Monday, July 14, 2014

bonnie and neil

bonnie and neil cushions via small acorns
It's an inauspicious front door, and I'm almost certain that if I tried to find it again I probably would get totally lost. But, behind this door, in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick is the creative hub of Melbourne design duo, Bonnie and Neil.

bonnie and neil cushions via small acorns

bonnie and neil cushions via small acorns

As you can see, the studio is literally bursting with the vibrancy for which Bonnie and Neil, and their beautiful hand screen-printed textiles and home accessories are so well known. Based in Melbourne, many presume that Bonnie and Neil are both Australian. However, I'm pleased to note that Bonnie still has that Southland 'burr' that gives away her true origins as a kiwi who originally hails from Gore! And Neil's Scottish accent is also still going strong.

For Bonnie and Neil, patterns and colours inspired by Pacific Island culture is a consistent source of inspiration, and was front of mind again for the development of their latest collection, Archipelago.  ‘We stayed with the South Pacific as a source of inspiration, however this latest range also references the age of exploration, undiscovered lands, rain forests and other wildlife’ explains Bonnie. And with her love of colour, and the inherent beauty of a one-off screen printed cushion, the combination is both visually and texturally stunning.

bonnie and neil cushions via small acorns blog

bonnie and neil cushions via small acorns blog


Yes, it was far too easy to get carried away with one's order when confronted with such wonderfully vibrant and tactile pieces. One or two things had to come home with me immediately as I couldn't even bring myself to wait until the store order arrived. Sometimes there has to be a perk to being boss! (Of my own small lunch box of course.)


bonnie and neil cushions via small acorns blog

bonnie and neil cushions via small acorns blog


Oh, those cushions, and those wooden wall tiles - love just doesn't say enough in this instance.
My mind is plotting and scheming big time to get these somewhere, somehow at home! You can see more on Bonnie and Neil's website, or here at Small Acorns as many of the cushions have just arrived, with bedlinen, tableware, tiles and ceramics to follow soon. In the States, Anthropologie stocks some of the home accessories.


On another note, I'm away for the next ten days or so, so blogging will be scarce, but I'll pop up on Instagram for sure!


Amanda xx

(images 6&7 by Armelle Habib, styled by Heather Nette King for bonnie and neil, other images my own)




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Monday, July 7, 2014

before and not quite after

It's amazing what a little trickery foolery can do. A little non-surgical facelift before the surgical facelift. A little non-surgical facelift that makes you wonder whether you actually need the facelift.

Last week I bought this old chair. Handsome but tired you might say politely if you were feeling kind spirited. Brunnel was muttering something else entirely under his breath when I asked him to help me collect it.

old chair before via small acorns blog
Well you can at least see that it has good bones. But upon closer inspection, more than just good bones. After the removal of at least a hundred firmly stuck fast upholstery tacks, a lot of brute force, blatant ripping and a hundred years of dust, our chair revealed a second skin. Well, even I wasn't expecting this. The girls and I at the store could hardly contain our excitement.

Some hot soapy water and a little accessorising, and our chair was ready for another photo.

old chair restyled via small acorns blog
Ta da! Not quite Prince Charming but certainly more handsome than initially thought. Our chair now even has a name - the girls have called him Arthur George.

I showed Brunnel the photo. He was perplexed. No recognition whatsoever. I showed the photo to Andrea, who had been with me when I bought Arthur. She was also perplexed. "Someone's really copying your style" she said. "Look at those props and the frame and the books and the way it's all been styled. If it wasn't for the chair I'd say you did that." So Arthur had her fooled also.

old chair restyled via small acorns blog
With just a little flossying, Arthur looks better than good. Settle in with a good glass of scotch, and he looks as though he could tell more than a few stories about a life lived long and well. I love that he still looks battle weary. Next to a contemporary side table with a collection of books and a few trinkets he looks right at home. This is what I love about eclectic interiors. The idea that you can marry vintage and modern together, pieces from diverse sources and styles, and you end up with a one of a kind look that absolutely works. Please, give me a quirky, cantankerous original like Arthur over a designer look-alike copy any day. If you come across one of Arthur's sincere friends, bring him home. You could do a lot worse in life! And your interiors will thank you.

I could end my story here. The truth is, Arthur's journey is not yet finished. Handsome though he is, for a number of reasons, we have decided we will still reupholster him. Not to erase his past - but hopefully to ensure his future. I'll make sure he still wears his battle scars with pride, but give him a little more comfort and security in his old age. Stay tuned!

Amanda xx Pin It

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

frame work

flower garland and old frame via small acorns

I know you may have met my paper flower garland once before. I confess - they are so simple, so colour-filled and they still make me smile each time I find an excuse to add them to a store display. Just flowers cut out from old magazines and stapled on to some rustic twine. Yes, stapled. You could glue or sew if you are so inclined. I'm not in this case.

Anyway, lovely as the garland is, the point of this post is really about the old picture frames.
I love to use them as 'highlighters' on the wall for things which in themselves might be small or insignificant. The frame in this case makes the garland a feature on the wall, rather than just a garland on the wall. Suddenly it's an installation!!

I also love to use old frames as small ledges. Frame on the wall, special card or small artwork off centre and leaning on the bottom of the frame. Or mount a collection of small treasures directly on to the wall and use the frame to highlight them as a group. This is particularly effective if your treasures are a little disparate or small and you need to 'bring them together' a little. Just as I would use an old drawer or tray on a table to group disparate or smaller treasures together, the frame achieves the same on the wall, and gives the collection more importance and balance.

flower garland and old frame via small acorns

The frames themselves are nothing to write home about, but they have that chippy factor that I personally love. These were destined for the tip except that my framer friend knows there are some strange people who love nothing more than to rescue orphaned, old frames and give them a new life. Admittedly, even she was surprised when, after bringing me this uber-chippy old green frame, and the extra four pieces of wood which make up the front, she came back past a mere ten minutes later to find it on the wall, complete with garland.

flower garland and old frame via small acorns

Looking perfectly imperfect and quite at home. And could you get a better matched paint colour to our ombre wallpaper? Only in an ancient frame! (So what if I completely give truth to that 'one person's trash is another's treasure' line!)

If a cleaner, more streamlined look is more your thing, you can achieve the same highlight effect with a simple, new frame. Just lose the glass and the back.

Amanda xx

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