Love White? We do too!
Trends and fads come and go and Colours of the Year entertain us with their whimsy but white never goes out of style. Doing whites well doesn’t need to be something reserved for high end design schemes, The Design Hunter team has an eduring love of white and we’ll tell you some of our favourite white textures to use in your home as well as how to use layers of white and texture to create cosy spaces.
PAINT – WHICH WHITE TO CHOOSE??
It seems simple enough, but the choice of “which white?” is a regularly asked question along with “does it really matter which white, isn’t it just white?”. The answer is that if yore making the choice to stay neutral and paint the home white, the choice of white can really affect the overall feel of your home. There are warm whites, true whites and cool whites and each has a different role to play depending on the natural light in the home, the colour of the floor coverings and the overall look and feel you’re after. We certainly have a few “go to” choices from the big brands – Dulux White on White, Dulux Lexicon, Porters Chalk White, and Resene Double Alabaster, but the most common combination we use is Dulux Vivid White for the walls and trim (semi-gloss of course) and a flat Ceiling White for the ceilings and cornices.
There are some beautiful surfaces available now in hundreds of shades and textures of white. Two products we use regularly are Corian in Designer White along with Caesarstone’s divine new range of organic whites and pale concrete look surfaces. For some more interesting textures take a look at the Marblo range or the versatile surfaces from Neolith which can be used on facades, interiors and even joinery. Tiles are of course one of our favourite ways to add texture and interest with a simple white. We love these moroccan inspired handmade tiles from Tiles of Ezra. These stunning Lace Hexagonal tile from Skheme were recently used on our Paddington project.
It goes without saying that layering white in your home décor and soft furnishings is one of the best ways to live with the sereneness of white. Think cotton blankets, white icelandic sheepskins, handmade argentinian knit cushions, linen slipcover couches, unique white cowhides and handmade white ceramics. Shop the look online in our store!
We’re absolutely thrilled to be stocking the most exquisite and textural handmade soft furnishings all the way from Argentina. We caught up with the founder of Tribe & Co, Cassandra Langbien, this week and spoke to her about the new brand …
What was the inspiration for starting Tribe & Co and working in South America?
Initially I moved to Argentina for love.. and soon realised that in order to live there and be able to travel back and forth to Australia I really needed to be earning foreign currency. I studied Interior Decoration in my past life and then worked in the fabric and interior product industry in sales so I decided to continue with the industry I knew. It wasn’t long before I fell in love with the artisanal interior products Argentina was producing and Tribe & Co was born.
Can you tell us a bit about the creative and manufacturing process in Argentina?
I have been lucky enough to find some really amazing local people who design the pieces with a modern mind set and combine that aesthetic with traditional practices and materials that are sourced and produced in the country. All the product is hand dyed and hand made, and with that combination of design and manufacturing it really sets the product apart from others in the market.
What is your favourite piece from the current range and also from the new range you’re about to release?
My favourite pieces would have to be the Flame Throw and matching cushions. Its such a beautiful soft chunky knit and the throw has a really nice weight to it.
What was Cassandra Langbien up to before Tribe & Co?
Before Tribe & Co I was working as the Victorian State Manager for South Pacific Fabrics in Melbourne and prior to that I had my own Interior Decorating business in Sydney.
Who are your mentors?
I am inspired by people living a similar life to mine; where by they are having to travel and source, in many cases from places that are difficult to do those things from! Especially dealing with foreign languages and remote places. I look up to those people that have come across product that has spoken to them, from all over the globe which they have in turn have seen and appreciated the potential in, for both the people and the product made there. Its a big world out there and its nice to have items that have a story to them, and that comes from a place far far away!
Be sure to feel these amazing textures yourself – available in store and online.Tweet
Described as the ‘performance of a picnic’ Dîner en Blanc is one of our favourite events that enfolds around the world. Requiring a dash of spontaneity, the fete that originated in Paris manages to bring together friends and strangers all decked in white, at a secret location. This all began in 1988 when Francois Pasquier planned a small get-together for friends in Paris’ Bois de Boulogne. He asked pals to wear white so they could find each other. Today, Pasquier’s son, Aymeric has expanded it into an international sensation. What started with simple word-of-mouth today has as many as 15,000 white-clad guests meeting annually in Paris’ public spaces, and leaving tens of thousands on a waiting list.
Instead of creating chaos, this event is actually intended to add value – with an emphasis on ‘community.’ An event that completely evolves a landmark of a city into a sea of people decked in white sharing food, laughter and memories. Paris, the original location still doesn’t obtain a permit to perform this event – not the case in most other cities.
The event begins with the tradition of the waving the napkins in the air – a sign of occupying the public space!
Sydney’s event will take place on 28th of November. Get yourself on their wait list to have a chance to make fabulous memories at this inspiring event!
Attending and in need to deck out your picnic basket with the best white goods? Get the look with our recommended items …Tweet
We caught up with Head Designer, Margo Reed, on the progress of her Design & Build project in Paddington in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. The project construction commenced with B2 Construction last week…
Tell us a little about the client
My clients are city professionals with 2 young girls living in a 4 bedroom
terrace house in Paddington, Sydney.
What are the foundations of the project
The client came to us to utilise our Design and Build services alongside
B2 Constructions. With an approved DA to open up the rear of the ground
floor, the project included a revision of the internal spaces to work as a
family kitchen, dining and play space, new bathrooms and laundry, joinery
throughout and final touches such as colours, materials and fixtures and
fittings both internally and externally.
What style or key elements has the client indicated they would like to
see through out the home?
The client had particular materials in mind from the beginning such as
concrete and timber floors, a practical kitchen and plenty of storage.
Adding natural light was key, as was keeping traditional features of the
terrace with the modern look.
What interesting functional elements have you included in the design?
Working with a few small spaces meant compact designing such as combining
the laundry in the bathroom and tucking it under the stairs whilst still
providing plenty of storage for the ironing board and brooms etc. This
then allowed for extra space in the kitchen to add an appliance cupboard
and plenty of storage.
Can you share one of your personal favourite item you have sourced for this project?
As I’ve just met with the clients to finalise the material and finishes
selection I’m particularly excited to see the bathrooms finished. The
ground floor bathroom/laundry is light and bright with concrete floor
tiles and hand formed feature wall tiles whilst upstairs plays with a
black and white theme including encaustic patterned tiles and a
If you don’t already know, our lovely Admin Coordinator, Sam, is expecting! And we’ve been watching her journey with the design and styling of her nursery/guest room! She’s a recent interiors graduate – marking this her first interior project. With the client being herself, her fiancé and bub to be. We caught up with her to gather more details of her little project ..
Where did your inspiration come from?
My inspiration came from not knowing the baby’s gender, so for me a gender-neutral room was the way to go. Being from Perth, we will have family and friends visiting from time to time and we are lucky enough to have a second bedroom that also comfortably fits a bed. As the room will act as a guest room from time to time, I wanted it to feel fresh and sophisticated but still playful for the baby. I felt this could be achieved through a white and grey colour palette and by adding subtle texture and layers.
What did you enjoy most about pulling it together?
Pulling the room together itself is what I found most enjoyable. It has made everything feel so real now that the room is complete. After spending time to plan and find the perfect pieces – the final result is extremely delightful and exciting.
How did you decide to strike a balance without knowing the baby’s gender?
I achieved this balance by having the overall idea to keep it simple. Starting with a white base of bright white walls and white furniture – extra attention was paid to the soft furnishings and using these elements to introduce depth and texture. The gorgeous hand made Pampa rug (the hero of the room) was a piece that needed no second thoughts. It’s blend of thick wool and dark grey pom poms provide warmth and complements the naturally textured charcoal linen curtains and the white linen duvet cover. The bed has been dressed up with a white sheepskin throw and layers of linen, felt and velvet cushions. I’m also obsessed with indoor plants so a Fiddle Leaf Fig was an absolute must to bring some green life into the room.
What’s your favourite piece?
My favourite piece in the room would have to be the Little Darling animal prints. They are adorable and a timeless addition.
Any final touches before the baby arrives?
There is one final touch, to hang some grey and white tissue paper decorations in the corner above the change table. It’s currently looking a little bare and I’m hoping they will act as a distraction for the baby when the change table is in use – fingers crossed.
Sydney artist Nicole Robins use found material to create unique baskets and weaving art works. We asked the artist to share some of her musings with us. Her works are available through our web shop and in store.
How did you become interested in weaving?
I think a few things came together at once. As a big traveller, I lived for 7 years in Latin America in my 20s and early 30s, it feels like I have been looking at basketry and weaving and craft all around the globe for a long time. I guess drawn to the artistry and colour and how living arts relate so closely to people’s lives – often women.
As a card-carrying feminist I am very interested in women’s development projects, which help women earn a realistic income through their art and craftwork. I also love plants and became quite a digger when I finally settled down in Sydney in my early thirties. I had a yearning to be more creative in a physical sense – as I have always found work to be intellectually creative. Fibre art seems to demand the same kind of problem solving – just in a different dimension. On a whim I took a basketry weekend workshop with Meri Peach at the Botanical Gardens. I haven’t stopped since then. I think that approaching 50 was a time to take stock and explore my own creativity much more than you can really do with small children. I began to document my learning on instagram (@looselywovenbasketry) over three years ago. It’s all there – the first baskets up until the one I put in the recycling bin yesterday because I just couldn’t see a future for it. I think I’m getting better, but it is a slow process.
What is your creative process? Where do you gather inspiration from?
I am sure there is a process that would be very obvious to observers. I make myself do something most days for at least a couple of hours. As an “emerging artist” (I love the idea of emerging in my 50s – I intend to emerge for as long as I can!) I am still finding that every piece is different and has taught me so much. I don’t want to repeat pieces and so I don’t do commissions based on previous work. I don’t think I could ever really do a piece identical to one I have done before. And where would be the fun in that! I want to make what is speaking to me at the moment.
Inspiration is everywhere and in some of the least likely places – like a council clean up. I jog most days and usually come home with an idea or half a tree dragging behind me. I live in a great community, in Haberfield, where neighbours drop cuttings over the fence and friends send me photos of stuff they see by the roadside. So material is everywhere and is a huge source of inspiration. I am at the learning stage where I am really wanting to see what some fibres will do – how bendy is a jacaranda twig (very) – can you stitch with certain types of succulents (yes) and I am still working out what seasons are best for harvesting different things. Surprisingly, I dry a lot of fibres in winter (so they are hanging over heating outlets in dark corners about the place) rather than in summer because our Sydney summer is extremely humid.
Travel, art, design. Anthropology – how people live and what we put around us to please us. I love checking out baskets in museums and in the market place. My last trip was to Mexico. I had a bit of a love of pink at that time – incorporating crimson bougainvillea leaves into my string making. The current indigo thing is a very pleasing moment – so I’ve had a few indigo threads and fabrics in my weave here and there. I love plants so hanging baskets are high on my agenda, as is wall art because I think fibre art needs to be seen on the wall and not just on our tables. As we look to declutter I love the look of both functional and artistic pieces on the wall.
And I do love the fact that I am doing something with so little negative impact on the environment. I am quite devoted to Irish waxed linen thread and some wonderful fibres coming from Japan. Habu textiles online could be considered a bit of a vice. In my last profession, couple and family therapy, the humble idea of ‘doing no harm’ was very important. It still is.
Who are your mentors?
There are and have been some fabulous people that I have learnt from and continue to learn from. I am a member of Basketry NSW and the learning and inspiration from our monthly gatherings is immense. Meri Peach, Flora Friedmann, Nanette Goodsell and Glenese Keavney are probably the four women who I would name as being basketry mentors, but all the women I have met through basketry are so very generous with their time and knowledge. There are a few blokes in there too.
What do you decorate your walls with?
In order of importance: my children’s framed art (any creativity I have comes from them), Aboriginal and other art, weaving in progress so I can look at it with a bit more distance. With a year 12 student in the house washi tape and formulas are also up around the place.
Does each piece has a story or do you let the work flow?
Each piece does have a story – but I never know really what is happening until I finish and reflect back on it. Like the piece I called Vortex – that was my midlife vortex! It has a wildness that captures the chaos – and also some new fibres that I discovered along the road. I look at Vortex and I think about turning 50 and what that meant to me. It has been exhibited – last year at Craft NSW in The Rocks, and now I would like to share it more personally with someone who really likes it. It is nice to exhibit work and offer it to be seen but, more than that, I would like to find a kindred spirit who wants to take them home – that enables me to keep creating.
Other pieces have a much simpler story around the material – sub tropical Sydney is filled with the most amazing plant life – native, introduced exotics, ‘weeds’ – I use them all and let the material tell its own story about our lives and what we have in our gardens. Bromeliads, dragon tree, dracaena, agaves, star jasmine, aloes and cordylines are a few of my favourite fibres. I want to signpost my work to a time and place. Many of these fibres are not used in fibre art anywhere else in the world. I love that. Place and belonging are very important to me. I’m a Sydney gal!
Margo and Larissa, from the TDH design team, recently spent a weekend meandering through Canberra’s eateries and art galleries. For native New Yorker Larissa, the drive to the Australian capital was also an eye opener, with an introduction to the The Big Merino in Goldburn and a peak at some of Bowral’s quaint attractions.
A highlight for the ladies was the interior decor and design they absorbed while staying at Hotel Hotel. Followed closely by the food and beverages they consumed at nearby restaurants. If you want to follow the footsteps of the design duo, they have created a simple itinerary for all you design hunters:
- Take the scenic route and stop in Bowral for homewares browsing.
- Make a quick stop at the farmers market for some road trip snacks.
- Introduce yourself to The Big Merino in Goldburn.
- Stay at Hotel Hotel in Canberra.
- Dinner at EightySix. “Amazing food, service, interior and wine,” says Margo.
- After dinner drinks at Parlour Room.
- DAY TWO.
- Quick croissant and coffee to start the day at A. Baker.
- Ride hired bikes from the hotel to the NGA to see the latest exhibition.
- Lovers of coffee must visit The Cupping Room – a concept cafe designed to take you on a flavour journey. You will also find the winner of the World Barista Championships behind the coffee machine.
- Delicious brunch at Mocan & Green Grout.
- Spend the afternoon relaxing by the fire in the Hotel Hotel lobby and marvelling at every perfectly quirky designed nook available.
BONUS: Gorgeous sunset on the road trip home.
The TDH team were treated to a wonderful evening last night at Dedece with Tim and Michael presenting individual talks from the designers who featured at this year’s Salone del Mobile.
Along with meeting the designers behind our favourite furniture brands, highlights included the stunning exhibition stand with love seat lounges and outdoor range by Minotti and Tom Dixon’s sense of humour and amazing Melt pendants, which blew us away when switched on (and off). We all agree he’s definitely found his niche and on point in the current market.
Davide Groppi’s range of lighting is on our list for future projects with the Sampei’s height and indoor/outdoor options a hit and the N-Euro’s for it’s interesting spider like feature and price point.
Knoll’s update to the classic Bertoia in a plastic seat now comes in an array of colours, super comfortable and fantastically priced at $300 each.
A new brand for Dedece is Brazilian company Sollos, which brings a beautiful mix of timbers and metals in both furniture and lighting with stunning finished details.
A big thank you to Dedece for such a lovely evening topped off with the most delicious osso bucco by Underwood Café.
Local artist Georgia Zweep shared a little piece of her daily routine and insights into her creative process with us.
What is your earliest memory of art/ being creative?
There was a lot of making in my childhood. I can think of many, but if you just need one:
My Oma (Dutch grandmother) had me sewing and knitting from about five years and we worked on and exchanged many projects over the years. For her it was all about the process and not the destination. Mistakes were funny diversions, not permanent setbacks. Such an important lesson.
My mother says that I was obsessed with drawing neat circles while I was still a toddler and I recall genuine praise for drawing and painting at school from age four. I always had some sort of project going. A big break through was age eight when I worked out how to make things look three dimensional with shading! I also recall collecting lichen on bush walks with my parents so Mum could dye sheep’s wool she would spin for knitting, and I would make little weavings from the left overs.
What is your artistic background/education?
I went to art school straight from school. I earned a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) at City Art Institute as it was known at the time. (Most people know it as COFA, but it has just changed its name again to UNSW Art & Design). When I finished there I actually put my paints away and did an economics degree. At that time, I loved making art but felt an unbearable pressure to chose a style or to be a product. I needed to step away in order to find clarity. For years I just made art for myself, family and friends and I worked with so many materials. But with time I became more focused, more certain, until I reached this point, where I paint full time. So, a big part of my background and education is the school of life. And I am still learning!
What are your favourite mediums?
I do like to work with different materials. It depends on how I am feeling and what I want to communicate. Drawing is so direct and the image can be so subtle. Drawing is also a great starting point for all projects. Water colour is mercurial, slightly unpredictable and the colours are great. Textiles appeal as they are tactile and sewing is meditative and it has been the principal artistic form for women for millenia. But oil paint is my big thing. It has such a proud history and is so versatile, but it has secrets that aren’t revealed without much practice. Oils can be unwieldy and there are so many techniques to master but when it all comes together it feels like magic.
Where do you find inspiration?
Nature is really important to me. I have a deep connection to the ocean and I love the sky and deep space too. Each of these elements in nature – wave or cloud or star – is unique but also part of an enormous whole. They cannot exist in isolation. And nature is such a mysterious paradox: beautiful and calming but also fierce and brutal. I think people can be like this too. What I try to do is to tap into these perceptions about nature and the human condition and share my thoughts through the art that I make. That said, I am a big believer in 95% perspiration, 5% inspiration. Inspiration comes, but it must find you working.
Who are your mentors?
To be honest, I don’t have a real, live mentor. But I am always interested in wise and inspirational thoughts and writings. Not just from creative people but from philosophers and scientists as well. If I am not painting, I am probably reading something.
What is your studio routine / what is your process for creating?
My studio routine starts before I get there. Every morning I swim laps in the ocean pool at Bronte. I do this all year round. It clears my head and leaves me revitalised and ready for work. My studio is nearby and I go straight there after my swim. When I get to the studio I open the window wide, light incense or a candle and start working. Some days I might add music and coffee, but apart from that, no mucking around. I keep distractions to a minimum – there is no phone line or computer in the studio. It is just me and the work all day. At the end of the day I pack everything away and make sure everything is in order and then I lay out a note or some other reminder of what I will be doing the next day so that when I return, I can dive right in again. Routine is the best safeguard against procrastination and creative block.
Landscape designer Adam Robinson is sharing his outdoor design secrets with every one. His workshop series has been put together with inner city Sydney-siders in mind.
“It’s an opportunity for people in apartments, with balconies, to create a fully realised outdoor space in one go. We have intimate groups with measurements and floor plans ready to go as we facilitate their progress through designing the space and selecting products. It’s a one-stop-shop for people wanting to design their own balconies with guidance from industry professionals. Our attendees arrive with measurements and leave with a fully designed space with products ordered and installation or delivery scheduled.”