Breaking the blogging fast to do an update on Spring. I have completely skipped Winter - life has been very busy and I feel like I spend a lot of time drafting on my computer, so the last thing I want to do is write a blog post in the evening... and of course now that the weather has completely turned to extremely warm this week,  writing about what I did in Winter seems completely ridiculous. So, I'll try to update the past few months with more of a Spring theme...


There has been a little bit of travel in the past few months. In September I attended a Design Weekend with my friend Romy (her beautiful instagram is here, she no longer blogs) in New Zealand at Kauri Cliffs lodge. Guest speakers included Paul Bangay (one of Australia's better known Landscape designers), Thomas Hamel (whose career in Interior Design started at Parish Hadley in New York, and continued to Sydney and now part time back in the States) and Paul Swanson from Mossgreen (Antiques and Art gallery).

As you can see by the line up it was an ideal drawcard for both of us, and the added bonus of a long weekend escape from family duties with sleep ins and no meal prep. I have never been to New Zealand before, so this was a great little taste. We had a night on either side of the time at Kauri Cliffs in Auckland due to flight times and enjoyed exploring the waterfront precinct which is full of fashionable bars, cafes, restaurants and the best of New Zealand designer fashion (and some European labels too).

Kauri Cliffs, where we stayed, is about 4 hours from Auckland by car (there are flights from Auckland, but again they didn't line up well for us). It revolves around a golf course which I believe is very good (we are not golfers) and that has spectacular views over the water. Romy and I did quite a lot of walks in the areas, down to the beautiful pink sand beach as well as to other coves that had small streams running into them and that looked out onto jagged islands.

I took a lot of photos of details... the floors are apparently typical to this part of New Zealand and are large planks with mortar inbetween.

The hotel itself is beautiful, and worth a mention as it had many elements that you would feel inspired to emulate in a home. Kauri Cliffs is a luxe lodge, so it has the main old weatherboard house on the site which houses the restaurant, library, private dining rooms and lounges for guests, and then the guest lodges are set some distance away down a path. The interiors are really beautiful and had a sort of classic, rustic nautical edge to it. There's a mix of old and new furniture, pattern, and a play of scale that I found really interesting. I think in Interiors the one thing most people are afraid of is going big, particularly with lighting, but you can see how it was done really successfully here.

The talks themselves weren't aimed at design professionals, they were more overviews of the individuals careers, but I particularly enjoyed talking after Dinner one night with Thomas Hamel, who is the loveliest man, about all things design. The best part of the trip though was chatting with Romy about Art, Design, Books, Fashion and then the trials of life and motherhood in general.

The walls were a sort of shiplap with a wood effect to them. I think they were a gyprock panel system.

Work has been busy, but a lot of it is in the boring planning stages, so not a lot to show of interest. I have a couple of images of projects nearly completed. I do post more on Instagram... I had thought I'd never fully abandon the blog for it (and I'll try not to!) but it is a lot quicker and easier to upload a photo and brief description in the car while waiting for kids to come out of school...  Here are a few recently completed bits I haven't shared on the blog before

Window seat in a Library that I recently completed. The cushions were custom with applied braid. Walls are in navy blue grasscloth wallpaper that picks up the original stained glass detail in the window.

Beach house completed bedroom reflecting the colours of seaglass in blues and greens. I really love the fabric combos in this room.

The garage/ studio at our house has finally been finished. It was s.l.o.w going due to the render. The render is Venetian plaster, with Ashlar block impressions in it, and it is very finicky to apply due to sensitivity to weather conditions. Doing it in Winter meant constant delays, but it's finally all done (with a big of a clear out of builders junk still to go to finally finish for good).

Street view - the attractive pole is an iconic Adelaide invention from the 50's - the Stobie pole. Made of concrete and iron it is termite proof, and car proof too. 

view from the garden of the path down to the garage/ service area and the raised veggie beds. The hedge will grow and hide it all

We have landscaped the final bit of the garden down to the garage - this was a bit of work as we have a slope in our block, and so there were some retaining walls and paths that needed to be built. There are veggie patches in raised beds, and they're slowly coming along with some promising tomatoes on vines.

Ensuite in the upstairs Studio - round steel window and Bird and Thistle wallpaper. I did the internal doors as Beadboard.

My desk area - the rest is still a bit of a mess...

The rest of the garden has exploded this Spring, and it's really looking very established now, especially the front garden which is only 1 year old. I've been picking lots and lots of roses, and have had a couple of big sessions in the garden, but am still woefully behind on the weeding/ pruning schedule.

New lamps in the living area with roses from the garden

so many roses

back garden neatly clipped by Kurt.


While in New Zealand, I spied a dress in the window at Kate Sylvester. I think I could say it's the most perfect dress ever... it is made of light silk, so is perfect for a hot day, swishy, and very flattering hiding all sorts of sins. On me it comes below the calf and has a high elasticated neckline. I can't tell you how much I love this dress!! I was contemplating buying it in the other, bright, colourway. Her clothing in general is fab (despite some dubious fashiony styling with the models - the dress looks far better without trousers under it...!) and worth investigating.

Long term readers know I have a love affair with shoes, and this pair from Aquazzura that I purchased a few months ago from are perfect. I tend to wear fairly plain and unadorned clothes with a tailored aesthetic in Winter, so interesting shoes are always easy to include in my wardrobe. I also tend to wear flats most days due to all the running around/ schlepping of stuff I do and the persian carpet style print of these shoes really grabbed me. When I'm just wearing some dull outfit like a fitted chambray shirt and my favourite black Joseph stretch trousers that I've blogged about before it definitely makes it look more interesting. Of course it also helps that I had an electrician in fits of laughter on site when I wore these one day, and also that when I popped into a Trade agent in Adelaide I found that they matched perfectly with the Colefax and Fowler fabric range...

I have done so much reading lately. One book tends to lead into another...

Bunny Mellon's Antigua bedroom from "How they Decorated" 

Firstly, I bought "How they Decorated" which is a fabulous overview of well known personalities from the 20th Century and their Interior Decoration style. Many of the Interiors were very inspiring, and some of the Interiors that I found interesting were those of Bunny Mellon. Featured in the book was the house she had in Antigua in the 1960's, which featured painted floors (something she introduced to the US in concept), chintz and simple elegance.

Tory Burch's bedroom in Architectural Digest with painted floors and chintz

Then out came Architectural Digest, with Tory Burch's new house in the Hamptons on the cover, designed by Daniel Romualdez. The internet started swooning over the whole thing, from the picture of her in a Land Rover Defender (naturally), through to the immaculate perfection of the lettuceware table setting. But it occurred to me (and some others) that there was a lot of "inspiration" (not attributed) being drawn from other sources. Many credited the master bedroom with being a copy of Lee Radziwills. And it was, but I thought it reminded me strongly of Bunny Mellon's bedroom in Antigua....

Tory with her Diego Giacometti bronze table. These cost about $4.4 million at auction

And it was then that I started reading the new Bunny Mellon biography and read about how Lee visited her in Antigua, and how Bunny collected Diego Giacometti  bronze furniture (Tory's hall also has a bronze Giancomo table in it, pictured above), started the fashion for painted wooden floors and essentially Bunny was copied by Lee, was copied by Tory.

The Bunny Mellon book was a really good read- very balanced, but oh my goodness, was Bunny an unpleasant woman. She was really pretty mean to her children and grandchildren (or one child - she played favourites), and would cut off friends of many years standing for absolutely no reason. They'd just find she was no longer home/ answering their calls. She is a figured revered for her good taste in the US, ironically because she favoured stealth wealth and discretion over flashy logos etc (ironic because most of those that revere her would kill themselves to own a Hermes Birkin or some other uber status symbol) but it seems to me that it's not necessarily difficult to have good taste when your budget extends to Picasso and Monets and the ability to stack them one ontop of the other all through your multiple houses. She was a shopaholic, and would buy things every day, and at the age of 103 had 200 staff and 6 houses that she never visited. She left very little money to her surviving son and grandchildren, nothing to her great grandchildren (but money to staff, friends and to charity).  Her marriage to Paul Mellon wasn't a happy one (he had many affairs), and seems largely driven by her desire for a larger budget to create her perfect houses and to have the convenience of her own Boeing at her own private runway on standby. I've subsequently read reviews on Amazon of the book, and while many say a similar thing to me, there are a few reviews where the readers are still breathless over her good taste and billionaire lifestyle and seem blinded by the other aspects of her actual personality. It's a great read, and I recommend it.


Smoked Salmon and Asparagus tart

I use my grandmother's Quiche Lorraine recipe and adapted it - the pastry is excellent

1 Cup Flour - half plain (I like spelt, it gives a shorter crust) and half Self Raising
3Oz/ 90 Grams Butter chopped
1 egg
1 Tablespoon water

1 Cup milk
3 eggs
1 Tbsp Butter
4 Oz/ 120 Gram grated cheddar cheese
2-3 Spring onions/ scallions finely sliced
Parsley, dill and chives finely chopped
250grams (small packet) smoked salmon
1 bunch asparagus


Butter a 25cm Quiche or tart tin and set aside, preheat oven to 165C fan forced.

In a food processor whizz together the pasty ingredients until it just forms a ball, then place in fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

While this is chilling, combine the spring onions, cheese and herbs (I do these all at once in the food processor as I'm quite lazy on the chopping front... I also just chop the cheese rather than grate it). Add the eggs, milk, butter and combine in the food processor.

Prepare the pastry by rolling out and placing into the quiche/ tart tin. Add half the mixture, and place slices of smoked salmon all over it. Add the rest of the mixture and then add the trimmed asparagus on top. Grind over some pepper and salt and bake in the oven for 45minutes.

For Quiche Lorraine substitue the salmon for 3 rashes of chopped bacon, and the asparagus for slices of tomato.

Think that's enough for me for a bit! I'm so sorry I've been so absent from the blog - I'm not sure anyone cares that much one way or the other, but I'll try to drop back in and get back into the swing of things... I have missed it and constantly write blog posts about things in my head... it's just finding the impetus to get it out on the computer that has eluded me.

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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
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