Monthly Archives: January 2012

Trends for 2012 – The year of up-cycle and natural innovation

For a bit of fun late in 2011, I put together a summary of the key interior and colour trends that my “perhaps” over charged crystal wine glass…erm sorry…. I mean crystal ball… perceived might be the key trends for 2012. I have named it “The Year of Up Cycle and Natural Innovation”. It would be great to know your comments and thoughts of the things that you see will be big trends for 2012 so feel free to add comment.


Natural Green Interior with Sustainable Design

With the current global focus concentrating on sustainability, corporate and individual responsibility tied together with the current global financial climate, the trends will remain focused on natural fibres, colours and textures.

People, and companies responding to the requirements of the people will continue to build on using more sustainable natural materials.

People are also seeking that individuality in the items that they buy for their homes.  Where furniture and materials are made from more natural sources they naturally have a uniqueness through their natural “flaws”.

Past Times

1950's Style Interiors

Opulence of the Roaring 1920's coming through in fashion

When the economic outlook is bleak we tend to find ourselves looking to our comforts.  Whether this be our family, past era’s that evoked a symbolism or perception of opulence, family and happiness.  We look to objects, colours, fabrics which envelop these comforts and desires.  For example the 1950’s was percieved to be a homely era with the commencement of advertising and consumable products.  With the influence of programs such as “Mad Men” and a focus on the homely cooks of the modern era, trends are moving to pick up influences from this era. We also start to see a move towards the decadence and opulence of the roaring twenties in fashion trends, and the influences of cottage industry crafts of the family centred Nomadic cultures.

Nomadic Rugs


Cricket Bat Lamp

The trend for taking the old and making it into something new will continue as it encompasses our desire for sustainability and historical comfort.

“Patches of old tales retold in new stories”

Cadry's Vintage Patchwork Rug

Pop of Colour

Lift with a POP of colour

That is not to say that 2012 will ignore colour.  The block colour trend currently in our fashion houses will still be there but for the home it will be toned down to one or two small items which lift the natural and neutral tones that will continue to dominate.  An orange lamp, a red chair, an yellow coffee table or pink hat stand!

Bridging nature and technology

Encompassing many of the trends above will be the understanding that nature is our teacher. The study of how nature works and functions is likely to hold the key to how we can live sustainably in the future.  One study shows how this has been applied to the future of colour.  When you look at an insect through a microscope you see incredible coloured microstructures. There is much excitement about how these principles can be utilized to colour clothing, makeup, buildings, paint colours.  The argument being that by being “bio-inspired”, and using natures refraction of colour and design, we can reduce energy consumption and industrial waste.  This is an era of what we can look to learn from nature.

The bridge between nature and technology

It will be fun to see where 2012 goes……!


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Murobond Paints – Getting Creative With The Colour Style Book

Murobond is a boutique paint company based in the north of Sydney, they pride themselves on their “uncommon combination of creativity, intelligence and integrity”.  They predominantly produce a range of water based paints which are becoming more and more in demand with an increased focus on environmental impacts as well as the impact of breathing in the paint fumes on the individual using it. In addition to their core business they showcase Australian designer talent in their quaint showroom full of beautiful gifts.

Early in 2011 I was give the opportunity to put together a colour palette study for Murobond Paints in Sydney, for which I was over the moon to receive a “Highly Commended” Industry award for from Murobond for my creative use of colour.  Possibly it was this that gave me the little boost I needed to follow my little creative journey. The marketing contact of Murobond loves for little stories to be told as part of the submission, therefore we were required to put together some creative wording to sum up the palettes that were put forward in my book. If you don’t mind I would love to share….

Introduction and Inspiration

Autumn Breeze


“This picture took me back to my childhood where a brisk Autumnal walk was the family entertainment in replacement of the antisocial technological toys of today.  Where children learned about nature, or used the surroundings to ignite their imagination to play out simple games of “cowboys and indians”, “hide and seek” or “fairies and woodland elves”.  Where they fished, climbed trees and made catapults out of twigs and old elastic.

Nature has so many palettes, the subtle restful colours of a lakeside retreat or the drama of the elements so determined by Mother Nature.  The vibrance of the summer florals to the warmth of the autumnal leaves.”

"Autumn Breeze" Palette

  – – – Autumn Breeze – – –

“the freshness of the autumn breeze the warmth of the autumn leaves”

Mother Nature

"Mother Nature" Palette - Image by Rafal Tomal

“The extremes of Mother Nature provide much inspiration.  From the soothing palettes of a calm breeze, to the darkness of a storm.  From the whirl of the wind picking up the autumnal leaves, to the flight of the native birds.”

– – – Mother Nature – – –

“The colours of nature come through Mother Nature’s cooking pot.”

Birds In Flight

"Birds In Flight" Palette (image Dress by Alexander McQueen)

“The simple flight of the bird evoke palettes of many colours, mixing together with the flap of the wings. Ranging from the black and white of the graceful Swan, to the tropical vibrance of the Macaw.  The woody camouflage of the Tawny Owl, to the regal shimmers of the proud Peacock.”

– – – Birds in Flight – – –

“The flight of the bird encourages the flight of the imagination.”

Tall Poppies

"Tall Poppies" Palette

“Beside the drabness of a grey brick wall or a disused railway line pushes through the vibrance of a wild flower.  The Poppy stands proud with her vibrant red skirt flowing in the wind.  The Forget-me-not, so small yet, when joined together with it’s family shines a blue purple haze.”

– – – Tall Poppies – – –

“So proud Poppies stand amongst the neutral palette in which they grow”

Farmyard Chic

"Farmyard Chic" Palette

“So inviting is the warmth of the Aga in a farmyard kitchen, with the veggies fresh from the patch sitting proud on the kitchen table.  The chickens clucking as they lay their eggs for the farmer’s breakfast, or a cake served for afternoon tea.  The farmer sits in his old favorite chair by an open log fire with his faithful friend by his feet.”

– – – Farmyard Chic – – –

“So warming are the welcomes of a farmyard kitchen which celebrates natures offerings.”

Damask is the Rose

"Damask is the Rose" Palette

“So many palettes evoked from one flower, from dusky pink to a passionate red.  A vibrant yellow to a classic cream.  All emotions can be conveyed but…. just be aware of the thorn beneath the beauty.”

– – – Damask is the Rose – – –

“The roses beauty is closely guarded by the thorn.”

Natures Carnival

"Nature's Carnival" Palette

“Nature has an ability to meet every emotion from the elements, sunshine to thunder, from hot to cold, wet to dry, soft and hard.  Colour is no exception, with the bright pinks of the spring and summer to the burnt orange yellows of the autumn fire.”

– – – Nature’s Carnival – – –

“Celebrate the summer brights and winter warmths.”

A Summary

Colour Swatches of Palettes


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Great Ocean Colour Scene Part II – A Dash of Lime….Stone Coast

Birdcage Design - Limestone Coast Colour Palette and Mood board


Dreaming of fresh crayfish and a nice glass of wine? Nestled between the Victorian border and South Australia’s capital, Adelaide, the Limestone Coast is a region rich in maritime history, which it continues to celebrate.  Whether it be a little shack by the beach selling its fresh catch of the day, or vast tales of maritime bravery and ingenuity.

Once you have battled your way through the shell of the fresh Crayfish (fresh off the boat if you please), you can travel up to the vineyards and settle your thirst with a tipple or two.  The Limestone Coast is home to a vast array of wines whose flavours are derived from unique terra rosa soils, which coupled with the cooler maritime climate, create and nurture some of Australia’s most popular wines.  It would be rude not to sample!

And if that does not fill you up, will not find it hard to become a food groupie following the bi-weekly farmers markets around the region showcasing their fine produce.

Whist the main towns attract the tourists, they have remained quaint with the heritage properties of yesteryear. With little coffee shops, quaint homeware stores and antiquities along the way. And, if the need to walk of the excess should take you, you can be taken back to prehistoric times at the Naracoorte caves (that is if you can drive past the vineyards without temptation!!!)

So…… with colour in mind I used this as inspiration to put together a palette of colours and special finishes which could be translated into the home.

Basis for the palette…. So many of the region schemes are centred around either the cottage white look or the palette of purples and greens, no doubt influenced by the heritage, sea side and vineyards around.  I have continued to use the colours of the vineyard for inspiration but trying to look at what makes these vineyards so unique, that being the “Terra Rosa” earths and limestones, and the different seasonal colours of the vines themselves.  I have therefore centred the palette with more yellowy and rusty shades and accents, with ecological natural husk panelling and reddish limestone effect finishes. Given the cooling effect of the maritime air I wanted to warm it up a little…. perfect to cosy up with a nice bottle of Cab Sauv!

A little bit more information on the Limestone Coast…….

Where to stay……..

Merlot and Verdelho Townhouses - Penola

It really depends upon the time of year that you are going.  In Summer time Robe would appear to be the place to be making it very difficult to get accommodation until the end of the school holidays.  If this is your choice then you need to book well in advance.  It is a beautiful especially if you have a family as you have the beaches, cafes and are within an easy drive of all of the other major spots.

We were not quite so lucky in getting accommodation in Robe so we opted to stay in Penola, which is within the Coonawarra ( the wine region).  “Merlot and Verdelho Townhouses” are self contained luxury townhouses with 3 double bedrooms, and even a back yard and BBQ.  You are close to all of the amenities and Australia’s Newest Saint Mary Mackillop, should you choose to follow her trail.

Places to see……

The Limestone Coast is a vast area, so you will need a car to see everything.  Things that you should include are:

Australia's BIG Cray Fish - Kingston

BIG Crayfish – Kingston – Australia is pretty good at show casing what a town is famous for but the interjection of something BIG, and if you get the opportunity it would be an unforgivable offence not to stop and have your photo with one when they present themselves.  The Limestone Coast is not immune to this and has it’s own BIG thing in the form of a Crayfish (or lobster if you prefer). Allegedly the Shell petrol station across the road pays homage with a mean Crayfish roll.  They had none for our tasting, so let me know if they are any good!

Blue Lakes Mount Gambier

Blue Lakes – Mount Gambier – The blue lakes have formed in extinct volcanos in Mount Gambier. From November onwards the murky blue of the lakes turns into a unbelievable blue which almost looks superimposed.

Naracoorte Caves

Naracoorte Caves – If you are interested in a bit prehistoric history, they offer simple guided tours or for the more adventurous, adventure caving.

Where to eat……(oh and Drink!)

For a fine dining experience incorporating all the produce and wines of the region, tow places come highly recommended. Pipers of Penola offers a fine dining experience in a quaint church like building.  Run by a husband and wife duo who won the 2011 Regional Restaurant Award, it is  a welcoming cosy place with a beautiful local based menu to match. Hollicks wines “Upstairs at the Hollicks” is also pretty good too

Fresh Crayfish from Lacepede - Kingston

For good old seafood you Kingston’s Lacepede Seafood on the marine parade is great for a quick pick up and go, nice and fresh.

Wynns Coonawarra estate.
    Wynn’s Coonawarra Estate – Fab wine what more can I say!
On with the colourful journey…………
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Australia, Colour, Travel, Uncategorized


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Great Ocean Colour Scene Part I – Colouring Kangaroo Island

Birdcage Design - Colour Palette and Special Finishes for Kangaroo Island


A short dolphin spotting ferry ride from Cape Jervis is the virtually unspoilt nature, and foodies, reserve of Kangaroo Island.  This is definitely the place for someone who wants to get away from it all, and the site to cure the smart phone junkies of their addiction – no “Facebook” access for a week how to cope without knowing that John Smith is in the pub, or Joanna Bloggs is in the supermarket!!!!

As a result of it’s relative reluctance to succumb to fast food chains and the commercialism of its mainland relatives,  KI has a little magic for everyone, whether you love nature, surfing, food, the great outdoors, painting, photography to name but a few.  It moves you back into time when everything is catered to by the seasons, not by commercial demand. Food is seasonal, and natural wonders and wildlife are abbundant when it suits them as opposed to us.

From the softer side of nature with dolphins playing in the bays, kangaroos playing hide and seek in the shadow of the dusk, fairy penguins squawking and koala’s just “hanging”, to the rugged shores which carve into the iron rich rock formations and have been known to topple ships like toys.

So with colour in mind I used this as inspiration to put together a palette of colours and special finishes which could be translated into the home.

Basis for the palette…. focusing on the natural unspoilt surroundings of Kangaroo Island I have put together a natural palette, warming up with accents of the burnt reds and oranges in the rocks and the soothing lilac of the lavender fields. With ecological natural wood panelling and hardy stone effect finishes.

Our hat stand at Private Lifetime Retreats

A little bit more information on Kangaroo Island…….

Where to stay……..

There are a number of regions in KI all of which have their own special attributes.  It is easy to think that KI is a small Island when comparing it to it’s mainland cousin, however it is approximately 150 km from one side to the other, that coupled with only a one or two decent surfaced roads mean that you probably need to do a little bit of research about what you really want from the Island, as well as a bit of pre planning to ensure that you have enough supplies.


Lifetime Private Retreats Cliff House

For entire seclusion and luxury, (without the price tag of the Southern Ocean Lodge), the northern beaches will not disappoint.  The Private Lifetime Retreats gives you a choice of three individual lodges, all of which feel like you are the only person there. They are a little way from the stores and restaurants (that is unless you fancy playing dodgem with the kangaroos as you make your way back down the rough track roads at night).  With this in mind for a little extra you can get a personal chef to bring you a seasonal breakfast, lunch and dinner every day (bliss). They all share the small but picturesque Snellings Beach and you can even have your meals served up in the converted beach hut on the beach.

If you prefer to be closer to the main town then Kingscote is about 30 minutes drive from the ferry and has varying accommodation from individual houses to apartments for varying budgets.

Places to see……

There are too many to mention, they say 3 days gives you a taste and 7 days an experience of Kangaroo Island.  Things that you should include are:

Fairy Penguins at Kingscote

Night time spotting of the fairy penguins (leaves nightly from Kingscote Penguin Centre)- we were really lucky and had the equivalent of David Attenborough take us on the tour – we saw an abundance of penguins at nighttime, most of them shedding their feather in anticipation for their new waterproof coat coming through.

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable rocks – Flinders Chase National Park – These rocks have amazing red and orange hues as a result of the elements reacting with the iron ore running through.

Admirals Arch - Kangaroo Island

 Admirals Arch – In season this is a great place to come and see the sea lions play (fight).

Where to eat……

Chapman River Wines

Chapman River Wines

We did not eat out much on the Island but one place that is worth a mention to stop for lunch is Chapman River Wines.  Run by Diana and Bruce Keir who are as as wonderfully welcoming as they are colourful, the cellar door is in a converted aircraft hangar which is an eclectic collection of art work and curioso.  As a trained Potter Diana also has a studio which is part of the hangar itself. It is the kind of place where if your food is delayed (as they are making up a fresh batch of pickles) you don’t mind as you feel almost part of the family.

On with the colourful journey…………

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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Australia, Colour, Travel, Uncategorized


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Going with the Flo – A date with Florence Broadhurst.

Florence Broadhurst signature prints wallpaper fabric lifestyle floral design

Having started her wallpaper business at the tender age of 60 ( in the 1950’s), if anyone inspires you to refute the idea that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, or that you are too old to start a new (ad)venture, it has to be Florence Broadhurst. You only have to read about her colourful life, and, whether you take the positive or the more critical reviews of her, you cannot help by being intrigued by this red headed character.

Florence Broadhurst 1968

I was fortunate enough, late last year, to be able to have a tour of the library, printing and show rooms of “Signature Prints” which now own the exclusive world-wide commercial license to Florence Broadhurst’s iconic library of designs.  For anyone who gets the chance to visit the Rosebury showrooms in Sydney I wholeheartedly recommend it.  Helen and David Lennie were the perfect hosts who showed, not just the products, but also gave an insight into how “Signature Prints” has really brought Florence’s work back to life.  They generously organised for us to see the the printing in process even letting us have a go at screen printing one of the iconic wallpapers which are still hand made to order. It certainly makes you appreciate the work that goes in to hand printing wallpaper.

Samples of Florence Designs

Even more fascinating was that they shared insights on how they are continuing to grow their business, and the Florence Brand.  Lets face it wallpaper, like many consumable items is something which goes in and out of trend. I have to admit that before spending the morning with Helen and her team, when it came to specifying wallpaper, I had terrible flash backs to the 70’s and 80’s where people appeared to wallpaper anything that stood still, with the matching borders and stenciling to boot.  The horror stories of people putting the patterns upside down, trying to wallpaper behind toilets and pipes (rather unsuccessfully), or the hours of trying to remove the damn stuff, then trying to re decorate.  But with new technologies, designs and the quality of hand made papers such as these it is not hard to see why they are well and truly back in fashion with the right space .

Kate Spade's Florence Collection

There may, however, come a time where the trends in our coffee table magazines demand that wallpaper needs to take a break for a little while. As such, it was interesting to see how Helen and David have looked ahead to allow selected prints from the 500 plus Broadhurst designs to be used by other designers / manufacturers such as the high end rug manufacturers Cadrey’s, and Knots.  Helen was also keen to tell us the news that they have more recently given the New York fashion label “Kate Spade”  the exclusive use of 12 Broadhurst prints which will be used for clothing, jewellery, shoes, handbags, stockings, luggage, tech accessories and even a Vespa motorcycle.  This new range is set to be launched in New York in February 2012, and whilst it is a little sad that there is no Australian launch date yet set, Helen and David are excited at the prospect that an Australian icon has been “exposed to a bigger environment than just ‘Helen and David Lennie’s world of wallpapers and fabric’s’.”

Above is an example of Broadhurst’s work inspiring others in more ways.  Emma Hack a Skin Illustrator taking body art to a new level.
For those who like a little history…………………

By way of a bit of history, born in 1899, Florence Broadhurst began her career as a singer, which took her  to India, South-East Asia and China in the early 1920s. She then founded an arts academy in Shanghai in the late 1920’s before moving to London where she married a stock broker and reinvented herself as Madame Pellier, running a fashion Studio named Pellier Ltd, Robes & Modes on Bond Street. She met her second husband, Leonard Lloyd Lewis, in 1935 and had a son, Robert, in 1938, before moving back to Sydney in 1949, where Broadhurst took up painting. Broadhurst established Australian (Hand Printed) Wallpapers Pty Ltd., which later became Florence Broadhurst Wallpapers Pty Ltd in 1959 at the age of 60.

Ten years later Broadhurst moved her business premises to the now very fashionable Sydney suburb of Paddington.  Broadhurst was, according to her son a “dramatic, original and clever” designer, who was “ahead of her time”. She stayed abreast of technical innovation, sourcing specialty papers from the United States and developing waterproof protective film to protect her wallpapers from staining with the help of an industrial chemist. Florence resisted the temptation to wholesale her products and continued to hand craft her wallpapers and textiles.

When I read Florence’s story I find it incredible that a woman of her era achieved so much, we only have to look back depictions of women trying to break through in business in the 1950’s and 1960’s in popular TV drama’s such as the “Madmen” show, or listen to our grandmother’s story’s to know that it was no easy feat for a woman to play in the world of business during that time.  Unfortunately, Florence met a gruesome tragic end, being murdered in 1977 in her Paddington Studio, to date the murder (while many theories have evolved) remains unsolved.

That said there is a lot of speculation around whether Florence actually created her own designs, one argument being her well documented failing eyesight, which many commented left her barely able to read a menu let alone produce the intricate designs.  One journalist refers to Broadhurst as “very Sydney”, a colourful , brazen character with a reputation of enjoying the “celebrity seeking” champagne lifestyle. All of these views adding together to perhaps assist one designer in referring to her as “an opportunistic con-woman”.

There are also accusations that Florence exploited her staff, employing talented and bright kids with below par wages.  That said, many in the design world today would be happy to work for little and nothing to get experience with someone who has established themselves within the market…. ?

Unfortunately a simple blog does not perhaps allow enough room to go through the whole of her colourful and, somewhat eventful life, but no matter what you make of Florence herself you cannot help but be intrigued by her legacy, as quoted in Vogue Living Magazine “[w]hen you play with Florence, the most amazing things happen”.  I just need to get those clients to play and get going with the Flo!!!!!


Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Australian Designers, Trends


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Get ready to Tango in 2012 – “Tangerine Tango” that is

Pantone Tangerine Tango

Subconsciosly the colours that we choose are affected by so many factors.  Of course there is personal preference, but so much of what we choose, and why we choose it is affected by the world and society in which we live.  I am sure we have all bought an outfit in some far reaching colour because our favorite fashion store or lifestyle channel guru has filled it’s racks with what the catwalk dictates.

So, behold, what is colour for 2012?…… Each year Pantone and it’s committee choose a colour which they feel represents a “prevailing mood in a single hue”.    For 2012, Pantone have announced that “Tangerine Tango” will take that title. The colour was chosen by the panel as a colour which would fuel us with the energy boost that we need to move forward in 2012, especially after the tumultuous year of 2011. Arguably Pantone do not choose these colours as an indicator of what someone should wear, or the colour that they should paint their house to ensure they are with the times, but rather they announce these colours as an expression of society’s mood or attitude towards the year ahead.  That said don’t be too surprised if your favourite homeware, fashion and make up stores start to show a movement towards this colour.

So why are we “Tangoing” for 2012.  Psychologically it is understood that orange hues radiate warmth and happiness and are believed to  stimulate emotional strength when times get difficult.  It helps us to bounce back from disappointment and despair.  This is possibly because we link it to the sunshine and fun times!!!  Although interestingly enough it is known to stimulate our appetites, so if you are trying to loose weight it may be best to keep away!!!  This is why many restaurants and eateries use varying versions of orange hues to stimulate your hunger and keep you eating….

From an interior perspective it may be a little bit too much to go all out and paint your house orange, especially if you are a neutrals and naturals type, but to inject a little bit of “Tango” into 2012 you can add accents by the way of cushions, accessories, appliances, vases or even book covers.  If you feel the urge to paint, then how about the inside of a cupboard or drawer, that way you get a little burst of sunshine every time you go to the cupboard without overtaking you whole house.

You can add a little burst with some accessories…..

Trim Phone Orange              Ridley's Space Hopper             Penguin Brighton Rock - Small Line Journal

Wild & Wolf trim telephone, Ridley’s space hopper (unleash the inner child…go on!!), Penguin journal, Marimekko “Balso protective bag”

………. or you can get a little bit more adventurous with rugs, fabrics and wallpapers….


Cadreys Florence Broadhurst “Japanese Floral” Rug in Tangerine, Marimekko “Kevatjuha” fabric

Orange Modern Dining Set from Pottery Barn

Or what the hell….. you only live once!!!!!

Inspiration Modern Dining Room use Orange Colour Design

What ever you choose enjoy the 2012 Tango sensation!!!!

Read a little more……

other images courtesy of

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Posted by on January 15, 2012 in Colour, Trends, Uncategorized


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