Sunday, 30 November 2014

It's (almost) Christmas!

Crack open the Advent calendars (one day at a time, now) and dust off the fairy lights - the countdown to Christmas is officially on. Don't have room for a tree (or the time, the car space, or the biceps required to haul that thing up three flights of stairs)? Don't despair - for the love of tinsel, we've compiled a list of fabulous ways to add a festive touch to your apartment this Christmas - no tacky plastic trees need apply.

Image via Apartment Therapy.

It's green, it's gorgeous and it doubles as art - this Christmas tree on canvas ticks all the right boxes, and rolls up neatly for the rest of the year. See below for Ponyrider's new greyscale version, perfect for creating a winter wonderland at home. 

Image via Paper Blog.

So it's a little more involved, but we love this yuletide display - ebony floating shelves, paper bunting, silver-dusted wreaths and all. We're also taking inspiration from the earthy colour scheme - swap the red and green (yawn) for peach pink, silver, kraft and charcoal. 

Cheat's option: deck the boughs of your indoor pot plants with baubles for an instant Christmassy effect. A few pinecones at the base (and presents, of-course) and you're good to go. 

Image via Apartment Therapy.

If there's one time of year that all-out bling is allowed, it's Christmas. Indulge in a smattering of sparkle with an oversized foiled Christmas tree print or canvas - this one's so pretty we'd have a hard time taking it down. 

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We know, we know - nothing beats the delicious pine scent of the real deal. The solution? Find a florist selling Christmas tree branches (or pinch some from your parents' tree - tis the season for sharing, after all) and display in glass demijohns as per the above, or large glass vases.

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Fairy lights = instant festivity. Fairy lights + star decorations + antlers + a framed mini tree = Christmassy perfection. 

Image via pinterest.

Possibly our favourite look - a Christmas tree silhouette constructed from polaroids. Simple, stylish and completely customisable based on the images you choose.


Friday, 28 November 2014

Friday find: Beauty advent calendars

Ask any girl to choose between chocolate and beauty products and she'll find herself in a bit of a predicament. We admit it, we love chocolate like a Kardashian loves a selfie, but this year, we've decided to trade our traditional candy-filled advent calendars for something a little more glossy. 24-days worth of beauty products, anyone?

Only L'Occitane could make an advent calendar elegant enough to double as artwork. Behind each door, find a luxurious sample-sized beauty product, from hand creams to shower gels and shampoos. It's available at participating boutiques; find your local store here.

It'll be a very merry Christmas indeed with 'The Candy-Coated Countdown' from Benefit. Each day, be gifted with one of the brand's bestsellers, including 'That Gal' brightening face primer and 'They're Real!' mascara. It's selling fast, but still in stock at Myer. Run, don't walk.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Freshly minted

Pantone may have named Radiant Orchid the 2014 Colour of the Year, but here at The Apartment, we feel another hue deserves a special mention: mint. Refreshing and contemporary, this pastel shade is like the trendy younger sibling of  duck-egg blue, the cooler cousin of jade green, and the best friend of blush pink. And nowhere does it work its magic more than in interiors. Watch and learn...

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Let's start small. Like the herb of its namesake, mint is best used like a garnish, sprinkled over interiors. An accent chair or set of barstools adds just the right amount of colour, and makes serious impact alongside natural timber textures and shots of copper or gold.

Image via Home Beautiful 

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Of course if you can't get enough of this good-enough-to-eat hue, you could take the leap with
a subtle spearmint feature wall. A word of advice: floor-to-ceiling colour should be paired with monochrome furnishings, rather than more pastel shades (otherwise your room may end up looking like a rainbow ice-cream, which come to think of it, isn't necessarily a bad thing...)

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Ice blue has owned the category of "stylish kitchen accessory" for some time, but we're
sensing its reign may be coming to an end. Mint is an elegant and of-the-moment addition to
any kitchen, 
whether in the form of display-worthy crockery, a painted cabinet, retro fridge,
or covetable Kitchen Aid mixer.

Image source unknown

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{shop the look}

Friday, 21 November 2014

To dye for

In winter, we call on Jac + Jack for their cosy cashmere knits and signature scarves. And this summer, they're back on our wish lists with this glorious, saturated in colour, dip-dyed collection of beach towels. Deftly woven from organic cotton by Indian artisans, each towel takes three days to make using ancient dye and weaving techniques. As the mercury soars, hatching an escape plan from the office to the beach is becoming more and more tempting - really, we should all be kicking back on these jewel-toned towels, fresh coconut in hand and sea salt in our hair, right about now. 

Part of Jac + Jack's 'Handcrafted Summer' collection, the towels are priced from $110. Sure, they're designed for the beach, but with patterns like these we want one draped over the end of our couch as well. Find them at Jac + Jack.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Art house

No matter how many vases of fresh flowers fill a space, or designer cushions decorate a couch, a room never seems completely finished unless the walls are lined with art. But unless you have the budget of a merchant banker, buying art isn’t as simple as waltzing into the nearest gallery and laying down a house deposit on whatever tickles your fancy. To help you in your pursuit of wonderful walls, minus the exorbitant price tag, we asked interior designer and art aficionado Charlie Cooper of Interiors by Charlie for her expert advice on finding, framing and styling art.

Image via Pop Sugar Home.

Traditional galleries aren’t the only places with the goods – hit up your local markets on the weekend, browse your favourite design stores and trawl the internet or instagram to unearth that perfect piece. We’ve also heard of quite a special little blog that regularly features their favourite artists and prints… oh that’s right, it’s this one!

Some of our favourites include Miss Poppy or Willow Rose Design for gold and silver foiling, Letters on Love or Blacklist Studio for typography and Emily Green or Rachel Castle for colour. Etsy is also a godsend – but it pays to have an idea of what you’re looking for, otherwise you’ll easily lose days scouring the thousands of pages a generic search will deliver.

Fallen in love with an artist you can’t afford? Don’t be afraid to ask them for a limited edition print instead. “Almost all artists will do limited edition prints of their work,” says Ms Cooper, who also recommends scouring Signed & Numbered and Art Finder for unique prints.

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The right frame can elevate a bargain price print to art gallery status. “Professional framing can be expensive, but you can find fantastic frames in a range of sizes from Ikea, Freedom and Country Road,” says Charlie. “If the frame has a cardboard insert [also known as a mount, matte or surround] that’s the wrong size for your print, simply take it to a framer and they’ll cut it to fit for just a few dollars.” We also like the range of frames at Citta Design.

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“Art should be hung at eye level – as a guide, the average height should be 145cm from the ground,” says Charlie. “The natural inclination is to place art higher, but to really appreciate it, it should be at eye level.” If you’re renting or, like us, haven’t a clue how to operate a power drill, get yourself some 3M hooks or hanging tabs for anything that isn’t too heavy.

Another word on placement: “Avoid direct sunlight, which can fade the work over time and cause the timber frame to warp,” Charlie recommends.

Image via flick.r.

Gallery walls are all kinds of gorgeous – and a good trick if you have a bare wall to fill but can’t afford a large-scale artwork. “You can go eclectic, with artworks arranged at different heights and in different frames, or create a grid for a more formal look,” suggests Charlie. “I love black and white photographs displayed in black frames in a grid pattern, it’s a very sophisticated look.” A grid pattern works best with monochrome maps, black and white travel photos or typography.

Charlie’s top tip for a gallery-worthy wall? “To give gallery walls a sense of cohesion, at least one element must be uniform – you might choose all black and white frames, the same size frames, evenly spaced frames or the same colour running through all the prints and artworks.” Watch this space for Anna’s attempt at a gallery wall.

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Commitment-phobes can eschew the concept of hanging art altogether and instead casually prop their pictures up against the wall, atop tables, benches or even the floor. “You can change pictures quite regularly this way and don’t have to put lots of nails in the wall,” says Charlie. “I love layering images – so, a small work in front of a larger one – and incorporating things like mirrors.” Another option is leaning art atop a picture ledge or floating shelf – try the selection at Ikea or Freedom.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Friday find: Milly Dent ceramics

Ever gazed out at the ocean and wished you could bottle up that vision to take home and admire all day? Then you better get yourself acquainted with Milly Dent, whose one-of-a-kind ceramic works mimic cascading blue waves punctuated by swirls of sea foam. The Sydney-based artist draws inspiration from cycles of nature to create porcelain platters, bowls and cups emblazoned with
dreamy indigo ripples - a twist on traditional blue-and-white china.

Made to order and exquisitely fine, each piece is also oven/dishwasher/food safe. Though to be honest, we're not sure we'd want to conceal the inky blue beauty of this 'Gem' plate, $56, with food!

Millie has recently branched out beyond traditional tableware to create
these moody marbleised candles, due in store next week. And they're more than just
easy on the eye - the candles are crafted from eco-soy wax and scented with lemongrass. 

Got a blue crush? Shop the complete collection online here. Images via @millydent on Instagram.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Racing colours

Frocks and fillies were the talk of the town last week as the Spring Racing Carnival rolled into Melbourne and captured the nation's fancy. But here at The Apartment, we wanted to shift the spotlight to another of the carnival's attractions: the Birdcage. This collection of hot-ticket enclosures, hosted by the likes of Lexus and Myer, is not your ordinary backyard marquee. Rather, each is a vision of interior styling brilliance, fully furnished and often double storey, complete with astonishing floral displays, make-up rooms and endless champagne. While the overall effect is positively lavish, these VIP parties are filled with ideas that you can bring to your own occasion - or home! Here are our odds-on favourites from the week.

1. Lexus
The look: Modern luxe, with a show-stopping floral ceiling installation by sustainable designer Joost Baker, and a lush sky deck created by Jamie Durie.
The food: Neil Perry's gourmet burgers, plus a gelato bar.
Style to steal: Make a statement overhead with hanging vases (available here) bursting with blooms. Gleaming gold furniture may be off the cards budget-wise, so add a touch of lustre with gold cutlery from West Elm.

Image via @margaret_zhang

Image via @lexusaustralia

Image via Lexus Australia/Chloe Paul

Image via @margaret_zhang

2. Myer
The look: A whimsical wonderland inspired by the colours and prints of the store's new spring/summer fashion collections, with handpainted orchids in abundance and a perfumery for the ladies.
The food: Fresh spring-themed canapes and to-die-for sweets, including pastel-hued pyramid chocolates from dessert designer Nectar & Stone (remember when we featured her, here?)
Style to steal: It's hard to go past the elegance of orchids (Fleur Florist in Armadale was responsible for these beauties), and even a few single stems can make major impact. If you're feeling generous, treat guests to a powder room-turned-perfume bar, as below.

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Image via @theglossarium

Image via @theglossarium

Image via @myer

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2. G.H. Mumm
The look: French Riviera chic - the marquee channelled a classic beach club by day and sparkling nightclub after hours.
The food: $5000-a-kilo caviar was flown in from overseas 24 hours before serving, and custom-made 12-litre bottles of Mumm were served up. Luxury may be an understatement.
Style to steal: Simple red and white striped linen (we like this tablecloth from Aura By Tracie Ellis) and vintage travel prints on the walls will transport your guests to St Tropez. And of course, serve champagne on tap.

Image via @pimgroup

Image via G.H. Mumm on Facebook

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Image via @pimgroup

                                                                           Image via G.H. Mumm on Facebook