An Evening with Megan Morton

Megan Morton… a name synonymous with style. So much has been said about this super stylish lady that I’m not quite sure where to begin. For those who love interiors, I’m sure you already know all about Megan. For those that do not, she is one of the country’s leading ladies in the world of interiors. A renowned interior stylist, Megan’s work graces the covers of huge publications such as Vanity Fair, Vogue Living, InStyle and Inside Out magazines’ to name just a few. She is also the founder of ‘The School’, located in the Sydney suburb of Rosebery, which offers amazing hands-on creative workshops, along with design and styling masterclasses. Then there is ‘The Studio’ and the sets and props business known as ‘The Propery’, and as if that is not enough this incredible woman also happens to be an author. Her range of interior books are available to purchase through The School website.

megan-morton- portrait

Last but certainly not least, one of the most rewarding aspects of Megan’s diverse creative business would have to be ‘The Excursions’. Megan takes small intimate groups on life changing journeys, from exploring Rajasthani palaces laden with gemstones to making exquisite fragrances in Pushkar from the petals grown at the local rose farms. There’s also picnic lunches amongst the eclectic treasure trove that is Tombées du Camion with legendary dealer Charles Mas in Paris and entry into ‘Maison et Objet’, one of the worlds most coveted trade events. Or how does textile appreciation and colour exploration in Kenya sound?… Head spinning… yep, she is amazing and guess what? She is coming to Newcastle… THIS WEEK! Megan Morton is hosted by Newcastle’s very own Louise Hatcher of ‘Louise Hatcher Styling’ for one truly inspiring evening.


If you love interiors, styling or simply want to meet Megan and connect with engaging and interesting people, you will love this event. The evening will be dedicated to the three key areas that Megan is most passionate about; Styling, Running a creative business (calling all solopreneurs!) and Inspiration Stations. It’s going to be a night to remember and seats are limited, so if you haven’t already secured your ticket ‘click here’ for ticketing.

Event: An Evening with Megan Morton

When: This Wednesday 20th September from 6pm

Where: The Lock-up90 Hunter Street, Newcastle

Tickets: $148 includes a light supper, wine and plenty of inspiring lines of enquiry!

Contact: Louise Hatcher Styling 0421 562 332


The stunning interior shots are taken inside Megan’s beautiful home at Redleaf Beach in Sydney’s Double Bay. If you would like to see more of Megan’s home it is currently featured on Louise Hatcher’s ‘House Perv’.

megan-morton-loungeImages courtesy of House Perv

Tef Tef

This is a post I have been excited to write for some time as it allows me to reminisce on a very special time in my life. I was in my 20’s and ready for adventure so I moved from Australia to Hong Kong for a few years. It was exciting, rewarding and most definitely life changing. I could talk for hours about my love of Hong Kong but will try to stay on track as I introduce you to a talented woman that I met there and her beautiful brand.

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Photography by William Furniss for “THE PENINSULA” magazine.

I was invited to a handbag launch in a very cool little bar known as Petticoat Lane. Petticoat Lane was unique, mysterious and at the time one of the first bars in Central (Hong Kong) to move away from Lan Kwai Fong and into Soho, which is now teaming with bars and nightlife. Sandrine, a beautiful French friend of mine, had invited me to the launch and as we walked in I knew I was in for a real treat. The most exquisite bags were presented like precious jewels on viewing tables for a private showing in this amazing baroque decor bar. I was instantly captivated. The brand was Tef Tef and the artisan behind the brand happened to be a friend on Sandrine’s. Her name was Tomoko Okamura and although we didn’t realise it at the time, that introduction opened up a business relationship that would span for over a decade.

When the epiphany hit me to start my own business, Tef Tef was one of the first brands that I wanted to work with. Tomoko was still in the early stages of building Tef Tef and so we related instantly on so many levels. I returned to Australia and starting fitting out my showroom in the Hunter Valley Vineyards and soon after Monsoon Living opened its doors. Although Furniture and Homewares has always been our focus, a stunning range of Tef Tef bags and clutches have always been heavily featured. I love them as much today as I did all of those years ago in Petticoat Lane.

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Tomoko has had many successes with Tef Tef over the years. From major luxury retailer ‘On Pedder’ featuring the Tef Tef range of bags alongside the likes of leading designers Jimmy Choo, Marc Jacobs and Lambertson Truex on their department store shelves, to smaller retailers representing the brand in her native country of Japan.

The quality is sublime. The design and detail aspirational. A Tef Tef clutch is something special and in case you were wondering, Tef Tef is an old Japanese word meaning “butterfly”.

To view the range in more detail, please follow this link through to our shop.

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Product photography by Hannah Rose.

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


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

LA Home – Anne Ziegler

We have been quiet on the blogging front for way too long… now with Christmas and the New Year festivities well and truly behind us it’s high time to put pen to paper and get the ball rolling.

So to kick-start our belated New Year and make up for lost time Monsoon Living is taking you on a fantastic house tour!

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We’re going home with Anne Ziegler, a trend, retail and brand consultant who bases herself between Los Angeles and New York. Through her consulting group she has helped some of the world’s biggest fashion retailers navigate each season’s critical creative and major merchandising decisions. To give you an idea Vogue, Victoria’s Secret and Armani Exchange are a few of Anne’s clients, need we say more!

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Now to this gorgeous home… a 1,600 square foot, two-bedroom residence set high in the hills of Laurel Canyon. Originally built in 1934 the home has undergone a major renovation. Now with its impressive whitewashed pine floors, exposed beams and a crisp white colour scheme plus loads of natural light, what’s not to love!

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Although this home is in Los Angeles it typifies a style of decorating that we so often see in Australia; bright, sun filled rooms and a splash of colour introduced through art, furniture and homewares.

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I find a common thread between my thoughts on decorating and the way in which Anne approaches the styling of her own home. “The style of the house hasn’t been planned,” Ziegler says. “It’s a spontaneous accumulation of things I’ve gathered for years. I believe that when you consistently buy things that speak to you, they work together.”

Anne Ziegler House Tour 1

Given the demanding schedule of Anne’s career it was important for her and her husband to find retreat in their home. “My job is so visual,” says Ziegler “I spend all day looking at magazines, books and blogs for inspiration. So we wanted a peaceful place in the canyon away from the over stimulation of our lives.” This house has not only provided them with large open spaces but also created that sense of calm that they were so desperately seeking after a decade of cramped apartment living in New York.

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Special thanks to Anne for sharing your home and to photographer Brittany Ambridge for allowing us to use your beautiful images.

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 All images courtesy of Brittany Ambridge for Domino.

Paris Apartment – Andréa Krueger

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Bonjour! Allow me to reminisce of my holiday in Paris whilst sharing this stunning apartment on the city’s Left Bank. To set the scene the location is amazing, the 7th arrondissement is in the heart of Paris and is not only the home of some of the city’s grandest sites (Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars, Musée d’Orsay) but magically combines the quintessential atmosphere of a Parisian neighbourhood.

Andrea Krueger Paris Apartment 5

Meet the homes’ owner, fashion and brand consultant Andréa Krueger, who bought the apartment in 2012 and set to work redesigning with a focus of adding warmth and charm. She was previously living in the apartment as a tenant, so was well aware of the space and the challenges that lay ahead. Many of the rooms had little nooks and crannies making it a challenging project, especially when it came to the placement of conventional furniture. But with a background in design, a little imagination and the determination of hunting down that perfect piece, her hard work has well and truly paid off. This petite sized apartment is stunning and the attention to detail shows in every view.

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Influences of the Bauhaus Art Movement and Andréas passion for art and design is a focus, from the framed Alexander Calder tapestry sitting comfortably alongside an Anna Skladmann photograph in the living room, to the Gerrit Rietveld “Zig-Zag” chair and the vintage glove mold she uses as a book end in the study nook. The decorating has evolved naturally with pieces collected from her travels both locally and abroad. Andréa believes that the best interiors unfold over time and not to be tempted to rush out and buy everything at once, it’s about finding the perfect piece that you really love.

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One of my favourite things about this apartment, other than the amazingly beautiful de Gournay wallpaper in the bedroom and the incredible location, is the fact that it has a sizable terrace, a rarity in a city like Paris. The outdoor space doubles as both haven for local birdlife and sanctuary for the owners’ and their dog, English cocker spaniel Leopold.

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All images courtesy of Brittany Ambridge for Domino.

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.

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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.

LA Home – Chay Wike

It has been a while since I was in Los Angeles… I was in my teens and had my focus well and truly set on Disneyland, Universal Studios and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. If I were heading back to LA today I would have a slightly different focus… I’ve discovered a shop called CHAY and I love everything about it! The owner Chay Wike opened the doors to CHAY in 2012 and this gorgeous little shop features her own line of locally made clothing and lifestyle pieces that are both timeless and practical. Alongside her work are collections from various designers and carefully curated pieces for both the home and hostess.

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I love Chay’s style so I am thrilled to feature her beautiful home in the Hollywood Hills as our very first house tour on the blog.

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Light and inviting with splashes of colour against white walls, Chay uses rugs and runners to add warmth and texture to hard surfaces. The house is not fussy or pretentious and has a beautiful focus on the raw materials used in construction; polished concrete, bare bricks and exposed timber beams for a timeless design.

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Simple styling with pieces the family truly loves gives this house its personality. After reading a lot of interviews about Chay, her life and her brand I can really relate to her outlook on life… She believes in surrounding yourself with the things you love! It can be as simple as an amazing handmade chef’s knife for the kitchen (available through her store) or a family heirloom. Have things in your life that have meaning and then the decorating naturally falls into place.

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Chay’s house has spectacular views over Los Angeles yet the city feels a million miles away. It is a calm house… the sort of house you could imagine entertaining in, relaxing in and truly enjoying.

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Special thanks to Chay for sharing your home and photographer Brittany Ambridge for providing the visuals.

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All images courtesy of Brittany Ambridge for Domino.

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.