As Spring approaches the real estate market heats up along with the weather. Sellers flood the market looking to show their properties best features in the sunnier days of Spring, and Buyers are aplenty looking for that perfect combination of dream home and location. The Design Hunter’s Director, Melissa Bonney, caught up with local real estate guru, Alexander Phillips of Phillips Pantzer Donnelly Real Estate, this week to talk all things property!
Alex, you’re the Number 1 agent in NSW and the Number 2 agent in Australia, that takes some serious energy, what motivates you to stay on top of your game?
I love that every deal is different and challenging in their own way – all buyers and sellers have different emotions and you need to manage these all the way through this the process.
What’s your top tip for Sellers as they get their homes ready for sale?
Preparation is key and at PPDRE we pride ourselves on having our properties looking 100% when they hit the market. Don’t be shy about spending the extra money in gardens, painting, styling etc – you only have one chance to get the best price!
What are some of the key things Buyers should think about when buying a home?
In the market we are in things are moving quickly and often off-market or before Auction, be 100% prepared to move quickly. You need to be mentally and financially ready if you love a property – it could be sold in a matter of days!
Is it really all about “location, location, location?”
Yes. Most buyers and sellers are moving for lifestyle reasons. Our clients want to live in areas that offer good amenities, schools and transport – these days everyone is time poor and want everything with easy access. It’s about convenience!
We’re at the beginning of the infamous “Spring Market” and in one of the hottest Real Estate markets Sydney has seen for some time. What do you expect to see happening in the local real estate market?
It feels like the market will continue to be very strong, but it could start to soften due to an over supply which generally happens late October early November. With this in mind if you want to be sold and settled before Christmas you need to be on the market in the next 4 weeks!Tweet
Spring presents us with warmer weather fit for outdoor (or even indoor) dinner parties. We love to make our own tablescapes for these events – and make them ones to remember. Defined as an artistic arrangement of articles on a table, they can go from being “over the top” and elaborate to simple and affordable.
Designer Larissa Raywood recently created a tablescape for a small wedding on a $100 budget! See her beautiful photo’s above.
Here are her tips and tricks for getting it done.
Early Morning Start:
Waiting around for the local floral shop to open leaves ones pockets empty and time wasted. This is a do-it-yourself process that involves getting out of bed at 4am and heading off to your local flower market – in Sydney it’s located in the inner western suburbs. It’s definitely tough to get the creative energy flowing at this time in the morning – but to stay on track and on budget its a must!
Gather ideas from pinterest or any other outlet so that you can narrow down the style you are looking to achieve. There are so many different flowers available, along with ways to present them, so figure out what you’re attracted to to make it easier.
It doesn’t even have to be all flowers either – you could think outside the square a little and include fruit, vines or branches to adorn the table.
Look in your cupboards for existing vessels or even making a trip to the local Op-shop to keep the costs down but the quality up. Definitely consider the size and use either petite low vessels or tall ones that will stay out of the line of sight for your guests as well as make it easy for your serving ware.
Think about what you need before-hand or you may find you leave with a car-load you don’t actually need as you “ooh” and “ahh” your way through the flower market floor. In the budget project I recently completed, we had a clear direction of colour palette but always leave yourself flexibility for what’s in season, inspirations (from Pinterest of course), and the actual quantities needed.
If your putting together bouquet style centrepieces – stick to the triangle rule – keeping it high centrally while letting the rest fill in around.
If your creation is low to the table don’t be afraid to bulk it out – normally the more you put together the fuller and more dramatic it looks.
Remember, there really aren’t any rules, so use your creativity to conjure up a tablescape that works for you and your event style!Tweet
Our design studio team spent a beautiful Saturday out and about exploring Sydney’s Indesign event. The event brings together the architecture, building, construction and design industry in a charged creative atmosphere of product launches, creative installations, international guests, seminars, networking drinks and transformed open showrooms, interlinked by design trails and pop-up spaces.
It’s a non-traditional format that allows industry professionals and consumers alike to follow trails that map the city instead of a typical trade-show hall. Forcing us all to get out and about!
Take a peek into our designer’s day!
With the Spring months almost upon us, we are looking forward to the warmer weather and lighter palette’s that it brings. Inspiration in nature is never hard to find at this time of year, but we’re always looking for fresh ways to introduce the season back into the home! It’s the perfect time to bring the outdoors in and add a breath of fresh air into your interiors. Think soft greens, milky whites, sandy hues, peach accents and ocean blues – the muted beginnings of Spring found in nature.
This palette is beautiful all year round but if you’re looking for a way to start introducing it into your home, start small with cushions, accessories and artwork this Spring. Begin with neutral tones as your base, this will leave you the opportunity to layer the muted Spring colours through your furniture and walls. Bringing in greenery is the burst of freshness we’ve all been waiting for – add succulents, palms or ferns to enrich your living space.
Carefully selected by our team of designers, here are some of our favourite picks for your start to Spring – all available in-store and online!Tweet
After some recent trips down to Melbourne seeking out the new and exciting items available to the design industry through various trade shows, the design team also left some time to explore this wonderful city. We’re sharing our favourite spaces and places to stay, eat, drink and of course shop!
This acclaimed boutique hotel is any designers dream to stay in, quintessentially cool from the moment your cab drops you off in front of the art deco facade.
Away from the hustle and bustle in South Melbourne this quaint boutique accommodation is a sophisticated urban oasis.
the most amazing food and wine combo topped off with a classic fit out. Ticks all the boxes.
Even though this iconic Melbourne establishment is headed to Sydney, a must feed at the original never disappoints.
Lunch at Top Paddock
Exquisite fit out with amazing Christopher Boots lighting – complemented by an amazing brunch selection.
Fabulous collaborative pop up restaurant that we literally stumbled upon, felt super lucky and deliciously full! Interior fitout is simple utilitarian goodness!
Dinner at Highline Restaurant
This one hatted restaurant utilising farm fresh ingredients straight from their farm (Oak Valley Farm) So many beautiful elements – fresh baked bread, complimentary consome starter, divine lamb, veal and chicken and then wicked desserts to finish. A little bit of theatre was thrown in at the end with a fabulous flaming pinecone and handmade chocolate and lemon myrtle marshmallows.
Morning Tea at Tivoli Road Bakery
Simply good. Best doughnuts in the world – hands down. Sitting upon a beautiful timber and copper fit out.
Cocktails at Circa
Unique cocktails sitting below the hanging gardens in this beautiful space within the Prince Hotel lobby.
Classic interior fit-out complementing amazing coffee and tea.
Shop & Inspirations
Your desire to mix and match will be inspired at this retail offering headed up by Mr and Mrs Fenton, a collection of eclectic homewares and objects.
For roibois lattes, champagne and cakes. Oh yes and the fantastic furniture and homewares selection.
We all know a trip here inside Melbourne’s GPO building is always necessary.
This ‘collection of style’ is the upscale sister store of H&M. A sophisticated version offering modern, functional and considered design.
Honest design and quintessentially Australian a visit to the Melbourne Showroom highlights this Melbourne made collection.
Passionate design duo Rachael Fry and Amon Carson created this retail store offering a lovely range of curated objects and furniture
If you want to get away from the city for a day the best day trip is definitely a wander around the Yarra Valley, plenty to see drink and do!
Suggested Vineyard: Madden’s RiseTweet
Love leather but not sure how to incorporate it into your interior? Inspired by our new designer Victoria’s favourite piece at the moment – the leather strap mirror, we wanted to help you make subtle incorporations at home.
Starting with a very small touch in the bedroom or kitchen, we recommend leather handles and hooks. These are great for a touch of texture and a unique element which breaks up bare walls or lots of drawers in the kitchen. We love seeing these added to an old wooden piece or armoire in the home too – perfect for a piece of furniture that needs a bit of a lift.
In the living space, leather is a great addition to add warmth and texture to your communal area, perhaps a feature chair in the corner opposite the lounge? Adding a masculine and feature seat can bring warmth to all other elements of the space. Nothing beats curling up on an original club chair on a Winter’s Day. A more modern approach like the butterfly chair provides a contemporary casual option, perfect for a cosy corner. The Leather Swing Chair on Oak is a unique approach to a leather chair option.
Other ideas for the living room are one or two scatter cushions on the lounge, a beautiful combination of leather on the front and linen on the back? For the best result, Victoria recommends one or two integrated into your other neutral colour cushions – as a guest star, not the main attraction. We’ve even done the sourcing for you – make one your own here.
Better yet – why not add it to the bedroom!
Many of our clients are embracing leather in a bigger way; and our favourite example of this is a tan leather bed-head! Instant texture, warmth and its very own story of natural patterns is a great incorporation for your sleepy haven.
The leather strap round mirror is a favourite for our design team and a great way to fulfil those country-house daydreams in a small, subtle way!
As a baby step towards leather, we can’t go past these beautiful leather dishes which can go on your coffee table, in the kitchen for fresh garlic or on the bedside table for rings and other pretty things.
Each piece is a one-off creation, hand-crafted with crochet trim in earth colours. Available in-store at The Design Hunter and online now.
Adding leather to your interior is as easy as introducing the material through accents and smaller pieces, or be bold and make it a feature furniture piece in your living room. Your really can’t go wrong by adding this favourite material into your interior – whichever way you choose.Tweet
We’re excited to introduce the latest member of the design studio team, the lovely Victoria. A fresh creative from Adelaide, Victoria moved to Sydney just four weeks ago and is settling in nicely into her new home in Paddington. In addition to adding her design aesthetic to our growing portfolio at The Design Hunter, we’re introducing Victoria to the best cafe’s in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Over coffee this week, we set out to learn a little more about her.
What Inspires you and your design style?
Definitely travel! I love to observe daily sacraments and routines from various different cultures, especially ones I have a lot to learn about. I love bringing little pieces of each experience back home and seeing how this can completely consume and influence my design aesthetic.
What has been your favourite project you have worked on and why?
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Can I only pick one? I think my answer changes daily. As I’ve just relocated from Adelaide to Sydney, I love spending my weekends exploring the northern beaches and the central coast. The Writers Retreat at Hardys Bay is my favourite place to escape to on the weekend: and a great middle-ground between my quiet old home and my new base in busy Sydney.
What is your most treasured item at home?
My Hay Strap Mirror, a special gift I received a couple months back which I am now searching for the perfect place to hang in my new home!
What do you think every home should have?
A quality set of bed linen. I have recently (but not soon enough) discovered an Australian company called Bemboka who produce beautiful linens. I can’t go past their range of earthy tones which are perfect to mix and match!
Welcome to our new story series – Influencer Spotlight. Here we will take a look at the masters of design who inspire us every day. We couldn’t think of a better icon to start things off, the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright, a modern architect who developed an organic and distinct American style.
The early years
At the age of 26, Wright established his own architectural practice and went on to design the Winslow House in River Forest, which with its horizontal emphasis and expansive, open interior spaces was the first example of Wright’s revolutionary style, later dubbed “organic architecture.”
As a young talent, Wright was most widely known for his “Prairie School” of architecture. These were single-story homes with low, pitched roofs and long rows of casement windows, employing only locally available materials and wood that was always unstained and unpainted, emphasizing its natural beauty.
In 1915, the Japanese Emperor commissioned Wright to design the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. He spent the next seven years on the project, a beautiful and revolutionary building that Wright claimed was “earthquake proof.” Only one year after its completion, the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 devastated the city and tested the architect’s claim. Wright’s Imperial Hotel was the city’s only large structure to survive the earthquake.
Family Affairs – The Taliesin series
One of his most personal projects – the family home he built in Spring Green, Wisconsin: Taliesin. The home was built on the land of his maternal ancestors, the name – a Welsh word for “shining brow”, was one of the most acclaimed works of his life. The house was unfortunately destroyed twice by tragic fires, forcing Wright to re-build it over and over as an effort to, in his words “wipe the scare from the hill.” In 1932 he founded the Taliesin Fellowship, an immersive architectural school based out of his own home and studio. Today the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is committed to the preservation of the Taliesin estate – currently a place to celebrate architecture and the arts.
At the time when most artists are preparing for retirement, Wright suddenly burst back onto the public stage at the age of 70 and started to design many of the greatest buildings of his life. Wright announced his return to the profession in dramatic fashion in 1935 with Fallingwater, a residence for Pittsburgh’s acclaimed Kaufmann family.
Shockingly original and astonishingly beautiful and one of our favourites, Fallingwater is marked by a series of cantilevered balconies and terraces constructed atop a waterfall in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. It remains one of Wright’s most celebrated works, a national landmark that is widely considered one of the most beautiful homes ever built.
In 1943, Wright began a project that consumed the last 16 years of his life—designing the Guggenheim Museum of modern and contemporary art in New York City. “For the first time art will be seen as if through an open window, and, of all places, in New York. It astounds me,” Wright said upon receiving the commission. An enormous white cylindrical building spiraling upward into a Plexiglass dome, the museum consists of a single gallery along a ramp that coils up from the ground floor.
While Lloyd’s design was highly controversial at the time, it is now revered as one of New York City’s finest buildings. Frank Lloyd Wright sadly passed away on April 9, 1959, at the age 91, six months before the Guggenheim opened its doors.
Wright is widely considered the greatest architect of the 20th century, and the greatest American architect of all time. He perfected a distinctly American style of architecture that emphasised simplicity and natural beauty in contrast to the elaborate and ornate architecture that had prevailed in Europe.
With seemingly superhuman energy and persistence, Wright designed more than 1,100 buildings during his lifetime, nearly one third of which he designed during his last decade.
Next time you’re visiting the big Apple and you feel like being in the presence of greatness, take a stroll through the Guggenheim.
one of Frank’s iconic books available in store and onlineTweet
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