April 20, 2017

Which Are 2017 Milan Fair's Most Acclaimed Brands?

The Milan Furniture Fair offers the best in cutting-edge design—but can you bring it home? 

It's not a question you normally get at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the design world's answer to fashion week, complete with theatrical presentations and trends that can seem wild, but almost always trickle down to the mainstream.  
Salone has a way of evoking strong opinions, flinging out new trends – and prototypes - like confetti. But this year, might be one of the best for real consumers who want to furnish their homes.
New products on view, such as Flexform's refined latest collection look set to give our living rooms a fresh lease of life with elegant pieces such as Antonio Citterio’s linear sofa, chairs and tables that had a warmth and spirited intelligence that everyone fell for hard.
Here are the acclaimed brands producing profoundly beautiful pieces - you buy like a Kelly bag - to keep forever. 
1. Armani Casa, www.armanicasa.com
2. Boffi, www.boffi.com
3. Dedon, www.dedon.de
4. Dimore Studio, www.dimorestudio.com
5. Fendi Casa, www.fendicasa.com
6. Flexform, www.flexform,it; www.fanuli.com.au
7. Kvadrat, www.kvadrat.dehttp://www.kvadrat.de
8. Missoni Home, www.spenceandlyda.com.au
9. Riva 1920, www.fanuli.com.au
8. Salvatori Stone, www.salvatori.it
9. Society Limonata, www.ondene.com 
10. Moltenidada, www.motleni.it
April 20, 2017

The Search for the Perfect Statement Chair

Statement chairs provide not just extra seating, but are a great way to add a new silhouette, style reference, or colour to any room. 

We’ve gathered our five favourite retailers offering a mix of looks from occasional to wingbacks, and bergeres, old to new, at all ends of the price spectrum - so you have plenty of upright and sprawling options to suit all guests. Beautiful chairs that you can curl up and that always make you feel better. 

1. FANULI FURNITURE Italian Flexform contemporary stunners by Antonio Citterio that you buy like a Kelly bag - to love forever - which can pack a lot of punch, completely changing the atmosphere of a space. www.fanuli.com.au

2. LYDIE DU BRAY Beautiful antique French 19th-century Louis-style fauteilles that can go a long way in a room. http://www.lydiedubrayantiques.com.au

3. FORMATIONS Hand-carved timber chairs, good for town and country houses. www.formationsusa.com

4. JAMB Chairs so beautiful, you don't need to dress them up. jamb.co.uk

5. WILLS FURNITURE A good bet for polished upholstered looks. www.willsfurniture.com.au

April 20, 2017

Posh Mother's Day Gifts

Need some Mother's Day gift ideas for the woman you owe EVERYTHING to? Well, we are here to give you a helping hand and win some brownie points in the process.
From candles to cashmere blankets, we've cherry-picked the best Mother's Day gift ideas just for you.
April 20, 2017

The Books Every Stylish House Should Have

Which are the books that every stylish home should have? Here, we present a definitive list of beautiful, useful and inspirational titles on everything from interiors to gardens, architecture and culture.
Some are new, some are old but every one is worthy of a privileged place on your bookshelves.
Taste: The Secret Meaning of Things by Stephen Bayley. No libaray is complete without a book by this author, Britain’s most erudite design commentator. It explores how changing ideas about ‘good taste’ affect our perception of the world.
Sensual Home: Liberate Your Senses and Change Your Life by Ilse Crawford. Taught us that our house should always feel good as well as look good.
Terence Conran’s Inspiration: At Home with Design by Stafford Cliff and the great man himself. Focusing on his Berkshire home, Barton Court, it’s an homage to his design philosophy and the objects he has collected.
Axel Vervoordt: Wabi Inspirations by Axel Verdoordt and Tatsuro Miki showcases the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi- a celebration of the beauty of imperfection- with exquisite examples of looks created by masterful Belgian interiors design guru Verdoort.
Billy Baldwin Decorates by Billy Baldwin. If you’re going to take decorating advice from anyone, why not from Diana Vreeland’s favourite designer Billy Baldwin? This book contains his words of wisdom. Choice quotation: ‘The best decoration in the world is a roomful of books.’
David Hicks: Living with Design by David Hicks and Nicholas Jenkins is the best book on the famous British decorator who made the 1970s chic.
Frank Lloyd Wright: Complete Works 1885-1916 by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer and Peter Gossel is a three set volume set featuring all 1,100 of the American architect’s designs with photos and sketches.
Minimum by John Pawson. Every design library must contain a copy of the minimalist’s bible. It is a visual essay that explores the concept of simplicity in multiple contexts, from architecture to art.
The World of Ornament by David Batterham. An invaluable source book that presents beautiful patterns dating from antiquity to the 19th century. Tiles, fabrics, architecture and more are all included here and with the book comes access to a massive digital database from which you can download images for re-use.
Le Corbusier: The Art of Architecture by Stanislaus von Moos, Alexander von Vegesack and Mateo Kries is an illustrated biography of the great Modernist, with a comprehensive overview of his work that ranges from architecture to textiles (Vitra Design Museum, out of print).
Mies by Detlaf Mertins is the essential monograph on architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. More than ten years in the making, this book contains everything you need to know about the genius who designed some of the 20th century’s most well-known and loved buildings, including the Barcelona Pavilion and the Seagram Building in New York.
Derry Moore: Rooms by Derry Moore. Catch a glimpse of Lady Diana Cooper, Rudolf Nureyev and Pauline de Rothschild, among others in photographer Derry Moore’s fabulously eccentric book.
Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible. German design hero Dieter Ram’s electronics products for Braun were a major influence on Jonathon Ive;s work at Apple. Marvel at the enduring relevance of his creations and ethos.
Eileen Gray: Her Life and Work by Peter Adam. Written by the long time friend Peter Adam of the pioneering Modernist designer who had privileged access to her personal archives, letters and journals.
Phaidon Design Classics, a three volume set showcasing 999 of the best products ever created, is the design equivalent of The Oxford English Dictionary.
Vincent Van Duysen: Complete Works by Ilse Crawford and Marc Dubois. It’s an exhaustive guide to the Belgian interior architects design portfolio form private homes to commercial spaces.
Landscapes in Landscapes, by Dutchman Piet Oudolf. The book presents 23 of his projects, notably the highline in New York and the RHS Garden at Wisley, Surrey, which illustrate his emphasis on plant structure, grasses and perennials.
The Garden Book is a richly illustrated survey of the work of more than 500 garden designers and features a wide range of styles from the oases of ancient Persia to Europes manicured lawns and American creations.
The Gardener’s Garden highlights the worlds most beautiful gardens, old and new, all selected by a panel of horticultural experts. Whether you’re green-fingered or not, there is plenty in this book to admire. Plus we love the flower-embossed fabric cover.
David Hockney: A Bigger Picture by Tim Barringer and Edith Devaney. Published in 2012 to accompany a retrospective of Hockney’s work at the Royal Academy of Arts the book casts the artist as a major figure in the English landscape tradition.
The Art Book. At almost 600 pages the book is ambitious in scope: presenting hundreds of iconic artworks dating from the medieval era to the present- old alongside new- it’s a visual feast with an educational edge.
Bals: Legendary Costume Balls of the Twentieth Century by Nicholas Foulkes features all of the parties you wish you could have gone to, from the soiress of 1920s Paris to capotes Black and White Ball in 1966.
Café Society: Socialites patrons and Artists 1920-1960 by Thierry Coudert offers fascinating insights into key figures such as Diana Vreeland, Noel Coward and Barbara Hutton. A true coffee table classic.
Signs of the Times: A Portrait of the Nation’s Tastes sees photographer Martin Parr turning his lens on the British home. The book explores notions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ taste and questions the emotional resonance of our decorating choices.

This story first appeared in UK Elle Decoration magazine. 
April 13, 2017

9 Interior Ideas We're Stealing From Zara's New Editorial

A new season is slowly but surely creeping in—is your interior ready? If not, Zara has lots of great ideas for you.

The cult retailer has just released their latest editorial, dubbed Linen Campaign 2017 and the products are as fresh as the name implies. If you need some easy updates, you'll definitely come away with new interior inspiration and colour combos that you haven't thought of before. H & M Home has also launched it's new campaign Lavish Modernism with is full of the best looks, buys and inspiration.

Take years off your rooms with a few of these ideas:

1. SOFT HUES We love Zara’s muted spectrum of ivory, sea-sand, greige and sky blue using the blue in a minimal way to set it off. It is a good lesson in demonstrating how a room painted ecru would look unimaginative, but add coffee soft furnishings with a masse of latte, grey and sky blue cushions, and you have a sophisticated space.
2. TERRACOTTA TAKEOVER We always knew Zara had great taste, but we particularly like the way it mixes terracotta with powder pink, dove grey, and stone. Terracotta is the new/old material du jour. Try adding terracotta vessels, vases, plates, mugs, lights even tiles to update a living room, bathroom, or exterior area.
3. CASUAL YET CLASSIC ENTERTAINING Even if all you’re serving is a simple offering, Zara’s latest campaign proves a great table setting will make it seem like so much more. Use a proper tablecloth that drops atleast 30cm from the table, plus your fine china and glassware.  It will make any outdoor space feel grand.
4. INVEST IN CUSHIONS H& M and Zara’s latest collections are proof cushions are the touches that make any space a home – they signal attitude and atmosphere. And are one of the quickest, most affordable, updates you can make. 

5. STICK TO THE SAME TONES THROUGHOUT Pale with pale, strong with strong. If you’re using a dark colour with a lighter one, use more of the lighter shade – with ivory and sea-sand, the ratio might be 60/40, but if one shade is a lot darker than the other, pull the ratio back.
6. THE 5 MATERIALS THAT MAKE ANY INTERIOR FEEL RIGHT Zara’s new collection is a mecca of rough and muted materials such as wood, terracotta, rattan, plaster and linen that show how simple it is translate humble surfaces into something modern.
7. CONNECT WITH THE OUTDOORS Houses with some link to the outdoors are always the most successful. In any interior what you see throught the doors and windows is vital. rooms with no link to the outside world are claustrophic. Bring the outdoors in and the indoors out. Wiht the aid of natural light, you can make a tiny space feel as big as the the great outdoors. 
8. WELL DISPLAYED Don’t hide your love away like a secret advice: share it with the world. Hang big terracotta platters on walls. Mass terracotta mugs or vessels on shelves. Even humble things become fascinating when there are lots of them.
9. ACCESSORISE! Change one group of old accessories with a new lot in your accent colour. New cushions or a great pair of vases, artfully places, will make your house look as if you have spent a lot more than you have. Try in new season shades of sage, grey and sky blue. 
April 13, 2017

Are You An Earthenware Or Porcelain Person?

Ceramic is the only choice for tableware. It's beautiful, tactile and unlike plastic - all natural. But which of the many types is best for you?
 According to British magazine, Elle Decoration, here's how to take a closer look at what to buy now. 
From terracotta tagines to homely pots, this material creates pieces with a sense of tradition and history. 
What is it?
Earthenware is made from fine-grained clay that is fired at a low temperature, so it remains porous. Earthenware made from red clay is terracotta; that made from white clay is known as creamware. 
When was it invented?
It is the earliest form of pottery. 
How is it made?
Clay is dug straight from the ground and is popular with potters as it's so easy to throw on a wheel. 
What about its appearance?
Earthenware pots appear sturdy but are lightweight and prone to chipping. 'Earthenware is weaker than stoneware and porcelain, so pots are usually made with thicker walls to compensate,' says cermaist Linda Bloomfield. 
Simple, but effortlessly charming, this is perfect for serving dishes. Look out for inventive glazes. 
What is it?
Coarse-grained clay fired at high heats to make it non-porus. It's stronger than earthware and it has a glazed finish. 
When was it invented?
'It was developed in China 2,000 years ago when kiln technology improved,' says Bloomfield. 
How is it made?
It is made from clay dug from the ground and is easy to throw and form by hand. 
What about its appearance?
It is usually a buff or dark brown colour and looks rugged and speckled. 
What is it best used for?
Ideal for oven to tableware. Its high resistance to breakage makes it a sensible choice for every day use. 
Ideal for dinner services, this is delicate yet incredibly practical. An everyday luxury. 
What is it?
We associate porcelain with delicacy but in fact it is one of the strongest forms of ceramic. 
When was it invented?
'In China around 1,000 years ago,' says Bloomfield. 
How is it made?
By combining clay washed out from granite rock with the mineral feldspar, flint and water. 
What about its appearance?
Porcelain has a paste-like quality with a white/grey or white/bluish finish. 
What is it best used for?
Its combination of strength with delicate looks makes it good tableware. 
Top of wedding gift lists and the most prized of heirlooms, bone china pieces are to be treasured. 
What is it?
This type of porcelain is the whitest and strongest of all ceramics. it is made from clay containing 50 per cent bone ash (cow or pig bones). The bone makes the china more translucent and less brittle, bone china is 30 per cent stronger than porcelain. 
When was it invented?
'It was perfected by Josiah Spode in Stoke-on-Trent in the late 18th century,' says Linda Bloomfield. 
How is it made?
The manufacturing process is labour intensive. At high firing temperatures the china becomes soft, so each piece requires a setting framework to ensure it retains its shape. 
What about its appearance?
It's thin and translucent and because it is more expensive often features delicate hand painted decorations. Wedgwood's traditional hand painted bone china tea sets are prime examples of this. 
What is it best used for?
Plates and tea sets. 
April 13, 2017

17 Garden Trends for 2017

Gardens matter. Are you looking for a way to make a difference this year?  
Support local wildlife. Buy well-made tools. Plant your dinner.

Here are 17 garden trends, according to leading US blog Gardenista, we’ll be embracing wholeheartedly in 2017:
Gravel Pits
Permeable gravel pits allow rainwater to percolate, filtered, into the ground.

Watering Can as Art Object
Buy the best garden accessories you can afford; the kind you will love for a lifetime.

Live Edge Pools
At Casa No Tempo, a renovated farmhouse that’s been in João and Andreia Rodrigues’s family for generations, the couple recently renovated the property (now available as a rental retreat). A 4,000-square-foot swimming pool designed to reflect the landscape’s natural streams and ponds has a gentle, natrual shoreline.

Utilitarian Luxury
From Hokkaido-based manufacturer Daiichi Gomu, a pair of foldable rubber garden boots made from recycled rubber tires is $128 at Rodale’s. The boots also are available seasonally (but currently are sold out) at Kaufmann-Mercantile.

Pivoting Doors
Pivoting doors and gates have a minimal footprint.

Dead Hedges
A time-honored tradition in Europe, dead hedges have “a long history in agriculture: peasants simply cut off their cuttings as a border marker between pasture and farmland, where they collapsed and gradually developed” into a low-impact hedge that provides habitats for nesting birds and other wildlife. What starts as a dead wood is soon brought to life: birds build their nests there, hedgehogs find shelter, and protected winter quarters are also available for many other animals that are usually very useful in the garden."

Florist Tools
Using the right tool for the job  makes all the difference. A stainless steel Rose Thorn Stripper is $4.95 from Scissors.

Built In Seating
Move indoor style outdoors with built in seating to create an outdoor room. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista

Soil Test Kits
Worried about lead levels? Urban gardeners: check your soil. A soil test kit is $18.50 from Basic Science Supplies.

No Grout Necessary
Plant ground cover between pavers to create a permeable surface to avoid water runoff.San Francisco garden designer Elizabeth Everdell planted Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis) between pavers. 

The Statement Leaf
Why buy an armload of flowers from a florist when a single leaf will make a strong design statement?

Gabion Wall Kits
Just add rocks. The steel grill framework for an Elevated Gabion Flowerbead is €178 from Manufactum (you supply the 660 pounds of stone).

Beyond Kale
Grow your dinner—or at least your salad. Greens will grow in containers, on a sunny windowsill, or in a semi-shaded city backyard.

Monitor the Atmosphere
Scientific instruments—radiometers, barometers, and  thermometers—measure the weather, the light, the world around us. (See our post later today on a light meter that’s an art object.)

Plant for the Future
Trees convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. Plant one today, for tomorrow’s gardeners. 

Houseplant Tech

Take the guesswork out of houseplant care with a tool that lets you know if yours needs water. An Aquameter to measure moisture levels in soil is €14 from Merci.

Mini Greenhouses
With a mini indoor greenhouse, you can sprout salads, coddle bulbs, and/or coax tropical houseplants to bloom. No outdoor space necessary.
April 13, 2017

The 7 Chicest Paper Towel Holders

If, like us, you aren’t blessed with a built-in paper towel niche in the kitchen, you most likely have a roll standing naked on the benchtop for use at least now and then.

Here are our 7 favorite paper towel holders to help wrangle the roll from timber to metal to marble for simple utility in the kitchen. Towels tear off easily from the upright spindle.
April 6, 2017

Everything You Need For A Super Stylish Easter

We’re on countdown to Easter. And our key motivator is the incoming guests and the very need-to-be-cosy-ness-of-Autumn. For us Easter decorating is super-easy.

It’s about leaves, autumn vegetables, big books, flickering candles, layers that soften and rough-hewn textures.  It’s always about warm colours that sit right at the heart of our home.

We’re getting busy piling bowls with aubergines, zucchinis, parsnips, beets and apples. We have chocolate everywhere (tons of it). If you find yourself in need of even more ideas, we’ll be making light work of festive decorating over at neighbour David and Skye Leckie’s annual Good Friday countryside lunch (one of our faves on the social calendar) – so keep tuned with us over on instagram next week.

Turn Easter into a lifestyle – and avoid pre-party panic attacks - with our seven steps to make Easter entertaining (and decorating) easy to pull off.
1) Set a Simpler Table Try a pared-down approach to table settings that is chic yet puts everyone at ease.  Hurl a length of natural hessian over your table. Choose stoneware or porcelain plates, sparkling glassware. Buy a decent peppermill, and fill salt cellars generously with sea salt flakes. Forget all matching tablecloths, napkins, coasters and placemats. They scream, ‘I have no taste and no personality.’ Mix things up! If you want to keep the tone casual and you’ve got a wooden table with a good patina, just use some placemats in rattan or seagrass.
2) Back To Basics Flowers are lovely, but for casual parties arrange a dozen brown onions on a plate. Put cauliflowers in urns, cabbages on trays, and pile beets, zucchini and aubergine in a bowl. Place bunches of rhubarb and spinach in a jug. Pile potatoes in a bowl. Bunch rosemary in a pretty vase.  See the beauty of nature in all its forms; all you have to do is display it. Fill trays with lemons. They look (and smell) fabulous on an Autumn table. 
3) Smile and Relax The first rule of entertaining? Relax, relax, relax. Yes, love your guests. When you invite pals to your house this Easter, it’s because you like them or want to know them better, and they come because they want to. A party is a pact to have a good time together – that means all of you, including the host and hostess. Nothing destroys the smell of effortless panache faster than burning martyr. Fancy food is far less important than atmosphere. As long as the atmosphere is right, all you need is enough food to go around, served simply. With smiling, relaxed hosts, people will have more fun tucking into something simple, than a feast dished up by largely absent hosts. If you love your guests, the rest will follow.
 4) Let Guests Make Their Own Drinks The first few minutes of a social event set the tone for the rest of the party. The DIY drinks bar saves the hosts from the messy multitasking of trying to make drinks, greet other guests —and allows your pals to feel at home from the start.
5) Make It Look Good Presentation is everything. You can make a plain chicken look good on a bed of curly endive with a couple of poached eggs on top, with cracked pepper and salt. Cost: $6 a head. Chic value: 10 out of 10. At the other extreme, we’ve seen fabulous catered nosh look like a fry-up in student digs after a hostess with no flair has plated it up. Cost: $100 a head; chic value: 0 out of 10. Even if you cling to old recipes, look at upmarket instagram accounts, blogs, cookbooks, and magazines to see how food should be served. Big, white plates, with any splashes wipe away, are a good start.
6) Ask for Help Not only can a few extra hands help with those last-minute finishing touches, but most guests love to make a small contribution towards pulling the meal together. Once guests have a drink in hand, you might ask them to dress the salad, light the candles, help carve the meat.
6) It’s Easter, Not a Cook’s Tour This is not the occasion to take people on a whirlwind round-the-world trip. Don’t mix flavours and cultures. Your Thai coconut soup, osso bucco and rhubarb crumble may each be fabulous, but served consecutively at a dinner party they cover too many cultures and break the cardinal rule of simplicity. Also, when your guests talk to others about the meal afterwards, it won’t sound good.
 7) Limit your Time in the Kitchen Don’t leave your guests on their own, making polite chitchat while you vanish to cook. Pre-prepare as much food as possible (which should be simple, generous, easy to serve and easy to eat). And there’s nothing wrong with cheating – buy salads and puddings from local faves - the French have been doing it for decades. That will leave you plenty of time to relax and spend with your guests. Don’t wash up during dinner: what you think takes a few seconds, actually results in your guests being left alone and unloved for ten long minutes.
1. A simple, more affordable option for friends who love gardening: a classic wicker garden hat.
2. A string-tidy in timber with string and scissors. Indispensable, for everyone.
3. Salad Servers: the perfect hostess gift for pals who entertain a lot.
4. New placemats - in rattans, wickers or bamboo weaves - that will help step up your pal's entertaining game
5. Scented candles always work. Our fave brand right now is local candlemaker, Lumira (atelierlumira.com)
6. A great vase in a low open shape that will bring your pal a lifetime of pleasure. 
7. French, Italian or English soaps, potions, lotions, unguents, bubbles, scents, scrubs, balms, bath salts and oils in lovely scents. We love L'Occitane's verbena liquid soap made from herbs grown in France, that designers use in their own homes, $42 (loccitane.com). Or Acqua di Parma anything (davidjones.com.au)
8. Things that add to a collection, whether it’s witches brooms a friend collects to hang on her wall, glass candlesticks, ceramic cakestands, baskets or books.
9. A plant: from a maidenhair to climbing white rose, lavender, buxus or birch tree.
10. Anything small and beautifully formed that conforms to your friend's taste. A Chinese plate, a ceramic milk jug or a bamboo hook, bought specifically with the recipient in mind, can strike the right note.
April 6, 2017

Why L & M Home May Be The Greatest Linen Brand In Australia

We've said it before and we'll say it again, L & M Home's (formerly Linen & Moore) everyday linen classics will change the mood of your rooms instantly.

The stuff feels and looks unlike anything else around, and is the brand almost every Australian stylist and interior designer lists as their fave linen.

L & M’s Autumn Winter 2017 range of sheets, tablecloths, napkins, throws, blankets, valances, and knockout cushions really capture the mood of the moment: they’re tactile, have longevity and are easy-care. All in a delicious palette of new-season navy, greens, stones, greys and pinks that you can coordinate (or contrast) to taste.
We feature them on our instagram and blog all the time. 
The other wonderful thing about L &M Home is its products are multi-sensory - they make a statement beyond what they are selling. Whenever its catalogues arrive, we can’t wait to flip through to see what appeals. They inform about what’s going on in terms of interior trends (colours, materials, patterns) and more.
Our picks? You won't go wrong with its Hayman, Blush or Pasha throws - which are like giving your home a seasonal wardrobe and an easy way to update a space. They come in snazzy colourways of Nutmeg, Storm, Indigo, French Grey, Oatmeal, Jade, Coal, or Smoke. 

Then check its cushions, which compete amazingly well with bespoke versions. Apparently it can barely keep up demand for Brooklyn, Burton, Brooklyn, Hayman and Linley and Hayman which come in big, generous 50cm and 60cm squares of lush velvet in shades of Blush, Emerald, navy, Jade, Indigo, etc.
And of course its best-selling pure linen Mondo sheeting in ultra-chic shades are one of the quickest ways to update a bedroom. There’s so much choice, you’ll definitely want the lot. We are totally down.

L & M HOME, www.lmhome.com.au



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