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.


Object History: Mapmaker’s Drawers

The Society inc | Object History: Cartography Drawers

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.

The Society inc | Object History: Cartography Drawers




The Stylist’s Guide to WA | Empire Retreat

The Society inc | The Stylist's Guide to WA | Empire Retreat

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.

The Society inc | The Stylist's Guide to WA | Empire Retreat

Elissa’s hit list:
Yallingup Woodfired Bread on Biddle Rd
Leeuwin Winery & Restaurant
Boranup Karri Forest
Vasse Felix
Yelverton Protea Farm
Eagle Bay Brewing Co
Ngilgi Caves, Yallingup
Sugar Loaf Rock in Leeuwin National Park

Empire Homewares – www.empireretreat.com

The Society inc | The Stylist's Guide to WA | Empire RetreatThe Society inc | The Stylist's Guide to WA | Empire Retreat