them,” said Dinnigan.
“The main focus is ensuring they have a creative element so they are authentic and unique, rather than just glamorous and luxurious.
“It’s not just about being up-market; it’s about offering people the opportunity to stay somewhere with a creative soul, whether it be a boat house, tree house or country cottage.”
Dinnigan has just put the finishing touches on their first Dinnigan & Cocks abode: a “light-filled, charming” two-bedroom cottage in Mary Place, Paddington.
“For people who want to stay in Woollahra or Paddington, there is a shortage of one-to-two-bedroom places where they can feel part of the village,” Dinnigan said.
“We are in the process of acquiring other eastern suburbs properties to add to that portfolio and we already have two in Milton and two in Avoca in the southern highlands.”
Dinnigan’s transition from fashion into interior design was driven by a desire to spend more time with Cocks and her young children, Hunter, 4, and Estella, 12. Her new career allows her more flexibility.
“I have a passion and love of interiors and for me the treatment of space and textiles is a very natural progression and one I feel very comfortable with,” she said.
“There are a lot of synergies between fashion and interior design, with proportion, colours and textiles.”
Dinnigan’s love for interiors was cemented when she renovated and sold two properties she owned at Paddington — on Underwood and Paddington streets.
One of her favourite eastern suburbs makeovers was the Old Masonic Hall at Watsons Bay, which she sold in October for $9 million after buying it from James Packer’s friend Matthew “Ched” Csidei for $6.25 million.
“It was quite hard and cold, and it was very much a bachelor pad, so I made it more feminine and family-friendly,” she said.
Dinnigan also styled the luxury Golf House apartments at Surry Hills.
She said it was “an amazing honour” to be appointed an AO for her service to the fashion industry, her promotion of Australian wool and as a role model to women.
Dinnigan opened her first store on William St, Paddington, in 1992 after being convinced by jeweller Victoria Spring.
She was one of a handful of shop owners who shaped Paddington into one of Sydney’s key shopping destinations.
“We all lived above our stores and our weekly street meetings involved a bottle of wine and a cheese board,” she said.
“It wasn’t about having a big fashion retail empire at the time.
“I just thought, ‘wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a small retail space’, but the business just grew from there.
“The Paddington store was without a doubt the beginning of my career and I could never sell it because it is such a big part of who I am.”
From there, she expanded her business to 150 stores worldwide before she started scaling it back to focus on interiors and her family.
The couple’s new website is: dinnigancocks.com.