01.11.2018

Ethics + Aesthetics (Abel Perfumes Giveaway)



When New Zealander Frances Shoemack moved with her husband to Amsterdam in 2011, she left her career as a winemaker behind and embarked on a new olfactory mission – to create the world’s best all-natural perfumes. Together with fellow New Zealander Isaac Sinclair (once behind the counter at Smith & Caughey’s on Queen Street, now one of the youngest master perfumers in the world, and the only recognised master perfumer from the Australasia region), Frances has spent years developing the Abel family of fragrances.

I need to tell you a little more about what makes Abel so special. When you spray that Duty Free perfume on your skin, you’re generally just spraying chemicals onto yourself, scents created in a lab. Abel perfumes are 100% natural. Every note in every Abel fragrance is distilled from a flower or plant.

When designing perfumes with natural isolates, the creative process is much more challenging, because naturals don’t act in a linear way. They’re alive, with a myriad of facets that evolve in the bottle and even more so on the skin. Abel’s Golden Neroli, for example (using real neroli extracted by steam from white orange blossom flowers – very rarely seen in modern perfumery) took Isaac over a thousand trials to perfect. Actually, interesting side story – Frances was pregnant at the time of developing this fragrance, and found she was attracted to neroli in an almost addiction-like way. After launching Golden Neroli, they noticed other pregnant women were drawn to it in a similar way. Turns out, neroli has a long history of use in reducing the symptoms associated with hormonal changes in women.

Did you know that synthetic musk, used in 99% of all perfumes (it’s a fixative and an overall fragrance enhancer) is widely acknowledged as toxic to humans and to the environment? Not. cool. Frances and Isaac have sourced a natural musk alternative, isolated from a seed inside hibiscus flowers. That’s only one of the many ethical choices Abel has made. Another is in their sourcing of sandalwood from sustainable East Indian plantations, which assists in the re-establishment of a sustainable eco-system in sandalwood’s native home. East Indian Sandalwood, like many essential-oil bearing plants, is a threatened species (due to decades of exploitation). The more you know, huh.

I first heard of Abel back in 2013 when Frances launched her first fragrance. Recently, I’ve been searching for a signature scent for myself, found myself seeking out Abel, and noticed the brand had had a complete re-design. I love that it’s world-class but designed by a New Zealander, I love the minimalist contemporary packaging, and I love something that doesn’t compromise on ethics or aesthetics. I was excited to see the Abel collection has now grown to seven fragrances, has been noticed by the likes of Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Monocle and Esquire, and has stockists throughout the world (including 15 stockists in New Zealand).

I’ve ordered one for myself, and after chatting with Frances, we’re giving you the chance to win an Abel Fragrance – of your choice.

Each fragrance in the collection is named after a natural note or accord – White Vetiver, Golden Neroli, Red Santal, Cobalt Amber, Grey Labdanum, and the newest fragrance, Green Cedar (< P.S: Click each of those links, and the fragrance notes will open for you in a new page. Or visit the Abel Instagram to see Highlights explaining each scent.)

The Abel philosophy is to find the purest, most exceptional version of that natural ingredient and build it up into a complex but harmonious, distinctive and long-lasting perfume. Described as a living fragrance, they evolve on your skin, working with your body’s own natural chemistry to create a unique scent that will continually evolve throughout the day.

Competition now closed, congrats to Samantha Evans!

17.10.2018

For Sun Chasers


Designer Zoe Horner has spent the last few years travelling overseas, visiting far-flung sun traps, and working as a textile and graphic designer along the way. In one of her most recent roles as a display artist for Anthropologie, she fell in love with the art installations she’d create for the brand, and when she moved back home to New Zealand this year, decided to create a platform for herself to continue this creative work. The Dust Co was born.

A home and lifestyle brand, The Dust Co. aesthetic is inspired by travel, laidback living and sun chasing – and Zoe’s designed each piece to bring that slow, summer holiday feel into a space.

My favourites from the collection are The Dust Co’s huge stained glass sun-catchers. Zoe painstakingly chose the glass types and colours to a specific palette, inspired by a place she’s travelled to. (The Marrakech piece uses the pinks, greens and earthy tones that reference the colours of that city, and the Island piece is inspired by the sun, sea and sand tones of the Balearic Islands). They’re all handmade to order – over many many hours – by Zoe’s mum, who has been working with stained glass for over 30 years.

Also on my wishlist is one of the brass wall pieces. Inspired by motifs found in far-flung sun traps, they’re designed to add a sense of those golden holiday vibes to any room in which they’re placed and are hand polished and finished by Zoe herself. There’s also beautiful silk scarves to elevate your everyday  – all printed and made in New Zealand, too.

The Dust Co. online store  /   Instagram

16.10.2018

Habitus House of the Year 2018 – Point Wells House



Habitus Magazine
 celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year and, to mark the milestone, have founded an annual awards programme to recognise outstanding examples of residential architecture.

The inaugural Habitus House of the Year (2018) presents 25 homes that are exemplary embodiments of how the region lives through design, and includes five New Zealand homes amongst the honours. 

I’m partnering with Habitus to share some of the New Zealand finalists with you. We’ve been to the beach (Hahei House by Studio 2 Architects) and the city (339 House by Strachan Group Architects), and now we’re out in the countryside with Point Wells House, designed by Paterson Architecture Collective and Steven Lloyd Architecture.

Photography by David Straight

This Omaha home’s owners requested a gabled-roof farmhouse for their idyllic country setting. The resulting home is one that honours rural tradition and nostalgia, while offering beautifully modern, minimalistic details that make the rustic, refined.

It has the vocab of a simple barn, striking a bold silhouette with that iconic 45-degree gable roof. It’s raised off the paddock on piles, in the manner of a classic rural shed. And the cedar weatherboards look like they could’ve been here as long as the huge old macrocarpa trees… But, look closely, and the contemporary details start to shine.

Like those thin steel-boxed windows, did you spot those? Or the fact that there are no bargeboards. Look again – I love this detail. In fact, there are no fascia boards or soffits, either. And those weatherboards, they actually graduate in size, steadily getting wider as they reach the roof.

Inside, it’s top to toe timber, with dark stained oak floorboards, and walls and ceilings clad in rough sawn South Island Beech. I’d end up needing to see an Osteo if I lived here, I’d be staring up at those amazing trusses all day (I especially love the exposed bolts and the steel tension rods – shearing shed chic).

Today’s aesthetic is for super light, bright, open spaces – but here, the architects have sought to create beauty with shadows and dappled light. They’ve been very deliberate with the amount and intensity of light the house lets in, creating depth and drama in quiet spaces, and illuminating others (I love how they’ve accentuated the trusses with skylights in the great room).

It reminds me a little of an old rural church. Have you ever been inside one of those New Zealand colonial chapels? They have those tall, grand cathedral ceilings, but with a relatively long, narrow volume, few windows and timber interior, they’re also very restful and intimate.

The home is made up of three of these barn buildings – one has a garage and guest house, while the other two form the house proper. The west barn houses a great room (with massive poured-concrete fireplace), kitchen, scullery and laundry, while the east barn has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a study and another living room.

A long boardwalk passes almost through both pavilions, connecting the east and west ‘wings’ through their living spaces and creating a beautiful big outdoor room between them.

Having three distinct buildings, connected through pathways, gardens, porches and courtyards, gives the site a village-like feel, and creates multiple outdoor spaces, so no matter the time of day or the direction of the wind vane, you can find a sunny, still spot to sit.

Other aspects I noticed and loved:

Those tall, narrow casement windows, with bronze hardware by NZ company Chant; the simple poured concrete steps into the house – more of that shearing shed chic; how the kitchen actually sits within a timber box at one end of the Great Room; and the simple form of the two poured-concrete chimneys. Also, look, I dream of a modern black barn as much as the next woman, but I really love that they didn’t choose black for this beautiful home.

~

To see all the Habitus House of the Year 2018 finalists, visit habitusliving.com/houseoftheyear

You can also vote for this home – or another favourite – to win People’s Choice. Vote here. 

 

homeware-store-online

15.10.2018

Aalto Paint x The New – S T Y L E D


I’m loving collaborating with Aalto Paint on our Styled series. For this instalment, I’ve imagined a Spring dining room, with golden and earthy tones. Yellow would seem the clear choice for Spring, right? But I wanted something more sophisticated and more versatile, and mustard never fails on either count. Yes, it’s bold and statement-making, but – maybe surprisingly – mustard is a colour that can bring balance to almost any aesthetic. In an earthy space, it really lightens and lifts the mood, and in a white, bright room, it brings warmth and substance.

On the wall here is Aalto Paint’s Cut the Mustard – a punchy golden mustard with serious depth and complexity (Aalto’s colours are all multi-pigmented, and they use only ultra-premium grade paint and tinters).
Cut the Mustard could be paired just as beautifully with lighter fresher colours, and it would be a gorgeous choice for a master bedroom, too, as it’s both grounding and uplifting.

Photography by our amazing friends Swift & Click

Products Used and Loved:

The beautiful Radial Dining Table from Città. Natural oak, with curves in all the right places

Radial Dining Chairs also from Città
– substantive, super comfy and contemporary, I really want these for my place

Beehive Lampshade from Alex & Corban. Love the large size for adding some drama to the setting, but the jute keeps things casual.

Dine Linen Tablecloth in Olive Grid, from Città
(They also have this same grid linen fabric in napkins and coasters.)

Slung over the chair – Linen Apron in Olive from Città

Picardie Glasses in Amber from Tessuti. Duralex have been making these glasses in France since 1927 – they’re absolute classics; every home should have a set. Also available in clear, but I love this golden Amber glass. And they’re only $7 each!

Bell Incense Holder from Tessuti – handmade in New Zealand by wood turners Walk in the Park

Bodha Ritual Incense, also from Tessuti

Beeswax Candles (short, mid, tall) made in Wellington, from Precinct 35

Florals thanks to On My Hand Styling & Flora

Menu Grinders in Hunting Green & Beige, from Sunday Homestore

A perfect Stoneware Jug, thrown on the wheel by Titirangi-based potter Rachel Carter, and available at Kaolin Store

Renee Boyd ceramic bowls in Olive, from Sunday Homestore

~

And, of course, great thanks to Victoria and the team at Aalto Paint, whose colours are a dream to work with.

© The New

theme