Crafting a beautiful room is more than collecting mere objects. It’s looking at ways to make joy manifest; helping to create homes to linger in and environments to inspire. A way to make a house a home - a place that truly reflects and embodies those who love and live there.
Vanessa has always adored texture, colour and light. The mother of three and merino and broadacre producer is drawn to the way a gorgeous pillow or a splash of bold colour can spark joy and lift a space. While riding the farming rollercoaster - droughts, floods and pandemics alike - her creativity offers her both solace and nourishment. A way to tell her own story and find pockets of cheer when the days outside are hard and long.
A love of the simple lamp and how its warmth can transform and elevate a space seamlessly drew her to begin crafting bespoke shades in 2017, all from the designer's dining room table on the family’s farm west of Rowena NSW. Armed with rolls of fabric in sumptuous colour and print and wreathed with lampshade rings, her finished products quickly caught the eye of her now-devout followers – and Lighten Up Handmade started to spread by word of mouth. A feat which would not have been possible without her sister, come business partner, Jenny.
“A lamp can completely transform the ambience of a room. By literally flicking a switch, a space can become warm and charming, or a little more playful,” Vanessa says. “It’s a wonderful feeling to make something out of nothing and to gift others joy.”
In 2019 LightenUp Handmade outgrew the dining table and a new HQ was in order. Vanessa’s husband - Mr LightenUp - Chris found a dilapidated shearer’s quarters on the neighbouring farm and with the help of their son Jack and a few mates, moved it to the Radford’s backyard with a new lease of life.
A few steps from Chris and Vanessa’s back door, the quarters are now awash with light, brimming with gloriously bright rolls of fabric and lamps. It’s here you’ll find Vanessa humming with productivity, a cuppa at her elbow, Louis the corgi at her feet – producing bespoke lampshades to help shine a light in homes across the country.