At one of the Society inc. workshops, we were lucky enough to meet Mickey of Glenmore House in Camden. She told romantic stories of her Garden of Eden in the not-so-far outer burb of Sydney. When I first started my styling career I was shooting out that way & had to find some plants at very short notice. In my Dad’s ute, I followed some signs to a local nursery. To my great delight I had discovered a camellia farm showcasing very old, huge specimen trees of every variety. If this was not enough, they also had a grass croquet lawns that looked over a tree-drenched valley. I have never found (or actually looked) for this again but Camden remained a fond memory.
It is a very old part of outer Sydney that city sprawl has finally & perhaps disappointedly caught up with. Upon arrival we realised (my photographer brother Chris & Hannah) it was all true. This was Eden. Mickey practices traditional farming as well as running cooking & demonstrating workshops where produce is picked from the garden.
Glenmore House is a spattering of old (or re-assembled) outhouses that are built from the original materials and/or purpose or blueprint. There are hedges galore, an orchard encased by a stone wall, espaliers, grapes, raspberries, beans & peas, lettuce, leeks, all your other kitchen necessities & fruit trees (that were in bloom on my visit). It is all set in manageable beds in intimate settings. Don’t think a sprawling farm, this is a beautiful petite garden to feed & demonstrate how sustainable living can work.
This is escape at its best- I wanted to set up a teepee and live amongst the trees! Mickey & I are looking to do a collaborative workshop in the next few months on decorating the Christmas table from the garden & cooking seasonal fresh produce.
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Other than a slight obsession with the Dewey Decimal System, I have always been attracted to books & all the accessories they once came with. I recently rediscovered a book I had written & made in the 6th class with borrowing envelope & everything else library books were once decorated with.
My friend, Mario is opening a restaurant in Cronulla, aptly called The Old Library as in fact it once was. He has asked my advice on ways to warm up the space & give it a sense of fun. Being the history enthusiast I am, I have delved into interesting ways of incorporating its past to create a space that has humour, is interesting and draws on its beachside local & past life function.
After a magnificent interior design by Paul Hecker of this new restaurant in Cronulla, I employed the services of a mural artist to create a library based on my photos of the NY library; ceramic artist for Raku trophy heads and signwriter to translate the logo in several exterior locations as well as adding appropriate floor rugs.
The mural was painted around the visible kitchen. The mural incorporates existing light fixings & a shield was painted so one of the Raku trophy heads could exist within the design. To continue the mural subtly throughout the interior, a second ‘bookshelf’ of books was painted further in the room that naturally perched on top of the curtain rod. This adds a sense of humour & discov
As a constant globetrotter, something that has really excited me over the last couple of years is the change of function, perception of & understanding of the Lobby. No longer is it a place of whispers & old newspapers, attached to sad hotel bar with resident barfly’s & sleazy one-liners.
The Lobby is now pumping, full of life, multi-purpose & downright genius! Let me use The Ace in NYC as an example.
Not only is restaurant, The Breslin attached (always busy & designed by the very clever team: Roman & Williams) but it has a corner bar, long tables ready for computers (and drinks later on), free wi-fi, a flowershop & the all important coffee bar, Stumptown. The design is fantastic, there are lots of different seating options where you can eat, drink, hang, meet & greet. The Lobby invites everyone- guests do get some privileges like the free wi-fi but otherwise its a vibe-y, free for all that can be super busy on weekends (note to self).
I am going to use this idea in the renovation of the Establishment lobby & Tank Stream Bar: I’ll keep you posted!