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.

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!

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.