12.11.2019

Aesthetics + Ethics – Kowtow Auckland


Photography Simon Wilson

 

This quietly confident beauty is the sophomore space for New Zealand global brand Kowtow, now open in York Street, Newmarket.

Like the inaugural Wellington flagship, the design of Kowtow Auckland was again a collaboration between Kowtow and Rufus Knight, and is again an expression of both minimalism and warmth. Kowtow does balance beautifully – simplicity and sparseness meets rich material tactility, linear forms meet organic shapes and flowing curves, art meets the elemental.

Aspects I love: the dropped Japanese-inspired ceiling; the original concrete ceiling trusses (this building is fairly historic) that have been left exposed; the floor-sweeping heavy linen curtains; and that monolithic centrepiece – the giant, ‘floating’ brass table with heavy oak legs. The exterior also deserves special mention –  Kowtow and Rufus Knight created that abraded plaster façade, and the extra deep-set windows.

Like the Wellington flagship, all aspects of the store have been selected with sustainability in mind;  much of the interior timber is traceable New Zealand grown oak, finished by hand with a non-toxic and enviro-friendly oil. The rugs (from NZ brand Nodi) are hand-braided and made from sustainably grown jute. Those changing room curtains are made from sustainably grown and processed linen, and the ottomans – designed by NZ’s Simon James – are locally made and upholstered with renewable and biodegradable organic linen. Not a surprise from our own trailblazing ethical (seed to garment) clothing label.

10.11.2019

Spaces


 

Meet the deserved winner of Best Kitchen at the 2019 Australian Top 50 Rooms Awards. This mediterranean-meets-middle-eastern kitchen belongs to the designer herself, Georgia Ezra – director of Studio Ezra. Georgia is a master of balancing rustic and refined. The textural tiles (handmade) are all courtesy of Tiles of Ezra, Georgia Ezra’s own tile brand.

LoveloveLOVE those upper cabinets – the sleekness of their vertical form, but then how Georgia has inlaid them with grasscloth, bringing softness and warmth. Georgia actually designed many of the fittings herself (like the wall sconce on the right there).

And here’s a master that Georgia designed for a client. Idea to steal: Giant black and white, artistic photograph of a special moment in your life. Georgia Ezra (personal website and reno journal / Studio Ezra website  / Instagram

Cate St Hill

Incredible turn of the century home in Gothenburg, Sweden (see much more here)

Just a corner I really liked of the New York office of online women’s activewear brand Alala, by Tina Rich Design. via Dezeen

Order your Free copy of Muse – Flooring Xtra’s inspirational interiors Lookbook

06.11.2019

Our Spaces – Coffee Table Book


Photo via @bridget_lee 

 


Photography by Michelle Weir – Studio Weir

Totally teasing you below with just a teeeny tiny fraction of the incredible, inspiring interiors in Our Spaces – my new coffee table book published by Penguin and out now.

There’s more than 400 images over 288 pages, and I promise you they’re all killer, no filler (thanks to my friend, architectural photographer Michelle Weir). A showcase of New Zealand interiors now, Our Spaces shares all the design decisions, furnishings and finishing touches that make a home not just beautiful, but meaningful.

I wanted Our Spaces to have the digestibility of the best Pinterest board you ever saw (nice big images, and loads of them, with not too much to read); to be something beautiful and tactile you’d be proud to display on your coffee table or bedside (hello linen-bound hardcover); and to be filled with homes that are world-class and not overtly ‘Kiwi’ (I believe this book can sit alongside any international interiors book as a peer, thanks to the incredible style of the homeowners in it.)

I selected spaces that are both timeless and right-on-time, not trendy. Spaces that are clean and contemporary, yes, but with a casual feel. There are enough books out there on multi-million dollar houses that are out of reach for most of us. What is harder to find are homes that are massively inspiring and aspirational in aesthetic, but that still feel achievable. Because money doesn’t equal style. Actually, there’s a saying I like, that style is just a matter of being yourself, on purpose. The homes in Our Spaces express this sentiment superbly.

Our Spaces also gives you a peek into the homes of some of the NZ creatives who continue to inspire me – Homestyle magazine editor Alice Lines, Krista and Tim Plews of Paper Plane, Father Rabbit founder Claudia Zinzan, stylist and Blackbird Goods owner Gem Adams, Tessuti director Ali McIntosh, a number of interior designers including Annique Heesen, Thandi Tipene and Amy de Court, Sansceuticals founder Lucy Vincent, furniture designer Bec Snelling (Douglas and Bec), the designers behind some of my favourite NZ clothing labels, and so (so so) many more.

The Our Spaces tour takes you through (by chapter): Bedrooms, Bathrooms and Laundries, Kitchens and Dining Rooms, Living Spaces, Modern Kids’ Rooms and Nurseries, Workspaces, and finally, Moments (little corners, styling touches and details that elevate something ordinary into a design moment).

The text is purposely light, but it speaks to the design decisions the homeowner has made that makes the space extra-special, pulling ideas and insights from each space, for yours. There’s also a thread that runs through the book, an expression of my philosophy that Design is the Art of Living Well. (More on that in a future blog)

Our Spaces is available at my own design + lifestyle store, Sunday Homestore (order here!) – but you can also get it at all good bookstores, as well as at my favourite homeware stores, Paper Plane, Tessuti, Blackbird Goods, Father Rabbit and more.

 
 
 

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04.11.2019

Baina


 

Let me introduce you to new brand Baina, founded by New Zealand friends Anna Fahey and Bailey Meredith.

I’m excited about Baina’s super contemporary approach to towelling. The aesthetic goes from subtle to sonorous, the designs playing with colour theory, texture and shape to bring a little sense of fine art, architecture or sculpture to your bathroom.

For me, design is the Art of Living Well – I believe that good design can genuinely improve the quality of your life and the lives of others – and Baina as a brand encapsulates this sentiment for me in every way. Not only is the design beautifully considered and the product premium (thick, super-soft absorbent towels), it’s a brand born of two friends who’ve decided to carve a creative and career path for themselves (and others). And everything is mindfully produced – Baina towels are 100% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton, and are made by a four decade family-owned, sustainably-progressive mill in Portugal.

Currently the Baina collection includes a reversible pool towel that’s taking me to Capri, along with big bath towels and hand towels in three aesthetic match-ups. (I can’t decide which bathroom pairing is my favourite – the pink towels with the simple texture of an arch shape stitched into them, or the reversible sage green towels, one with a fine grid, one boldly checkered…)

For Anna and Bailey, the core idea behind Baina was to create a ceremony of self-care. A shower or bath is often the only time we have to be with ourselves, no screens, no-one else demanding our attention. Having a freakin’ beautiful towel, from a brand you believe in, to extend that moment of calm and presence? Yip, totally worth the investment.

Shop Baina Online   /   Baina Instagram

 

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