Location: Stitch, York St, Sydney CBD
On a very tight budget in a room within an existing bar, I had to express the glamour that is Moet, whilst also considering how it would sit in the quirky space that is Stitch.
I removed all existing elements of the room, to start afresh, all except for 2 existing built-in wooden daybed-like structures, that they use for storage & seating.
The infrastructure included: cut-foam for seating, oversized back cushions, electrical elements made, tradesmen, stencils, lampshade skeletons & shade.
Materials: commercial velvet in the perfect shade of Moet red, The Society inc. black chalkboard paint & Gypsy Gold, burlap for shades & thick upholstery fringe.
Props: gold framed mirrors, bentwood chairs, 5 occasional tables & 3xlamps.
I painted the 2mx5m room in Pirate Black paint. My signwriter (Will) then painted my design of paneled walls & sconces to surround the room, with white chalk pen. To maintain the small space, nothing could protrude from the walls. Will then stenciled gold crowns as a dado design & the ‘Moet Chandon’ logo in some of the panels.
I had Moet Magnum bottles converted into lamps and ordered skeleton shades that I made burlap shades for. The ceiling we painted in a soft metallic called Gypsy Gold (from the Society inc. paint range) and securely fixed 30 vintage gold-framed mirrors to the ceiling. I had scoured markets, auctions & shops for weeks to source these mirrors, as well as some of the small turned wood wine tables.
I kept the existing cement painted floor, and added a jester diamond pattern in Moet red with a ribbon of the est. date and logo to make up a rug.
The foam that was perfectly cut to fit on the existing daybed was firmly covered in red velvet as were the front of the structures. Each panel had to separately covered to allow the owners assess to their storage areas. The oversized back cushions were loosely stitched to give a softness to the upholstered seating. To finish off I added thick upholstery fringe at the bottom for the effect of luxurious couches.
I added the two Moet magnums converted into lamps with burlap covered shades on either side of the daybed, and a vintage light I had picked up with a gold bird stem on the other side of the room.
I wanted loose small furniture that could be versatile and easily moved to suit the occasion. I used a mix n’ match of old & new and a variety of finishes to neatly co-exist with the existing interior of Stitch. I choose 6x classic Bentwood chairs in a dark stain (so slim & neat) that could be easily arranged with occasional tables at different heights. I found 2x folding dull gold metal folding tables and at auction, a vintage wine table with turned leg & drawer (that I added black fringe to) as well as a shorter walnut turned wood table. And finally, 2x new metal silhouetted tables. These could be grouped together, used as a table for 2 or pulled up to the sofas for drink tables.
The final touch was some gold-framed mirrors around the room, one with a handwritten message on it, reading ‘Mirror Mirror on the wall’.
Location: 80 Bay St, Ultimo for Toby’s Estate
I created a café in an empty space that is shared with Readers Digest reception, located in the majestic old Grace Bros building on Broadway, once the hub of shopping & activity located on the central tram line. The existing finishes of old floorboards, high ceilings & large bright double frontage shop windows offered a beautiful shell to base my design. I used oak, zinc, marble, linen, smoked mirror, industrial lighting & bentwood chairs to create the feeling of times gone by.
The final design is a floating coffee bar with a 2 leveled 12m long bar. The standing bar is oak paneled with a zinc lined bar top, embracing the patches & joins. This leads to a lower front take-away bar, clad in classic cream hexagon tiles & a Cerrarra marble top, married by a curved brass foot rail. Behind the bar sits cabinetry work in oak and 3 central smoked mirrors with curved tops, that are echoed in the adjacent built out banquette setting. Pigeon-holes on the cabinetry sides are available for retail display.
To create a sense of intimacy & warmth within the high ceilinged space, I created a built out banquette that is oak paneled. On the paneled wall sit glass ball wall sconces and framed sepia photographs from owner, Toby Smith’s newly released book: Coffee Trails. The street end of this cabinet acts as a retail display area. A 9m upholstered banquette lines the cabinet covered in commercial navy linen and button backed. Loose marble topped Parisian café tables sit in front with bentwood chairs.
I mixed old with new by softly restoring a large cabinet that sits pride of place on the back wall. In the front window, a large old industrial sewing table sits for communal capacity with singer-style stools, a nod to the history of the building. Two industrial-style shelving units act as retail display as part of this setting. All furniture was sourced locally for this project.
For the lighting above the bar, seven vintage pressed glass art-deco hang, brass & copper industrial wide-brimmed pendant lamps appear throughout the space and 2 oversized copper lampshades overhang the front communal table.
Perhaps it should be a wine bar!!!
Green words! Everyone is talking about going green & there’s no better way to say it than with green words. Patrick Blanc started the craze with his amazing vertical gardens & now you see them popping up everywhere. I love the idea of green graffiti.
I have just returned from the heart of the trade winds, the Maldives.
You may know of my constant references to sea exploration: a romanticised version of pirates & buccaneers. Well, it was time to see for myself the place where Dampier recorded & named the winds that made for swift & speedy traverse from the Phillipines to Mexicos. With ships laden with trinkets, treasures & souvenirs to trade once back in home port.
I am working on the look & design of a luxury resort which does not yet exist. The only restriction at this point, is no structure or building is to be higher than the tallest tree. I am going to tap into my resources & memory of my many years globetrotting to amazing locations, to create an environment that you desire to visit, feel you could move in upon arrival & take home as inspiration to incorporate into your own home & everyday life.
I am going to draw on some of my favourite locations & past interiors including Coqui Coqui in Tulum, Amansara in Cambodia, Donna Karan’s Hamptons House & the Islander Resort in Islamorada plus a good dose of history reference of what discoveries & marvels were being unearthed with the fresh new eyes at the time of the Tradewinds.
It will be a place that sits comfortably in its environment, using local materials & a sense of discovery & surprise (think tree houses, forts, tents) with a healthy respect for the natural surrounds to provide the rambles & paths that will make up the footprint. I will most definitely be using my past palette of the same name, Tradewinds.
At The Society inc. (& throughout my books) I have loved & fondly embraced the use of the pointing hand. You know the classic traditional symbol of indication, to train your eye to a point of interest, a caption or button. Well, I am moving on! I have now fallen in love with another.
The simple classic arrow.
This fascination started from an early age of archery & the paraphernalia that came with it: the leather arm protect, the wooden or bamboo arrow with feathered flight tails, the tightness of the bow as it draws back & you eye the target. My friends at BDDW in NYC seem to share my love & have them on their website (which is well worth a peruse). I believe they have started their own archery club. I would most definitely join if my place of residence was still NYC.
Most recently I have acquired some great arrow signs to sell at the shop as well as purchasing a classic bulls-eye from KioskKiosk that hangs as its own artwork in my space- a homage to my youth & the many hours of darts with my brothers & local gang.