Friday, 20 June 2014

Ocean Luxe Love // Curl Curl

Beautiful homes are definitely a weakness for me. I went to the below home last week. The house is smart in design as well as being impeccably finished. Impeccably. Enough to take your breath away. You know when you walk away from a room and actually can't recall any of the finer details once left? I find that happens when the room is so harmonious in design that I am unable to fault it, so nothing sticks. Luckily, I pulled some pics for us all to ogle.

The house, which is in Curl Curl, is for sale through Clarke & Humel property. Auction this Saturday 21st June 2014.


Saturday, 25 January 2014

Bye Bye Christmas

Farewell Christmas and hello 2014!  Man alive, it is almost February. Bit late for a Happy New Year isn't it. How did that happen? Regardless, I hope you have had a lovely break filled with love and laughter. I love the Christmas holidays. Always have. Sun, food, beach time, family, friends. 

So my first Christmas Day as host was a success, despite all attempts by the weatherman to ruin it. As you know, it was the first time in the history of my family to have a cold lunch - massive deal. AND, wouldn't you know it, it rained. All I wanted was to sit under our newly installed shade in the yard, drink champagne, eat prawns and engage in the usual family banter in the sunshine. Champagne prawns champagne prawns, repeat.  Alas, it rained so the party was moved into the half finished carport and it wasn't the warmest of weather. Boo. So we didn't end up sitting outside for as long as I hoped and the backyard games that I had planned didn't happen either. Argh well, better luck next time eh.

A definite highlight of the day was our tree. As part of the day I requested that everyone wrap their gifts in "neutral + white" theme. Not because I have OCD, but instead of the mess of that cheap ugly Santa paper, (that makes for awesome missiles come the obligatory paper fight afterwards mind you), we had a beautiful tree with gorgeous looking presents under it. I wasn't sure how my request would go down with the extended family, but in actual fact, what happened was that everyone loved the idea and putting that extra effort into the wrapping, extended the joy. Which was awesome. 
My mother-in-law took out the prize for best looking presents. She hand cut(!) and designed the reindeers, snowmen. She made sleighs out of cut cereal boxes and covered with brown paper!  She is one clever lady. A cold English Christmas on her mind. So clever.  

Below is a snapshot of our day and my wrapping the last two pics, which I loved doing - those air dry clay ornaments were awesome.  Will be doing those again next year for sure.

The man on the BBQ, that's my brother. He was cooking under a beach umbrella in the rain - legend. Those cooked prawns on ice, that was only 1/3 of them - we had 4 kilos! Whoops. May have over catered. Those salads, I will be sharing some of those recipes soon. Too darn good not to.

What did your day look like? As wet as mine?

Here's to another fab year. Hope yours treats you well.

PS - I have fixed the commenting capabilities on the blog now.  Thanks for your patience and letting me know. x

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Pappa's got a brand new...

Letter box. Yep, not bag like the great James Brown suggests or perhaps what you were expecting, but letter box and boy am I one happy lady!

I may or may not have mentioned previously, but my family are a bunch of wonderfully talented folk. My mum can whip up a gourmet dinner from a pantry that screams "I am empty" to everyone else, my father was a builder who is incredibly talented when it comes to wood and well, actually making anything with his hands. My sister is a journalist by trade, but a creative soul by heart who married the love of her life (who she met whilst ski instructing in Switzerland) and lives in Canada. All those craft ideas you see on Pinterest, well most of them came from her, I swear! My brother is a banker. Where he lacks in trained handyman skills, he makes up in brutal strength and enthusiasm for getting his hands dirty and creating things.

That all being said, it was my birthday in October and on that day I received a cryptic phone call from my sister telling me to check my email in 5 mins as dad was emailing me their joint present. What the?

What I found was a blueprint of sorts. A new letterbox that would be designed and built by my dad. Amazing!

So how on earth did they think of a letter box for goodness sake?  Well, as seen on this blog, I have spent a good few hours lusting over Robert Plumb. His furniture, the gardens of his other business, William Dangar... and of course his letterboxes.  Amazeballs.

So my sister, who follows me on Pinterest saw my letterbox fetish and thought that this was something that our amazing dad could build.  Thus, where the inspiration came from.

The log is mahogony. Dad sourced it from the central coast. The box is cedar, sized to suit the heftiness of the log.  Can I add that the log weighed over 250kgs! It took 4 grown men and a massive amount of huffing and puffing to get it 3 metres from the van to the hole. A neighbour heard the men's meeting plan of the exact manouver and had to come help. Love my neighbourhood!

Was a fun day.

So here she is in all her glory!

Ain't she preddy?!!!

And that cute little boy!  Oh man he kills me.  Those peace signs are actually his thumbs up. He hasn't quite worked it out yet. So darn cute.

(We are still to get numbers to go on the log. I tried gold; blah. Black, yuck. So I think we are going to go copper. Watch this space! We also have big plans for the front fence. THEN we will be able to make use of our great front yard and get rid of the old lady garden!)

Friday, 29 November 2013

Getting my Christmas Day Craft On!

In my last Christmas post I showed you where I am heading with my Christmas Day table styling. Well I got my craft on one afternoon last week and look at what happened! So easy and the clay being air dry is brilliant. Skills learnt as a 10 year old at my local Community Centre, school holiday pottery program paid off!

Another piece to my Christmas day puzzle comes together.

I am using the little letters as gift tags for my Kris Kringle and the kiddly-winks. Hearts are for the table.

Likey?  Me likey.

Excuse the skanky looking baking tray!  Perhaps I should spend more time scrubbing? Na!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Fab Find // Indigo Love Collectors

As mentioned previously, my family has a holiday house down the south coast.  As if a holiday routine of sorts, there are certain must-dos while we are away.  It of course starts with a stop in Berry for coffee and donuts as mentioned here, but when we get there, a few hours are always spent in Huskisson
Huski is a little sea side village, the main tourist destination for whale and dolphin watching on Jervis Bay.  Always busy, always something going on. It also is home to my all time favourite shops; Few and Far and Indigo Love Collectors. Two homeware stores that have really changed the feel of Huski. In my opinion, they have given back it's soul. Their thoughtful, feast-for-the-eyes collections, full to the brim with beautiful finds from their worldly travels. You enter either of these two stores and don't know where to start. There are just so many beautiful things to look at, touch and take home.

On our last visit, I caught up with Danny who, along with his wife Tara, own and operate both stores. I was lucky enough to chat to him about how they made a business of doing what they love. 

You and your business partner & wife both have a background in design. Can you tell us a little bit about the Indigo Love Collectors team?
My wife and I are both designers, before we ventured into the interiors industry we both designed clothing, swimwear and accessories. As part of our previous work we travelled twice a year on world trips for buying and inspiration and always found ourselves intrigued by interiors stores... it was a natural progression to move into this industry.

Is having the 2 stores just a really good cover for spending your time travelling to far off countries and losing yourself in the exhilaration and hunt for beautiful wares? 
Well at first, there was really no one on the South Coast doing what we wanted to do. Actually I personally think there aren't many Australia wide, doing what we do. Sourcing from so many countries with the eye to being unique and different. Doing this really became a mirror for who we are... we love to travel and experience cultures, we love unique pieces and we love where we live... perfect!

How was the transition of working for someone else to basically living the dream work you do now? (Did it happen over a long period or did you both cut lose and simply go for it?)
We definitely cut ourselves loose. I can remember our accountant suggesting we test the water for a while, with one of us staying in full time employment, but our ambition and instinct kicked in. We were both actually quite ready for a change and looking back, we were confident it would work. How much it would work was the grey area, but within a few months we knew and even now we feel more opportunities are waiting for us... I often explain that we are victims of our own ambition. We do work hard but we definitely haven't looked back. Working for yourself doing what you enjoy is so much more rewarding than working for someone else.

In your stores, you showcase some beautiful worldly pieces that you have personally sourced and selected from different ends of the world. Do you find that you have to have many trips to many countries to keep that balance right? Do you love everything that you buy? 
Worldly finds have always been us and always will, so yeah, it takes quite a bit of travel to find them. The story behind buying a special carpet in the middle of Turkey and hand picking sea shells off a remote beach in Sumbawa, Indonesia will always mean more to me than a mass produced decorator piece or chain store furniture. Pieces with a story win every time. I never get sick of seeing a beautiful old piece of timber. Having said that, it's the balance between these that's the hardest part for us buying and selling. Having the right mix is crucial... we don't want to be an antiques store. We love that modern gypsy style that mixes old and new... but we always want a story behind anything we sell, where possible.

When you are standing in a massive room filled with amazing one off pieces, how do you possibly choose? Is there any media that you turn to for inspiration before your trips so you know what you are going for? Or do you follow your gut?
I think that in whatever industry you belong to, following your gut is the only way. It's hoping everyone loves what you love - that's the key. Some people just have better gut instincts than others when it comes to style and business, but we definitely make sure we are constantly inspired, motivated and educated... and there isn't a better way of improving in all these areas than to travel.

Have you ever found a piece that you just couldn't let go of and had to have it in your home?  What was it?
Definitely... but there are probably a lot that haven't made the trip home due to me reasoning with Tara..."so where do we put this?" Like I said, we are victims of our ambitions. The warehouse does have a few of these items, my eyes are bigger than my house purchases... investments we call them.

Of all the trips to the many countries you have taken, which was your favourite and why?
That's too hard. Different places mean different things. If it's architecture, then Europe is amazing, incredible. Remoteness and natural beauty, the Pacific Ocean is the most awesome place to be. Clearest water and teaming with life and of course surf. Anywhere new and different, but yeah, it depends on what we want out of the trip. Sometimes, it's cultural pieces or inspiration, other times I guess indulgence.

You know what though, every time I come home I think we live in the best part of the word and Jervis Bay in particular is so underrated. It rivals anywhere, with clear water, lifestyle, wildlife (I am a closet parrot lover)... We love where we live!

I love the Indigo Love Collectors store/building. A few years back it was nothing but a personality free, run down little cottage. You could easily walk past without even noticing it. You guys have really kicked life into it, but also made a shabby side of the street beautiful.  It must have been a massive undertaking. Tell us a little about that journey.
It was bigger than massive. It was one of those, if I had have known it was going to this hard we wouldn't have done it, but definitely glad we did. That cottage has been virtually rebuilt from the footings to the roof. We wanted to reinvigorate the building but keep its charm, and to do that, the whole place was torn apart then put back together. The floor was actually under dirt in one corner. The whole house was balancing on piles of rock. Every wall inside and out was removed and structurally strengthened as we had quite a lot of law to adhere to being a commercial space. All the floor boards were pulled up, and re laid. Complete new front wall, new windows, widened doorway, new roof, all the internal walls knocked out, new get the idea. We were extremely lucky that Tara's father, John Symonds was an amazingly patient builder and did an amazing job sharing the vision.

Being in-the-know of homeware and interior trends, do you have any insider tips for this coming season?
I am not sure we follow too many trends. What we do is probably a more classic look. Personally I find that trolling through magazines it's all a bit too much trend focused. There's only so long I can deal with a fluro cushion or bright wire chandelier. Be modern where needed... lounges, even chairs and appliances and lighting, otherwise most cultural pieces can give colour that doesn't date. We tend to buy for long term. Importantly I'd say think luxury and holiday. If you get home each day and its like walking into a luxury resort in Morocco or Spain, Indonesia..., then who needs a holiday when it's your home.

If I was new to the south coast, what is a must see/do/eat/stay?
Jervis Bay is amazing, protected somewhere in any wind... a must see is get a boat and explore Jervis Bay. Friends of ours own the cafe Supply and the restaurant The Waterhouse, so highly recommend those. Stay on the water.. oh and of course meet the friendliest, funniest, coolest dog in the world - Keelah (our brown Newfie)

Jervis Bay's best kept secret?
Scottish rocks on a sunny day in a light southerly wind, in a boat, picnic, snorkeling...

You live in a little slice of heaven, the beautiful beach side town of Manyana. Have you ever thought of bringing your business to Sydney or Melbourne? 
We constantly get requests. We have thought of franchising, but what we do is so personal, so not sure it's possible. It's one of the hurdles that faces us, getting exposure being 3 hrs from Sydney, but it's getting better and busier each day. We often talk about what we could do in a city, but leaving where we are is just crazy, we will keep jumping hurdles. No plans to move unless there is an island in Fiji that will have us.

Whats next for you guys?
Picking up some cushion inserts, going home, repacking the van for more deliveries to Sydney tomorrow.... ha. Getting better at what we do and finding more good help so we can take a little time to smell the roses. We are lucky, we live in paradise, so taking the time off in our hectic schedules to enjoy that is so important.


Can't get to Huski? No problem, Few and Far have an online store here. Brilliant!  Tara also writes a blog that is full of inspirational images, styling and newest items to go into store.  Definitely worth a look.

Below are some on the road images Danny has taken during their travels.  They are for sale too.  Can these guys be any more talented!?

All images posted are from Indigo Love Collectors

So next time you are down the South Coast, I urge you to pay Danny in Indigo Love Collectors and Tara in Few and Far, a visit. You won't be disappointed!

On a final note, it's actually worth mentioning that Indigo Love Collectors supply many of their worldly finds to stores around Sydney and Melbourne. So, you buy from Indigo Love Collectors, you are buying from the guys that hand picked it from that tiny village in the middle of nowhere, on the other side of the world!  Isn't that awesome!

Have a great week.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Modern Day Bohemian // Vaucluse

Having shown given you the home tour of one side of Sass & Bide (here), it's only fair that I show you the other. Just as beautiful and inspiring as Heidi's, Sarah Jane Clarke's home in Vaucluse has only recently been finished. A conversion of two apartments into one home finished just the beginning of this year. It also appears that her other half, Daniel Baffsky, is one of Australia's best known and respected landscape architects; principle at 360 Degrees in Surry Hills. What a dream team!

This home was not what I expected to be honest. Much more refined.


For more photos and interview with SJC, see original source here.

Don't you just love looking into someone's pantry! A real leveller isn't it.

On a final note, I just love love love big brands who stop, take stock and see beyond themselves and their bottom line. Sass & Bide take part in a ethical fashion initiative in Africa. There is a great clip posted on their site that give us a little insight to what they are doing and some of the special women behind it. See it here. L-O-V-E   I-T. Made with love indeed. 

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