We sat down with local business owner Colin Mackay of Toowoomba’s Freedom Furniture to see what he likes best about the Downs, plus some design tips you can use in your home …

What do you like most about the Downs region?

What’s not to like? The Downs is a great place to live. Close proximity to both city and country, community spirit, everything you need is here on the Downs.

Who inspires you?

Dolly Parton. She is a genuinely kind and generous person and an outstanding charitable lady; a true icon for the people, offering so much more than just entertainment. Her commitment to her children’s literacy program is a perfect example.

2018 furniture trend forecast?

I think a retro glamour theme will be on trend. Clean lines, mid-century modernist inspired with luxe finishes like velvet. It’s all about luxurious textures on your furniture, pillow or throws.

Best tip to transform a ‘tired’ space in the home?

Accessories! You don’t need to replace everything in the room with expensive new items to be fabulous.

Favourite foodie haunt in the Downs region?

My back deck! I love to entertain friends and cook, so everyone usually ends up at my place. I’m known for my seared haloumi cheese with current or blackberry port syrup.

This summer, I will be spending more time …

In the garden with my dogs. I have a dual purpose garden — one side is decorative with plants of colour and flowers and the other is food producing. I have a very large variety of herbs, fruit and veges including olives, figs, mulberries, pawpaw and lots more.

The best way to unwind?

Watering my garden with a glass of chardonnay!

Ultimate holiday destination?

Italy. I love the food, the people and the country. I have been before and am off again this May.  I go with a group of friends and we eat and drink our way across Tuscany. Definitely should be on everyone’s bucket list.