Biltmore House is one property built by the Vanderbilts, of American shipping & railroad fortune. It has 250 rooms, 33 family & guest rooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, 3 kitchens, a gymnasium & an indoor swimming pool!! The tiled gym & indoor pool is the most impressive you will ever see. I find old vintage fitness devices absolutely hilarious & love to see the pictures of ladies & gentlemen of the day, dressed to the nine’s & working out. For those guests who wanted to exercise at Biltmore House, this is how I picture it-
Talisman Knocker, 2. Moroccan Mud Cloth #1, 3. Key Chain Tassel with Cream Thread, 4. Captain’s Roll, 5. Enamel Coffee Pot Flint, 6. Avalon Towel, 7. Mercer Bag, 8. Leather Fly Swat, 9. Bibelot Holder, 10. Big Luggy Basket, 11. Secateurs, 12. Panama Hat Ivory
SHOP | Christmas Gift Guide
It will now include a fab neutral palette :
At last you can now come & hear about my love of the still-life!! Robyn Stacey has collaborated with the Historic Houses Trust to create her book, House & is exhibiting the beautiful photographs at the Museum of Sydney. My good friends at the Caroline Simpson Library recommended me to speak for the occasion.
You will have the opportunity to hear about my memories & stumbles upon the painted form of still-life and how that affected me in my career as a stylist, the photographers that I have worked with along the way and the process of edit & elimination when creating a still-life will be addressed.
Visual stimulation will lead the conversation & I will create an interesting context to view the exhibition in after a drink & chat & talk.
Questions as usual are encouraged!! Book for next Wednesday, Dec 7. More info & tickets here. This is a real treat for me as the HHT are very special & my collaborations with them have been truly wonderful
Set in the most magnificent established gardens: heavily laden fig, pomegranate, citrus & prickly pear trees, begging to be picked & eaten off the branch. Edit the Bali influence & bad signage out of your memory and stay here as an alternative to the seaside or if you do not have the captain of your super yacht on speed dial.
We had a fun, long, late lunch, but could have easily stayed here for the day (you can purchase a day pass) and hung out at the super chic pools, laying about on daybeds sipping cocktails and squeezing in a spa treatment.
The festive season is upon us and I’m having a Traders & Bakers marche meets Christmas party to celebrate! This year I’m channeling Gypsy Caravan & am all about colour, prints, stocking stuffers, decorations, presents galore and having your fortune told at the same time! I will be launching my Gypsy Caravan reincarnation with a very appropriate streetside (unfortunately there are no rivers through Paddington to camp by) fair. All the foodies and usual suspects will be here to start the festivities with sunshine, jams & preserves, baked goods, fortune cookies (a very special kind), ceramics, buskers, fortune readers and the classic Society inc. fleamarket finds – it’s been too long!
The Society inc. will be overflowing with lots of tassles & pom poms, patterned folk baubles, felt donkeys (Santa’s new mode of transport), layers & layers of handpainted textiles, mix & match cutlery on the table, pajaki chandeliers (polish, paper & so much fun!) and screen-printed cushions & throws. I never go with the traditional Christmas theme, just celebration and an excuse to dress the house in something new. Colour is in, so embrace it and do something different! This will definitely be our most exciting market yet.
Saturday 1st December, 8AM-1PM
Vanessa Bell (Virginia Woolf’s sister) and the love of her life (although he was gay), Duncan Grant were artists & part of The Bloomsbury Group. They lived in Charleston House, in Hastings part of the larger artist & writer group who lived around the way.
They painted the interior of their house & lived a very bohemian life between the wars, part commune, part free love. Conscientious objectors to the war, they lived a life that was against everything normal and accepted, an incredibly modern life. They had little luxuries, but what they did have was their creativity. Instead of using a tablecloth, Vanessa painted the tabletop, and the walls to substitute for wallpaper. The architectural details were highlighted in out-there colours, that were not traditional to the time.
Bell painted patterns and circles, which adorned window panels, door surrounds, doors, wardrobes, tables and any other paintable space in the house in repeat. So unusual, but beautiful and perfect. Everyone who lived in Charleston House had an incredible eye for colour combinations. The bathroom was the most beautiful shade of punchy green! The extensive garden that you see pictures of (devastated there were no photos allowed in the home) is an indication of where their inspiration comes from. Much like myself, nature played a huge part in their colour choices.
The garden is filled with: apples, cosmos, Japanese windmill, sweetpea, dahlias, hollyhocks, Gladys, thistles, nasturtiums, poppies, waterlily, plums, roses, rosehip, honeysuckle, onionballs, figs, grapes, snapdragons, butterflies galore, cornflowers, clementine & forget-me-nots.
The accommodation spills over 3 levels offering a choice of 9 rooms, a boutique experience, each room is different with a spectacular view over Sydney’s skyline and Harbour. This is where the past meets the present, each room is named after a local character from the Rocks’ layered past: Arnt Andersen, Alice Musket, Sydney Long, Surgeon White amongst others. Materials are a mix of old and new shapes, found & foraged but with all the necessary mod cons and the beauty of Australian-made products from blankets to furniture to custom paint colours from The Society inc by Murobond range.
Generous rooms where the luxury is in the details with jewel box bathrooms full of old-fashioned fixtures and indulgent Aesop products guarantee a superior experience. Feather filled beds, linen layers & Tasmanian milled wooden blankets sit in front of seascape murals inspired by the magic Sydney harbour by artist, Neil Mallard, more home than Hotel, invite you to stay as long as you like!
1. Wear many hats
In any one week, a stylist can be a builder, artist, upholsterer, framer, cook, seamstress, narrator, calligrapher, carpenter, photographer’s assistant – even model. Every new shoot I do sends me down the path of a new field of expertise. When it comes to your own interior decorating, it pays to do the same, as these skills, too, are the foundations of styling. Read books, search the internet, interrogate tradesmen and talented friends. Learn to hang a picture and thread a sewing machine, discover the nuances of different paint finishes and adhesives, perfect stain removal for second-hand fabrics. The more adept you are with a hammer, nails and paintbrush, the more you’ll have to spend on things you love.
2. Inspiration comes in unlikely forms
Open your eyes to inspiration from anywhere and everywhere: the shade of a vintage French shelf liner could be your perfect white, a cocktail umbrella or paper patty case exactly the shade of blue you’ve been looking for.
3. The past has much to offer the present
My love of preloved objects is twofold. First, the patina of age gives so many things – fabric, furniture and paper, tableware and ceramics, wood and metal – unique textural and colour markings. Look at the way a silver tea set tarnishes or linen on a hardback book fades in the sun. Feel the crumbling paint on a second-hand chair or the smooth handle on an old hammer. these imperfections are hard to mass produce and the marks of age tell a story of a life lived. This is my second reason for being drawn to things of old. I look at the teacup stains on a table and wonder what conversations occured around it. I pick up a discarded leather suitcase from an op-shop and imagine the journeys it’s been on. SO many stories, so many styling opportunities.
4. The simple things can be the most endearing
A little sticky putty plus a lots of paper equals an instant art installation. Begin by rummaging through your own drawers and storage boxes for invitations, cards and other memorabilia or start a collection from scratch. Seek out printed matter such as sewing patterns, maps, flashcards or loveletters made interesting by the passage of time or desirable by he idiosyncrasies of the paper itself. One of the cheapest and most rewarding interior design products is paper and paper products.
5. Your history should inform your style
Every stamp in my passport is evidence of an adventure or memory. Let your home be a place to tell stories. By surrounding yourself with objects & translations of your very own travel & day-to-day observation, you create a place full of your memories: a unique, authentic space that reflects your personality.