Wednesday, September 30, 2009


OMG. Interchangeable moustache necklaces. AWESOME. (By Sydney-based Problem Child)

Gorgeous prints by TDF favourite Madeleine Stamer

Handmade A4 square knot journal by Hammer and Daisy. Spots on the front, stripes on the back - what's not to love?

Modamuse online design store is my newest sponsor! In retrospect I can't believe I haven't posted about Modamuse before now actually.... it's such a fantastic, varied collection of homewares, accessories, paper goods and kids stuff from Australia and New Zealand. There's a real focus on independent designer-makers, and a great selection of affordable artwork too.

Modamuse is run by Sydney-based sisters Jessica and Nancy Lim, who share a passion for Australian design, and do all they can to support and promote local talent. They have an excellent blog too! Truly! (The blog came before the shop actually...)

Thanks so much to Jessica and Nancy for their support...! All the gorgeous things you see pictured here are currently for sale in their store.

Stunning artworks by Eveline Taranadjaja

LOVE these kooky gift-cards by Little Jane st.

Ohhhh and an old favourite comes back to haunt me... unique jewellery by Kyoko Hashimoto. Swoon.

Handprinted purses and bags by Melbourne-based Blink Designs.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ortolan - new website!

Ortolan's beautiful new website

Some people are just ridiculously lovely and outrageously talented PLUS always look gorgeous and have a seemingly perfect and endless wardrobe of interesting and colourful clothes. These people all work at Ortolan graphic design studio. Yes! They do.

The super-sweet Ortolan ladies (Simone Elder, Chloe Quigley and Kat Macleod mainly) spend their days creating interesting and colourful graphic design magic (to match their interesting an colourful clothes) ...and guess what? They've just launched a fabulous new website.

Oh my. Such gorgeousness to be discovered. You must visit.

Love love love Ortolan's identity design and incredible wall mural for Melbourne cafe Sarnies

Ortolan created the Country Road Kids Autumn/Winter 09 catalogue. How gorgeous is it? The teepee.... the little vintage toy rabbit... and even the cute laid-out clothes which are all walking the same way. Details details.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pashley Bikes

Pashley hand-built bikes! Love.

I have a lonely, neglected bicycle in my shed which sadly has 2 flat tyres and is slowly rusting its way to bicycle heaven. So I can't really justify my extreme love for these classic bikes by famed UK bicycle manufacturers Pashley.

Pashley was founded over 80 years ago. I spotted them I think in one of Megan and Sara's fantastic HOME monthly newsletters... and have been coveting one ever since. These days Pashley still hand-build each bike in their Stratford-upon-Avon factory, and maintain their enviable reputation as Britain's most exclusive bicycle manufacturer. Check out the photos on their website of the painstaking production process... amazing.

Today, Pashley still produce many of it's classic styles, as well as creating new designs with the same attention to detail and quality for which the company is so reknowned. I am so in love with the Princess Sovereign (very top image)... and that wicker basket! Love.

London seems so much more appealing on a Pashley cycle, don't you think? These shots are from Pashley's online gallery, where proud bike owners can submit their own cycling photos.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Interview - Megan Morton

Still life with flowers, Sarah King's living quarters, photos - Tim James. All photos styled by Megan Morton.

Nicole Kidman for Vanity Fair, photo Patrick Demarchelier, fashion styling Michael Roberts. Jill Sander and Naomi Goodsir hat for Club 21 Magazine, photo Juli Balla. Scullery for, photography William Meppem.

Photos - Tim James

Gorgeousness from Megan's own home. (Including her beloved puppy, August!) Photos - Jason Busch.

I very much hope I don’t offend all the other wondrous and talented stylists I have met and interviewed when I say that Megan Morton really is the absolute bees knees of Australian interiors! Luckily it seems everyone in the industry knows and loves MM as much as I do... so I'm sure most will enthusiastically agree with me as I gush gush gush about the many talents and charms of the wonderful Ms Morton.

Megan's fabulousness (and friendliness!) has to be seen to be believed. She is absolutely the most down to earth, warm, and supremely entertaining person you will ever meet. (More gushing here, if you're interested).

Things to love about Megan Morton

- Her hysterically funny twitter-esque abbreviated and/or grammatically creative terms in everyday conversation and email. Examples include 'for reals', 'so-not-ok', 'the hotness/the goodness', (ok that's not abbreviated but I love it!).
- She is 100% genuinely modest and totally unfazed by the glamour most people associate with her job.
- She is disarmingly generous with her time, advice and contacts. She shares everything with anyone. She hoards nothing.
- Her energy and enthusiasm is totally infectious. You just can't help but come from a meeting with Megan buzzing with new ideas and excitement!

Megan has worked with a plethora of top name photographers and publications both here and overseas, she’s been flown to exotic locations for editorial shoots, and she has even sourced the perfect sailor hat and plonked it on the head of Nicole Kidman! But the truth is, Megan is equally happy styling homes for private clients, giving genuine, heartfelt advice on even the smallest of jobs - from bathroom renovations to paint colours. Megan also shares her decorating and home-styling advice weekly in her DIY Home column for the Sydney Morning Herald, and her first book, HOMELOVE - a collaboration with author Julie Gibbes at Lantern, Penguin, is also due out in April next year!

If you take a little time to read her words below, it will quickly become clear that above all, Megan is just 100% in love with her job - 'house whispering’ as she calls it!

Tell me a little about your background - what did you originally study, and what path led you to what you’re doing now?

After marketing studies, I worked at Dolly magazine and invented the Dolly Club - from then on I worked with the major publishing houses on marketing their brands, offers, clubs and other reader-relative concepts as Marketing Director. I always had a fascination with houses and would spend all my spare time at open houses (this was also a great opportunity as the seed to my later business, After my daughter was born I was asked to work on a `living with children story'. I started at a time when lifestyle was really gaining momentum and luckily, I lived across the road from one of Australia's best creative agents at the time, who took me on soon after my first couple of editorial shoots and represented me in the advertising arena. My other businesses work around my styling life - which is what I am most passionate about. The studio was built to make stylists life easier with beautiful space, clear access, no stairs to lug props up! And the props room, is an additional bonus for creatives when they shoot at the studio space, we carry chairs, surfaces, fabrics, tableware, decoration - all the elements to make a beautiful shoot.

In addition to your prolific editorial styling work, you also collaborate with designer Sara Silm on HOME, a home-decorating consultancy for private clients. How did this venture come about, and how have you found balancing this with your existing workload!?

HOME is a true working service for home owners who want to improve their space. A lot of houses I would photograph lack the essence of what makes a house a true home. This is where we come in. We have a multitude of projects on at the moment - an 8 bedroom family home, a Melbourne renovation, three bathrooms, a weekender. People use us because we don't use a signature formula, we respond to what the house / budget needs to achieve our end result which is why we can do such a variety of atmospheres as well as work with such a broad group of clientele. It sounds odd, but its really house whispering - listening to what the house needs and working to put its best foot forward. Because of the nature of our work, our clients are celebrities that we wont name, families, apartment dwellers, commercial business people and everyone in between.

HOME's upcoming paint range with Bauwerk is about giving those who can’t necessarily afford the service of a design team genuine tips and fool proof colours.

I am busy but I share my work load with really clever people and it rarely feels like real work. Plus my work is solely visual, so I just have a few applications for it. It’s the same principles at work that make a single page look amazing as it is for a room or a large scale installation. It’s just the degree of application.

Carravaggio interpretation for Fairfax and Roberts, photo Dieu Tan.

How do you characterise your design approach?

Informed each and every time by the house or space. There has never been a duplicate approach. There are some things I like, but never done in the same way. Each brief presents itself so differently, it’s the designers responsibility to attack it as a brand new challenge each and every time.

How would you describe your interior decorating/styling aesthetic in your own home? How does this compare with the aesthetic you bring to your commercial styling work?

The job of a true stylist is to be able to bring modern and hard edge to a job on day, whimsical and charming the next but be preparing for possibly kooky and clever the next - so when it comes to my own preferences, they are based mostly around the luxury of space. I have a true appreciation of most styles and genres and am inspired by the modern, the aged, the pedigreed, the found as well as the simple but most of all I like colour. Ravishing, knock out colour as well as the soft subtle combo's that can creep up on you types.

As far as my own home then, I used to be a vigilant homeowner and had everything in its place. My houses used to be picture perfect that they were used lots for ads and locations. The minute I dropped the ball at home though, I had lots more decorative energy for clients and my work. Wherever my family is feels like home. What I covet most about my current home (I have been a reformed house flicker/home mover) is the space. Its the greatest luxury of all. My present home sits smack bang in the middle of an ever so slightly raised large block where I have chickens, a healthy kitchen garden and lots of beautiful untouched space. The insides are a screaming `before' shot but I believe all things come with time, and due to my old erratic house ways, I have patience for these things now. After years of working with multi-million dollar homes, you realise that picture perfect spaces make for beautiful pictures, but don't guarantee a happy home! At the core though, I chase simplicity, colour and a feeling of handcrafted.

Nursery, photo - Jason Busch, and Sicilian treats for Gourmet Traveller, photo Con Poulos.

Which designers, artists or creative people are you inspired by?

My florist, my super clever friends, artists, architects - I love ANYONE who does something with conviction. You can only be respected this way. I am inspired by other stylists. It's a very challenging job and while it looks easy, it really has its challenges. I work with paper designers, set builders, specialist painters, upholsterers, letterpressers, people who hand mix paint by hand, artists and picture hangers. In styling and designing, although its one vision, it really is a collective effort.

Where else do you find inspiration – ie books, magazines, your environment, travel, your family and friends?

While I get lots from travel (I recently found a pic of one of my favourite old school style lobster restaurant in NY and used its facade colours for a story - powdery blue with old time red with hints of copper. Such goodness. But mostly I love books and its my greatest expense. I don't need to be in the thick of it, I read a lot and keep a full memory of things.

Left photo - Jason Busch, Right photo - Tim James

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

To give a sense of pace to what can be an open work day, I start every second work day with a super early start (5 am) and spend 2 hours catching up on googling, product research, reading, design detective work, styling ideas and story ideas for my DIY coloum in the Good Weekend. I try to read The Moment from the New York Times as well as all my favourite design blogs (TDF is a def local favourite!). I will then go to a shoot, work on production on an upcoming story, private consult projects or work on our upcoming paint collection and colours. We also work on large scale events or grand gestures for commerical people, so I might meet a specialist maker, or view and event location. During all of this, I am keeping my eyes out for props for my beloved props store and listening attentively to my gps (I am infamous for my bad navigation skills!).

Cate Blanchett for Harpers Bazaar, photography Richard Bailey, prop/interior styling Megan Morton, fashion styling Victoria Collison.

What do you love most about your job?

I wake up and can't believe I get to do what I do every day. I am really blessed. I am lucky enough to work three times a year internationally (London and NY) so I can bring our ideas over there and the energy of these two amazing work cities back home to my local work.

Teak desk - photo Jason Busch, Postcard wall for Inside Out, photography Kirsten Strecker.

What are you looking forward to?

South of France. Every year we pack up camp and holiday at my husbands parents holiday home. This year, as I am having another baby, I am unable to travel, but its here where I get a lot of inspiration for our Bauwerk paint collection.

Porsche shots for Travel and Leisure, photography Dieu Tan

‘Things I like best’

citrus trees in large zinc pots / schnauzer grey / dark bed linen as an antidote to white / padded bedheads with zero fuss / belgian linen / tom dixons work / sister parish's decorating ethos / muriel brandolini's abuse of colour / foxed (desilvered) mirror / oversized peonies / fancy cutlery for everyday / simplicity for special occasions / meadows and green hills / horses breath/ the silk rolled edging of hermes scarves / klein blue as a highlight colour / the concept of a craft room / eiderdowns / castleandthings heartfelt embrodiery / american interior glossies / my `the cat was a minx but we loved her so' paint palette from bauwerk / gooey cheese / coloured le crueset / marc jacobs for waterford wedgewood plates / exterior lighting to support moon light / tadao ando's church / featureless mail boxes / built in recessed doormats / grand gesture entrances / wooden boards / coffee in all its forms esp affogatto / song / hidden televisions / pimped up bathrooms / bentwood chairs / secret storage / random acts of kindess / fresh eggs / the architecture debate

Sydney Questions –

You favourite fossicking spots in Sydney for unique furniture and home accessories?

Definitely the Southern Highlands for twig tables, fabulous upholsterers, craftspeople with an edge. Not being from Sydney I have never been put off really by the traffic or distance so the hour and a half drive to the Southern Highlands is thinking bliss for me with the bonus of fabulous booty at the end. Its an incredible pocket just out of Sydney where major major things are happening.

What and where was the last great meal you ate in Sydney?

While I am up for anything new, I am a creature of habit. I eat religiously at Fratelli Paradiso, Challis Ave in Potts Point, IWA for wagu beef salad in Chatswood, vietnamese bake house in Mascot for lunch and Miss Chu for my work lunches which are incredibly delicious and delivered. Unfussy french favours is my favourite though so I love Bistro Moncur for its reliable deliciousness and I am lucky enough to work with cooking greats like Jamie Oliver (his fish pie is crazy good) and Bill Granger whose restaurants and recipes (butter chicken, oh thank you Bill!) make me feel supremely lucky to live in Sydney.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

In a sydney traffic jam transporting children to a party/tae kwon do lesson/music class but double parking along the way at a bake house, auction house or open house!

Sydney’s best kept secret?

Recycled Garbage.

Thankyou so so much Megan! You are totally the bestest. Be sure to check out Megan's links -, The Propery and B2 Studios... xxx

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Australian Design Unit

The Australian Design Unit springs from a simple 'why didn't I think of that?' idea. It fills a huge gap in the local design training and education sector, (that well-known void between tertiary study and a grown-up career!) and I'm sure will be eagerly welcomed by young designers across the country!

Part online magazine, part bulletin, part business resource for emerging Australian Designers, ADU seeks to act as an information archive and online community, fostering and supporting local design talent and encouraging entrepreneurship. In conjunction with the Springboard Project mentoring program, some of the most practical support offered is a great 'tool kit' of sample contracts, agreements, checklists and other small business fundamentals that they don't always tell you about at design school!

ADU is the brainchild of Sydney's Heidi Dokulil (Parcel) and Melbourne's Ewan McEoin (yes, he of the Melbourne and Sydney Design Guides, Melbourne's State of Design Festival, and Studio Propeller).

With these credentials, it's no wonder the ADU website looks so good :) Check it OUT.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sonia Mangiapane

All photos by Sonia Mangiapane.

Pizza Farro restaurant, Thornbury. Interior design by Yvette Romanin Lotito, all photos by Sonia Mangiapane.

Kensington Lighthouse - TANDEM architects.

Sonia Mangiapane is a Melbourne-based interiors and architecture photographer with some lovely shots of mostly local places.... I am quite in love with the red house shots above... very brave interior! (And I'm assuming pretty tricky to photograph!). Loving the Pizza Farro shots above also (such a photogenic restaurant!)

Also inspiring and very different is Sonia's ongoing project 'Memoire' which documents long forgotten, run-down and vacant spaces, mainly taken in Melbourne's inner suburbs. (See below).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Guest Post - Nadia Barbaro in Tokyo!

Nadia Barbaro's photos of Tokyo concept store Opening Ceremony

Today I feel very lucky to share a guest post from Melbourne fashion stylist (and recent TDF interviewee) Nadia Barbaro! Nadia recently returned from a trip to Tokyo (I am insanely jealous), where she discovered some truly magical examples of Japanese retail design, installation and visual merchandising. Below Nadia shares her favourite discovery - the recently opened Opening Ceremony concept store in Tokyo.

I recently returned from a shopping trip to Tokyo with a friend of mine. I feel like we saw hundreds of shops, it was hard work! The one that stood out the most though, was the new Opening Ceremony Store in Shibuya.

It has eight floors, each one with a different theme and a completely different design. I have never seen anything like it! It only opened two days before we visited it, I was so annoyed I missed out on seeing the Olsen twins appearance at the opening!! Anyway! As you can see, there was a mechanical horseman that was running in the window and a giant gold space-capsule-looking thing that was a change room!

The dolls house is actually a change room that runs along the entire wall. It was so much fun to explore and I really recommend putting it on your must see list next time you are in Tokyo!

I couldn't afford to buy anything : ( but it's worth a visit just for the store design. It's really clever and each level is full of surprises!

Thanks so much Nadia! Be sure to check out Sesame Magazine for more of Nadia's work!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Jewellery by TMOD

TMOD is a mysterious design partnership. Georgie Swift and Milenka Osen both studied design at COFA in Sydney, graduating in 2007. Unfortunately their website is somewhat indecipherable to me (perhaps I need some plug-in to view it properly?), so I know very little more about them! However I do know they design fantastic, super-contemporary jewellery, and they've recently been shortlisted for the SOYA Spirit of Youth Awards!

I really love the chunky black hexagon chains, and their new weather-vane / sign-post style pendant necklace (pictured above). Never seen anything like it!

You can view and purchase more TMOD things online here. Lots of them actually appear to be on sale at the moment!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Interview - Ghostpatrol

Mural in Lorne

Paper illustrations

Pencil piece

Softies at the Gorker gallery show

Ghostpatrol is a man of few words and many, many drawings! He's a prolific Melbourne artist whose work includes street art, illustration, sculpture and installations... and he's also the partner, studio-buddy and creative collaborator of last week's interviewee, Miso! (Don't forget you can check out a fantastic ABC doco about this supremely talented pair here).

There's something magical about Ghostpatrol's work. His quiet, thoughtful characters in fantastical scenarios remind me of Miyakazi's enchanting animated films... ('My Neighbour Totoro' especially). It's no surprise to learn that Japanese manga is a major influence.

Anyway I'll try and follow Ghostpatrol's lead and let the work speak for itself...

Thanks so much to GP for his time and sharing all these beautiful images of his work. Must say I'm not too sure about his '123 Fake st' response below...! Just gonna roll with it though... 'cos even if it doesn't actually exist, marshmallow toast at a Pinata cafe sounds pretty awesome ;)

Tell me a little about your background – what path led you to what you’re doing now?

I’m self taught, so yep….. I used to draw a lot,

Now I draw all the time.

How would you describe your artwork?

Drawing based feelings.

How did you meet Miso? How do you support and influence each other creatively? How much of your work is done in collaboration, and how much is independent?

We’ve done many things together over time. We share a studio and rely upon each other for creative advice. Miso is a opinion that I can trust. She is a highly talented beauty.

Miso / Ghostpatrol collaborations - an exhibition last year, and intricate papercut artwork.

What have been some of your favourite artworks, special projects or collaborations?

My favourites change, I’m usually most fond of my most recent work. The past few weeks have all been watercolours and pencil drawings with a few paste ups versions of these drawings. I’m very excited by drawing at the moment, It’s all I think about. I work pretty hard at moving everything out of my life to spend a larger part of my awake time slumped over my light box and sketch book.

Ghostpatrol and Miso at work

GP's work in Melbourne

Where do you turn for inspiration – nature, travel, books, magazines or the web etc?

nature documentaries, trees, animals, manga,

Which designers, artists or creative people do you admire?

Acorn, nior, oliver of the sky, david byrne, marcel dzama, kid acne, CF, simon james, tristan jalleh, maxwell holyoke hirsch.

Ghostpatrol International murals - in collaboration with 8-bit, Acorn and others.

How does your commercial artwork correspond with the artwork you do in your own time? Do the two complement each other well?

I don’t work, I’ve never done commercial illustration,

I just sit in my studio all day 10AM till late 6 days a week,
drawing with short sushi breaks and bad movies on Tuesdays.
I’ve been able to drift away from doing commercial work lately.

What would be your dream creative project?

Something that allowed me to involve all my creative friends.

In a forest, we could ride tame beasts and build an ewok canopy utopia.

What are you looking forward to?

Reading a big pile of comics I recently acquired from a trade.

Melbourne Questions

Where do you shop for the tools of your trade? (ie sketching materials, paints, inks, tools etc).

M.A.S. and omnus framing.

What/where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne?

Little Zephyr.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?


Melbourne’s best kept secret?

There’s a piñata café that makes the best marshmallow toast tucked away in 123 fake st.



private garden commission