Here and Now: Lucky, by Liane Rossler

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This morning I popped down to the Carriageworks in Eveleigh to visit the latest instalment of Here and Now: Lucky.  Lucky has been curated by Liane Rossler to feature works by Australian and New Zealand creatives.  The concept is to explore the idea of luck and interpret their findings through design and art.

My favourite creation was the hanging bells called ‘let the pure wind release you’ by Tiffany Singh.  A concoction made from fabulous natural materials –  brass, copper, clay,  twine, beeswax, paper, flowers, leaves and natural dyes, these unusual objects really caught my eye!  Made in collaboration with other artists, the aim is to keep the ancient tradition of Kharki (bell making) alive.

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Other fun standouts were bronze knuckles and gold plated chicken wishbones, with wishes attached!  It’s well worth the visit.

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Please have a look at my guest post for The Interiors Addict on Liane Rossler and her latest projects….

http://theinteriorsaddict.com/qa-with-liane-rosler-on-sustainable-design

 

 

 

Local Artisan: Quercus and Co

Quercus and Co is a local artisan that has caught my eye recently.  I discovered the new wallpaper design and printing company whilst walking through a supplier showroom, their fresh-off-the-press wallpaper sample book drew me in with their watery-print designs and perfectly balanced colours.

Launched last year by Adam Jones, the papers are gaining recognition quickly in the Australian design industry.  I like them not only for their hand made style, but for the joyous feeling that they will evoke in any interior.  The designs are playful yet stylish, the multitude of colours can create unlimited effects and the texture of the paper itself will lend another tactile layer to a scheme.  All this, plus the bonus of being manufactured in an environmentally considered fashion.

‘We love the characteristics of hand-made marks on paper – washy watercolour, scratchy charcoal, soft pencil, blobby block-print. All our designs are first drawn or painted by hand and then printed using the latest digital techniques.’ – Adam Jones

Quercus and Co also offer art prints and bespoke wallpaper options.  It’s well worth checking out the website http://www.quercusandco.com

Styling your dining table: keep it simple

One thing I know is key to successful dining table styling is to keep it simple.  Unless you are a skilled stylist, too many colours, styles, complex centrepieces and crafty gimmicks found on Pinterest can get all too much.  I’ve found some lovely images (ahem… some on Pinterest) that I think are good examples to learn from.

The settings in the two images below have kept a muted and soft colour palette, introducing interest with layering and textured details.  The centrepiece sets the natural theme for the table and has been left on its own – not too fussy!  Light timber is echoed in the tableware and table itself.

Height can be cleverly introduced with sparse florals or twigs, like the beautiful magnolias below.  Guests will be able to see each other past this centrepiece.   Again, the colours are kept simple.

Any excuse to use your collections (as mentioned in my previous post… Styling your collections: the kookier the better!) can be very effective and add a personal touch, such as these vases, brought to life with fresh florals.  I think any setting deserves some sort of living feature, if not florals then fruit or vegetables can add a fresh element.

Finally, candles will add a warm finishing touch to any setting.  I love candelabras and candle sticks as they are romantic and entrancing as they burn down.  Tea lights are handy in adding a bit more light and sparkle.  There are some great safe candles out there which are battery operated and flicker continuously, a great option if you have flammable decorations nearby.  Just remember to dim the lights and enjoy everyone looking their best in a soft glow…

Local artisan: Dinosaur Designs

Dinosaur Designs have been a long time favourite of mine.  Today I visited their Extinct store in Strawberry Hills, Sydney, which is a great outlet to pick up reduced pieces.  It’s a small store, yet I spent what felt like an hour exploring all of the different shapes and colours, trying this with that, justifying in my head just one more vase.  Great fun.

While rather pricey, I like to keep in mind that each piece is hand made in Sydney using environmentally responsible practices.  This is really important to me as it supports local business and helps to keep skilled artisans employed.  I also know my purchases are unique and that I’ll have them forever.

Here’s some images from their Safari collection…

I hear there is a sale coming in September 20-22.

 

 

 

 

 

Styling your collections: the kookier the better!

I am a firm believer that happiness lies in the simple things.  It’s amazing how much joy a person can find collecting, organising and then just admiring whatever objects their heart desires.  I like to collect teapots, with best intentions to use them though I rarely do.  If you saw my balcony, you might say I collect (and obsessively grow) plants.  It doesn’t matter what you collect so long as it gives you a thrill – and the kookier the better I say!  Collections can be used to great effect in styling your home and showing your personality.

Imagine the person who owns this collection?  I bet the thought made you smile… even if in a slightly odd way.

Fornasetti plates look more like artwork here than a collection and is a good example of how a collection can be styled to really add something special to an interior.  The subtle monochrome palette, warmed up with timber, allows the artworks to take centre stage.

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This collection isn’t all the same object, but could be more of a theme like their favourite finds at a flea market.

A simple and inexpensive display such as this one can be made more interesting with some fresh flowers.

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I’ve been thinking of starting two new collections, pottery and hand held clocks!  What do you collect?

Bondi blue: dreaming of Summer

It’s mid winter here in Sydney and we’ve been spoiled by a lovely week of warm sun and sparkling blue skies. There was even a whale visiting down at Bondi beach!  Suddenly today, the rain is back and it’s got me reminiscing about all of the beautiful blues that mother nature treats us with.  Here’s some interiors in Bondi blues (‘Bondi’ is the best description I can think of!) and some tips on why they work.

Blue and Green should be seen.

If there was ever a rule that should be broken, it’s to mix blues and greens.  I think the image below is great evidence of this.  The reason these colours work so well together is that the blue and green are of the same intensity.  Instead of competing or one colour being washed out, they sit together happily balanced.  I love the timber bench seat, see how it softens the whole room because it brings in an organic element and looks so interesting because it is aged.  I’m already wondering if it’s from an overseas trip, found in an antique store… much more interesting that a chain store buy!

Contrast for maximum impact.

Speaking of interesting furniture pieces, I was out sourcing today and saw a few of these oriental armoires.  Not only are they incredibly practical and versatile, they come up so well when refinished in brighter colours.  This armoire really pops because it is placed in front of the red wall.  Red/orange and green/blue are complete opposites on the colour wheel, which guarantees maximum contrast.  Notice again, the colours are of similar intensity.

Just another great example of colour contrast, this time the colours reversed.

Break the rules.

There’s a lot going on in this room, but doesn’t it look fab?  I’m putting this one in just because even though it’s not perfectly balanced, looking at it makes me happy.  It must be all those beautiful jewel colours!

Now for the count down ’till winters end…

Learned on the job: mixing furnishings

As with any profession, there are some things that can only be learned on the job.  From my experience, getting that first job in Interior Design is no easy task.  I’d like to share some really vital tips in my next few posts that seem to be missing out there…

Mixing Furnishings

Successfully mixing furnishings is not an easy task and is something that Interior Designers will spend some time on, carefully considering their best options.  This is where reality TV shows are misleading – it’s not about a day of tearing through retail stores and making snap decisions, ending in bringing home half the showroom!

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http://sageatelier.files.wordpress.com/
This room really is an eclectic mix and is successful in relating each piece. The timbers are all harmonious in their tone, but not an exact match. The black and white zebra print is carried across from the floor to the sofa upholstery, even cleverly again in the black and white print on the wall. Colours are brought in on cushions, art and accessories that all seem to have a ‘friend’ somewhere else in the room.

Wether you are following a theme or putting together an eclectic mix, the pieces need to ‘talk to each other’.  There will need to be something that visually relates all of the furnishings.  Ask yourself, how does the colour of this chair (or texture, finish, pattern, shape, scale etc) sit with the colour of this side table?  Do they complement and bring out the best of each other?  Or do they clash and fight with each other?

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http://www.annerobin.com
Placing artworks in a french hang is fantastic practice at relating odd furnishings. These artworks appear random at first, but they all have colours that relate to other colours not far away. Framing is kept quite light in colour and thickness. The fabric on the sofa and cushions relate back to the artworks. See the geometric black and white artwork with the sofa? And the green leafy artwork with the cushion?

Furnishings don’t have to match and I think are better when they don’t.  Relating is more about linking one piece to another.  As an example, imagine a soft linen sofa placed on a sisal floor rug – both are natural tactile materials that will sit well together.  The same linen sofa placed on a graphic and bold synthetic floor rug… not so much.  Look for relations in style, texture, fabric, colour and shape.

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http://www.flodeau.com
The chairs are painted in different colours, but if you look closely you will see that these colours are taken from the wallpaper and are of similar intensity. The curving shape of the chairs is also reflected in the shape of the trees in the wallpaper.

Belle Editor-in-chief Neale Whitaker articulates my point well in a recent article– ‘Interior design becomes about balance and harmony – just because it’s free form doesn’t mean it’s a clash. There is a harmony and discipline to it.’