I met my best friend, Edwina McCann in Paris & as she went to fashion shows, I explored the city to reacquaint myself. As well as researching rooftop exterior zinc design for my very own renovation at The Society inc. I was doing some groundwork for the next Stylist’s Guide.
The plan is to stay in an apartment at Place de Vosges for a month & perhaps collaborate with the likes of Collette Dinnigan & Tara Badcock to get their in-the-know secrets to be edited & translated into a companion for The Stylist’s Guide to NYC.
On this year’s trip, not only did it coincide with my birthday but also the Jambon et Brocante Fair just on the outskirts of Paris, which is held annually for one week. I visited here about nine years ago & bought some fab bits n’ bobs. It is held in the open with lots of linen, lighting, glassware, industrial furniture, hardware, paintings etc. & fantastic food. Great to hit around lunchtime, then cruise around for the afternoon- it’s open until 7pm.
The night before my birthday, we hit the Marais for some French bar hopping. All places ceased to exist once we found Au Petite Fer a Cheval: a one man bar in a horseshoe shape that is pewter-topped, wood fronted fridges and brass beer taps & hardware. This place is small but manages to have both bar & a restaurant out the back. As we settled at the bar & ordered rose champagne, I noticed the barman picking mint leaves, creating a huge pile which he muddled for the freshest, loveliest mojitos. Yum, & yes we did have quite a few of these!!!
Pics from PuffList.
This is a must-stop for me on every Paris trip. The gardens were planted as specimen & medicinal gardens by Louis XIII’s physician & are surrounded by glass houses & specialised museums: including the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, the Mineralogy, Paleontology & Entomology Museums.
Take the Metro to Gare-d’ Austerlitzou Jussieu and enter the gardens at the Bone Museum. This is my favourite. Not only are the skeletons & bottled specimens impressive & awe-inspiring, but I love the backdrop of the structure too.
All wood & slightly creaky, a large room with central display of giant animal skeletons (elephant & whale etc.) & then a surrounding catwalk with wood & glass cabinetry. The floors are lovely & worn, revealing their history as a public space, whilst the iron detailing & custom cabinetry are gorgeous.
After you have poured over everything, enter the gardens & take as long as you need. The Grand Musee sits majestically at the end of the gardens that are always abundant with seasonal flowers: gladiolas, clematis, windmill flower, echinacea, daisy, rose, cosmos, kale, rainbow chard, rosemary & lots of others.
On the right hand side stroll under the avenue of canopied plane trees (leaves or no leaves, it’s magic), to the alpine & tropical gardens and various official buildings that are dotted around specimen monkey-puzzle & fir trees. Lose yourself in a labyrinth as you head toward the grand hall of the Natural History Museum.
Hang out here or head up to the library with mint cabinets housing an extensive range of mounted specimens that line the room: to read, write, reference or just admire & absorb. Finish this perfect day with honey sweets & pastries and mint tea under the fig tree in the Mosque across the road. There is a wonderful history of collecting in The Coral Thief by Rebecca Stott, including Jardin Des Plantes- highly recommended!!
I have known Holly for ages!! I loved her energy & food at Fat Duck on South Dowling St and her new venture, Marsh Estate, is just as impressive.
Everything is done onsite & by hand!! Plus they have a lovely homestead on the Hunter Valley property where you can choose ot be fully catered for! Trust me, with Holly on board it would be to-die-for. Get all the details off their website here.
I will of course be having Marsh Estate Wine at the launch of my third book, Nomad: Bringing your travels home on Sat 5 November/3-6pm. Come & join us at The Society inc. for a cheeky glass (or two or three) to truly appreciate some beautiful Australian wines made with so much love right here in NSW.
Of late, I cannot get enough of cane. Not the old swirly cane of a man (of whom I cannot remember the name) that I had in my childhood room (although this was designed by stylist extraordinaire, my aunt Robyn Duffecy). The cane I am attracted to is simple, classic lines. I stumbled upon the Swedish design company, Sika & loved their take on it. I have been working on some beachside spaces and thought I could design a plastic & natural version, more suitable for commercial hard-wearing interiors.
Of course, my trip to Paris & the many styles of Parisian Bistro chairs, banquettes & stools only fuelled this. Whilst bicycling past the Hermes Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore windows, I knew that my thought was a collective one & would be right on par.
Cane has a softness, comfortability & durability that works in any interior. Watch this space to see where it will pop up soon!
Location: 354 Bourke St, Surry Hills
I was given 4 days to turn this place around. The bones were fantastic & previously designed by Thomas Jacobsen- although through neglect, there now existed a cold, badly lit, unloved interior.
Inside we took out an existing banquette & glass doors and outside removed large metal circular seating that was austere & cold.
Considering the time frame, I had to order furniture that was in stock & ready for immediate delivery, which was tricky. For the exterior, we removed a large portion of the existing furniture & added low-slung cushioned seating & vintage garden furniture which was all painted a neutral charcoal. Large communal tables are paired with a mix of green Tolix chairs, slated white metal chairs and caramel safari-style director’s chairs. This would be a high traffic area (although we did not anticipate the instant success that it was!!) so this had to be taken into consideration.
Daniel Baffsky’s skills were employed for planting. We ordered enormous oversized pots as well as a plethora of various sized pots for a-mass of planting. Plants included large lilly-pillies, limes, figs, geraniums & monstera amongst many others.
In the front bar, we added floor lamps, potted greenery & vintage lamps both on & behind the bar and additional seating with Thonet high tables and bentwood stools as well as rearranging the furniture.
For the transitional thoroughfare from back to front, I added a long rectangular metal table with a higher industrial round table that was largely covered in potted greenery and chairs to be used as seating & display.
In the original ‘restaurant area’, tables were replaced with a mix of industrial & rough turned leg both in round & rectangular, and all tabletops were replaced with wood. The existing display cabinet was converted into a green growing cabinet of glass & plants. We encourage people to eat wherever they like in the pub, so low slung furniture was placed on the far side of the cabinet to invite different areas for different experiences both inside & outside.
I don’t think I have always noticed floors in the detail that I do now. Though I have always considered how a material feels underfoot. As I scroll through my pics from the past ten years, I notice how I often I look down & take the time to photograph these textures & materials from around the world. From the geometric, almost optical marble floors of churches through Italy to the pebbles of Greece, the wooden parquetry of Parisian maisons & even the white & blue glass terrazzo of the LAX airport! I have taken this interest to the next step (no pun intended) and have embraced the threshold.
Not only am I intrigued by the material but also how a pattern can change & a threshold become a useful tool. No longer does one have to sit in a doorway. This area can be designed to break up a space, differ its function, allow for a floor pattern change or just for aesthetic. Instead of worrying about which way the floorboards run, don’t hesitate to change them with a threshold at the appropriate place. It can be the same material as the floor or perhaps a way of introducing another material or even colour.
Thresholds can be applied to both your interior & exterior. Lay a sleeper into the turf or use a crushed shell that makes up your garden or outdoor area. They have a way of creating intimacy & subtlety.