Tessa James is one of those people who is almost impossible to sum up in a few words.

She is warm and kind by nature, well-spoken, modest, a creative at her core and with a list of credentials as diverse as it is impressive. With a career that started in television, on one of Australia's most iconic shows, and now with a family interior design business, her experience spans wide.

We admire how Tessa has managed to find a harmony between having beautiful things and knowing that simplicity is often enough. From what we can see, she has adopted that balance throughout her life too — being dedicated to the different roles she plays (literally and figuratively) as a mother and in her multifaceted career; everything carried out with an enviable amount of grace.

We visited Tessa in Melbourne to talk about the special things in her everyday.

We believe ‘adornments’ are a beautiful tool to enhance experience in our everyday life. How does this resonate for you on a personal level?

I am somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to 'things'. I prefer quality over quantity. I like the things I own to have meaning or come from a special place. I love to have jewellery that becomes a part of me; pieces I rarely take off, as they become a part of my everyday life.

It must be of particular importance in your work with AKI, and we imagine it’s a delicate balance designing and curating spaces that are equal parts practical and beautiful. Does one often trump the other?

Yes, I think if something is special and is beautiful to you it doesn't necessarily have to be practical. If everything was practical, life would be boring. In design it is important that the design functions well but it is also important that a space or possession is beautiful to you and has personality. At AKI we strive to design sensory and tactile spaces that evoke an emotional connection to the residents.

As well as making ordinary practices feel more personal, a piece of jewellery or object can often represent a momentous event or celebration. Is there something you own or wear that holds this kind of sentimentality?

All of my jewellery has personal meaning. One of the oldest pieces that I have barely taken off is my gold heart ring. It was given to me by my husband, Nate, as my engagement ring while we designed my real one. You point the heart towards you as a symbol that your heart belongs to someone. I love that about it.

Tessa wears our Hardware Necklace with Basic Chains, Opulent Rings and Romantic Bangles. All from our Core Collection.

Photography by Holly Graham, Apartment 12.