Design

November 28, 2013

Shopping in Melbourne: Spare Room Project and Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here 2014 Calendar via WeeBirdy.com

If you’re in Melbourne right now, you might like to pop along tonight to the historic Nicholas Building in the CBD (a Wee Birdy favourite) for the opening of the Spare Room Project. Hosted and curated by Melbourne designer Matthew Thomson of Mattt (another Wee Birdy fave), the shop-within-a-shop brings together some of Melbourne’s leading designer-makers including Beci Orpin, Ask Alice, Sandra Eterovic and Victoria Mason Jewellery.

Ask Alice Calendar 2014 via WeeBirdy.com

It’s perfect timing for picking up some lovely Christmas presents. You’ll also get to meet the makers and ten per cent of all proceeds go to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Super-lovely!

The shopping event will also coincide with the launch of the Ask Alice ‘Wish You Were Here’ calendar and print exhibition, which will be donating 100 per cent of all profits to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. If you’re a fan of Ask Alice’s extraordinarily sweet range of stationery and prints, you will love the 2014 calendar. Sass Cocker, the lovely lady behind Ask Alice, has brought together 12 international artists to illustrate the theme of ‘Wish You Were Here’ for her annual charity calendar.

Capetown from Ask Alice Calendar 2014-Jan
Sydney from Ask Alice Calendar 2014-Feb
Tokyo from AskAliceCalendar2014-Feb

I’ve illustrated this post with some of the artworks from the calendar, including Cape Town by Studio Muti, Sydney by James Gulliver Hancock and Tokyo by Masako Kubo. If you’re out of town, you can still purchase the calendar online here. I think it’s hands-down the Best Calendar for 2014. Nice one, Ask Alice!

matt SHOP
Third Floor, Nicholas Building
Corner Flinders Lane & Swanston Street
Melbourne

Opening hours:
Thursday 28 November to Saturday 30 November
10am to 6pm (9pm Thursday and Friday)


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August 1, 2013

Australian design: Relaunched Tony Parker furniture

Tony Parker Furniture at WORKSHOPPED via WeeBirdy.com

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 WeeBirdy.com

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 WeeBirdy.com

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 WeeBirdy.com

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 WeeBirdy.com

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 WeeBirdy.com

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 28, 2013

Wee find: Marcelle Crosby’s folded paper dresses

I stumbled across Marcelle Crosby’s folded paper dresses while researching my top 12 affordable art prints for babies and children’s rooms, and thought they deserved a post to themselves.

Marcelle Crosby's folded paper dress via WeeBirdy.com
The Traveller by Marcelle Crosby.

The Melbourne-based artist’s astonishingly beautiful – and completely unique -  mini works of art are made using paper prints and maps, and they would make a gorgeous decoration on the wall of any little girl’s room.

Marcelle folded paper frocks via WeeBirdy.com
Miss Italy and Miss Paris Pink by Marcelle Crosby.

Each dress tells a story, so if you or your wee one has a special connection to Paris, the vintage-style map dress of ‘Miss Paris’ would make a delightful keepsake. The paper-folded pieces are sold on the hanger, so you can directly hang on them on the wall, or get them framed.

I really love the way they look on the hangers, and these paper-folded wee beauties would add such a unique textural layer – and handmade element – to any child’s space.

Marcelle Crosby folded paper frocks via WeeBirdy.com
Clockwise from top left: Cats; Miss NYC 2; Around the World; Dogs; all by Marcelle Crosby.

My personal favourite is The Traveller, pictured at the top of the post, which features a vivid nostalgic print of vintage travel luggage tags. But I’ve also got a soft spot for Miss London, naturally. I’m seriously considering get it for myself!

Marcelle Crosby folded paper frocks via WeeBirdy.com
Miss New York, left and Miss Paris red by Marcelle Crosby.

Each folded dress is AU$70 and can be found in Marcelle Crosby’s store on Down that Little Lane.

It’s a week of babies and kids on Wee Birdy! Make sure you haven’t missed:
12 more beautiful baby presents, from £2.72
A wee tour: My modern vintage baby’s room
Top 12 affordable art prints for children’s rooms
Wee find: Laikonik once-a-year baby record books
19 clever ways to transform a kid’s room with wallpaper
The 12 best presents for baby girls
A wee historic royal baby exhibition
The 12 best presents for baby boys


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July 26, 2013

A wee tour: My modern vintage baby’s room

It’s funny the things you forget. Like the little details in my son’s room when he first arrived. It’s been two years since these photos were taken, but since I’m running a week of all things related to babies and kids, I thought you might like to see how I decorated his room back then.

A wee vintage modern nursery room tour via WeeBirdy.comAll photography by Lucas Boyd.

There was no real plan or theme, as you can see from the photos (although there are a lot of birds and bunnies, naturally). I was fiercely opposed to anything too matchy-matchy, or beige and neutral. I wanted a light, bright and happy space for my new baby – and me.

I’ve spent a lot of hours in this room – and now that it’s home to a very busy two-year-old, quite a lot of things have changed. But one thing that hasn’t changed is my love of print and pattern, and my magpie approach to decorating.

A wee nursery room tour via WeeBirdy.com

Modern vintage nursery tour via WeeBirdy.com

I guess you could call Harry’s room modern vintage – but really, we were confined by a tight budget – and space. And like so many other new parents, we trotted off to IKEA for the requisite Expedit shelves and chest of drawers.

The rest of the space I filled with vintage and second-hand-stuff, like the Stokke cot I bought for a song on eBay. And I didn’t want to splash out on a new rocking chair or anything that was marketed as a ‘nursing chair’, so I made do with a mid-century chair that I bought and had reupholstered by the brilliant A Pair of Chairs in Redfern.

The teak arms of the chair were instantly ‘christened’ by my son on the first day we brought him home, so I hastily covered it with a mix of second-hand granny blankets, quilts and cushions.

Children's book shelf using IKEA spice racks via WeeBirdy.com

Harry's nursery room tour via WeeBirdy.comBlabla bird mobile via WeeBirdy.com

Budget and space were also major factors to consider when it came to buying baby furniture. So much in fact, that I was vehemently opposed to anything that had a sole ‘baby furniture’ purpose. So instead of buying a new nappy change table, we made do with a change mat on top of the IKEA set of drawers. And instead of a separate Moses basket or basinette, Harry slept in his cot from day one. I also decided against buying a bulky baby bath, so a baby seat in our bath did the job just as well.

Modern vintage baby's room via WeeBirdy.comModern vintage baby's room via WeeBirdy.com

Modern vintage nursery tour via WeeBirdy.comI introduced colour and texture into what was an otherwise plain white space with my own childhood toys, new finds, and the many generous gifts from friends. My beloved Little Wanderer by Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara – a gift from a friend for my 30th birthday – found a new home on Harry’s shelves.

You can also see the hand-painted cotton reel garland that my mum and sister made for me when I was born. And if you look carefully, you’ll be able to spot my childhood copy of M Sasek’s This is Sydney, along with my childhood Mr Potato Head, fuzzy felt board, red school case, wooden xylophone and Danish wooden fish puzzle. And like every other design blogger with a baby two years ago, I duly bought the IKEA spice racks and re-purposed them as rather nifty book racks. Ha!

Modern vintage baby's room via WeeBirdy.comModern vintage baby's room via WeeBirdy.com

Vintage wallpaper giraffe decal via WeeBirdy.comTo keep things fresh and to add a splash of greenery, I popped a pot plant on top of Harry’s shelves – it’s still there but it’s now filled with dinosaurs.

Here’s a wee list of some of the things you can see in his room. Most of these things were gifts but I’ve provided sources where possible.

Vintage fabric bunting by Hazy Jane from My Messy Room.
Babar print from a seller on the banks of the Seine, Paris.
Original Winnie the Pooh etching, from a bookshop in Cecil’s Court, London.
White Expedit shelving unit (lying in its side) from IKEA.
Malm chest of drawers (with Cath Kidston nappy change mat on top) from IKEA.
Hen and chicks mobile by Flensted.
White crochet granny square rug by IDA Interior Lifestyle’s Etsy shop.
Alphabet blocks, a gift from a friend, can be bought here.
Yoshitomo Nara’s Little Wanderer.
Heico rabbit lamp, kindly gifted by Caravan Interiors.
Small hand painted tambourine
, trimmed with vintage ribbons by Claire Fletcher from Made in Hastings.
Vintage chair re-upholstered by a A Pair of Chairs.
Birdy cushions from Habitat, London.
Vintage wallpaper animal wall decals from Inke Heiland.
Bajo wooden bird abacus from My Messy Room.
Bajo red wooden bus from My Messy Room.
Old fairground wooden battleships from Pedlars‘ Notting Hill shop.
Much loved McNuttie the Squirrel, kindly gifted by BlaBla Kids.
Multibirds mobile, gifted by BlaBla.
Red bird dream ring, gifted by BlaBla Kids.

Modern vintage baby's room via WeeBirdy.com

Photography by Lucas Boyd.

It’s a week of babies and kids on Wee Birdy! Make sure you haven’t missed:
Top 12 affordable art prints for children’s rooms
Wee find: Laikonik once-a-year baby record books
19 clever ways to transform a kid’s room with wallpaper
The 12 best presents for baby girls
A wee historic royal baby exhibition
The 12 best presents for baby boys


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July 24, 2013

19 clever ways to transform a kid’s room with wallpaper

Vintage and retro-inspired wallpapers have been trending in baby and children’s rooms for a while now, and it’s a style I really love. In recent years, the use of vintage wallpapers has been a popular look in creative Scandinavian nurseries, where print and pattern is used for a nostalgic patchwork of colour.

However, wallpaper can also be used with restraint to create a clean, minimalist look. Either way, there’s no end of possibilities with so many gorgeous new (and old) wallpaper designs on the market. Here are some of my favourite ways to transform a baby or children’s room with wallpaper.

Best Children's Room Wallpapers via WeeBirdy.com

Clockwise from top; Create detail – and a narrative – with Un Dimanche a Paris wallpaper from Famille Summerbelle; a simple soft mint harlequin wallpaper by Ferm Living creates a peaceful and harmonious backdrop to this pretty-pastel room; and contrasting green shelves pop against the vintage floral wallpaper in this room via milk magazine. Best Children's Room Wallpapers via WeeBirdy.com

Clockwise from top, a single wall of vintage wallpaper creates a ‘jungle-style’ background for toys and figurines, via Dwell; the colours in this striking vintage wallpaper set the scene for this eclectic bedroom via Kenzie Poo; a single pop of yellow offers a nice balance to the soft harlequin wallpaper in this nursery, via Scandinavian Deco; Cath Kidston’s retro-style cowboy wallpaper is enhanced by a vintage letter ‘H’ in this fun boy’s room via House Beautiful.

Best wallpaper in children's rooms via WeeBirdy.com

Clockwise from top right, cloud wallpaper complements the clash of bright prints in this nursery via Blafre; beautiful bird wallpaper by Hygge and West creates a sweet babyscape in this nursery via Kitty Genius; and scraps of vintage wallpaper have been used to create a collaged landscape in this bedroom via Bolig Liv.

Best Children's Room Wallpapers via WeeBirdy.com

Clockwise from top right, a collage of vintage paper creates a patchwork of pattern on this little shelf, via Retrovilla; a single wall of forest-themed wallpaper creates a fun background for this playroom via IKEA Family Live; and Josef Frank’s incredibly detailed botanical wallpaper makes a strong statement in this nursery via DesignSponge.

Best Wallpaper in Children's Rooms via WeeBirdy.com

Clockwise from top right, honey-toned timbers enhance the golden hues in this dotty wallpaper by Ferm Living; a graphic zoological wallpaper by Ferm Living creates a fresh and minimalist look in this baby’s room; and the clash of print and pattern in this gloriously vintage-style room is pulled together by a set of mismatched drawers painted in complementary tones, via Petra Bindel.

Best Children's Room Wallpapers via WeeBirdy.com

Clockwise from top right; the restrained timber floorboards balance the intensity of the retro folk wallpaper in this little girl’s room via Milk magazine; the pale blue Majvillan wallpaper provides the perfect backdrop to a colour palette of blue, tan and red in this baby’s room; and a fun alpine landscape is created in this room with the help of a hot-air balloon and a cable car (find it at Theo) via Flickr.

It’s a week of babies and kids on Wee Birdy! Make sure you haven’t missed:
The 12 best presents for baby girls
A wee historic royal baby exhibition
The 12 best presents for baby boys


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July 19, 2013

Shopping in London: New summer brights at Goodhood’s Life Store

Have you poked your nose into Goodhood‘s relatively new shop, Life Store? As the name suggests, the East London store is home to Goodhood’s edit of lifestyle products – and if you’re familiar with the Goodhood brand, you’ll know that true to their moniker, they’re rather good at cherry-picking all the good stuff.

On the fashion side of things, they stock the likes of Antipodium, Karen Walker Eyewear and P.A.M for girls (yay for the Antipodeans!) and Garbstore, Junya Watanabe Man and Norse Projects for guys. Or in their words, they stock “everything you would require for a good life”.

Macrame plant hanger from Goodhood Life Store via WeeBirdy.com
Goodhood plant hanger via WeeBirdy.comGoodhood plant hanger via WeeBirdy.com

As part of their statement for their summer lifestyle collection, the good people at Goodhood claim that “colour is an important aspect in life, it can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions.” Now if anyone deserves a star, I suggest they get a big fat (neon pink) one for delivering on their mission, with a ripe-for-the-picking bunch of delicious bright new products for summer.

It almost feels like they’ve raided my favourite shops from around the globe (including Etsy sellers!), with cult Scandi brand Hay leading the way in the colour and style stakes. The Danish design super-store brings a whopping dose of hygge to Life Store – that unique Scandinavian concept that doesn’t directly translate into English, but suggests a certain warmth and cosiness at home.

Brights at The Goodhood Life Store via WeeBirdy.comGoodhood Hay blanket via WeeBirdy.comGoodhood Hay blanket via WeeBirdy.comGoodhood Life Store Hay throw via WeeBirdy.com

The buyers at Life Store have shown a rather deft hand in selecting key products from Hay’s considerable product lines, from the vividly patterned wool blankets and quilts to the stunning ombre plisse accordian file (£18.33), which is well on its way to becoming a modern design classic (see below).

Hay plisse at Goodhood Life Store via WeeBirdy.comGoodhood Life Store Hay plisse folder via WeeBirdy.com

The immaculate curation continues with a gorgeously inexpensive range of neon-dipped concrete candle holders from Melbourne brand Sarai (£21). Seriously, is one of the buyers Australian?

Sarai candleholders at Goodhood Life Store via WeeBirdy.com

And they’ve delved into the Etsy archives with a collection of more neon colour-dipping, courtesy of Wind & Willow‘s stunning range of wooden bowls and spoons (just £7 for a wee bowl).

Wind and Wilow bowls and homewares at Goodhood via WeeBirdy.com

The Neon Brights show continues with Nud lighting, a collection of beautiful oversized naked globes and bang-on-trend neon and patterned cords, which are sold separately (from £25). Transform your bedroom by hanging a couple of bulbs over your bedside tables and – pow! Instant mood change.

Goodhood Life Store via WeeBirdy.comGoodhood Life Store lightbulbs via WeeBirdy.com

More delicious summery hues are delivered via &Klevering‘s multi-coloured tealight holders (a colour punch steal at £7), Kleen Kanteen’s flask (a summer essential at £19) and Petites Production’s vivid green steel table legs (£126).

Goodhood Life Store via WeeBirdy.comKlean Kanteens at Goodhood Life Store via WeeBirdy.comPetit Productions table at Goodhood Life Store via WeeBirdy.com

For an excellent review of Goodhood’s Life Store from someone who’s actually set foot in the shop (anyone want to sponsor a wee birdy on a research trip to London?), head over to Jonestown London. Dan Jones is a sublime writer and as Time Out London‘s former Shopping & Style Editor (and my former boss), he’s totally in-the-know when it comes to best of London retail. Oh, and you can read Dan’s Secret London for Wee Birdy here.

Goodhood Life Store
20 Coronet Street
London N1 6HD
Tel.  (0)207 729 3600
Nearest tube: Old Street
Opening hours:

Monday to Saturday 11am-6.30pm
Sunday 12 noon-5pm


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