At last week’s Reed Gift Fair, soft furnishing company, Bandhini released their Spring Collection. I didn’t make it to the fair so jumped at the opportunity to check out the new range at their Sydney showing at Boyd Blue.

Tai Shaffler, designer of Bandhini showed me around her new collection which was beautifully displayed in Boyd Blue’s Sydney showroom. Boyd Blue is an agent to a number of suppliers and their “Trade Only” showroom is always a delight to visit.

I couldn’t believe how well the new Bandhini collection complements the Designer Boys‘ artwork. Or is that the Designer Boys’ artwork complements the Bandhini range? Either way, they looked fabulous together and I had to ask if they had collaborated.

Tai said no and she remembered watching the boys on The Block thinking that they would love her stuff. She explained that when the did finally meet at a trade fair, the boys pretty much took everything on display. Definitely on the same wave length, still now!

Bandhini’s products are all made from natural fibres and vat dyes. Embellishments are attached by hand in the traditional style and inspiration comes from culture and nature.

You can see the exquisite detail in the Mother of Pearl Lumber cushion.

Shells, buttons, pearls, tufts, coins, sequins, felt flowers, tassels and even a horse bit are all sewn on to the covers to give a textural look and feel to any bed or sofa. With so many colours and patterns there’s something for everyone.

You can purchase Bandhini cushions and other soft furnishings through Inside Out Colour and Design. Contact us with your preferences.

Playing with Paint

Looking for something to do this weekend?

Our friends at Signature Prints, home of Florence Broadhurst wallpapers and fabrics, are holding a special Workshop.

Florence Broadhurst Fans in custom made lamp shade

Artist Gav Barbey will demonstrate the art of screen printing before showing you how to create a unique postcard. And before all that fun, you will take a behind the scenes tour of the Signature Prints studio.

How much fun does that all sound?

Quickly, get your fingers dialing to book in as there are only 20 spots available. Have fun and come back and tell us what you created.

If you would like assistance with colour or decor for your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.



Towels, Sheets and Cushions

It’s that time of the year again when KAS Australia hold their Warehouse Sale.

I love KAS for their fun and colourful designs at great prices. And when they are on Sale, I love them even more. It’s the perfect time to find some new soft furnishings for Spring.

Sale time at KAS Australia

If you can’t get to the warehouse in Sydney, then you can shop online and still take advantage of the sale.

Have a great weekend shopping up a storm.

If you would like assistance finding soft furnishings and other decor for your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.


Designer Artworks

Do you remember those lovable boys from series 1 of The Block? After appearing on the show in 2003, Gavin Atkins and Warren Sonin were highly sought after for their interior design and property styling skills and established Designer Boys Interior Design. After almost a decade of assisting clients Gavin and Warren followed their creative talents and built a wholesale art business that provides original designs and exceptional service to interior designers, architects, decorators, hotels and specialty retail stores.

The Block Team Series 1

The boys recently launched their new catalogue full of gorgeous pieces. I asked the duo a few questions about their inspiration for this collection.

Who is your design idol?

It’s Mother Nature of course! We are constantly inspired by her magnificent work and beauty all around us. Living in the Byron Bay hinterland we are constantly reminded about the beauty of nature & how the palette changes with the seasons. One of the biggest reasons is when you sit in a beautiful natural setting, like a rainforest, you feel uplifted, calm & exhilarated all at the same time. This is a true sign of great design – energetically it changes the way you feel in a very positive way! Mother nature will always be our idol & it’s ashamed that so many people are losing touch or even frightened of nature.

Leaf Motif III from Central Park Collection

What is your top tip for buying artworks?

We love to purchase artworks that are textural & with a touch of nature – it helps reconnect you to nature & you feel very grounded. When you view an artwork it should make you feel good inside. It should have nothing to do with the price tag… It could be an emerging artist or a decorative piece that you personally admire. It’s in the eye of the beholder…

Landmark I from the Print Collection

What is your favourite room in your current home?

Now that’s hard one! We’ve just finished building our home & it’s an 1880’s farmhouse which we have extended and made contemporary for today’s living – so many rooms are our favourite – it was custom to all of our needs. The living room is particularly special with large windows overlooking a magnificent valley – wherever you sit in this room you can see the rolling green hills, the cows grazing & the sky. At night we light our oversized stone fireplace. It sets the ambience for the entire room.

Indigo Coral – also comes in Charcoal and Rubine Red

How does living in the Byron Bay Hinterland influence your designs?

We live on 60 acres & surrounded by nature everyday. It’s truly inspiring for us. We are at our happiest & most creative when we have time out from our busy lives just to recharge ourselves on our hinterland property. It’s what we define as our new luxury – having the space & the solitude to reenergise our creativity – that’s priceless. This luxury has nothing to do with money or expensive labels. It’s all about taking time out with nature, to be mesmerised by it’s beauty. So many of artworks have been inspired by the beauty around us. The textures in particular!

Fern Motif III is embellished with luminous mother of pearl shell and elegant beading

Your art collections are very textural. Is texture something that needs to be included in a room design?

We love mixing textures in our own interiors and we did for a long time when we doing interior design & decorating for clients. On the mood board, clients would often question why we use so much textures in our design palette & with many of them clashing. We would always say that you will need to trust us & of course, the finished product would always be a proud moment, when clients would often ask why they feel so good in their rooms we create for them. Our secret is the use of texture, symmetry & balance in all of our designs. All of artworks are about the use of textural materials made from natures and showing them their best.

Message Sticks – raw organic beads

Your latest collection includes a range of colourful prints. Is there a reason you’ve introduced so much colour into your range?

Weaving colour into any ones life is true magic – it makes you feel good, but not too much. Some designers can go over the top with colour and it can make you feel uneasy. We like using a splash of colour in our designs to uplift the spirit and to create a focal point in a room. In this art collection we’ve introduced the beauty of colour through sophisticated water colours. The reaction has been overwhelming and we must agree colour is the NEW black!

Feather Abstract Print

What’s your favourite piece from your new collection?

Everyone has a favourite Designer Boys artwork and we’ve created our art collection to meet the diverse range of tastes from our clients. However, the Lexington Collection is one that stands out. It is a strong geometric design that is made from soft cow hide, silver foiling & mother of pearl shell. It is all handcrafted and designed by us. It’s very sophisticated and was a big seller at Decoration & Design in Melbourne.

Geometric Hide Motif 1 from The Lexington Collection

I’m sure you will agree the pieces are just gorgeous and I can’t wait to use them in my next interior. Thank you Gavin and Warren for providing such beautiful artworks and answering my questions.

If you would like to include one of these pieces in your home, contact us for details.

Art On The Floor

Yesterday morning I attended a breakfast to celebrate the finalists in the Art On The Floor competition.

For the last ten plus years, Designer Rugs has collaborated with the International School of Colour and Design to hold a rug designing competition. Students are encouraged to enter a design or two and the lucky 6 finalists have their design made into a rug which they get to keep. This year there were over 200 entries.

As a past student of ISCD I’m always keen to see what the students are doing. At the breakfast, each finalist stood before her rug (yes, it was an all female final this year) and gave us some insight into how she arrived at the design. The ladies bought back memories of the various art and design assignments that form part of the foundation course at the ISCD. The judges, Yosi Tal from Designer Rugs, Lucy Sutherland from the International School of Colour and Design and Claire Bradley, Editor of Inside Out Magazine, gave their comments on the design too.

This rug was created from a texture exercise involving dripping and flicking methylated spirits on gouache paint and watching it bleed out to circles. The rug was praised for it’s balance of composition and colour which is a difficult combination to get right in a modern rug.

Emma Corrigan designed this rug with spaghetti! It is a contemporary, edgy rug depicting the view of the buildings and lights from the road leaving central Sydney.

The design for this rug emanated from a collage that was made from a shattered bar code. It was a bold and striking design that would look great in any room that needed a pop of colour.

The purple rug was actually the image of a brain which was then scanned and enlarged and coloured intensely.

“Swirls” was inspired from the lid of a hairspray bottle which was then repeated and enlarged and became a semi abstract painting. The swirling gently organic shapes of nature were also considered and enhanced the design.

And the winner was……..

Susan Trainor with her rug, “Blossom Embrace”. Susan explained that she had chosen her artwork from a natural object as the starting point for the rug design. Her natural object was a gum nut which she had drawn on a plain background. Susan decided it was a bit bland so took to the drawing with her artline pen and created the movement and interest in the background. Susan can see a family embracing in her rug which gives it a feel good factor.

It was a very exciting morning for the finalists and their families to see the designs made up into gorgeous rugs. Thank you Designer Rugs and ISCD for the invitation. And congratulations to all the finalists.

If you would like assistance sourcing rugs for your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

The Beach Shack

The Historic Houses Trust in Sydney have been running a series of lectures based around different architecture styles both then and now. I attended the talk on Bungalows a few weeks ago and recently attended the session on the Beach Shack. It’s been a long dream of mine to own a house on the beach. I don’t mean a beach house, I mean a house right on the beach. You know, where you step off your verandah and on to the sand and it’s more about the location and lifestyle than the size of the house and it’s interiors.

I am definitely a warm weather person and I love the water. We will go for a drive into the countryside and my husband will say, “Look at that, isn’t if beautiful?” Mmmm, I can agree it’s pretty, but give me a water vista any day and I’m happiest.

So I was keen to hear the history of the beach shack as presented by Design Historian, Dr Michael Bogle. A shack is a collage of found objects – materials assembled with no real form. It usually responds to the site and provides shelter. A hut, however is more structured usually made from precut uniform materials. It could possibly feature architectural conventions such as gables and doors. Many huts became shacks as extra rooms and areas were added to the original structure.

A shack is generally made from only that which is necessary and available. There was a great emphasis put onto getting the right site away from prevailing winds.

Stockton Bight outside Newcastle has a shack community which was erected after World War 2. There are 11 shacks known as Tin City which are on 99 year squatters’ leases and no new shacks can be built nor can destroyed shacks be replaced. This area was used for several scenes in the Mad Max movie.

Australian Artist Ian Fairweather who became reclusive in his latter years lived in a shack on Bribie Island just north of Brisbane.

Bribie was a favourite haunt of mine in my latter teenage years. We used to go sailing there as it was an easy drive from my home in the northern suburbs of Brisbane. When I started working, I would pack my beach bag and my dog into the car on my day off and head on up to Bribie for a few hours of sun worshipping before having an icecream and heading home.

I think it’s that carefree life that we desire that suits so well to life in a beach shack. But there’s not many real shacks left these days. Council Inspectors and Park Rangers have put a stop to these haphazard buildings. The appeal of shifting things around, framing the view and the sense of freedom and pleasure this beach combing lifestyle gives have been banned from our lives, as they don’t conform or are deemed to be dangerous.

The new beach houses are more like our suburban homes plonked on a block of land facing the sea. The shack has a connection with the landscape and has a holiday or relaxed feel, whereas a home eludes to a regimented life. I guess we all get to an age where we long for something of our past. It’s not better or worse, it’s just different.

I’d love to hear your stories of life in beach shacks or huts.

If you would like assistance with colour and design for your shack, no matter where it is, we would love to help. Contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Sydney Houses

The Historic Houses Trust is currently running a Lecture Series on various house styles. A couple of weeks ago I attended the talk on Bungalows.

As a Colour Consultant and Interior Decorator located on the North Shore in Sydney, I am in the Californian Bungalow heartland and have consulted on a number of Cal Bungs on both the North Shore and other parts of Sydney.

So I was keen to attend the talk given by Dr James Broadbent followed by another given by Scott Robertson.

Dr James Broadbent spoke on the original bungalows of Australia. Although the first use of the term Bungalow wasn’t used until 1854 when it appeared in a real estate advertisement for a house in Burwood. The term bungalow has different connotations. In England, the term bungalow implied a cottage and was looked down upon in disdain. It was usually a small single storey dwelling.

Macquarie Fields House

The colonial bungalows that started to appear in the 19th century had distinct Australian character. Many of the bungalows had verandahs like the bungalows seen in India. Army personnel that were stationed in India transported the ideas and architecture back to Australia.

The grandest bungalow built in the early years of Sydney’s settlement was Captain Piper’s Naval Villa and was originally built without a verandah.

Captain Piper's Naval Villa

Scott Robertson spoke on the Californian Bungalows that started to appear in the early 1900’s following Richard Stanton‘s visit to the United States in 1905. The bungalow style was quickly adopted and the book Australian Bungalow and Cottage House Designs lists 78 different bungalow designs. The bungalow was used as war service homes between 1920 and 1927 and a range was produced by George Hudson and Sons in a ready cut version.

Californian Bungalow Style House on North Shore

The series continues with talks on Beach Shacks, Terrace Houses, Project Homes and Portable Housing yet to be held.

If you would like assistance with colours or decor for your bungalow, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.




Time for ….

….an update on the Best Australian Blog Awards for 2012.

As you know I was honoured to have been nominated and you all came to my support by voting for me in the People’s Choice Awards. Thank you so much.

Unfortunately I did not win a prize as such, but still feel like a winner just to have been involved.

There are some amazing blogs out there and the list of winners is indicative of the calibre of the entrants and the varied topics that are written about every day.

Visit the winners circle and you may just learn something new.

I’m off to Designex today to be inspired by new products and design and catch up with some colleagues. Enjoy your Wednesday.


Mum’s Special Afternoon Tea

It’s been another whirlwind week with quite a number of colour consultations going on around here. I haven’t had a chance to tell you about the Home Food and Wine Weekend I attended last Saturday here in Sydney.

Home Food and Wine Weekend Lifestyle Stage

It was another great event with loads of ideas and workshops and plenty of goody bags. But the one workshop that stood out was the Royal Albert Tea Party. And seeing it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday I thought today would be a great time to tell you all about it and maybe plant some ideas for a special afternoon for Mum.

Love the pink chair

Royal Albert Fine Bone China really needs no introduction having been around for over 100 years. It has that vintage, girly look with plenty of flowers and pretty pastel colours.

And there were green chairs too.

The stylists had created a fabulous table setting which is pretty easy to do, once you know how.

Afternoon Tea Table

Let’s start with the wall art – using an Ikea deep frame, some liquid nails, a sheet of wrapping paper and your chosen tea cup and saucer you too can create this pretty piece to either hang on the wall or lean against the mantlepiece.

Wall art with tea sets

You don’t have to have all your tableware matching. By using mismatched styles and colours, you create interest in your tablescape. It’s always the unexpected that surprises and delights your guests too.

One of the centrepieces

There were plenty of surprises on the table that was styled for the workshop.

Royal Albert Stand

Each placemat was different. There was a mirror (although some of us thought that wasn’t such a good idea and probably best suited for the younger members of the Tea Party!)

Mirror Placemat

A blackboard with appropriate message.

Blackboard Placemat

And a carved frame.

Frame Placemat

And all those cupcakes were actually baked IN the teacups!

The centrepiece was made from cheap white vases and chipped plates and of course, clear liquid nails. You can really let your imagination run wild here and put together any bits you find. Think about the height you wish to create on your table.


Then there were the place cards. The cork was really easy and can be achieved with a sharp knife. That’s if you can find a bottle of wine with a cork, these days.

Cork Place Card Holder

But the fork was very cute. The stylist explained that she placed the fork between two sheets of board and then DROVE over them in her car. This flattened the tines of the fork. Pliers were then used to bend the handle of fork at right angles and the place card was slipped between the tines. Effective, don’t you think?

Fork Place Card Holder

A similar treatment was given to a spoon, except the driving bit, and the spoon was used as a tealight holder.

Uri Geller Tea Light Holder

After the workshop, we were all treated to a cup of T2 in beautiful Royal Albert Teacups. It was great fun.

So why don’t you take one or more of these ideas and create a special tea party for your Mum this Sunday. Take some photos and post them on our Facebook Page. We’d love to see your creations.

Happy Mother’s Day!


If you would like assistance creating something special in your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Home Food and Wine Weekend

If you are in Sydney and wondering what to do this weekend, head over to Moore Park, especially if you love to cook, decorate or entertain.

The Home Food and Wine Weekend starts today and runs until Sunday with workshops, tastings and demonstrations on all things Home, Food or Wine.

I’m heading over to the Brownie Making Demonstration only because my daughter wants to go. I suppose they’ll be giving taste tests too. Oh well I’ll just have to indulge.

I’ve also booked into the Tea Party with Royal Albert.

And the Window Fashions trends with editor of Belle, Neale Whitaker.

Should be a great weekend. Don’t forget to register before you go so you’re not disappointed that your chosen event is booked out.

Have a great weekend.

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