Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Creating patterns

I love the idea of creating new patterns for fabric or wallpaper (a fabric collection - what a dream!). 

Here are two I created recently using the inspiration pictures on the bottom right.


Art for a contemporary home

To my mind, artwork is the most important element for a successful interior. It is art that adds the life, vitality and personality to a space whether it's contemporary or traditional. In a contemporary interior with a minimal style, art becomes even more vital - it is the place to inject colour and pattern. It is a bold focal point, a place to where the eye is drawn.

In a modern interior, generally the most popular art forms are the abstract or the photographic, but any style can work as long as it is bold enough to stand on its own.

In this neutral contemporary dining room, Hare + Klein use a bold
and colourful abstract to add colour and life to the space.

Designer Fiona Lynch uses an oversized watercolou to add to this
moody monochromatic bedroom.
I am a big fan of using oversized art as a focal point. There is nothing more striking than a piece that measures over a metre in size! Of course, if you want something large and striking to invest in, you can't go past the stunning work by artist David Bromley. His work has international acclaim and is best known for his whimsical children and nude women paintings.

For a family home, David Bromley's work provides whimsy and colour.

It is his nudes that always catch my eye in more contemporary homes. They generally feature large stripes of colour and a bold charcoal outline, reducing the female form to a simple yet beautiful shape.

The dining room of designer Alice Flynn of Penny Farthing Design House,
features a striking black and white Bromley.

A striking nude takes pride of place in Bromley's own home, featured on Panda's House.

For this example, I wanted the bold form of Bromley's work combined with his excellent use of colour, and fell in love with his piece 'LA girl with green and silver'. The use of silver leafs adds a beautiful metallic touch, and a shimmer to a simple space, providing excellent opportunities to layer in other metallics to the room. The lighter green tones will be a beautiful counter to the other greens and greys used in the space, while still remaining the primary focal point.

LA girl with green & silver
David Bromley. 2016.
Acrylic & Silver Leaf on Canvas

It will provide a strong focal point to a layered and moody contemporary space, as shown in this elevation I've mocked up. The simplicity of the canvas design is perfect for a modern space, and wouldn't require any additional costs of framing.

Elevation showing the David Bromley in situ.

I know I would love to have his piece in my own home, and know it will be perfect for the space in question.

Interior Trends: The changing world of metallics

Over the last few years, everyone has seen the resurgence in warm metals from gold and brass to pinky copper. As with any trend, the style has become saturated, with Kmart and BigW selling copper vases and gold foiled art prints. In 2017, you will see the design world head to a more industrial aesthetic, favouring soft and natural metals including black steel and bronze, or metals with a beaten organic look.

Copper has been the hero metallic for the last few seasons, but the shiny and glamorous metal will soon
give way to a more natural and industrial aesthetic.

The change in style can be seen in the more natural and handmade focus in design; a move away from the high glamour look seen in recent years. Instead, designers are focused on the organic, the burnished and the brushed.

Holly Hunt is capturing this aesthetic with clean lined furniture highlighted by brush bronze pulls and handles.

While the aesthetic is changing, the intent is still the same, to bring warmth and character to a modern interior. When paired with the layered neutrals so popular in contemporary design, a metallic accent adds dimension and interest.

Designers We Are Huntly are on the fore-front of design with their brushed
bronze rangehood in this contemporary kitchen.

These industrial metals are easy to add to architectural elements such as staircases and feature walls, and work well with a variety of timber tones and the ever-popular concrete.

A blackened steel staircase takes pride of place in this Copenhagen home, by
Studio David Thulstrup.

Tapware will also showcase the new trends, with forward looking brands like Astra Walker featuring a variety of finishes in their Icon range, including Charcoal Bronze and Aged Brass.

The Icon range is available in a wide range of metallic finishes with contemporary style.

So, is this a style you'll be introducing into your home in 2017?

Real vs Replica: The Furniture Debate

You only need to walk through a local shopping centre to spot a variety of designer chairs; there will be black and yellow Tolix chairs at the local cafe, elegant Barcelona chairs in the centre aisle, and spy the curve of an Eames chair in the real estate office. When you can buy a Tolix stool from Officeworks for under $30 it obvious that replica design is pervasive in the Australian industry.

A local cafe features colourful Tolix stools, which are practical and durable
for an outdoor cafe.

Australia is unique in this respect; a loophole in our laws allows replicas to be sold legally, evidenced by the huge growth in online stores like Matt Blatt and Milan Direct. The debate is growing as to whether buying replica is ok, and what harm the replica industry is causing our designers.

The moulded plastic dining chair by Eames is one of the most
popular replica designs in Australia.

One argument is that replica furniture is simply providing good design to the masses. In the 40s and 50s, Ray and Charles Eames aim was to produce furniture for the masses, a democracy of design. Interestingly, the simple Eames Molded Plastic side chair manufactured by Herman Miller is sold for $349, while a replica can be picked up for just $49. It's easy to see why the average person finds it hard to justify purchasing the original. 

Real vs Replica: The left hand chair is an original Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman from Herman Miller,
retailing for $5864, while the right chair is a replica from online store Temple & Webster,
selling for just $679.

Many argue that the designers of these famous pieces are no longer alive, and in most cases the patents are no longer current. As such, a replica design is strictly legal, and they argue the designers no longer receive the income or even need it.

This argument becomes more relevant when current designers take the stand.  New Zealand designer David Trubridge released his iconic 'Coral' pendant in 2003, and is now fighting a losing battle to stop Chinese factories creating cheap replicas. He argues that the replicas have now lost and de-valued the intent behind his design; of environmental consciousness. While his design is made from environmentally-friendly bamboo, and available in flat pack form, the replicas are constructed and made from unsustainable timber (Daily Life). Bizarrely, the replica pendant sells for $289 plus postage, while the original is only $336 with free postage.

Coral Pendant by David Trubridge

The proliferation of replica designs discourages invention and creativity in our local designers. Rather than pay for a mass-produced replica why not support upcoming designers with more affordable pricing and original designs?

Australian store Top 3 By Design is a proud supporter of original designers,
and encourage consumers to say no to fakes.

 While the true designer furniture may be out of reach for many of us, there are many creative and unique designs that are reasonably priced, and better yet, will make your home feel original!

Selecting art for a period home

A federation Queenslander is a classic of Australian architecture; known for their wide verandahs, delicate timber fretwork and high ceilings. These timber and iron houses emerged in the mid-19th century as a response to the tropical and humid environment of the area (Sublime Design). The style is distinctive in its architecture, with the interior usually consisting of a central living room, with bedroom branching off, and traditional had wrap-around verandahs to provide shade.
A typical Federation-era Queenslander with ornate balustrades, post brackets and steeply pitched roof.
Image thanks to Wiki

Internally, the homes feature timber floors, tongue & groove walls and decorative architectural detail including high skirting boards, decorative plaster cornice and ceiling roses and timber breezeways and arches.  During the Federation period, timber such as Silky Oak and Queensland Maple became popular, and with the acknowledgement of our tropical atmosphere came the use of wicker and cane (Federation House).

A federation house in the classic style showing the timber floors and interior details. Image thanks
to Federation House.
Federation Queenslander homes are immensely popular and are known for their character and charm. In contemporary times, the interiors are often updated to reflect a more open plan layout, given lighter and brighter colour schemes and decorated in a more classic Hamptons style.

A classic contemporary Queenslander featuring Tongue & Groove walls and timber
floors, and a mix of traditional pieces with a cleaner contemporary style.
Image via Pinterest

For a classic design, I love to use classic framed pieces to add detail and interest to the space. An etching is a traditional art form which works beautifully in a classic home, especially when combined with a more contemporary style and simple framing. I love the moody abstract feel of work by Wayne Viney. His pieces feel classic, yet are certainly not traditional, they have a versatile style that would work in any home.

New Morning, River Pines and Close of Day
Wayne Viney
Etching Size: 26x23cm. Paper Size: 60x45cm.
$495 each

To keep the beautiful proportion of the small etching to the paper size, I would add a simple creamy off-white mat, and a thin timber frame (only about 15mm wide). This would frame Wayne's work and offset the darkness of each piece.

An elevation showing three of Wayne Viney's pieces in a traditional space.

A set of these introspective prints would provide a beautiful counterpoint to a light and airy Queenslander, and provide the perfect mix of contemporary and classic.

Monday, July 11, 2016

An artist to explore: Sydney Ball

Sydney Ball is oft considered one of Australia's leading abstract artists and has a striking way with colour and bold abstract form. Sydney has been developing his use of colour since the early 1960s when he moved to New York to further his art career (Art Gallery NSW). While in the US he immersed himself in contemporary painting movements, studying under Stamos at the Art Students League in New York (Artist Profile).

Australian artist Sydney Ball is considered the elder of abstract Australian art.

If you are looking for a bold piece that make a statement, and be the highlight of an interior, you can't go past Ball's bright and bold artwork. His early work from New York shows muddy tones and the bold minimalist style of artists like Rothko.

Sydney Ball
Band No 3
110 x 88 cm
Oil on canvas

Sydney Ball
183 x 176cm
Acrylic on canvas


His more recent work has a simpler form, showcasing abstract geometric shapes against complementary backgrounds.

Sydney Ball
Infinex Lumina 1
Acrylic on board

Sydney Ball
Infinex Series #7
Modular: size variable
Acrylic on Canvas

Interestingly, Ball was originally going to be an architect, and there is certainly an architectural feel to his work. He says, "for me the holy trinity of colour planning is colour, space and light. Once you’ve got colour and space you’re well on the road to getting a magnificent light. You really are. And I guess, as I keep saying, for me it was important to include that space. Being from an architectural background it was something that just came naturally. I could work in space. I could visualise the space that I wanted. Visualise the proportions of things."

Any contemporary interior could benefit from the bold forms of a piece from Sydney Ball. Would you buy one?

Your new hero piece: wallpaper

While wallpaper is often associated with the bold retro patterns of the 70s, or the stuffy overly-fussy designs of the Victorian era, there is a new breed of wallpaper for the contemporary interior which will change your mind about the use of this versatile product! With the growing love for the handmade and unique in homes, wallpaper has seen a new surge in popularity, with its wide variety of styles and uses.

“I always like to have a ‘hero’ build the interior from there. A statement rug, a wallpaper feature wall or beautiful design classic are all great starting points to build layers upon” Steve Cordony, Interior Designer


Wallpaper is the perfect piece to be the 'hero' of your space; it can be bold and dramatic as a feature wall, or create eye-catching headboards, ceilings or even staircases. Thanks to development in technology, it's no longer impossible to remove (and there are even fully removeable options available for the indecisive among us), and can be used in every space in the home including kitchens and bathrooms.

To create the focal point of your space, look no further than bright colour and creative patterns. These amazing wallpapers become the artwork in the room, creating colour and personality in their respective homes.

Australian designer Greg Natale is known for his bold interiors, so a wallpaper collection seems a natural progression. Here, his diagonal striped design creates a graphic backdrop to the contemporary space.

Anna Spiro released a range of popular wallpaper designs with Porter's Paints,
including Rosey Posey Trellis pictured in the living room above.

Wallpaper doesn't always need to be bold though; it can also serve as an elegant backdrop to a sophisticated interior, adding warmth and texture to the space.

Darren Palmer often uses grasscloth wallpaper as a textured backdrop
to his interiors. This North Curl residence is the perfect example of how
wallpaper can provide an elegant addition to any space.

A tone on tone pattern can create a luxurious feel, particularly in a more
traditional interior. This 'Imperial Pheasant' design creates an opulent feel in
a soft greys, designed by Catherine Martin.

Many wallpaper designs are now replicating the architectural, creating concrete, tile,brick or metal looks to play up the industrial trend seen in recent years.

A removable wallpaper with an exposed brick pattern is well suited to a
loft or industrial apartment.
Brick Textured Wallpaper by Kathy Kuo Home

With the worn beauty of antique tiles, this design perfectly complements industrial
accents like concrete floors.
Exa Wallpaper by Wall & Deco

Regardless of your style, wallpaper can add texture and interest to your home. It's certainly a trend that is here to stay a while!


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