April 26, 2015

Decorate Like An Italian Designer

One company getting it right is Meridiani, the Italian renowned for its stunning, mod furnishings that arrive in town this week. 

Simple, subtle and well-built, they are the tailored Italian suit of interiors; they spell status and style, they’ll go anywhere, are good for work and play, and give a room instant confidence. All in handsome hues of white, natural, taupe, grey and blue that resemble a well-dressed man’s wardrobe.

The ten-year old family business represents the pinnacle of classic Italian luxury with contemporary flair - with sofas, armchairs, seats, beds, chaises, daybeds and tables aplenty for the living room, dining area, bedroom, library and outdoors.

Featuring perfect proportions in knockout materials and fabrics, its masterpieces include the Bacon deep Kuoio modular sofa, the Liu Skin bergere armchair, Tautou Duo dining armchair, Foster soft ottoman, Cloud Relax Long bed, and Hardy low table.  Until now they been exclusive to Europe which makes them all the more covetable. 

Expect classic pieces with contemporary flair that are for keeps. Big, beautiful and pure Italy.

CAVIT & CO, (02) 9326 9161, www.cavitco.com.au
October 20, 2014

Web Watch

The Book You Need To Know About

According to Martha Stewart Living alums Fritz Karch and Rebecca Robertson, collectors can be neatly divided into 15 personalities. In their new book they devote a chapter to each type.

Check out the preview in Remodelista's recent post, REQUIRED READING: COLLECTED, LIVING WITH THE THINGS YOU LOVE BY MARGOT GURALNICK, www.remodelista.com.au

March 2, 2017

Why Lights are the New Big Thing

Once the poor relation of the interiors world, lighting has come into its own thanks to a new generation of designers eager to exploit its potential for enhancing our homes.

Until fairly recently designers who wanted to make their mark created an iconic chair. From Mies Van der Rohe and Charles Eames to Ron Arad and Philippe Starck, the road to glory lay in bottoms on beautiful seats. But no longer.
Lights have emerged from the shadows to become one of the most glamorous areas of contemporary design and the quickest way to transform our homes.
This change can be traced back to 1996 when Tom Dixon created the eye-catching ‘Jack’ lamp  - an upbeat hybrid stool-cum-light made of candy-coloured translucent plastic, stacked up as a double or triple decker. To produce and market it, Dixon set up his own company, Eurolounge. In his wake, a flood of talented young designers became interested in lighting as a medium that could be exciting and challenging.
The extent of the transformation can be seen in the renaissance of the chandelier which is now the subject of ground-breaking work. Much of this makeover is down to Swarovski, the Austrian company best know for its crystal ornaments. The Crystal Palace Project, has showcased glittering confections by a stellar cast of international designers including Tord Boontje, Marcel Wanders, Humberto and Fernando Campana, and Tom Dixon (again).
The planet is overflowing with gifted interpreters of the medium who are remarkable for their resourcefulness (not to mention their entrepreneurial skills) conjuring up innovative light fittings in a rich array of shapes, colours and textures.
The magical aspect of lighting is the way illumination transforms the object. Also liberating for the designer is that almost any material can be used – from plastics, ceramics, paper and textiles to wood, metal or glass. Some designers use one material, others revel in roving around.
And what’s really exciting about mod designs – the fab Vaughan creations, pictured aside - is that so much of it is accessible and affordable. So today, the way to revitalize a tired space quickly is to get your hands on a ravishing new light.
Throw out those paper shades and buy something spectacular for as little as $20.  They’re exactly what our homes need at this moment in time! 
September 22, 2016

Kitchen Inspiration: Tips, Tricks and Ideas To Try

Designing a kitchen can be overwhelming, but we’ve narrowed down the eight latest kitchen trends plus the tips, tricks and ideas to master them. 

SPECTACULAR SPLASHBACKS The lustrous splashback is a big trend this year. It’s all about the contrast. A slab of marble against painted cupboards or a single piece of hand-patinated brass against marble benchtops; the idea is to make a statement with a glittering wall that stands out.
CRYSTAL Who knew large grain crystal would be the next big thing in benchtops? Vincent van Duysen, newly appointed head at Molteni & C Dada, has used porphyry crystal rock (prized for its strength – it was used to build monuments in ancient Rome) to create a standout benchtop and splashback for his first design for the brand. (moltenigrouple.com)
MIX YOUR METALS For an ultra-modern approach to metallics, which have become upbiquitous in kitchen design, combine different types and finishes. Why not team burnished cabinets with a brass pendant light, stainless steel cannisters and copper taps. There’s no need to stick to one type of metal. And there’s all kinds of metal-effect ceramics wall tiles to choose from, too, to punch up your scheme, (porcelanosa.com)
PUT ON A SHOW Open shelving is displacing overhead cupboards as the preferred option for above-counter storage. Go for sleek, contemporary metal shelving to trad rustic timber options; single or multi-tier designs - just make sure your crockery, pots and pans are up to scratch.
THE SINGLE HANGING STORAGE RAIL A similar trend to tap into here, is the single rail – Ikea’s ‘Grundtal’ is an affordable option that we’ve used in our kitchens to great effect for many years. Increasingly used in contemporary kitchens, the hanging rail is proof that the industrial style can work in the home. Keep accessories neutral and tightly edited to avoid overcrowding.
COMFORT IS KEY Over-designed utilitarian spaces are taking a backseat to comfort with kitchens that are beautiful extensions of our living spaces furnished with antiques, art, rugs and curtains.
THIN BENCHTOPS Forget ultra-thick benchtops. Barely-there counters are having a major moment. The thinner, the better. Thanks to new technology, benchtops now come in slabs as skinny as 3mm thick. The growing (or shrinking) trend has been gaining momentum over the past year as kitchens are more about refined detailing.
MARBLE MINIMALISM Marble is looking more understated than ever. A closer look at some inspiring minimal kitchens by Plain English (plainenglish.com.uk) see it teamed with matt finishes, tarnished metals, dark paint (navy to black), and touches of timber.
Besides providing additional work space, prep area, deep drawers, extra storage and a place for family and friends to gather - islands pull it all together.
February 11, 2016

Trend-Spotting: 20 Best Finds from Maison et Objet 2016

Welcome to our Maison et Objet 2016 trend report, our comprehensive guide to the biggest style and design trends for the next six months. Those of us who inhabit the world of interior design live in interesting times.

In the 20th century, the word ‘design’ was pre-eminent; now we have begun to evaluate the importance of a word that is sometimes used derisively: ‘decoration’ which makes a show like Maison highly relevant.

Style is changing. But taste? Here’s our favorite finds from the most recent Maison and the brands carrying the aesthetic torch....

1. BLACK METALS No longer sidelined as the metal for outdoor furniture or bed frames, the decidedly unflashy material is one of the most wanted materials for your house this year. The season’s simple yet strong metal turned up on hardware, bathroom fixtures, flatware, furniture and lighting at the show, blended with wood and glass to take it to a more high impact place.

2. RICH ECLECTICISM We’re eschewing the perfect, polished look for rich eclecticism. Freedom of expression, and originality are what stood out at the show. It’s no longer about running around with swatches and matching – which you have to keep coming back and correcting and balancing. It’s about full palettes, good textures, (like embroidery), and strong contrasts that lift a room and add instant life.

3. OLD-WORLD ORNAMENTATION People want the traditional and dressy, with a shot of nostalgia, to feel like everything is going to be okay.  In 2016, we are looking for brocades, tapestries, embroideries, tassels and fringes to soften the austerity of modern design.

4. MEXICAN MIDCENTURY MODERNISM There’s a new wave of designers coming into vogue with unique pieces in exotic materials that hark back to Mexican designers who practiced in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, renowned for mixing materials such as wood, metal and stone. 
5. REISSUES The fashion is shifting away from midcentury iconic pieces which have become modernist clichés (victims of their own success) to a new wave of reissues of lesser-known classic 20th designs. One of our fave brands doing great reissues is Ligne Roset, who exhibited plenty of beautiful new editions of classic pieces at the show. Ligne Roset is available in Australia at Domo Collections, www.domo.com.au

6. CRAFTSMANSHIP There’s an extraordinary amount of innovation and creativity, as well as a return to a search for clarity among artisans including a great French collective sought out by top US brands like Kneedler Faucher such as Atelier d'Art of more than 6000 French craftspeople showcasing a huge diversity of creative talent and designs. Plus names loved by our own Thomas Hamel, Becker Minty and Parterre such as Ginger & Jagger; Eicholtz; Michael Verheyden; R & Y Augousti; Jacques Pergay; Suzusan and many more.

7. THE MASTERPIECE MURAL A wallcover that’s also a work of art was big news at the fair. Super on-trend trompe l’oeil still lifes – most commonly seen on wallpaper - have had a revival, demonstrated by brands such as Zuber. 
8. RAW FINISHES Raw surfaces - concrete to timber, glass, paper, cork and linen – are the modern day interiors essential creating a natural aesthetic that can be family friendly too. It was seen in the Nordic look which was really motoring at the fair, and evidence of our craving for simple, tactile, versatile furnishings.  

9. PATTERN We noticed pattern everywhere at Maison et Objet and Paris Deco Off 2016  - evidence of design’s spirited new mood. We’re talking patterned walls, tiles, tableware and textiles. It’s the perfect way to liven up your rooms, and the latest-look ikats, florals, stripes and geometrics are easy to layer. 

10.  CURIOUSITY CABINETS The 17th-century trend for curiousity cabinets and oddities is well and truly back. No longer are we hiding our love away like a secret vice or shoving objects away in a cupboard. Glass fronted cabinets and etegere are the accessory du jour displacing built-in cabinetry and joinery. It’s part of a growing interiors trend that’s about curating the memories and the history of the owners of the house.  Objets de Curiosité, a French interior design collective who source unusual, reprised, and antique finds that reference the 17th-century European trend of curiosity cabinets and oddities does it best. Also worth seeking out is Giuliano Tincani. 
11. GLOBAL TREASURES There’s a new international spirit in design inspired by Turkish style, African artefacts, Indian and Morrocan weaves. And there's good reason: it makes everything else look cultured and civilised. A jumble of different cultures. Think Chinese, Syrian, African, Italian, Asian, Turkish, Japanese, Bulgarian, Indian. Yastik by Rifat Ozbek is a brand to watch, available soon at Parterre. 
12. ROUNDED FURNITURE It started with the iPhone, and we noticed a curvy trickle-down aesthetic in home décor at the Maison et Objet 2016. Radial and bullnose edges soften hard materials like marble. Who doesn’t want to rub their hands along a smooth, rounded piece of material (or furniture). Touch is essential to design.
14. BACK TO NATURE Plants and herbs, bulbs, shells and coral took centre stage at the fair. Aquatic and botanical themes were major. The craze continued for botanical prints meaning brands like HK Living and Nordal are a key bit of kit. We think they work best on walls and textiles.  Blue colour palettes inspired by lakes, lagoons and oceans were big news at the fair. The message? The more nature in our homes, the better. 

15. MINIMALIST DAYBEDS The height of interiors fashion. Pared-down, Scandinavian-inspired divans had a strong showing. Danish brand Ferm Living, Menu, and Petite Friture each had their own take on the style.
16. GO TROPICAL Palm patterns of all kinds have been trending for many, many seasons now, and there's good reason: they’re beautiful, feelgood and fresh.  This year, we noticed a new-breed of tropical-style wallpapers, throws, cushions,  trays, and tableware by big brands to niche-makers.  Parrots, flamingos, and other tropical motifs got equal billing, confirming that this trend is in full swing. Our new season picks are Mariska Meijers, mariskameijers.com; Thevenon Palm Springs Vert fabric, thevenon1908.com, and Nordal, www.nordal.com

17. WHOPPING WOVEN PENDANTS  The IT piece of the season. The go-with everything accessory in raffia, seagrass or rattan was one of the biggest trends at the fair, that is a quick way to enlarge a space and give a room dimensions it doesn’t actually have. We also noticed the material being used for oversize baskets, decorative bottle covers, furniture, and much more—though the standout was oversize pendant lights which telegraph easy, laid-back living. Our picks? Hübsch, hubsch-interior.com; Valentina Hoyos, valentinahoyosaristizabal.com; Tine K Home, www.tinekhome.com; Sika Design, www.domo.com.au
18. MINERALISM Can’t choose between copper and brass, or bronze or nickel or silver. No problem. Metals continue to have magnetic appeal. The latest trend is all about combining as many metals as you fancy. It follows in the footsteps of the mega-trend for combining more than one material in furniture with a mix of glass, marble, wood, stone or concrete. One of our fave examples of this trend was seen at Le Lampe Gras available at www.spenceandlyda.com.au.
19.  SEASON MISTS AND BLACK MAGIC If you love pale colours, then this is your year. There were lots of pastel shades at Maison et Objet 2016 - soft pinks, minty blues, willow greens, greys, mustard yellows, bones, and creamy neutrals. Offset with black, which is also huge for 2016.  It’s the last word in masculine and elegant. Plus dark colours are warm and peaceful to live with. 
20. MISMATCHED MATERIALS We noticed top designers are going a step further and using two different statement-piece materials on designs together and the result is….ka-pow knockout. A central look for interiors in 2016.
* GLASS Glass was also everywhere, appearing on table tops, tableware, lights and lanterns. The list of exhibitors on board, including Lasvit and Ochre, was impressive. Also trending: smoked glass with grey-tinged glass getting a mod update and used for furniture (like Ligne Roset’s Clyde coffee table by Numéro 111), as well as a range of tabletop accessories, including Aytm’s fab brass-based globe vase.

Scroll through the gallery for our picks of the style-defining brands at Maison et Objet 2016.


June 22, 2017

Isabella Walker-Smith's Insider’s Guide to Sydney

The best places for coffee, cocktails, sushi, a nightcap, gym, a massage, in this constantly evolving city, with expert advice from Melissa’s daughter, Isabella Walker-Smith. Plus, the place to get the greatest blowdry in town. 

Favourite Breakfast Jaunt?
Jackie's in Paddington. I order the spinach scrambled eggs with crispy pancetta and a green juice! Great for people-watching too.
Favourite Quick Lunch Spot…
Brown Rice Sushi in Double Bay. I go there so much, I just say “the usual” now. I’m very much a creature of habit.

Dinner destination — and what to order… 
Bar Machiavelli is a must-do in Rushcutters Bay. Order the Grilled John Dory with roasted Dutch potatoes and confit truss tomatoes. Tell Paola I sent you!
New Discovery:
The Lord Dudley just opened a restaurant and I can’t get enough of it. My grandfather has been going there since the 50s, so it is very sentimental for me!
And if you’re searching for a nightcap… 
I live up the road from the Woollahra hotel so that’s my go-to, but if I am after something more chic you will find me at Charlie Parker’s on Oxford Street, Paddington.

Best place for people watching…
I adore people watching - and always wear larger-than-life sunnies, to make sure I can get away with it! You can’t go past Icebergs during summer and if you nab a balcony table at North Bondi Fish you’re in for a real treat. And anywhere on the Finger Wharf in Woolloomoolloo on a Saturday from China Doll to Kingsleys.
Must-see Sydney attraction…
The Fish Markets is more Australian than the Crocodile Hunter! Eat outside and enjoy the best seafood in the world. Really fun date spot, too. 

Scenic views… 
You get wonderful views of Sydney on the rooftop of The Royal in Paddington.
Spa — and my recommended treatment…
I am a sucker for a massage. The Langham in the city is my guilty pleasure.
Best Hostess Gifts?
Instead of an unoriginal bunch of flowers, I love anything from Honeysuckle nursery in Bondi Junction- a beautiful potted cyclamen or lavender that will last longer and add personality to the hostess' house. Plus it costs a fraction of the price you would pay at your local flower shop!
Best Brand to Buy Your Boyfriend?
Venroy. And you can't go past anything from Mr Porter, of course. 
Best Gym?
Fitness First Platinum. 
Where do you get your Hair done?
La Boutique in Double Bay. Belinda Jefferies is the colour maestro (she has done everyone from Leonardo Dicaprio to Robert Redford) and you can’t go wrong with a blow-dry from Jolene. I go into meltdown mode when either of them are away!
Best Homewares Shopping in Sydney...
Orient House in Glebe for all the right accessories that will make your house a home. No Chintz for the best cushions. Pottery Barn for the best bedding. 
For more inspo + hotspots, follow @isabellawalkersmith
September 23, 2015

Yes You Can! Plan A Wedding For Less (And No-One Would Know)

The wedding industry will tell you that you need a hundred things to pull off the big day. But you can go without a lot of ‘necessary’ items, save time, hassle and most importantly, money. And no one will bat an eyelid. 

When you decide to get married, first up you should set a date, time and choose a location. Be true to yourselves. What message do you want your wedding to send? Do you want it to be a bold statement, or something more polite and restrained? Decide what you like. Suitability is everything. Any style can be fabulous, but it needs to suit you as a couple.
SKIP THE SMALL STUFF Your guests will remember ‘the dress’. The fabulous atmosphere. They’ll remember the pretty table setting. They might remember the super delicious prosecco. But the four-course meal, five-tier wedding cake and live band you didn’t have will go largely unnoticed. Allow yourself to skip over somethings. No one will notice except for you.
MAKE AN ENTRANCE Think of the soprano’s first entrance in an opera, or a movie star on the red carpet. That’s you. When you enter the church, reception or any room on your wedding day, pause momentarily to give people time to notice you. Walk in like a winner. If you sparkle, your guests will too.  And it’s free.
WORK WITH THE SEASONS Don’t drive yourself crazy with a pre-determined colour palette or menu. You might love peonies and asparagus. Work with what’s in season – you will achieve a lot more, for a lot less.
THE CEREMONY Plan the ceremony (and reception) to suit you; not your family, friends, tradition or trends. Personalise the day with small, affordable touches that feel right for you.
LET THE SETTING, SET THE TONE A wedding lunch in the middle of a great outdoor setting doesn’t need much more than the green grass and blue sky for décor.
SET THE TABLE A beautifully set table wows weddings guests the minute they walk in and creates a sense of occasion. Even if all you’re just serving a simple offering, a great table setting will make it seem like so much more.

LIMIT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY TIME  Don’t leave your guests on their own, making polite chitchat while you vanish for extended photography sessions between the ceremony and reception. There is plenty of time to get lovely images during the reception. What you think takes a little while, actually results in your guests being left alone and unloved for one or two long hours.

NEVER SHOW OFF Don’t plant a forest of glasses by each setting: one water and one glass per person is enough. Keep the cutlery simple.
BEFORE ANYONE ARRIVES Preparation is the key to a great wedding. Then all you need to do is look glamorous, be charming and have fun.
HAVE A SEATING PLAN Art-direct who sits where, with place cards and try to seat like-with-like to ensure everyone is sitting in the right place to have a good time.
WHEN GUESTS ARRIVE AT THE RECEPTION The first few minutes of a wedding, like any social event set the tone for the rest of the day or night.  Greet your guests with a big welcome. Usher them in – gush over their attendance, make them feel loved. Those first few minutes are vital.
DRINK AND BE MERRY Nothing makes people more relaxed than a generous glass of something when they arrive. Hit your guests with a grand gesture in a glass. Try Campari, martinis, generous slugs of gin-and-tonic or, of course, good champagne.  Alcohol is the great ice breaker, don’t underestimate it. It’s amazing what a few glasses will do to relax a room and get everyone laughing.
GO SMALL If you can, seat your guests at tables of eight or ten, the smaller the better. Small tables are cosy and conversational, and no one has to shout – and it’s not just tables that benefit from being slightly too small. Often the best wedding parties are held in tight spaces that allow everyone to mingle. There is nothing worse than being in a vast entertainment area with nothing to gather around or bounce off.
FABULOUS SPEECHES Fabulous weddings have fabulous speeches. You’re the host, so you’ve got a license to choose your speakers wisely. The people who can rev the occasion into action.
THE FOOD Food should be simple, generous, easy to serve and easy to eat, but not complicated. Keeping your menu humble, is far more stylish than a 10-course degustation masterpiece that will leave your guests overfed and with indigestion.  You don’t want the food to distract people form the real purpose of the event: your wedding.
MAKE IT LOOK GOOD Presentation is everything. You can make plain food look great, styled correctly. Look at upmarket cookbooks, magazines and blogs to see how food should look. Big white bowls and wooden bowls are a good start.
LET THEM SERVE THEMSELVES Save hassle (and money) by not plating up meals. Do what the French and Italians do, and place food down the middle of the table, or on a nearby sideboard. There’s nothing nicer than helping yourself to what you fancy. Use different sized platters and pedestal bowls for interest. It looks (and feels) modern.
LET YOUR PEOPLE GO A great wedding doesn’t have to last forever. The way you finish your wedding is just as important as the way you start it. It can be a roaring success and still run for less time than you think.
May 25, 2015

10 Easy Design Lessons To Steal From Walter Herman

When Walter Herman renovated his new Sydney townhouse, he used a mix of strong architectural elements, glamorous colour schemes, rich fabrics and quality pieces that have made him a favourite with some of Australia's most prominent families.

Here he reveals 10 easy style tricks you might not know and a few decorating things you never need to worry about. 

YOUR SURROUNDINGS SHOULD MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD “Decorating is about improving our quality of living. It is about what makes an attractive, civilized, meaningful environment that works for you,” says Herman. “It’s not about what’s ‘in’ or ‘out’.”  He advises going for things that fit in with your vision of yourself. Deciding on what you like, and allowing your personal style to develop.

“It’s about creating a place where you (and your friends) feel relaxed and comfortable. The real test of a room’s success is if you spend lots of time in it." 

THE SECRET TO A GREAT ROOM  "Great spaces need a star piece: one big piece of art, an oversized mirror, a huge bookcase, a generous sofa”, says Herman. “Everything else is the chorus. A star piece helps a room shine, adds architectural weight, a focal point and gives the space the dimensions it may not have. It is the heartbeat that helps a room succeed." 

Herman’s living room has no natural light or windows which he resolved by adding a high focal point, a rock crystal chandelier which makes the long space feel bigger by drawing the eye up. 

CONTRAST IS EVERYTHING “There is a need for balance in rooms”, he says "The trick is to mix opposites. Antiques with contemporary art or modern furniture with old paintings. Use smooth with rough, embossed silk or luxe velvet cushions with textured linen seating. It’s what makes a room work."

GO DARK If in doubt, go dark. “I paint, paper and upholster walls in black, chocolate, and charcoal. It’s an old trick but it works wonders, ” says Herman.

THE FABRIC RULES "Forget assertive colours, patterns or florals for sofas", says Sydney's leading decorator. "You’ll make life easier if you keep the foundation pieces, like sofas and armchairs, neutral in plain fabrics and introduce strong statements with cushions.  You can add cushions, take them away. Whatever you choose can change the personality of the space, depending on your choice of fabric."

EMPHASISE SPACE AND CEILING HEIGHTS Install a mirrored wall to lighten and enlarge a room. They can make a cramped space feel grand. “It’s an old trick that still works and can make a huge difference,” says Herman.  

"If you’re adding a mirror to a space to reflect light and make a room seem larger, double the effect by hanging rectangular mirrors vertically to draw the eye up, and reinforce the room’s lines. By hanging it vertically you’ll visually raise the ceilings." 

MAXIMISE YOUR FURNITURE PLAN  "Forget floorplans, " advises Herman. "Arrange furniture where it is most comfortable and looks best." Create different zones in a room: one for entertaining, others for watching television, reading, chatting and thinking. Use a mix of sofas and armchairs in different styles. All have their place if they are good examples. 

GET YOUR SOFA RIGHT Herman, who is renowned for subtle, well-built sofas, says it is important to invest in a traditional sofa the way you’d buy a tailored, timeless jacket. 

Don’t skimp, if it’s not comfortable now, it never will be.  ‘Think of your sofa (and armchairs) as being like fashion’s little black dress: the more simple and classic they are, the more you can vary them with accessories,” says Herman.

THE SECRET TO INSTANT ELEGANCE “Don’t be scared of antiques,” says Herman. “They bring presence to any room. English antiques are great value at the moment, because the fashion has shifted to retro and twentieth century classics. Make the most of the opportunity because they will be back. Antiques mix and match with everything, and one or two pieces go a long way”. 

THE ESSENTAIL ACCESSORIES EVERY INTERIOR NEEDS Great cushions or lamps can pack a lot of punch, completely changing the atmosphere of a room.

“I always suggest people invest in good lamps, they are what make a room feel right and the first things people notice,” says Herman. The average size living room will need atleast four. They’re essential.

Just make sure you get the base-to-shade proportions right. Most people’s shades are too small. If you’re in doubt, pick the larger size: a wide lampshade is preferable to a small one. He loves Vaughan’s Pembroke lampshade in card. “It suits any room, whatever your look. Use it in white for contemporary spaces; or cream for traditional areas. “

THE CHEAT’S GUIDE TO FLOWERS “Always stick to one or two hues for maximum impact.  And go for quantity. A triple bunch of blossom or tulips packs ten times the punch. And go faux. The best in the business (Ralph Lauren included) swear by them,” says Herman.

CHOP, CHOP Herman says it’s always easier not to do things than to do them. Find time to finish all the things you promised you would do when you moved in, but never got around to. Rip down the curtains that have made you miserable. Bash down that arch. Paint over that awful brown woodwork. Put in that fireplace. It will take less time and money than you thought, and your life will dramatically improve. 


DOORKNOBS: Herman’s favourite knobs for doors and joinery are from Mother of Pearl & Sons, Bunnings and Restoration Hardware. (www.motherofpearl.com; www.bunnings.com.au; restorationhardware.com)
LAMPS: You won’t go wrong with Vaughan’s Fishtail Vase ceramic table lamps, fitted with peach or rosy pink bulbs to give you (and your collections) a flattering glow. (www.walterhermaninteriors.com)
SOFAS:  One of Herman’s longtime secrets has been Wills & Sons affordable sofas which are based on classic nineteenth century English designs, and recently launched in his showroom.
SIDE TABLES: Vaughan etageres in faux shagreen are instant style updates, (www.walterhermaninteriors.com)
PAINT: Herman loves Resene paint for its great colours and depth. His foolproof palette includes Resene Baltic Sea, a perfect charcoal; Sambuca, a rich brown and Half Stonehenge, a gorgeous mid-grey which he teams with lots of glossy white woodwork. (resene.com.au)
FABRICS AND WALLPAPER Herman’s hallmark look: Ralph Lauren Home Savile Row-inspired Haberdashery Wallpaper collection particularly Chalk Stripe; Westbury Luxembourg Linen fabric range, Colefax & Fowler weaves and Vaughan embroideries (ralphlaurenhome.com; westburytextiles.com.au; colefaxandfowler.com; walterhermaninteriors.com.au)
FLOORING: Herman’s signature flooring: International Floor Covering European Torstoiseshell sisal and Tuscan sisal - both winners.  (www.interfloors.com.au)
FAUX FLOWERS: Serious faux flowers, Florabelle Imports, (florabelle.com.au)
BRONZE SCULPTURE AND COLLECTABLES Hit the auction houses to find good bronzes, paintings, porcelain, antiques, midcentury furniture, jewellery, 
decorative arts and things you won’t find anywhere else is at bargain prices.  Sign up at for newsletters at the leading auction houses so you’re always first to know about upcoming sales.

WALTER HERMAN INTERIORS (02)  9360 7008, www.walterhermaninteriors.com
December 4, 2014

Doormats Tough Enough For High Traffic

Put your best foot forward this season, and prepare for the summery stampede of sandy feet and grubby shoes with something fab for folk to wipe their feet on.

You won’t go wrong with Armadillo’s range of entry mats in heavy-duty sisal in all kinds of styles to suit your environment. Affordable, too.


Serengeti entrance mat, 60cm x 100cm, $110; 50cm x 140cm, $130

Sahara entrance mat in natural and charcoal, 60cm x 100cm, $145; 50cm x 140cm, $165

Nest entrance mat in charcoal and natural, 60cm x 100cm, $80; 50cm x 140cm; $115

Terrain entrance mat, 60cm x 100cm, $110; 50cm x 140cm, $130

Fine Sahara in natural, 50cm x 80cm, $95


Armadillo&Co, (02) 9698 4043, http://armadillo-co.com, 


March 30, 2017

The Four Fabrics That Go With Everything

Fabrics are the key to comfort: they determine quality, durability and funtion. Light or heavy, the fabric you choose should always be tactile, natural wins over man-made. 

These four fabrics - canvas, silk, linen and wool - have enduring appeal. 

CANVAS (and COTTON) Hard-wearing, inexpensive and practical when it comes to laundering, canvas and cotton will serve you well. Nothing brings a crisp edge to a room like sofas curtains and sofas in plain canvas and cottons. Try plain white canvas, plain neutral cottons or a a stylish array of parallel stripes in (thick or thin). The latest super-sized cotton stripes, prove the simplest ideas are always the best. Cotton is a time-honoured classic used in the best interiors.  

LINEN Linen and linen blends are generally hard-wearing and mix with everything - the more expensive are usually tougher and feel softer. Go for contrasts. Mix plains and patterns. Stripes and checks. Big and small patterns. Same-size patterns together look wrong.  Smooth with rough. 

SILKS (and DAMASK) A longtime favourite of the international style set, embossed damasks are now taking wing on modern sofas, chairs, ottomans, and cushions. And for good reason. Put damask with its opposite such as linen or canvas and watch its style value double. Medium-scale damask patterns will be very definite in small rooms but in larger spaces will become almost like a texture. If you have a great chair or stool, show it off with a great silk or damask. Natural silks does tend to rot and fade under our strong Australian sun, so avoid direct light. 

WOOL Cultures from around the world use wool for everything from seating to bedheads, banquettes, walls, cushions, throws. It adds a soft, warm element to a space, and wears well. 




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