In any one week, a stylist can be a builder, artist, upholsterer, framer, cook, seamstress, narrator, calligrapher, carpenter, photographer’s assistant – even a model. Every shoot I do sends me down the path of a new trade and every theme I embark on opens a field of expertise. When it comes to your own interior decorating, it pays to do the same, as these skills, too, are the foundations of styling. Here are some extra basics you should master to keep your styling game sharp:
Read books, search the internet, interrogate tradesmen and talented friends.
Learn to hang a picture, thread a sewing machine, patch a wall, make paper fancies.
Delight in the details
Discover the nuances of different paint finishes and adhesives, perfect stain removal for second-hand fabrics, have a few different sewing stitches up your sleeve, and train your eye to spot the difference between quarter-strength and half-strength paint tones.
When you master the basics you’ll be able to keep you won’t have to splash out on having others come in to master the finishing touches. The more adept you are with a hammer, nails and paintbrush, the more you’ll have to spend on the things you love.
noun /drawr/ 1. a box-like storage compartment without a lid, made to slide horizontally in and out of a desk, chest, or other piece of furniture.
For as long as humans have been roaming and exploring the globe, cartography, or mapmaking, has been an integral part of how we understand and navigate the layout of the world we tread. Having developed from simple cave drawings depicting a hill and river to the intricate, colourful and detailed maps by 19th century surveyors like Captain Matthew Flinders, maps and cartography documents are always an item of fascination for me. Interestingly some of the earliest known maps are actually of the stars, rather than the layout of landscapes. And I love how early mapmakers, as a way of skirting around uncharted or dangerous territory, left a simple inscription of ‘here be dragons’!
Of course, one needs the perfect structure to store and preserve such precious documents and plans. There isn’t much on the origin of specific cabinets tailored to suit the needs of cartography, but I can only imagine a captain or explorer commissioning a fine carpenter to construct a chest of drawers to have in his ship’s cabin, where the maps could live in relative un-scrolled safety, free from the nibbles of the ship’s resident rodents.
Are you looking for a sturdy cabinet to store your seafaring documents, or found treasures? We currently have this vintage chest of drawers available in the shop. Take a look at it on our shop page for more details.
I truly believe that Australia’s best-kept secret is Western Australia’s Margaret River.
A place of such raw beauty that goes hand-in-hand with the amazing food & wine scene.
A recent visit to catch up with my good friend Elissa Coleman who manages her family property, Empire Retreat, was the ultimate adventure of checking out the amazing beaches & seascapes from Canal Rocks, Yallingup Beach, Injidup and Eagle Bay; this is most definitely where the Mer people hang out.
We stayed at the property between the family’s private converted sheep shearing shed & Villa 9.
The rooms have recently had an update by the talented Elissa and are layered with her significant style of comfort meets fabulous; lots of lamp lighting, sheepskin over wooden seats, fancy beanbags, deep linen lounges, cane chairs & great artwork.
If you like what you see, many of her textiles & furniture pieces are available at Empire Homewares in Dunsborough
A gaggle of 40 geese promenade about the estate that is spotted with flowering gum, calla lilies & kangaroos at dusk! A lovely greeting on the way to breakfast that is laid out in the main house of a morning. Once you have this delicious meal out of the way it’s tough choices between hanging out by the fire, a spa treatment at the retreat, heading off to the wineries for tastings & lunch or just roadtrippping & stopping and taking photos of the beautiful landscape.
We tried the cellar door at Vasse Felix & bought 2 bottles each (they were restricted!) of the unbranded SYRAH 1, which is only available at the door. The new recent is gorgeous with parred back woods & metal work and I have heard the restaurant is amazing but you must book. Another stop to Pierro for some award winning chardonnays. Empire has its own labelled wines; we got hooked on the 2008 Cabernet Merlot red whilst hanging around the fire of an evening.
For handmade pastas, sauces & local fare try Barnyard 1978 owned by Raminta Rusilas.
A drive down to Injidup and a walk to the rock pools is a must. But in saying that, any beach along this coast is never disappointing.
We are looking forward to our summer adventures with a hike from cape to cape to search for seaweed specimens to press.
Elissa’s hit list:
Yallingup Woodfired Bread on Biddle Rd
Leeuwin Winery & Restaurant
Boranup Karri Forest
Yelverton Protea Farm
Eagle Bay Brewing Co
Ngilgi Caves, Yallingup
Sugar Loaf Rock in Leeuwin National Park
S is for…
I often talk of the part-pirate heart beating in my chest, and so it’s little wonder that I again turn to the ocean for another arcane trade. Perhaps not-so arcane, however, as I still look to shipwrights for inspiration and collaboration in some of my venue fit-outs. A profession that dates back to before recorded history, shipwrights of the past were based out of shipyards. I love to imagine the knowledge that these traders possess, of such things as buoyancy, the importance of watertightness, rivets, patching, sails and tidal variations. I also imagine that they would perpetually live with sea legs. Ahoy!
The Alphabet of Arcane Trades:
A is for… B is for…
C is for… D is for…
E is for… F is for…
G is for… H is for…
I is for… J is for…
K is for… L is for…
M is for… N is for…
O is for… P is for…
Q is for… R is for…
A bit of a cold snap has made me think about the importance of layering. Not only am I breaking out the winter hats and coats, but looking at ways to make my spaces that little bit warmer. Using layers, whether on furniture, the floor and even the walls not only adds another dimension to your space, but it also invites a more cosy atmosphere.
How’s this for cosy? That velvet couch draped with various soft textures is made for curling up on and my toes instantly feel warmer looking at that rug. The cushion in the same fabric as the rug rounds out the look and I even love the wrinkle in the rug – a smart casual look that says “home” rather than showroom. The colour scheme, too, with a focus on natural tones is also a big part of this space’s warming look, just the thing for battening down the hatches on a wild and wintry night.
It’s hard to go past this space’s winter-perfect appeal, that fireplace has it in the bag. But it’s the addition of other layers that takes the cosy feel to the next level. Though couches are forever inviting as they are, the generous drape of the fabric cover adds another element of comfort. The linen cushions in varying sizes add a nostalgic quality to this composition that is enhanced by the swatch of scratchy linen hanging from a timber rafter. You can’t neglect the floor when aiming to add warmth, as without the hide and fabric on the floor this space may feel a little chilly.
Perhaps an extra cup of tea today in a finger-warming mug will do the trick, too. Stay toasty.
On a recent roadtrip to the central coast of California we visited a couple of the motels from the very clever group, Shelter Social Club.
First stop was Los Alamos to The Alamo Motel. An amazing refurb of a 1940/50’s motel, using Georgia O’Keefe as a muse. Through a paint schedule of black & white, rough sewn cladding of doors, uber-cool lighting & great branding they have turned a drab run down daggy motel into a fun, vibrant, must-see place to hang out & stay.
The rooms are thoughtful & simple with witty high&low design choices; plywood floors, claw-footed bathtubs (rooms 9&18), terracotta floors with black grout and spot-on lighting & fun service details.
At the centre of the U shape master plan is a communal fire pit with festoon lighting (always says a party), swings, a tasting shed for their labeled wine, Municipal, which sits in the middle and invites guests & locals to shoot the breeze during a tasting or just a glass.
What could be thought of as a sleepy town is most definitely not!
Its a one road town with the best food around; an authentic, local stop with serious foodies at the helm
Bob’s Well Bread Bakery for breakfast
Bell St Farm for lunch
Pico at the General Store
Flatbread for dinner
And for drinks & pool try the saloon at 1880 Union Hotel