A night at Paramount House

“A new boutique hotel at the heart of Sydney’s most exciting inner-city neighbourhood has been named Australia’s Hotel of the Year in the fifth annual Gourmet Traveller Australian Hotel Guide Awards.”

Finally a night away (a minication) and our chosen destination is the Paramount House Hotel. The hotel occupies the upper floors of the former Paramount Pictures Studios and adjacent film-storage warehouse in Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills.

This hotel ticks all of the boxes for me and more. The heritage-listed building was restored over a four year period with the expansion of two extra levels and comprises two buildings connected behind the most magnificent copper clad facade. The original idea came from a talented collaboration of three friends and visionaries Ping Jin Ng, Mark Dundon and Russell Beard, and the build took place under the watchful eye and design of Melbourne firm ‘Breathe Architecture’.  It was bound to be impressive regardless of this being their first hotel project.


Being newcomers to the hotel trade has bought with it fresh new approaches. From the moment you enter the building you know you’ve found yourself a special destination. The atrium styled lobby is situated towards the rear where two buildings collide, the brickwork is raw, and the pipework exposed. The space is lit with natural light streaming through the sky-high skylights, and then there is the most amazing deco inspired copper screens, referencing the buildings 1940’s heritage. You are greeted by friendly staff who are more than happy to help and offer a selection of cool drinks (Cider, natural wine or kombucha) in stemless glasses whilst you wait for them to organise your room key.


The room we stayed in had the most amazing attention to detail, as I’m sure they all do. I was impressed to see a touch of Henry Wilson Design greeting me upon entering with the popular vide pouch (designed for your loose-pocket items… coins, keys, etc) sitting pretty on the entry bench. From opulent dark terrazzo bathrooms, brass taps, fittings and shower grates, stunning steel framed internal doors and windows with remote-controlled blockout blinds, and an enclosed private terrace with stunning lush indoor plants creating the perfect place of calm. Oiled herringbone warehouse ceilings, stripped timber sash windows that you can open for fresh air flow (a rarity in city hotels) and the most luxurious European flax linen bedding by Cultiver. Cultiver bedding is our absolute favourite and the entire range is available through Monsoon Living. Every interior detail has been very carefully considered and the colour palette is sublime.


Henry Wilson Studio vide pouch in bronze, Photography by Tom Ross


Dusk duvet with indigo stripe cushion covers, available through Monsoon Living


Images courtesy of the Paramount House Hotel

The architecture is a true expression of everything that is old and raw about a warehouse whilst balanced with the juxtaposition of something soft and tactile such as lush grass green carpet, plush Loom Rugs, soft wallhangings and original artwork curated by local gallery China Heights and then there is that beautiful linen bedding (wink, wink).


Indigo duvet and euro cushions with dusk, available through Monsoon Living

I loved our stay so much that we are already planning our next visit, but this time we may need to book one of the many rooms that feature a Japanese-style timber bath created by boutique carpenters Wood & Water.

Honestly I could go on and on about the impeccable detail and fantastic location. I should mention Longrain and Chin Chin are literally across the street plus the Paramount Coffee Project is located at the hotels entry and the Golden Age Cinema and Bar is on the lower ground floor. The rooftop Paramount Recreation Club sounds amazing but I simply ran out of time, so look forward to exploring more on our next visit. If that is not enough to temp there is a new restaurant on the cards called Poly by the successful team at Ester coming soon to the Paramount.


One of the many private terraces, Photography by Tom Ross

If you do visit the Paramount House Hotel I hope you enjoy your stay as much as we did and if you think sleeping in those linen sheets is heaven, you know who to call.

The full range of Cultiver bed linen is available in store through Monsoon Living.

Let’s Talk House Perv

As you know I love all things interior so it’s no surprise that I also love to peek inside the homes of interesting people. For as long as I can remember I’ve collected endless interior magazines and am an avid watcher of renovation and design programs. For this reason I also like to get my regular dose of ‘House Perv’.

For those not already in the know ‘House Perv’ is a peek inside the homes of local people, not just designer homes but interesting, loved, nurtured and yes, sometimes designer, but mostly warm and inviting homes in and around our region. It’s a look into the lives and motivation of the people that make these homes special. House Perv is as much about the homeowner as the home itself and it’s that human connection that makes it so endearing.


Louise Hatcher, property and interior stylist, officially launched House Perv in 2015 in web format on the hugely popular site www.hunterhunter.com.au, and over the years it has grown in popularity and showcased some incredible local homes. But this year House Perv has had a mini renovation and has moved into its own space. You can now catch House Perv every second Sunday evening on www.louisehatcher.com, and sign up to Louise’s newsletter to receive it direct to your inbox.


I actually met Louise through House Perv in a roundabout type of way and our house was one of the very first to feature. In hindsight I’m a little embarrassed, we hadn’t actually finished renovating or done our landscaping, and I certainly didn’t style things for a photo shoot, but at the time I had no idea just how big and popular House Perv would be. We have since become good friends and I enjoy nothing more than catching up with her to discuss all things interior. With that said, I thought I would ask Louise about the exciting changes with House Perv and see if she might share some styling tips with us.

What are some of the changes in-store for your followers Louise?

The layout of House Perv is slightly different which means we can fit more images into the article, and I love that we now have Q&A. While Newcastle and the Hunter will remain our focus, House Perv has no boundaries. We will happily perv anywhere!


Do you style the homes on House Perv?

Yes No. Unlike magazines who spend days prepping, sourcing extra items and then shooting, we spend about 2 hours in each home. So, what you are seeing is real, which is what I love most about HP. I think that is what makes House Perv unique and refreshing. The photographer and I spend time framing up the main shots, and then we arrange that particular shot with existing pieces. The photographer then whips around capturing details of the home and I do my best to be a journalist. It happens very often that I spend too much time gahhhhing over beautiful items in the house and leave with not enough content. Thankfully the people we perv on are awesome, and I jump on the phone or e-mail to get the details I missed!


I have heard you mention rounds and squares together, to non-interior people what exactly does that mean?

In design world, rounds and squares are best friends. We all live on square blocks, in square houses, with square doors and square rooms. If you have a round house or room, oh please take me there! I bet it is heaven! But, most of us don’t, so adding a round is a complete space changer. By adding a round to your square, it will soften the space instantly and add more flow to your room. My favourite places to do this apart from everywhere is in the living room. In the living room there are already so many squares with televisions, consoles, lounges etc.… add a round rug or round occasional tables and watch the magic! The same goes for the super square bedroom. For the square kitchen, an easy way to do this is to display large round marble or timber chopping boards. Round dining tables are also a big favourite.


Function or beauty, which is more important?

Defiantly function. I so often see the most beautiful furniture but the space just isn’t working. A big part of what makes something beautiful is its function and how a room or house flows.


I know you have a huge soft spot for original art, is there a favourite piece in your styling inventory and can you tell us a little about it?

Art really does make the home. I have a few original pieces that I love, and I know I will love forever. My philosophy is, if I wouldn’t have it in my own home then I don’t buy it. One of my favourite pieces is by Louise Tuckwell, Birds of Paradise. It was the first piece I bought when sourcing my inventory and it really set the tone, it brings good memories. Unfortunately, the budget didn’t allow for the Jardan lounge sitting next to it!!!

Want to know more? Join Gen Collective this May for an evening of canapés and bubbles whilst Louise takes you on her design journey, from linguistics teacher to overseas influences and what drives and inspires her successful styling business today.

Event Details

Event: Louise Hatcher – turning a passion for design into a dream career

When: Wednesday 17th May at 5.30pm

Where: Longworth House, 129 Scott Street, Newcastle

Tickets: Non-members $47 + booking fee / Members $42 + booking fee

Ticket includes: A selection of substantial canapés and a complimentary glass bubbles on arrival. Additional drinks can be purchased at the bar throughout the evening.

Ticket sales close: Wednesday 10th May 2017


Thanks for doing what you do so beautifully Louise and if you know anyone who has a house pervable home dob them in and contact Louise with some of the details.

House Perv every second Sunday evening www.louisehatcher.com.au

The Gather Collective

Newcastle is such an inspiring city to live in and the longer I’m here the more amazing people I’m coming into contact with. One of those amazing people is Melissa Webster from The Gather Collective. We first crossed paths in February 2015 through an event organised by ‘The Creative Women’s Circle’ where Mel was the guest speaker. She spoke about her business and family but the main thing that left a lasting impression on me was her amiable nature and pure passion. She seriously juggles more than most and although she wears many hats (not literally) everything comes together so beautifully.

To clarify she is the designer / director of ‘GatherKids’. GatherKids is a beautiful range of organic bed linen, knitted blankets, handmade feather headdress and bespoke furniture for children and parents alike. The GatherKids range is playful yet elegant and is available through her online store and selected retailers across the country.

gather-collective-bunk-bedsThen there is the ‘GatherStudio’ where the magic happens. The design studio is based in the beachside city of Newcastle and incorporates a full interior design service, styling, product design and lifestyle photography. It’s here that a lot of Mel’s ideas come to life.


I best describe Mel’s style as serene. The spaces she creates are calm and welcoming and in tune with the Australian way of life. Although neutrals play a huge role, she adds warmth with raw materials, using tones and textures to give everything she touches a beautiful organic feel.


One of the things I haven’t mentioned is that she also happens to be a super mum. With three gorgeous children she understands the importance of keeping things practical and therefore a lot of thought goes into creating not only stunning spaces but rooms that are a pleasure to live in. One of her tips is the importance of planning practical storage solutions; it gives you the ability to create a calming aesthetic.


Images courtesy of The Gather Collective.

Mel’s work has featured in many national magazines as well as numerous articles on The Design Files (Australia’s leading design blog), not that she mentions such things! I didn’t realise quite how much press coverage she actually had until I started researching and writing this post. She is incredibly humble and hard-working and it’s no secret that I am in awe of her work and how much she achieves.

Keen to know more about the products and services The Gather Collective offer? Don’t hesitate to get in touch, I know Mel would love to hear from you!

Our Californian Bungalow

reno loungeroom billy

It’s always been in the back of my mind to share some of the creative process of renovating our home with our readers… So here goes!

reno full lounge

Photography Lizzy Hodgins for House Perv

Renovating brings up so many emotions, good, bad, ugly and indifferent. Without being too long-winded I need to explain a little of my childhood and background. I grew up with avid renovators. My parents were renovating when I was born and still to this day spend hours discussing opportunities of bringing life back to run down old houses and heritage buildings. They renovated a terrace house in Kirribilli (Sydney) before a sea change to St Albans (Hawkesbury Region) where they worked on an extensive renovation of an old sandstone house that was later purchased by Maggie Tabberer (Australian’s original supermodel & fashion designer), followed by the historic Settlers Arms Inn that was built-in 1836, and all of this before I was of school age. Then a move to Wollombi in the Hunter Valley saw the renovation of an 1840’s slab cottage in the village followed by their first ‘build from scratch’… a beautiful sandstone house and a number of little cottages nestled into a gully not far from the Wollombi township. Then there’s the weatherboard church restoration and extension (now the home of Usher Tinkler Wines) along with nine spectacular sandstone buildings known collectively as ‘Peppers Creek’ in the Hunter vineyards and endless other city renovations and extensions on terrace houses. The list seems extensive and each and every one was a personal project, so we have literally lived in most of them.

reno tools

My husband (then boyfriend) and I had never really discussed renovating but when we found an old Californian bungalow in Newcastle we instantly fell in love. It was damp with plaster peeling off the walls and mouldy ceilings. We both tried to act complacent in front of the real-estate agent but the first moment we had alone we confirmed the feelings we were having were mutual and so the path was set. We did everything we could to secure the sale of the property as quickly as possible.

reno backyardreno back wall

We spent endless nights discussing our creative ideas. I rushed out and bought a big folder to file all of our sketches, quotes and plans and to this day I love to look back on it and see just how far we have come. Once we had nutted out our plans we ran them past my parents who made numerous suggestions one of which was to place a large warehouse post in the centre of our lounge room to create different zones and to create extra structural support for a second floor and another was to take out more of the existing rear wall to open and link the old house with the extension. Some of their suggestions literally saved us thousands not to mention the endless hours my father put in on the building site. All sounding pretty standard so far, one of the things we did a bit differently was to have my father draft our plans the old-fashioned way with protractors, pens and drafting paper. My mother (who is an artist) created the most beautiful watercolour painting to accompany our council application and along with the standard engineering reports, fees, etc our plans were finally approved. No CAD programs or computers insight!

reno wharf post

We more or less left the front of the house (containing the bedrooms) intact, but completely removed the rear to create an open plan living/kitchen/dining that opens onto the deck and garden. We decided to use the natural graduation of the block to step the extension down which allowed for a second floor in the gable. This also meant that we could match the roofline with the existing house so that from the street there is no evidence of a cumbersome extension. What was originally the homes kitchen was completely gutted to create room for a stairwell and library/study area. We put in an internal wall to expand the size of the bathroom and to create space for a laundry. We flattened a little rickety tin shed at the rear of the lot and replaced it with a detached double car garage reusing the bricks from the rear external wall of the old house. I love that we reused materials from the original house; it seems to keep things harmonious. We also removed an old triple pane window from the rear wall and relocated it into the stairwell.

reno fullThe building process was a huge learning curve for me not only trying to project manage our future home but learning about the tools, materials and techniques. I was quite proud of myself towards the end as I walked through Bunnings with my shiny trade card knowing what the tools and products on the shelves were for. I learnt to mix cement the old-fashioned way after the mixer broke, I know all about repairing damp walls, stripping skirting boards, wire brushing bricks, building budgets, bobcats and drill bits and was generally on hand at every stage to make the final decision. Some of the trades were amazing, some were not… there were a lot of ups and downs but at the end of the day it was worth it!

For all the work that we have done there are a million little jobs that we haven’t and now that our children are a little bit older and we’re a touch more rested, it’s time to embark on the finishes and finally select our toilet roll holders, towel rails, dressing room mirrors, laundry shelving and the restoration of our beautiful tessellated tiled verandah amongst other things… wish us luck and happy renovating!

reno lounge againreno kitchenPhotography Lizzy Hodgins for House Perv

Hunter Hunter

You had me at hello! From the minute I discovered the HUNTERhunter website I knew I was in good hands. As a mother of little ones, I don’t get out as much as I would like, but when the opportunity does present I want to make the most of it and www.hunterhunter.com.au is my go to guide for planning a great night out in Newcastle. It not only covers the city’s latest and greatest hot spots and events, but also entices me with its catchy design, incredible photography and inviting script.

Since starting my own blog just over a year ago and understanding the endless hours of work that goes into the research, writing and presentation of a website the size and scale of HUNTERhunter I was intrigued with who was behind the brand. Then one day I noticed an event being promoted and hosted by The Creative Woman’s Circle featuring the duo behind HUNTERhunter… Obviously I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a ticket!


Meet Fiona and Alissa of HUNTERhunter

It was at this event that I first met Fiona and Alissa of HUNTERhunter. With a background in marketing and communications and a HUGE passion for Newcastle and the Hunter this creative duo were fed up of tirelessly searching for the regions hidden gems and decided it was time to do something about it. Their biggest concern was if this great city and its surrounds could continue to provide enough incredible content (they were sure they would have it covered within their first year), and it has not let them down. With an explosion of hot new bars, mind-blowing culinary events, bespoke workshops, wine dinners and exciting new shopping experiences, Newcastle and the Hunter continues to excite and HUNTERhunter has it covered.

Now entering its second year and averaging 2000 unique visits to the website each day and growing, the content base is enormous. HUNTERhunter’s huge popularity stems from Fiona and Alissa’s original vision of only covering projects and businesses that they believe to be truly unique and interesting.

Avid followers of HUNTERhunter already know the website well, but what you may not know is that they have some very exciting news…. HUNTERhunter has teamed up with talented Property Stylist Louise Hatcher to add one more element to their website, launching ‘House Perv’ this coming Sunday.

louise-hatcher-house-pervMeet Louise of Louise Hatcher Styling

Join the girls as they take you on tour through some amazing local homes, from country acreages, to inner city warehouse conversions, cute cottages and designer homes. Meet local people who are passionate about the way they live and learn about how they have designed, decorated (sometimes even built) and curated the spaces that they love to live in.


hunter-house-perv-2Styling by Louise Hatcher & Photography by Lizzy Hodgins

With Louise’s experience in Interior Design and Property Styling and the incredible lifestyle platform of HUNTERhunter, I personally think it’s a winning combination and I’m so excited to see what’s in store. So this coming Sunday evening (18th October 2015) jump on over to the HUNTERhunter website for the much anticipated launch of House Perv, enjoy!


Images courtesy of House Perv

Oh and did you know that you can sign up to their email newsletter and be the first to know what’s happening? Plus HUNTERhunter also have their very own app (link here to Download) and it’s geo-location specific, meaning you can pull out your phone or tablet, and with the power of GPS you can see what’s nearby. What better way to help locals and visitors get out-and-about in Newcastle and the Hunter and find something new?

hunter-house-perv-3Styling by Louise Hatcher & Photography by Lizzy Hodgins

The Villas of Byron

The sun is shining, the air is warmer and spring is just around the corner. I’m a summer girl at heart and it’s exciting knowing it’s finally on its way.

Like so many Australians we road trip north to Byron Bay for our annual summer holiday, so with Byron on my mind I’m happily immersing myself in an incredible property called The Villas of Byron.

The Villas of Byron 3

Think tropical luxury where every little detail in the styling and service has been thoughtfully planned and considered. From rainforest views, private heated pools, outdoor rain showers, a personal chef (optional) and complete privacy; you’re in for an incredible treat. There are packages catering for romance and seclusion to a fun and sophisticated girls getaway, or if pampering and relaxation are your solace, The Villas of Byron offer a personalised package for every occasion.

The Villas of Byron 11

The Villas of Byron 6The Villas of Byron 8

There are so many reasons to fall in love with this property and what it has to offer, but for me it’s the decorating and styling that has me head over heels. Interior Stylist and owner Taliah Lowry has teamed up with Kate Sacks Design to create a sanctuary to indulge the senses. The softest of Bemboka blankets, bed linen and bathrobes, iconic Muumuu Design butterfly chairs, Armadillo & Co. fair trade signature rugs, MCM House linen sofas and stunning Lincoln Brooks designer furniture. Amazing Island Luxe feature pendants hang from the vaulted ceilings and fashion icon Spell & the Gypsy Collective summer kimonos are on hand for cruising around the villas private pool. As I said, Taliah and her team have thought of everything!

The Villas of Byron 9The Villas at Byron 16The Villas of Byron 5The Villas of Byron 4

To celebrate The Villas refurbishment they have an offer too good to refuse… if you’re quick there is a 20% off promotion on all stays up until 31st of August 2015 subject to availability. Jump on the link to The Villas of Byron if you are considering a Byron getaway or have any enquiries.

The Villas of Byron 7The Villas of Byron 1

So until our summer holiday finally rolls around I will enjoy the warmer weather and cocoon myself in beautiful thoughts of Byron.

The Villas of Byron 12The Villas of Byron 14

All images courtesy of Jessie & Jones Photography.

Styled Crush

It’s a rainy Saturday and that gives me the excuse I’m after to ignore all of the usual chores and indulge in some me time. The first thing I choose to do is head straight over to a blog called Styled Canvas and catch up on recent posts. Styled Canvas is such a beautiful blog and it always inspires me to focus on my own, so today I’m enjoying cocooning myself in a cosy blanket and settling into some writing.

Meet Mel, you may recognise her from a post I published about a year ago. She is a mother of three, an amazing cook, passionate about photography and interiors, a freelance writer and stylist with a regular column in New Zealand’s House & Garden Magazine as well as the author of Styled Canvas, aka my blog crush and my best friend.

Styled Canvas

Photographer Larnie Nicolson

When it was proposed to me by my web designer that I should start a blog to give my online business personality and to create a nice platform to be able to connect with people, I turned to Mel and asked for her advice on blogging. I have watched her blog grow over the years from a personal pursuit of finding a creative outlet to a sophisticated go-to lifestyle and interiors platform with a list of designer sponsors. Mel’s key to success is to focus on original and good quality content and this is something that she has delivered from day one. It’s a matter of maintaining authenticity and staying true to yourself. I’m amazed at how many blogs post such high volumes of material but for Mel it’s about having regular, interesting and original articles that her followers can really engage in.

Styled Canvas

Mel started blogging mid 2012 after moving from Australia to New Zealand with her French husband and then two little boys. A short time later a beautiful baby girl was born and Auckland was to be the family’s new home. At this point Mel realised she had a yearning to write and starting a blog seemed to be the perfect solution to satisfying that creative need whilst balancing a very busy family schedule. Mel enrolled in several online blogging courses and soon after Armoire, Pegs and Casserole (the blog) was launched with the help of a local bespoke web designer.

Styled Canvas

The Armoire, Pegs and Casserole blog steadily grew and opened many doors for Mel as a freelance writer, but she felt that the name was holding her back in terms of growing her now popular blog into a small business and potentially strong brand. So the exciting and arduous task of rebranding began, and with a lot of thought and research the wheels for change were in motion. A brave move considering she ran the risk of losing her already loyal following. Mel strategically decided to lead up to the launch over a four month period with regular mentions of the up and coming changes on social media and on the Armoire, Pegs and Casserole blog itself. Mel’s followers were not only supportive but also encouraging throughout the process, which gave her a pretty clear indication that they would stay with her.

Styled Canvas

The new name “Styled Canvas” was announced on social media a few days prior to the launch, which allowed for the change over across all of the social media platforms. Most importantly Mel made sure that all of the links from the old blog were automatically redirected to the new name and she couldn’t be happier with the results. Not only did her followers stay with her but readership is up and growing.

Styled Canvas

So if you are after a wonderful blog to fall in love with this winter (for us in the Southern Hemisphere) or are a blogger considering making changes to your site you really should pop over to Styled Canvas to hear more about the rebranding process, and for some inspiration.

If you need any more persuading, now is the time as today marks the beginning of a final run of amazing giveaways. The latest Styled Canvas giveaway STARTS TODAY and is called “The Styled Entertainer” in conjunction with NZ retailer Father Rabbit. The Pallarès Solsona Kitchen Knife, Robert Gordon Condiment Bowls and the Nkuku mango wood pizza board (pictured) could all take centre stage in your kitchen so good luck and you never know… Styled Canvas may just become your blog crush too!

Styled Canvas

 All images courtesy of Styled Canvas.

Seeing Green!

The buzzword around Newcastle’s interior circles at the moment is Green… Julia Green, the founder of Greenhouse Interiors.


 Meet Julia of Greenhouse Interiors

Greenhouse Interiors is an ingenious collaboration of creatives from artists, photographers, designers, writers and stylists. Julia brings them together under the Greenhouse umbrella to create interior magic. If you are anything like me with a slight (or not so slight) addiction to interior magazines you are sure to have come across Julia’s work. She styles and writes for many interior publications including Inside Out, Real Living, Home Beautiful, House & Garden and Frankie.

Suitably impressed… Greenhouse Interiors not only has a hugely successful print media focus with their very cool collaborations and talent, but also manages to skyrocket the careers of selected up and coming designers, boutique brands and artists. Julia and her team cleverly do this by opening up wholesale channels, ensuring their creations are stocked in exclusive retail outlets across Australia, whilst nurturing their brand positioning, imagery and product development.

greenhouse-interiors-oblica-firegreenhouse-interiors-oblica-wall-fireStyling by Julia Green & Photography by Armelle Habib

This is where the Newcastle connection comes in… Willows Home Traders. Willows are Newcastle and the Hunter’s (now in two locations) go-to store for gorgeous on trend interior brands, and are one of the exclusive retail outlets stocking some of the incredible brands that Julia and her team represent.

greenhouse-interiors-society-of-wanderers-loungeStyling by Julia Green & Photography by Cricket-Studio

It is this collaboration with Willows Home Traders that brings Julia to Newcastle to present her very own Styling Masterclass. This is a one off event that will offer trade secrets and insights into making colour selections, choosing the placement and scale of artwork, furniture, rugs and how to incorporate soft furnishings like a professional (believe me it’s harder than it looks). Live styling demonstrations, delicious nibbles and a jam-packed goodies bag along with Julia’s incredible experience and knowledge are just too good to resist.

greenhouse-interiors-sage-and-claregreenhouse-interiors-sage-and-clare-bedroom Styling by Julia Green & Photography by Annette O’Brien

Want to know more? If you don’t already have your tickets unfortunately this event has just sold out. To learn a little more about Julia and Greenhouse Interiors you can visit her website or head into one of the Willows Home Traders stores (89 Darby St, Newcastle | 451 High St, Maitland) and speak to the staff about some of the gorgeous brands and styling that will be featured on the night.

When: This Friday 17th April at 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm)

Where: Hunter Design School 67 Parry St, Newcastle West

Tickets: SOLD OUT

Contact: amelia@willowshometraders.com.au

greenhouse-interiors-society-of-wanderers-linenStyling by Julia Green & Photography by Cricket-Studio

So if you see some amazing styling in the Monsoon Living online store in the coming months, you’ll know my secret!

greenhouse-interiors-space-to-create-kitchenStyling by Julia Green & Photography by Armelle Habib

Plumtart, Textiles & Design

It was 2010 and I was excited to be setting up my first ever market stall. It was more of a festival feel than a typical market and was known in Newcastle as the Red Lantern Night Markets. I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect. I was used to the steady pace of our Monsoon Living retail store but this night market attracted in excess of 10,000 visitors condensed into the narrow lanes in and around Newcastle’s CBD. I was in for a very fun and busy night of trade.

Jessica Paget Plumtart 1

Throughout my night I caught glimpses of another stall across from me. It was simply called ‘Plumtart’ and the display was beautiful. ‘Plumtart’ featured screen printed designs on a range of homewares and children’s clothing, all displayed on purpose built shelving and housed in contemporary freestanding boxes. Towards the end of the evening when things were starting to slow I had the chance to meet the maker, Jessica Paget, and have a closer look at her stunning collection. Each and every piece was beautifully made and I was instantly attracted to the Japanese influences in her designs.

Chinese antique bench with yellow blossom cushions and a screen from Monsoon Living Newcastle

Many markets later and having now known Jess and her brand ‘Plumtart’ for a number of years I understand where those influences and design skills come from. Jess, along with brothers Luke and Shane and their mother Donna Burrell, have extensive experience in design ranging from interiors, surface, digital and graphic, to colour consulting and styling. Each of them has had a hand in launching the Hunter Design School, the first boutique design school in the Hunter Region. Hunter Design School proudly offers a comprehensive diploma in Colour Planning and Consulting, and Interior Design and Styling. The school also offers a number of inspiring short courses in Adobe programs Illustrator and Photoshop along with some fun and inspiring workshops all located inside the schools’ stunning warehouse conversion in Newcastle’s up-and-coming West End.

Plumtart Cushions 4

One exciting workshop scheduled for 11th October is a screen-printing workshop where you can join Jess and learn the basic skills of screen-printing. No previous experience is necessary and at the end of the day you get to take home your very own screen-printed designs on beautiful linen tea towels. Head to the Hunter Design School website for all of the details and booking information.

Plumtart Cushions 5

The chance meeting Jess and I had a few years ago at the market has left its mark, with a selection of her stunning range of ‘Plumtart’ cushions now available through the Monsoon Living Online Store. With each cushion screen printed by hand using non toxic ink onto high grade linen, and Jess’s eye for design, they make a beautiful addition to any home.

Jessica Paget Plumtart 2

Product photography by Hannah Rose. Portrait photography by Ben Adams.

The best blogs to follow…

Mel's Living Room

Like most new bloggers I have mixed emotions… one minute excited at the prospect of this new creative outlet, the next minute nerves creep in as I start to consider my responsibility in this space.

When I let my mind wander so many exciting topics stem from a single thought that brought me here, Monsoon Living. Monsoon Living is an online store that specialises in bespoke furniture to create beautiful features within a home. With that said, we have no intention of focusing our lifestyle blog solely on ourselves and plan to embrace all things design from products to interiors, fine art to amazing suppliers, handmade goodness to homegrown tips, and maybe even the occasional recipe or wine match.

Where to start? This is my second post, so I’m new to this and still finding my way! Step one, find a few blogs that I can follow and hopefully learn from.

Mel Chesneau

 Meet Mel Chesneau from Armoire, Pegs & Casserole

My first pick is “Armoire, Pegs & Casserole”. A very close friend of mine, Mel Chesneau, is the author of this successful lifestyle blog. She is the unfortunate one to cop my silly questions, I even remember asking not that long ago and much to her surprise “what is a blog?” and here I am… never having been one to shy away from something new. Fortunately for me her blog is about home decorating, lifestyle and ideas to live with. The thing I’m enjoying most about reading Mel’s blog is the insight into some incredible people’s lives, their motivation, inspiration & passion. I love the fact that through the world of blogging Mel seems to meet the most amazing people from all over the world with a common interest and share a snippet of their lives to inspire. From impeccably styled photography tips with Norwegian photographer Hilde Mork to decorating ideas from as far away as Estonia. Mel interviews leading industry experts, interesting people near and far and takes the reader on some fabulous shop tours, spotlights stunning design, innovating projects and shares some great ideas along with delicious and easy to follow recipes.

Father Rabbit Shop Tour 2

Armoire, Pegs & Casserole takes the reader on an exciting shop tour of the new Father Rabbit store located in Herne Bay, Auckland.

If you’re looking for a new blog to follow “Armoire, Pegs & Casserole” is a personal journey, an inspiring insight and a lovely read! I would love to hear your suggestions on the best blogs to follow as I start off on this new journey. Please leave a comment on the bottom of the page if you have some favourites in mind that you are happy to share. I look forward to having a read!

Father Rabbit Shop Tour 1

 Step inside another of Father Rabbit’s stunning retail burrows located in Mt Eden, Auckland. 

All images courtesy of Mel Chesneau from the very successful blog Armoire, Pegs & Casserole.