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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
It’s been a while since I posted about Sydney design, and when I stumbled across the latest work from Mr & Mrs White, I couldn’t wait to have a wee chat with them. Mr & Mrs White run a furniture and textiles business from their showroom and workshop in Mona Vale, on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Mr White makes all the furniture, from beds, tables and desks to chairs and drawer units. Everything is made using solid new and recycled timber. Their textiles range is also handmade and includes a range of linen, leather and hide pieces. I really love their beautifully simple linen duvet cover!
Read on for my wee chat with them about their work, local area and dream collaborators.
What’s the best-seller in your collection?
In the furniture range our best seller is the beam bed. It has been really popular for both adults and kids. In the textiles range, our best seller is the tan leather cushion.
What services do you offer?
Other than our range of furniture and textiles, Mr White also specialises in custom joinery. From floating drawer units, benches and hearths he can build a unique timber feature for your home or business.
Who or what influences your design?
We are really influenced by Japanese and European design. We both love the simplicity of Japanese design and the Scandinavians bring function and beauty together so well. Its funny, I tend to be inspired by designers not in my field. For example, I LOVE all of the futagami products and Nathan finds himself more drawn to architecture blogs as opposed to furniture ones. Some of his favourite are Matthew Hilton, Nicolas Schuybroek, George Nakashima and Amee Allsop. Anyone who makes simple look easy and effortless is inspiration to us.
Can you tell us about your background?
Mr. White did his apprenticeship as a shipwright and I studied graphic design. Nathan always loved working with timber – he grew up making wooden shoe boxes in his Pop’s workshop. After finishing his apprenticeship he worked as a cabinet maker for a few years and on the side started making furniture for our home.
After studying I found myself craving a creative outlet that didn’t involve a computer screen. My nan bought me a second-hand sewing machine and I fell in love with it. I think I found it really satisfying seeing a lump of fabric transform into something functional and beautiful.
Tell us a wee secret about Mona Vale.
We are situated in the industrial zone of Mona Vale but we are only a five minute walk to Mona Vale shops. Across the road from us on Darley Street there is an awesome little cafe called Coffee Brothers. Great coffee for us and our daughter Selah loves their berry smoothies!
What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
We are currently working on a new range of furniture in collaboration with architect Amee Allsop. Amee is currently living in NYC, so the range will be fusing together ‘the city and the sea’….shhhh.
Who would be your dream collaborator?
We are pretty excited to be working with Amee Allsop. We actually love working with other designers – we never want to be just a one-man show. I think the best design comes from team work and being apart of a creative community.
Mr & Mrs White
3/81 Darley Street
Mona Vale NSW Sydney
Tel. 0431 914 814
Friday 10am to 4pm
Saturday 10am to 4pm
or by appointment.
Photography by Luisa Brimble and styling by Stef Ingram
Here’s the final instalment in my Etsy Christmas Gift Guide for 2012. Hope you’ve found a gem of a gift for someone special, and you’ve enjoyed all of my favourite wee finds.
1. Ahoi Marie Schifferbecher Anker, EUR9.90 from Ahoi Marie.
2. Silk yellow neck scarf with lace pattern, CHF75 (with free worldwide shipping) from Zafran.
3. Plush woodblock elephant pillow. Available in customisable colours and made to order. US$16.50 from Laura Frisk.
4. Sushi print leggings, AU$70 from Uptightso.
5. ‘Double Rad’ Gocco print by Gemma Jones, US$29 from Paintergirl.
Don’t miss out on that perfect Christmas present! Click here for my entire series of posts for my 2012 Etsy Christmas Gift Guide.
Have you bought anything from Etsy for Christmas this year? Tell me about it in the comments below!
I’m always fascinated by Australian interpretations and portrayals of Christmas. When we’re not pretending we’re living through a northern hemisphere winter complete with snowflakes, icicles and sleighs, we roll out Aussie Christmas cliches of barbecues on the beach and sunburnt Santa surfing the waves. (Weird, because the only people I know who spend Christmas day at the beach are English backpackers – although I do love a late afternoon swim after everyone has recovered from their post-lunch naps.)
Maree Oaten and Anna Johnson are the creatives behind the Sydney-based art and design studio, Little Branch, and they’ve called their collection of cards for 2012 ‘A Mythic Bush Christmas’:
“Cicadas are screaming, sunlight is streaming and we’re all dressed up with somewhere to go. Lit up like a Christmas tree drinking champagne out of a chipped tea cup, where did the time go and who do you love? It’s time to tie a red ribbon round your wrist to forget me not and gift wrap your devotions.”
While the colours in Little Branch’s designs are big, bold and vibrant, reflecting the brilliance of Australia’s summer flora, the illustrations are rather whimsical and romantic, with young lasses in Christmas-tree frocks and candy-striped stockings.
The ‘Little Branch Cards‘, AU$5.50 each, are printed on chlorine free, 100% recycled paper and made entirely in Australia, while the smaller ‘Miss Miniature Cards‘ are priced at AU $3.50 each. They’re perfect for sending some a wee bit of Aussie Christmas cheer around the country – and abroad.
Disclaimer: Little Branch is a Wee Birdy sponsor, but this is not a sponsored post. I just happen to dig their work, and hope you will too!
Have you been watching Offspring? Are you as obsessed as I am?
This season has officially got me hooked, and when I’m not angsting about Nina and Patrick’s on-off relationship, I spend quite a bit of time perving at her apartment. (My sister, meanwhile, is obsessed with Nina’s casual-bohemian wardrobe, and if you also want to get her look, I heartily recommend Styling You‘s excellent series of posts, ‘So you want to look like Nina Proudman‘.)
I adored Nina’s first apartment (which was destroyed by fire in the first episode of season three), especially the extraordinarily beautiful white pressed metal feature wall. I was so taken by it that I hunted down the Melbourne-based manufacturer, Pressed Tin Panels, and bookmarked their site for future dream home renovations.
This led me to hunt down some of the key pieces from Nina’s new apartment, especially her bedroom, which features quite a few things by independent Australian designers. I love that the stylists and set dressers have sourced many things from Melbourne, which is where the show is set. Way to keep the show real.
In a tribute to Styling You‘s original Nina posts, here’s how to make Nina Proudman’s bedroom your own:
1. I love Nina’s lamp on her bedside table, which was a gift from Darcy when she moved into her new flat. It’s made by Melbourne-based design studio Pierre and Charlotte. The bleached and limed Baby Tree Light is AU$630 plus GST and can be ordered via their website.
2. Nina’s distinctive cushions match the quilt which was custom-made for Offspring by Melbourne-based accessories label Nancy Bird. The Fish Scale cushions are AU$150 each, from Nancy Bird. (Nancy Bird’s other cushion designs also feature on Nina’s couch.)
3. Nina has a chrome floor lamp on the other side of her bed. Get the look with the Alpha Floor Lamp, $299 from Freedom.
4. Nina’s room features a French provincial farmhouse-style dresser or buffet. Get the look with the HEMNES chest of eight drawers in white from IKEA, AU$499. For a similar antique French sideboard, check out Sydney’s Country Trader as well as this Cancun white-washed three drawer console table, now AU$499 from Freedom. I also like this gorgeous fishing boat buffer from Rustique, which would also look great in Nina’s apartment.
5 and 6. I spy some luxe Jo Malone candles and cologne on Nina’s dresser, and I reckon the Wild Fig & Cassis fragrance is very Nina. Jo Malone is available from David Jones stores in Australia. Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis home candle, £38 and Wild Fig & Cassis cologne, £76, both from Selfridges.
7. The distinctive painting over Nina’s bed is by Australian artist Rosetta Santucci.
8. It looks like Nina has an oak candlestick on her dresser. If you’re after a similar design, look at these French Oak candlesticks, from £110 from Katherine North Design. Otherwise, get the look with the ÅRYD candlestick, AU$17.99 from IKEA.
9 and 10. It wouldn’t be Nina’s bedroom without an owl. While most of her collection perished in the house fire, it looks like she’s restrained herself in her new apartment with just one small ceramic owl on her dresser. Get the look with this owl ornament, AU$12.95 from Domayne. I also love this image of an Have You Met Miss Jones horn owl lamp, which is also very Nina and features a white pressed metal wall in the background – just like Nina’s old flat.
11. Here is Nina’s actual quilt which was custom-made for Offspring by Nancy Bird. They’ve since been inundated with requests so they’ve put the digitally-printed design into production. The Fish Scale Queen size quilt cover is available in Queen and King sizes from $650.
12. Nina’s dresser features a group of plain white pillar candles in various sizes. Get the look with the HEMSJÖ unscented natural block candle, AU$2.99 for a pack of four from IKEA.
13. I’ve spotted a classic Bentwood chair next to Nina’s bedside table. You can get a replica Thonet No 18 Bentwood timber chair from Matt Blatt for AU$195.
14. There is an arrangement of various clear glass bottles and carafes on Nina’s dresser. Copy the look with IKEA’s LÖNSAM carafe, AU$2.99 and PS BJUDA Carafe, AU$15.99.
15. Nina’s dresser also features a white bone china bird on a pedestal. I’m pretty sure it’s by Australian designer Have you met Miss Jones, for AU$24.
Do you watch Offspring? What’s your favourite thing in Nina’s room?
Etsy shop: Storybook Rabbit.
Who: Kelly, a Sydney-based illustrator who lives with Juno the bunny “in a little house filled with tiny ceramic animals, brightly coloured dresses, vintage treasures and rabbit-chewed furniture.”
What: Re-worked vintage plates with decals of Kelly’s ridiculously cute animal illustration – think Hipster bunnies in peter-pan collars, baby deer in party hats and French bulldogs in Breton stripes.
Best Buys: Little Shy Bunnies vintage plate, Lovely little hipsters on green ’70s floral plate as well as handy plate hangers and stands.
How much: A baby pug vintage plate starts at US$27.
Read more: Storybook Rabbit’s blog and Facebook.