Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Melbourne Home - Beci Orpin

OK dudes, due to popular request, today I am very excited to share the Melbourne home of artist / illustrator / designer extraordinaire Beci Orpin! YES peeps the real Beci Orpin - she of the crying teeth, the colourful babushka dolls, the friendly forest creatures and multicoloured magic toadstools... and just as you would expect, Beci's gorgeous family home in Melbourne's inner North is just as kooky and colourful as her beautiful illustrations!

Of course as you would imagine Beci's home is filled with colour and quirky details... many of her own products and artwork are on display, alongside the work of talented artist friends - and of course lots of artwork by her creative kids too! One surprise I also really loved was the beautiful master bedroom upstairs - very white and almost minimalist, Beci proudly described this as the only 'grown up' space in the house! It is such a gorgeous calming space - huge, light-filled and sparsely furnished... what a lovely place to wake up in the mornings! Whilst devoid of the cacophony of colour elsewhere in the house, the master bedroom is still so very Beci - with the 50's furniture, Eames rocker, Third Drawer Down bedlinen and beautiful little details in every nook!

I am also somewhat obsessed with Beci's fabulously lovely studio/workspace in the front room of her home - or maybe I am just 100% jealous of anyone with an actual designated home office! (as opposed to a dining table, you know?!). Beci's workspace is full of brilliant books and artfully arranged nik naks... aahhh. Something to aspire to!

HUGE thanks to Beci and the gorgeous little Ari for having me and letting me run around like a mad woman with a a camera! Thanks too for the tea and treats! It was so nice to discover that you guys are my neighbours!

Pssst. did you guys know also that Beci now has an online shoppe? (...not to be confused with something entirely different and way less interesting like an online shop or online store :). AND if you haven't got her blog in your blogroll you are totally missing out. Immediate bookmark material!

Bright, light and very 'grown up' bedroom!

Ed Templeton bedlinen by Third Drawer Down.

Artwork in hallway - big frame photo by Raph Rashid, small photo by Johann Rashid.

Owl artwork top right by Beci...

Gorgeous bedroom, white on white paintwork, black bentwood and Marc Jacobs twinkly shoes. All the standard bedroom essentials, really. Artwork in fireplace is a family portrait of Beci's family by artist Brendan Huntley. I LOVE it!

More bedroom details - top left artwork by Christ Johanson, bottom right (people) Geoff Mcfetridge, the rest are miscellaneous and some by Beci!

Yeah, yeah, more with the twinkly shoes. I love them!

Boys room!

Boys bedroom - with artwork by Beci and her boys Tyke and Ari! White doll softie in bottom pic by Amber B.

Artwork in bottom left-hand pic - red painting by Rudin Rashid, framed poster by Studio Violet.

Love the pops of yellow and Marimekko towels in the bathroom!

Garden - love the little cubby house complete with skull and crossbone flag!

Impressive vegie patch (and circular concrete pavers - genius!)

Awww Beci and Ari play with their very trendy House Industries building blocks! Artwork in top image - Rainbow head by Brendan Huntley, cross-stitch by Catherine Huang.

House exterior... love the gate and little black/white 60's mosaic tiles in the entrance...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Reminder - Live Chat with Megan Morton today!

More stills from Megan Morton's fab new book, Homelove (Penguin). Swoon.

With all the Megan Morton love in the air past week I thought I should just post a little reminder about Megan's deco advice Live Chat on her blog today in case in slipped anyone's mind! Pop over to the Homelove blog between 10.00am - 11.00am this morning and throw MM all your decorating questions!

MM is just such a nice lady to chat to, so even if you have no need to pick her creative brains (unlikely), I'm sure she will just as enthusiastically natter on about her gorgeous kids, August the Schnauzer, Sydney's best coffee, or her latest celebrity crush! All in a day's work at MM headquarters!

Live Chat with super-stylist Megan Morton
10.00am - 11.00am today
over here!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tinker by Prinktink

Unique fabrics and soft-furnishings by Melbourne screenprinters PrintinK - photos by Paul Barbera.

The fabulous Shannon Lamden aka blogstar / craftstar Aunty Cookie recently tipped me off about Melbourne screenprinting gurus PrintinK... and then as luck would have it, I stumbled across their beautiful work in person at Magnolia Square only a week or so later. So you know, when something crosses your path twice in one week I guess that means you have to blog it!

PrintinK was born in 2005 by three RMIT textile-design graduates - Jason Cesani, Nadia Husiak and Lisa Carroll. They work out of fabulous big screenprinting workshop in West Melb, where they do all kinds of interesting custom print work for local cool creative peeps. in 2008 the trio also launched their own line of screenprinted fabrics, wallpaper, kids clothes and soft furnishings under the name Tinker by Print Ink... It is SO gorgeous - a beautiful muted colour palette and very eclectic patterns, from retro geometric styles, to more classic, floral designs... super lovely stuff. A little slice of Amy Butler but with a distinctly Melbourne edge! (ie less girly, more bold and graphic and punchy!)

Do check out PrintinK's website and online store - much gorgeousness to discover. Their lovely studio space has also recently been documented by the unstoppable Paul Barbera - check out his fabulous shots here.

Thanks again for the tip-off Shannon!

These shots by Shannon Lambden (thankyou!)

Photos above by Shannon Lambden

Friday, March 26, 2010

Interview - Benja Harney of Paperform

'High Tea' paper sculptures by Benja Harney...!

More amazing paper food sculptures by Benja! Amazing or what!?

Crown jewels for a Sportsgirl shoot... love the sparkles!

For some reason paper craft and/or stationery seem to creep into this blog at least once a week... When I'm not posting about home love, I seem to be posting about paper love! But I know you guys share my enthusiam for beautiful papery creations.... and I have to say, nothing is more picture-perfect-papery than the work of Sydney-based Mr Benja Harney!

Benja = Paperform. He's an incredible designer who specialises in custom paper engineering. I don't even think 2 paragraphs of the usual TDF gushing can do Benja justice. His work is just seriously, totally out-of-this-world amazing.

I mean really. Crazy good, right?

Benja creates high-end pop-up books and professional paper construction for every possible application - including advertising, editorial illustration, fashion, packaging, invitations and fine art. His work is often commissioned by graphic designers and stylists for use in commercial ad campaigns and photo shoots... recent clients include Sportsgirl, Harpers Bazaar - and he's particularly proud of the paper wings he painstakingly crafted for the Hermes windows in Sydney late last year!

In addition to being insanely talented, Benja truly seems like such a super nice guy. And if there's one thing more impressive than sheer skill - it's skill + hard work + niceness + modesty. Benja's ticking all the boxes for me! "Paper is such a humble medium to work with", he says... "It inspires and challenges me every time I sit down at my cutting mat."

Love your work Benja! Be sure to check out the Paperform site, Benja's Flickr, and his Behance profile for more paper brilliance. You will not be disappointed!

Tell me a little about your background – what did you study? What boring dayjob did you have before deciding Paperform was your destiny? What path led you to what you are doing now?

I studied Graphic Design here in Sydney at Enmore Design Centre. We had a class in rudimentary paper construction and it was here that I rediscovered my childhood love for making things out of paper. I started with a set of small pop-up books and a pop-up look book for a fashion designer friend of mine and was hooked from there on in. I have been slowly building Paperform over the last 5 years and am now at a point where I have so many wonderful jobs to work on. Paperform started with scattered jobs here and there, and I have spent many long hours and late nights working on projects to build up my client base and my portfolio to where it is today.

MAN you have done some incredible work for some seriously amazing clients..! Where might we have seen your work recently?

I have just recently finished designing a pop-up box for Smirnoff Black Vodka. I think I came with an elegant solution to the brief. I'm rather proud of that one and I love designing packaging. The Topshop/Incu collaboration was lots of fun because I was given free reign so I just got playful. The Sia album cover shoot was a laugh too. It was all about creating something for Sia to enjoy herself in and the art director who asked me to be involved is a great talent. And Hermès of course.

Pop-up box for Smirnoff Black Vodka

Harpers Bazaar pop-up book

What do you think it is that is so magical about paper?!! Everyone uses it every single day… yet it still has such capacity to surprise and thrill us when used in an unexpected way…!

I think it has a simplicity that really speaks to us in this modern digital world. It's like playing and kind of reminds people of childhood I guess. People love to dream about those creative times. Plus, I think people love to see just how creative one can be with a flat piece of paper! People marvel at the technical aspect of engineering something out of paper. It is certainly the technical challenge that drives me in my work.

Is Paperform just you and a scalpel? Or is it 45 trained staff and a production line?! (I expect not!) Do you outsource anything at all or get help with larger projects?

Yes! Paperform is just me and scalpel! I work from my little studio in Surry Hills and make a big mess in here. I don't outsource anything at this point, because I'm a bit of a perfectionist about what I create. I won't hand over anything to my clients unless it's perfect. Its the kind of job where precision and perfection are core tennets at the heart of what I engineer. As I'm working on larger jobs, I'm finding that I will have to start outsourcing some work to keep progressing, but this would be only if things were to be produced en masse. I think things made by hand speak on some subtle level that is important to what I create. (Budding paper engineers can apply here for some work experience pls!!)

Sia's head dress on the cutting mat

You have an incredible reputation now as Australia’s paper master! Does this mean work finds you…? Or do you have an agent? Or do you hunt people down that you want to work for?

Gee thanks! *blushes* I do love paper!! Work has found me through my creative network so far. I don't search out clients as such, although it has been an important part of my work process. I have so many ideas about what I want to create so I seek out people who can help me realise them. I don't have an agent either (although I'm working this at present). It's ment that I have had to be tough in some cases about being paid what I'm worth - it can be a challenge to be a freelance creative - but ultimately the people who I work for are passionate about what they do and that helps drive me that little bit harder. I have also found that having a strong web presence has really helped raise my profile both here and internationally too. Oh and I can't forget to mention my friends. They are very important contacts!

What have been one or two of your favourite creations?

The Hermès Christmas windows are the biggest highlight for me. To be asked to create something for a prestigious international company like them, who have such a focus on quality and craftsmanship was a distinct honour. It really put the pressure on tho! It was a great challenge to cut all those feathers by hand. But the satisfaction of seeing them in the windows made me forget all the hard work I had put in. I was over the moon! I also made a promotional pop-up books for Harpers Bazaar last year too which was another highlight of my work to date. I love making pop-up books!!

Hermes windows...

Under construction...

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

I do a lot of thinking! I really find I need to wrap my head around a project before I get started. But then I hit the cutting mat and just start to create. There can be lots of late nights because paper engineering is a time consuming process. You have to make things over and over until it's perfect.

One of the main challenges faced by independent designer / makers is the challenge of working alone. Do you work alone or do you share your creative space? How do you keep connected to the design community, and who do you bounce off for valuable feedback?

I thrive on the input of others. There is a great bunch of creative people in my studio who I'm always pestering for feedback. Its really important to the creative process I feel because you can lose perspective if you design in a bubble. But at the end of the day, it's just me at my desk and I always follow my instincts. Some of the best things I've engineered have appeared when I do that.

Where do you turn for creative inspiration – travel, local and international design trends, books or the web etc?

I'm always searching on the net for other people who make things out of paper around the world and here in Sydney. I love seeing what they are doing and showing them what I'm working on too. I read a lot - ideas can come from anywhere really. Lots of books about anything. I think the past is something that is a major influence on my work. I love the 18th century and Art Deco/Nouveau. I find I'm always turning there to help locate elegant design solutions.

Which other designers / creative people do you admire?

Too many to mention here really. But to name a few, Thomas Demand, Robert Sabuda, Matthew Reinhart and Richard Sweeney are my paper idols. People who follow their own creative path in whatever medium they work in always garner my admiration!

What would be your dream creative project?

Without a doubt to get a pop-up book published! I'm working on a few ideas now and my main push for the next half of the year is to get them in to print. Also some furniture. I think the next step is to take my work overseas. I would love to live and work in Japan or Sweden for example. Those places and the people who create there blow my mind!

What are you looking forward to?

Being completely self sufficient with my paper construction work. I work as a graphic designer a few days a week at present. But I'll be really happy when I can do paper construction all the time. I want to find a balance between work and leisure and travel and just continue engineering with paper for as long as it interests me.

Sydney Questions

Where do you shop in Sydney for the tools of your trade?

Art shops - no big secret here. Paper from anywhere will do.

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

Toko or MilleVini. Tsukasa Japanese on Crown street is my all time fav tho. Its kinda ratty, but the food is the best in town and it has a great buzz about it. Sitting up at the sushi bar is a Friday night tradition for Benj.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

I'll probably be down at Bronte beach looking at the sea reading the newspaper with some eggs and a coffee I imagine.

Sydney’s best kept secret?

Hmmm.... Corny - but my mates. They keep me smiling and challenge my brain!

HOMELOVE winners!

Well my goodness... Megan Morton has single-handedly set a new benchmark for daily comments on this site! 367 Comments!? You guys must really love bread / books / nailpolish!

OK Mr Randomiser has selected the winners... here goes -

*shka81 who said... 'oh crap! this might actually be the best giveaway ever.. how awesome'
*Kim Wallace of Udessi
*Zoe C who said... 'This is my favourite prize you've offered! What a great mix of awesome things.'
*Ali who said 'MM'S A STAR - i'd love a copy!!!!'
*Shelley Trbuhovich
*Kirsty of Coffee Cake Sunday
*Jo S who said... 'That is the quirkiest and most lovely grouping of goodies I have seen in ages!!'
*Emilie of Midwest Freedom
*Laila who said... 'That is certainly how it is done - a story in every corner of every room. We have a master storyteller here... i'd love to learn her tricks!
*Lau-Lau who said... 'Oh my... This has made my day! Oh so pretty!! Fingers crossed!'

Congratulations to all the lucky winners!

If you have won please send me an email today with subject line 'MM winner!' - and include the user name you used to post your comment, your full name and your postal address! Thankyou!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered... Megan was truly thrilled to read all your wonderful comments, and spent much of yesterday with her lovely assistant Emily, excitedly refreshing the comments over and over! :) Thankyou so much for your enthusiasm!

Thanks also of course to Megan, Emily and Homelove's publisher, Penguin for the giveaway of the century! Don't forget to bookmark the Homelove blog, and pop over there for Megan's live chat deco advice Q&A next Tuesday at 10.00am! x

Thursday, March 25, 2010

HOMELOVE by Megan Morton + a very special giveaway!

Megan Morton's new book, Homelove, out this month from Penguin.

Images from Megan Morton's new book, Homelove, out this month from Penguin.

So I am sure you have seen this around the place in the last few weeks... the very special Megan Morton has just penned her first book, published by Penguin and out this month! HOMELOVE is truly the most divine publication, full of all the interiors eye candy you can possibly feast your eyes on, and of course written in MM's distinctive, friendly and very conversational style. Homelove truly reads in the most intimate and magical way - Megan's voice is more like a casual whisper from a close friend than a structured styling sermon!

To co-incide with the book launch, Megan has also just started her very own Homelove blog - somewhere to post top-up information, to supplement the book, to begin a dialogue with eager readers... and above all, to share. Megan says - "There are just way too many good things out there – new colours, new ways to do things, new solutions to old problems – and it seems unfair not to share them. So if Homelove the book has all the seriously chunky information in it – the real how to’s and must-know’s, then Homelove the blog is a place where new found ideas can be shared." I can only say how perfectly this statement sums up Megan's incredibly generous spirit... and dear readers, there is more generosity to come....

In the spirit of sharing, Megan will host a very special live chat Q&A on her blog next week! Pop a little note in your diary for next Tuesday the 30th, 10.00am - 11.00am... when Megan will be online to answer all your decorating questions! What a brilliant chance to tap into the mind of one of Australia's best known stylists! From paint colours to furniture fossicking to perfect party styling... MM would love to share her expertise with you! Dream up your most challenging deco questions and I hope to see you over there on Tuesday!

AND just in case you weren't quite excited enough about all the Megan Morton love in the room.... In celebration of her book and blog launch, MM has pulled together the most perfect Homelove prize pool giveaway, exclusively for 10 lucky Design Files readers!

The Homelove prize pool includes a signed copy of the book, plus a delicious collection of Megan's favourite things... oooh la la. See the full list from Megan below!

"As its my first ever book, I'd like to celebrate with a few of my own favourite things. I'd love to give 10 Design Filers a signed copy of HOMELOVE, and a few of my All Time Favourite Things. Think hand-made screen art, think crusty bread, think dinky, think the perfect grey, think perfectly polished short nails, ...."

* limited edition Castle and Things for homelove screen printed love heart on paper - $120.

"It doesn't get more perfect than Rachel Castles' embroideries and screenprints. She has hand screened a super weeny but super cute limited edition of ten heart prints. Heaven in a heart. Adored."

* Baker Friday for HOMELOVE bread - priceless.

"Fresh from Baker Friday, these sourdough loaves - specially designed for HOMELOVE - are the first things out of this stunning new Bondi Junction bakeries oven doors. We will be literally taking them from the oven to the postbox to express to the winners! Incredible. You won't believe it, it's artisan baking at its best".

* Miss Frou Frou nail polish

"Who doesnt need an injection of red every now and then? Nobody does a better polish than Miss Frou Frou and we all know it. One coat of this RED HOT is all you will need. Red hot works well with short, squared long nail beds!".

*Bauwerk Paint

"I think it's a stunning colour. You will too. Enjoy this pot of perfect grey from Bauwerk. Its filled with THE greenest paint in the world. Seriously"

* Vintage spoon from 'The Propery'

"I have a props house called 'The Propery' where all lovely styling bits live to serve other stylists. We believe in using the good, the funny, the delicate everyday, not just special occasions, so please stir your coffee with one of our lovely funny little vintage spoons".

*HOMEPAINT colours

"Designer Sara Silm and I have made some seriously foolproof colour palettes and we'd love to share them with you. There are five palettes and we know you will love them, you can not not - they are simply beautiful"

*Mushroom stamp from Kikki K - $19.95

"A little something to leave out on your stationery shelf. This dinky little wooden mushroom from Kikki K comes with a stamp pad, and is all round cuteness even when its not in action."

*Chic canvas travel bag from Murchison-Hume

"Stylist love bags and storage and canvas, which is why these Murchison-Hume ones in calico are ideal for all sorts of things ...sentimental trinkets, special shoes, kid gloves, lego, secrets, love letters, cashmere scarves that risk nips... you can't ever have enough. I have Murchison-Hume monogram mine but we will leave the winners blank and you can title it any way you like!"

Oh Megan. Such Love.

Ok readers you know the drill! Comment here before the end of the day to be in the running for 1 of 10 Homelove favourite things packs from Megan Morton! (if you are an email subscriber, please don't reply to this email - all comments must be left at to be in the running!)

Omigod. Aren't you excited for that Baker Friday loaf with the Homelove heart, express-posted to your door anywhere Australia-wide?! Bonkers brilliant.