Saturday, October 29, 2011

the labour exchange...

My excellent friend Jenny E has been threatening to come and trim my unruly hedge for a while.  She keeps a very neat hedge at her own home, and clearly, mine was not pleasing her.  So over the course of two weekends she has turned up with shears at the ready and knocked mine back into its intended shape.  She a total scissorhands, and it is now looking tres Bangay-esque indeed.  As part of our labour exchange I am going to paint some stuff for her girls' room.  I hope it's a lot of stuff, or I think I may have done much better out of this deal!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

White floors. Not in this lifetime...

My floor.  What can I say? It drives me nuts. It  shits me to tears.  Most of the house has baltic pine boards.  I used to love them, but it's all over now.  They hurt my eyes.

My kitchen floor has been every colour of the rainbow.  Yet, each time I see some gorgeous, sublime Scandi home with the white boards, I sigh.  So for the last few months I have been trying in vain, again, to be that pristine, cool, white-floored home-owner.  Grand fail.  I have kids, a job, a dog and a cat - it was never going to be anything but hard work.

So this morning I had exactly one spare hour between Annebelle's ongoing orthodontic adventure, and a meeting, so I gave the repulsive white floor a cursory clean, then splashed around some paint I had stored in the laundry (Dulux Lickedy Lick, left over from the shoot here a while back).  So once again, my kitchen floor is hot pink.

I have tried everything - marine paint, sealers, pro-strength stuff that cost a fortune.  Nothing really stands up to the everyday wear and tear of family life.  So, I have vowed to save my pennies and get all of the floors throughout the house professionally sanded back, properly limed, and sealed.  No more painting the floor.  Ever.

Has anyone had any luck personally with painted wood floors? If so, I want to know your secrets?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pomp and Splendour...

Monday was a massive day - it  started with a slow drive through hideous rain to Geelong to photograph a gorgeous home that will appear soon in Sunday Life.  Mike and I got back to the studio by 2.30ish to start on an M magazine Savvy Shopper shoot.  It was a biggy - with floorboards needing to be lugged to the upstairs studio, sets to be rigged, furniture to be hauled.  But, there was a ray of sunshine on that cold, wet, busy day  - when gorgeous florist Petra Cremming of Pomp and Splendour arrived with the most beautiful buckets of blooms for the shoot.

Petra contacted me a little while ago and told me all about her business - she has been an actress, and now specialises in creating drama of a different kind - with flowers.  I asked if she'd like to be involved in this shoot, and proceeded to give her a long-winded description of the kind of floral look I was after - and quick as a flash she came back to me and said, "Yep, got it. Marie-Antoinette meets Frida Kahlo".  Yep, she got it, and the flowers were amazing.  You will see them in the M Mag in  few weeks time.
And,  I now have a new favourite rose - Oh Mr Lincoln how amazing you smell!

In the meantime, do check out her beautiful work and blog here:

Petra Cremming
Pomp and Splendour


Monday, October 24, 2011

Make mine melamine...

The old plastic plate has come a long way - when Melbourne art world hipsters like Ghostpatrol, Miso, Dawn Tan, Dylan Martorell and Miranda Skoczek are doing melamine, it must be cool (you can get those ones from Douglas and Hope.  Here's my round-up of the loveliest melamine plates, that appeared in the Sunday Age M Magazine last weekend.  My favourite bit though, is the fab faux grass deck chair from Kirsty at Kootoyoo - how clever is it?

We shot this one from way up high - Mike was upstairs with his camera perched above the man hole:

And I was downstairs, staring up at this:

And here is how it looked all printed up on Sunday morning:  

Photo by Mike Baker, writing and styling by me, copyright owned by Fairfax Media.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

here she comes again...

click on image to enlarge it (wish you could smell it too)
I know, I know.  I blog this same rose bush every year.  But I am sooo obsessed with its beauty.  I walk under that arch for 50 weeks of the year and all I get is scratches.  But for two glorious weeks, I get to inhale the heady, musky-sweet  scent of the Albertine.  This year, after all the rain, it is even bigger and more covered in juicy green buds than ever.  So, if you need me, this is where you will find me for the next two weeks or so.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jon Webb exhibition opens today...

I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time loitering about at Decent Exposure Studios in Prahran, and can usually be found painting a flat for a shoot, or cursing some piece of flat pack furniture that won't behave. Or drinking coffee.  One of the best things about the studio is the constant stream of lovely photographers, assistants, stylists (food, fashion and home) that you get to chat to, bounce ideas off and mostly, have a bit of a lol with.

One such photographer (and cinematographer!) is the seriously talented Jon Webb, who opens his own exhibition tonight.

It's called 2UP, and it is a collection of his photographs, set in pairs.  Here is how Jon describes his show:

All the images are photographs. Some are untouched, some are manipulated.
By working in pairs I try to shift the atmosphere of the image.
I don’t expect you to connect with everything.
I hope you connect with something.

You can check Jon's gorgeous work out here, or come along to his show here:

2UP by Jon Webb
showing October 21-28
4pm - 8pm
Decent Exposure Studios
15 Aberdeen Road Prahran


inspiration and serendipity...

I do love a coincidence.  And I love searching for meaning in things, and signs.  To me, everything is a sign.  And I try to only look for good signs.

So tonight when my mate Jane and I popped into the KIKKI.K 10th anniversary celebration, we both felt a definite sense of serendipity.  Was it just a coincidence that we went to celebrate the amazing achievements of a Melbourne based woman with a big dream, on the very same day that Jane's homewares line, Salvation Jane Home, launched?  Nup.  It is totally a sign.

The lovely founder of KIKKI.K, Kristina Karlsson, gave a great speech about her dream, and listed the ideas she came up with at 3am one morning about 12 years ago.  Her fabulous partner, Paul, backed her dream, and even sold his house to start up the business (a new contender for partner of the week!).  Well, that business is a serious success story, and is about to be an international one at that.

Whether it is a sign. coincidence, whatever - Jane and I were inspired.  We were whispering furiously, "right, that's it.  No sleep tonight.  I'll be doing my business plan".

Before we left we were invited to write down our dreams for ten years from now on a leaf shaped card, and then hang it on a beautiful white wish tree.  I am a bit ashamed to say that after I read through mine I realised they all involved real estate and the good health of my family - awks - so I popped world peace on the end, to assuage my greedy guilt. Kind of...

As an endnote, my daughters have become quite the connoisseurs of the event gift bag.  The love to tear them out of my hands on my arrival home, then pilfer anything they fancy.  Then they give them a quite brutal rating. As only kids can.  The gift bag tonight got our highest rating ever.  Just have a look at that little storage box cake - heaven!

Anyway, here's to dreams.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

gorgeous Melbourne home - Cherie Winter's lounge to studio conversion...

Yes, that is Cherie Winter and her husband, Michael Desmond's, lounge room.  Well, it was, until she took possession of that wonderful litho printing press.  The loungeroom was the only place it could fit, so Michael suggested that they use the (compact) second bedroom as a loungeroom and convert the lounge into a studio for Cherie. How good is he? He wins husband of the week, don't you think?  Cherie is a wonderful artist and her next exhibition starts on the 20th at the Gilligan Grant Gallery in Collingwood.

This page ran in the Sunday Life magazine yesterday. Photography by Mike Baker, styling and writing by me, copyright owned by Fairfax Media.

Friday, October 14, 2011

what to do....

Last weekend I picked up these gorgeous pressed tin panels to use as a background in an upcoming shoot. They are deliciously peely and flaky - with just the right amount of tat.  But now I can't stop wondering where they would work in my home.  Maybe I could just hammer them randomly into the bathroom wall?  Or the hallway?  I'll keep pondering whilst I sit here chained to my computer (it's deadline central here but I am finding it very difficult to focus).  Maybe I could frame one? Maybe I could...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sonia Rykiel Maison launch at Madame B...

the divine Sonia Rykiel Maison range at Madame B
Oh dear, I've come over all avaricious and covetous again. I want to throw out everything I own and start again. But with better stuff. Being surrounded by luscious homewares does that to me. This evening, my glamorous assistant slash daughter Annebelle and I popped along to check out the incredibly luxe and beautiful Sonia Rykiel Maison range at Madame B in Prahran.  Hopefully we didn't leave drool marks on anything. Infused with the usual wit and charm of Rykiel, the range includes throws, cushions, bean bags (they are so gorgeous it almost seems insulting to call them that), fabrics and towels. Oh the towels...

If it is a slice of the Left Bank that you are after, look no further than Madame B. I wrote about its owner, the beautiful Maria Barkley a while back here. The shop has been open one year now, and it's got a great mix of chic fashion, accessories, books, gifts, perfume and homewares.  And it always smells great.

Madame B
533 High Street Prahran
(03) 9533 7075

could it get a bit more beautiful? Madame B in Prahran

Monday, October 10, 2011

a quick weather request...

some floral sunshine picked up at the wholesalers this morning.

I need sunshine. And I need it tomorrow. I need sunshine as bright as these blooms. I am styling a very beautiful house. And garden. Tomorrow.  Got that, weather gods? Good.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

store visit to Kiitos in Barwon Heads...

(click on image to enlarge it)
So, I guess that's it for the school holidays!  Tomorrow it's back to the lunch box grind and the quickest term of the year.  We had a mixed bag of a holiday- an aborted trip to Sydney, plans made then un-made, loads of work in between kid commitments - the usual stuff. We finished the break with a trip down to Ocean Grove - and I must say, Ocean Grove and surrounds are not the shopping wasteland that they used to be.  I hate to do the "I remember when..." but I do remember when Skinners was the shopping highlight of the main street (cue to lols from long-time OG visitors).  Even just a few years ago, I could only get my shop on at the various oppies dotted around the Bellarine Peninsula.  Not so now, as a visit to OG isn't complete without a quick trawl through The Mill in Newcomb, a trip to Kyo, a pop into a relative (and very lovely) newcomer, Stone and Grain and a walk over that bridge to check out Kiitos in Barwon Heads.

Kiitos Living by Design opened in December 2009 and quickly took the BH shopping scene into a new league.  Owner,  Maria Malakellis has a long family history of trading in Barwon, as her parents owned the much-loved fish and chip shop for years.  Looking for a career change, Maria took on the challenge of a prime, but neglected, site in Bridge Road and hasn't looked back since. She stocks the full range of Marimekko, has the import licence for those covetable acapulco chairs, plus a hand picked bunch of Aussie and international design favourites such as Muuto, Design House Stockholm, Fink & co, Eva Solo and Karen Walker. It's a big, bright hit of retail fun, just metres from the sand. And, Maria is just back from the trade fair in Paris, so she's expecting shipments of even more loveliness.

I also picked up a few lovely props around the place - will show and tell soon.

Bridge Road Barwon Heads
03 5254 1835

If you are down that way - do check it out.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Paint Job, continued...

Add caption
Here's some more on my recent job for Dulux.  This is the home office / reading room I created from the 'Re-set' palette.  Yes, I managed to squeeze in a few trophies, and yes, that is an Ampersand cushion from Aunty Cookie - Shannon kindly lent me heaps of her gorgeous wares for the shoot, as you will spy in the following shots.   Must say I am a bit addicted to the deep grey Moon Marvel colour when it's next to the Metallic 'Moon Marvel'.

Next up is the Raw palette, in which I was thinking about a beautiful room in a ranch or a ski-lodge - somewhere to curl up and relax after an exhausting day of riding or skiing or hiking. The wall was painted with the beautifully textural Suede Effect paint in Faux Leather, with Beige Royal stripes.  The lovely big chaise and wooden boxes are from Freedom.

Then comes the 'Time-Honoured' palette.  I love red in kitchens - all those sayings about it being the heart of the home, and 'if you can't stand the heat, get outta the kitchen' really conjure images of fiery warmth and comfort.  This wild red is called Macdonnel Ranges.

Finally, here's my second fave - the 'Nurture palette', which was shot in my bedroom and hallway.  Green is my thing at the moment, and the idea of nurture/nature/chicken/egg/growth/rebirth inspired this room.  The bedroom walls are done in Gooseberry Fool and the hallway is in Suede Effect 'Zoe's garden'.  The beautiful light fitting is from Design Dispensary and the divine green Featherston was kindly loaned to me by my mate Jen.  Teacup is from the House of Orange.

Phew, that's it from me.  Please email me or leave a message if you need more specifics on the paint colours or props I used.


The paint job...

I may have mentioned about a brazillion times before that I am a complete demon with a paintbrush.  Everything around here seems to get painted if it stands still for long enough. So I was totally in my  element when Dulux asked me to style some rooms in their fab new 2012 colour palettes.  It started off as three rooms, but somehow turned into six, so for a month or so all I could think about was paint.  And all my family heard about was paint. And all my friends heard about was paint.  Sorry guys!

It all started with the delivery of six white envelopes containing the six palettes that were developed by Dulux's incredible colour guru, Andrea Lucena-Orr.  I narrowed down my favourite shades from each palette and started to put together some mood boards.

After much adding, subtracting, to-ing and fro-ing, the boards filled up and the rooms came together.  And the best part?  I didn't have to do the painting as Dulux supplied their star painters to carry out my ideas. Heaven!  Three of the rooms were located at a fabulous beach house on the peninsula, and the other three rooms we used were here, at my home.  I was very lucky to work with the highly respected photographer,  Mauro Pomponio,  who Dulux has trusted with its images for many years.  We had two very long, crazy days of shooting at both locations, but loads of lols and fun as well.

My dining room was the first to get the Dulux treatment, with the deep, inky, dive-into blues of the Immerse palette. Not even my dining table and chairs escaped the paintbrush, each being painted a different delicious blue. Here are a few of my favourite shots from this series.
I thought the undercoat looked really elegant too!

My lovely Annebelle's room was the next to be transformed, in a fabulous, Lady Ga-Ga inspired palette of hot pinks and purples.  Here is the delightful master painter,  Sohrab, showing us his steady hand.

Here is how Annebelle's room turned out. I am very glad to say that she loved the stripes and decided to keep them!

I'll pop the other four rooms up very soon.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

my dream desk...

I  swear that one day I will own this incredible Airia desk by Hermann Miller.  I think it is the most elegant and beautiful desk in the world.  Just look at those legs.  I'll sit it in a bay window, overlooking a crazy, wild, perfumed garden.  One day. You can hold me to it.

In the meantime, I was very happy to pretend it was mine for a day when we shot this Savvy Shopper page about 'the art of writing', which ran in the Sunday Age M magazine yesterday.  I'm also crazy about that bookshelf wallpaper from Scandinavian Wallpaper and Decor.

Thanks once again to the lovely Kylie from Goldchalk for assisting me on the day.  Photography by Mike Baker, styling and writing by me.  Copyright Fairfax Media.

the set-up

as it appeared on the page


Saturday, October 1, 2011


Collections are funny things.  Ever wonder what it is about something that makes you want to possess it? And more of it?  And then some more?  What is the attraction?  I have been adding to a few collections lately.  No big splurges -  just good, clean collecting fun.  Then I started thinking about what I am collecting, and wondering why...

I collect religious iconography when I am an aethiest?

I collect royal memorabilia when I am pro-rebublican?

I collect old trophies when I never won one myself...well, that's kinda awkward!

I collect every tooth that my children lose... (I think that's just called rabid sentimentality).

The old cameras make sense...

Old books, got that figured.