Sunday, 25 May 2014

Get the look: Gossip Girl

Like Sex and the City before it, Gossip Girl had us hooked from the beginning. Sigh-inducing, claw-at-the-TV-screen fashion? Tick. An utterly fanciful plot? Tick. And the interiors? From Blair's dreamy powder blue boudoir to the Van der Woodsen's glamorous Upper East Side digs, it's tick, tick, tick. 

It's no coincidence that SATC and GG feature sets as stylish as their character's sartorial choices - both are the work of New York-based interior designer and set decorator Christina Tonkin (now wouldn't that be a dream job...). Her task? To ensure Blair and Serena's apartments perfectly befitted their wardrobes. 

Image via

For this post, we've chosen to profile the home-away-from-home bedroom that Blair (or more likely, Dorota) fashions for Serena in Season Three. With its sunny yellow and moss colour scheme, punctuated by rich pink and flashes of gold, it's fresh yet sophisticated, and bursting with ideas to transfer to your own Manhattan-inspired interior. 

We found it! Serena's a-mazing butterfly wall art, in a range of colours right here. Sold in packs of 50 or 80 individual paper butterflies, you can recreate the formation a la Gossip Girl, or dream up your own design.

If all-out butterflies is a tad too much, this eye-catching clock offers a more subtle take on Serena's all-or-nothing style.

An upholstered bedhead with stud detail adds a beautiful note of luxury to a bedroom, and this neutral design from Zanui works with any colour scheme you desire.
Australian brand Aura can be relied upon for dreamy cushions, throws and bedlinen in a kaleidoscopic array of patterns and colours, like this diamond-print pink throw (perfect draped casually over the bed) and mossy velvet cushion below.

Until next time... xoxo (we couldn't resist).

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Amazing grace

In a world of mass production, cookie-cutter chain stores and fast fashion, it's always thrilling to discover a one-of-a-kind design or lovingly handcrafted collection. Which is why we're excited to introduce Grace Wood, a wildly talented designer whose dreamy, earth-friendly textiles are unlike anything we've seen before.

Meet gorgeous Grace (and kudos to her for matching her fashion choices to her textile collection)

We first met Grace - our ex-flatmate's sister - when she was studying a Bachelor of Design at COFA. She then jetted across the globe to garner creative inspiration, and undertook an internship with textile artist Claudy Jongstra in a tiny rural village in the Netherlands. It was here, drawing on the raw beauty of the Dutch landscape, that Grace was moved to create these ethereal felt cushions, each handmade in a moody palette of indigo, charcoal and ivory. 

To buy online or view the complete collection, head to Grace Wood Designs on Etsy.

While the inspiration for the line may have been realised in Europe, the production is utterly Australian. The magic happens at Grace's studio in NSW's Blue Mountains, where she hand-felts and sews each piece using Merino wool from her family's sheep farm in Bathurst, as well as alpaca fleece, linen, mulberry silk and other natural fibres. "I employ natural dyeing techniques because I strongly believe in touching the earth lightly," explains Grace. "I limit the use of toxic chemicals and try to be as sustainable as possible in my practice."

Sweet dreams are made of this felt blanket, handcrafted using Merino wool and indigo-dyed silk.

And Grace's talents extend beyond traditional textiles. A collaboration with her uni mate George Fattal resulted in these beautifully tactile and - dare we say it - graceful porcelain cups that boast removeable felt cosies. "The idea was to create tableware for everyday use, but something a bit special," comments Grace. Imagine sipping hot chocolate out of one of these - warm fuzzies guaranteed!

If you're as keen as we are to get your mitts on a piece of Grace's exquisite work, visit her Etsy store or website, or head to Sydney's Finders Keepers market from June 6th-7th. See you there!

STYLE NOTES {grace wood}
dream home: A spacious recycled timber house with a loft and high ceilings. It would be somewhere down the south coast of NSW on a property with sheep and a biodynamic garden.
style icons: Jane Birkin, Diane Keaton and Marianne Faithfull - I love a bit of a man-style.
favourite flower: I can't pick a favourite but I'm drawn to fields filled with tiny flowers.
best scent: Essential oils.
colour palette: Interesting textured neutrals.
decorating style: Dutch and Scandinavian design with rustic tones, raw textiles, wood, metal and polished concrete.
ideal holiday: New York then a road trip down to Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans.
era of choice: 1960s.
perfect Sunday: Waking up to the sounds of birds, sun shining and the smell of coffee and pancakes. Then newspaper, music and good memories of the night before.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Lucky penny

Small rooms can feel a bit box-like at times, which is why it's just as important to think of wall decoration in an apartment as it is in a larger space. We took a trip to Penny Farthing Design House this weekend to swoon over their amazing collection of art, prints and photographs - we had every intention of buying one in fact, but ended up overwhelmed by choice... believe us, they're gorgeous online but when you see them up close, they're utterly divine...

'Frank the Flamingo' painted print in the Penny Farthing Design House Balmain East showroom

Penny Farthing Design House recently opened its doors in Sydney's Balmain East. It's the brainchild of two sisters, Alice and Sarah Neilsen, who uncover fabulous Australian artists and photographers and produce unique prints of their work. Take Frank the Flamingo (above), a print of an original illustration by artist Erica Smith: Erica paints over each print to give them an added layer of texture and metallic sheen. Up close it's truly remarkable. 

'Love' print in the Penny Farthing Design House studio

Luckily for us, prints are a fraction of the price of an original artwork, so you can take one of these beauties home and still have pennies leftover for that new season Zimmermann frock you're lusting over. [DISCLAIMER: this may not leave money for so-called essentials such as groceries, but that is not our fault. We'll see you in the tinned tuna aisle]. 

'Frenchy' and 'Lonely Planet' in the Penny Farthing Design House studio.

Works in progress - we want!

On the day of our visit, these incredible deer portraits were literally being given the gold standard - embellished by hand with slivers of gold leaf. They're not yet online, but keep an eye out over the coming weeks - they're seriously something else, and a beautiful way to incorporate the current trend for gold in your home. 

'Refresh' by Phil Noller

'Sydney' stretched canvas map.

This monochromatic map of Sydney is what lured us into the studio in the first place... also available showcasing Melbourne, Sydney's northern beaches and the eastern suburbs, they're perfect for adding interest without risking colour clashes with the rest of your room.

'Silent Joy' by Gabrijela Polic.

'Follow the leader' by Andrew Howells.

'Black Stallion' and 'Love' in the studio.

Visit Penny Farthing Design House to see their complete collection of to-die-for prints, photographs, maps and illustrations. There's a lot to love.

We'll be sharing many more of our favourite prints from a range of designers and artists soon, so watch this space! 

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Compact chic

It’s been said before that the best things come in small packages. And here at The Apartment, we stand by that statement. While our respective beachside and harbourside apartments are modest in size, we like to think that they make up for their petite proportions with big ideas. In fact, being squeezed for space often sparks the cleverest and most creative designs. Take this study nook in Kathryn’s apartment, tucked into an alcove by the entrance…

While some dedicate their study solely to work and tax (yawn), we see it as a prime area to put your personal stamp on. Here, a print by Blacklist Studio Prints, fresh flowers (hydrangeas and David Austin roses) and a moodboard of wallpaper samples and fashion clippings tie in with the rest of the apartment, and ensure that the space is more creative studio than school desk.

We could harp on on for hours about styling, but functionality deserves a mention too. While the nook is small, it boasts plentiful built-in storage. The cupboards and drawers can be completely closed…

Or all opened up... And yes, as per our recent ‘Booked Up’ post, these shelves and books could do with some serious colour coding and organising - that’s a post for another day (stay tuned!).

And here’s the clever bit. The entire desk can magically disappear into a vast white 
wall - no Harry Potter trickery involved...

Within seconds, the study transforms into a cosy sitting area, gallery wall for artwork, or 
our personal preference - extra dance floor space. Genius. That's 1-0 to Team Small Spaces.