My Design Weekends

bowral weekends ... the new design hub

Deirdre Brennan - Tuesday, May 27, 2014
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Bowral in the Southern Highlands now has its very own 'design hub'. The once neglected bottom end of town is becoming ever so fashionable. My favourite ... rabbit trap timber, has a new, larger home that shows off their gorgeous rustic yet contemporary style to perfection.

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Full of recycled and environmentally friendly pieces, the design aesthetic is very much of the moment but with its own unique stamp. Such an interesting mix of beautifully designed furniture and homewares ... and found objects.  

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I feel I need to keep an eye on the changing scene at rabbit trap timber but look forward to exploring this end of town further next weekend.  In the meantime ... back to Sydney !!!



stylish baroque flowers in bowral, southern highlands

Deirdre Brennan - Sunday, November 11, 2012

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Oh what a joy to have such a divine little shop in the Southern Highlands. Once renowned for all things stylish and smart the beautiful Highlands has had little to offer in the way of boutique shopping of late. 

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The Southern Highlands has seen the likes of Belinda Seper, Peter Chadwick, Jan Weekes and many others, open wonderfully stylish shops ... sadly, no longer. This is the sort of boutique shopping that Sydneysiders with weekenders in the Highlands, crave.

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Anyhow, back to Baroque Flowers ... it isn't all about flowers ... the shop is full of decorative items such as urns, baskets, glassware and one off antique furniture pieces that compliment the flowers .... and draw you through the door.  

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Vanessa is a very clever florist/stylist who creates not only fabulous flowers but beautiful vignettes within this tiny space.  She puts together unusual combinations of flowers and foliage, both strikingly bold and pretty, rustic and classic.  There is always a surprise element.

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weekend woollens in the highlands

Deirdre Brennan - Sunday, July 22, 2012

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Another wet and cold weekend in the highlands.  Whatever has happened to our sunny winter days and crystal blue skies.  My memories of winter are those of finding a sunny spot in the garden to sit with a tray ... pot of tea, a slice of boiled fruit cake and papers to read ... absolute bliss.  Not this year !!  I watch from the window as the first sign of bulbs appear under the trees and yearn for Spring.  Even our sasanqua camellias have rebelled with very few blossoms on show.  I am looking for a lot more colour with the Japonica's.  

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Instead we are cosying up inside with woolly blankets, throw rugs and open fires.

I do love the old fashioned check blankets and seek them out in antique shops.  I found some gorgeous ones at out local antique emporium that had come from Scotland ... such interesting colours and so homely.  More than anything I love a blanket stitch edge.  Even more homespun !! 

Cath Kidston does wonderful things with vintage blankets ... she makes cushions with them and even covers wing back chairs with one or a number of check blankets in patchwork .  They look fabulous.

Maybe our cold wet winter will inspire some of these creative activities ... in the meantime I will just bring out that scarf that I started to knit last year but didn't finish. No doubt Monday morning will bring the sun !!

 

french and country .... 3 more days !!!

Deirdre Brennan - Monday, June 25, 2012

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Hopewood Country House is open again for the Annual Stocktake Sale for French and Country and Suzie Anderson Home.  It was gorgeous to visit at the weekend and also to know that it is on for 3 more days.  So much to see and take in.  Suzie is very clever with her styling ... every room delicious to look at ... all so tempting.  There were none of the tell tale signs of a sale when I was looking.

The highlands are looking a picture ... Suzie's setting is particularly beautiful  ... it is well worth popping in for a viewing or down from Sydney for the morning ... and you won't be disappointed in the delightful morning tea being served.

stone houses and a weekend in the southern highlands

Deirdre Brennan - Monday, June 11, 2012

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Yes another wet weekend in the highlands but it doesn't seem to have deterred the holiday makers and visitors ..... people everywhere .... impossible to even get a seat in a cafe.  

Out of town, however, it is all very atmospheric .... misty rain and wintry landscape .... this is why people come to the highlands !!! 

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Driving through the countryside the many dry stone walls that this area is known for, are now more visible .... and seem to go on for miles. 

I have always been drawn to houses made of stone .... and there are quite a few in the highlands. They just seem to nestle into the landscape.

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On the inside, exposed stone works best with a soft neutral palette of creams, caramel and greys.

The use of timber whether it be natural, limed or painted ..... compliments or can contrast with the stone beautifully.

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Apart from its beautiful texture, exposed stone has a warmth that brings an interior to life. If a whole house made of stone isn't possible .... maybe a stone fireplace and hearth is !!

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images: at home 

autumn in the southern highlands all but over

Deirdre Brennan - Sunday, May 27, 2012

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I was horrified to return to the beautiful Southern Highlands this weekend to find every jewel coloured leaf had been stripped from the trees in the space of a week. Gale force winds during the week had wreaked havoc !! 

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There is not one leaf remaining on our gorgeous trees. We have the perfect autumn garden and usually have the pleasure of weeks on end of autumn colour....not after the week we have just had....freezing conditions and wind.

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 I do have some wonderful photos which I have longingly looked back over this weekend....so will share some I have taken over the last couple of weeks !!! I guess the only thing left to do is start raking, I will only have to do it once.

 

 

 

autumn starts slowly in the southern highlands

Deirdre Brennan - Monday, April 30, 2012

 

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I am going to drip feed photos of our autumn as it seems to be much slower to progress this year. While there are pockets of wonderful autumn colour that seems in its peak.....other areas are barely starting.  Our maples....the showcase of our garden....have barely started to turn.  Luckily we already have so much other autumn colour to admire....particularly our beautiful smoke bush. 

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It seems such a shame to have inclement weather at this time of year because you really do want to be out in the garden admiring it all.  I love finding a sunny spot to set up morning tea....the glow of the sun shining through the yellow and red leaves.....it reminds me of stained glass windows.

The house always looks amazing when you can pick branches of colourful autumn leaves to put in jugs.  Colourful rosehips look equally as good.

With the nip in the air....although already some days are quite cold!!!.....work in the garden seems such a joy.  Any excuse to be out with all the autumn leaves....even if it means hours of endless raking.  It is exhilarating and fabulous exercise I tell myself year after year.

I am never alone out there though.....the families of kookaburras perched close by.....are always on the lookout for worms as you work your way through the leaves raking....raking.  They are never afraid of you....and I find them quite a comfort.

On a less strenuous note, autumn heralds the arrival of our beautiful sasanqua camellias ..... the bushes so old they are enormous. I have bowls of them all through the house ......they don't last long but that doesn't worry me a bit .....there is an endless supply down in the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

a touch of autumn in the highlands

Deirdre Brennan - Sunday, April 01, 2012

 

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I am not sure if it is psychological or not but as soon as those clocks get put back ..... the days seem to close in all too quickly and autumn is here !!! In fact autumn on a cool day in the highlands can seem awfully wintery.  The leaves have turned and already falling....the memory of all that raking comes flooding back. 

We do have a good while yet to admire the colour on most of our trees.  I am not sure where the falling leaves are actually coming from except the Silver Birch which is always the first....and the messiest due to its huge height.  I seem to remember our garden being at its most colourful by Mothers Day. We often have lunch outdoors so that we can enjoy the garden and fruits of our labour before the chillier days arrive.  

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I have to say I have been a little disappointed by our Virginia Creeper which I planted for its autumn colour.  We have watched it rampantly climb up our north facing wall for two seasons.... looking forward to the turning of the leaves.  Of the two vines, one has turned vibrant red in the space of a week and is now dropping leaves profusely !!! Way too quickly for us to have time to admire it..... the second vine quite lacklustre in the colour stakes.  Just as well we have the Japanese Maples to look forward to.

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Rather than post photos of autumn gardens just yet.... I thought I would get you in the moods for autumn with the thought of snuggly throw rugs, checking your supply of firewood for those cooler autumn evenings, quaint cosy cottages for weekends away and anything in those gorgeous warm earthy tones!!!

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Images: dave coote/pale and interesting

wet weekends and barbour jackets

Deirdre Brennan - Sunday, March 18, 2012

 

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Yes another wet weekend in the Southern Highlands.....in fact most places are wet.  I was reminded just how beautiful the gardens at Milton Park Country House Hotel are when I went on a long walk.....in the rain......all very atmospheric. The trees are some of the oldest of their species in Australia.....beech and avenues of oak. 

The view to the east is absolutely spectacular....they are actually higher than Mt Gibralter....hence the misty conditions!! 

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Having dealt with the Hunter wellington boots I am now moving on to the Barbour jacket.  Thank you Annabel for the reminder about the Liberty lined Barbours.  Have struggled to find an image of these and the one shown below is not a particularly good example of the prints that are available or the jacket style.

Everybody in the Southern Highlands should own one of these jackets...essential for our climate here.  This year the entire east coast of Australia should treat themselves.

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rustic twig furniture by Joe Vinks to suit any design style

Deirdre Brennan - Tuesday, February 14, 2012

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I had the pleasure of meeting Joe Vinks and browsing amongst his beautiful pieces some time ago.....in a rustic tin shed in the Southern Highlands.....much to my surprise.....a very stylish setting as I recall.  I have since seen his pieces looking magnificent in a number of different interiors.....some rustic others rather more formal.

These pieces seem to work anywhere .... in edgy inner city apartments, English country house interiors or beachhouses !!!

I think what makes this furniture so versatile is that it can be stained, waxed or painted to achieve the desired look or fit in with the overall feel of the interior.

I love the silhouette of the twigs against a backdrop when painted white or black but equally there is something just so soft about the aged patina of the natural wood.....some of it the bleached colour of driftwood.

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