Velvet Goldmine

Back in 1980something when I was an awkward tween, I could imagine nothing more beautiful than a full skirted velvet dress. When my parents threw a big Christmas party for the toast of the neighborhood, my mom took me to the mall and bought me my dream dress It was long and burgundy and with puffy sleeves and a white lacy collar and when I twirled around in circles it opened up like an umbrella. I was so excited about it the next day at recess I did a little sketch of my perfect princess dress for my friends. I was going to be a vision in velvet.

As an adult I look back on my twirling tween self and am grateful to my mother for not keeping (or taking?) any pictures of me on that night. I also can’t help but take note of the velvet covered celebs that have been gracing the glossy pages of fashion mags, red carpets and cat walks as of late. As far as 80’s (and 90’s) revivals go, velvet scores a lot higher in my book than acid washed denim and mom jeans and as with many fashion trends it starts on the cat walk and works its

Back in 1980something when I was an awkward tween, I could imagine nothing more beautiful than a full skirted velvet dress. When my parents threw a big Christmas party for the toast of the neighborhood, my mom took me to the mall and bought me my dream dress It was long and burgundy and with puffy sleeves and a white lacy collar and when I twirled around in circles it opened up like an umbrella. I was so excited about it the next day at recess I did a little sketch of my perfect princess dress for my friends. I was going to be a vision in velvet.

As an adult I look back on my twirling tween self and am grateful to my mother for not keeping (or taking?) any pictures of me on that night. I also can’t help but take note of the velvet covered celebs that have been gracing the glossy pages of fashion mags, red carpets and cat walks as of late. As far as 80’s (and 90’s) revivals go, velvet scores a lot higher in my book than acid washed denim and mom jeans and as with many fashion trends it starts on the cat walk and works its way into the international furniture shows, design magazines and shops.

You would have to be blind not to notice the velvet adorned cushions, sofas, chairs etc. popping up in all of your favorite furniture retailers. From Great Dane to Jardan to Click On Furniture, West Elm and even K-Mart, there is a real velvet goldmine out there for the taking.

As with all trends, things come and go. It wasn’t long ago when the thought of a velvet sofa conjured up images of dusty Victorian curtains and Franco Cozzo lounge suites which was enough to make your average hipster’s hair stand on end. Well those days are gone as every hipster and their dog has a contemporary velvet sofa or chair these days, but my advice to you is the same as with any trend that comes as hard and fast as this velvet revival has (remember copper everything, marble everything, even Memphiseverything?), take baby steps. A sofa is a commitment. It is often an investment and something you expect to have for years, even decades to come. If you are making a large investment in your velvet goldmine, make sure it is something you will love well into the future. If the answer is YES – your love of velvet is never ending, I would still recommend taking some small precautions. Don’t go nuts by being overly trendy having an uber contemporary and brightly coloured velvet sofa is the equivalent to wearing a short dress and a low cut top together – one or the other are perfectly acceptable – but both at the same time is a big no-no! Minimize your risk by selecting a classic shape OR a classic colour if not both classic shape and colour.

When shopping for velvet furniture also consider the type of velvet you select– crushed velvet (think Courtney Love/ Hole 90’s grunge) is everywhere these days too, and unlike some velvets (and much like Courtney Love) it is less refined or resilient to the test of time then its older more sophisticated sister.

Don’t get me wrong, I am feeling this velveteen vibe. In my dream world I have a house large enough to have a room for every style I adore lucky for me I am a stylist and I can indulge the trends that come and go, however when it comes to buying for keeps I would keep my velvet fix to some scatter cushions, a bench/ ottoman or a chair at most. You can have your cake and eat it too but do yourself a favor and don’t over indulge – everything in moderation if you ask me.

Above is the fantastically far out ‘contemporary classic’ Sofa Boa from Edra, for thosewho prefer a bit of design anarchy.

Baby’s Got Back

As property stylists and interior designers there are many things we see when we go out on quotes that are real design ‘’No- No’s’’. One, as you may remember from previous blog posts is hanging art way too high (if you have to crane your neck to see it it’s to high!), another from a previous post is cramming all your furniture onto your rug as if it were too afraid to touch the floor boards (spread that furniture out people – your furniture needs space to breathe too). A third offender that we see quite often in our business is furniture pushed into every possible corner. For some reason many folks out there feel that their furniture belongs in the corner as if it got in trouble in class and was banished there by an irate teacher. Look, I like a good game of Janga and Tetras as much as the next person, but just because something fits it doesn’t mean it belongs there.

These days there are more reasons than ever to liberate your furniture from the corner. Savvy designers pay attention to not just the front of their designs but all parts and angles including the arms, legs and of course the back. In fact, the best assets of some of these pieces are indeed their backsides. As far as I’m concerned, if baby’s got back nobody should put baby in the corner.

If you have an open plan space, using furniture to delineate designated areas and to guide traffic flow works beautifully – especially if the back of the piece is as beautiful as the front. Even if you don’t have an open plan space that is no excuse to push your furniture up against the wall every time. If you are worried about over-crowding you should pick smaller, slimmer furniture that allows you to sit it off the wall. Think outside the box – not all chairs and sofas need to be big heavy boxes. Consider unique forms, curved backs and floating frames.

Click On furniture is one of my go to spots for beautiful backsides. Be it a dining or chair, sofa, desk or shelf, they really have it covered from all angles. Here are a few of my favourites. (http://www.clickonfurniture.com.au/dining/dining-chairs/canter-side-chair) (http://www.clickonfurniture.com.au/living-room-furniture/lounge-chairs/alexa-arm-chair)

If you have deep pockets and an affinity towards the contemporary, you may want to branch out a bit to Poliform for top of the line Italian design that’s worth the 3 month wait. (http://www.poliformaustralia.com.au/allison-sofa.html)

I Got It From My Mama

It is often said (with a grimace) that as we get older we turn into our parents – that we take on their mannerisms, their habits and often their style. This can definitely be said for me with my mother. We look alike, sound alike and have the same quirks but unlike most people who turn into their parents, I am proud to have turned into her.

My mother has always been and is still very much a glamourous woman. As I get older I find myself channeling her style Circa 1980. I don’t do it intentionally, however I seem to be magnetically drawn to things I saw her wear throughout the early 80’s like tassel loafers, penny loafers, chunky broaches and shoulder pads. (My mother had a meticulously organized walk in closet when I was a kid with a whole section dedicated to shoulder pads an NFL star would envy.)

The significance of my mother’s style goes beyond a wardrobe and right to the heart of who I am creatively. My mother is also an interior designer you see – so you could rightfully say that I got it from my mama. I grew up around her effervescent enthusiasm towards all things design and art – going to the design center, museums and gallery openings from a young age – spending time with her Avant garde friends with asymmetrical hair-cuts. Her creativity was infectious. She was fast and decisive and never second guessed herself.

When I was younger I wanted to be a painter. I went to an arts high school and had a voracious appetite for all things fine art. I would stay in the studio late into the night working on painting after painting. Oil was my favorite medium – I loved the smell – the texture – the sheen – it was intoxicating. I did many self-portraits – dressing up – or stripping down and posing in front of a mirror, brush in hand.

When I moved to NY at 18 to go to Parsons School of Design I had every intention of majoring in painting, however, after the foundation year (where everyone takes the same classes), my father’s practicality took over and the words ‘starving artist’ began to echo loudly in my head. I decided to master in furniture design because, as I saw it, furniture (and lighting) was functional sculpture and I could always pick up a brush and paint again (which I still plan to do one day).

I thrived in furniture for a while, licensing my ‘easyrider’ line of seating to an Italian brand, receiving press in Wallpaper and other international publications, being selected by Surface magazine as one of their top 10 up and comers and exhibiting my designs with them in NY and Milan alongside Karim Rashid and Yves Behar –  but it wasn’t too long after graduating that I realized that ‘starving artist’ extended to designers too, not just painters. So I expanded my repertoire – adding interior design and styling for advertising to the mix.

After moving to Milan and getting my master’s degree in interior design from Domus Academy, I started ‘Quick- Fix Design’ – fast turn-around interior design using mostly the clients own things –  a concept I got from my mother in fact. It was something she had been doing for her clients for years, and something I did for clients in New York as well – but in Milan I made it my career.

I didn’t see it happening really – the morphing into my mother, but now it is as clear as day. You don’t expect it to happen when you are a kid – you think you are your own person with your own dreams and then bam – just like that you turn into your parents. But like I said, I couldn’t think of better person to emulate.

My mother was my first teacher. She was my mentor and she is now my muse.

It’s the Little Things

Design is in the details. Sometimes just a simple shift of the little things in one’s home is all that is needed to transform a space. Often when we style what we call ‘partials’ where we mix our furniture, art and accessories in with the clients existing items to really maximize a space and to emphasize the best features (while distracting from those that are less than), the client is blown away by how quick and easy it can be to reinvent a room with the smallest items.

If you are styling for sale or just for your own pleasure, below are a few of our top tips on how you can do a lot with a little.

  • Scatters and throws – Simple items that make a world of difference. If you consider your sofa, bed, chair, bench etc. as the perfect foundation – your ‘little black dress’ shall we say, then you can easily transform these items with well selected ‘accessories’ – in this case scatters and throws. When in doubt go with solid colours and avoid prints (unless you are very confident in your styling abilities).
  • Lighten up – Make sure all your lights work, that you have no exposed globes, and that all the globes are the same WARM lumen. If you have any dark corners of your property, lamp light can do wonders to brighten things up and create a great ambience.
  • Plant life – Live green plants are the G.O. If you are living in the property throughout the campaign you should be able to keep them alive. I love cut Australian natives because they last forever, but nothing is stopping you from harvesting some greenery from your yard (if you have one).
  • Art hanging 101 – Art is a styling essential, but do me a favor and take it off your ceiling please! It’s a real rookie mistake, but you would be surprised at how many people hang their art way, way too high. You want the middle of your art to be at eye height – I know everyone is a different height, but the average mid height to hang at is 150 cm. There are exceptions such as when you hang art above a piece of furniture or a bed – you need to make sure the art clears the pillows so you may need to hang it a bit higher. If you are creating a pretty little corner or reading nook with a chair, you may want the art to be a bit lower so it relates to the chair. Clusters are a great way to fill a wall when you don’t have large art – 3 or 4 fingers of distance between them should be enough – they still need to relate to each other. Footy jerseys are not art. Sorry. Given that Melbournians are the most passionate sports fans in Australia, publicizing your allegiance to your team may be a deal breaker come auction day.

So remember, you don’t need a lot to do a lot. Before you go buying new furniture, art and accessories, step back look your belongings and apply the principles above. You may just be surprised at what you can do with the things you already have.

Rug Up

Rugs are a fabulous magical tool when it comes to styling. They can make a room look bigger or smaller, they can cover imperfections, they can provide warmth, they can define space and most importantly they can bring your furniture down to earth and stop it from floating aimlessly in your space.

Rugs provide a foundation for your furniture and can ground it in a way that feels welcoming and inviting. However, when used improperly they can have the opposite effect. Just because your rug has a perimeter it doesn’t mean that all of your furniture needs to be within it. You can sit your furniture on, partially on or a little bit off your rug. You will be amazed how your space just opens up as soon as you allow your furniture some room to breathe. That being said, being too far away from your furniture can have the opposite effect and make a room look smaller. Your living room furniture shouldn’t be more than a hands width away from your rug or else it will make the space look small.

Rugs are great for delineating spaces, and if you have an open plan space I recommend using rugs to separate living from dining. If your open plan space and your sofa is enormous and you can’t get a rug large enough, consider layering rugs. Cow hides are great for layering on top of other rectilinear or round rugs because they are free formed and can work in just about any combo. The same rules apply for rugs under dining tables as they do in a living space – a big rug makes a space look bigger, a small rug smaller. Simple. When in doubt go larger.

Rugs under beds are a good thing if the room is very large or if there are wood floors, as again, the rug will ground the bed to the floor and warm up the space. In the case of bedrooms, you don’t need quite such a large rug and they look best positioned 1/3 of the way under the bed.

Rugs on carpet is a subject of great debate. I do use rugs on carpet when the space is large or open plan and the furniture needs to come back down to earth.

The best bit about rugs is that they are easy to move around and play with therefore can transform a space in minutes. Give it a go – mix it up, mix and match and move em’ around for a style quick fix.

More Than Just a Pretty Face

When it comes to styling for sale, it may take more than just our savvy styling to get your property ready. Often we do a lot of work before we install the furniture. Here are a few pointers on what to look at when selling your property.

Façade & Garden – Kerb appeal is real. If your property looks great from the street it could really increase the value of your property. The first photo people will see when they are looking on-line for a new home will be the outside of the house, so make sure it looks its best. Clean the gutters, get rid of the cobwebs, stain the deck, mow the lawn, mulch and plant flowers and trees where necessary. If you have a trampoline to get rid of or something that may have killed off the grass, make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to plant some more to fill the dead patch. If you have a direct view into your neighbour’s windows consider a little bit of fencing – bamboo screens are cheap and simple to put up. Also consider screening water tanks, sheds, Colourbond sheds, etc. If you live in an apartment consider screening your AC compressor units with plants or furniture, as they can be a real eyesore.

Declutter – (You knew I was going to say that didn’t you?) You want to clean the cupboards, the closets and the garage. Don’t put it all back in the garage if you can avoid it, the punters want to see clean open spaces. Like it or not people will look inside of everything, so don’t leave it to chance and tidy everything up. Since you are already packing, make sure to pack away personal photos (don’t forget the fridge pics) and don’t leave out your personal bathroom products either – you don’t want prospective buyers getting quite that personal. I recommend getting yourself a little box specifically for all your personal care products – pop that stuff in the box just before the opens and tuck it away. Kids toys are another no no – you don’t want people tripping over Lego when they walk through the property. Get yourself another box or two and toss in all the kids toys and tuck them away. Put them in your car if you have to – just make sure they are not on the floor or all over the house. It is OK, even great to have a nicely presented kids room with some toys and stuffed animals out on display, just don’t overdo it. If you can’t store your extra bits and pieces at your mothers, consider getting yourself a Taxi-Box for the length of the campaign.

Damage, mould and rot – Clean that s**t up. No one is interested in buying damaged goods at a premium price or buying a house with potential problems. Check floor boards, ceiling cracks, leaks and water damage, locks and latches throughout the house. Some things can be covered with art and rugs, but if it is potential structural damage it is worth a few bucks to either fix it up properly or discuss with your REA on how to deal with it another way – i.e. leave it exposed so you are seen to not be hiding something and/or get a quote for the repair so your REA has something to work with when talking to a potential buyer.

Bathrooms – clean grout, replace cracked tiles, change toilet seat or the whole toilet if necessary (not expensive), replace rusted/ pitted/ out of date hardware and repaint the tub if necessary. Bathrooms can make or break a sale price, which is why people often renovate their bathrooms before selling. If you don’t have the funds to invest in a reno you need to at least cover the basics to ensure you get yourself top dollar come auction day. Simple re-caulking is not expensive and can make all the difference.

Sensory overload – house hunting is a multi-sensory experience, so make sure all of the senses are treated kindly. Bad smells are probably the biggest turn off a prospective buyer can encounter. You might have gotten used to the way your property smells if you smoke or have a pet or maybe a little plumbing issue, but other people will notice. Make sure you put away any cat litter, dog beds and food bowls. Pick up the poo in the yard – you don’t want a potential buyer walking in it. If you smoke, consider getting the carpet and upholstered furniture steam cleaned. Keep your windows open and let in the fresh air. Don’t cook a big garlicy roast the night before an open. Food smells are off putting too unless they are coffee bread or cake – but that’s an old trick many people no longer fall for. By all means go for some nice scented candles but not to mask a smell. Make sure the bad smells are eliminated before adding any fragrance to the property.

I know it can be overwhelming because there really is a lot to think about when selling your home, but lucky for you we are here to help. Just give us your keys and we will take care of it all. Put your feet up and watch the money roll in.

Hammer Time

Look, selling your property is not always easy. There are many things to do to get your house ‘ready for inspection’, some of which can be rather challenging for the vendor. On the back of last weeks ‘Real Estate Styling for Success’ workshop with West Elm Chapel Street in Melbourne, I thought I would share with you some of the touchier and more sensitive points which can make or break your hammer price.

The truth hurts sometimes, but the fact of the matter is that whether you are styling your property yourself or hiring a professional, you must remember why you are doing it – to get the best price come auction day. This means that you don’t have to personally love it and it doesn’t have to suit your lifestyle or that of your family. You don’t have to love every vase or every scatter and it doesn’t really matter if you don’t like the colour yellow or not. You need to step outside of yourself and see the property with fresh eyes – the eyes of a prospective buyer. Hard to do for some but imperative for all.

Move out if you can and empty the house – the best results come from a clean slate. It is less disruptive to you and your family, less maintenance and often less emotional. Let your property stylist do what we do best – make your life easier and to get you more bang for your buck (usually our services net the vendors about 15% over reserve which can equate to 10’s of thousands!!).

First impressions are everything when it comes to selling your home. The things people will notice first when they walk through a property are the cleanliness, cracks and damage, natural light, flow through, space and most importantly how the property feels. The way you present your property relates directly to the way people will feel when they walk through, so it’s not about a specific cushion or colour, it’s about the over-all look and if it is inviting, stylish and presentable. Remember that you are not buying your own property – you are selling it – so like it or not your personal preferences are not that relevant. Sorry!

The only place for emotion when styling a property for sale is in the wonderful feeling you inspire in people through the beautiful presentation of the home. Don’t get me wrong – it IS emotional and for so many different reasons, but your emotion should not interfere with the emotion of the prospective buyer. Maybe you are selling because your family outgrown your current house, maybe your kids have moved out and you are downsizing, maybe your parents have moved to age care – there are a million reasons to sell a property and yes, most of them are emotional. As hard as it may be, try and remain cool and keep your eye on the prize. If you play by my rules you may just hit the Real Estate jackpot.

Many cooks, one kitchen – a common challenge when presenting a property for sale. Look, everyone will always have an opinion, but the only opinions that truly matter when it comes to selling your home are those of your prospective buyer and the professionals that know what those buyers are looking for in a property, so keep your focus and don’t let other people’s opinions cloud your objective. Trust the advice of your agent and stylist – and remember we all have the same goal in mind which is to get you the very best price for your property come auction day.

‘Turkish Delight’ By Guest Blogger and Logistics Support Gurkan Atak

My journey to Melbourne began in my last year at University in Turkey, where we were preparing our solar powered car for a race which would take place in Australia. When I thought of Australia, like most people in Turkey, I thought of kangaroos, endless deserts, beautiful wildlife. Much more peaceful than Turkey and with less pointless political issues.

I made the decision to leave everything behind and move to this new country because I felt that if I didn’t I would regret it forever. Not only was finding a job going to be hard but learning to speak and understand English was going to be a challenge as well, especially the Aussie accent!

Working for a property styling company is definitely not where I imagined myself to be 10 months ago, but life is full of surprises. As soon as my jet lag dissipated I found myself at the Design & Diplomacy warehouse at a job interview with Tim, the managing director of the business. Even though my grasp of the English language was still basic, it wasn’t hard to understand that he is an extraordinary Aussie man who has excellent communication skills, well-presented and has a lot of class. (I’m not just saying that to get a raise!). After my first few weeks working as an assistant to the warehouse manager, the company began to make a lot of sense to me. The combination of a successful stylists, talented creative director, experienced managing director and an excellent logistics team was a perfect recipe for the young company to be successful.

My job is to help keep the warehouse in order, load furniture into our vans for installs, pack up accessories for jobs and general duties around the warehouse. These tasks all contribute to the overall quality service that the business provides.

Some things I have learned while working at Design & Diplomacy include there being more than one name for a chair! There are desk chairs, hoop chairs, ghost chairs, dining chairs, Amy arm chairs and even Hans Wegner Arm chairs… Who would have known?! Also pillows used to be so simple! Now I realize they come in all different sizes and shapes. Pillow cases come in all different colors that have to match the art work and accessories in the room. I thought pillows were just soft things that you sleep on! All jokes aside I don’t have to be a fortune teller to say that this business has a big and bright future. It has all the foundations for success in place.

All in all after 10 months working for this company I have learnt a lot about Australia, the world of property styling and about myself as well. I look forward to continuing to learn about the styling and property industry and to grow with the company and the team. En iyi dileklerimle (Best wishes in Turkish).

Modern Marvel

I like to think of myself as a modern woman – I am a business owner, I am a free thinker, I dance to the beat of my own drum and I love modern design. But what is ‘Modern’ exactly?? It means a lot of different things to most people and is the source of great confusion to many interested in the world of design.

Look – it certainly can be confusing because literally translated the word ‘Modern’ means relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past’ and is synonymous with the word ‘Contemporary’, but when it comes to design and art ‘Modern’ and ‘Contemporary’ are quite different indeed – even though most people use them interchangeably.

‘Modern design’ covers a fixed period in our design past (confused yet?), roughly from the early 1920’s through to the mid 1960’s and begins post WW1. The post war landscape gave way to the rapid growth of cities and the introduction of new techniques and materials that were adopted by the furniture industry. Post war Modern designs were paired down, far more utilitarian and less decorative than their predecessors. In fact, Modern design shunned the non-functional use of ornamentation and focused on accessible mass produced and affordable products leading to designs that were often linear and minimal in form. Manufacturing techniques and materials used in the war such as bent tubular steel, as seen in many well-known Bauhaus designs such as the Wassily chair and later after WW2, bent plywood – used for leg splints designed by the dynamic duo Charles and Ray Eames are some examples of this. Moulded fiberglass was another post WW2 material that the Eames’ and others adapted into furniture for the masses.

‘Modern’ Bauhaus Wassily Chair designed in 1925 by Marcel Brewer.

‘Modern’ bent wood leg splints designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1942.

Modern design covers multiple movements including International Style, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Organic Design, and most easily recognized ‘Mid-Century Modern’ – a term coined in 1983 by Cara Greenberg – author and design magazine editor who published a book on the period entitled ‘Mid-Century Modern – Furniture of the 1950’s’.

Again, confusingly, ‘Mid-Century Modern’ despite the title of Greenberg’s book, actually spans the middle chunk of the 20th century from the late 30’s to the mid 60’s (and can even creep into the 70’s). This, my friends is the style we can confidently describe today as Modern Design.

We can recognize modern design mostly in the use of materials – bent steel, glass, molded plywood and plastics – designs that were easy to manufacture cheaply and in large volumes. Ironically over the past few decades the demand for original Mid – Century Modern furniture has gone absolutely through the roof – some pieces fetching tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.

This demand has created an influx of cheap knock–offs and replicas as well expensive reissues by the license holders like Cassina, Herman Miller, Vitra and Knoll. The copies are once again mass produced and accessible and are often sold alongside new, contemporary designs adding to the confusion surrounding the difference between Modern and Contemporary.


‘Modern’ Le Corbusier designed LC2 Chair for Cassina, originally designed in 1928 and reissued in new colours by Cassina.

‘So what the hell is Contemporary’ you are surely asking by now. Well Contemporary is design that is ‘of the moment’ that utilizes the latest trends and techniques with a paired back style that is not usually excessively ornamental. Contemporary design is the latest and most current design of today and goes back about 25 years at a time. So, something designed in the 90’s using the latest materials and innovations at the time would be considered Contemporary but could also be quite dated by today’s standards. Unlike Modern, there will always be new contemporary design, however as time moves forward some of those earlier designs that were once considered Contemporary may end up in a design category of their own.

Contemporary design often will put a new spin on a classic technique, style or material rendering it Contemporary. Marble, for example is a very popular material these days, as is tufting and button backed furniture.

Modern and Contemporary furniture are often very complimentary and work nicely together in many interiors. If you buy a newly manufactured piece of licensed design that was designed decades ago, like the Barcelona chair for example, it is still Modern design. If you buy yourself an original Mid-Century modern Florence Knoll Sofa and reupholster it in a state of the art fabric, it is still Modern design. If you go to B&B Italia and fill your house full of the latest and the greatest like the Tufty Time Sofa by Patricia Urquiola than you have yourself a contemporary home. If you choose to mix the two equally you have both a Modern and Contemporary home.


‘Contemporary’ Tufty Time Sofa shown above with a ‘Modern’ Eames LCW chair and a ‘Modern’ Slice chair by Pierre Paulin in 1960.

Whooo weeee! That’s a lot to take in isn’t it? Well don’t worry – if you refer to a Contemporary chair as Modern, no one will hold it against you because as I mentioned in the beginning the two words are synonyms and most people don’t know the difference anyway. For the sake of accuracy however, don’t call a (Mid- Century) Modern piece Contemporary as it is actually factually and chronologically incorrect.

I hope this helps clarify things just a bit – I do get asked the question quite often, and it is indeed not a simple answer.

**Modern and Contemporary art are also not one and the same – for a helpful little demo check out this link Modern V Contemporary Art

Go West!

If you are a reader of my blog or a follower on Instagram then you will know that I am a HUGE fan of West Elm, the American furniture chain that reached our Australian shores a few years back. As an American in the design biz I had the inside scoop on the brand so when I heard of their pending arrival back in 2013 I could hardly contain my excitement.

In NY I would often shop at West Elm – both for interior design clients and also for ‘prop styling’ or photographic styling jobs. As ‘sniffing out a deal’ is my absolute favourite sport I always made a bee-line for the sale corner where a savvy shopper could score deals on last season’s goodies and floor stock in new condition.

I mostly bought accessories and small things from West Elm (by the arm load) and never really needed to buy much large furniture back then. It’s been over 9 years now since I left my favourite fruit (the Big Apple) behind and West Elm and I have both grown up a lot. Not only do I still buy accessories and soft furnishings by the armload (quite literally), but I also indulge in their wonderful range of furniture from sofas to case goods to lighting.

West Elm has totally upped their game in all areas in the long years that we were apart (I don’t think they have made it to Italy where I lived for 5 years before moving to Melbourne in 2012) and they are now producing some really high quality and stylish furniture – not just accessories. I think I have just about every sofa and bedside table that has made it to Australia, and I regularly troll the website and haunt the Chapel Street store. In fact, I am in the shop so often that I know all the staff by name (they think I am joking when I tell them that I do most of my socializing – not just shopping there), I know all the products almost as well as they do – so well in fact that I often get mistaken for an employee and I sometimes help customers if I know the answer!)

There are many things that I love about West Elm and I could wax lyrical about them all day, however my very favourite thing about my West Elm mates is that they have new products all the time. This means 2 things – one is that the product is always fresh and not every property stylist and their dog will be using the same stuff – and two is that because they have new products all the time this means that they have to make room for the new stuff and clear the old (which is not old by the way…) – what this then means Ladies and Gents is that nearly all of their gorgeous products will end up on sale! My favourite 4 letter word!

Another couple of gushy things I like about West Elm and then I will wrap it up….They are as green as a global manufacturer can be. According to their site West Elm products are either responsibly produced, certified organic, recycled, rapidly renewable or non–toxic. Love that! They also collaborate with many global artisans and never forget the ladies, with up to 50% of those artisans being women – AND they collaborate with local makers and doers – like myself! Next month at the Chapel Street store D&D will be delivering a ‘How to Style your Property For Sale’ workshop – very exciting stuff! Stay tuned or email me for tickets and more details.

Above is a recent property I styled – linen, chair, wall hanging, and bedside tables are from West Elm!