Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A simple 'thank you' to Emma

Most days I go through the motions of life in general without sparing a thought for how our work might impact upon someone else.  One of my dearest friends since childhood is a heart lung transplant specialist, so to me, he is a hero, he changes and saves lives on a daily basis, breathing new life into people who almost have none.  I simply design and sell textiles, never thinking that perhaps it might bring joy to someone who is suffering.

However I was tilted off my busy bee insane Christmas work axis yesterday by a simple 'thank you' email from a customer, Emma, who indicated to me she is ill and spends a considerable amount of time in one room and therefore wants that room to be filled with beauty and uplifting things.  She thanked me for helping her find what she needed to create her masterpiece, I was a little overcome with emotion to say the least.

She purchased some of our Leaf Rose Orange tablecloths through one of our fabulous retailers Nest Emporium a few months ago and what she did with them is beyond amazing! 

Wardrobe Doors closeup - look at the precision of those upholstery nails!
Wardrobe drawers - loving the little silver melon knobs!

Incredible...all done by hand

We are sending Emma a little Christmas surprise!  Thank you for making us feel that somehow in some small way what we do might make a little difference and bring joy to the soul, even just a smidge.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Limelight - 'Gewurzhaus'

Gewurzhaus (meaning spice house in German) is an Aladdin's Cave of herbs and spices located in the style and food mecca of Lygon Street, Carlton.   Sisters Eva and Maria Konecsny are so much more than sugar, spice and all things nice.  This duo have some serious business brains and a unique concept store that will go far.  The first Gewurzhaus opened a mere 6 months ago and the next store opening is underway for early 2011 at another Melbourne location.

The gorgeous Maria (left) and Eva (right) sporting our Jessie Steele Aprons (image via Gewurzhaus)
I want one of those shop counters and their shoes!
Stocking a comprehensive A-Z of herbs, spices, salts and sugars, Gewurzhaus also stocks over 100 unique blends which are ground on site from fresh whole ingredients.  With over 300 different products in the shop there is seriously something for every taste.
French Lavender Salt - are you serious - how good does that sound?
Chocolate Ginger Sugar - oh my my!!
I did a little online shopping yesterday in their new online store and well...I just had to go back for a second round shop this morning purchasing everything from Salt & Pepper Squid blend to Vanilla Bean Sugar and Chocolate Spice.  For those of us who are a little unsure of how to use all these delicious delicacies, Eva & Maria have made it simple by posting downloadable recipes on the website.  Fabulous idea!

It gets better, when visiting the store you can select from the beautiful prepackaged items or 'self-scoop' which according to the girls is a great way to sample a new spice, you get to lift the lid, breathe in the aroma and see the product before scooping your desired quantity into a specially crafted and labelled spice bag. 

Think lolly shop for big kids!

Bags of fresh spices.
Gewurzhaus Shop Front - Lygon Street, Carlton. 

I think there could be room for a bed in there!  (images via Gewurzhaus)

A little tip - expect to see these fabulous sisters and their little spice shop popping up all over the place. 

A little suggestion for Eva & Maria - set up shop here in Brisbane and you will have the Queensland culinary world knocking the door down!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's all about colour

a marvellous quote from Bright Bazaar

I've never been a beige person except in very small doses, I don't really know why but I've always been drawn to colour and as everyone who knows me will attest I'm a huge fan of red, it's probably the colour that represents me.  Although after doing Shannon Fricke's brilliant Colour Workshop last weekend, I really need to rethink my use of red around the house!

The Little Cottage - this divine turquoise door had us in rapture.  Image via Shannon Fricke
Shannon relayed this wonderful story about her daughter's bedroom when it was painted raspberry red and how the colour affected her daughter's behaviour and mood and she was constantly switched on 'high'.  It's quite amazing how colour can affect our mood.  When Shannon changed the colour scheme and used muted tones of green and blue - voila - a much more contented and relaxed child - amazing! 

gorgeous muted tones of green in Shannon's Workshop.  image via Shannon Fricke
For many years it seems that the design and decorating world has been awash with....well beige.  While I can see it's attraction, safe, unassuming, blends with everything and it really can look beautiful and sophisticated, I felt a bit out of step because it just isn't me, it feels too conservative.  I can't help it, I love colour, always have always will. 

I caught up for a coffee earlier this week with two super talented and stylish friends, Judy from Verandah House and Australia's answer to Martha Stewart Sharnel Dollar and we all agree - ditch the dowdy and embrace colour!

I can't drool over Judy's collection enough - it's stunning.  via Verandah House

Sharnel's vintage bauble Christmas wreath, she adds new glass baubles each year.  A few weeks before Christmas last year, I arrived home one day and on my door step was my very own Christmas wreath Sharnel had made for me as a surprise.  I just burst out laughing because I used to say to her 'I want one of those' and ta-da there it was! image via My Life My Loves

I'm not sure if colour was ever 'out of fashion' but it's definitely at the top of the design tree this Christmas.  I love the little tag line of Bright Bazaar 'because beige is boring'.   I don't think we all need to rush out and throw colour around like a mad man (maybe just a little bit) but add a dash here and there and your spirits will be uplifted guaranteed.   Colour = Happiness.

how fun is this Chrismas corner?  via Bright Bazaar
Shannon's workshop was beyond amazing and I met some incredibly talented and wonderful ladies and we had oh so many laughs.  Not only is Shannon brilliant but she is such a genuinely warm, welcoming and lovely person, I felt like we had met years ago.  Her wonderful assistant Nicky is just as delightful and the lunch she served was divine.  Bangalow is truly a beautiful escape from the city, it also helps that The Little Cottage is a magical space encouraging magical creativity!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Colour Splash

Shannon's Book STYLE is one of my favourites

I've been a little busy this past week, trying to get organised to allow myself time to head off to beautiful Bangalow for the Shannon Fricke Color Workshop.  I've been so excited about this little weekend for months.  Shannon is an incredibly talented author, stylist, television presenter and mother.  Her sense of style and decorating approach is refreshing and eclectic.  

I am staying at Shannon's guesthouse 'The Little Cottage' which looks positively delightful and oh so restful.

The Little Cottage - Bangalow
Fresh country air and inspirational design, sounds like a perfect way to spend a few days.


all images via Shannon Fricke

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Glamourous

It's not all glamourous here in the world of The Brown Trading Co.  Sometimes one must get down and dirty and this week is the week.  Stock has arrived, mountains of it, so the worker bees (that would include me) must don their stylish best, designer stanley knives in hand, unpack and count all the stock and then....fill our orders for our magnificent retailers!!

The things we do for gorgeousness...

required designer footwear for worker bees

Using stylish Stanley Knives on this lot, much more where these came from!

Friday, November 5, 2010

'Limelight' - Lily-G

Beauiful Fabrics (via Lily-G)
Just off a round-about tucked away in leafy Norman Park, Brisbane is beautiful lifestyle boutique Lily-G.  Founded 6 years ago by the extraordinarily talented Judy Elliott now of Verandah House, Lily-G was sold earlier this year to new proprietor Melinda Boundy who has since brought her own flair to the gorgeous landmark store.

Inside Lily-G (image via Lily-G)
Melinda and her team offer a full design service from concept to installation.  A stunning range of fabrics and wallpapers from Ralph Lauren, Osborne & Little, Nina Campbell and Designers Guild are on offer along with an array of exquisite homewares and gifts.

Bungalow Neem Red Napkins (image via Lily-G)

Butterflies and Birds (image via Lily-G)
In the years since opening, Lily-G has established itself as a leader in the Brisbane market and is renowned for providing clients with a luxurious yet relaxed style indicative of homes in France and The Hamptons.

Maileg Elves (image via Lily-G)
Next time you head down Bennetts Road way, be sure to stop by and visit Melinda and the team at Lily-G.  Make sure you grab one of these adorble Christmas Elves to help you through the silly season!

Have a gorgeous weekend.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The King's Road SW3


The King's Road, has launched many a brilliant career including those of 60's fashion icon Mary Quant and the original punk queen Vivienne Westwood.

Mary Quant 1963
Vivienne Westwood 1977

Granny Takes a Trip store circa 1960

Located in upmarket Chelsea, The King's Road  covers just over 3kms from Sloane Square to Waterford Road and has long been recognised as London's mecca for the bohemian and style trailblazers.

Back in the 90's I lived just off The King's Road, in a fabulously stylish flat owned by Minnie Driver's mother Gaynor Churchward (uber style queen) who lived in the flat upstairs.  Gaynor was an interior designer and her store Sussex House was on the ground floor and was a treasure trove of fabrics, cushions, curtains and trimmings.
Minnie Driver (image via abc.net.au)
I not only lived in the area but I worked here for a while too and spent most of my lunch hours wandering through all the beautiful stores I'd never seen in Australia.  Shopping here on a Saturday was an unbelievable experience and we frequented My Old Dutch, Henry J Beans, Chutney Mary and The Chelsea Bun, not exactly Michelin star establishments but they all fell within the backpacking budget constraints and kept us fed and watered for well over a year.

It's where I first discovered the mind blowingly gorgeous world of Designers Guild, the visionary Habitat 'shopping as entertainment' concept brought to life by Terence Conran in 1964 and I was even present at the opening of Heal's Chelsea store.

design revolutionary Sir Terence Conran (image via mydeco)

Designer's Guild colour heaven

part of Designers Guild shopfront

Other fabulous stores along the famous stretch are AnthropologieThe White Company, Cath Kidston and newcomer to the area Oka who recently launched their flagship store.

Anthropologie (image via Grey Lemon)

Want to take a your own little swan down one of my favourite streets? Head here The Kings Road for a virtual 'street sensation' of one of the most wonderful high street shopping experiences in the world.

There is so much brilliance to discover at The King's Road and it will always hold a special place in my heart. If you have never been, it's a must!  If you have been, share your stories...


Friday, October 29, 2010

Limelight - Ada & Darcy


Ada & Darcy full of delicious sorbet colours

First off the rank in our weekly 'Limelight' post is one of our newest retailers Ada & Darcy.  Just because Kellie's store is new doesn't mean she doesn't know what she's doing, a long time blogger, this girl has style in spades.  Ada & Darcy features splashes of colour, fashion forward designs, premium products and most importantly the prices won't melt the credit card (it's what I call affordable gorgeousness).
Lamp bases, vases, lampshades, ginger jars, birds..bliss
Far from being your average online retailer, Ada & Darcy is a little bit quirky (I love quirky) stocking delightful candy coloured cane furniture, cushions, bedding, tableware and giftware.   This is a website that truly stands out from the crowd. 
I think this should be hung on a wall!
instant (((love)))

If you're feeling a little unsure how to pull off using so much colour and pattern, Ada & Darcy offers a full design service regardless of your location.  Does it get any better than that?

lampshade goodness
My advice - head straight for the lampshades section, it's ridiculously beautiful. Congratulations Kellie, you have produced a stellar store.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

The coast and the catch

featuring Shacks of every kind - shelter, business, ruins, beach, lakeside...
I couldn't help but borrow that title line from a gorgeous little book I discovered yesterday Shack in praise of an Australian icon by Simon Griffiths (Penguin Lantern $39.99).  According to Simon, shacks make people happy.  It's all about enjoying the coast and the catch.  The shack's a place you can hose out at the end of summer, lock, leave and not worry about. Sounds perfect!  

Simon's publication pedigree is rather envious, he is a leading photographer of food, interiors and gardens.  His work appears regularly in lifestyle magazines and in the books of Australian cooking royalty Stephanie Alexander and Kylie Kwong.

my favourite - a converted boatshed outside Melbourne

set in coastal scrub - Mornington Peninsula
a converted cowshed - how positively perfect!

This book is a gem featuring quirky, rustic, shabby and renovated 'shacks' from faraway places to inner city dwellings connecting us to our 'common desire for retreat and renewal'. 

The Great Lakes Tasmania is a haven for shacks
Stunning photography transports you to various reaches of Australia from country to coast, however there are many beautifully constructed sentences that make you close your eyes and dream of a simpler life.

A lazy afternoon spent with a cup of tea and this book is hard to beat.  My advice - put it on your Christmas list!

Keren xx

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Welcome to our world of gorgeousness!

Stocked in 120 stunning homewares, interiors and design stores Australia wide and growing, we are busily preparing for the Christmas season with our warehouse of elves singing and dancing - visualise Oompa Loompas in the chocolate factory and you get the general idea!

Each week we will feature one of our fabulous retailers providing a snapshot into their beautiful stores and what they have to offer. Trust us, it's worth it, our retailers are brilliant and talented :o)

Our blog and facebook pages will feature snippets of our world, product highlights, sneak peeks into our new collection designs, our favourite things and other bloggers along with some fun giveaways.  Because we want this to be interactive we are also going to invite you to join in and share your ideas of gorgeousness - homewares, interiors and design or anything that takes your fancy, we want to hear about it.  We want to learn about our customers and find out what makes them tick and what they most desire in design.

Head on over to our facebook page and 'like' us for your chance to win some divine Bungalow products.

Grab a cushion and enjoy the ride...it's going to be gorgeous.