Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Anywhere Beach Chair from Crashmat

Now I've got a crashmat bubble for propping up my tablet, I don't think I could ever go back to the slippery slide of a cushion or the bulk of a pillow to hold it in place on my lap. A new product from crashmat is the handy go-anywhere beach chair. Definitely on my Santa list!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Traditional Christmas: Red and Green, Even Outdoors

As Christmas baubles and trimmings become more sophisticated, and colours follow fashion trends, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to choose from the many divine decorations on offer at this time of year. I took the plunge a few seasons ago by choosing yuletide chic over conventional options, but sadly, the black Christmas tree I bought didn’t do much to impress the grandparents and littles, nor did the wicker door decorations and plywood ornaments. So this year I resolved to revisit tradition – after all red and green still say Christmas better than any other colour combination and when applied to handcrafted treasures outshine even the glitziest bauble. But I have also taken the idea one step further and given an outdoor tree a Christmas makeover. I think you'll agree, these red, green and gold outdoor decorations from TreeTrinkets fill both the traditional and contemporary niche for yuletide dressing.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Cover Ups: Tablecloths of distinction

If you have a cupboard full of linens and fabric lengths, sarongs and shibori, picked up on travels and at op shops, don’t keep them stored waiting for the day the sewing bug gets you. Throw these terrific textiles over the table. And don’t worry if your stunner of a tablecloth gets a little stained with food or wine. A gorgeous cloth on show is better than a rolled up piece of fabric in a cupboard any day. Read more on decorating your home for summer in my story in Fairfax Media's Life&Style online here.

Table dressing: Cover ups: Throw a terrific textile over a bed, sofa or table. These ones by textile and
homewares designers Bonnie and Neil. Styling by Heather Nette King, photography by Armelle Habib.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Flora Adora: Christmas Table Setting

It could be beach pebbles or river rocks anchoring napkins in place, a simple row of posies in odd jars or tins in the middle of the table, or even novel place cards made by writing names onto pieces of citrus fruit, which are then plonked on the plate of each guest setting. Christmas and the summer season presents numerous opportunities to dress the tabletop with garden greenery or floral fun. Here's what you can do with homewards Ikea suggests, with plenty of classic red and plaid table essentials. Other ideas could include glass candle holders wrapped in fern fronds and tied with grass; dried out and pressed leaves used as wine coasters; pieces of hollowed out driftwood filled with cacti or paper flowers; single philodendron leaves as placemats; sprigs of aromatic herbs or fresh mint clipped and ready for garnishing.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Pink Power: Beach Accessories for Little Girls

Forget beach balls and surf mats, some little girls like a bit of glamour with their sandcastles. If you know of a girl who would go gaga over this outdoor setting (all in pink, of course), then head over to Pottery Barn Kids where there are lots of cute summer ideas on show. 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Wallpaper Christmas Tree

More Christmas tree ideas: This one from UK wallpaper designer Deborah Bowness, who has created a photographic life-sized print of a real tree on wallpaper, complete with an option to hang baubles. The Tree For Life, Not Just For Christmas comes packaged with everything you need to hang your tree as a scroll, but you'd have to hurry to order, especially from overseas, from Deborah Bowness, or for other products in Australia contact Quintessential Duckegg Blue in Sydney.


Friday, 6 December 2013

Christmas Tree Tricks

Why confine yourself to a standard Christmas tree, when there are so many creative alternatives to copy and add your unique sparkly style to. Take a leaf out of Country Road's book or cool ideas and purchase an A-frame ladder and a few shelves to simulate a Chrissy tree. It will look great all season long, especially if you want to keep your decorative display out on show long after St Nick’s been down the chimney.

A selection of Christmas gifts from Country Road; www.countryroad.com.au

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Summer Party Lights

You just can’t go past a light display for creating ambience outdoors. Paper lanterns are both colourful and practical. They can be used to ‘cover’ small candles for an evening event, or cover vases of flowers by day. They look best, however, strung up over your table, with or without illumination, looking just as pretty as decoration for a luncheon as they will after dark emitting a soft colourful glow over the dinner table. If outside in the evening, put up an umbrella and tie the paper lanterns to the ribs inside, or hang fairy lights or small glass hurricanes to create a private starry dome of twinkling candles.

Create an outdoor party ambience with pretty Strala snowball lights from Ikea.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Welcome Mat: Preparing your home for guests

With the holiday season soon upon us, friends are likely to drop by, and some may even want to stay over. If you prepare for your guests' arrival, a knock at the door won't fill you with dread. Try some easy-to-do ideas to warmly welcome friends and family into your home. They might just win you accolades for being the perfect host.

Read more about getting your home ready for summer via Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and more via Fairfax Media online. Just click here.

The Big Clean Up: When guests are due, clean kitchens and eating areas are a top priority. This immaculate dining area is in Grong Grong house. It's by the award-winning Melbourne interior design firm Molecule Architects www.moleculeweb.com.
Photography by Shannon Mcgrath.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Summers Past at Bondi Beach, 1966

What will you be doing this weekend? This snapshot of summers past was photographed at Bondi Beach in 1966 and is now in the National Archives of Australia. Looks like fun.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Australian Textile Designs Inspired By Homeland

We just love the authentic goodness in the antipodean-inspired designs so obvious in Rouse Phillips' gorgeous textile prints. Artists Anastasia Phillips and her partner Tim Rouse started the company in 2012.

"We're a relatively new company based in Darlinghurst," says Phillips. "We design and manufacture textiles for soft furnishing and upholstery as well as a range of hand knotted rugs and kilims. We are trying to do something that is a bit different, made from high quality materials – home furnishings that will be beautiful for many years to come."

According to Phillips, the company is already experiencing a lot of interest in its work locally and overseas and has been featured in a number of publications including Design*Sponge, Inside Out and Home Beautiful magazine. Here below are some examples of Rouse Phillips textiles and rugs.

Cool Coffee Cup Wins Award

Congratulations to UpperCup for their win in the Product Design, Homewares category at the Melbourne Design Awards 2013 announced last night. The product is possibly the world's finest reusable coffee cup and was designed, developed and manufactured in Melbourne by Charlwood Design. A crowd funding campaign to raise the necessary funds to pay for an injection mould tool, brought the UpperCup to life. It's a great looking cup defined by a double wall design. This gives the cup a beautiful and elegant aesthetic and also serves the function of insulation, keeping coffee hot inside and hands cool on the outside.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Rattan & Bamboo Always Popular Outdoors

In recent years, rattan and wicker furniture, especially chairs and table settings designed for outdoor living, got us in the mood to accept more textural offerings elsewhere in the home. Now seating, beds and casegoods are being woven out of all kinds of natural fibres, including new ways with vibrantly painted bamboo. Outside, wicker has become very colourful with the introduction of sophisticated new techniques in making the woven strands out of weather-resistant and easy-to-dye polyester. This Montauk wicker chair from West Elm, made from all-weather polymer wicker over a powder-coated aluminium frame, is a real pleaser. Read my article on 10 Top Trends for Summer in The Sydney Morning Herald online and Fairfax Media nationally. Read more here.

Bathroom Bliss With Kaldewei Enamelled Baths

Plastic baths look, well, okay... but bathing in them is just not the same feeling you get when luxuriating in an enamelled steel bath. Kaldewei has produced its own, fully recyclable steel enamel since 1932. As a pioneer and style icon of bathroom culture, Kaldewei manufactures baths, shower trays and floor-level shower surfaces from eco-friendly Kaldewei steel enamel. Here are a couple of dream bathrooms with Kaldewei enamelled steel baths and shower trays – very zen! You can buy or order in Australia through Bathe. Oh, and check out that angular towel rack in the image below. What a neat idea!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Molecule: A Melbourne Studio Moving Up

Great to see Molecule a small practice with big ideas making the shortlist for the Emerging Designer of the Year award in the upcoming Interior Design Excellence Awards for 2013. Molecule was established in 2010 by architects Anja de Spa, Richard Fleming and Jarrod Haberfield. It is a Melbourne-based studio that focuses on high design projects across the disciplines of architecture, interiors and art direction. The two Molecule projects shortlisted for IDEA 2013 are Grong Grong - a sumptuous and dramatic Toorak residence (top pic), and Coldstream Homestead - a rural retreat on a vineyard in the Yarra Valley (below). Photographs by Shannon McGrath.

Modern Memphis: Original Designer Collaboration

A trend to watch: Designers are having a field day operating under the veil of postmodernism by rediscovering the Memphis movement and delighting in the influence of the group's chief designer, Italian Ettore Sottass. Loud patterns, muted blocks of primary colour and geometric shapes can be seen in a range of specially commissioned homewares, furniture and furnishings at the London store Darkroom (it thankfully sells online) as well as in the new collection for Danish company Hay overseen by uber designer Sebastian Wrong. Original Memphis designer Nathalie Du Pasquier's Ice pattern was brought out of the archives to cover this armchair for the Wrong for Hay collection, available via Corporate Culture and Cult. Read my article on 10 Top Trends for Summer in The Sydney Morning Herald online and Fairfax Media nationally. Read more here

Monday, 21 October 2013

Scratch Me Happy: Cardboard Home For Cats

Okay, there's nothing Australian or Asian about this cute cardboard house for felines, but the cat-lover in me could not resist sharing, especially when for just over 90 euros, or about AUD $130, you can have one Krabhuis from Holland shipped to your door well in time for Christmas! Doubling as a carboard box to sleep in (what is it about cardboard boxes that cats like so much?) and a scratching post to boot, the house is made from recycled material of 48 layers of duofold cardboard. 

Krabhuis, which means scratch house in Dutch, was designed by three architects from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. “Krabhuis was designed like a child would draw a house, complete with window and chimney. The measurements are 38 x 34 x 52 centimer. Your cat may enter through one of the sides that’s left open, may sharpen it’s nails on the roof and through the window your cat may look outside.”

Look on the Krabhuis website for delightful pics that happy customers around the world have submitted of their cats snoozing inside the house or sharpening claws on the roof.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Tribal Patterns At Habitat For London Design Week

If tribal art could pattern my domestic world, I would look to Africa for colour and shape. I would commission local designers, craftsmen and women to choose their favourite patterns and together we would inscribe and etch on wood and cloth their lovely ideas. Each printed and wrought object would have a name, so I could talk to them at a later date and tell them the tales of their genesis.

The Design Network Africa, looks at the current shifts and exciting developments in design happening across the continent of Africa. In an exhibition called Graphic Africa at Habitat's gallery Platform during London Design Week, 20 pieces of new contemporary furniture by 16 designers from 10 countries in East, West and Southern Africa were displayed.
1. Floor lamp: Operating from their studio and showroom, Co-op, in the city hub of Braamfontein, Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin produce furniture, lighting and innovative interior objects. Inspired by the idiosyncrasies of their surroundings, their modernist angular design has a bold upbeat energy that makes their objects and furniture immediately desirable and urban cool; via www.dokterandmisses.com
2. Boubacar Doumbia’s Le Ndomo textile workshop specialises in natural fabric staining and dyeing techniques such as the traditional Bogolon mud cloth; via www.ndomo.net
3. Through his raw mixed-media furniture creations Hamed Ouatarra aims to bring out design that exposes the realities of modern Africa. ‘My goal is to provide a key point in a continent which suffers from imports and all kinds of imitation furniture, especially of poor quality and which does not reflect our culture.’; via www.coroflot.com/hamedouattara
4. Boubacar Doumbia’s Le Ndomo textile workshop specialises in natural fabric staining and dyeing techniques such as the traditional Bogolon mud cloth; via www.ndomo.net
5. Purple chair: Cheick Diallo’s furniture and objects challenge common perceptions of African design with their mix of ancient wisdom and contemporary sensibility. A creative risk-taker Diallo trained as an architect and designer in France, before establishing a studio in his home city. His team of artisans manufacture objects from everyday detritus – from bottle tops to old tyres; via www.diallo-design.com. Felted black chair: Entirely self-taught and following her own creative instincts, Ronél Jordaan began by turning fine gossamer thread into robust felted forms; via www.roneljordaan.com. Table lamp: Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin of studio Dokter and Misses produce furniture, lighting and innovative interior objects inspired by the idiosyncrasies of their surroundings; via www.dokterandmisses.com
6. Vase: Shaped without a potter’s wheel and given a unique black patina finish by firing over an open bamboo fire instead of a kiln the ceramics from designer Joseph Nii Noi Douwuona are made under his direction by 70 Ghanaian women; via www.kpandopottery.com. Sideboard: Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin of studio Dokter and Misses produce furniture, lighting and innovative interior objects,inspired by the idiosyncrasies of their surroundings; via www.dokterandmisses.com

See below the African Beauty fashion editorial of model Kinee Diouf by Paris-based photographer Ishi for for Vogue Netherlands July 2013. 

Plankton Provides Inspiration For Design Award

Oh so ethereal and otherworldly are these Plankton lights by Malinko, the Adelaide-based studio of Marta Cherednik. Inspired by ocean microorganisms, the lamp is one of a kind. Its light, intricate body is produced via 3D printing using durable nylon-based powder and features a great amount of detail. The lamp uses LED light bulbs that consume minimum energy. Its surface is covered in flock that gives it that unexpected soft and velvety finish. Such beautiful innovation deserves high praise - recognised at the Sydney Design Awards 2013 with a win in the Product Design category for Lighting.

Recycled Cardboard And Bamboo Furniture Wins Award

Cardboard is a material designers love to experiment with. Its throwaway nature and impermanence presents a challenge it is true, but designers continue to come up with novel ways to provide a sympathetic structure to what is essentially just thick paper. Gary Pennington from Tane Design in Melbourne has done this with Groove, a seating and lighting range produced from 100 per cent recycled cardboard featuring sturdy bamboo frames. According to Pennington: "The cardboard components sit within the bamboo frame but are not glued like other furniture of this kind, this allows the cardboard sections to be removed, recycled and replaced when they become tired. However, with care, the cardboard sections will last many years. They have already lasted well over two years in the public children's section of the Adelaide Zoo." The Groove range won the top award in the Furniture Product Design category at the recent Sydney Design Awards 2013.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Multiple Winner Chris Elliott Architects at Sydney Design Awards 2013

It isn't hard to imagine how impressed the judges must have been when they received Chris Elliott Architects' entry of Seacliff House in the Sydney Design Awards 2013 – the form of the house is as awe-inspiring as the ocean view over which it presides. Built for a family of four on a rocky platform overlooking the sea, the stark white house is both sharply angled and undulating in parts. Inside there is more white, lots of floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a sleek furniture. In some areas however, two features bring fun and warmth to the home: bold colour-blocking around the internal pool and raw hewn sandstone walls in the shower room. Not surprisingly, Seacliff house took out the top awards in both the Residential Architecture and Residential Interior Design categories for the Sydney Design Awards which announced the winners for all categories of design, from Installation Design to Graphic design, at an event held at the Beresford Hotel in Sydney last night. The striking images below are courtesy Chris Elliot Architects and photographer Richard Glover.


Winner of Sydney Design Awards 2013 Interior Decoration category: Karen Akers Design

It's winner's day today and first to be congratulated is Karen Akers. The interior designer won the top award in the Interior Decoration category at the 2013 Sydney Design Awards event, held last night at Sydney's Beresford Hotel, for her graceful decorating style in the conversion of a bowling clubhouse into a homey beach house. Tucked away in the dunes of Gerroa beach, south of Sydney, the house has a restrained palette of greys and whites, warmed by the natural hues of timber floors and furniture. See Thomas Dalhoff's beautiful imagery below.

Chris Elliot Architects, Frost* Design and Principals were announced as the Best Creators. Awards director Mark Bergin said: "There have been an extraordinary range of winners, who have really pushed the boundaries to design fresh and innovative outcomes." Along with these, 37 other category winners were also announced last night. More on them later!