28 February 2010

My review of Lifeinstyle Sydney this weekend

I had a brilliant time at life instyle this weekend, seeing all the clever products, homewares, textiles, prints, fabrics, cushions, jewellery that artists & designers all over Australia and worldwide create. As usual there was a lot to see, but I thought I would focus on a few of my favourites – can’t wait to buy/resell/recommend them for future projects…

First up Bholu. Well I got to meet the bubbly Jodie Fried in person and she was so inspirational and spent at least 20 fabulous minutes chatting about her life, her creative ventures and her schools in India. (If your read this Jodie – thank you so much!) See my other articles on Bholu textiles and her new range of wallpapers from Porters Paints which were on display! Nice!

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OK next up textile designers that caught my eye was Tinker from Melbourne. They had a lovely range of hand printed items in subdued lemons, taupe and blues, both floral and geometric prints. They seemed more than happy to please and will do customised and one off sales of items for designers with cushions, throws, pouffes, wallpapers and napery items in their range:

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There was a lot of bed linen and importers, makers of lovely throws, covers and bedspreads, but those that really caught my eye are from Bianca Lorenne of New Zealand. She makes a range which is high quality, French inspired and the fabrics are so soft and tactile that you want to buy them all – but you better be quick as they are all limited editions. Nice creams, whites, pale blue-grey. Very feminine but not in a flowery way that a man would groan at.

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Also from New Zealand architect Andrew Johnston of Thatch was a great range of flat packed light shades…

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Very quaint but also convenient to send to friends overseas as presents! Lovely for kids rooms.

Now let’s not overlook the obvious style leaders; those Scandinavians who had a lot of beautiful products and designs everywhere – how can such a small country have so many great products and designers? Or is it just that those northern European designs, lots of white and black, bright colours, clean lines appeal to me most? Things that caught my eye:

There was a lovely range of practical, functional yet fashionable products on sale from Nordic Designs Home including their Monster Collection by the clever Karin Mannerstahl whose bright colours and bold prints brighten up home all over Europe:

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Jacquard fabrics by the clever Swedish designer HildaHilda. I loved her prints because they are bold but not gaudy but can adapt to both children or adults rooms. The colours are happy but lots of tinted greens, reds, blues make them versatile in the home…



HildaHilda distributed by Coris who also sell the bright coloured weaves of Barefoot Linen by Sri Lankan designer Barabara Sansoni.


Last but not least, the sustainable, renewable range of wonderful kitchen and home use products from Bambu. made from you guessed it - bamboo by New York designers but crafted in China:


imageRead the bambu blog if you want more information.

So that’s my line up of favourites from life instyle. Download the life instyle ebook to see the full range of items on display.

If you went to life instyle sydney or plan to go to life instyle Melbourne, I would love to hear about your favourite designers and suppliers too.

14 February 2010

Ideas for using blackboard paint at home

A friend of mine Adrian recently renovated his unit in Bondi and painted a blackboard wall in his kitchen. It is really effective and a great way to keep track of shopping lists, leave messages for the family etc. It really warms up the room and creates a feature of this corner of the kitchen.


I asked Adrian how he went about painting the wall and here are some of his tips – thanks Adrian!

Qu. How hard was it to paint the wall? [Adrian] At first I tried with a brush - big mistake, it was like working with glue. Because the wall is quite narrow I switched to a mini-roller with a short pile. This made the job more bearable and provided a much better finish.

Qu. Did you have to prepare the surface in any way?[Adrian] Not really, as it is a 'novelty' wall I'm not too concerned about the finish (plus it's matt black so imperfections are not reflected). I just painted directly over old acrylic paint that was washed down with sugar soap.

Qu. What brand of paint did you use? [Adrian] White Knight Paints

Qu. Any tips for others? [Adrian] The short piled roller, good ventilation and always allow to cover less than what the state of the coverage section of the directions.

Check out these other blackboard articles and blogposts:

Style-files – Netherlands:

Have a look at this post by Jennifer at madebygirl:

How about this dry erase writing surface from IdeaPaint



Other tips:

Make it magnetic – paint a magnetic primer underneath to make it a magnetic blackboard! http://www.abcstuff.com/magnetic_paint.php

What about a whiteboard? use IdeaPaint to create your own whiteboards – check out this article on notemaker’s blog: http://notemaker.com.au/products/idea-paint

Kids fun wall – read this article from real living to create a reversible activity board for kids: http://realliving.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=772405

Some suppliers in Australia:

05 February 2010

Wallpaper from Bholu – thanks to Bondville!

Because this post looked so great, I copied the entire Wallpaper from Bholu post from Bondville (not sure it this is blog-etiquette, sorry if its not cool) – but plug plug check out Bondville for other interesting posts…
One of my all time favourite and inspirational interviews is from Bholu entrepreneur and designer Jodie Freid – and she is so creative and clever and now moving into wallpapers as well…

Welcome news for lovers of good Australian design with a conscience - uber-cool lifestyle brand Bholu has teamed up with Porter's Paints to release a divine range of wallpaper for littlies and grown-ups under the “Designers for Porter’s Paints” series.
Designed to mix and match with the label's homewares and children's range, the designs feature the signature bholu ‘Nimboo’ swirl and characters such as ‘Mavis the Monkey’, ‘Frederick the Elephant’ and ‘Marjorie the Duck’.
For those not in the know, Bholu is a fair trade company based in Australia that works with communities in India to produce gorgeous homewares. Part proceeds go back to these communities as well as funding for education facilities and other programs for underprivileged children.
Check out more images of the new collection on the Bholu Facebook page. Bholu wallpaper will be available at Porter's stockists from February 17th, 2010 (call your local stockist for more information) around the world.
Read more about Bholu on Bondville here.
Thanks again Steph!
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