Emerging Trend?

Have you noticed a profusion of African inspired decor lately?

Bold patterns and colours give that African feel

Bold patterns and colours give that African feel

I know, it’s always been around but of late there seems to be a bit more of it and in all sorts of items. I don’t think we’re heading down the path of decorating a complete room in African style but more touches here and there. What do you think?

All the elements that make up African Style decor

All the elements that make up African Style decor

Perhaps it’s our climate and love of the outdoors that resonates so well with the African Safari Style which is then translated into our decor. There’s also a big push back to handmade items which any ethnic culture has valued for years. And African style is more simplistic which balances our love of technology and helps create a soothing, relaxing space.

African Style Corner

African Style Corner

Much of the strength of African Style emerges through texture. Natural fibres of Jute, sisal and seagrass are used for flooring while banana fibre and papyrus are used in woven baskets.

African Woven Basket

African Woven Basket

Rapee have recently released a range of cushions in bright colours and rich textures which would give an African lift to your room.

African Inspired cushions and throws from Rapee

African Inspired cushions and throws from Rapee

Lighting is warm and golden, utilizing rustic iron candelabra and wall sconces. Table lamps incorporate palm or pineapple motifs in their bases, whilst unique shades made from feathers or quills convey the safari ambiance.

Lamp Base with Pineapple Detail

Lamp Base with Pineapple Detail

Furniture features rich timbers with stylised accents or folding furniture which would be used on Safari.

Campaign Desk

Campaign Desk

These gorgeous pieces are based on the campaign furniture used on Safari and are available from one of our suppliers here in Australia.

African Campaign Chest that doubles as a bar

African Campaign Chest that doubles as a bar

Comfort is foremost in an African decor, with an overall effect of effortless luxury, a sense of adventure, but always relaxed and in harmony with nature.

Brightly Coloured Juju Hats

Brightly Coloured Juju Hats

If African Style would suit your home, you may be interested in reading Safari Style by Natasha Burns or contact us for assistance sourcing your items.

Vignette Magic

Last week, with great excitement, I attended a Vignette Magic workshop with the queen of vignettes, Kara Rosenlund. Kara and her gorgeous husband, Timothy O were visiting Sydney from their home town (mine too) of Brisbane. ( I discovered Kara went to school just up the hill from my Queensland workers cottage!)

One of Kara's vignettes

One of Kara’s vignettes

Kara is Australia’s modern day Gypsy. She travels around with her caravan, Frankie, collecting and selling her vintage and one off finds.

Frankie the caravan

Frankie the caravan

The workshop was held at Megan Morton’s “the school” which is a fabulous white space at Rosebery. There were so many exciting elements to the night that had me all a quiver.

"the school" at Rosebery

“the school” at Rosebery

Megan met course participants with Iced Tea Vodka Sodas which gave us time to mix and mingle, check out the interior of the famous Frankie and browse Kara and Timothy’s current collection. We were then ushered into the school and set eyes on our pre-workshop feast.

Frankie open for business

Frankie open for business

A scrumptious table of hand-churned butter, cheese, figs, honey on the comb, bread, dukka, hand made yoghurt and marinated olives was beckoning us.

Scrumptious buffet table

Scrumptious buffet table

But before we could tuck in, it was the perfect photo opportunity for all the instagrammers in the room. We had time to fill our plates and then take our seats for the main attraction.

Megan brought in a ladder to get a bird's eye shot of the buffet table

Megan brought in a ladder to get a bird’s eye shot of the buffet table

It was magical watching Kara select items from her table of “bits and bobs” and place them on the mantle.

The table of wares to be used in the vignette

The table of wares to be used in the vignette

She’d add, take away, move and rotate the carefully chosen pieces until the story was complete. And her vignettes do tell a story. As a spectator, you are drawn into the scene and want to find out more.

Kara adding and subtracting

Kara adding and subtracting

Kara had lots of little tricks that she generously passed on. Tricks like scrunching up paper to sit in a vessel so the item you place inside sits up and can be seen. And leaving crummage. Little bits of floatsam such as petals under flowers and fallen leaves under foliage. It helps to connect the viewer with the vignette.

A close up of the finished vignette

A close up of the finished vignette

It was then time to create a vignette, watch on or go back to graze at the buffet table. I enjoyed watching the other participants create and then Kara waving her magic wand over them, twisting an item to the left instead of the right, popping something up on a stack of books, or adding some vital crummage. It was a very inspiring evening.

One of the students' vignettes

One of the students’ vignettes

Before the trio took to the road again, Kara left us with her golden rules of vignettes. I hope she comes back soon.

Top 5 Rulles

Top 5 Points

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

How to make a space your own

At the recent Decoration and Design trade event held here in Sydney, I was fortunate to attend Abigail Ahern‘s seminar, Decorating With Style.


As Abigail started speaking, I could immediately relate and agree with her design ethos. She explained that a good interior should have glamour, ecclectism and wit. That’s the way I design interiors for my clients. I love a bit of glamour but then most of my clients have families and they actually have to live in the home, so some ecclectism is great with found and collected pieces thrown into the mix. And of course, no interior, unless it’s Buckingham Palace perhaps, should be without a smattering of wit. It’s what gives a room personality.


She had two main rules which are good for those attempting to decorate their own homes – 1) Make it personal and 2) ditch rules, trends and forecasts. If you try to follow trends or submit to forecasts then you’ll never really be happy in your space because as soon as you get it all decked out, bang a new trend comes along and your place looks soooo yesterday! Whereas if you fill your home with things you love, be it colours, furniture, fabrics or homewares, you will always feel comfortable and so will your guests.


Abigail’s advice for working with small rooms was great too. Small rooms will always be small rooms just like dark rooms will always be dark rooms. Get over it and embrace it. Work with what you have and don’t try to make it something it will never be.


Abigail launched her new book here in Sydney. It’s not yet released overseas but you can put your name down at Amazon for one of the first copies.

If you would like assistance creating a home in which you and your family will feel comfortable, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Geometry in Wallpaper

Have you seen the new wallpaper range by Greg Natale?


Porters Waterloo covered with Chevron Wallpaper

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the launch of his range of wallpapers for Porter’s. I’ve always liked Greg’s work. The clean lines and bold use of colour is his signature along with geometric patterns. So it was really no surprise that his wallpaper is in a similar vein.


Breakfast with the stars!

Chevron, horizontal stripes, pinstripes and diagonal stripes in bright bold colours abound.I particularly like how Greg himself has used the horizontal stripe paper but offset each roll to create something a little more funky.


Off set horizontal stripe wallpaper

The colour names are fun too – Burnt Mandarin, Miami Sour, Oxford and Mocassin. The wallpaper colours can be matched to Porter’s range of paints for the truly co-ordinated look.


If you would like assistance sourcing wallpaper for your home, contact us for an appointment.



The beginning of the year for designers usually heralds the start of the trade show circuit. I love going off to the shows and taking a day out of the office, away from the files and immersing myself in the latest trends, products and people to hit the scene.

And this year, the co-founders of reputable styling house, Cool Edies’, Lucy Weight and Jane Frosh, are teaming up with Life Instyle to launch Style Lab. This unique interactive concept is set to explore the world of art and design which will create a visually remarkable experience. The annual Life Instyle will be held at Sydney’s Royal Hall of Industries from 21 – 24 February.

STYLELAB_EDDIE 2 Sounds intriguing doesn’t it? From what I can gather, these super talented stylists will create a new scene each morning and visitors will see a real life photographic set which will feature products from the show’s exhibitors. ‘The new Style Lab concept allows us to draw visitors into the studio, just as if we are working on a real life shoot- except with a vibrant, live element mixed in,’ says Weight. Such artistic explorations will be inspired by international trends, crazy concepts and will set to push creative boundaries. ‘You can expect to see us testing things out,..pushing limits,..and you can expect us to be listening to great music!,’ says Cool Edies.

Life Instyle has been heralded as the “different” trade show with more creative and artistic products on display. I have watched the show grow over the past few years and this year there will be over 300 exhibitors who have all been carefully selected to represent premium, bespoke and design led products within a beautiful shopping environment. Maybe this year I may have to visit every day just to see the new set created by Cool Edies.

So if you are a stylist, designer or magazine editor, here’s where you need to be.

WHAT: Style Lab showcased at Life Instyle 2013

WHEN: 21 – 24 February

WHERE: Royal Hall of Industries & Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park

Sorry, this is a TRADE ONLY EVENT but hopefully I’ll be able to post some photos afterwards if you can’t make it.


Affordable Danish Design

Last week I attended the launch of the new BoConcept Store here in Sydney.

Great artwork from BoConcept

BoConcept is a Danish furniture designing and manufacturing firm that has been supplying furniture to the world for the past 60 years. Like all Danish furniture, the lines are clean and the furniture is simple. I think it will be well received here in Australia. Especially at the great price point that it is.

A range of homewares for every taste

The new showroom at Crows Nest is a light filled space with two street frontage and is beautifully appointed showcasing many of the company’s pieces. One of the fabulous things about the furniture is that every piece can be custom designed to suit your requirements.

BoConcept also has a range of homeware items including great artwork. On the evening there was a styling station and guests were invited to try their hand at the art of styling for the chance to win a gift voucher to use in the store.

Styling Station

I was hoping to be the lucky one to walk away with the  chair. Alas, it was not me.

Lucky Door Prize – An Imola Chair

But I did walk away with a goody bag which included the latest Belle Magazine (Neale Whittaker opened the showroom), the new catalogue and a great retro Candlestick that was inspired but the geometric forms from the 50’s and 60’s which hark back to the design of Danish childrens toys.

Retro Candlestick

It was a lovely evening and I look forward to specifying some of the furniture for my interior design clients.

One Way Ticket Rug

Go and take a look, you won’t be disappointed. You might even have an “Aha moment”!


If you would like assistance sourcing furniture and accessories 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.

The Joys of Renovating

One of the items that adds dollars to the cost of your renovation is site access. When homes are built close together and there is no access down the side of the house to the back, wheelbarrows, timber, tiles, sand, dirt, etc all have to be carried through the home. This is not only inconvenient but costly as it takes more time and manpower to get things done.

I couldn’t help but wonder what the cost of renovating these lovely Victorian homes in San Fransisco would be.

Unfortunately we weren’t in San Fransisco long enough to see the end result, but I’m sure they were just stunning afterwards.

If you would like assistance with your renovations, 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.




Unusual Combination

Unusual Combination

I spotted this image over on Pinterest and was mesmerised by it.

The hot pink sofa sucks you right in straight away but on second glance I was enthralled by the eclectic collection of furniture and accessories in this room.

The elegant chandelier, the cow skin rug, the classic style sofas and armchair all upholstered in different fabrics, the abstract artwork, an emboidered cushion, ostrich leg side table and the shrink wrapped fabric on the tufted ottoman all sit together in perfect harmony.

Not many would be game to throw so many different styles together in one period style room but somehow it all works.

Do you like it or would you not spend much time in this room?

If you would like assistance creating a living room that epitomises your lifestyle, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.


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