Category Archives: Press


The Society Inc. in TimeOut

There’s something about Sibella: the founder of the aspirational homewares store comes with her own dedicated following of pirates, gypsies and wanderlusters.

the-society-basin-cupboard the-society-boat-hardware

Glossy magazines adore Sibella Court, the founder of the homewares and interiors store and blog the Society Inc. And it’s no wonder – Court sure knows how to curate a collection of beautiful items, from reclaimed vintage shutters to decorative crystals that would look swell in any dream beachside home. Hey, even if you don’t have the paypacket to support a weekend pad on the coast, it’s still tempting to dress up that Inner West share house as if you do.

The Society Inc used to have a boutique in Paddington; now the store can now be found at Precinct 75 in St Peters in a space that’s twice the size of the previous shop. Located in the heart of an industrial warehouse, the store is filled with eclectic antiques and oddities as well as new pieces of furniture and homewares sourced by or produced by Sibella Court. Stacked in the corner are rustic, bleached shutters from Java available for $350; there’s a nostalgia-inducing rope swing set, made in Australia, for $320; and there are indigo-dyed throws brought back from the western gulf of Africa starting at $190.

the-society-bowls the-society-cupboard-shopkeeper the-society-exterior-customers the-society-fabrics

Standing tall in the centre of the store is a colourful army of longboards, designed by Sibella in collaboration with McTavish. The Gypsy range is inspired by Court’s travels and she has worked with Australian designers like Shibori and Bethany Linz to create the wistful patterns. The surfboards are available in three lengths and they’re made to order for just over $2,000.

One of the most popular items in store is a mirror designed in the shape of a shield, the Society Inc’s emblem. A staff member tells us that everyone who works there has one, and at $75 it’s an accessible way to own a piece of the Society Inc lifestyle.

the-society-glass-objects the-society-interior-customers the-society-paper-lanterns the-society-sculpture-rope the-society-seat-cushion

Sibella Court is often at the store herself, and there are a number of gift items that loyal followers will lap up – like the hardware designed by Sibella, a range of handles, hooks and decorative tools with an industrial feel. There’s a pile of Sibella Court’s own literature, such as The Stylist’s Guide to NYC (Court lived there for ten years). And there are soaps branded with the shield emblem in fragrances inspired by her travels to the Galapagos and Transylvania – all crafted by Richmond Soap Studio ($15 each).

The in-demand stylist claims to be part gypsy, part pirate: her themes are seen throughout the store, from the porcelain fortune cookies ($15) to ornaments adorned with Turkish eye designs. ‘Fuck Everything Become a Pirate’ is sketched above an antique sink stand. One of the ways shoppers can indulge in the dream is to pick up a zeolite crystal for 20 bucks. We say, give in to those nomadic fancies and spend the afternoon in store, picking out a few nuggets of your own.

the-society-surfboard-stools the-society-surfboards the-society-table-lights-surfboard the-society-towels-brushes

Via TimeOut


Luxe City Guides | The Society Inc. Terrace & Warehouse

The Society Inc. Terrace & Warehouse – Inside Sibella Court’s fabulous, maximalist world

Sydney-based style queen Sibella Court gallivants around the globe in search of eclectic objects and inspiration for her whimsical design world. And with the opening of her new Airbnb property, as well as her industri-chic decor shop, fashionistas the world over are travelling her way…


Sibella’s travel resume is as packed as any of her ephemera-laden interiors – from a career-kickstarting ten-year stint in NYC to treasure-hunting trips through Ecuador, Turkey and Transylvania. We’ve long loved her beautiful books and dined in restos she’s touched with her style stick (like Palings and Mr Wong), but we were particularly tickled to learn of her new Airbnb property in Paddington, choc full of her characteristic natty curios.

Now The Society Inc. Terrace is taking guests, so we caught up with the nomadic nest-featherer to talk favourite rooms, the best local brews, her upsized new decor store and all of Syd’s best spaces, places and makers.

Tell us a bit about The Society Inc. Terrace.

I envisaged the Terrace as a pied-a-terre, a boutique one-bedroom hotel where guests would feel perfectly at home and have all the comforts of home [ed note: that is, if your usual abode also happens to be a boho boîte complete with bitty courtyard, kitchen, dressing room and annex].

I also wanted it to be a sensory experience, as if guests were walking through and living within the pages of one of my books. I love that I have the freedom to offer a space that is a complete reflection of me.

Do you have a favourite room in the property?

The main bedroom with Anna-Wili Highfield’s floating owl is probably my favourite. I love that it has everything I need just like a good hotel room should: a comfortable bed, books, everything right at my fingertips.

With so many covetable bits and bobs in every corner, have any guests asked to take items home with them?

Yes, we’ve had some requests. Most of the items have been collected from local artisans so we encourage people to ask about them. And a lot of the time we can help source things for people either through our shop or by putting them in contact with the makers directly.


What places in Paddington do you tell guests they need to check out?

10 William Street has the best pasta and wine list in Sydney. It’s intimate and local – the best! I also love beautiful shop and coffee house Alimentari – owner Lorraine is the city’s best barista, for sure. Ask for the Iggy’s stick with tomato for breakfast.

With your former shop location now converted into the Terrace, you’ve moved The Society Inc. store into a new warehouse in St. Peters. Tell us a bit about the spacious new digs.

We have a massive space now! Half of the warehouse is dedicated to our work studio, the other half is The Society Inc. shop and showroom. It is part haberdashery, part hardware store, and full of oddities from my globetrotting adventures. We have so much room to play with now, which means I can put together larger room displays and host exhibitions. It’s fantastic being able to offer even more inspiration to my customers for their own homes.

Any favourite items or lines you currently have in store?

Right now, the range of hand-dyed indigo textiles from the Western Gulf of Africa. Each is one of a kind and tells such a story. Close seconds would be the surfboards I created in collaboration with McTavish, and my hardware range.

Other than The Society Inc., where should travellers head to trawl for treasures in Sydney?

For vintage eclectics and ephemera, Seasonal Concepts in Redfern. I also love Ici et La for fabulous antique furniture.


And can you tell us a few of your favourite local artisans?

Shibori . They are the masters of textiles, I love using their fabrics. Bednest , who make beautiful custom upholstered bed heads. And miniature boat maker Elise Cameron-Smith , her creations are so fun.

You’ve written several beautiful books (Nomad, Gypsy, Etcetera) about finding treasures on travels and how to style them, where have you found some of your favourite pieces?

Each time I travel I’ll beachcomb for a perfect, grey, egg-shaped stone – it’s easy to overlook those sorts of things but a little rock can be as special and interesting as any antique. I also can’t go past paper ephemera, textiles and fabrics from all over the world.

Can you put too many things in one room?

Never! I’m a maximalist. Spaces should be as intricate and exciting as the owner’s personality.

What are some of the other stylish spaces in Sydney you love?

I love going to Kitchen by Mike and Koskela . Both are in the same big industrial warehouse that used to be a cannery – it’s a great space. You can take a plate and pile it up with the day’s salads and seasonal specials at the communal canteen, then check out Russel Koskela’s collection of vintage and designer furniture. And Bourke Street Bakery in Marrickville is another favourite.

And outdoors locations?

When I have time I like to do the Clovelly to Bondi coastal walk. I always stop at Icebergs for a swim, a massage or coffee on the terrace.


You spend half of the year travelling, where are you off to next?

Next for me is Seoul and Ho Chi Minh City, then Copenhagen, London and NYC before I go to Portland and road trip down through San Francisco and the Big Sur to LA.

And which destination are you still itching to get to?


What do you love about Sydney? And loathe?

The beach, light and skyline. There’s not a thing that I loathe about Sydney.

With thanks to Luxe City Guides.


The Coveteur



We’re in the midst of Marie Kondo-ing. And, yeah, we know we’re as mentally and physically exhausted by the whole declutter pressure as you are. We mean, we do believe in loungewear and saving buttons. And we like presents. But cleanse we must, because clutter = a scattered mind and sadness. And your family hates you. (That’s how it goes, right?)

But then we walked into Sibella Court’s Sydney studio and all of our clutter-free fantasies went right out the metaphorical window. Forget sparse, empty spaces—Court’s veritable menagerie of collectibles is totally our new interior dream. Then again, she’s a pro (somehow our random assemblage of old invitations and random tchotchkes doesn’t quite have the same aesthetic appeal). And by pro, we mean she travels the world sourcing endless interior inspiration before bringing it all back to Sydney to arrange in perfect clutter-wonderful (think about that, Kondo!) vignettes. We guess it’s not the worst gig in the world.

And Court, who lived in New York for years before moving back home to Australia to launch The Society, her studio-cum-shop where you can peruse her curated eccentricities (if you’re in Sydney, go now), has a wardrobe as artfully bohemian as her interior style would suggest. Let’s just say that by the time we got over the space itself, we took our sweet time with her closet, going through fur and fringe collars, needle-like Saint Laurent heels and APC, Barbara Bui and Dries Van Noten separates like you wouldn’t believe—each and every piece in her signature off-white creamy beige, that’s so not beigey beige (if you know what we mean). This is a woman who knows her aesthetic. And frankly, we want in.


Jacket, APC; Hat, Akubra; Shoes, Rag & Bone


“[My career] was really written in the stars and it happened over 20 years ago. I had an incredible knowledge of Sydney’s backstreets, a love of all the plants and flowers in the world and a deep understanding of serious shopping. After many years of styling I was looking for a place to house all of my wonderful finds and the crafters, makers and creators that I discovered on my travels. The Society Inc. was due to open in New York City but a slight change of route saw it opening in the backstreets of Paddington in Sydney.”

Collar, Sass & Bide


“I can’t live without my baby and partner, amulets, a hat, iPhone, passport and ticket to ride.”

Jacket, APC; Shoes, Rag & Bone


“Other than being a master swordswoman in my imagination, the romance of seafaring adventures or that of a swinging wagon through the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania I cannot resist. I travel the world seeking inspiration that seeps deeply into my interior spaces, product ranges and books.”

Collar, Vintage


“I always have a top five list for my next [travel] destinations. Seeing trees laden with monarch butterflies as they fly into Big Sur, California, in October; following in the footsteps of Gertrude Bell and riding into Petra on horseback; catching a felucca down the Nile; or travelling to Middle Atlas searching out hand loomed rugs are all high on my list.”

Shoes, Yves Saint Laurent


Jacket, APC; Hat, Akubra; Shoes, Rag & Bone


“[The three things every woman should have in her home are] lamps, lots of blankets (I have blankets from all over the world and each has its own story) and lots of fresh cut flowers.”

Shoes, Christian Louboutin


“I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing and living where I want to be living. I travel all the time!”

Jacket, APC; Hat, Akubra; Shoes, Rag & Bone


“[Pieces with] white, caramel and cream, always with detailing [are part of my daily uniform]. I never leave home without my amulets.”

L to R. Shirts, Vintage, Dries van Noten; Bag, Henry Beguelin


“[My favourite meal] depends on the day. I do like roast chicken and dim sum for dumplings.”

Jacket, APC


“[My guilty pleasure is] peppermint chocolate-chip gelato from Messina and Caramello Koalas.”

Jumpsuit, Billy Reid


“I love the beach. Maybe I was related to the merpeople at some point because I definitely feel the pull of the sea. So living in Sydney, for me, that’s what its all about. But I have three homes: Byron Bay, Sydney and New York City.”


“Working with amazing talent for my collaboration with Mctavish [was one of my favorite projects]. Drawing on my friendships and admiration of textile designers including Shibori, Quercus & Co, Bethany Linz, Bonnie and Neil, as well as our own designs. To work with master craftsmen from shaping to glassing with the McTavish brand was so special. That’s also where I met Ben, my partner in life. I love where collaboration can take you, when two creative forces are joined together, whether working with Anthropologie or a local small design company.”

Sunglasses, Ray Ban


“My skincare routine is pretty basic. I use rosehip oil and Clarisonic cleansing brush and monthly facials by Jocelyn Petroni. I try my best to listen to my guided meditation mindfulness app everyday, but I am still learning!”

Shoes, Country Road


Jumpsuit, Billy Reid


Jumpsuit, Billy Reid


“[My first fashion splurge] was definitely a pair of shoes. I bought these Patrick Cox knee-high silk shoes with Chinese dragons embroidered up the sides and I danced the night away, so it was worth it.”

Jacket, Barbara Bui


Jumpsuit, Billy Reid


“It appears that from every destination I pick up a local spoon and sea-tossed stones. I like to conjure up the romance of travel and my desire to take little mementos from each place is too strong to deny.”


“The show [I’ll be presenting on] is called Restoration Australia on ABC. It follows the story of seven heritage houses around Australia laden with history. We meet the owners, research the history, hear the many stories, find and discover traditional old trades and their application into the restoration of these houses. It’s about saving beautiful old homes and restoring them with love and consideration. It’s estimated to air August 2015.”

All, Carla Zampatti


Jumpsuit, Billy Reid


“Luggage plays a huge part for me because it makes me feel like I’m going on an adventure. I always carry my Filson leather strapped canvas bag. I am a product of my surroundings and the culture I am in, and my clothing and travel essentials reflect this (always in my palette of caramel, cream and white). While in Syria it was about respecting the culture, so I donned drawstring pants with a caramel and white embroidered tunic and a linen scarf. I travel with things of my own like my cashmere throw, which doubles as a blanket or a shawl on a cool desert night.”

Jacket, APC; Shoes, TODS; Hat, Akubra


“[My best life advice is] if it’s too hard, move on. Eat your greens. Keep the spring in your step.”

Bag, Swarm


Jumpsuit, Billy Reid


Dress, Carla Zampatti


Dress, Carla Zampatti 


“I bought this bikini at a fabulous shop at the Sunset Hotel on Shelter Island when I realised I’d forgotten my bikini!”


“Rose hip oil is a cure for all. I use YSL foundation and bronzer, and that’s it for me.”


Dress, Carla Zampatti


Dress, Carla Zampatti


Dress, Carla Zampatti


Dress, Carla Zampatti


“I don’t wear high heels as much as I used to [since becoming a mother], but other than that [my style] is the same. My handbag got a little bit bigger, too, to fit the essentials: bottle, toys, spare nappies. This is Christopher Fischer cashmere scarf also becomes a wrap, blanket or throw, great for being a mom!”

Scarf, Christopher Fischer


Dress, Carla Zampatti


“Everyday is a career highlight for me. I have crafted my own job description where I get to do everything I love and want to do.”

Dress, Carla Zampatti


“[The three things every woman should have in her closet are] dress-up clothes and masks, safari outfits and hats, hats, hats, for days!”

Jumpsuit, Billy Reid


“I don’t design my own home. I pick up things I love during my travels. All the things that tell my story become a 3-D lifeline in my space.”

Top, Vintage; Shoes, Country Road


“[My perfect day in Sydney] is at the beach, swimming and walking the foreshore.”


Bracelet, Céline


Dress, Carla Zampatti


Dress, Carla Zampatti


My Sydney Home featured on The Design Files


Sibella Court’s workspace / studio above her Paddington Store, The Society inc. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.



Annex off bathroom, above Sibella Court’s Paddington store. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.



Sibella’s bathroom of classic subway tiles, black grout and hardware pieces from her own range. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.



Incredible tiny eclectic kitchen!  The kitchen sink was purchased at The Great Gatsby prop sale, the zinc splash back, and open shelving were custom made by a local blacksmith. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.


Sydney stylist, author, designer and TV presenter Sibella Court gets quite a lot of press, and with good reason.  I’ve admired her work from afar for a long time, but it wasn’t until I recently had the opportunity to shoot her Sydney home and studio that I really began to properly understand Sibella’s genius! With an uncanny knack for creating the most layered, rich and dramatic interior spaces, Sibella sources details from across the globe to give her projects a depth and sense of timelessness that is very hard to describe.  When you turn a camera on Sibella’s interiors, the magic is clear.  These spaces really do encapsulate something far richer than the sum of their parts.

The word ‘bohemian’ gets bandied about a lot these days but I would have to say it’s entirely accurate in Sibella’s case!  Sibella’s creative projects and her everyday life are intrinsically linked, without much distinction between the two.  Indeed, when I first approached Sibella’s team to request the opportunity to photograph her home, they sweetly explained that whilst she could certainly accommodate a shoot, Sibella’s living arrangements were a little (characteristically!) unconventional.  Allow me to explain.

At present, Sibella’s workspace and daytime living / working quarters are above her beautiful shop,The Society Inc, a sweet little corner store in a building which dates back to the 1800′s, in Sydney’s leafy Paddington. Here, Sibella has created an eclectic environment complete with tiny kitchen (crammed with all manner of vintage knick knacks), bathroom with antique tapware and hardware from Sibella’s own vintage-inspired range, and an incredible multi-purpose studio space above the shop where Sibella’s small creative team is based.  Day to day, when not travelling, Sibella is based here.

In the evenings, Sibella, her baby daughter Silver and partner Ben Harper retire to sleeping quarters elsewhere – a self contained wing of a large shared mansion in Bondi.  Here Sibella has created a sanctuary of sorts, incorporating a moody master bedroom, Silver’s bedroom, a bathroom, and a connecting outdoor balcony / sunroom.  10 minutes by car from her studio and shop in Paddington, somehow, this peculiar arrangement suits Sibella and Silver just perfectly, whilst Ben divides his time between Bondi and Wategoes near Byron Bay, where his business, McTavish Surfboards is based.

Sibella has had her store for five years, and has been based between here and Bondi for the past twelve months, since just before Silver was born.  (Previously, she lived above the shop fulltime). The shop was completely stripped back to its raw shell when Sibella first took it on in 2008.  Though at first glance they might appear original, in fact the kitchen and the bathroom were both painstakingly renovated to reinstate some of their former Victorian charm.  In the bathroom, a dinky bathtub was removed to make way for a more open wet room. Classic subway tiles with black grout were used, with an old French cleaners sink, picked up the taps in a Paris flea market, and Sibella added decorative hardware from her own hardware range.

The kitchen renovation started with the cast iron American sink, purchased at The Great Gatsby prop sale.  As soon as she had installed said sink, that very afternoon Sibella ripped out the whole kitchen, replacing it with a deceptively authentic Victorian-style kitchen – ‘which my brother thinks looks like its from the 1860’s’ she says!  Sibella used salvaged wood for her kitchen bench, and had her master blacksmiths Saul Forge line the walls with zinc and hand perforated shelves, with specially designed forged brackets. Open shelves display Sibella’s many plates, mugs, bowls, jugs, water carafes and ‘every other kitchen un-necessity you ever possibly want’ says Sibella!

At Bondi, Sibella was keen to create a darker, moody atmosphere for her sleeping quarters.  Both her own bedroom and Silver’s were painted in deep tones which give the space an enveloping cosiness, punctuated by Sibella’s treasure trove of collected antiques, artwork, textiles and vintage ephemera.  Though her various projects vary in scale and style, it is this clever layering of detail upon detail which really define Sibella’s distinctive aesthetic, and give so many of her projects their richness and unmistakeable sense of nostalgia.

‘I have got lots of favourite things. Everything has its story, important to me, collected over time from around the world’ says Sibella, who describes her home simply as ‘typical of me’.   I often feel that documenting someone’s personal space can be the ‘truest’ way of understanding what makes them tick – in this case, today’s story certainly presents a vivid snapshot of the inner workings of one truly unique creative mind.  Thankyou Sibella for sharing your world with us!


The Society inc. store – staircase leads up to Sibella’s studio above.  The store itself is housed in an 1800′s corner shop in Paddington.  Here Sibella has created a unique space specialising in local and global textiles, furniture, homewares and beautiful treasure. The shield reads ‘I was born on a pirate ship’ ! Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.



Sibella’s studio and office above her shop.   Custom made wall to ceiling shelves to house her extensive library, which she references daily for inspiration. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.



Details from Sibella’s studio. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.



Sibella has her own hardware range, Merchants & Traders, which she sells in her store. She gathers inspiration for her products ranges whilst travelling the globe. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.



Custom designs in zinc and copper in Sibella’s studio, for the commercial spaces she is currently working on. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.



Bathroom details.  Taps found at a Paris flea market, and a few of Sibella’s collection of old shaving mirrors from around the globe. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.



Sibella, Ben and Silver’s sleeping quarters in a shared mansion in Bondi!  Pictured above – the outdoor room off the master bedroom. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.



Master bedroom. Bed head is custom designed by Sibella, and made by Magic Axe, with a zinc top by her black smith, Saul. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.



Sibella loves cut flowers, especially anything on the branch to add scent & texture to her room. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.



Abundance of hats collected from all around the world in Sibella’s wardrobe. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.



Baby Silver’s enchanting bedroom. The mosquito net was dip dyed by Shibori. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.



A relaxing nook in baby Silver’s bedroom. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.



Sibella collects fancy dress ups & masks from all around the globe, and keeps them in her walk in wardrobe in an old leather suitcase. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Natural Selection (Marie Claire UK)


My Creative Space… (Madison)