interior design

Tropic Tonic

Have you seen the leaves?  Green and glossy prints of tropical plants are gracing the homewares and fashion scene this summer - Tropical style is trending! Even if I can't inspire relaxation for your Christmas shopping, I'd like to show some ways you can take this new taste for the tropics into your home in time for summer celebrations.

This new take on what used to be known as Tropical Colonial Style uses a base of crisp white cabinetry, with darker grains of  timber and rattan furniture or lighting.  Colour is provided by the large leaves of tropical foliage, with every green from charteuse to emerald being represented.

Green accents don't have to be live ones - jewel tones of olive and emerald look stunnning in velvet cushions and palm prints add a touch of holiday luxury.

Tropical furniture is light and moveable, looking as beautiful at a formal dinner as on the verandah for sundowners.  Mahogany and Cane are preferred materials,  both lending themselves to distinctive details such as the latticed back of this chair.

Bring the luxury of a tropical hotel into your bathroom with fluffy white towells, sisal matting and an upholstered stool. Just a few fronds of gorgeous green in a glass vessel will reflect in the mirror to give a look of lush abundance.

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Social Kitchens

After years of shooing family and guests out of my U shaped, one cook kitchen, I'm ready for a better design to accommodate wannabe chefs, chatting guests or just teenagers looking to fix an out of hours snack. (Sweet Chilli Chicken Wraps for breakfast anyone?) I've found four social kitchens that would serve well as a centre for gathering as well as prepping, cooking and serving food.  Scroll through for inspiration!

This kitchen by David Weir Architects fulfills the brief of a functional, easy to maintain space with the previous galley style now sporting a island for prepping and chatting. What's more, this kitchen leads on to a 'boys bar' with a purpose built drinks serving centre and storage for the owners' music collection.

Block competitors, Dan and Dani, have just finished renovating a cottage in Melbourne's Inner West (it's for sale!). Their stunning kitchen has a favourite feature of mine - the sink, and hence the pile of dishes, is to the side of the kitchen.  The island features the hot plates instead- isn't stirring a risotto more conducive to chatting than washing up?

Also from Melbourne is this Victorian Terrace refurbishment by Architect David Luck and Hecker Guthrie Design. Steps down to the new extension are cleverly framed by the kitchen cupboards, with pastel tones and soaring windows setting of this generous new living space.  The timber breakout table and copper pendant light are used by the Architects to reference the homes' Victorian heritage as well as marking out a gathering point.

If you have dreamed of beautiful European appliances or saved long and hard for that designer fridge, don't hide it when you design your kitchen!  This traditionally inspired kitchen by Antonio Buzetta in Sag Harbour has a sleek combination cooktop oven as star, while the comfy preparation area and generous circulation room says "come in and help me cook up a storm!

What's your favourite kitchen for people to gather and work in?

Spring Scene

With the first sunny day after months of rain, the centre of Perth comes to life. A similar unfurling of activity is felt in the areas of Interior Design and home furnishings. Spring releases, Designer meet and greets and product showings flourish like the wildflowers that come into abundance after our long rainy winter. 

Exciting invites appear in my inbox, and my schedule fills. One of the first is volunteering at PICA.   This time there's two solo exhibitions on. I help with hanging pictures, cleaning floors and masking painting areas.  It's like having spring fever at someone's grand residence!  Justene William's exhibition is colourful and huge, while Gordon Bennet's Be Polite is sad and confronting but beautifully hung with stunning examples of the use of negative space and balance to display a strong message.

Justene Williams/And the Curtain Breathed Deeply                          

Justene Williams/And the Curtain Breathed Deeply                          

One night I scrubbed off the paint and ventured into a rainy night to West Elm's meet and greet in the city. With my daughter Matilda and other Designers, I delighted in rose wine and chacuterie  and made the most of having the whole of Pottery Barn and West Elm to ourselves.  

One of the interesting initiatives West Elm promote is supporting local makers, allowing them to stage pop-up stores and classes in their store. 

West Elm!

West Elm!

Design Farm in the CBD is a Perth institution, family run since 1997 and for investment pieces, they stock the best in modern design. A new showroom especially for residential interiors and a dedicated salesperson make this a wonderful shop to explore for inspiration.  Japanese, Danish, German and Australian made furniture icons are represented here and I was recently treated to a tour of the showroom by Designfarms' knowledgable Chris Pooré.

Tait Volley Bar Stool at Design Farm

Tait Volley Bar Stool at Design Farm

With two floors of furniture and settings of unique products, this is a place to come to wander and be inspired.  Here's a watercolour I made of the gorgeous Gubi chairs in a dining setting.

To top off a great Spring Season, InDesign arranged Contemporary Wine in Design.  On Saturday 15 October, a prestigious line up of showrooms turned on their best for a day of show and tell for the design industry.  I attended Arthur G in Claremont.  At the door we were met by this cool Perth business..... 

Inside the showroom had been impeccably styled by Steve Cordony, flown over for the occasion.  Moderated by David Congram, with Steve CordonyDavid Weir and Richard Miso on the panel, this discussion was frank and enlightening, in that it involved experts in the field of Design, Social Media, Styling and Architecture. With Melbourne, Sydney and Perth being represented the merits of each cities' design scene were up for examination.  Lots to think about!

Styling by  Steve Cordony  at  Arthur G

Styling by Steve Cordony at Arthur G