So much of my style combines form & function, and I often write about the importance of looking beyond a piece’s intended use and thinking of it as a piece in your space’s story. Chairs are one of those pieces that can blur the line between sculpture and practicality. Here are some of my favourites:
Not everything in your home needs to fulfil its intended use. Chairs can double as tables, floors used as a place to store generous piles of books & magazines, cupboard handles a place to hang decorations. Think outside the realm of traditional interior stores – this divine chair began life in a church.
Mix the simple with the special. The silver metal chair with plain white upholstery sits in front of a peacock & flower motif. If you need to have a quieter moment, opt for a neutral palette, but keep the embellishment.
A chair can be the grounding point or centrepiece of a space. The variations in form and the variety of materials on offer mean that you can totally change a space with this single piece. This woven wicker chair brings a bohemian vibe to the nautical entry.
Channel the style of intrepid explorer Gertrude Bell. She would travel with at least crystal, china, writing desk and a canvas bath on her own forays into the Middle Eastern deserts. I love all things that fold, so Campaign chairs made from timber and canvas with brass joints encapsulate some of my favourite things.
trade wind – noun
1. Also called trades. Any of the nearly constant easterly winds that dominate most of the tropics and subtropics throughout the world, blowing mainly from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere, and from the southwest in the Southern Hemisphere.
2. Any wind that blows in one regular course, or continually in the same direction.
Tradewinds reflects my fascination with all things maritime, from the ocean-going explorers of the 18th and 19th centuries to the pirates and mythological sea creatures of storybooks. It’s also littered with references to entomology and, one of my heroes, Charles Darwin. It is inspired by fact and enhanced by fiction and has a palette that, depending how you use it, can be either calm or wild, just like the sea. And me.
Be wild like the winds and paint yourself a bed head with Galleon manila, or play it safe with Anchorage on a feature wall or two.
I have collected hand-blown glass forever – nothing matches and they all have their own story of the find. This is the time to mix & match and make it casual: porcelain, paper, glass, old doilies, linen all on a background of handmade lace cloth (I think it was supposed to be a bedspread). Remember to follow the Mediterranean tradition of siesta, one that all cultures should adopt.
Pay attention to the details and use the textures and icons seen on your trip: things like a porcelain pendant light, an old steamship towel, rope trivet as a soap dish. Use heavy extra-long tea towelling linen as a floor mat.
I have a fascination with mirrors: I had one bespoke made in the shape of a shield, similar to the ones seen in Sorrento, then layered it in with my vintage collection.
Wallpaper your bathroom with ropes and give it some art – the number 8 is made out of foam and was very inexpensive.
During creative afternoons in our Design studio The Society Inc team is often found perusing through the ever growing library of written inspiration lining our walls. This afternoon we find ourselves nose deep on page 70 of The Stylists’ Guide to New York reading about the higgledy-piggledy nature of the store Pearl River in New York and the variety of ceramic treasures available for tablescaping & idea generation. This still-life encapsulates these thoughts.
Our selections to bring this vision to life in your own styling escapades would be the beautiful & tactile checked linen tea towels, whale side plate, Indigo No. 6, a hand painted tumbler & the colour ‘Tempest‘ from Sibella’s paint range, if you feel so inspired to continue your story onto the walls!
Shop the look here.
G is for…
Glove making is an art that can be traced back to early Greek and Roman times. My fascination with the form of the hand drew me to this trade, and it turns out there is quite an interesting history surrounding the glove makers of the past. Many patterns for gloves are protected by guilds of glovers in Europe, keeping the secrets of glove makers fairly under wraps. The material options are vast, with gloves made from leather, silk, kid, fabric and even chain mail and iron gauntlets of suits of armour – some even had in-built knuckle dusters. These days, it’s rare to find handmade gloves, and in my sepia-toned imagination, I see someone working by the light of a candle to meticulously stitch a delicate pair of gloves.
I’m a devotee of all things old and often even broken. Give me a a second-hand store or an auction over a day at the mall. Invite me into your attic or let me loose at a flea market and I’m happy.
My love of pre-loved objects is twofold. First, the patina of age give so many things – fabric, furniture and paper, tableware and ceramics, wood and metal – unique textural and colour markings.
Look at the way a silver tea set tarnishes or the linen on a hardback book fades in the sun. Feel the crumbling paint on a second-hand chair or the smooth handle on an old hammer. These imperfections are hard to mass-produce and the marks of age tell a story of a life lived.
This is my second reason for being drawn to things of old. I look at tea-cup stains on a table and wonder what conversations occurred around it. I pick up a discarded leather suitcase from an op-shop and imagine the journeys it’s been on. So many stories, so many styling opportunities.