Australian homewares

August 1, 2013

Australian design: Relaunched Tony Parker furniture

Tony Parker Furniture at WORKSHOPPED via

There was a moment back in May when I’m not ashamed to say that I literally squeaked with excitement. I had just discovered that Tony Parker, of Parker Furniture, was relaunching a capsule collection of his iconic ’50s designs in an exclusive collaboration with Surry Hills design store WORKSHOPPED. Anyone who’s a fan of mid-century furniture probably squeaked in unison, creating some kind of modernist-fuelled squeaky, squealy chorus as the Parker name translates to Australian mid-century modern LEGEND.

Tony Parker Furniture at WORKSHOPPED via

It was only a few weekends ago when I finally stumbled into WORKSHOPPED that I actually laid my hands on this glorious new furniture. Re-worked in American Oak and American Walnut, the pieces have been gently tweaked and reinvented in that unmistakable Parker style.

I loved the beautiful white oak extension butterfly leaf dining table, but I made a beeline for the iconic coffee table with its organic lips, marvelling at how fresh and well, modern, it looked at once. Funny that.

Tony Parker Furniture at WORKSHOPPED via

I couldn’t be more overjoyed by this happy collaboration, breathing new life into one of Australia’s greatest design names while offering brand new pieces that have been reworked by Tony Parker himself. The new range is made by Covermore Designs, a company featuring many of Parker’s original staff and craftspeople, which offers a lovely sense of continuation.

Tony Parker Furniture at WORKSHOPPED via

The timing for the new collection couldn’t be better, with mid-century modern a key trend and source of reference in mainstream design and interiors. (That doesn’t stop short-sighted Sydney realtors from flogging incredible examples of mid-century architecture as potential for detonation and new apartments, but that’s another rant.)

Tony Parker Furniture at WORKSHOPPED via WeeBirdy.comTony Parker Furniture at WORKSHOPPED via

Kudos to WORKSHOPPED Director, Raymond Scott, for bringing the Parker name back into currency, and three cheers for Tony Parker, for his undeniable verve in relaunching this collection.

Tony Parker Furniture at WORKSHOPPED via

In the meantime, our original teak Parker coffee table is currently in storage, as we have a rather unlovely Thomas the Tank engine train table in its place. Tell me, parents of older children, when do I get my beautiful teak coffee table back, assured that it won’t be used as a racetrack or a surface for pounding neon orange playdough? When? When will the sippy cup ring stains stop?

Tony Parker mid-century furniture is available at WORKSHOPPED
Shop 2 / 8 Hill Street
Surry Hills, NSW 2010 Australia
Tel. + 61 (0) 2 9146 4353

All photography courtesy of Workshopped.

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July 17, 2013

Sydney design: Bright and bold new DAN300 textiles

Spring Dan300 cushions via WeeBirdy.comDAN300 Babcha Luxe spring textiles. Photography courtesy of DAN300.

I’m super-excited to exclusively reveal a sneak peek of the new DAN300 spring/summer 2013 collection of textiles on Wee Birdy. I’ve had my eye on Sydney designer and director of DAN300 Daniella (Dani) Rosen for the past few years, as each new collection grew bigger – and brighter.

It was only last year that DAN300 launched their very first collection of cushions – before that, the business was primarily focused on stationery and small accessories. The new spring/summer 2013 collection marks a new level of maturity for the design studio – and look how much it shines!

Dan300 spring textiles via
DAN300 Nana’s Garage Folkland textiles. Photography courtesy of DAN300.

DAN300′s signature kaleidoscopic use of colour and pattern in last year’s Babcha Luxe collection is reflected in the new collection, with a soft new ‘aqua’ colour-way available in a range of cushions and handy zip-cases. The harlequin, fish scale and geometric prints are back, re-worked with a mid-century influence which would work beautifully in any retro-inspired or contemporary setting.

DAN300 cushions via

I’m also loving the relaunched Nana’s Garage collection, with its ’60s folk-inspired floral prints that are worked through the range of cushions, zip cases and a collection of new softies for babies and kids.

Dan300 softies and zip pouches via
DAN300 new Nana’s Garage Folkland softies and zip pouches. Photography courtesy of DAN300.

The textiles ranges are named after Dani’s grandmothers: Babcha Luxe is named after her maternal grandmother (‘babcha’ is Polish for grandma); and Nana’s Garage is named after her paternal grandmother, whose garage was often used as storage for DAN300′s early collections.

I like that Dani has brought a personal ‘family story’ to her collection, as her brightly-coloured, vivid designs are at once fresh, contemporary and nostalgic – and the collection has been cleverly designed to layer throughout the home.

DAN300 textiles for Spring via WeeBirdy.comDan300 Babcha Luxe aqua textiles. Photography courtesy of Dan300.

I’m rather keen on the smart collection of zip cases (below), which would make very handy emergency-nappy pouches for your handbag, as well as sweet little bags for make-up, craft supplies or pencils.

DAN300 zipcases pouches via WeeBirdy.comDAN300 zipcase via
Dan300 Babcha Luxe accessories. Photography courtesy of Dan300.

DAN300 will be at the upcoming Home & Giving Trade Fair in Melbourne, where Nana’s Garage relaunch will make its debut.

DAN300 cushion via
Dan300 Babcha Luxe Brights cushion. Photography courtesy of Dan300.

DAN 300 cushions via

DAN300′s new spring/summer collection will be available to pre-order online from August 1, 2013. The new products will be shipped out from August 18. But in the meantime, check out the current collection. There is free shipping within Australia for all orders over $50. Click here for a list of stockists.

Follow DAN300 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

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July 15, 2013

Out and about in Sydney: Sydney Design

Sydney Design edible walls via

If you love design and happen to be in Sydney between the 3rd and 18th of August, you might like to book yourself in for some of the excellent talks, tours and workshops lined up for this year’s Sydney Design.

Now in its 16th year, more than 75 events across the city will explore the theme, ‘Design re-think – can clever design save the world?’. (I bloody well hope so!)

George Nelson mid-century design classics via

My top picks? I’ll be making a beeline for:

Head over to Sydney Design to check out the full program.
Photography courtesy of Sydney Design and The Powerhouse Museum.

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May 24, 2013

My top Australian Etsy picks

Shingle original limited print via

Why hello there. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m sorry. I really am. Hopefully you’ve been following me via Instagram and Facebook over the past few months! I’ve had to take a little time out from blogging to look after other things – and people – in my life. But it’s good to be back. How have you been?

I was recently invited by Etsy Australia to be guest curator, so I’m delighted to herald my return with my top picks from Etsy’s Australian sellers. I was inspired by the colours yellow and blue: those classic hues that ‘speak’ Australian to me. Check out my favourite handmade and vintage finds:

Etsy Australian Sellers collage via

1. Raindrop gift tags, $5 by Spin Spin.
2. ‘It’s nice to be nice’ wall hanging, $32 from My Bearded Pigeon.
3. Bay Keramik West German pottery vase, $70 from That Retro Piece.
4. Vintage 1970s/80s Emanuel Ungaro yellow silk blouse,$125 from Cara Mia Vintage.
5. ‘Through Streets’ hand-printed craft panel, $11.58 from Blueberry Ash.
6. Handmade golden yellow knit purse, $40 from Alice Nightingale.
7. Elephant baby dress and bloomers set, $40 from Banana Orange Apple.
8. Cathrineholm ‘Tea’s Up’ art print, $26.32 from My Retro Nest.
9. ‘Papercut blooms’ limited edition screen-printed fabric, $21.05 from Auntie Cookie.
10. Blue pencils brooch, $21.05 from Rare Indeed.
11. Bitossi Aldo Londi’s Rimini Blu vase, $180 from That Retro Piece.
12. Titanic voyage organic cotton cushion cover, $55 from My Bearded Pigeon.

WeeBirdy's top Australian Etsy picks via
1. ‘Because you loved me’ original limited edition print, $20 by Yes Sweetheart.
2. John Copeland for Wilkintie limited edition letterpress print, $73.68 by Wilkintie.
3. Wooden badge hand-painted blonde character, $18 by Handmade Romance.
4. Amigurumi ‘Little Marigold’ mouse, $35 by Rosie OK.
5. Daffodil flower crown, by K is for Kani.
6. Tassel twins, $75 by Ouchflower.
7. Custom order spring sunshine garland, from 3 Girls and a Goat.
8. 10 large paper doily stickers, $7 from 3 Girls and a Goat.

Tell me, how have you been? And what are your favourite Australian Etsy finds?

* Top image: Shingle original limited edition print, $20 by Yes Sweetheart.

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December 13, 2012

A wee chat with Megan Morton

Megan Morton Things I Love via

This is the book that I’ve been excited about for months. And it’s here – at last – and just in time for Christmas. Megan Morton in one of Australia’s leading stylists, but really she’s much more than that – she’s actually pretty amazing. She recently opened The School, offering a super-fresh take on craft workshops (you can learn to make pineapple piñatas, flower bombs and shibori, to name a few) as well as sharing her own creative talents through styling masterclasses.

The School via

In her new book, Things I Love, Megan has curated a darn exciting and inspirational collection of homes, people and design she loves, as well as offering a raft of tips and advice. It’s the only book I know that injects warmth and genuine excitement into sharing practical tips such as how to clean a vintage painting, how to mimic the Kate Spade wall, and – my favourite – how to fold a fitted sheet. Naturally, it’s beautifully designed and it’s full of cute features like zip-out postcards and fold-out pages.

So I thought I’d have a wee chat with Megan about something we both love – SHOPS – and boy, does she spill the goods…

Megan Morton via

You’re a such a creative bird, Megan Morton. If you were a bird, what kind of bird would you be?

A Leila Jeffreys budgie! Have you seen her photographs of Aussie budgies?! Amazing! Standard budgie at first glance but not-so upon further inspection! Her budgies are showing at Tim Olsen gallery at the moment and are hilariously wonderful!

Leila Jeffreys' Suzi via

I adore Leila’s birds, too! Especially the cheeky parrots. Congratulations on your fabulous new book, Things I Love. What about shops you love? Can you tell us which shops you love in Sydney?

La Croix in Kings Cross is a personal favourite because you can spend $6 or $6000 over a coffee. The grey leather banquette with pompoms is enough of a drawcard for me, let alone the glassware, candles, cups and marble kitchen bits all acquired from a medley of sources and countries [see images below].

La Croix Kings Cross via

La Croix Kings Cross via

I love Koskela for their commitment to Australian-made and furniture that is so well made and designed with wit [see image below].

Koskela via

I Love You Beads Warehouse in Leichhardt. There are so many hysterical reasons to love this store. I have taken up a hobby making necklaces. They are actually super nice! I go to this shop as it tickles my sense of humour as well as services all my bead fantasies.

Flour and Stone in  Woolloomooloo for lamingtons and tea served in Beryl ware from classic Brown Betty tea pots [see image below].

Flour and Stone via

Fairfax and Roberts
. Such a decadent and wonderful store experience. I adore jewellery and watching its almost theatrical presence at this store is a wonderful way to tyre-kick/window-shop for all budgets. Shopping for me is not just about nothings, it’s about observing and getting inspiration.

Dolly Up in Surry Hills is a dangerous place for me to go in the same way Belinda is. I love maxi dresses and Erin at Dolly Up has magnificent ones. I have bought many a vintage Valentino from her. With two daughters I feel like I am doing my bit to give us all some nice vintage options in a shared family closet!

Although I designed it, I do honestly love the Ecoya candle store on Queen Street [see images from the launch night below]. Moody and devastating, with hand-blown glass scent chambers down one wall and tarnished mirror down the other. A sensory experience in the truest sense of the word.

Ecoya via

Ecoya Sydney via

Ecoya Sydney via

Plus, any suburban Priceline chemists – it’s like the JB Hi Fi of chemists! High volume, low decoration with lots of useful stuff!  I also like huge warehouse shops too! I love looking basically for things that aren’t expected and challenging myself to find things that are wonderful and not necessarily from predictable places or usual sources.

Which online shops do you love?
Rachel Castle for her sunshiny goodness [see images below]; Strawberrynet for cosmetics; Mecca Cosmetica; JCrew for the kids; and I can’t resist looking at the sale section of West Elm. Lu Lu Lucky for her hand-made block-coloured envelopes and other makeables.

Rachel Castle via

Top five shops in the world?
I can’t contain it to five, unfortunately! I love shops and want to share them with as many people as possible so all these clever people can stay trading and thrive as they deserve to!
1. BHV in Paris – the French alternative to Bunnings although without compare.
2. Gravel and Gold in San Francisco [see image below]. Almost an anti-store. I love its jewellery, American camp blankets and the way they wrap plants in foil for unusual window displays. Everything here is so well-made and the store has little fanfare as its quality speaks volumes.

Gravel and Gold in San Francisco via

3. Arts & Science in Toyko, Japan. Another store that renders me speechless.
4. Tsé & Tsé Associées in Paris. No words.
5. The Pirate Store in San Francisco – genius. Sheer genius. Again, no words! Retailing at its highest art form here [see images below].

The Pirate Store Emergency Burial Sand via

6. Camargue in Brisbane for its Queensland edit of the European clothes I adore, but edited for summer-wearing and set in a classic, neutral and not overly-designed boutique setting. It lets the clothes do the talking.
7. First Dibs – the online interiors auction house. The real store is on Lexington in NYC. Totally incredible and it almost makes you woozy!
8. The Tinsel Trading Co. In New York it’s one of my first stops – I could go there every day for a year and find something in there that I had not seen the day before! Expect trinkets, ribbon, garlands – actually expect none of that – as it’s that kind of place [see images below]!

Tinsel Trading Co via

9. March in San Francisco. I don’t have words for how perfect this kitchen/gift/lifestyle shop is. I hate the word “lifestyle” but in March’s case it really is a life I covet. Everything – and I mean everything here is beyond. Utterly beyond.

March San Francisco via

It’s almost Christmas and I’m dying to know what you’re doing for a Christmas tree this year.

I do a year on and a year off – so this year I am blindfolding my family – seriously – and taking them away on a surprise out-of-town Christmas. Just us. No tree. We are packing the kids’ bags without them knowing and I can’t wait to see their faces when we get to our destination!

I’ve sent a small tree and their gifts up to said destination so it’s going to be a year of surprises. Last year I did a faux tree but highly doused in mercury and silver and pewter decorations and a lunch with all the trimmings, with a day-before-Christmas party!

Year on/year off works so well for me. It gives you the energy needed to deliver a great Christmas and a rest when you need it! I love all trees and decs – even the bad ones! There is nothing bad about this time of the year, I make no style judgements.

Megan Morton Christmas via

This year at our studio we have erected a paper chandelier by Lu Lu Lucky and we are asking people to place wrapped gifts under it along with tins of food they can spare for The Salvation Army. Christmas for me only works when you can shine a kindness light.

Thank you Megan!

Click here for a Wee Birdy Sydney map, showing Megan’s favourite shops.

Things I love by Megan Morton is AU$49.95 and can be found in all nice shops and book stores right now. It would make an amazing Christmas present and you can also buy it online from Booktopia. You can find Megan Morton online right here.

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December 10, 2012

Christmas at home with Wee Birdy

Christmas at home with

It’s Christmas-central here at Wee Birdy, and as most of you know, I adore this time of the year and I’ve always embraced the festive season with great gusto. I’ve loved sharing all my festive wee finds with you over the past few weeks and compiling all my gift guides, but today I thought I’d invite you around to my place and show you how I’ve been getting ready for Christmas.

And to give me a kick-start, the lovely folks from Freedom gifted me with a voucher to help me deck the halls. Excitement! I really love Freedom and have spent many an hour wandering the aisles of their amazing decorating section, never failing to uncover all sorts of lovely wee finds (and it’s far more extensive in-store than online, which also adds to the excitement factor).

Christmas dinner table setting via

I wanted to create a simple but effective table setting for Christmas entertaining this year, using my collection of vintage mercury glass baubles as the inspiration (see photo above). At Freedom I found a beautiful festive silver table runner ($19.95) with a set of four matching silver napkins ($14.95), which added a great textural base for my setting. For dinnerware I used Freedom’s Fino M3 Coupe Dinner Set ($89); a sleek and minimalist everyday set that goes beautifully with my streamlined Georg Jensen AJ cutlery.

We were in desperate need of new glasses that actually matched, so I bought six Fizzy Highball tumblers (great value at $1.95 each), which provided a textural balance to my collection of Riedel stemware. This was further enhanced by Freedom’s set of three crystal glass tapered candleholders ($29.95). The centrepiece of fresh rosemary in my Georg Jensen Ilse vase added a green festive touch (and smelled great, too), and I decorated the table with nuts and pods in an assortment of George Jensen and Stelton polished stainless steel serving bowls.

Christmas table setting via

I also experimented with a splash of colour, swapping the mercury glass ornaments for brightly coloured Quality Street chocolates and my collection of vintage glass Christmas decorations. Which look do you prefer?

Mini belljar winter wonderlands via

I love creating little winter wonderland vignettes for my coffee table each year – but with a toddler in the house I’ve moved it to the sideboard! Here I’ve used Freedom’s fabulous glass belljars (Maisey Cake Stand with Dome Lid, 31cm, $14.95 and Maisey Cake Stand with Dome Lid, 33.5cm, $34.95) to make miniature winter forest scenes.

Miniature winter wonderland via

I used Maldon salt flakes (the best fake snow) and some tiny vintage Christmas cake decorations and my collection of little woodland deers to create my winter wonderlands. I really love this little tableaux and the glass belljars look great on my antique silver tray.

Vintage chair with Freedom cushion via

Our living room colour scheme is usually grey, yellow and white, so I swapped our yellow print cushions for these plump and beautifully textural red “Freeway” cushions from Freedom ($39.95). I think they really bring out the texture of the fabric in my vintage armchairs, and they also match the Scandi red and white knit stockings hanging in our fireplace.

Freedom Natural caprii tote with handles via

One of my favourite childhood Christmas traditions was reading our collection of Christmas books (Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas and Father Christmas Goes on Holiday are my all-time favourites) throughout December.

I’ve continued the tradition with my son, and I was thrilled to stumble upon Freedom’s natural caprii tote with handles ($89), which is big and sturdy enough to house our growing collection. Best of all, we can use it as handy toy storage after I’ve put away the Christmas books.

Freedom Sanctuary bath sheets in platinum via

Christmas always brings a raft of visiting rellies and friends, and as the contents of our linen closet has seen better days, we invested in some smart new guest towels. I bought Freedom’s generously-sized Sanctuary bath sheets (mine are in platinum, $34.95 each), which are super-luxe and perfect for guests.

Freedom Henson white queen quilt cover via

We love entertaining guests on our balcony, but the unfortunate drawback is that you have to walk through our (often dishevelled) bedroom to get to it. So with a plethora of people dropping in over the next few weeks, it was time for a mini bedroom makeover.

Cue Freedom’s Henson white queen quilt cover set, $149, which features a glorious pin-tuck pattern which not only adds interest and texture to a white duvet cover, but it will never need ironing and always look good – no matter how creased it may be. Genius for time-poor parents! It also goes well with my beloved Rachel Castle yellow polka dot pillowslips, which add a pop of colour to our room.

Balcony via

We already had Freedom’s fabulous yellow spindle side table, which goes fabulously with the vintage saucer chairs on our balcony. But we needed some kind of decorating element to tie these disparate pieces together, and I found the solution with Freedom’s Mix n Match red cushion ($29.95) and the matching red Cera citronella candlepot ($16.95). The birds-on-a-wire frame is also from Freedom, and I’ve used it to display our Christmas cards this year.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this wee festive tour around my place! How are you getting ready for Christmas this year?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post but I was provided with a Freedom Gift Voucher – and of course I went over my budget, which I paid for myself.

Photography by Lucas Boyd.

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