Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Neo Geo Homewares

I am such a big fan of the geometrics trend: I love the patterns and the dusty colours, the black and white contrasts, the bold shapes. It's a trend that keeps returning and giving more, which makes it kind of classic yet still undeniably modern. This collection from Amalfi ticks all the boxes by combining texture, shape, pattern and colour in decorative accessories, such as distinctive lamps and uniquely textured glass vases that capture the geo-look perfectly. Each item works perfectly when featured as a stand-alone piece, however Amalfi suggests you can really celebrate the trend by presenting a number of geometric-inspired pieces together.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Cheeky Hook Ups: Four fun ways to hang up stuff

Fun and whimsical wall decor isn't all about papers and stickers. There are plenty of practical ideas that look cool, too. These colourful hooks and hangers look just as good devoid of any props as they do providing a practical function 'dressed' with bags, towels, keys, jackets, caps and umbrellas.

Dial Hangers can be mixed and matched in various colours, quantities, layouts and can be purchased with or without the extension hook. These ones are from The Design Hunter in Sydney.
This mid-century style Eames hang-it-all coat rack is being used to display colourful turban-style shower caps from Louvelle in the bathroom.
Create your own hall hanger with a straight piece of timber secured to the wall and the addition of some fancy hooks. The on-trend black and white patterned Aztec towel is from Cranmore Home.
Sold in packs of three, these delicious doughnut hooks are made from beech and are iced in strawberry pink, chocolate brown and sugar white. Get them online from Littleville.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Tight Squeeze: Vertical House from Muji Japan

Cool Japanese design brand Muji made the 'plain and simple' aesthetic chic in homewares, but now the company has gone one step further by bringing their cool design ethos to architecture. A narrow three-storey home that features wood floors, white walls and minimalist furnishings is on display in Tokyo. Being only 4.4m wide and 8.2m deep, the structure is a study in how to maximise space. What's more Vertical House is entirely pre-designed and assembled on site for about US$200,000. There are two other Muji houses that precede this one: Window House and Tree House. All are designed to provide stylish and affordable solutions to modern living in dense urban areas. 
All images courtesy of Muji.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Get Out Now: Outdoor furniture setups from Koskela

Our favourite inner city homewares emporium and designer warehouse at Koskela in Rosebery has assembled the perfect outdoor setting for summer living. Choose from fab furniture, fun games and funky accessories including some cool products pictured below: Denim Bean Bag by Koskela: $590, Bamboo Cloche Pendants: from $240, Pots (exclusive Koskela colourways): from $120, Round Beach Towel: $99, Beetle Track Stool: $660, Finska (a favourite lawn game): $70, Croquet Set: $165, Animal Footprint Thongs (Juniors): $55, Portable Speakers: $925.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Tinker Taylor: Stylish homewares from Taylor+Cloth

I get all sorts of inbox mails about new small businesses in the homewares sector and I've got to say most are awesome. I especially like some of the creative approaches taken by women trying to juggle family life with career. One of these designer dames is Kate Taylor. She's the lady behind Taylor + cloth, a Sydney-based homewares and lifestyle brand. She's got three adorable children and a beautiful home, but still finds time to share her wonderful designs via an online store.

Kate has designed a gorgeous range of homewares, of bed linens, cushions, bags and planters, that shows off her quirky but fashion-forward style. It's clear craft is her passion. She screen prints, sews, knots macrame and crochets. "I love making things for the people I love. That's not to say that I'm doing it alone though. I have some very important people motivating and helping me," she says.

On her website there are plenty of items made by Kate but there are also products made by her "amazing and creative Mama". There are also products from India and Nepal, "where a number of local crafts people are helping Taylor + cloth to make beautiful handmade homewares, all Fair Trade," she says.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Rug Up: Rustic rugs, kilims and berbers.

A handsome rug on a cool concrete or wooden floor give a room a loved-in look (yep, I mean love). Bare or stockinged feet feel happy when there's a rug to bury toes into, but a room can also get a instant colour and pattern lift with this one important furnishing item. Here are some examples of rustic handwoven rugs that have popped into my in-box of late (well, not the whole rugs, silly, but the email announcement of their in-store arrivals).

The two hand-loomed goat hair rugs, below, are from Atolyia.. They are luxuriously soft and made by hand in Turkey. According to Atolyia the rugs were traditionally worn by shepherds in the mountainous areas of Eastern Turkey and used as blankets and as floor kilims in the tents of the nomadic people of this region.

The rugs, above and below, are hand loomed using traditional techniques and without using any dyes. Atolyia have partnered with a school in the area to keep this traditional artisan skill alive.

Koskela has been the Sydney stockist for Loom rugs for a few years. There are several different weaves available: Kilim, Old Yarn, Dhoku and Vintage Rugs and you just have to visit their showroom to see the extensive collection 
on display.

With every table, sofa, bed, or custom fit-out Koskela designs, there is a beautiful rug available
to complete the setting.

West Elm's Pyramids rug's geometric pattern adds graphic punch to the floor in durable natural jute. These two below, show how even the most rustic materials can make commercially beautiful rugs.

Also at West Elm is this interpretation of a traditional Moroccan Berber. The Souk Rug is 
handcrafted from New Zealand wool.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Feature Fireplaces: A hearth-warming trend

There was a time when architects, interior designers and home renovators considered the fireplace a black blot in the living rooms of the modern Australian home. In the '80s and '90s, in particular, fireplaces found in old houses purchased ripe for renovation were often the first architectural elements to be ripped out, even when other period features were retained and restored.

The rationale behind removal was that these old fireplaces not only took up a lot of valuable space and ruined the clean lines that the then popular minimalist styles demanded, but that coal or wood-burning chimneys, often installed in the Victorian era, weren’t very efficient at pumping out heat, and instead often filled a room with smoke. Read more in my article Fire Power in Life & Style for Fairfax Media.

Cabin Too, VIC, Maddison Architects, maddisonarchitects.com.au. 
Photography by Will Watt, courtesy of Australian Interior Design Awards 2014.
Melbourne Residence, VIC, Elenberg Fraser, elenbergfraser.com. 
Photography by Peter Clarke, courtesy of Australian Interior Design Awards 2014.
Flinders House, VIC, susi leeton architects+interiors, susileeton.com.au. 
Photography by Lisa Cohen, Australian Interior Design Awards 2014.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Winter is coming: Citta Design's smart bedlinen

When the weekend weather starts to chill, there is nothing like a good sleep-in. To ensure a well-deserved catch up on rest and relaxation is the success you dream of, equip your bedroom with creature comforts. Some essential must-haves include a soft rug, luxury bedding, a bedside table and a good lamp. Citta Design has them covered in their current range of gorgeous homewares for the bedroom. In the first pic below check out the range which includes Avenue print pillows, Constellation duvet cover, Soren woven bedspread, Geo sheet set, Guarida copper lamp, Oak coffee table, Tulip wool rug, and cute bedside fluffy friend. Other smart offerings follow, or read more ideas for cosy bedroom retreats in my story for Life&Style online at Fairfax Media.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Creative Concrete at Slab Homewares

Every now and then, when it appears concrete homewares and finishes have started to get a little dull, the thought that concrete has been around since Roman times firmly places the material back in the classic category where it merely requires designer updates. Open to numerous interpretations, concrete gets that edgy refashioning when designers invent ways to manipulate it, mix it and combine it with other materials. Slab Homewares makes concrete products that have been paired with wood and metallics to soften and transform the everyday living objects they are made available as. They are ideal for the minimalist home, but look just as right in vivid, decadent decors, as well. Here are some old and new designs.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Etsy Pop-Ups In-Store At West Elm

I just love the idea of big store initiatives that embrace local artisan craftsmanship. Take for example West Elm's plan to join forces with Etsy in the company's first Australian pop-up stores in the Sydney and Melbourne outlets on June 21st, between 1-6pm. The event will give West Elm customers the chance to scoop up one-of-a-kind pieces from the likes of Sydney screen print label Pom by Pomegranate, and ceramics made by Koa by Kaitlin in Melbourne, and of course many more.

As the trend in interior design is to mix statement pieces with novel items, a collaboration such as this offers West Elm customers the chance to buy both in one store. They also get to purchase some of the unique 'props' stylists often use in catalog shoots to individualise the look of a collection of furniture and homewares. For Etsy online makers, the in-store experience allows them to connect to the customer base of a bricks and mortar retail outlet where their products can be styled in situ with larger pieces of high-end furniture and furnishings. Check out West Elm FB events for more information.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Post-modern origami: Melvin Ong's twist on tradition

Melvin Ong graduated from Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design with a degree in Product Design in 2010 and then worked and exhibited in London before relocating back home to Singapore in 2012 to establish his studio, Desinere. He launched his first collection in Design Tide Tokyo 2012, and has continued to wow audiences at the recent Maison&Objet in Singapore, Maison&Objet Asia, earlier this month. Here are some of Ong's super smart and tactile designs. Note the inspirational twist on traditional Asian crafts, such as Japanese origami and ceramics.