Where is your next piece of furniture coming from?

Time to ditch the Throwaway culture

Kerb side collections, like them or loath them, are part of daily living in today’s society. So let me ask you, have you ever looked closely at what people are throwing away?    Of course I’m pretty sure you haven’t plundered through your neighbours “rubbish”, but it’s hard not to notice the sheer abundance of discarded furniture piled high along grass verges, just waiting for council pick up.  If you have looked closely, you will notice that more often than not, the items that are thrown away are fairly new pieces! 

It is no secret that our goods are no longer being passed down through the generations; rather, as with the kerb side collection pieces, they end up in landfill sometimes after only a few years of use!

While our disposable culture is undoubtedly an underlying cause, the poor quality of modern furniture is also a major factor. A lot of new furniture is generally useless after only a couple of years, particularly anything mass-produced at the cheaper end of the market. While some do try to restore these products, unfortunately many are made with engineered wood and plastics, which can’t be sanded back and restored.

So what can we do about it?

Most importantly we need to change our approach to purchasing furniture.  We really need to consider the quality and longevity of each piece, how it is made and of course what products are used to make it.  By offering local craftspeople the opportunity to create beautiful bespoke pieces from local, ethically sourced products, not only can we produce well designed furniture which will look great and last a lifetime, we can also address many of the environmental impacts associated with buying mass-produced from overseas.

There are thousands of highly skilled craftspeople in Australia, who can either help you restore or transform good quality furniture into a more contemporary design, or who can create your perfect new furniture piece to your exact specifications.

At all times, we need to look at sustainability, and ensure that what we use today will have a positive impact on tomorrow. So when you are choosing your next coffee table, think long term, think sustainable, and support local trades by creating a beautiful design that you and your family will love for many years to come.

Buy cheap, pay twice, Buy once, buy well.

Images reproduced with the kind permission of Cameron from Maki-Maki - see www.makimaki.com.au

 

 

 

 

Selling your home? Are you showing your property at its best?

As we move towards the weekend, during one of the busiest times of the year for real estate, I thought I'd kick off 2017 with a word or 2 on how to make sure you are getting the best from your home sale!  

Today's real estate market is fast paced, dynamic and incredibly competitive. When you place your home on the market, it can get lost in the 'sea' of properties currently listed. The internet is the first place your property will be seen by your buyer, so grab this opportunity to MAKE THE BEST FIRST IMPRESSION.  Having a beautifully styled home will give you that opportunity before potential buyers step through your front door. 

Statistics show:

  • You only have 15 seconds and one chance to make a great first impression.
  • The longer your listing is on the market, the lower the selling price will be. A well styled home spends 50% less time on the market and sells for at least 7% more than a non-staged home.
  • A potential buyer spends 5 minutes in a vacant house on average and lingers for 40 minutes in a well furnished and attractive home.
  • 9 out of 10 people cannot visualise how a property could be without the help of a professional property stylist.
  • Styling helps the potential buyer emotionally connect with the property – it allows them to mentally move in, not move on!
  • An investment in property styling now, is significantly less than a price reduction later.
  • Styling helps sell your home online – where 90% of buyers begin shopping – make those interior and exterior photographs fabulous!

A great property stylist will help you achieve the return you want through creating beautifully styled spaces which suit your target market. 

Are you showcasing your property at its best?

Call Design & Co 0409 309 036 for further information.

 

 

 

Hot Trends for 2017 - Article for The Australian Furniture Association

Hot trends for 2017

Now is the perfect time to shake off those “Winter Blues” and create a new look for your home to make it Summer ready!  

Grainne Devlin, Creative Director at Brisbane based Interior Design firm, Design & Co shares her insights into the 5 hottest trends to help you get your home ready for the coming season.

  1. Show-Off your clutter

"The days of absolute minimalism have gone", says Grainne, "it’s now time to make your house look like a home again! We’ve been hiding our precious treasures away for too long, its time to create beautiful visual displays and put the detail back into our houses, making them softer, cosy and more lived in. Don't go overboard though - too many pieces on display and it can become overpowering!" 

 

2.  Metals, Metallics and Semi-precious stones

 

Metallics are ever evolving,  and Grainne foresees we will move away from shiny metallics towards matte finishes and oxidised metals. “I love to see furniture and decor items made using chunks of quartz and agate combined with rich timbers and metals.  Dressing your doors with handles in brass and semi-precious stone will be a big part of our interiors in 2017. A definite move away from copper, Bronze, Brass and Gun Metal or pewter are the metals to use, especially in bathrooms and kitchens."

 

 

 

  (handles from Hepburn Hardware)

 

3. Sustainability

The days of the ‘throw away” culture for interior items are gone according to Grainne. Furniture pieces that are made to last and are reusable are essential for the modern interior, with many homes using reclaimed and restored furniture. Now is the time to get Nana’s table from the attic and have it restored or even remodelled with a contemporary twist. "Design & Co clients are increasingly asking for bespoke pieces made by skilled craftsmen which are durable and long lasting, and will be handed down over generations. These custom pieces will complete the luxury look for many home interiors in 2017." 

4. Escapism

As we spend more and more time in front of computers or smart devices during the day, we will seek to create a tranquil haven of calmness where we can escape to in our homes. Nooks and hideaways with relaxing furniture - deep sofas, oversized floor cushions and textured chunky weaves and soft cottons will give us that chill out place to relax - and, ok, probably catch up on our instagram feeds!  Bringing the ‘outdoors in” will also help create this calming environment with huge plants creating internal green spaces, making it feel like summer indoors!

5 Colour

Grainne predicts that green and blue will be the key colours in many interior spaces next year. "Vibrant emeralds combined with rich royal blue tones will help create a commanding atmosphere in any home, especially if mixed with metallics. At the lighter end of the spectrum, a soft aqua hue teamed with a soft jade or sage green will bring a hint of summer to any corner.  Playful bright accent tones of deep coral and vivid yellow will be balanced with a sophisticated dark navy base to create a palette that is both optimistic in attitude and contemporary in aesthetic." 

What's your logo?

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Many people have asked me the meaning behind the Design & Co “Circle” logo.

 

It’s actually called an ensō () and it is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two unbroken brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create.

According to Zen Buddhists, it symbolizes enlightenment, strength and elegance and it is characterised by a minimalism born from Japanese aesthetics.

Bizarre as it sounds, I have long had a fascination with brushstrokes. I think it is the effect they can have, from a single sweep – a brushstroke can change everything. It can transform a blank piece of canvas to a work of art, or be the starting point to recreate an entire home. With this in mind, I wanted to incorporate this into our logo as something I could look at every day to inspire me.

I created the ensō for our logo on the day I made the decision to finally follow my dreams and start my own business. I created it with one single brushstroke, and of course, once the ensō is drawn, it cannot be changed as ‘It evidences the character of its creator and the context of its creation in a brief, contiguous period of time’.

Without trying to, I created an open circle, which, when I researched afterwards, actually means the ensō is incomplete. Initially I was concerned and thought this was a bad omen as it should be a completed circle, however I discovered that this ‘openness’ in the ensō allows for movement and development as well as the perfection of all things – which pretty much sums up how I’d like the Design & Co business to grow!

Thanks for following!

Grainne

London Design Week - picks of the week!

‘It's a good thing that when God created the rainbow he didn't consult a decorator or he would still be picking colors.’

Sam Levenson

 

Usually decisive in my choices - this quote from Sam Levenson summarised exactly how I felt during London design week.  With so much going on and so many fabulous suppliers displaying an array of new and exciting products, my head was spinning with choices!

Coinciding with my overseas trip, I was lucky to be invited to attend a few of the events taking place in London for design week 2015. So having celebrated hundreds of new product launches, outstanding new talent and design collaborations, I wanted to condense my favourites and share them with you!

Door and cabinet fittings

Strikingly stunning, the Haute Déco collection, hand made in South-West England has been a vanguard of innovation and creativity in the niche field of luxury contemporary handles. Its collection of couture doorknobs is famed for its individual house-style of understated glamour, adding a dash of individuality to prime residences in London and beyond.

Drawing inspiration from contrasting spheres, combining specialist and diverse materials, Haute Déco’s collections complement a wide spectrum of styles from sophisticated glamour to rough-luxury aesthetics.

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Fabrics

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Named after London's fashionable Portobello Road, this decorative fabric collection draws on the rich, colourful history and heritage of the city's vibrant Notting Hill district.  Home to one of the capitals's oldest and most notable markets, known for its eclectic mix of fashion and antiques, Portobello Road - like James Hare - celebrates 150 years of trading in 2015.

Inspired by the distinctive mottled markings of the majestic Osprey bird, this delightful semi-plain faux silk features a small-scale oval jacquard design with a subtle chevron shadow.  Effortlessly stylish and versatile with neutral and jewel bright colours, it is ideal for drapery and upholstery.

 

This contemporary collection of faux silks is presented in four qualities in a refined selection of neutral tones. Possessing the appearance of pure silk combined with the benefit of mixed composition fabrics, James Hare faux silks are washable, durable and affordable, giving a wonderful look designed to withstand the rigours of modern living.  Ideal for drapery and upholstery use in kitchens, bathrooms and virtually all other areas of the home, faux silks have enhanced resistance to sunlight. 

Wall coverings

Based on the Kings Road, Chelsea, Tatiana Tafur Ltd showroom exhibits examples of high end, luxury indoor and outdoor furniture, wallcoverings, gilded embossed hand painted leathers and lighting. In particular their textured and decorative metallic wall coverings caught my eye.

Lighting

Across each show the theme for lighting was definitely dramatic. Gold and metallics featured heavily with Terzani featuring the award winning Atlantis (silver chain effect)

My absolute favourite wall lighting featured on the Cox London stand at Decorex– these amazingly quirky pewter and glass features are absolute works of art.

Furniture

Design week showcased some of Europe's most experienced craftsmanship. Beautifully made pieces aimed at creating centrepieces for your space. highly lacquered pieces were extremely popular, and featured teamed with textures like leather or skin. Favourites at Decorex were Hyde house Bespoke furniture.

 

 

Jo Littlefair, London also had absolutely stunning pieces, we loved the mixture of elements in this cabinet.

Having viewed well over a thousand suppliers, designers and new creators, I could only use this page to showcase some of the amazing talent. We've shared more pics on our instagram and Facebook pages of more of our favs! Of course if you'd like to find out more, please contact me via our contact page and I'm happy to share. Thanks for reading. Grainne 

Jewel Colours

There really isn't a colour which we at Design & Co don't like, however as we absolutely love the richness and warmth being created in many homes by the vibrant jewel tones at the moment, we thought we'd take the opportunity to share the love!

Our favourites are emerald green, sapphire blue, and rich warm amethyst. We've selected our favourite ways to use these colours within interior spaces,  and hope you too will fall in love with the opulence which can be created if these colours are used effectively.  

                                                      All images in this blog courtesy of Pinterest

                                                      All images in this blog courtesy of Pinterest

The darkness of the charcoal walls and flooring make the bright sapphire blue sofa and blue green of the rug pop, coupled with the beautiful gold accents, this creates a room which is luxuriously timeless.

Did you know that green takes up more space in the spectrum visible to the human eye and it is the dominant colour in the natural. It is therefore a natural choice in interior design and is used a lot as an ideal background colour because we are so used to seeing it everywhere. The emerald in this chair is the perfect choice for this interior space.

Our first choice for the beautifully rich amethyst is from the Caesarstone Concetto collection. This stunning (and surprisingly practical!) surface for your home has the added bonus of being able to be back lit to further enhance the natural beauty of the stone. Call us if you'd like to find out more about using this stunning product in your home.

If you love what you see so far - it's easy to add these rich warm colours to your existing scheme, why not start with the basics - perhaps update a tired chest of drawers with a splash of emerald green like these below.

Another way to add colour is to use a wall covering. There is a great selection of wall coverings available today, and its so easy to update your room with even one feature wall. This stunning grass weave is available from Design & Co via eurowalls, and comes in a variety of colours, including a warm orange, or this beautiful teal blue and silver.

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You can also add these beautiful colours with accessories - the Design & Co team can source a wide range of these for you - have a browse through some favourites below, and contact us if we can help with your interior solutions.

What is good DESIGN?

Design really is all around us.

It can be great - like those beautifully designed heels that are oh so comfortable, or, it can be poor - like that impossible to open milk carton!  Something which is well designed not only looks great, but more importantly, it can make our every day life easier, which is why we want to be surrounded by good design wherever we can.

A well designed home is one which fits you and your family. It should not be a place where you have to learn to just 'live with it' (especially if it is your forever home), but rather your ideal home should work around you and your lifestyle. It's almost (but not quite) like having your own butler!  Everything you need is right there - just where it should be. 

If you are building or renovating, of course it is extremely important to think about the aesthetics and how you want things to look - but you also have to think about how you live your life every day and make sure you plan your new environment around this.

Quite often it is the simplest things which we overlook - like having a secure place close to the entrance door for keys so you are not constantly searching for them, or having corner drawers in a kitchen rather than a large deep corner cupboard which you can't reach in the kitchen!

Here are some simple, practical ideas to consider when you are creating new spaces:

Kitchen

Storage. Large awkward platters and trays are often forgotten about when designing your kitchen. Why not create a custom spot in a space which can often be wasted - perhaps above the fridge or at the very bottom of your larder / pantry, and store serving plates and other large items neatly in customised vertical shelving.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Select the right bench top height for you. This may sound obvious, but quite often it is overlooked. Remember if you spend a lot of time cooking, baking and of course cleaning - you want to make sure you are working at a height which is comfortable for you.

 

Bathroom

Storage, storage and more storage.  Some bathroom designs, whilst are aesthetically appealing, lack the storage space for things we need every day. No one wants to have everything sitting out on the vanity in full view - so walk through your morning and evening routine and have a practical storage solution which flows with your routine. Remember you will want easy access for hairdryer, make up, creams, toothbrush (not forgetting a spot for the charger!).  Even more storage solutions for the kids bathroom for hiding away those bath time toys! 

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Image courtesy of Pinterest

 

Walk In Robe

Shoes & Accessories. Of course I have to start with shoes! Believe it or not - the shoe section of a robe is often forgotten as many people get caught up in the shelving or drawers dilemma. There are may different ways to store our shoes, I like to have mine visible, so I can choose which ones at a glance rather than having to open boxes.  A simple open shelf (with tilted shelves to reduce the width required) is a great effective solution for any walk in robe. How many shelves you require is really dependant on the quantity of shoes you own. The same principle applies to jewellery - a built in jewellery box, or even pretty hanging hooks for chunky necklaces can save time hunting for that perfect piece.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Good Design is all about you

 

While it is extremely important that your home looks fabulous, don't forget the importance of practically designed superb spaces. Think about how you live, and plan around this.

Good design is often the simplest tried and tested idea - there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

Good design is there to make things better and easier for you and how you live.

Most of all - make sure you enjoy your space!