Monday, March 29, 2010

gorgeous Melbourne home - Mick King and Robin Morrissey

I am very aware of my extreme good fortune in having Mick King and Robin Morrissey as my in-laws. They are legends in the child-minding department, always coming to the rescue when I am stuck on shoots. They are also great hosts (champagne at 7am on Christmas day is never considered an absurd idea), and as you can see from their fab apartment, they are a very stylish pair (for oldies, hah!). This is their latest in a string of great homes that have ranged from a glorious converted meat workers cottage on the beach in Byron Bay to a grand boom-style Victorian in Fitzroy that they ran as a small hotel for ten years. Now, we are all getting very curious to see what their next move will be...

Here are some extra shots taken when we featured their place in a home shoot for Sunday Life a few years back, after which they became known locally as 'the Orange People'.

Shots by Mike Baker and copyright owned by Fairfax.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I chickened out...

Here is my 'Easter homewares for grown ups' Savvy Shopper page that appeared in the Sunday Age M Magazine yesterday. This was great fun to style - and I really wanted to use some live chickens and bunnies in the shot, but chickened out at the thought of cleaning chicken poop off a genuine $11,000 Anrne Jacobsen Egg easy chair.

Special mention to my little styling assistant Alex, who did a lovely job painting the logs pink.

Photos by Mike Baker and copyright owned by Fairfax.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I've got issues with my issues...

and this is just some of the bookshelf overflow.

Like probably every other stylist in the world, I am a hard gloss addict. My newsagent must think I do nothing but sit around and read interior magazines all day. And sometimes I do, but that's not the point. The ensuing storage problems are reaching crisis point here, and I know I have had a whinge about the lack of storage in this house before. New bookshelves are on the radar, but I know that they will just be a temporary solution, because as much as I love interior blogs, there is nothing like getting your hands on a new issue of your favourite mag, flicking through quickly from the back to the front, then settling in for a comprehensive read with a cup of coffee. And I don't cope with culling the numbers down either. I still feel sick when I think about all the beautiful Vogues from the 80's and 90's that I turfed out - especially the covers of Christy, Linda, Cindy. How cool they would be plastered on Annebelle's bedroom walls now.

Friday, March 26, 2010

arch friends...

with just one arch

then two

then three

I think I am in for a Bunnings run today. A few months ago I put one of their super plain and super cheap $10 black garden arches at my front gate, hoping that the Albertine rose would scramble over the top to meet the Iceberg rose on the other side. I love walking under a mass of roses, and the romantic idea of a secret garden, wondering 'what lies beyond'. Well, thanks to the Melbourne rain (and no sneaky watering on my part, promise), the Albertine has gone nuts and I have since added two more of the arches. So I figure I may as well go the whole way and completely line the path with four. It will probably drive me nuts in winter, when we shut the gate and get showered with drips of rain, but I cannot wait until spring, when it becomes a heady tunnel of musky pink and white overhead.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


It has taken me ten years and fifteen minutes to do this job. Ten years of thinking about it, getting quotes for framing, then forgetting about it, then deciding to frame it myself, then waiting for IKEA to get more 50 x 50cm Ribba box frames in stock. And they are never in stock. It's always the same story - six to eight weeks away. Then last week my lovely friend Julie R rang me from IKEA with a stash of Ribba's in her hand - did I still want one? Hell yes! I collected the frame from Jules last night and this morning, in just fifteen minutes, I finally framed the incredibly sweet Baby Dior dress that Jem's brother gave Annebelle when she was born. Both girls wore it to their first Christmas lunch. Both girls dribbled gravy onto it. And both girls have made me swear to take it out of the frame when they have their own little girls to wear it!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show

This morning I took my mum into the Exhibition Gardens to see the MIFGS, which was as beautiful, as usual. Particularly gorgeous were the floral displays inside the Exhibition Buildings, with masses of cut flowers, branches and succulents displayed really simply in amber and green bottles which were sitting inside wooden packing crates. The Exhibition Gardens themselves looked much more green and lush after the recent rain. It turned into a bit of a family reunion, too, when we bumped into my sister, Deb who was taking her NMIT Horticulture students on a field trip, and my nephew, Tom, who is an an Environmental Land Management Officer with Melbourne Water.

Thanks to Haystac PR and Mitre Ten for the tickets.

Monday, March 22, 2010

confessions of a work avoider...

What do you do when you have so much work/dull chores/life stuff looming that you feel a bit ill? Not to mention the school holidays which start this Friday, and Easter. Why, you ignore everything and paint your kitchen floor. Green. I am having one of those Am I A Genius Or Am I On Drugs days. Truth be known, it was probably easier to paint it than clean it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

a wedding and a baby - the perfect weekend in Sydney

when we moved back to Melbourne from Sydney, there were a few things I wished for - and two of them happened last weekend. Firstly, my gorgeous and stylish friend Jacqueline met the equally gorgeous and stylish Michael, and they married on Saturday. What a wedding: romance, divine clothes, many special touches, a hilarious speech by the bride and great hospitality. And secondly, the love match between my old best-next-door-neighbour-ever Candice and the wonderful Al resulted in the birth of a perfect little baby (as yet unnamed as far as I know) boy. Excellent timing thanks guys! And, my littlest girl Alex fulfilled her wish to be a flowergirl. Add to that a couple of swims at Bondi Beach, catching up with loads of Sydney friends, and eating a few Sydney meals we were really missing (namely the salt and pepper squid from Phamish in Darlinghurst, a TNT pizza from Love Supreme on Oxford Street and lots of incredible bread from Iggy's in Bronte), and it was one of the best weekends I can remember. Thanks Sydney.

the tricky green shoot...

Here is my vase shoot for the Sunday Age M Magazine Savvy Shopper page, which appeared yesterday. This was one of those shoots that took me forever to decide how to style, as it had to be all about the vases, not the flowers, but it still needed some good, strong colour. Then I popped into Porter's Paints to pick up some sample pots for another project and had a quick flick through their wallpaper samples. As soon as I saw the gorgeous Lime Circles wallpaper print, I had visions of the crazy looking "Green Trick' flower (it is a type of Dianthus, but I don't know it's botanical name, sorry) popping out of the vases. And I would happily put roses into every shoot I do, so I used the hot pink ones to add a shot of colour.

Once again, photography by Mike Baker and copyright owned by Fairfax.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

pretty, pretty nina....

you know how sometimes you get one thing, then you get another, then another, and before you know it you have a collection? That's how it was for me and my Nina perfume bottles. I bought the first one whilst PR freelancing at Trimex, the importers of Nina, and I was hooked. Then I started buying more, then some limited edition ones from the staff shop, and now my darling friend Jacqueline sends me the press releases when new editions like the gold one are released, so I can hunt them down too. Apart from the beauty of the bottle, the mix of sweet toffee apple, vanilla and musk makes for the most delicious of scents.

I have had a few perfume obsessions over the years - Charlie in the 70's (yes, very young for a perfume obsession but I swear it is true), YSL's Opium in the 80's, Coco in the 90's. I wore Diorissimo on my wedding day, and now when I smell it I am right back there. And I still feel queasy when I smell Chanel's Allure - it was released when I was pregnant with Annebelle and everyone was wearing it - I got sooo nauseous whenever I caught a whiff.

I wonder which scent it will be for me this decade?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

bent love

once when my husband was trudging over to Bondi to collect some old bentwood chairs I had 'won' on ebay, I heard him muttering something to himself about me running a retirement home for dodgy old chairs. He may have had a point. I find it very hard to resist an old bentwood - some of mine are lovely old Austrian ones, some are newish, with crazy restoration jobs, but they all look lovely after a lick of paint. Here is my dining room collection. I have a few more outside, awaiting paint, and no doubt even more awaiting my rescue on a nature strip somewhere.

ps - can you see my ever expanding ginger cat - Sugar - trying to squeeze into shot?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

this shoot, I am trying not to buy...

this shoot, I am trying not to buy the impossibly cute Mr Impossible Chair, designed by Philippe Starck for Kartell. My home is quickly filling up with desirables ahead of my shoots next week. It's great, because I can 'test drive' things that I think I want. If I still want them after staring at them for a whole shoot, then maybe they will get to stay. I love how Mr Impossible picks up the fiery colours in my loungeroom door. He looks like a nice big boiled sweet. If it was pink, I'd be fetching my credit card right now.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

this shoot, I am trying not to buy...

this shoot, I am trying not to buy these divine glazed ceramic egg poachers from the Craft Counter at Craft Victoria. The colours are so pale and gentle. I just love them.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

the princess who wouldn't dream of eating a pea.

Sorry for such a tragically soppy post, but this morning I am so full of love for my daughter Alex (or Allie, as she would prefer to be known). Some kids just don't come out like you expect, even when you are not sure what to expect. She really only likes to eat white things; she is still passionate about playing with dolls, even though she has to keep this info on the quiet to some of her friends; when we see black, she sees white and when we see white she sees any other colour. She is funny and sweet and she idolises her big sister Annebelle. And this morning she got up and sang solo and unaccompanied in front of her whole school. Never had a singing lesson, but she chose to sing On My Own, Eponine's ballad from Les Miserables (as sung by her hero Rachel on the TV show Glee). I was so nervous that I felt sick. But she was resolute in her determination and she did it - beautifully. So I am the proudest mama today. Here is a photo I took of her bedroom a while back - after sweeping aside the 100 or so dolls from the floor....

The bed is from Mitchell Road Auctions in Sydney, and is painted in July Quarter, half strength from Dulux. I made the quilt with fabrics from Patchwork on Central Park.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pippa Mitchell's gorgeous Melbourne home

Yesterday in the Sunday Life Magazine (it comes with the Sunday Age here in Vic and The Sun Herald in NSW) we featured a peek into the vibrant home of Pippa, Nick, Henrietta, Harry and Tommy Mitchell. This is one of those homes that makes you want to smile the minute you walk in the door. Awash with sunlight and personality, Pippa has a great way with colour, and really knows how to pull a room together. The Mitchell family is now on the lookout for larger digs, but Pippa has very kindly agreed to let me post some photos of the other rooms in the home, which were taken just before it went on the market a few months back. Pippa's decorating maxim is "when in doubt, use red", and I love her use of the pink and red combo, with shots of aqua and orange. I can't wait to see what she does with their next home.

Many thanks to my friend Jacqui R for letting me know about Pippa's great style.

Main photo and portrait taken by Mike Baker, and owned by Fairfax. Other images are from Nelson Alexander Real Estate, Brunswick.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Today the 'Provincial style' Savvy Shopper page I styled for the Sunday Age M Magazine appeared. I could have quite happily kept most of the pieces from this shoot, particularly the green vintage Tolix chair from Metisse (mentioned in an earlier 'this shoot, I am trying not to buy' post) and the vintage flag from Cote Provence. Actually, I made it through this one without buying anything - a major proud moment! The beautiful background of the shot is actually a wall at Decent Exposure Studios in Prahran, Melbourne. It is a crumbly, old calcimine painted wall that has been used for countless shoots over the years whenever a rustic, aged look is required. I set up the shot, then our photographer, Mike Baker suggested that we lift the big rollerdoor to flood the set with natural light, which really made the the shot come to life.
Photos by Mike Baker, copyright Fairfax Ltd.

Friday, March 5, 2010

obsessive materialism...

here is my little stash of fabric. I say little because my big stash is located in big boxes in the laundry. These are my favourite pieces, plus some vintage patterns and some lovely old spools of thread and bias binding. Collecting fabric is great when you have Patchwork on Central Park not far from home, and the best thing is that I can buy a few little fat quarters without breaking the bank - a cheap retail hit always makes me happy! The patchwork tablecloth over the chair was found in an op shop by Deb, one of my big sisters, and the cupboard was found on the side of the road in Ocean Street Woollahra, during one of my junking expeditions with my old best-next-door-neighbour-ever, Candice. The artwork is by Simon deGroot, bought at Blank Space Gallery in Surry Hills on another outing with Candice.

Photo taken and owned by Mike Baker Photography.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Actually Dougal... that's not your bed!

In a classic case of the tail wagging the dog, our puppy Dougal has completely taken over the house. And he is soooo cute that we are powerless against his charms. We weren't going to let him:

a) sleep inside (but some nights it is chilly, and the possums annoy him)
b) let him up on the furniture (see photo)
c) bark loudly at people walking past (sorry neighbours)
d) dig up the garden (is that where the grass used to be?)

Only Sugar, our big fat ginger cat, remains unaffected. He is maintaining his aloofness, and still doesn't quite see the point of Dougal, despite Doug's efforts to engage/charm him.

So, I guess this is his new bed...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

storage issues..

like so many old, largely unrenovated homes, ours has a dearth of storage. We really need to build a proper kitchen pantry and many more cupboards, but always seem to find something far less practical to spend money on. In the meantime l have solved the issue of teacup storage: a few weeks ago I styled a home for the Sunday Life 'my space' page and the very clever owner had turned an empty glass vessel into chop-stick storage, and it looked like a sculpture! I have 'adapted' (hope that sounds nicer than ripped-off) the idea and put some of my collection of vintage teacups into an old, chipped vase that was gathering dust in the laundry. Now I just need to find somewhere to put the saucers....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

is that all there is?

last week I had to remove frost from my windscreen; the leaves outside are starting to curl up at the edges; and the mornings are much darker... but in this house, the first sign that Melbourne's beautiful summer is drawing to a close is the reappearance of the quilt basket. Each morning the girls make a beeline for the basket and drape themselves in a quilt to come into the kitchen for breakfast.

The basket caught my eye at the Mitchell Road auctions in Sydney. It is an old, pale pink baby bassinet and I couldn't bear to leave it there. I thought it would be a great wood basket, but the quilts look so pretty lined up in there, so that's how it has ended up.

Photograph taken and owned by the talented Mike Baker.

Monday, March 1, 2010

from the archives...

I was updating my folio this morning, when I came across these favourites from the previous format of the Sunday Life 'home' page, now known as 'my space'. We used to run a little 'get the look' panel along the bottom of the page. Featured are the homes of Mich Schoeps and Max Doyle, Robin Morrissey and Mick King (yes, my lovely father in law), Margaret and David Whiting, Cameron Bruhn, and Julie Dillon and Chris Moore.

All photographs are owned by Fairfax, and were taken by Richard Birch, Mike Baker and James Geer.

the kitsch and the cute...

my girlfriends all know I love a bit of kitchen stuff - not just the beautiful stuff, but cute things, kitsch things (hell, even tacky is fine by me). In the last week three of my wonderful friends have spoiled me with a bit of each.

First came the divinely sweet white Babushka measuring cups from Penny R, as a most unnecessary thank you gift for spending time with us in Melbourne; then came the hysterically fabulous Tiki salad servers from Jenny E, who said she saw them in her native NZ and thought of me!. Finally, from Robin, who knows I have the sense of humour of a 15 year old boy, came a Map of Tassie tea towel. How perfect are they? The friends as well as the presents, that is.