Monthly Archives: June 2012

Hollywood Influence – From Film Roll to Roller Blinds


Not many textile designers can say that they have an Academy Award nomination under their belt, but Sydney based Kerrie Brown can claim just that.  Taking the influences of her 25 years as a set decorator, Kerrie has launched a dramatic soft furnishings collection which has created a limited edition range of lampshades, cushions, blinds and tableware.  Kerrie uses her research of different centuries and cultures, which she used to decorate a number or well known film sets, and fuses these together with a luminous colour palette to give original mix of “whimsy, sophistication and fun.”

kerrie_brown_hero - Habitas living

Kerrie Brown – Source Habitas Living

Kerrie has worked with industry greats such as George Miller (on Babe), Phillip Noyce (The Quiet American), John Woo (Mission Impossible) Andrew Adamson (on The Chronicles of Narnia) and recently Guillerno Del Toro (on the soon to be released Don’t be Afraid of the Dark).


la grande tour

Botanticals, Historical cities, urns and female historical figures all provide inspirations for the prints included in Kerrie’s range…. Whatever your colour palette there is something to suit.

  s5403 s4983 s5391 s5293

Roller Blinds

One of my favourites has to be the whimsical roller blinds which allow you to bring a little bit of historical architecture into even the most modern of interiors…. For example the chandelier below…

 …. or L’occupation Kitchen blinds….




The perfect way to add a little drama and or colour to your interior….

Whimsical Wallpaper

For those of you who want to go the whole whimsical hog, then Kerrie has also launched a wallpaper range…. … these are ordered by the metre and are available in wallpaper or upholstery fabric…
So whilst the big and bold may not be for everyone, those of you searching for a little whimsy can still indulge with a small piece here or there…. or maybe it is time to embrace your inner theatrical and go for the all out dramatic statement using the wall paper or lighting….
….on with the colourful journey…..


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A Penny For your Thoughts – Johnny Swing

sculpture made from coins

Ever wondered what to do with all of the loose change that you find down the back of the sofa?  Well you could make a new sofa… I rather suspect that would take a long time, and would certainly bring a new meaning to saving up for your furniture… but for those of you guys who hate loose change dragging down your trousers… this could be the solution. Although a bit of welding experience might be required.

Vermont based Johnny Swing is a trained sculptor and licensed welder, who uses found materials and objects to repurpose into art, furniture and more.   His lecturer once stated that if Johnny had designed the Pyramids they would have been built with the point in the ground.

coin sculpture

Swing says it “was about taking what was a useless piece of money and kind of making it special again.” With this idea in mind he constructed his first piece out of pennies. What many consider America’s most disposable piece of coinage suited his purpose perfectly.

Sourcing pennies however was not without it’s problems. After 1981 pennies were made with zinc, which caused them to disintegrate when welded together. Finding thousands of pennies dating before Reagan took office made an already labor-intensive process even more of a chore. So he moved on to Nickles, which with about 7,000 coins in the average couch it equates to about US$350…. But don’t think that the sale price is determined by the value of the coinage used!  Given each chair on average takes about 300 hours to produce and 35,000 welds it is probably not surprising that they sell upwards of US$100,000!

All the kings men johnny swing 7 Audacious Sofa Made from Coins by Johnny Swing

For those of you who wonder what happens to all of those jars that the coins are collected in…well they do not go to waste either… introducing the “Jardelear”

And well if the idea of sitting on something cold and hard is a little bit too much to bear…well Johnny has thought of that also….. with a dollar teddy or piggy bank to snuggle up to.

Coin Furniture & Currency Textiles - Photo

For those of you who were bought up on an understanding that it is an offence to deface money…. on calling the US treasury he was “it’s your money do what you want”…and if you can make US$100,000, out of $350… one might say good on you… although I am sure treasury and the IRS will have the last laugh when they send him a tax bill!!

Well this certainly brings a new meaning to look after the pennies and the pounds (or should I say dollars) will look after themselves…good on him!

……On with the colourful journey……..


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From Shopping Trollies to Airplane Wings……


As you have probably noticed I could write a million posts on upcycling.  With my “why did I not think of that??” mentality calmed down with the, “OK so really would I be willing to create a new book-case out of several egg cartons and washing up liquid bottles and sell it on etsy?” reality check, I constantly marvel at those who do look at a bath tub, shopping trolly or milk crate and create a masterpiece that would not look out-of-place in a high-end home.   Upcycled (whose signage is above) have created a great website which celebrates this initiative and creativity, inviting students through to established designers to showcase their upcycling talents… so if you are into making a new treasure from trash and your imagination then just send them an email together with a few photo’s to promote your sustainable talent.  Whilst they are based in the UK I don’t think that they are only showcasing the British talent.

So now it is time for me to showcase one of my fave finds…..


Q….what do you shopping trolleys, bath tubs and surf boards have in common???

A…….They are all forms of seating of course……….


Reestore take everyday waste objects and playfully upcycle them into beautiful accessories and functional pieces of furniture.  Thanks to some additional funding from the TV show “The dragons Den” they have been able to upscale their projects further. All have a little story attached so these new treasures do not forget their roots so to speak.. for example “Annie the shopping trolley chair is perhaps the most iconic of ditch fillers.” Date of Birth 2001… Occupation: I used to be a shopping trolly.  


And I would like to introduce you to Deborah…. yes you have guessed it she used to be an airplane wing.  I love the fact that Reestore request that you call them before ordering as wing styles may vary depending on what they have in stock… meaning no Deborah will ever be the same!


Once you have these pieces of furniture if you find that a little someone is missing in your life to snuggle up with on your new bath couch, or you need someone to listen intently to your business plans drawn up on your airplane desk…. then do not despair, let me introduce you to George, Rocky and Karis.


Every George is different and has a belly button and kiss on the bottom.  They are also able to make one up in your own material if you would like George to match your decor! Or if a cat or bunny is more your thing then you may like Karis and Rocky who are calling you to adopt them….

Rocky and Karis

On with the colourful journey………….


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Dishing up Canvas – Little Owl Designs

Portrait in blue

When finding material for my blog it is amazing what you stumble on, through my search for talent to star in my “Plate Up” post last week I happened upon the folk from Little Owl, who have also collaborated with Leslie Oschmann who I posted on yesterday.

Little Owl is the creation of the creative forces of Bruce Wayland and Marcello De Simone.  As with Leslie they have a common love for the flea markets which they have intertwined with their backgrounds in Art History, Fine Art, and a little culinary je ne sais quoi. The result is something unique which gives a new lease of life to something you may well find at the back of a kitchen cupboard or the garden shed…..

Altered Perspectives

It is with this recipe of influence, and possibly through inspiration of their collaborative work with Leslie they have put together “Altered Perspectives” which uses old china and oil canvases to produce a picture of a different form.  With many of the March 2012 range already being sold out, it is obviously a popular one off piece to dish up on your wall…. Here is a little taste.



la Serenata

La Serenata

Three Masted Ship

Three Masted Ship



Fauve Chinoise

Fauve Chinoise

“Many designers currently regard finished consumer goods as raw material from which to create new and exciting objects.

Little Owl has taken two usually separate objects [Paintings & Blue and White Transferware] each containing scenes, or ‘perspectives’,

and through artful alteration produced unexpected new images from the combination of both.

The juxtaposition results in something that becomes a conversation piece as the canvas of the painting merges with the printed images of the plates.

A landscape painted in the Netherlands blends into an English country scene on the plate, and in the process a new image is made through the merging of both.

The roughness of canvas from the paintings and the smooth gloss of the plates makes for an appealing contrast of surfaces.

 As each set in the Altered Perspectives series is made from different paintings, and plates made by various producers of European tableware, each finished set is unique.”

Birch in the mustard field

Birch in the Mustard Field

Such a fun way to make a feature….. On with the colourful journey….


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Swarm – Manipulating The Masters


Swarm is the Amsterdam based design studio of Leslie Oschmann.  Previously working as a visual director for Anthropologie, watching it grow from ten stores to eighty stores, Leslie is no stranger to beautiful objects. The influence of such a background can be seen in her design work.

Using reclaimed objects found through scouring Dutch flea markets, a French home or a Belgian Antiques store, Leslie creates something which purveys a new purpose, yet preserves the natural charm of it’s original state.

The object of choice for the majority of Leslie’s work would appear to be the oil painting which presents itself in several guises throughout her portfolio.

As with many designers who enter the genre of “up cycle”, Leslie seeks to make people stop and think about every day objects….

From shopping bags………


To cabinets…..


…To seating, tables and chairs….



…. to an update of the painting itself….well if your subject is wearing the wrong colour tie why not change it!?


My favourite… possibly because I am still fresh from my post on using plates earlier this week would have to be Swarms collaboration with Little Owl, to produce these…. a little more on this will follow tomorrow…..

Floral Blue & White Plate Collage, 2010-Floral Blue & White Plate Collage, 2010

Fatherly influence

Leslie’s passion for her work comes from the age of five when she used to help her father who was a carpenter.  These influences are prevalent in her work for the “altered ego” chair projects.

From the coat hanger and spindle…….

Hanger & Spindle Altered Ego Chair, 2010-Hanger & Spindle Altered Ego Chair, 2010

…”The Hanger and Foot”….

Hanger Foot Altered Ego Chair, 2010-Hanger Foot Altered Ego Chair, 2010 the..”twisted roots chair”

Twisted Roots Altered Ego Chair, 2010-Twisted Roots Altered Ego Chair, 2010

On with the colourful journey………………….


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“Cor Blimey Gov” – It’s the Queens Jubilee

Jubilee Celebration Tea Towels

(source House of Holland UK – Tea Towel)

Well the Brits will be enjoying a nice long weekend to celebrate the Queen’s sixtieth year on the throne. To help them along many of the london designers have put together a great range of fun and kooky memorabilia to clutter up the kitchen….. so I thought I would share a couple. P.S I cannot promise that my post will not contain some very bad cockney rhyming slang…but just humour me!!

 Firstly we have the “Pretty Women” moment tea towel above from the House of Holland, I possibly could not say that I am “THAT” excited, but I am sure that someone would be.

‘Av’ a Cup Of Rosy Lea”

No Jubilee would be complete with out a truly british cuppa, and well if you cannot be there to personally raise your pinky and nibble on a choccy Hob Nob with the lady of the moment, then how about sharing it with the next best thing from Emma Bridgeport.

Personalised Diamond Jubilee 4 Cup Teapot Personalised Diamond Jubilee 8 1/2 inch Plate Personalised Diamond Jubilee 1 Pint Mug

You Either Love It Or You Hate It

Well as Vegimite is to the Aussies as “Marmite” is to the Brits, the jubilee would not be complete without a special edition jar dedicated to Her Majesty…. Helping her to put on a right Royal spread (yep the puns are getting bad!)….

And for those of you who like a little marmite on your soldiers…. keep your boiled egg warm with a celebratory egg cosy from Emma Bridgeport….

Diamond Jubilee Egg Cosy and Jam

Which leads me to my favourite little Jubilee gift, for under a tenner… Yes you can dunk your own little perfectly cut soldiers with this egg cup and soldiers cutter set….”Lubbly Jubbly”!!!

Soldier Egg Cup and Toast Cutter

Are You Sitting Comfortably

Now I am not sure whether you could be sent to the Tower for sitting on the Queen so I will watch what I say here….. so here is a “rather delightful” cushion from Francois Clerc

Cushion /// Queen

For all you Corgi Lovers out there….

Don’t forget the dog….. or cat if they are game enough to eat out of these personalised dog bowls….

Personalised Diamond Jubilee Small Pet  Bowl

Or for the owner… these Ted Baker cufflinks

CORGUF - Corgi cufflink
 …Or for the corgi loving Majesty with everything….. How about this decanter and glasses from Asprey in the UK…if money is no object m’lady….
 Click To Zoom in/out
Click To Zoom in/out

Call in the lady in Waiting…..

No Jubilee would be complete without the Britania wardrobe….. So how about these Vivienne Westwoodesque “Rule Britannia Tights” from House of Holland….

Rule Britannia Tights

If you prefer a bit of the real Vivienne Westwood then you could go all out with her special collection…. and I have to say I LOVE this dress…. ( which I would probably wear without the tights!!)

And finally…. you would not be complete without a little scarf “70’s punk influence of course”….. such as this Age Of Reason Union Jack design scarf featuring their signature punk pug in regal costume and the phrase “God Save the Queen”. Framed by giant safety pins. Tie it to your wrist, wear in your hair, or just wave it jauntily as Her Majesty goes by.
However you celebrate the jubilee wishing you a “Right Royal Knees Up!”………
……On with the colourful journey……

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Safari Style – Accessorise from the Jungle

SouthAfricaRailSafariStyle179323 2 1024x682 Train Safaris In South Africa

I would not exactly describe myself as a leopard skin kind of girl….Perhaps it was growing up with Bett Lynch on the British Soap “Coronation Street” that swayed my opinion…. so when it comes to the idea of safari style I am probably more “Ernest Hemmingway” than “Tarzan of the Jungle”.

Whilst it is not the purpose of this post to give you a lesson on making your home look like a safari camp decked with Blunderbuss’, and trophy skins… nor to produce a barrage of Ralph Lauren styled shoots, I have stumbled upon a few cute little items which could be used to accessorise and add a subtle hint of safari to your home or kids space…… Not a drop of blood in sight….!!!  Happy cruelty free hunting!

Savannah Story Busts

If you like the idea, but not the “actual” product of an animal head adorning your walls, you could try these somewhat cheaper papier mache Savannah Story Busts from Anthropologie.  They are possibly a bit easier to get through customs as well!!!

Savannah Story Bust has created these very cool papier mache animal heads as wall decor for a child’s play room or living room area. <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> — $68 each<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> For further info check out:

Savannah Story Bust has created these very cool papier mache animal heads as wall decor for a child’s play room or living room area. <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> — $68 each<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> For further info check out:

Savannah Story Bust has created these very cool papier mache animal heads as wall decor for a child’s play room or living room area. <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> — $68 each<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> For further info check out:

If you have limited wall space, or prefer that your wall hangings to have a purpose, then how about these encased hooks from Anthropologie….. perfect to hang up your handbag ….or even that Blunderbuss…. after a long day of hunting the shops or jungle…..

Supporting the Traditions

For those of you who have a little social conscience then Tractor Home may be the perfect place for you to start.  Tractor Home is an Australian based wholesaling business selling a wide range of gifts and home wares from Africa and its surrounds.


Most products are produced by the local crafters who artistically turn trash into amazing objects for the rest of the world to enjoy (so perfect for the up cyclists amongst you).

“By marketing these products Tractor Home is creating employment for disadvantaged communities where there is a high level of poverty and unemployment. These communities have no backup from social services and rely on our selling their goods so that they can survive.

All artisans and craft people are paid fairly, at a rate that they agree on.

All products are hand crafted and therefore each piece is unique.

Tractor Home is attempting to empower the lives of these people who creatively produce these products.”

Here are a few examples of the “Shady Bird” lighting range….porcupine spines…

 Unfortunately Tractor Home is wholesale only but you can purchase through Safari Living.

Shady Bird 
Or for those wanting something a little softer…. these fab embroidered pieces from Heartworks Stitching Club in Cape Town are one of their popular finds!  Each piece is embroidered and appliqued completely by hand, ensuring no two designs are ever exactly the same.  This inspiring initiative now employs and empowers many local women in Cape Town.

So are you Ernest Hemmingway or Tarzan????

For those of you who would like a little more Ernest Hemmingway then how about this Safari Chair from Thomasville…….

For those who are eager to unleash the Tarzan from within…you could go a Elson&Company bold fake zebra print rug…..


Whatever your style enjoy the hunt…..

On with the colourful journey…….


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