Perhaps it’s because I can feel the early days of spring nipping at my heels – only via my calendar, as the weather is still very chilly – but I’m matching my excitement at seasonal change with a hunger for a freshen up. Let’s start at the front door – so much potential that can be easily changed as you so please. I often wax lyrical about my love of paint, but truly, if you’re itching for a quick update for your home, all you need is a striking tone and some brushes to instantly change things up. The front door is the perfect entry-level paint project.
All you need is:
1 x litre of paint
1 x brush
1 x afternoon
I recommend two coats to make sure your chosen hue hits the right notes and remember that drying time will be dependant on the weather. I’m crossing my fingers that this weekend brings a little more warmth and sunshine!
My top colour suggestions:
Here are my tips for painting.
I’ve long been a fan and friend of Mickey Robertson who runs Glenmore House, a collection of early colonial farm buildings situated in the foothills of the Razorback Range near Camden. She’s done a wonderful job of transforming and restoring the homestead to its former glory: cow shed, dairy stable, barn & hayshed are now connected by tracks and pathways, hedges and gardens. The grounds are a wonderful setting for a private event and formed the perfect backdrop to feature in my book Bowerbird!
To celebrate the coming of spring, Glenmore House is opening its doors to the public over the weekend of the 15th & 16th of October. Whilst wandering and exploring the gardens and veggie patches, you can also peruse the stalls from assorted makers (us included!). Opening times are 10am-4.30pm with an entrance fee of $10 and you can find more information at www.glenmorehouse.com.au
What better way to spend a fine spring day than in a farmhouse garden!
The cascading shells falling down this chandelier add a 3-D element to an otherwise blank wall. The lighting feature draws you in & invites you to sit down. Light can be a powerful transformer of space. Shadow play & scaling are lovely elements to play with when considering your lighting selections.
This still life brings me back to my first memories of beach combing for shells on the wild shores of Siletto beach on the New South Whales mid-north coast. I am forever searching out shell museums & collections to pore over & use as inspiration for my own display as well as to see what wonderful shapes, sizes & colours the world’s shells have to offer.
The tactility of the gorgeous Seaspray Chandelier , which finds itself a new home on our shop floor this week reminds me of this still life. It is proudly hand crafted from clay beads by women in South Africa. Pair it with a selection of our timber stools, linen tea towel & Superior shoulder bag for collecting your treasures. These are my picks to bring the feel of this still life into your own space.
Shop the look here.
I’m a visual person. But let’s also add texturally interested, historically inquisitive and originality seeking (among others) to my personality descriptors. All these qualities, combined with my work, whether it’s creating a new space or refining the design of a product, sees many materials cross my path, or mine theirs. And in the spectrum of my work, bookended by the two briefs I mentioned above, the right material can be the difference between success and failure or can spark a new idea that takes the finished product into an entirely new realm. This is why I wanted to explore the world of materials via an alphabet, from the honest & humble to the more inaccessible and imagination-sparking. I hope you’ll find, as I do, that inspiration can be right at your fingertips, in a very literal sense.
A is for…
Faceted faces and violet sparkle, we’re starting with a material that brings a little glimmer. A glance at this material immediately transports me back to my Scottish sojourn with a stop off at Jupiter Artland, taking in Anya Gallacio’s amethyst sunken grotto – wall to wall purple quartz! But delving back into the history of this stone uncovers even more intrigue than you would imagine from a material with mystical connotations. As far back as ancient Greek times, you’ll find this stone was named for the belief that it kept its owners from becoming intoxicated – perhaps we can put his down to placebo effect? Being found in Brazil, Sri Lanka and Siberia, this stone harks from intriguing locations, though it can be found used all over – prized for its unique colouring. Seeing those amethyst-encrusted walls in Scotland turned my initial preconceptions on their head, and I look forward to reimagining my own fresh take on this material.
Tune in next week for more of my material alphabet…
I encourage you to seek out any small museums in your local area while you’re on holidays or trips. They’re often hidden, sometimes tiny and occasionally in private houses, often bypassed by locals. Put on your super-sleuth hat and look for obscure signs (which may be handwritten).
Here are four of my favourite international museums to get lost in.
Pitt Rivers Museum
South Parks Road
Many of these smaller old-school museums are the result of the lifetime’s work of one person, and become really interesting when science & collecting merge, and the personality of the collector becomes evident. That’s the case here, where pieces are curated in item groups, such as fire-lighting tools or combs, with little regard to period or time. The over-stuffed freestanding and wall cabinets, dim lighting and a handwritten metal-edged discs and rectangular tags, holding all the data information one might night for identification, all add to the visiting experience and intrigue of this vision.
Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
62 rue des Archives
This must be one of the most considered curations I have ever experienced. It has all the things I admire in an interior: a sense of humour, artisan-made functional pieces, custom joinery & hardware (even the clipboards are accented with beautiful brass hardware & illustrations), a refined colour palette, attention to detail, consideration of the vista, a mix of old & new in furniture & art, the use of superior materials, and the interaction of a space welcoming the visitor to be an integral part of the space and journey.
My favourite room is The Stag & Wolf Salon, with its pickled oak floors and panelled walls, brass antler installation dagger-like on the panelled ceiling, a huge antlered stag casually standing in the corner, tapestries lining the walls, and two modern B&B Italia-esque blue wool, very square sofas sitting opposite one another complete with coffee table & floor lamps – so very residential.
It is of course the hunting & nature museum, and so guns & swords are very much part of the installation and sit comfortable beside the menagerie of mounted animals: polar & grizzly bears, wild boars, sleeping foxes, tigers & lions.
The Mercer Museum
84 South Pine st
I discovered Fonthill, the passion and vision (some might say folly) of Henry C Mercer, when I was on a Gourmet magazine shoot in Pennsylvania. The magical higgledy-piggeldy concrete castle, lined with Moravian tiles he produced in his workshops, was built in the early 1900s to house his massive collection of everyday tools, hardware, machinery, finished products and even an entire general store interior from the 1860s. Although I do not have the collection bug for carts, canoes, and other larger scale objects, I did appreciate the impressive display of these things hanging and flying around the depths of the museum.
The Museum Of Jurassic Technology
9341 Venice Boulevard
Culver City, CA
Long ago I read in Mr Wilson’s Cabinet Of Wonder, which was based on an out-of-the-way place in LA, around way before cabinets of curiosities reached the resurgence of coolness they now enjoy. With limited time and the excuse of Bowerbird, I made an appointment to see the Museum Of Jurassic Technology. Its unassuming facade, in a shade of green with an old brass buzzer engraved with its name, lovely and old-school, was completely deceiving. I initially thought it was made up of just three rooms. In fact, two floors and a rabbit warren of roughly twenty rooms (I lost count so don’t quote me on that) make up MJT. Each room is intimate, dark and encourages you to look into, touch, listen or read. It is a realisation of one man’s (& his wife’s) vision.
Part carnival, side show, history, circus, museum & gallery – it’s impossible to categorise. Each display is different, with dioramas, holograms, microscopes, 3D glasses and listening devices for you to experience each strange & curious installation in its own way. Note to self: leave plenty of time – hours disappear here.
Spring has almost sprung so what better colour to pull from our colour box this week then Tendril. You can find Tendril amongst the other bright and blissful hues in my 10 colour-palette, Tender Is The Night.
This colour reminds me of when I was travelling in Translyvania, just before the wild flowers popped. The Tendril greens of Transylvania seemed to appear everywhere that I cast my eyes. The first green of spring was pushing through the winter browns & greys. It was all throughout nature; thick underfoot & sitting pretty on all of the trees that surrounded me.