Sunday, 29 June 2014

Shop profile: Girl & Graaf

If you've ever been to Bondi, chances are you were lured there by sun, surf and/or sand. And while you were there - showing off your new Triangl bikini, topping up your tan and watching the Bondi Rescue boys do their thing - chances are you missed out on one of the seaside suburb's little-known gems - Girl & Graaf (well, it's hard to compete with a world famous beach). We're regulars at this travel-inspired lifestyle boutique, and dropped by yesterday to check out its latest offerings.

Nestled discreetly amongst take-away joints on Bondi Rd, the petite store is unassuming at first glance, but step inside its whitewashed interiors and you're instantly whisked away to far-flung worlds. The brainchild of travel lovers Lauren Davidson (that's the girl) and her man Simon De Graaf (that's the Graaf), it's infused with the spirit of wanderlust and stocked with pieces from all corners of the globe. Find crisp linens, charming ceramics and enamelware, scented candles, sea salt soaps and dreamy travel tomes - the kind that make you want to jump on a plane and unleash your inner explorer.

 Divine styling and ever-changing displays - courtesy of Lauren - ensure the store is always filled with surprises. And thanks to the eclectic blend of tribal treasures and coastal finds, it feels like, well, a holiday. The only thing bringing us back to reality is perhaps the corner dedicated to cleaning products, but even these are all natural and oh-so stylish that we can't wait to try them out at home (leather fly swat, anyone?)

Particular noteworthy to us is the fact that the store's awash with small accent pieces - perfect for decorating small spaces. We're loving these whimsical fabric tassels for a subtle nautical vibe. 

Coveting the global nomad look but don't live locally? Don't fret - you can shop online here. And remember - next time you're sunning yourself on Bondi Beach: put on a kaftan, take a stroll up the road and visit this delightful boutique - then contemplate your next adventure.

Visit Girl & Graaf at 189 Bondi Rd, Bondi, (02) 8065 8528

Friday, 27 June 2014

Friday find: Kip & Co

Your bedroom is one room in the home that you can really have some fun with, especially if you're flatting with friends who might not appreciate that silver tasselled throw slung over the communal couch. But in your bedroom? You set the rules. We're loving the vibrant look-at-me designs from Australian bedlinen brand Kip & Co - think quirky patterns (pizza-print bedspread, anyone?) and cosy velvet quilts in punchy brights. For a more subdued affair, they also do on-trend chambray quilt covers in pale blue or soft peach and moody charcoal velvet pillowcases. Our tip? Work back high-voltage patterns with sumptuous solid colour velvets. Here's a peek of just a few of their dreamy designs...

 Velvet pillowcases (top left) and Dessert Designs quilt cover (bottom right).

If anyone wants us this weekend, too bad - staying in bed has never looked this good.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

An ode to magazines

"Print media is dead!" we hear you cry, but while this may be an odd place to say it (being a blog and all...) we're firmly in defence of magazines. Perhaps our backgrounds make us biased, but we like nothing better than a beachside read in summer, or snuggling up with the latest issue of a favourite fashion mag and steaming cup of tea on a Sunday afternoon. Trouble is, we both now have more magazines than shelving space. Cue some savvy stacking and a little bit of styling, and voila! Your beloved glossies are transformed into veritable (not to mention affordable) pieces of furniture, as per Anna's towering mag-stack-turned-side-table below:

There's yet more magazines taking pride of place on the chest of drawers that conceals all manner of cables and TV-related gizmos (we don't know what they do, but apparently they have a purpose). Stacks of mags keep your reading material close at hand and work to cover up the cords that can dangle from the TV. An Ecoya candle, Kate Spade silver decoration, Bethany Linz embossed print and a stem of blushing orchids pretty up what could easily have become a playstation-dominated tech zone, if left to the other occupant of this apartment... 

 We're not the only ones tapping into this trend - pinterest abounds with examples of magazines moonlighting as bedside tables, coffee tables and styling tools. Take this ladder-turned-library to display the week's reading material - head to Domayne for similar.

 Image via Love Maegan

Create a blissful reading nook with chic under-window storage as per the above. Renters need not fear, Freedom stocks simple white storage units just like the built-in beauty in this pic, for a fraction of the cost. 

Image vía espacio vital.

 We love the idea of securing our latest issues with buttery soft vintage leather belts, and Melbourne company Lightly has designed just the thing - called the Assemblages Book Girth Belt, it keeps towers of tomes neat and tidy, which is especially reassuring if you're planning on topping them with vases of flowers!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Friday find: sage & clare textiles

Winter's palette of storm-swirled skies, pitch black nights and silver-tinged mist may seem romantic when it first rolls in, but after a few weeks, it's not exactly uplifting. So this year, rather than bringing the season's moody hues indoors, we're on a mission to embrace fabulous colour. Our top pick this week? These vibrant kantha blankets from our favourite bohemian emporium Sage and Clare, crafted from vintage saris and guaranteed to brighten even the darkest of days.

All images via Sage and Clare

Each one-of-a-kind and hand-stitched by artisans in India, the bold blankets are $189 each and available to purchase here. We're also crushing on the store's eclectic range of vintage furniture and seriously stylish accessories - all equally colour drenched.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Ikea restyled

The letters DIY tend to conjure visions of kitsch crafts, botched paint jobs and drilling disasters. But not on this blog. We’re into the kind of do-it-yourself projects that are infused with style and guarantee perfectly polished results – no power tools required. This week we were inspired by the clever (and contemporary) crafters from Sweden's Livet Hemma, who may have achieved the ultimate Ikea hack…

Image via

Admiring the chic marble-topped table? Take a second look. This master of disguise is actually a humble Ikea coffee table swathed in contact paper (that’s right, the stuff you used to cover your school books). We tend to take exception to most things faux (think polyester fur and Gocci bags), but the table gets our tick of approval for its homemade cred and authentic finish. The only factors setting it apart from the real thing are the cost – just a fraction of marble’s hefty price tag, and the weight – you won’t need a forklift to transport it to your top floor apartment.

Best of all, the project is about as complex as a Tara Reid film plot. All it requires is a simple coffee table (check out the selection at Ikea - hard-edged designs work best) and some stone-effect contact paper (find it here). For a bubble-free application, we recommend following a tutorial, such as this one.

Textures that trick the eye are trending right now, so here are a few more marble marvels.

How Are You marble-look cushion cover, The Minimalist.

WallSmart marble-look wallpaper, Ferm Living. (back in stock very soon!)
Marble & timber coat hook, The Cool Hunter.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Friday find: Lemon Canary candles

Sometimes we love nothing better than curling up on the couch with a block of chocolate and a beautiful candle burning while we watch I Wanna Marry Harry we mean, um, Four Corners. Lemon Canary candles are our current favourites: divinely scented with fragrances like Peony & Marshmallow, Cloudberry & Clementine and White Jasmine & Mint, they're hand-poured into vintage glass jars and adorned with porcelain labels, making them the loveliest addition to your bookshelf, mantelpiece or bedside table.

Prices start from $39.95 for a 200ml jar; visit Lemon Canary for stockists or to buy online. And for our Queensland readers (we know there's at least one!), Lemon Canary will be at The Village Markets at Burleigh Heads Primary School, the Gold Coast, on June 15th. Enjoy! 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Oh sugar!

Here at The Apartment, our little list of loves is simple: among other things, we like cake, freshly cut flowers and the colour pink. So you can imagine our reaction when we stumbled across the abundance of sugar-laden style that is Nectar & Stone.

Gold-dusted macarons in the sweetest shades of pink, elderberry-laced cupcakes set off with ribbons of blushing peach frosting, cloud-shaped cookies awash in watercolour... each and every Nectar & Stone creation sets our hearts (and our tastebuds) aflutter. They're the work of Melbourne-based dessert designer Donna-Caroline Khoo (Caz), who graciously granted us an interview. "I'm a very visual person and I wanted to design desserts that were not only pleasing to the eye but also amazing to eat," she explains. With an ever-expanding ingredients list that includes freeze-dried raspberries, black Cypress salt, vanilla bean and oreos (oreos!!!), it's safe to say these beauties taste as indulgent as they look.

All images courtesy of Nectar & Stone

The crazy thing about Caz is she's completely self-taught - before taking Nectar & Stone full time in July last year, she worked in fashion as a product rep for handbags and shoes. "Fashion, flowers and colours are my biggest inspiration," she reveals. The amazing colours coating her desserts are the result of hours upon hours of testing. "I love the freedom to explore my creativity without any limitations," she says. "I just spend time in the kitchen trialling on my own, I don't follow any rules."

Caz works largely on commissions for events, from weddings to press parties, so she's constantly experimenting with new ideas and flavours. A recent kitchen tea involved a custom-made acrylic table, topped with acrylic cake stands to show off Caz's creations. "It looked amazing and challenged everything the current dessert trends are showcasing," she recalls. Her top tip for hosting your next event? "Keep it simple and at the same time, make it your own." Yes indeed... but we think we'd rather order something of hers! 

A sneak peek of Caz's highly desirable desk.

STYLE NOTES {caz, nectar & stone} 
Dream home: An apartment in Paris, looking onto the Eiffel Tower
Style icon: Coco Chanel
Favourite flower: Roses
Best scent: Chanel, there's so many to choose from... no.22 is lovely
Colour palette: White, pale pink, peach and soft grey
Decorating style: Minimalist
Ideal holiday: Paris
Perfect Sunday: Surrounded around our long rectangular table with family enjoying lunch, dessert and wine

Visit for details on how to order (Caz ships all over Australia). And to marvel at her designs on a daily basis, follow @nectarandstone on instagram.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Friday find: SJP stationery

Don your Manolos and head to the Hallmark aisle - Sarah Jessica Parker has released a stationery range with a distinct Carrie Bradshaw flavour. Find fabulous and fashionable cards perfect for celebrating everything from birthdays to best friends, weddings and babies. Our only objection? The collection doesn't include the "Congratulations, you didn't marry the wrong guy" card that Carrie famously pegged in Season 6 (Episode 9, A Woman's Right To Shoes, for those of you playing at home). From $6.99, available at Hallmark distributors and Target.

Image via Hallmark Cards