Monday, 30 September 2013


Our Great Gatsby night out was so much fun!

After seeing all the beautiful flapper dresses and hearing all the jazz music, I was feeling a lot of love for the Roaring Twenties and have dug a little deeper to find out more about the Art Deco era.

Art Deco as an entity is falsely believed by many to have started at the International exposition of modern industrial and decorative arts which was held in Paris in 1925. However, it had been around for a couple of decades before then, starting around 1910 in Paris, when Art Nouveau began to lose popularity as it became mainstream. Art Deco then emerged, as an exclusive, luxurious style. At this time, it was little known outside of France. The expo was really the defining moment of Art Deco.This is where the movement would later get its name.

In this promotional poster you can see elements of the style. The font is crisp, showing an elegant yet simple style to the machine age. Yet on the other hand, the image is a woodblock print, emphasising the importance of luxurious handcraft to the Art Deco era. The Classical influence is clear with the man in the toga. Art Deco usually has a controlled reference to nature.

After the Great War, the twenties saw significant changes in lifestyle and culture. There was the introduction of telephones, electricity and motion pictures that accelerated consumer demand and aspirations. Along with the commercial development of luxury transportation, such as aeroplanes, cars, trains and ocean liners.With this new age of luxury transportation, people had a new found interest in travel.

French Colonialism, which in this era was at its height, exposed designers to new cultures and materials. France had large holdings in North and West Africa and South Asia and there were many influences from these ‘exotic’ lands.

In France, Art Deco combined the quality and luxury of French furniture tradition with the good taste of their classic style. Many designers were able to use expensive materials from these distant, pre-industrial places, such as exotic woods, lacquer and ivory in order to update their more traditional furniture. We can see the influences from Africa and Asia in the patterns and motifs used and this gave their designs a new modern look. These techniques along with the mixed use of bizarre materials like -
Shark skin and zebra skin made the Art Deco design highly sought after.

This cabinet references traditional forms of French furniture. But is inlaid with ivory, a reference to (and product of) the elephants of exotic Africa, where France had important colonies.The inlay forms a Classical urn holding cut flowers — again it's stylised and controlled nature as opposed to the wavy vines of the Art Nouveau era. Like much Art Deco furniture, this is low to the ground, with elegant lines.

The new style palette reflected a shift to light, neutral shades, with metallic undertones of silver and gold, added to sand, grey, beige, and peach. Exotic bold pastel accents were an iconic colour trait of the era.

Art Deco continued to sweep over Europe during the late twenties and early thirties. When it arrived in America, it became an instant hit. However, it was translated into more mass-produced, everyday goods and very much influenced by the times and what was happening in America.

America, was now a place dominated by a desire for speed, luxury and opulence. It was nicknamed the roaring twenties. The movie industry skyrocketed. “The Golden Age” and the Hollywood stars that graced our screens radiated with glamour and extravagance. This translated into our homes.

The 18th Amendment had banned the sale, transportation and manufacturing of alcohol, this resulting in a huge increase of gang activity, Al Capone being the most famous gangster of this time. It was the gangsters who dominated various cities and provided this commodity with their ‘speakeasies’, which are hidden sections of the establishments that illegally sold alcohol. Jazz music and many of the ‘speakeasies’ that played it became widely popular.

There was also significant change for woman, the 19th Amendment was lifted and they were given the right to vote. Woman then began to pursue careers and ladies fashion was redefined by the flappers.

Art Deco in the US was more focused on the efficiency of accessibility, mass production and the machine age. American Art Deco products had a more industrial feel. The modern marvels of automobiles, speedboats and skyscrapers referenced the geometric forms such as – spheres, polygons, rectangles, trapezoids, zigzags, chevrons, and sunburst motifs.

The world seemed to take on the theme when erecting new buildings. Architects across the globe designed buildings based on geometric shapes, and modern machine made materials like aluminium, stainless steel, Bakelite and chrome, These shapes manifesting themselves famously in the construction of the Chrysler Building, the tallest building in the world at its time.

By the thirties, Art Deco was used extensively for almost everything. It was even used for structures like churches, bridges and even a French ocean liner, the Normandie, the most luxurious ocean liner ever made.

Her interiors were decorated in Art Deco style, featuring a first-class dining room, longer than the Hall of Mirrors at (VER SI) Versailles. It was three decks high, and outfitted with endless crystal panels and chandeliersThe Normandie made her maiden voyage in 1935 with many aristocrats and celebrities on board, but she was soon left to idle in New York harbor because she was so costly to operate.

Just a few years later, World War II began. This war and the recession of the late 1930's saw the demise of Art Deco. To some, it was now being derided as vulgar. To others, it represented an image of luxury that was no longer in keeping with people’s dire financial situations. To those, who could still afford it, the sense of mass production was no longer appealing. 

Interestingly, the term Art Deco itself was not used until Bevis Hillier published his book entitled "Art Deco of the 20's and 30's" in 1968. This is when it made somewhat of a comeback in the sixties before making a bigger comeback in the eighties.

And with the recent release of Baz Lehrmann's, The Great Gatsby, staring Leonardo Di Caprio and Cary Mulligan. Art Deco is very much on trend again.


Saturday, 28 September 2013


Tonight DRM and I are headed to a Great Gatsby Ball. I'm so excited because the twenties are one of my favourite eras for design. 

To get myself in the mood, I just had to watch Baz Luhrmann's, The Great Gatsby, again. Then of course, I couldn't help but to start looking at Gatsby inspired interiors. 

Catherine Martin, is the very talented Oscar-winning designer behind the amazing, beautiful set design on the Film. I discovered she has designed a Great Gatsby inspired suite at The Plaza, New York, The Fitzgerald Suite, named after Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald regularly visited the hotel with his wife Zelda, and the suite is intended as a tribute to his legacy as well as a celebration of the film.
Located on the 18th floor of the building, the 900sq ft suite includes various Art Deco flourishes and pieces of period furniture, in addition to pictures of the author and his wife, and photos of the cast of the 2013 film. More unexpected additions to the décor include gramophone-shaped iPhone-compatible speakers and vitrines that will house sporting trophies supposedly won by Tom Buchanan, a prominent character in the film.

Catherine Martin, has also designed a line of rugs, these are available through Designer Rugs. I've been in love with the bedroom rug, above, for so long. 

The rug above is the same rug as featured in Gatsby's bedroom. And I am loving the wall panelling! 

The suite is elegant, opulent and glamorous, full of chandeliers, beautiful geometric patterns and all in a lovely achromatic colour scheme; white, black and greys. 

I think I have just found the perfect hotel room for my next trip to NYC - except for the fact that it costs almost $3000 a night!! I may just have to recreate a Gatsby suite of my own! 


Friday, 27 September 2013


Jungle fever. I have it.

I have not been able to stop thinking about the Martinique banana leaf wallpaper, that I posted yesterday, in Nicky Hilton Goes Bananas

We have very similar palms in one of our garden beds and I do love them so, they look lovely, green and lush. Sadly, they have grown into a massive jungle! I'm worried the massive trunks and roots will soon break the retaining walls! And I also may be a little scared to go near them - they are covered in spider webs!

So, unfortunately they may need to come out soon, for this reason I am thinking about the wallpaper as a substitute for my absent palms.....

The Martinique printed paper could possibly be the most recognised wallpaper in the world. It was made famous in 1942 when it was originally installed in the Beverly Hills Hotel. 

Since then it has graced the walls of many celebrity homes, such as Nicky Hilton and designers like Nate Berkus, seem to go bananas for it! If your memory serves you well, you may recall it was even used in Blanch's bedroom on the TV series, The Golden Girls?


A very similar pattern was designed by design icon, Dorothy Draper and named Brazilliance. Her wallpaper is equally as popular in the wall covering world and it famously hangs in the Greenbrier Resort.

I realise it is a big, possibly pricey, commitment to wallpaper these pretty palms on my walls....I am actually not even sure of a wall they would work on? Until I decide, I'll have to contain my fever by continuing to look at all the pretty palm interiors HERE.

And just when I thought there would be no cure....I have found this perfect little martinique inspired cushion on Etsy. This could be the answer to my jungle fever.


Thursday, 26 September 2013


I still want to add colour to my home but I have been unlucky in finding the right shade of emerlad green anywhere on my shopping haunts.

Instead, I have been lusting over all the emerald rooms on pinterest, blogs and the web. I've also been thinking about adding a pop of pink into our home and pink and green are a beautiful colour combination.

While on my quest of green and pink interior inspiration, I came across some gorgeous images of the fabulous, Don Loper designed, Martinique banana leaf wallpaper. 

It turned out to be, the recently sold LA home of socialite, Nicky Hilton.


Most of the house is decorated much like sisters, Paris and Nicky’s personal styles; Stark black and white patterns, pink furniture, loads of mirrors, lots of chrome and lacquer accents and shiny patent leather. 

However, I do love the banana leaf pattern wallpaper with the pink chairs. This is the same wallpaper that is installed on the walls of the Fountain Coffee Shop downstairs at the Beverly Hills Hotel,  incidentally, a hotel the Hilton family doesn't own!

Her dramatically decorated bedroom is in a very restrained, black and white colour palette. The headboard and bench are upholstered in patent black leather adding a rock edge to the elegant pieces.

In the living room she has carried through the bold, black and white palette. The white-walled room has glossy black mouldings and the large window overlooks the garden. She has upholstered the classic chesterfield in a luxe black leather and added contrast with the white wing chairs. A pair of chrome and glass bar trolleys and some white ceramic dogs frame the fire place. On the left side of the fire place she has hung an iconic 1955 photograph by Slim Aarons


What can I say, the girl has some taste....look at those grey walls, do they look a little similiar to my perfect shade of grey.....?


Wednesday, 25 September 2013


When the previous owners left the house, they took their wall mounted TVs and brackets leaving some big holes in the walls. However, they had installed an amazing surround sound system, including outdoor speakers, which was ours as part of the purchase price! 

As everything was already wired up through all the walls and ceiling, the easiest idea was to buy a new TV and bracket for the living room, use our current TV for the bedroom and have it connected up again.

I called the guys who had set up the system originally, Konnect Me Now, and had them talk me through anything I may need to purchase in order for the system to work. We ended up buying a few extras, a blu-ray player, apple TV and skype camera and bought a Samsung smart TV. 

We figured since the system was such a high quality system, we may as well utilise it and make it work to it's advantage with new quality equipment. 

I opted for a swivel bracket, unlike the previous owners who had a fixed. I can pull it out and tilt it towards the kitchen - just in case I'm ever stuck in there cooking! Better yet, I can face it towards the bi-fold doors onto the deck. This way, when I'm lounging out in the sun, I can catch up on some trashy  reality TV. 

I may have told DRM it would be great for the summer when he's out there with the boys, watching sport with a beer - sold!

After hours of drilling, wiring and tuning, we now have an sound system installed! And the sound is amazing! It even has the ability to have the outdoor speaker playing something different to the inside television or music. 

This was a splurge! But I really do believe some things are worth the splurge and other things are worth saving on - A little like, splurging on a quality handbag that you'll have forever. This wouldn't have been something that we would have spent the money installing but since it was there, we had to use it!

And we are both so glad we splurged because we now have the perfect home entertainment system.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013


Now that the walls are all the perfect shade of grey, It is time to focus on what will hang on the walls.

I have be debating over whether to hang a mirror or frames in the dining room. I want something that will make an impact and create a focal point.

However, I'm pretty certain that I want a starburst mirror (which I have been endlessly hunting for, with no luck) above the sofa so I think another mirror in the dining room would be just too close - so, I guess frames it will be!

Now, as for frames, what frames and what configeration? Then should they be black or white? And once that is decided what prints do I want in the frames? Decisions, decisions....

I went back to my past blog, Picture Perfect for some inspiration. I've decided I really like symmetry. I think nine square frames, three across and three down, so it makes one large square is what I will do. 

I love the white frames but I am going with black. I found perfect, affordable, square frames at Ikea

I measured the frames and the distance I wanted in-between each frame and marked the outline of all the frames with masking tape. This was great as I was able to see if I really liked the look of nine frames in the space - I did!

Because our walls are brick, I can't just hammer a nail into the wall, so I had to call upon my good friends husband, who is a tradie, to drill the holes for me. He did it in just a few minutes, it really helps having all the right tools - extremely handy having him so close by!

And here they are all hanging in the dining room....

Now, I just have to find the perfect photos or prints for the frames...more decisions! 


Monday, 23 September 2013


Remember the boring beige? It was everywhere and looked like white paint turned dirty yellow and it just had to go - immediately!

After three days of painting, our home was transformed into a beautiful, modern, chic, designer space - which I just adore! 

Have a look at my new perfect shade of grey.