June 2, 2016

8 GORGEOUS FINDS YOU CAN SNAFFLE AT THE $2 SHOP

Asian discount stores are a necessary stop for canny decorators: you’ll find things here that wouldn’t look out of place in the grandest boutiques in New York or London.

You’ll dig deep for treasure, but it’s worth it. Go to areas where there is a critical mass of shops (in Sydney, Eastwood and Campsie, stand out), so you can compare and contrast. Turnover is quick: grab bargains today, because they won’t be there tomorrow.
 
Most of what you’ll find in $2 shops is rubbish - but 5 per cent will be pure gold – the sort of artefacts that make a home unique, and for a tiny price.  Look for natural textures, muted colours and minimal decoration, but also keep an eye out for exuberant items such as pots, fans and table accessories.
 
Keep an eye out for these 8 things:
 
1. Discount damask, silk, linen, cotton and wool that you can use to whizz up fabulous cushions
2. Woven office storage boxes and baskets
3. Seagrass and rattan placemats and coasters
4. Giant glass storage containers with proper seals
5. Glass and stone-coloured ceramic vases 
6. Teapots, jugs, enamel vacuum flasks 
7. Glass hurricane candle shades
8. Candle votives
October 20, 2014

WHERE DESIGNERS BUY THEIR OUTDOOR FURNITURE

Want smart  furniture in strong woven fibres that can be painted any Dulux colour you fancy?

A-list designers (Thomas Hamel, Cameron Kimber, Michael Love, Marco Meneguzzi, Briony Fitzgerald, Brendan Wong, Victoria Hampshire) swear by Cotswold Furniture Collection. It sells major brands like Belgian fave, Vincent Sheppard which creates timeless designs such as the Sydney indoor dining chair used at fab hotspots throughout the world including Huka Lodge in New Zealand and Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island. Plus the Butterfly chair used at high-end resorts like Longitude 131 at Uluru, and Southern Ocean Lodge at Kangaroo Island. For interiors, there's great new lookers such as Yoko, Jack, Jo, and Melissa, whose name we thoroughly approve! And for outdoors, there's the popular Monte Carlo, Bordeaux, Safi, and Lucy. Oh, and we love Vincent's iconic laundry baskets which have been around for more than 20 years and you see in mod interiors looking as fresh as ever in chic shades.  

Vincent Shepperd laundry basket, $495; Yoko sofa including cushions, $2995;  Jo or Melissa dining chair, $595 each; Jack chair $695

Inquiries, 1800 677 047, www.cotswoldfurniture.com.au 

December 15, 2016

These Are The Colours Everyone Will Be Talking About In 2017

In a bold move, paint manufacturers, interior designers and real estate developers pick white, off-white and greige as their top colours for 2017.

In everything from restored barns to posh penthouses, white is hot. It’s an ideal backdrop because it creates a calm, clean, elegant feel; and remains the best foil for art.
 
It’s about simplicity, and when people are feeling less sure, white-on-white offers comfort and a home where you can take refuge from life’s frenetic pace.
 
The hue of your walls has a huge impact on your psychology says Debbie Zimmer, director for the US Paint Quality Institute, a research arm of Dow Chemical Co. “For example, red typically increases appetite and raises blood pressure, and it’s a very stimulating colour, whereas white is calming and refreshing.”
 
Resene who has a reputation among designers for sophisticated tinting and sells some of the best whites and neutral paint colours on the market, are predicting neutrals will continue their run for 2017.
 
The company’s 2017 colour trend report includes its most popular ever whites - Black White, Spanish White and Alabaster – mixed with a delicious palette of new-season deep, warm muted shades and pale hues that are easy to interpret in any way to suit your individual style.
 
There’s lovely blues, greens, sables and greys that you can coordinate (or contrast) to taste. Colours like Quarter Truffle and Fifty Shades are a great way to give a new wall a softer, old-world feel with their an earthy finish.
 
Karen Warman, from Resene says, “these colours are easy to live with because they have a relaxing and comfortable feel about them – the perfect respite from busy life.”
 
Other great colours are Resene's Half Dusted Blue (the ideal French blue); half Grey Chateau, Steam Roller, Organic (a great ghost gum) or Half Evolution – which all have warmth and depth: and are a little muddy, not sacharine.
January 7, 2016

At Home with Carolyne Roehm

As the interiors world goes increasingly casual, it’s great to catch up with Carolyne Roehm, the American tastemaker and unparalleled booster of 21st-century style, who is in Australia this week.

Her lush books have had astonishing success and inspired a style movement that is sweeping the world and has us all obsessed with flowers, gardens and tablesettings
 
In a candid interview we discuss her latest book, At Home in The Garden, which celebrates the beauty of classical design, formal gardens and sparkling dinner parties. And of course, her ultimate canvas -  her beloved 1760s Conneciticut retreat – the main subject of the lavish tome.
 
Here are 12 design lessons to steal from Carolyne.
 
DON’T BE TIMID The biggest single thing you can do improve the look of a garden is to “make a statement,” says Carolyne. “A garden is like fashion, which is about showmanship,” says the former fashion designer, who suggests you can carry anything off if you go for it.
 
“Display things in big, bold quantities, rather than dissipating their effect by scattering them around or opting for a little bit of nothing. Volume makes a statement.”
 
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU LOVE Even in a tiny garden focus on what you love most. If you love one flower, don’t use it in a small way. Cover a bed with it. Grow things in big, bold groups. Aim for effect. If you live in an apartment, install a window box at eye level to accomplish a similar goal. Select four things only: two colours you love plus foliage for texture.
 
EDIT YOURSELF Do not try and have a little bit of everything. “It’s hard, but you have to pare-back. Even in a big garden. Keep it simple. Don’t underestimate the power of simplicity.  Select one or two of your favourite flowers – anything from white gardenias to snapdragons, and build out from that. Then reinforce it.
 
INTEGRATE YOUR GARDEN AROUND ARCHITECTURE Your house is the heart of your garden. “Houses and gardens that totally integrate are always the most successful.”
 
TELL A STORY She likes to make gardens that lead you somewhere, ideally, from an ornamental foreground toward the infinite. Also in a large garden, vistas are key. Don't hide them. Place a statue in the center of an avenue, and the vista will bounce back at you.

GET A THEME “Creating a theme is the most important thing when setting any table,” says Carolyne. Not moods, not oven objects. To create the theme, search for a starting point: a flower, a colour, or a fun find from a bargain store like the reindeer she recently found at a cheap store in Charlstone and spraypainted white for the centerpiece of her annual Christmas dinner.  Keep your antennae always out.
 
USE WHAT YOU HAVE Carolyne’s famous dinner parties, take advantage of the entire house. She’ll move tables into rooms depending on the season and the gathering, and voilà: instant dining room. Something we can do wherever we live.
 
FLOWERS AND COLOUR They are always the starting point. Indoors and out. When you select blooms for the garden, opt for one (or two) that you like, that works best, and suits your lifestyle. Flowers remain at the heart of everything for Carolyne.  
 
RAID YOUR LOCAL MARKET  “Globalisation means you find the same things everywhere you travel. There’s a dearth of individualism.” You’ll find great, inexpensive decorative items at discount stores, the supermarket or grocer that you can build an entire tablesetting around.
 
 DON’T HAVE ‘GOOD’ AND ‘EVERYDAY’ THINGS Good china and glasses should be your everyday pieces. “Otherwise, what’s the point?” Look at everything you have, and see what works best, what looks good, and what do you like most. That should be your everyday things.
 
THERE IS A PERFECT DINNER PARTY NUMBER When entertaining, Carolyne prefers to go big or small. Eight people’s good, but six people is best as you can sustain a single group-conversation. And round tables, she thinks, are more companionable.
 
STAY TRUE TO THE SEASON When it comes to flowers, Carolyne says go with the seasons. Choose blooms that have a scent and are in season. You want your flowers to look as beautiful as possible.
 
Oh, and on the subject of Christmas, Carolyne recommends we ditch the Santa red velvet theme in Australia. A cornucopia of fabulous fruits and foliage would suit us so much better.  Here, here.
 
CAROLYNE’S FLOWER GUIDE: WHAT TO TAKE TO A PARTY, etc.  
A casual lunch  Carolyne is unlikely to take flowers to a casual lunch.
Birthday party Flowers that are in season and looking great.
Thank you Ditto.
Mother’s Day Lily of the Valley makes the perfect posy.
A sick friend  Their favorite flower
 
FLOWERS TO HAVE IN THE HOUSE
The kitchen  “Herbs such as rosemary, basil, myrtle, or topiary.”
The bedroom  “Anything scented, roses, peonies, jasmine.”
The guest WC “Nothing specific, usually whatever’s left from other bouquets I”ve assembled.” 
 
Wedding Go with the season, or use the bride’s favorite flower, but choose blooms that don’t wilt easily. 
 
2016 IT flower? Carolyne never follows passing trends. “All flowers are beautiful. Choose what you like most, rather than what’s in fashion. Everybody can have their own signature flower.” 
 
And, what rose are you, Carolyne? “A luscsious pink English garden rose, with the temperament of a red rose!” Sounds pretty fabulous to us.
 
If you haven’t got her book – AT HOME IN THE GARDEN - make sure you grab it. It’s one of the best books we’ve perused in recent memory. A treasure to have, hold and own, and beautiful enough to display like a work of art.

AT HOME IN THE GARDEN, Carolyne Roehm. Amazon, $46.75, www.amazon.com
 
August 4, 2016

Guess Which Accessory is Becoming More Popular Than Cushions?

How much money have you spent updating your lighting this year? Well, if you're anything like the average homemaker, you’ve probably spent a lot.

Lighting has become the fastest-growing accessories category for interiors in 2016, beating year-over-year growth percentages for both cushions and soft furnishings.
 
It’s big business. Online lighting shopping has experienced a high rise. Every brand – from high-end to budget and niche, is doing versions galore. Lighting is one of the quickest, easiest updates for any room – that delivers mega-bang for buck.
 
In other words if you haven’t bought a new light recently, it seems like you may be the only one. Here's a few on-trend affordable lamps that are a stylish way to spruce up your space this season.
 
 
April 26, 2015

The No-Cost Remodel: The 15-Step Plan

If you think you need to double the size of your house, you’re wrong. You need to halve the amount of stuff in it.

If you don’t use something, remove it from your life. Keep only that which is fresh, crisp, fluffy and makes you happy, and nothing that is yellow, hard, stained, thin, cheap or tragic. 

You have to work out what’s important to you.  Define the basics.  Plates, bowls, cups, clothes, towels, beds, lamps, soap. 

Then widen the circle, to add the list of things each family member really wants: the things that make your life sing: favourite books, art, rugs, cushions. 

Here’s our 15-step, room-by-room plan, everyone needs!

Do a big edit of all your possessions and chuck out everything that compromises your taste.  Don’t be sentimental. Toss out everything that’s chipped, tarnished, dated, ugly or depressing. Antiques and heirlooms?  Get them valued, and if you don’t like them, sell them.

Breaking up is hard to do. It will be painful. Be strong. Wrap your head around the task of throwing away your past. And don’t create a limbo land of storage boxes. They only encourage you to keep stuff that deserves to be thrown out. Find nifty storage solutions. But don’t let any of your house become a repository for detritus.

Line up a stylish friend to speed up the throw-away-or-keep process: we often become blind to the things we live with. An outsider with a good eye will swiftly pick out things you should discard – or hang on to and display. Don’t take their judgement personally.

When you’re done with chucking out, keep things in their place. Store items where they are used, based on frequency of use. Keep the sticky tape close to the scissors, and wrapping paper. Store knives near chopping boards. Group similar items together. Put items you use once a year – such as sleeping bags or tents – in the store room or garage.  

Avoid volcanoes of unsorted paperwork. Make it a priority and sort it daily, from bills to receipts, trademen’s quotes and newsletters: that way things don’t build up. Assign each family member a folder or drawer. If you collect clippings, rip out the pages you want to keep, put them in a binder labelled sections and recyle the magazine. 

THE BEDROOM A great place to begin. Head straight for the wardrobe. Sort your clothes into keep, ‘Good Samaritan’ and bin. Everything torn, shrunken, old, mouldy, smelly or stained goes straight into the bin. So do all those wire coathangers. Every piece of depressing underwear or sleep apparel belongs there too – even if no one else ever sees it, you do. 

Everything too small, too big or unfashionable but in good condition qualifies for Good Samaritan. Don’t keep anything you haven’t worn in eighteen months: if you didn’t wear it last season, you never will. 

Throw away the clothes that don’t suit you – even if you think of them as old friends. Out they go, along with everything that makes you feel fat, shoes that give you blisters, the frock you made in Year Six, and your school blazer. 

Even if a look comes back it will be subtly different. The shoulder pads in an old suit will make you look like a Star Trek or Dynasty extra and the trousers will be too narrow, wide, high or low. 

Off to the charity bin with them all. Do it today so you don’t have time for second thoughts.

Keep only things that fit you and present you in the most flattering way. Colour-coordinate what is left, hanging it neatly in your wardrobe – this will make it easier to get dressed. You’ll probably find you’ve doubled your storage space. 

While you’re there, sort through everything else. Single earrings, broken costume jewellery, and old letters all go straight in the bin. Keep only the letters that changed your life, and pop them in a special box. 

THE LINEN CLOSET Pull it all out and keep only the things that are as beautiful as the day you bought them. Don’t hold on to stained sheets or cardboards towels. Nothing can bring a stiff towel back from the dead. Bury it in the bin. 

Accept the fact face washers have a short life span. 

When it comes to bed linen be ruthless. If the same duvet cover has been on your bed for five years, it’s time for an update. Wash everything that’s left, then fold and stack away beautifully. Now go shopping: linen today is at a design high and a price low. You can buy a fabulous duvet cover at a lifestyle store for no more than a night out.  

THE KITCHEN Don’t let a stretch of bench deteriorate into a chaos of bills, quotes, parking fines, school notes and reports, invitations, all covered with toast crumbs. Get on top of your mail every day: pay the bills, file away the newsletters, and put the invitations in your diary.

THE PANTRY Always bulging, always a mess. But no longer. Chuck out the tin of Icelandic snacks someone bought you back in 1992; and the remains of the rice flour you purchased for a single recipe that you’ve never cooked again. Don’t keep spices longer than a year: after twelve months, you might as well be stirring dust into your food. 

Get a big bin, and work through one shelf at a time. Anything tragic, past its use-by-date, battered, left-over, rusty, weevilly or downright weird goes straight in the bin. Put things back in logical groupings, as if it were a mini supermarket. Put things you use all the time at the front.

Decant packets into containers: it looks good, avoids mess and keeps moths away. Now you’ll have space to fill with the things you need. Your pantry should make your heart sing and your mouth water. 

THE CUTLERY DRAWER Empty it out. Vacuum out all that mysterious grit that collects in the drawer, and go through the cutlery. Everything unmatched should be chucked. So should anything old, useless or bought as a souvenir. Keep only cutlery you use every day – but make sure it’s good. If its light, badly designed, worn or damaged, throw it out. That includes forks with bent tines, and knives that have lost their edge. 

THE TEA TOWEL DRAWER Yes, you need a few. Buy half a dozen in crisp linen or cotton and chuck out all those ones featuring sad-eyed puppies or bought as souvenirs. 

THE BOTTOM DRAWER This is where matchboxes jumble with string, out of date warranties, gummed up tubes of superglue, reels of sticky-tape, blobs of Blu-Tack, dead batteries, keys that don’t open anything in your house, and numbered birthday candles that don’t add up to the age of anyone you know. 
Keep the sticky-tape and chuck out the rest. 

Let’s face it: superglue is a one-use product, birthday candles have to be bought the day of the party, you’ll never solve the mystery of the keys, and appliances always collapse the day after the warranty has expired. 

THE FRIDGE Make sure nothing is on it – no magnets, bills, reminders of doctor’s appointments, children’s drawings, photos or fingerprints. Don’t make it a decision pending tray. 

UNDER THE SINK This is the dark secret of every home: the repository of scraps, boot polish, brushes and rags, rusty remnants of steel wool, dusty cockroach baits, multiple bottles of surface wipe, toxic oven cleaner oozing its way out of a tin, old toothbrushes, disgraceful dishcloths. Get rid of pretty much everything and start from scratch. Bleach the bottom, let it dry, then reline. 

THE APPLIANCE CUPBOARD Here reside the ultimate space invaders. You may swear by your electric knife, break maker, rice cooker, ice cream maker, juicer, cappuccino machine and electric frying-pan. If, however, you swear at them, they have no place in your life. Apart from a toaster and an electric kettle, the only kitchen appliances a real cook needs are a food processor and some electric hand held beaters. 

THE LIVING ROOM Access your knick-knacks. Why are these on display? Are there things in your cupboard you like better. Make executive decisions.
Move on to the bookshelves. If there’s a volume that you put down, unfinished a year ago, it won’t have improved with age’ the self-help book that never helped you, ancient textbooks, and the four shelves of children’s books with no heirloom value all deserve to be set free. 

Old books smell. Chuck out all second-rate paperbacks and fusty old magazines.  Put them in the recycling bin, and start afresh with a lovely new collection. Books are a great way to decorate a room and fill your mind, but they have to be good looking. We do judge a book by its cover. 

Rearrange the objects and furniture that are left. Take two chairs out of the dining room, and allow them to flank a fireplace – and then get going with the paintings. Group paintings around theme, content and size. 

Put similar objects together: all your glass together on a side table; and all your hats on a wall. Massed together even mundane things achieve drama.


THE BATHROOM The bathroom cupboard is another dark corner of everybody’s life. That space under the sink should contain fresh rolls of loo paper, cakes of soap and a few extra hair and make up products – that’s it. You know what to do with the rest. 

While you’re there, take a look in the shaving cabinet and throw out all medications past their use-by-date – marshall all your bandaids, bandages, insect-bite and anti-fungal creams together so you know where to find them in an emergency. Put medical stuff on one shelf. Put pampering stuff on another. Put the things you use every day on the lowest shelf.  Make your bathroom cupboards things of beauty – they are a reflection of you. 

THE TOY CUPBOARD Cheap toys have done more to ruin good houses than the worst interior designers of the Eighties. Brightly coloured plastic might stimulate young children, but its charm quickly palls. Once your children can read, start culling. Wait until they’re out for the day.

PRESENTS Everyone’s house is full of gifts that missed their mark: the scarf that goes with nothing, the book you’ll never read, and the perfume that makes you sneeze. Go around the house with a heavy-duty garbage bag and collect the lot. You will not believe the difference it will make. 

THE GARAGE The place where old fitness equipment goes to die. Bring out your leaky lilos, flat soccer balls, old paint tins and brushes. Don’t turn your garage into a halfway house to the bin. 
May 25, 2015

Meet The New LBD Of Benchtops

If you're extra rough and tough in the kitchen take a look at WK Marble & Ganite's Quantum Quartz (a dead ringer for the stone on which it is 93 per cent based), that's used in airports throughout Australia and now comes in six great new greys.


Architects and designers love the reconstituted stone for its colour accuracy, durabitity and the fact it needs little maintenance. The quartz-based range, being acid-and-chemical free, is completely husband-proof and tougher than the real deal. It is stronger than granite or limestone, non-porous so you don’t have to bother with waxes and sealer, and comes in 40 varieties. 

The company has developed a palette of greys to suit our current craving for the moody hue with pale oyster-hues to mid-smokes and deep charcoals. 

Every slab is cut to size. It can be used for benchtops, splashbacks, wall-cladding, flooring, the list is endless. 

Virgin, Versace, Gap and David Jones are all clients of WK. 

You can check the range at its showrooms (where you’ll also find WK Natural Stones in 150 types), then order through your kitchen company or stone fabricator.

WK MARBLE & GRANITE: (02) 9772 9888, www.wk.com.au
December 8, 2014

What Not To Give This Christmas

The very thing that you think 'just makes a gift’ is more likely to be the very thing that makes it all wrong.

Hit the mark everytime with our essential guide on how to get it right and the big no-nos. Click here. 

  • When we open a present, we want to see something we can use immediately, which will slot effortlessly into our lives, and boost our egos. But how often does that happen? 
  • Give the best. The best of anything is special, be it a towel, a table or a pillowslip. 
  • Get it at the right price. When you see something fabulous, with a price tag to match, grab it. 
  • If you're stuck, opt for classic gifts such as beautiful stationery, soaps or candles. They are old faithfuls that always work. 
  • Don't underestimate the appeal of wonderful food. It sends the message that you think the recipient is someone who appreciates the finer things. What would you prefer: flowers that wilt, a knick-knack you have to dust or something delicious. There's no contest. 
  • Give things that add to a collection, whether it’s glass cake stands or milk jugs. Make the internet your friend and go searching. 
  • Start a present drawer. Set aside a large drawer or box and keep your antennae up whenever you shop. If you’re always looking for great gifts you won’t miss the good buys. 
  • Build up a collection with military precision to suit all friends and all occasions. 
  • Become a spy: be smart and observant. Spot the missing touches you can fill. If you notice a friend’s teapot has a chipped spout, scribble ‘teapot’ down as a gift idea. Gather clues and jot gift ideas down in diary. They’ll be touched at your thoughtfulness. And that is what present giving is all about. 
  •  Seek treats the recipient would never buy themselves. A terrific grater, a well-designed pepper grinder, a marble chopping board will give a lifetime of pleasure. 
  • It’s not all about you. Give things they would like, not things that you would like to own. 
  • Use imagination and empathy. 

What Not To Do 

  • Don’t go on about the expense and the trouble you went to. 
  • Don’t ask ‘What do you want for your birthday?’. The question brings on acute embarrassment. People either forget to mention the one thing they really want or, to avoid appearing avaricious, mention items they don’t need or particularly like. Just keep your antennae up. After the event, never ask about the fate of your present. The words ‘Where is that painting i gave you last Christmas?’ is an open invitation to a lie or insult. 
  • Don’t keep reminding the recipient of your generosity. Gifts should be given lightly. 

What Not to Give. 

  • Anything that requires its owner to dust, water, feed, sew, make, plant, paint, polish, exercise or hang (unless the recipient has specifically asked for something) 
  • Anything that has a pulse: goldfish, puppies, and kittens are not presents for Christmas or any other time 
  • Jewellery: it’s too personal, and depends too much on individual proportions and tastes 
  • Art: it’s too personal and takes up wall space for too long 
  • Clothes: nobody likes to be dressed by someone else.
  • Lingerie: leave it for lovers 
  • Photo frames: the ultimate boring present 
  • Turkish towels: too faddish 
  • Anything from the discount bin. Buy gifts on sale only if they are in top notch shape. They have to be things you would be thrilled to buy even at full price. Any imperfection is magnified in a gift 
  • Don't give knick-knacks. Everyone is fighting a war for uncluttered surfaces 
  • Don't give anything that can be viewed as an insult. A voucher for a facial is risky. So is a How To Cook handbook, or pedometer 
  • Don't give cheap anything: cheap things make the recipient feel worthless 
  • Don't give anything with a fancy border. Choose only dead, plain basics. The very thing that you think 'just makes it' are more likely to be the very thing that makes it all wrong. 
February 11, 2016

10 Easy Pieces: Designer White Paint Picks

White paint is a classic. Here we ask Australia’s top design talents to generously share their favourites – the go-to white paint shades they’ve painted countless incredible interiors, and know work.

DULUX LEXICON The top choice for an all-purpose white is Dulux Lexicon loved by our leading designers such as Thomas Hamel, Iain Halliday, Greg Natale, Parterre owner, Richard Haigh and Anna Spiro. Use a mix of half-and-quarter-strength. If it's good enough for the the award-winning boutique hotel, Halcyon House, it's certainly good enough for us. 
 
2. DULUX VIVID WHITE A bright, cool white. Big names such as Iain Halliday, Poco Design, Anna Spiro,  Charlotte Coote, (Coote & Co) and Pamela Makin, (Les Interieurs) all swear by it. “It's my fave cooler white. Half-strength for walls and quarter-strength for ceilings, woodwork, mouldings, and trims,” says Coote.
 
3. DULUX WHISPER WHITE The warm white of old, pre-brightend, starched linen. A favourite with big names like Cameron Kimber, Walter Herman and Lynda Kerry. Use a mix of half and quarter strength.
 
 4. DULUX BEIGE ROYAL The go-to white paint for top-notch designers Michael Love, Marco Meneguzzi and Cameron Kimber . "We like it because it has a warm, neutral tone, as opposed to most whites, which we find either too blue, too icy, or too yellow," Kimber says.
 
5. FARROW & BALL STRONG WHITE It’s not only strong by name but strong by nature. A fave with design powerhouse Blainey North who says it is the perfect white for use in modern homes and spaces. FARROW & BALL NEW WHITE #59 The choice of longtime designer Darryl Gordon who says “It’s a stronger version of the brand’s famous White Tie and is called ‘New’ because it is much fresher than traditional whites. It will warm up any room with its soft illumination and can be made to look more creamy if contrasted with bright whites or fresher and cleaner when contrasted with warm whites. Perfect for country kitchens.

6. DULUX STOWE WHITE (a cream white) A Darryl Gordon classic.
 
7.  DULUX NATURAL WHITE A classic according to designers such as Poppy O"Neal and Charlotte O"Neal of Poco Design and Charlotte Coote, Coote & Co, who says "It's one of the best warm whites around".
 
8. RESENE  Spanish White  "It's such a clever colour,' says leading Melbourne interior designer Adelaide Bragg. "It's fresh yet has depth. We halve it, quarter it, double it. I've just painted my entire house in it with some grass weave wallpaper to add some pop. Other good whites she recommends include Resene include Blanc, Parchment and Fossil.

9. TAUBMANS WHITE ALPACA is one of the best whites around says leading designer Darryl Gordon.

10. DULUX WHITE SATIN is another hot white according to leading Melbourne architect Rob Mills who used it for pukka Sydney yoga outfit, One Hot Yoga & Pilates that opens it in Potts Point next week. 
September 1, 2016

Dinnerware Simplified: Wedgwood Edition

Every home needs a set of quality dinnerware. One set of china that is good enough for the snazziest dinner party but tough enough for everyday use.

We’re obsessing over Wedgwood’s latest looks. They send a positive message to others: ‘I care about quality, I have taste, and I’m not afraid to show it.’ 
 
After two and a half centuries, the Brit ceramic maker is still going strong. Few looks can match the classic good looks of Jasper Conran’s new Tisbury collection. Named after the village where Conran lives, the snazzy white plates, mugs, jugs, creamers, teacups, and teapots, with tactile ribbed relief border mix geometric shapes with strict precision. We adore Conran’s signature angled handles. It’s the perfect foundation dinner set.
 
Or add a touch of class to your table with Arris, a contemporary gilded pure white tableware with modernist, graphic prints which is all about rich eclecticism and freedom of expression.  It mixes crisp white bone china with gold trim and luxe tea and coffee sets that hark back to the modernist designs of the 1960s. You can choose from a range of different geometric motifs, metallic finishes and crisp contours that can pack a lot of punch, completely changing the atmosphere of a table. Great personality pieces that will stop you from looking too safe.
 
Look out too, for Gilded Muse gold-embellished vases, plates and teacups in our gallery edit. It uses classic figures from the Wedgwood archives dating back to the 18th century in innovative ways. Seek out unique glossy bone china pieces with pixilated images of trad objects in gold matt finish. Elegant enough to display on walls, tables and shelves when not in use.  They also make the ideal gift for the friend who has everything.
 
So if you’re looking to set up from scratch, or simply wish to update your existing set, shop our picks now. They are the building blocks to the things you need to live well. Polished classics that strike a sophisticated note which you know will be a staple forever. Most pieces are sold individually or as a five-or-16-piece set. We love them all!

Wedgwood, 1300 852 022, www.wedgwood.com.au
 
THE CHINA RULES
1. Go for light and fine china. Even if you’re not fussy about what you eat from, someone else will be.
2. Choose a low maintenance classic that will make food look delicious.
3. When you find a style you like, buy in generous quantities. Buy stacks of dinner plates: 20 is best.
4. Forget fads, especially when it comes to plates. That means nothing square, oval or boat-shaped.
5. Forget china cupboards. They have become a repository for everything you never use. Stack plates in gleaming piles on open shelving; you’ll use them all the time.

Jasper Conran Tisbury
Jasper Conran at Wedgwood Tisbury 16-piece set, $169; jug $48.95; 23cm pasta bowl $16.95
 
Gilded Muse
Wedgwood Gilded Muse Set of 4 17 cm plates $379

Arris
Wedgwood Arris 5-piece place setting $239; teacup & saucer, set of four, $319; espresso cup & saucer, set of four, $279

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COME SHOP WITH US!

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