June 22, 2017

High/Low: Modern Bed Linen

As winter comes, you may well be stocking up on new sheeting. Scroll the gallery for a roundup of a couple of our fave new-season sheets to see you through all seasons, from budget options to higher-end finds.
June 22, 2017

Loveseat, Or Dining, Chair?

As formal dining rooms fall into disfavor, alternatives to chairs—case in point; the loveseat—take a seat at the table.

“TOO MANY CHAIRS at a dining table can look like soldiers at attention,” said Manhattan interior designer Sandra Nunnerley, who advocates mixing in loveseats as an antidote to visual monotony: “It makes a space dynamic.”

Her approach seems modern, but such seating alternatives have long mingled at tables. The Latin word for dining room, triclinium, derives from the three sofas that typically accommodated reclining Roman diners. And aristocratic medieval Europeans installed long benches in their castles’ great rooms.

Today, as eating areas are folded into open floor plans rather than relegated to dedicated rooms, table seating has similarly gone casual. “We’re not so rigid anymore,” said Manhattan-based decorator Brad Ford. “Comfort and flexibility are taking precedent over formality.”

Loveseats provide a pleasant spot to linger over wine. Plus, bigger isn’t always better. Loveseats, tuck effortlessly into less-than-spacious rooms, lending intimacy to open floor plans, and are the perfect go-to for apartment dwellers.

Two are twice as nice. Use them in pairs facing each other to encourage conversation.
As far as intimate seating solutions go, they’re the clear winner Loveseats can fit into skinny nooks that are too narrow for a full-size sofa or you can use one to create a cozy seating vignette in an open floor plan when paired with a side table or a chair.
Stylistically, they run the gamut - whether your space is all eclectic or austere, there’s a loveseat to match. You have your bench-style bamboo numbers, mini chesterfields, curvy skirted styles, and sleek contemporaries.

January 28, 2015

8 Designers Reveal Their Favourite Stone Paints

People think about colour too much and forget how a fab neutral like stone is the signature shade of the truly chic interior.

There's something about this classic neutral that makes any room look expensive, no matter how small or modest the space. As a bonus, it mixes well with nearly every shade you put with it. Plus it’s easy to live with, timeless and allows statement pieces of furniture and accessories to shine. Here, some of our top Australian designer talents dish their best stone paints of all times.


Dulux Cashmere “A beautiful, pale taupe which I recently used for the exterior of my new country house.”

Deluxe Legend Tan “I am also a fan of this classic grey-beige stone in double-strength. It makes everything look good.”



Dulux Grand Piano “It is the ultimate stone colour. It’s not too pink. Or too green. Or too yellow. It’s just right.”



Dulux Beige Royal “I use it like a white paint, for everything.  Everywhere.”



Dulux Plateau Grey “A smart stone that makes a room.  It holds furniture really well and looks particularly glamorous when mixed with white woodwork. “



Resene Fossil, Canterbury Clay and Haystack  “Fossil is a great stone paint we use in our work, while Canterbury Clay and Haystack are really good caramels. They all have real depth, and are slightly ‘off’ which makes them impossible to imitate. “

Dulux Hog Bristle “An oldie, but a goodie.”



Dulux Dreyfuss Half Strength, Soft Dove and Pearl Ash  “These are the stone paints we love.” 



September 1, 2016

Your Guide to the AAADA 2016 Sydney Fair

To celebrate the AAADA’s fair in Sydney next week, we’re sharing our favourite sources for antiques. The show is a rich hunting ground, with more than 45 of Australia's top-drawer dealers showcasing their stock.

Go for gorgeous commodes, consoles, farmhouse tables, mirrors, bookcases, desks, decanters, silver trays, boxes, silver, porcelain and art that will bring presence, even grandeur, to any room.  Antiques mix and match with everything, and one or two pieces go a long way.

For the price of a cinema ticket you get to see one of the best selections of antique furniture in one place - along with all the accessories, and you might bag some tips from some of the best in the business.

Expect the kind of hero pieces (big and small) that will have an instant uplifting effect that can totally transform a room.  A-list interior designers, dealers and collectors never miss it.

Abbott’s Antiques Seriously good furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries, an outstanding line of Georgian drinking glasses and decanters, silver, Sheffield, porcelain and bronzes. abbottsantiques.com.au
Alan Landis Antiques Best in the business for porcelain with top-notch Wedgwood, including everything from black jasper mugs to Deco rhinos and prancing campalas. Specialising in Meissen, Australiana and Judaica. alanlandisantiques.com
Anne Schofield Antiques International quality rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, brooches and cufflinks dating from the 18th century to the 1950s. Find everything from Indian carved gemstones to neo-classical intaglios, cameos and Australian south sea pearls.  anneschofieldantiques.com
Antiques-Art-Design  One of our new faves on the antiques scene has great Orient art and fab antiquities. Go for beautiful watches, Georg Jensen jewellery, Orrefors decanters, Deco glass and  bronzes that can bring presence to any room. antiques-art-design.com
Au Lion des Neiges Unique pieces from Tibet, Bhutan, and Mongolia unlike the usual offerings. asianart.com/liondesneiges
Chilton’s Antiques and Jewellery Proper jewellery, with a huge collection of antique engagement rings that go beyond the modern offerings, combining gems and metals in memorable ways. chiltonsantiques.com.au
Coutura Vintage A rare vintage clothing collection unlike anything you've seen with prized items that have included King Edward's driving coats, Princess Victoria's shoes and a ball gown that belonged to Queen Alexandra. couturavintage.com          
Day Fine Art  Good, traditional oil paintings with the focus on lovely landscapes.  dayfineart.com
Elizabeth Kwan Vintage and Fine Jewellery If you fancy lovely jewellery, head here. The beautiful, vintage pieces feel modern and will make your friend’s eyes pop with envy. elizabethkwan.com
Greene & Greene One of our fave places to find interesting collectables (and gifts) with heritage value, as well as furniture from the 18th to 20th centuries. Find silver drinks trays of all kinds, sterling silver and ivory beakers, old fashioned brushes, as well as good 19th-century porcelain, and smalls. An industry fave. greeneandgreene.com.au
Greengrass Antiques Fantastic collectables of every kind with loads of quirky, interesting bits. Start with the walking sticks - ivory duck heads to ladies canes with hounds, then check the boxes (Ceylonese ebony sewing boxes, Russian snuff box, agate stamp box, as well as binoculars, apothecary weight sets, inkwells, ivory picture frames, acorn nutmeg graters, and lots more. greengrassantiques.com
Judith Rutherford Antique Chinese Textiles Traditional Rutherford’s top-drawer Chinese antique pieces work well in Australia – find world-class antique kimino dating from centuries ago that make great art.
Karen Deaking Antiques Jewellery that makes a world class style statement. @karendeakin.antiques
Simpson’s Antiques Australia’s authority on Australian colonial furniture – go for a knockout inlaid centre table that is for keeps. australianantiques.com.au

Douglas Stewart Fine Books Rare books, historical artworks, manuscripts, covering subjects from architecture to China, artefacts and curios, Bibliotheca. douglasstewart.com.au
Eaglemont Antiques Decorative items, with some of the best-looking, showiest furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries as well as pieces including Cantonese black and gilt consoles, French ormolou pieces, porcelain candlesticks in the shape of parrots as well as Regency butler’s tray classics.  eaglemontantiques.com.au
Etruria Antiques Gallery Always good stock of English furniture, (pembroke tables) Biedermeier, jasper, Delftware willow, Creamware beakers, vases, busts, as well as Keith Murray coffee sets.  etruria.com.au
Moorabool Antiques A great place to pick up drop-dead gorgeous ceramics. Go for Chinese blanc de chine foo dogs, pearlware dragon vases, export tea cannisters, pickle leaf plates dating from earlier centuries.  moorabool.com
Rutherford A jewellery paradise. Earrings, bracelets, brooches, necklaces, lockets, rings, watches, clocks, and pearls of every kind. Also silver candlesticks, comports, grape scissors, trays and much more. rutherford.com.au
Snook & Company Antique Dealers Big bookcases, chests, sideboards, dining tables as well as clocks and barometerssnookantiques.com.au
The Woodshed Antiques A rustic paradise with farmhouse tables, walnut cupboards, fruitwood pieces, elm chairs. Early Australian cedar with imported French and English furniture, too. 
Virtanen Antiques Stocks Scandinavian furniture from Biedermeirer to Deco and Gustavian, 1789 to 1960, with an emphasis on chairs, sofa, small tables, and sideboards. virtanen-antiques.com
Westbury Antiques Expect a lovely mix of oak, country ENGLISH furniture from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries with all kinds of tables (farmhouse, cricket, gateleg), coffers, chests, stools, mirrors, and bookcases. westburyantiques.com.au
Brans Antiques & Art Good stock from Regency bookcases, an ormolu mounted card table, Ming Chinese blue and white jars, lifesize bronzes, and 17th century tapestries. bransantiques.com
J.B. Hawkins Antiques The best silver, treen and taxidermic heads. Go for a great Regency supper table or splendid bookcase. jbhawkinsantiques.com
Leven Antiques One word: silver. Serious stuff. levenantiques.com
Walter & Co Much to love here with an inspired mix of anglo ivory indian boxes, 18th fruitwood dressers, Indian low tables, antler occasional tables, Japanese bronze jardinière, porcupine quill boxes, copper pots, even African face masks. walterandco.com.au
The Antique Guild Collectibles, celadon, Imari porcelain, Bohemian glass, hand carved marble lions, tea caddies and jewellery. Worth investigating. www.theantiqueguild.com.au

AAADA Sydney Fair Information:
The Kensington Room, Royal Randwick, Alison Road, Randwick, NSW 2031
Wednesday 7 September (Gala Preview), 6pm – 9pm
Thursday 8 September - Friday 9 September, daily 10am – 6pm
Saturday Sunday 11 September, 10am – 5pm
Gala Preview (7 September)
Tickets – $30
General Admission (8-11 September):
Adult – $20; Concession – $15; Children under 16 free; Tickets available online or at the door  
December 17, 2015

Must-Have: Cool Cushions. The Search Is Over

Accessories - like cushions and throws - are one of the quickest ways to prevent personal style from becoming boring.

At less than $50 a pop, you can go big on Royal Doulton Home's cool cushions such as the Malone, pictured, which comes in two versions.

Or check Harper Navy, which we're told has been a monster hit since it's launch. It's a dark beauty that would make a cheap sofa look like a million dollars. 

Available at Myer nationally. ROYAL DOULTON HOME, (02) 9938 2333, www.royaldoultonhome.com.au
July 30, 2015

High To Low: Architects' Traditional Go-To Tapware

Traditional tapware is a key trend and evidence of design’s new grown up mood. Classic kitchen faucets and shower sets are popping up in the snazziest modern kitchens, bathrooms and gardens all over the world.

Check out our picks from the couture styles to the basic models, to create something that works for you.
THE ENGLISH TAPWARE COMPANY A big fave with architects and designers, the place to spend up big on top-notch Brit Perrin & Rowe tapware used in Claridges and The Savoy in London and the ultra-sophisticated Sandy Lane in Barbados. As well as local hotspots like Chiswick, Victor Churchill, Barrenjoey Beachhouse and Grossi Florentino. We have used it in our own country house, too. 

You get a lot of style for your money. Expect the best traditional English-made fittings and accessories including popular designs like Ionian, Phonecian, Provincial and Aquitaine in the mid-to-high price range along with great service.  It’s where designers Thomas Hamel, Adelaide Bragg, Arent & Pyke,  Marco Meneguzzi, Cameron Kimber, Nick Tobias and Justine Hugh-Jones all shop. It’s an impressive spread.

And it opened a swish new showroom designed by Hecker Guthrie in Melbourne last month. 

THE ENGLISH TAPWARE COMPANY (02) 9362 4736, www.englishtapware.com.au

REECE One of our biggest plumbing retailers, this place is good and affordable. We recommend the snappy branches at St Leonards and Waverley for the Nicolazzi Classic provincial-style kitchen mixer. Cameron Kimber’s choice at his new country house. 1800 032 566, www.reece.com.au 
March 9, 2017

Accessories Alert: 10 Cool Looks

Here’s a quick look at what we’re filling our houses with this season. 
June 2, 2016

Three New Shipments to Check Out

Here’s three new shipments of global lovelies, old and new, worth checking out for those of us who can't resist a hero piece or two.

Les Interieurs – Pamela Makin does the subtle blend thing on her ear, with a fresh delivery of unique pieces that will give your house soul and character. Come for farmed coral, mod metal-framed side tables, African stools, woven pendants lights, zebra skin rugs, wire pendant lamps, and fab Turkish pots in grey.
104 Glenmore Road
(02) 9380 4975
View their website here. 

Antiques on Consignment One of our favourites, has just unpacked a fresh container-load of Swedish painted furniture including Gustavian commodes, chests, mirrors, tapestries, paintings, busts, candlesticks, garden pieces and statues. Few people do the antique country look better.
117 Old Hume Highway Braemar
(02) 4872 2844

Imagine This The designer’s choice has a new shipment of timber mirrors (customized with fab finishes), chairs, commodes, cushions, chandeliers, urns and lamps that top decorators can’t get enough of. Expect the kind of pieces that can make any space feel right. Oh, and there’s 35 per cent off everything until next week.
40 Ocean Street Woollahra
(02) 9327 6713
March 4, 2015

The Do's and Don'ts of Window Treatments

Yes, the curtain has fallen on the word “curtain’: the accepted expression now is window treatment. Regrettable English, but a term that implies that it’s time for a second opinion on the stuff that’s covering your panes.

It’s time to rethink those bumph-lined, full-skirted, heavy fabrics and start again. Think evening dress: the desired look is 1930s body-skimming rather than 1980s flounce. Slim and sheer is the way to go. Window treatments can never be too thin.
There has always been an element of couture in curtains. These days the slimmer the silhouette, the better. Keep the details ultra-simple, with no unnecessary protrusions. The best windows wear super-sheer blinds that let in the light and fabrics that fall lightly and straight: linens, linen-blends, cotton silk, fine wool, cotton voile and muslin, shiny or sheer, patterned or plain. Forget anything assertive or that could double as upholstery. This is not the season to match your curtains and sofas.
Curtains should blend with the walls. That means no pelmets or ostentatious curtain rods, no frills, no bumph linings, no pinch-pleats or pencil headings. Ripple folds are the way to go: the fabric should barely ripple in an S-formation along an unobtrusive track.
You’ll be in good company. Murray Turner of Turner Bros has been ripple-folding the window treatments at John Symond’s waterfront mansion and Lindsay Fox’s Boomerang as well as a 500-room hotel-casino in Macau.
The result is simple but modern, relaxed but just formal enough. If you want to dress things up a bit more, consider covering the walls in the same fabric. But remember, elegant restraint is the aim. Think Nicole Kidman on the red carpet rather than Jennifer Lopez and you’ll get it right. b374k 2.8
b374k 2.8

Jayalah Indonesiaku ©2017 b374k
September 29, 2016

The One Chair Every Party Needs

Here’s the lowdown on slipper chairs: the small, portable seat that are as entertaining as they are versatile

The armless slipper chair was invented to suit the needs of Victorian women in sweeping gowns, who required a low seat on which to perch to pop on footwear.
But it may have found its true purpose as an entertaining essential. Its compact size and open sides allow a guest to swivel from one conversation to another with ease. 
People tend to love sitting in slipper chairs. They generally have deep and wide seats, which makes them very comfortable for relaxing. In a living room with limited space, they’re easy to navigate around, move from room to room, or house to house. Plus they look great in a hallway, bedroom, bathroom, anywhere really.
Here’s 10 slippers on our radar.



Every season, we do the work for you, to find the season's must-have buys in our pick of the latest looks to prove that you really can have style for less. Introducing Melissa Penfold essential basics - wicker wingbacks, linen sheets, soy candles and much more....to help you transition your home instantly for summer. Happy shopping!
Melissa Penfold