The Alphabet Of Arcane Trades: U is for…

U is for…


Working in this industry for many years, I can’t miss the chance to pay respect to early interior designers. Upholders were early upholsterers or furniture repairers, but it’s thought that they were the precursors to decorators. It makes sense that the person you tasked with fixing or restuffing your chaise longue would have some ideas on the best pieces or colours to work in the living area. Upholsterers had to know their stuffings, and I can imagine a tool chest packed with all sorts of textures – coir, horse hair, hessians and springs – to master the padding of a piece of furniture. It’s amazing to think that what started with a focus on cushions and padding evolved into such a recognised career today. Here’s to the upholders of days gone by!

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…
S is for…      T is for…


How To Use Metallics


Everyone needs a little sparkle, a glimmer of a twinkle in their life and your interiors are no different. Metallic tones appear in just about every one of my 10-colour palettes and styling themes. My Tradewinds colour palette invited the lustrous tails of mermaids and mythical serpents, and the glistening scales of fish. The subtle sparkle of mother of pearl has always enchanted me, too, and I love the varying degrees of metallic that you can play with to bring something more to a space.


I love the contrast in texture that a metallic finish offers and the way it picks up and reflects the light and other colours in a room. I might use paint with a hint of shimmer or a sprinkling of glitter, a textile or cushion with a beaded or sequined embellishment, or perhaps fill shelves with objects made of precious and everyday metal, decorative silver pieces and tableware, or gold-papered boxes, things made of pressed tin or bronze.


Mirrors and all kinds of glass should also be introduced for their wonderful light-enhancing qualities. Natural light being one of the easiest ways to not only make a room more welcoming but also exaggerate a small space, if you can work in any elements, such as a hint of metallic here & there, that will amplify the light, you should! It’s a stylist’s trick of the trade.



The Oaks Hotel

We recently designed The Oaks Hotel which was built in the 1930’s, and has now been lovingly restored & cared for over its many years with its grand original details & features. With a purposeful pairing of old and new, it’s revitalisation pays homage to its Art deco origins.


The upstairs rooms of The Oaks was originally the licensee’s flat & his daughters room, Nancy & Kathleen. Today the rooms have a variety of choices for fun & decorative backgrounds with pool tables, ping pong, library room with a manned honesty bar & outdoor terrace with a private station bar.


The design encapsulates the history of the building & travel in the 1920’s & 30’s as it become more accessible to the average bear. It references one of the most exciting design periods in history, Art Deco & the thoughtful pace of train travel. The space is as much about the journey as the exotic destinations.


Begin the journey through the ‘backstage’ full of props & theatre in the Trophy Room, kitted out with its very own physic’s tent to tell your future. Pass the original kitchen transformed into a patterned paper to complement to original wunderlich tiles in the LEFT ping pong room. The grand hallway is transformed from a transitional room into David Thomas’s (owner) very own private gallery with floor to ceiling artworks collected throughout his years.


A revamped curved bar with its original plaster dome now made all the more glamorous with custom-made copper globe by the talented Melbourne- based makers, Earl Pinto suspended on a pulley system. As the hallway meanders on, choose between ‘arsenic’ coloured walls of Mannix Room all tartan & hunting or the the colourful sisters room for pool across the hall. Glamorous women of the time inspired the oversized murals, the collectable ceramic artist, Clarice Cliff and textile designer, Sonia Delaunay.


If chit chat & cocktails are more your thing, try the new Station Bar, reminiscent of the materials found in a working train station; hand forged zinc bar top with beautiful timber joinery & smithed details that spill out to a plan thick terrace. For lounging around, nestle up by the fire in to the custom curved sofas in The Sitting Room and the Licensees Flat. These rooms are for fun, games & cocktails served from the custom-made manned Honesty bar. This is about discovery, journey & adventure – grab your personalised luggage & come along for the ride – All Aboard!!


View the whole project here.


Amulet Making Workshop

The Society inc | Amulet Workshop

Everyone needs a little bit of extra protection, so this Saturday I will be holding a workshop for kids who would like to get creative during the holidays! During this one hour workshop I will help the kids make their very own special protective amulet for them to wear. Details are below, and parents you can purchase a ticket from our online store.

Ages 4-12 (parents are invited to join in if they like)

We will supply hand dyed shibori leather, a variety of curious jingle jangle & leather thonging.

You will need to bring your own scissors, and if your child has a special shell, bead, notion or small found object they would like to incorporate into their amulet, please feel free to bring along.

This class is limited to 16

Tickets $25

WHEN: Saturday 9th July 10am – 11.30am

WHERE: The Society inc. Warehouse, 3.02 – 75 Mary Street, St Peters NSW 2044


The Alphabet Of Arcane Trades: T is for…

T is for…

Bowerbird Instagram Competition Candles - The Society inc. by Sibella Court

Tallow chandler
In times when electricity was not yet available and lighting a home was not as easy as flicking a switch, the tallow chandler – a maker and seller of tallow candles – had quite the important job to do. This trader’s name offers a clue to its early vintage, as tallow candles predated easier to produce wax candles. These traders even had their own guild in London, the Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers, which received its first charter in 1462. Apparently, the tallow chandlers of old were made of strong stuff, as the guild still exists today, but operates as a charity supporting education in oil-related fields. You know what they say: you can’t start a fire without a spark…

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…
S is for…


The 4 Basics Every Stylist Should Master

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:


Stay curious
Read books, search the internet, interrogate tradesmen and talented friends.


Up skill
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.

Bowerbird Instagram Competition Brushes - The Society inc. by Sibella Court

Spend wisely
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.