Friday, 30 January 2015

Decorating dilemma: desk trays

Here at The Apartment, we're on a mission to offer smart style solutions and make decorating your place that little bit easier. So when reader Em wrote to us asking for advice, we were only too happy to help. She said: "Got any good websites or brands for desk stuff? I'm on the hunt for gold or copper in-trays and have had no luck!" Ask and you shall receive...

Our first pick is this gleaming copper tray from Douglas & Bec, a New Zealand design studio 
with an online store as well as a shop in Melbourne. While this isn't your traditional in-tray, it will
do the job in style (check the dimensions as it's available in a few sizes) and double as a display
piece for your coffee table.

We're also loving this copper-plated design from the European branch of Anthropologie. It's the perfect width and depth for keeping paperwork at bay, and comes with a subtle hint of glimmer. While the postage for this one is a little steep, the tray itself is the cheapest we found, which - as
any serious shopper will know - pretty much cancels out the shipping fee!

Heads up: brass is set to become the new copper. Get in first with this hand-polished  Zakkia tray.

Kate Spade is our go-to designer for seriously chic desk accessories, and this acrylic and gold in-tray is no exception (trust us, the image doesn't do it justice). Head to Papier D'amour or Lark (both also great sources for high-style study essentials) to pre-order the piece, set to arrive in Australia soon.

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If all else fails, it's time to get your DIY on. There are myriad gold and copper-look paints on 
the market that are both effective and easy-to-use. Find a simple desk tray from Ikea or Officeworks and glam it up with a few coats of spray-paint - try these options from Dulux and Rust-oleum. (We recently tried our luck on a metal plant stand and were amazed by the results!) While you're at it,
you can makeover the rest of your stationery supplies too (because really, who wants to pay
$30 for a gold stapler?)

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Got a decorating dilemma that needs solving? Write to us at, comment below or post it on our Facebook or Instagram page - we'd love to help! 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Party girl: Elleni Pearce of Lenzo

Grab your esky, unfurl your flag and show off your Southern Cross tattoo - tomorrow's Australia Day. Just kidding, we're planning a barbecue with a slightly more sophisticated edge. To get some tips, we caught up with Elleni Pearce, founder and director of event hire and trade company LENZO, and hostess with the mostess (responsible for the stunning summer soiree below).

'Summer Splash' photography by Stefani Driscoll Photography.

Elleni's passion for parties started young - as a child, she would watch a video tape of her 3rd birthday celebration on repeat. Not surprisingly, she grew into an avid entertainer with an ever-expanding collection of bunting and balloons. "I used to get a little carried away with all the details, spending time and money on props and partyware that were only used once. After a celebration, I'd be left with a heap of on-trend products that were still in perfectly good condition," she says. It was when she started lending pieces to friends and family that she saw the potential to turn just that - loaning lovely, little-used party products - into a business, and LENZO was born.

Elleni started working on the LENZO business plan while on
maternity leave with her first daughter - and hasn't looked back.

The concept of LENZO is simple yet genius. Individuals and events companies can log onto the website and list their items for hire or sale. Then, anyone can jump online and browse through the inventory of styling stock. Searching for some cake stands or antique glassware for a special occasion? In need of a set of supersized letters spelling out LOVE, which you'd rather not buy, but happily hire? Sorted. Alternatively, do you have a collection of vintage chairs from your wedding or engagement party that you're looking to offload? Upload them on LENZO for the next person to enjoy (and help reduce your carbon footprint by reusing and recycling).

As well as the trading aspect, the LENZO website features gorgeous styled photoshoots to inspire your next shindig, with many of the featured products available to hire/buy straight from the site. Also check out Elleni's positively dreamy Instagram feed, a stream of sparkle-laden, party-perfect images - think pastel-hued donuts, magnificent flower-topped cakes and beautifully put together tablescapes.

'Summer Splash' photography by Stefani Driscoll Photography.

'Summer Splash' photography by Stefani Driscoll Photography.

When it comes to entertaining, Elleni cites a few essentials. "A personalised welcome drink always sets the tone of an event," she says. "For example, at my 30th we did a 'Dirty Thirty' Pimm's cocktail, and for a recent baby shower we created a Baby Bellini." She also recommends employing bar and wait staff - even if they're your teenage cousins - and leaving room in the budget for beautiful blooms. "I have a flower obsession so it's probably not everyone's essential, but it's definitely mine." And ours too, Elleni.

So how does a party professional celebrate Australia Day? "I'll be at a friend's pool party," she says. "I'm looking forward to a casual barbecue, delicious salads and a G&T in the sun. Our giant pink flamingo Fran will also be attending!" Better leave them to it - happy long weekend!

For more info (and to hire fabulous party stuff), check out LENZO here.

MY DREAM PARTY {elleni pearce}
outfit: Backless Dion Lee number
drink: French on tap
location: home
colour scheme: A multi-coloured pastel palette
flowers: Fluffy dahlias
guestlist: Martha Stewart, plus my nearest and dearest
soundtrack: A balance of old and new. Beyonce at the top of the playlist
dessert: Toffee apples!!!

Introducing Fran the flamingo

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Glitter bug

So last week we made a shocking discovery. Apparently, some people - wait, make that most people - don't like glitter. has stopped shipping your enemies glitter because it simply couldn't cope with the demand.

All this is very awkward for us, because on more than one occasion we've been guilty of shipping our friends glitter, not as punishment but as a fun, festive addition to party invitations. Or so we thought. Woops.

However, we're pretty sure even the most diehard anti-glitterers will be charmed by these gleaming Kate Spade coasters. Yes, they're made with glitter, but it's encased in resin so it ain't going nowhere. Problem solved!

With the summer party season in full swing, they're just the ticket to add a smattering of sparkle to your entertaining. Best served with raspberry & lime cocktails and a sequinned mini dress. Because really, too much glitter is never a bad thing.

Find them at Lark, which also stocks slightly more subdued Kate Spade coaster designs, such as the below gold foil paper designs, $35/pack of 24.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Pure & simple

Crumpled linens. Greywashed floorboards. Buttery leather. The Avalon apartment Sasha and Nathan White call home is a complete retreat from the outside world  - and just the kind of place we’d love to return home to after a hot summer’s day. In fact, on the day of our shoot it took all our self-control not to run off with everything in their perfectly petite apartment – if they hadn’t been looking, we probably would have tried to prise their amazing floorboards from the floor.

Nathan, Sasha and their two daughters, Oak Louise and Selah Grace. Image via Mr & Mrs White Instagram.

The creative couple, who own bespoke furniture and textiles company Mr & Mrs White (no prize for guessing how they came up with the name) share a love for simple yet beautifully crafted design. It’s an approach that runs through their work and home – aside from a covetable grey couch from Bo Concept, all the apartment’s cabinetry and furniture was built by hand by Nathan, a boat builder turned carpenter, while the cushions and accessories are all graphic-designer-turned-textiles-queen Sasha’s own work.

Awash in soothing natural tones and textures, the space has a distinct Scandinavian vibe. Although it’s small, it’s definitely not suffocating – thanks to the gorgeous pale greys, whites and natural oak, it has a lightness and brightness to it that our photos don’t do justice!

“Because our home is quaint in size I try to keep the styling and decorating really clean,” says Sasha of the style-saturated sanctuary she’s created. “I prefer to let the furniture items speak for themselves – an oak chair with a leather cushion, a sheepskin thrown on the couch and a copper side table.” Scroll down to see for yourselves... 

The comfiest couch we ever did see.

 The simple yet stylish living area.

Living area details.

Those floorboards!

 Copper side table love.

Living area/entrance details.

Detail from Selah's room.

The living area (spot the goldfish bowl!).

The Whites have mastered stylish essentials, such as this amazing baby bassinet in their bedroom.

 Even  the entrance is divine.

Couch close-up, with Mr & Mrs White navy leather cushions and Icelandic sheepskin. 

If you, like us, want to pack your bags and move right in, you’re in luck: no, they’re not looking for housemates, but Sasha and Nathan sell their handcrafted wares here and at their Brookvale showroom. We have our eye on the navy leather cushions (navy leather! We’re in heaven) and silver-flecked cowhide cushions. And the copper side tables. And the oak dining table… 

Friday, 16 January 2015

Friday find: We Are Handsome beach accessories

Fashion fiends will be well across the news that cult Aussie swimwear brand We Are Handsome launched a range of activewear last week. So we thought it our duty to let you know that the label also sells outdoor accessories, featuring the same eye-popping prints as their workout and swimwear collections. That's right, now you can match your 'kini to your leggings to your beach umbrella and picnic rug. And with fabrics this lush, why wouldn't you?

The 'Jungle Fever' print, adorned with watermelons, lobsters and foliage,
can be seen in this fashion-forward activewear...

Smoking swimwear....

And beach-ready accessories, including this shade umbrella and round picnic rug.
Image via Fairfax Media. Photography by Mike Baker. Styling by Heather Nette King.

The outdoor range is created in collaboration with Basil Bangs (these guys were responsible for reinventing the beach umbrella - check out their website for other equally gorgeous designs and collaborations), and will transport you to a tropical island stat. Just add coconut.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Cocktail hour

Although the festive season may be winding down, in our humble opinion, now is when the real party starts. With the merry mayhem of Christmas and New Year's behind us, the next few months speak of relaxed summer days, Pimm's in the sun, balmy nights and jugs of sangria. As such, we've deemed a new style essential: the bar cart. A home bar not only makes light work of entertaining, but is guaranteed to give your place a dose of old Hollywood glamour. And as the saying goes, "champagne is always the answer" - so you may as well serve it in style.

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Petite and portable, a bar cart is the kind of piece that does its best work in a small apartment - if space is tight, tuck it into a corner during the day, and wheel it out when guests drop by. There's currently an overwhelming trend for antique-style, metallic designs - these gleaming gold and burnished brass finishes can be easily achieved with a lick of paint (check out the metallic ranges from Dulux and Porter's Paints).

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Usually we're students of Coco Chanel's 'always remove one accessory' philosophy, but when talking bar carts, we have to admit that more is more. Fill it up with spirits, liqueurs, glasses and carafes to create a thirst-inducing display - and fabulous party. Important note: unless you're trying to re-create Don Draper's bachelor pad, flowers are a must.

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A bar cart is also the consummate multi-tasker. Use one as a bedside table, media console or simply as a spot to store your ever-expanding collection of coffee table books.

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