French antiques to share

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I enjoyed receiving notification of the shipment of gorgeous french antiques from Architectural and Antique Elements in Sydney. It is definitely worth browsing amongst their new collection either for fun or if in search of a specific piece.

My favourite pieces are the french oak haberdashery table above, console and chest of drawers with marble tops, french oak buffet and metal trough.

I do love the scrubbed lighter oak finish and am always drawn to it……it reminds me of Appley Hoare’s heavenly french antique shop in Woollahra….sadly for us, long gone. Since then she has run a very successful antique business in Pimlico Road in London.

For those who are interested Appley Hoare is currently based in the south of France still sourcing unique french antiques which can be viewed online.  Of even greater interest is the beautiful house she rents in the south of France.

Daughter Zoe Hoare is now in the USA living and sourcing gorgeous bits and pieces as well. Her beautiful taste can be seen in the Oct/Nov 2011 Vogue Living.

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Vintage 21 modern classics look good on any bookshelf

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In my hunt for weekend reading I discovered the most beautiful collection of books…..21 books in a rainbow of colours by Random House for the 21st birthday of Vintage.  Each book is not only a divine shade (with sprayed edges which look so good on a bookshelf) but they have a wonderful tactile quality with a supermatt finish.

The design of these books is quite stunning and titles include….Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Atonement and A Week in December.

The bookstore had done an eye catching window display showing how spectacular these books look when put together.  It made me want to go home and re-arrange my bookshelves.

I know there are people who arrange their bookshelves/bookcases by colour……I have to say I have always been quite dismissive of this idea, however having seen the divine shades in this collection of books I am very tempted to either start a display of these alone…. or even use these shades as a start to a whole re-arrange by colour of the bookcase !!!

We all love a good bookshop and can just lose ourselves for hours browsing ….. the glossy and exquisite covers, the smell of the new books and the joy of discovery.  Who would have thought that a paperback with no pictures could excite to such an extent.

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Clever design for new baby

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This caught my eye when running through some favourite blogs.  So often impending parents get caught up with the boy/girl baby dilemma when decorating the nursery for the new baby.

For a start they are not babies for very long.  It can be a mistake to take the short term view and decorate a baby’s room with lots of baby colours and pattern….all too soon you are faced with a redecorating exercise.  This gorgeous room above, to me is very clever……both now and for later.  It is also rather clever if the sex of the baby is not known at the time you are decorating.

What could be smarter than a palette of soft grey and white where you can then add the appropriate splash of colour as above or pinks and reds for a feminine touch.

This scheme will stand the test of time and for an older child simply add navy, red, orange or even charcoal and silver.

I do love the horizontal stripe and these can be in any width.  It can be achieved by a painter, you painting or finding the stripe wallpaper you love.

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images: jessica comingore 

The sartorialist does navy, black and tan

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Image: The Sartorialist 

Why is my eye always drawn to these colours together.  I think it is just so smart to have the subtle black, navy combination with a luscious tan contrast bringing it all to life.

Tan has been big in Europe this winter but I love it anywhere, anytime.  I was thrilled when I did my dark inky blue woollen armchairs in our sitting room to then find divine tan suede Mulberry cushions to contrast. These, apart from the timber furniture, were the only colour in the room as the walls are the same inky navy blue.

I also love the colour that the natural IL Bisonte leather bags and diaries go after using them lovingly…..tan !!

One of my favourite projects recently was a Polo Clubhouse/Bar Lounge where I did large tan leather armchairs and sofas with brass studded trim ….. and chocolate and cream tartan woollen cushions.  It looked fabulous…..the building itself was spectacular….lots of dark timber rustic panelling, natural stone fireplaces and very large terracotta flagging.

I still miss the greatest source of woollen fabric ever ……. yes mainly shades of tan, coffee and caramel……Fabric Fantasy in Commonwealth Street, Sydney.  Sadly now closed.  It stocked bolts of Italian suiting fabric bought out from the mills at vastly reduced prices.  I couldn’t stop buying it to cover furniture, make bedheads and valances and even tablecloths.  The colours were a dream !!

Where it’s at……hotel 27, copenhagen

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I keep reading about Copenhagen and thinking what a truly stylish city it is. Danish design has always been at the forefront ….fashion, furniture, architecture and interiors not to mention the arts.

Hotel 27 is in the centre of the city…..a heartbeat from where it is all at…..both culture and shopping !!

As you know, I have more than a passing interest in hotel guestrooms having spent a large portion of my life as an interior designer working on their design or redesign.  Hotel 27 has the hotel guestroom sorted.  The timber floors underpin the use of colour in the furniture itself… so different to the standard hotel guestroom. So simple, elegant and so well designed.  The colours are gorgeous…..slick, young and fresh. The attention to detail is brilliant.

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Hotel 27 has the warmth and comfort factor so often missing in a lot of inner city hotels.  Designers put together a lot of hard finishes and think that opulent furnishings will be the icing on the cake…..so often the spaces may have the initial wow factor but are simply not inviting.

The Danes do timber well.  The use of either timber flooring, panelling or furniture (or all three) creates warmth and gives a space a certain character.

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And now for some really vibrant Danish design…..iconic furniture combined with gorgeous fabrics for the Bar….only in Copenhagen !!

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Emma bridgewater hearts on valentines day

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It is worth a trip to London to stock up on Emma Bridgewater hand made pottery ……I spend hours in her shops in London.  Her glass is also particularly beautiful so very difficult to choose.

My friend Annabel in London has absolutely loads of it all which we admire……gorgeous when mixed and matched.  Somehow all the designs and colours do work together.

The clever thing is that the Emma Bridgewater mugs are not too big and still seem elegant…maybe that is an English thing…..all those tea parties etc.

On it goes with bedlinen, fabulous coated fabric, stationary, cutlery and tin…..

and her sales and seconds are amazing !!!

Our only problem is that the cost of freight is prohibitive……so do what I do and load up friends and family on their return to Australia.

Rustic twig furniture by Joe Vinks to suit any design style

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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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Displaying your collections in style

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image: coty farquhar

Displaying collections of what ever takes your fancy is a satisfying and pleasurable project.  It is giving a little glimpse of you and your favourite bits and pieces, old or new, precious or not to those who might admire them.

It may be more personal…..a collection on a dressing table ….. or it may be hung on a wall in a living room for all to see!!!

Either way it is a very individual and stylish way to make a statement….bringing together beautiful colours, texture, like with like.

Create attractive groupings within your spaces…. that you have put together…..your favourite things for a myriad of different reasons !!!!!!

.  shells collected on your holiday on a white platter or in beautiful glass bowl (see Coty Farquhar’s image above)

.  pretty china plates hanging on a wall or porcelain teas cups grouped on a sideboard…..take them out of the cupboard and display them !!!

.  silver tea set or silver bowls, platters or candlesticks and of course your silver picture frames……silver always lights up a room but polishing it all can be punishing !!!

.  cut glass or crystal is always so pretty… particularly if you do groupings of vases with a selection of freshly cut flowers from your garden …..just a sprig is all it takes.  These look gorgeous if spaced down the centre of a dining table. A collection of crystal wine and spirit decanters always looks warm and inviting with lamp light.

.  pewter has a special hue that seems to work with grey and white….it can be rustic or minimalist.

.  stacked wood in or beside a fireplace has a warmth and texture that can be a design element in itself.

. bookshelves are fabulous anywhere…the more the better…..whole walls of them !!!!  Books can be arranged randomly…..by subject or by colour !!!

.  folded linen sheets and pillowcases in an armoire or linen press….possibly my favourite thing !!!!

A new shipment at Parterre Garden

I was very excited to receive news from Parterre of the new shipment from France and Belgium.

The showroom/shop has been completely refitted to showcase all the new pieces and I can’t wait to see it all !!! Always looking magnificent….and such a temptation.

I love the mix of larger, serious pieces of furniture and mirrors with small decorative vases and other exquisite collectables.

Chairs in underwear from the country trader

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The Country Trader has done it again……the most stylish range of classic furniture !!!

Just when we thought we knew the showroom so well. This is a range of custom made furniture designed to look like it has been stripped and recovered many times…..that beautiful distressed and aged feel.

The styles themselves are divine…the sort of pieces and styles that are normally quite difficult to find….the classic lines and proporton of the furniture makes it unique.

These chairs and sofas can be left to look as though they have been handed down from generation to generation or be reupholstered to capture their former glory !!!!

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