Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Surry Hills Shopping Guide

Surry Hills / Darlinghurst map - double click for a larger view

YES finally here is the Surry Hills / Darlinghurst (and a little bit of Redfern) shopping guide! I so enjoyed exploring this beautiful leafy area of Sydney. It has such a lovely, villagey feel... and so many great shops and cafes to discover. I must preface this post by saying that I know there are places I have left out! (Orson and Blake, Afficionados of the Nod... etc etc). I don't claim to be any kind of expert after having spent a single week in Sydney! I didn't get along to every shop I would have liked to... but the places mentioned here are ones I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through, and would recommend to any design-loving Sydney visitor (or resident!).

A word of warning before embarking on a walking tour of Surry Hills - consider your footwear! Like much of Sydney, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst are full of steep hills! Melburnians should be prepared for a serious calf-muscle work-out. (Sydney-siders are probably so used to it they don't even notice).

1) De De Ce
263 Liverpool st

De De Ce needs no introduction really - a fantastic, slick, polished showroom, and an excellent range of designer furniture and home accessories.

For those of us who enjoy a bit of design snooping (me me!), De De Ce also have a fantastic image archive on their website, entitled 'Projects'. Here you can search through a library of images of over 1300 stunning residences furnished by De De Ce. (Burley Katon Halliday's incredible Republic 2 apartments are here).

2) Penny Arcade
15 Foster st
Surry Hills

Penny Arcade interior - LOVE those vintage outdoor lounges with the striped yellow cushions!

Penny Arcade has a fantastic selection of 20th Century vintage furniture and lighting. Much of their range is pictured here. I didn't realise until visiting their website that they are an offshoot of the Bracewell fashion clothing company, and apparently also showcase new and vintage fashion pieces along with range of furniture? I am confused, as I saw no evidence of this during my visit! Anyway, fab furniture finds... a must see.

3) Spence and Lyda
16 Foster st
Surry Hills

Spence and Lyda's Missoni fabrics and soft furnishings, and brand new fibreglass Eames shell chairs

The latest eye-catching lounge from Missoni Home... complete with matching cushions, poufs and rug. Nothing if not attention-grabbing! I do love the oversized floral imagery on these rugs... look at the toadstools!

Vibrant pattern, colour and texture from the Missoni Home soft furnishings range

Missoni Home poufs and floral print rug - love this simple, striking design

Spence and Lyda have a fantastic range of contemporary, highly decorative furniture, soft furnishings, textiles and lighting. The aesthetic is uncompromisingly high-end, yet quirky and full of personality. No room for the modern minimalist here! Highlights - a brilliant selection of eye-catching pieces from Missoni Home (love the oversized floral rugs and polka dot textiles especially), and brand new fibreglass Eames shell chairs... which I was so excited by, as I was under the impression they only manufactured plastic these days? I must say I much prefer the fibreglass - such vibrant colours and a texture that just doesn't compare to the plastic version.

4) Koskela
level 1, Imperial Slacks Building
91 Campbell st
Surry Hills

Koskela's light-filled 1st floor showroom

top image - stunning spherical globe lights, priced between $95.00 and $148.00 each including either copper, anodised aluminium or powder-coated fitting

More details from Koskela's stunning showroom - the top image shows beautiful hand-blown glass vases in a soft yellow by Kris Coad

I just adored Koskela's showroom, situated on the 1st floor of an old industrial factory building in Surry Hills. Just look at those windows.... and the battered floorboards and ceiling joists! What a perfect space.

Koskela's own signature furniture range is all designed and manufactured in Australia, and includes an extensive collection of upholstered seating, tables, benches, beds, credenza's and even rugs! Wow! It's unusual and really encouraging to see such an extensive range of furniture made here in Australia. Koskela's signature aesthetic has a clear scandinavian influence - lots of blonde timbers, and classic clean lines. Koskela also stocks a wide range of home accessories such as ceramics, glassware, soft furnishings etc by local designers and craftspeople.

5) Beautiful on the Inside
shop 45, 322 Bourke st
Surry Hills

Beautiful on the Inside is directly opposite Object Gallery in Bourke st. It's a small shop that blurs the line between retail space and exhibition space. The range of contemporary home accessories, lighting and other designer nik-naks is small but carefully selected. The collection is eclectic and kooky - Melissa shoes sit happily alongside ceramics, glassware, doormats(!) and more... it's a quirky mix but it works.

6) Object Gallery
417 Bourke st
Surry Hills

Highlights from the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award Exhibition at Object Gallery. Top image - Christina Waterson's stunning suspended installation of Plexa Modules. bottom image - Bedrock lamps by Henry Wilson.

I wrote a longer post about Object Gallery yesterday... a fantastic not-for-profit exhibition space showcasing and supporting the work of local Australian designers and craftspeople. In addition to staging 6 annual exhibitions of craft and design here each year, Object Gallery facilitates numerous national touring exhibitions and a further 2 exhibitions at Sydney's Opera House every year, and produces the quarterly Object Magazine - a carefully curated and beautifully put-together publication .

7) Garlands Florist
shop 11, The Chapel @ St. Margarets
423 Bourke st
Surry Hills

I stumbled across the gorgeous Garlands florist whilst waiting for Object Gallery to open! A truly stunning selection of flowers and the odd stylised potted plant... beautiful attention to detail - lush green mosses spilling from each aged terracotta pot, beautifully rusted french-style vintage outdoor tables etc.... gorgeous gorgeous.

8) Lumiere Cafe and Patisserie
shop 13, 425 Bourke st
Surry Hills

Stopped in at the lovely Lumiere Cafe for a second-breakfast! I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the absolute best muesli I have ever eaten! Crunchy toasted nuts, tart rhubarb and a poached pear... SO good. Mmmm. A good review is here.

9) Format Furniture
146 Foveaux st
Surry Hills

Always love a stroll through Format, and haven't had a chance until now to visit the Sydney store. They really strike the perfect balance between slick, high end furnishings and a playful, tongue-in-cheek sense of style... showcasing a great range of pieces by big International companies like Vitra, Established and Sons etc. Love the brave colours and kooky smalls.

10) Chee Soon and Fitzgerald
387 Crown st
Surry Hills

Chee Soon and Fitzgerald's busy, colourful interior

Marimekko fabrics (top) and traditional Japanese silks (below)

painted wooden dolls

Chee Soon and Fitzgerald is a small but fantastically well-stocked shop showcasing a select range of quirky, colourful homewares and textiles from all corners of the globe. They have an extensive range of Marimekko fabrics, and are the Australian distributors for the famed Swedish textiles label. They stock ceramic tableware and vases, African basketry, Japanese fabrics, amongst other decorative pieces. They also custom make soft furnishings and lampshades to order using their range of stunning textiles.

11) Coffee Tea or Me?
536 Crown st
Surry Hills

Stopped in here for a delicious baguette and coffee at lunchtime... a lovely quaint little corner cafe with a French vibe. (We kept noticing that there are so many French people in Sydney - seemed every shop/cafe we entered we were greeted with a fab French accent!) Cute seating out on the leafy street and a tasty lunchtime menu.

12) Ici et La
588 Bourke st
Surry Hills

and 7 Nickson st
Surry Hills (just around the corner)

Ici et La - Bourke st storefront, and stunning striped canvases

Bourke st store interior - filled to the brim with an eclectic collection of furniture, lighting, textiles and accessories.

Nickson st store - a more industrial warehouse-style interior, lots more room for furniture and larger pieces.

Love this vintage button dispenser spotted in the Nickson st store!

More evidence of Sydney's burgeoning francophile subculture... Ici et La is a firm favourite amongst locals for its beautiful collection of vintage and industrial furniture, imported striped deck-chair style canvases (an incredible selection), and general French rustic nik naks. Currently in two locations, the Bourke st store is set to close it doors next year in favour of the larger premises at Nickson st.

13) David met Nicole
382 Cleveland st
Surry Hills

Chinese lanterns and colourful trinkets at David Met Nicole

incredible selection of flea-market ephemera - vintage watch faces, letterpress pieces etc etc

David Met Nicole is a tiny, very (endearingly) cluttered shop on the corner of Cleveland and Marlborough sts, bordering Redfern. The range is an extremely varied mix of both new and vintage finds - expensive Bassike T shirts in the back room hang alongside vintage Union Jack flags, and an incredible mix of flea market ephemera.... things like vintage watch faces (above), the tiniest porcelein dolls you've ever seen, even tinier test tubes with cork stoppers to match, vintage letterpress pieces, and of course the ubiquitous laser-cut alphabet letters.

Whilst the pieces are sourced from around the globe, the aesthetic is unmistakeably 'British' in Style... and is punctuated by a kind of faded, old world glamour.

14) Great Dane Furniture
613 Elizabeth st

Great Dane Furniture
is well-known for its excellent range of Scandinavian Furniture, lighting, and home accessories. The Sydney store is large and very well-stocked... beautiful timbers and upholstered fabrics in great, rich colours. Also loved the extensive range of lighting on display... I don't seem to remember seeing quite so much lighting on display at the Melbourne store.


  1. Thanks for showing us some of Sydney's cool stores. I haven't been there for a while, but would like to go back now. I really liked the old letterpress and the kokeshi dolls. (japanese dolls)

  2. wow - im in love, these places look amazing!!! good work!

  3. fantastic effort. some places i know well, some places i need to check out, now! come back to sydney again soon.

  4. Wow, this is the most comprehensive list i've seen in awhile! Great to see so many beautiful places to check out when next sydney bound.

  5. wow! great post!!
    I am from Brissy and when I visited Sydney earlier in the year - I also did a day walk around Surrey Hills, Paddington etc.. (I sort of lost my bearings after that - the best way to find things) I loved it!! I found some great little cafes and I visited a few of the places in your post - however you have certainly enlightened me, I will have to bookmark this post for my next visit - Penny Arcade looks a treat!

  6. Wowow sorry it has taken me a little while to respond to all your comments!

    Jason - Thanks so much for your comment... I didn't know the name of the Kokeshi dolls! Thanks for teaching me :) Chee Soon also has beautiful Japanese fabrics... hope you get a chance to visit soon!

    Vanessa - Thanks so much! I am loving your blog too at the moment... 'specially the fashion shots. Inspires me to get dressed up!

    Jess - Sweetness, thanks so much :) It takes so long... I'm glad you notice the details ;) hope to squeeze you soon.

    ml - thanks so much for the lovely words :) Thanks too for the links on your site! I hadn't visited before but will bookmark you now! Darlinghurst seriously won my heart during my stay in Sydney! beautiful beautiful.

    Orchis Morio - Thanks so much for your lovely comment :) I just visited your site and see you share a studio with Rhiannon in the Nicholas Building? Perhaps I saw your work when I visited the Open House event... I feel rude for not remembering! ahhh! It was a very frantic evening! Anyway... always nice to discover new Melbourne creatives! I will bookmark you :)

    little jane st - thanks so much for saying hi! I loved discovering this area of Sydney too.... although I think probably it would be ideal to split up a Surry Hills tour over 2 days - there's a lot to see and its a bit spread out..! I got a bit lost at times too.... such windy little streets... but that's ok, sometimes getting lost is the best way to discover something new... :)

  7. thanks for bookmarking me! yes it's true I do share a space with the lovely Amina McPhee and Rhiannon...my space was in the corner (opposite of Rhiannon's) with rolls of handscreen printed fabric on them. You can see them on my blog. Soon to be lovely bags care of Ben at Bamakko.
    I have been following your blog for ages and I love it! It's great to see so many posts each week.
    Did you ever find out about who won the blog awards? I think it was a post you put up awhile back.

  8. Lisa - thanks! Your fabrics look lovely... keep me posted when your Bammako bags are finished and I will post a little something here :)

    I think the blog awards will be announced in a few days time apparently..? the link is here -

    I'm not holding my breath for an award! :) but its nice to be nominated! Please keep in touch and thanks so much for reading, and for your kind words about the site!

  9. Hi Lucy, how's it going? Rather unexpectedly I'm going to be in Sydney for the day on Sunday, and Chrystal reminded me about your fabulous Surry Hills Shopping Guide - I shall be spending the afternoon swanning around and window-shopping thanks to you! x

    ps The bloody Epicure reviewed Hellenic Republic today, now it'll be even harder to get into... but I haven't forgotten about our future dinner plans :)

  10. thank you oh so much for this.
    While I live in Sydney (not in the heart of it), I am terrible and never get out and about to all these wonderful places.

    I mean seriously. I really need to take advantage!

    (and gosh I really need to get my but into gear and visit melbourne too!)

    Great super blog! Shall be RSSing you from now on!! ;)

  11. Wow, this is officially my itinerary when I visit Sydney in December!