Autumn leaves on a Crimson Glory vine

Well, it's been a long time. I have so much I've wanted to write about, that I barely know where to start, but thought, in light of the Corona virus worldwide lockdowns and some unexpected time, I would write a blog post that would take all our minds off the horror we currently find ourselves assaulted by around the world. So this blog post will be light in tone, and full of things I've found over the past months that I've been absent from here, and give everyone things to think about, read, and distract from daily reality.

Reading:



Books: I didn't get a chance to write on the blog when Jenny Rose-Innes published her long awaited book "Australian Designers at Home" in November, featuring the houses of 20 Australian Interior Designers.... and which includes me! If you haven't already bought a copy it's now available in the UK and USA, as well as locally, and features 20 Australian Interior Designers homes, all of which are very different from one another. It includes interviews with each designer on their design approach, how they became a designer, and the way in which they designed their most personal spaces - their own homes.




Magazines: For a long time the Australian Design magazines have been fairly uninspiring - they are all the same. So much so that I am suspicious we're actually purchasing catalogues, as the same Italian chair or designer light fitting will feature in literally every different house in the issue of the magazine, naturally alongside an ad for the store that supplies it.

For this reason my favourite design magazines are World of Interiors and English House and Garden. English House and Garden have very kindly put up their entire May issue free to download on their website. I always find interesting new sources for lights or fabric or garden furniture in this magazine, and really appreciate the fact that the houses featured aren't so overly styled as the Australian Magazines tend to favour - they feel lived in and logical (no chairs positioned in front of stairs for a shot). The actual website is also excellent with lots of links to articles from past issues - here's the link.


I subscribed to the online weekly newsletter Airmail late last year, and love it. It delivers a new edition once a week (Sunday morning here) full of interesting articles and recommendations that feels like a really good magazine section of a weekend newspaper. Based out of the USA, it has a global outlook, and a slight Vanity Fair-ish feel (the founder was a former Editor of Vanity Fair, so this is no coincidence). Link here


Watching & Listening:

Screenshot from Rita Konig's "Create Your Perfect Home" course

Late last year, Nicola Lawrence (who used to import beautiful fabrics and wallpapers to Australia) tipped me off that Rita Konig (English decorator) had put up a new online course, called Create Your Perfect Home, that brought all her knowledge and experience to you in your own home, and that it was excellent. Courses with Decorators have become very popular in Australia, generally focussing on Interior Decoration and overall style. I had been toying with doing 1 day workshops on renovating/ designing house extensions for those going it alone without a designer (rather than taking a decoration slant), however I think Rita has done such a good job of combining all of these things in her course that I, along with all the others, am now redundant. I really enjoyed her style of presenting, her advice echoes pretty much everything I've ever written about on this blog about finding your own style and designing for your actual life, and getting the fundamentals right first before fussing with the fabric on the lampshades, and I really feel given everyone is sitting around at home this is something that a lot of people will be able to take elements away from and action in their own home, even if her style is not your style. Given the high cost of the design days that have been offered in Australia, this is a very cost effective way of getting loads of useful information and sources. Link here


Podcasts are something I tend to listen to while I'm drafting in my studio, or driving a long distance in my car (I loathe commercial radio stations). One of my favourites is the House Guest podcast by English Country & Town style. They interview creatives in London - people that make things, antique dealers, decorators, designers of fabric etc. Really interesting and enjoyable. Link here

For those looking for something less home design oriented, and more intrigue/ history slanted the Podcast The Ratline, is excellent. A BBC investigation on the disappearance of a high ranking Nazi in the aftermath of the war, and where he ended up under a new identity it's hard to believe it's all true (he even had a movie acting career, and friends in the Vatican). It investigates his eventual death from poisoning (or was it). Completely gripping, not at all sensational, and excellently presented. Link here


Shopping:

I don't really have anything to show you on a "wearing" front, as I usually do. It's all the same old dresses on rotation. So I thought I'd share some furniture/ home things instead.

Sunny Stanton & Co

Firstly, I've been loving the "home" sections on companies such as Moda Operandi, Mr Porter, and Matchesfashion. They are full of beautiful glasses to drink an evening apertif in, things to set your table with, scented candles, throws and bibelots. These are items that are usually difficult to come by, unless you happen to be in the Cotswold and can visit Cutter Brooks shop


Sunny Stanton & Co

But closer to home, my friend Kal, whom many of you follow on his personal Instagram (he has amazing flair and style and for a long time I thought he as a decorator), opened a shop last year called Sunny Stanton & Co on Oxford Street, Paddington (Sydney). Like many small businesses things are hard at the moment to continue trading when no one is out and about. I've bought loads of lamps for clients from him since he opened, and he also has absolutely beautiful furniture that I've not seen elsewhere in Australia. Full of handy pieces like dressers, side tables, coffee tables (always so hard to find), porcelain like Blanc de Chine, ikat napkins and beautiful glassware he will ship anywhere in Australia and has a lot of things on sale at the moment. The shop Instagram is here .

Eating:

Dinner for two (not five)

We've been trying to support local restaurants who have had to close to dine in patrons, and are now instead doing delivered meals and trying hard to keep their staff employed. We are treating it like a night out, and ordering as if we were sitting in the restaurant, with a couple of courses, rather than just as the convenience take away usually is. One of our local favourite restaurants is Orso, so this was dinner last weekend (the children ate pizza elsewhere in the house) delivered by one of the chefs to our house from their shortened menu for home delivery. I'd set the table outside with my Juliska/ Isis Ceramics plates as it was one of our last warm Summery nights, and we told the children we were Out, not home, and didn't want to hear about who was annoying whom inside... this worked fairly well!



Like many, I'm finding the supermarket shop a completely depressing experience. Full of weirdos in pyjamas and gas masks hoarding toilet paper and flour, the shelves are empty of many pantry staples, such as bread. For those self isolating in metropolitan Adelaide, Skala Bakery are now doing free home delivery of just-baked bread, family sized quiche, pizza bases, Cottage pies and little sweet treats like lamingtons, hot cross buns and donuts. They have an easy to use online shop and I highly recommend it, particularly if you're stuck at home now trying to home school your children....! Link here



New garden terraces

Lastly, many in Adelaide are aware that late last year we listed and sold our house. This was because, slightly spontaneously (we were not actively looking), we found a new one that we couldn't let get away. The new house is quite a long term project - there is an 18 acre heritage listed garden, and a large-ish heritage listed Georgian style house that needs a little bit of revamping (starting with the electrics - I am a big advocate of always doing the rewiring of an old house before you move in). It's going to keep me busy for some time to come. I will try to post some bits and pieces on the house, and have been sharing tiny snippets on my Instagram account.

Here in Adelaide this weekend has been wet, and cooler....the days are shortening and day light savings ended this morning. Leaves are changing colour and in this strange new world we live in it feels rather like the end of time..... things are slowing down. I've been baking cakes, making easy family meals, and spending a lot of time reflecting. I know a lot of people are feeling lonely, frustrated and anxious. I hope you manage to find some things in this post to take your mind off things and bring some respite and peace.

9 comments:

  1. So good to see you back Heidi! A lovely surprise to see a new blog post up in this world of craziness. It is certainly a challenging time for all of us as we navigate uncharted waters. I have been keeping busy this weekend making soup, banana bread and cleaning my house. I work in the travel industry and I am very fortunate to still have my job - will be doing some training courses whilst it is quiet, but who knows what the future holds. Your new house project sounds really exciting, I bet you can't wait to get stuck into many projects. Home-schooling children does not sound like fun, glad both my boys have finished uni now. We have been supporting local businesses as much as possible by having dinner "out" at home too. Don't need to worry about a designated driver when you are eating at home! Take care in these trying times I and hope you have a good week. Jo xx

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  2. So nice to hear from you Jo! Home school has added another layer of complexity to life, that's for sure! While the school has put together a good curriculum for the different ages, I'm not sure it translates so well to junior school age children, and my youngest's personality!!
    I'm glad to hear you've still got your job - very fortunate given how many have now lost theirs in the past few weeks. Very hard times and we're trying to support small business as much as possible. Lovely to hear from you and take care! xx

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  3. Great to read a new post from you Heidi. I do enjoy reading what you have to say. I'm a big podcast listener so have downloaded Ratline which sounds intriguing.

    In this time of madness I have been reviewing a lot of real estate listings and have noticed the past couple of years the trend seems to be focused on lets post pictures of beautifully styled rooms, ie show me a buffet full of candles and bric a bac, vs actually showing me the size and layout of the room. I also notice the latest trend is to stick people in the photos, I'm wondering is that a trend to try and make me think I too could have that lifestyle? Personally I want to see the house, show me a picture of the bathroom no matter how bad it is, so I can at a glance work out how big it is.

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    1. I've noticed that too - in fact I told my agent that I didn't want any photos of our furniture, but room shots instead. It seems to be that they need to sell a lifestyle, but they're also filler photos when they're selling a smaller house and have 30 photos to upload in their website package! Most people can't visualise living in a house any differently from how they currently live in their current house though, so I can see why the agents have gone this way. Thank you for your comment! I wasn't sure anyone was now reading the blog, so I'm very much appreciating those that have left me comments. x

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  4. I love, love, LOVE Rita Konig! I met her in Selfridges in 2004 - a real thrill!

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  5. Hi Heidi
    Thank you so much for a new post . You are always interesting and inspirational . I loved Jenny Rose Innes book it is an excellent read and congratulations on your inclusion with all the famous names ( sure you are famous in South Australia ! now the world !)
    Did one of the Masterclasses at Mount Macedon last year BEAUTIFUL day out ! It was my birthday treat including three days in Melbourne ...eye wateringly expensive. Really well attended by lots of country people ( think we all have FOMO) A lovely one off .
    Have you read Lady in Waiting by Lady Anne Glenconnor? Highly recommend! She was doing a speaking tour of Australia in June sure that won’t happen �� Best wishes for your new house ! Maybe you can have open day for charity when you have weaved your magic and all of us who love your work can come and have a look . ( Presumptuous I know ...just a thought ..)
    Thanks again for another interesting thoughtful post . Off to the depressing supermarket...trying to shop small biz where possible ...stay sane. Happy Easter x

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  6. Not sure if my previous reply reached you ...but thanks so much for this interesting post . You always write so well . Your new house looks amazing! Can’t wait to follow the progress. Happy Easter ! Stay sane c

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  7. Glad to see a post Heidi. Thanks for the inspiration and links in the post. How exciting for you with the new house. Hopefully the current situation doesn't hold up the renovations too much.

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  8. Great post, thank you! I am also self isolating in Metropolitan Adelaide and agree on all points - Skala Bakery a hard yes from us.

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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