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Who are the Designer Chicks The Designer Chicks are a team of professional women from all Design genres. We design, create and collaborate on projects for you, your home and your business.


the designer Architecture Colour Consulting Commercial Design Decluttering Downsizing Events Styling Event Strategy Floral Art Furniture Design Graphic Design Image Consulting Interior Design Lampshades Landscape Design Original Art Photography Project Management Property Styling Public Relations Soft Furnishings Storage Design Tile Design Visual Merchandising Web Design Window Coverings





editor’s letter Lucia van Gerwen Robyn Hawke contributors Judith Briggs Geoff Butler Michelle Davies Danielle Deane Deb Deeth Bettina Deda Elise Harper Robyn Hawke Ruth Newman Margie Tweedie Lucia van Gerwen Jenny Williams front cover image: SNPhotography cover font: Akka project manager Bettina Deda Bettina Deda Colour Design art direction & production Danielle Deane Purple Pigeon Designs

2015 Copyright All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without prior permission is strictly forbidden. Every care has been taken when compiling The Designer Chicks Magazine to ensure that all the content is correct at the time of production. The Designer Chicks assume no responsibility for any effects from errors or omissions.






editor’s letter Lucia van Gerwen ~ More Than Curtains Robyn Hawke ~ Inspired Spaces

8 10

designer chicks leaders new designer chicks feature articles

12 Wonderlands of Fabulous Finds

Bettina Deda ~ Bettina Deda Colour Design Margie Tweedie ~ Margan Tile Design

20 Living La Vida Retro Jenny Williams ~ Creative Style 22 How to Transform an Ugly Duckling into a Swan Robyn Hawke ~ Inspired Spaces 24 The History of Wallpaper Lucia van Gerwen ~ More Than Curtains 28 Four 60s Television Shows to Inspire You Ruth Newman ~ Ruth Newman Architect

history of the chair

53 The early 1920s chair Bettina Deda ~ Bettina Deda Colour Design

out and about

54 Mid-Century Modern: Jenny Williams ~ Creative Style 56 Calendar of Design Events 58 Trade Directory

30 Boogie Bop Dames Lucia van Gerwen ~ More Than Curtains 32 The Retro Influence Danielle Deane ~ Purple Pigeon Designs 36 Is There Such a Thing as Retro Glass? Deb Deeth ~ Greater Glass 40 The Retro Revival in the Rag Trade Elise Harper ~ yELLE Styling 42 Returning to the Curtains of our Past Lucia van Gerwen ~ More Than Curtains 44 The Colour Purple – Heavenly Delicate, Incomparably Rich

Judith Briggs ~ Colour Consultants Australia P/L

46 Cover Girls Elise Harper ~ yELLE Styling 49 Giving your Retro Pad a Touch of Life Michelle Davies ~ Creative Finishes By Michelle



designer chicks

Meet our fearless Designer Chicks Leaders…

Ever wondered who runs the show at The Designer Chicks? Well, here is a brief introduction to the leadership team.

Lucia van Gerwen More Than Curtains The Designer Chicks ~ Creative Director M 0412 225 437

AT THE HELM The Designer Chicks is the brainchild of Lucia van Gerwen of More Than Curtains. As an avid networker and a veteran designer in the window covering industry, Lucia devised a way of encouraging successful collaborations between designers of all genres, whilst simultaneously mentoring women in business. Lucia is tireless in her efforts to constantly expand the team, improve service and skills…she lives and breathes The Designer Chicks!! Lucia’s broad experience and naturally outgoing and witty manner, make her the celebrated leader of the pack.

Robyn Hawke Inspired Spaces The Designer Chicks ~ Assist Creative Director M 0401 068 670


Robyn Hawke of Inspired Spaces was the logical choice to assist Lucia with the necessary documentation and details needed to keep the Designer Chicks’ wheels turning. As a qualified Interior Designer, including almost two decades teaching Design, Robyn has forged some amazing alliances for the Designer Chicks that give them a professional edge over competitors. In short, Robyn’s job description is to make Lucia’s vision a reality: no easy task!

Cherel Millist Brilliant Colour Concepts M 0410 439 491

Ruth Newman Ruth Newman Architect P 0438 884 634

❏Sharon Newman ❏SN Photography M 0424 166 430 ❏

THE INNER WEST Cherel has been

THE SOUTH It was a no-brainer that Ruth


busy designing interiors for over 15 years. During that time Cherel has been working on varied projects that range from bespoke kitchens, bathrooms, joinery and lighting installations to redesigning interior spaces to fit the lifestyle that defines the client’s aspirations.

Newman of Ruth Newman Architect was selected to lead a Designer Chicks team in Sydney’s South. As a high profile business women in the Shire with almost celebrity status, Ruth demonstrates unsurpassed leadership, wonderful people skills, as well as being sought after as an expert in the field of Architecture. Ruth is currently putting together a skilled and diverse Designer Chicks team in her region in between meetings, awards presentations, client briefs, interviews and the joys of Motherhood: a true multi-tasker!

one of our original chicks, Sharon Newman of SN Photography, has put up her hand to lead our newest group in the Blue Mountains/Penrith area. As an award winning photographer, Sharon displays excellent organisational and leadership skills, made obvious by the awesome and elaborate photo shoots she has undertaken, which will ensure the success of her team. As a local in the Mountains, Sharon will be strengthening her network and collating a brilliant creative force that will broaden the Designer Chicks’ reach beyond the Greater Sydney area.

Through building strong relationships with a team of builders and quality subcontractors, Cherel continues to push the boundaries. Every project is energetically approached; always striving to create a balance of contemporary design with eclectic elements to exceed client expectations.




Do you want to become a Designer Chick We are constantly on the lookout for female design professionals to join our exclusive teams. If you are a sole trader and have at least 3 years industry experience and are fully qualified in your chosen design field, please email for an application. Currently we are recruiting in Sydney only, but we would certainly be interested in designers willing to start their own Designer Chicks group elsewhere in Australia. EMAIL for an application




Danielle Deane Purple Pigeon Designs M 0421 043 277

Deb Deeth Greater Glass M 0412 332 210

Michelle Davies Creative Finishes by Michelle M 0402 133 140

Danielle is a “CREATIVE IDEAOLOGIST” and yes, she created this word because that is what she does… create!

Deb Deeth is the owner and co-founder of Greater Glass, an award winning company with a mission to provide customers with the best possible service while accommodating budget without compromising on quality. This is achieved by taking time to understand each customer’s expectations and vision through a personalised consultation. 

Michelle Davies is a qualified Landscape Designer, drawing on her knowledge and design skills with a background in retail Floristry and Interior Design and her passion is to infuse the inside with the outside enticing her clients to enjoy their surroundings to the fullest.

Danielle has 10 years experience and not only loves what she does, but loves hearing your ideas and helping to bring them to life, making sure you’re proud for years to come. Purple Pigeon Design’s office is in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, but can help clients wherever they reside! Being a freelance designer allows Danielle to completely unleash her creativity, while keeping your experience personable and affordable regardless of your business’ size or budget.

Based in Sydney’s Southern Suburbs Deb’s passion for business and servicing the local area is evident in everything she does. With over a decade of experience in the glass industry, Deb has a wealth of knowledge and expertise that sees her clients satisfied every time. Deb’s dedication to high quality service, consultative approach and innovative solutions has seen her excel in the industry.

“I believe everybody should have access to affordable and professional design services.”

urple Pigeon esigns

Rebecca Beaumont Rebecca Beaumont Interior Design M 0405 606 377

Leesa Kotis The Clutter Bug M 0421 030 428

Rebecca Beaumont’s love of renovating began at an early age, as she watched her parents transform their house into a gorgeous family home on a budget. She understands a home is where life happens and that our home lives can get cramped and hectic, but she proves it can all be done with style.

Leesa Kotis established The Clutter Bug, a professional organising service, in 2007.

Known for her sharp eye for detail, Rebecca’s approachable take on Interior Design always impresses. She has learnt how to simplify not compromising on quality and style, whilst embracing affordable solutions, and this sets her designs apart.

In today’s modern and busy society, families and individuals are largely time-poor. Many of us would love to devote more time to the activities we enjoy, however, our precious time is instead devoted to trying to get organised and create extra time for living. All too easily people are in a perpetual cycle of disorganisation and diminishing free time, resulting in familiar feelings of frustration and stress – and an accompanying inability to move forward in our lives.

Rebecca’s designs are inspiring, bold and embody warmth and efficiency. She believes design is not just creating a pretty room, it is about creating a space to live the life you desire. “Homes are an extension of you and an expression of your journey through life”. Rebecca strives to make each project uniquely stylised towards the client and their lifestyle.


The Clutter Bug’s aim is to create organised and functional systems/spaces for clients, enabling them to gain more control of their lives and to recognise the difference between emotional clutter and physical clutter.

The organisation skills provided by The Clutter Bug specialises in giving families and individuals their precious time back.


Michelle’s business, Creative Finishes by Michelle, focuses on helping clients create beautiful, functional and inviting spaces, which will evolve with their needs and lifestyles. Services offered by Creative Finishes by Michelle include concept plans, planting plans, planting schedules, plant selection and sourcing, accessory products selection, furniture and fabric selection, and guidance with preparing homes for renovation or resale.

We are the Champions… The Australian Small Business Championships is a platform that rewards outstanding Australian businesses as judged by industry professionals and entrepreneurs. The Designer Chicks have been selected as finalists in both 2013 and 2014 – an achievement that we are all really proud of. This is an Australia-wide award and acknowledges our dedication to value, quality and exemplary service. Although we haven’t yet won the final gong, The Designer Chicks will continue to reach for the stars… STOP PRESS: The Designer Chicks were awarded finalists in the Western Sydney Awards for Business Excellence in Innovation in 2014.



Wonderlands Of Fabulous Finds Talking Shops: One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

Interior stylist Bettina Deda and tile artist Margie Tweedie interviewed seven retro, vintage, and antique dealers around Sydney to find out more about their passion and what covetable treasures they have on display.

Tangerine and Teal

Based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Tangerine and Teal buys, restores and sells mid-century, retro and vintage Australian furniture and collectables. How do you define Retro?

Retro to me is trends, objects, fashion or things from the 50’s to 70’s although now the 80’s are being referred to as retro too. The word retro comes from retrospective, meaning to look back. Often these retro pieces or styles hold a sense of nostalgia or memories. Many of our customers today buy a similar piece to one their parents or grandparents owned. What do you specialise in?

We specialise in Australian made furniture from the late 50’s to late 60’s, a style called ‘mid-century modern’. Features of this style are a classic, simple look with clean lines. Our Australian makers include Parker, Chiswell, Danish Deluxe, Hans Hayson, Featherston and Fler. We also sell some pieces from Denmark and England, which we have sourced locally. What is the most unusual and/or most famous retro piece you have stocked?

One of my favourite pieces I have stocked was a huge executive desk made in Brazilian rosewood designed by George Korody in Australia in the 60’s, named the ‘Boomerang Desk’ due to its shape. This was such an impressive piece due to its size and rarity. George Korody was a Hungarian-born architect who founded ‘Artes Studios’ – the leading interior design store of its time in Australia – in the late 1940s. The desk is now in a large Perth real estate agency head office. Where do you source your products?

Our furniture comes from various sources including furniture auctions, Ebay, people downsizing. Lots of great pieces come up from Melbourne and interstate. Sourcing great pieces takes a lot of time, knowledge and a good eye. We do lots of research into the designer and maker and ensure we are always accurate in identifying the maker before selling the item. Who are your customers?

We have varied customers with a range of ages and budgets, most have a passion for mid century design and once you start collecting pieces it can get very addictive. We have a waiting list for some items as they are so hard to find, and our customers are willing to wait for the right pieces. Mid-century pieces can be mixed in with contemporary pieces to create a more personal and liveable home. Sacha Staniford | WWW.THEDESIGNERCHICKS.COM.AU


Lunatiques Vintage and Design Collective

Lunatiques has recently taken over the premises and dealers of Mitchell Road Emporium and now houses a collective of over 30 dealers on 3,000 square metres, specialising in anything old from different eras. Customers will also find complimentary services such as upholstery, restoration workshops, and custom-made furniture. How do you define Retro?

Retro to us is anything 50s, 60s, 70s & now 80s. Most of us recognise retro as anything well-designed and of excellent craftsmanship. What do you specialise in?

We love anything rustic and full of character. We love design and anything wacky that will make a space pop. What is the most unusual and/or most famous retro piece you have stocked?

We have had and have many: from old Featherston chairs to a 19th Century French zinc bath. Where do you source your products? For us, it is now mainly word of mouth or country sales. Who are your customers?

Interior Designers, Decorators, Stylists and also a lot of commercial buyers such as people that are setting up cafes, restaurants, pubs, etc., and, of course, the general public. Laura Lalaurette |

“Retro to us is anything 50s, 60s, 70s & now 80s” The Itchy Kitty

The Itchy Kitty is a small vintage wares shop on the fringe of the vibrant Enmore Road shopping strip; a retro jumble of homewares, decorative whatnots and compact furniture pieces. Products range from the iconic mid-century staples – such as Barsony and Tretechikoff – to the absolute cheesy cheap and cheerful in the $5 suitcase out the front. How do you define Retro?

I have always thought of Retro as a specific aesthetic collection of design approach and materials that came about in the immediate Post-War period. To me it is about a combination of optimism and the future, now firmly rooted in the past from the late 1940’s with elements into the early 70’s. I understand that the term is much broader to most people. What do you specialise in?

Mostly items from the 1930’s to 1980’s, Art Deco to Super Mario! I specifically like to discover and sell anything from the Atomic era. I also have a strong leaning towards anything Kitsch! I attempt to keep everything with a degree of character and affordable. My Mum, now in her eighties calls it all junk, but it’s curated junk! What is the most unusual and/or most famous retro piece you have stocked? Maybe not so unusual or rare to most folks, but I LOVED an original 1981 Galaga table top arcade game machine. It brought back memories of pocket money spent in a dilapidated former department store in George Street, then called Maxi’s Roller Rink. Where do you source your products?

I am lucky with my sourcing, the special vintage elves and fairies come in the night and miraculously do it all for me! Who are your customers?

My customers are Inner West locals and people from other places drawn to the area. I love Enmore where I am located for this eclectic mix… keeps me on my toes some days that’s for sure! Jonathan James |


“Retro is a particular style with a particular warmth and nostalgic feel”


Located in Enmore and started about four years ago, Collectika offers a range of quality Scandinavian-influenced and designed furniture. Andrei has been collecting/selling/hoarding mid-century (mainly Australian) designer furniture for the past 10 to 15 years. They also stock books, cushions, candles, bags, and ceramics from local businesses and artists. How do you define Retro?

The word “Retro” can be used quite loosely these days. We believe that Mid-Century, the 1950s, 1960s and even 1970s designed furniture, homewares and the living are what constitutes Retro. Obviously we have pieces produced or designed in earlier periods of the century that influenced the revolution of mid-century design and culture. Retro is a particular style, from teak veneer sideboards and Ladderax storage systems, to laminate top dining tables and bentwood dining chairs. These designs have a particular warmth and nostalgic feel. What do you specialise in?

Here at Collectika, our main focus is quality design. We find that a lot of Australian design from the 1950s and 60s was swept under the rug for quite some time, but now thankfully, is beginning to resurface in the Australian lifestyle. Designers like Paul Kafka, Parker Furniture, FLER, Summertone and Chiswell see the praise and popularity they deserve. Over the years, we have acquired a taste for Mid-Century design from Australia and abroad. We stock Scandinavian furniture and glassware (Grete Jalk, Arabia, etc.) as well as vintage Italian and West German ceramics (Bitossi, etc.). We also stock new ceramics from local artists, blankets and pillows from overseas, as well as books and records in collaboration with “TITLE - music, book and film” What is the most unusual and/or most famous retro piece you have stocked?

We’ll go with unusual, for example, a plywood, spindle back, wire-ware leg easy chair Andrei had picked up from an antique store in Goulburn. A very primitive design, dating back to perhaps the early 50s, maybe even late 40s. We have no idea who designed this miraculous piece, but we love it. It’s intricacy and detailing of its arms and era crossing design, from its wire legs capped with cylindrical timber ends to its spindle back, is so innovative. Where do you source your products?

All over! Andrei is on the road a lot, so he comes across many people running out of space and willing to sell off their pieces. We also make a lot of online enquiries, and we have people contacting us quite often wanting to offload and sell to us. Who are your customers?

Our clientele varies. We stock quite a diverse range in living and furnishing. We have a lot of set designers, interior designers and art directors that acquire our stock mainly for film, advertising or photo shoot sets. The majority of our clientele though, are people looking to reinvent their living spaces, or add to it… people who are looking for a sofa that want a little bit of history and character; something with a bit of life… or perhaps a refreshing dining suite or coffee table. Our products are vintage, but we do focus on bringing new life to each piece. We usually do this through timber restoration or fabric re-upholstery. Our clients are very much interested in Mid-Century furniture, and they usually know what they are looking for or what would work for them. We also stock new products like ceramics, hats, blankets, books and records. These products usually attract a more diverse clientele who may be collectors of records or CDs, book enthusiasts or just looking for gifts for friends or family. Andrei Meintjes |

“A lot of Australian design from the 1950s and 60s was swept under the rug”



Style – All who have it share one thing: Originalityl - Diana Vreeland



“Often retro pieces hold a sense of nostalgia or memories”

Manly Antique Centre

Manly Antique Centre houses a range of antique and vintage dealers in a warehouse on 800 sqm on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. How do you define Retro?


Retro is a style combined with a certain age: I would say between the 50s and early 90s, but usually associated with the 70s. Chronologically it follows Art Nouveau, Art Deco, 1950s Deco Revival (I call this period Kitsch), Retro. What do you specialise in?

We do not specialise, we pride ourselves in the variety and have a wide range of mostly antique pieces mixed with retro and vintage furniture and quality collectables. What is the most unusual and/or most famous retro piece you have stocked? I have been dealing with antiques and retro pieces for 50 years now. I have seen many stunning and unusual pieces – There is no ONE piece that stands out!! Where do you source your products?

I am lucky; most people find me. I have a long list of clients I have dealt with over the years… sometimes four generations of the same family. They call me and offer me their items because they are moving or downsizing, for example. People can either call or email me and send pictures of their pieces, or they can bring them in the shop. Who are your customers?

We attract a wide range of people from all ages. Since we opened the Manly Vale store eight years ago, I realised that we have never had more young customers than now. Young peopleobviously love beautiful pieces with a history, and they realise that it is much cheaper to buy antique furniture now than it has ever been. Today, to buy wisely is a good investment. Anthony Belvanas |

All Buttons Great and Small

From the simple to the exotic, All Buttons Great and Small has an extravagant selection of buttons from Europe and the rest of the world. Established in 1989, the collection has grown to cater for all aspects of popular fashion. How do you define Retro?

When the term ‘retro’ was originally used in the 1960s, it was describing the period of fashion and accessories of the 1950s. Today, retro can mean any periods in fashion from the past, but usually onwards from the mid 20th century. Some people describe it as being “old fashioned” but suggested in a positive light, as in an earlier time when life was simpler and less complicated. What do you specialise in?

We are a button and fastening specialist. We house over 15,000 different varieties of buttons and fastenings in our collection, from simple tailor’s buttons to extravagant hand crafted adornments. What is the most unusual and/or most famous retro piece you have stocked?

The most unusual retro pieces we stock were hand crafted in Spain and France, from resin and passementerie ribbon. We had some when we originally opened the shop in 1989 and have recently found another source of these beauties for our current customers. Where do you source your products?

Our products come from every continent. Some people approach us with their stock, but mostly, we travel the world searching out the unusual for our customers. Who are your customers?

All of our customers are creatives who appreciate fine detail and have an eye for beauty and quality. This includes both the professional and the non-professional maker, as well as industry, film and television, theatre. We have provided buttons for many films made in Australia, most notably for Oscar and Lucinda, Moulin Rouge, Australia, to name a few. The designers were looking for exceptional fine details to fit in with their retro and period themes. We have worked with Angus Strathie in both his role as costume designer for Opera Australia, as well as in his collaboration with Catherine Martin in Baz Luhrmann’s film Moulin Rouge. As well as being outfitters to Bananas in Pyjamas and Rat in the Hat (with those large white buttons), we recently had the pleasure of being featured through the arched window on the ABC’s iconic Playschool. Lucy Godoroja |



Mitchell Road Antique and Design Centre

Located in Bourke Road, Mitchell Road Antique and Design Centre is home to over 60 dealers. They sell everything from antiques to art, industrial to indie, Victoriana to vintage and deco to retro in a 2,300 square metre warehouse. How do you define Retro?

The definition of retro as a prefix is simply ‘back’, or when used as an adjective it means something associated with, or revived from the past. However, as definitions evolve, the word settles into a more convenient meaning … something a little different from the original. Thus, the term ‘retro’ today can mean many things related to “going back”, however it mostly means an item or a certain style associated with the many designs of the mid 20th century era. What do you specialise in? You could say we specialise in everything! We sell antiques to art, industrial to indie, Victoriana to vintage and deco to retro plus so much more. We are in a huge 2,300 square meter warehouse with over 60 dealers and 150 stalls, which bring as much variety to the place as there are characters and personal likes of dealers. They are also clever at knowing what others like, what the trends are in interior design & fashion and what varieties of collectables are out there. Amazingly they also seem to have crystal balls or psychic powers, making them able to offer items that customers didn’t even realise they loved and had to have! What is the most unusual and/or most famous retro piece you have stocked?

We have a plethora of unusual items always in store, and famous ones come in as well. You can find bizarre jewellery made of human hair or kangaroo claws, a huge New Guinea Shamans outfit & amazing industrial lights cleverly sculpted from rare 1900’s car & machinery parts. Where do you source your products?

As the centre is a conglomeration of over 60 dealers we cannot say any one place the products are sourced from except, to coin a phrase … ‘from anywhere and everywhere’. Who are your customers?

Our many thousands of highly valued customers come from all walks of life and many different professions. We have young children come in just as enthused about the vintage toys as their Mums and Dads. We have grandma buying the rare china she may have broken in the past and young couples decorating economically as they start their life together. Professionals are dressing up their office with stylish mid-century furniture, and we have celebrities shopping for unusual pieces of vintage fashion so they can stand out from the crowd! We also have many stylists and photographers come to hire items or our variety of spaces for film, advertisements, magazine shoots or promotions. Because of our extensive selection of items we literally have something for everyone! This brings people in for a diverse range of reasons, likes and interests. Part of the joy of having the antique and design centre is that others share our passion for reusing and saving our precious history from going into landfill. Lyn Richardson |

You can find bizarre jewellery made of human hair or kangaroo claws







“Retro is all things funky, groovy, colourful... classic mid-centrury shapes”

Vampt Vintage Design specialises in highly collectable and unique pieces of vintage and mid-century modern design. The main showroom and sale store is in Surry Hills; their warehouse showroom is located in Brookvale, offering an in-house upholstery and restoration service. How do you define Retro?

Retro in my eyes is a term, phase or categorised style for all things funky, groovy, colourful, and that are a classic mid-century organic design or shape. Things like moulded plastics, organic moulded plywood forms and tub shaped injection moulded chairs, etc. in bright colours. It’s a pretty broad term that can be interpreted in many ways, but that’s how I see it: Fun, funky and affordable. What do you specialise in?

We specialise in Scandinavian vintage/ Danish modern, and all other design classics like Eames, Saarinen, Featherston. Authentic mid-century vintage classics. No copies or remakes. Sustainable design. What is the most unusual and/or most famous retro piece you have stocked?

Over the past 14 years we have sourced, collected and sold so many great pieces, so it’s hard to say which would be the most famous. We found a Saarinen oval marble top table and six chairs in a farmhouse down in the Southern Highlands. It had been stored in a barn for many years and we had to shift the marble top with a tractor on forks. We had to fight off all the other local dealers to get it, and it’s the only such set we have had since. Where do you source your products?

We buy all over Scandinavia and wider Europe. We ship to our warehouse in Denmark and store until we load our 40ft containers and ship back to Australia. We have another container just about to be packed and we ship between three and six containers per year depending on our buying habits or retail needs. We also buy all over Australia. Because of our web presence, we get offered more things than we can buy so our local products come to us mostly these days. Who are your customers?

Our customers are very broad. Predominantly people who want to invest in sustainable authentic vintage pieces made from rare woods, designed and produced by world famous designers and manufacturers and who want to add character and style to their space. Whether all or part vintage, it is a necessary part of every space to have a few feature pieces with provenance and design. We offer a trade back on all pieces we sell in case your circumstances change. So it’s a bit of a no brainer and a guarantee that what you buy from us will retain value and is a quality piece. And we have a property styling service. We can offer advice for single piece solutions or whole space refits, property styling for sale and for shoots for architecturally designed homes. We just love to share our passion and hope that we can help our customers see what we see. Dave Beeman |

“Our customers want to invest in sustainable authentic vintage pieces” Bettina Deda

Margie Tweedie



Living La Vida Retro Retro or Mid Century Modern is back with a vengeance. Interior designer Jenny Williams shares her tips on how to create a Retro look in your home. The classic Peter Allen song tells us ‘everything old is new again!’ and this is definitely true of furniture designed in the 50’s and 60’s. In Australia we call this design style Retro, in the US, it is called Mid (20th) Century Modern; and its back with a vengeance. This may in part be due to the popularity of the Mad Men TV series, but also because the furniture is beautifully crafted and essentially modern looking.

Why Retro?

In Australia during the 50’s, 60’s and even into the early 70’s, brand names such as Parker and Chiswell were the premier manufacturers of this style, as well as celebrated Australian designers such as Grant Featherston. The original pieces were often referred to as Danish and Danish Eames style. Internationally, designers such as Ray & Charles Eames, Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner & Harry Bertoia created pieces of furniture, lighting and accessories that remain hugely popular today.

However, it’s also ideal for introducing a ‘feature’ piece or two into an otherwise contemporary space. It won’t dominate the modern décor, but will still create a point of difference, as the style is so recognisable. The clean yet softer lines work harmoniously with a contemporary style.

If you’re a real fan of Mid Century Modern furniture you may want to create your whole look around this design style. In this case, you’ll need to make sure the major pieces of furniture in your room are either originals or reproductions from this period. If you want an authentic look, you’ll need to follow through with lighting, decorative accessories and soft furnishings as well. 

• Simple, clean lines and uncomplicated shapes of upholstered furniture and timber pieces

As well as looking great, the original pieces were exquisitely crafted from high-quality materials, and locally produced at a time when furniture was built to last a lifetime. They are now in huge demand in the marketplace, however not everyone wants to buy an original as there are often additional costs for restoration of the finish as well as re-upholstery. Fortunately there are also some great copies out there.

• Practical and unobtrusive design

Where can you find it?

What makes Retro so recognisable?

• Tables, chairs and buffets commonly made of polished timber • Tapered timber legs with a rounded profile on tables and chairs as well as thin metal legs in sculptural shapes • Dining tables were frequently round extending to an oval or rectangle with rounded corners • Dining chairs often had elliptical timber or upholstered pads on back and seat • Chairs and sofas were upholstered with leather or PVC, wool or other natural looking materials • Moulded plastic chair seats as an alternative to timber and upholstery

There are many stores worldwide selling reproductions. If you consult your favourite search engine you’ll be sure to find a supplier in your local area. Also you can try classified websites such as Gumtree, eBay, Craigslist and eBid in the hunt for that fabulous original. One other avenue you might like to explore is your local op-shop/charity store or flea market. If you’re lucky you could find amazing pre-loved pieces in perfect condition for a fraction of the price! Jenny Williams


• Linear, low-line cabinetry, such as buffets and credenzas



In Australia we call it retro, in the US they say Mid Century Modern



How to Transform an Ugly Duckling into a Swan Interior Designer Robyn Hawke discusses design solutions to create a new look for retro buildings.


is the buzzword in design at present as seen with the plethora of replica furniture and patterns available. However, if we are to look at some of the buildings constructed during the 1960’s and 1970’s, especially residential unit blocks, what we find is very flat looking blocks reminiscent of your first building constructed from Lego. To be honest, their aesthetic appeal is less than inspirational. So, apart from knocking down and rebuilding, what other options are available to create better amenities for the occupants and to increase street appeal? Many buildings in this period were essentially mass produced using new building techniques as quickly and cheaply as possible, though generally well built. Modifications are often required to meet the needs of our current lifestyle. Characteristics of these retro buildings often included: • Minimal & repetitive design features, easier to build if every floor & window are the same. • No variation in materials • Rows of garages dominating the bottom floor • Minimal landscaping • Poor link between indoor & outdoor living • Often poor climate control with limited eaves, balconies, etc for shading Design Solutions - Streetscape Appearance As with any build, design principles are vital for success. Elements such as scale, line and texture are important to create a visual appearance that appeals to today’s modern society. Any modification needs to be kept within the context of the overall streetscape and be respectful of its history.


No modification is applicable if it does not improve the amenity and liveability of the space for its residents. By improving the environmental performance of the building alone will result in it having less of an impact on our carbon footprint. Changes to the façade needs to take into account overshadowing of neighbouring properties and views, and western facades with no or little shading.

wood can provide shading and privacy, whilst aluminium cladding can contrast in colour and texture. Shading devices such as shutters also are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

The first step is to stocktake the current design elements: is there anything worth redeeming or working with? Is the brick colour a good base to work with, is there a portico that can be adapted, are there adequate windows for ventilation? Do they have balconies that are a functional size, what are the balustrades made from, do they require some element of privacy for the space? Once this has been ascertained the new elements can complement these. With most of these buildings, the facades require articulation to add interest. This can be done by adding sizeable balconies if not overshadowing neighbouring buildings, using new materials to break the monotony of lack of colour and texture, cladding stairwells and changing balustrades. If adding balconies is not an option, framing w i n d o w s with a box like construction can address this issue. It not only articulates the façade but can also be useful in climate control. The obvious quick fix solution of rendering and painting will only work if depth is added to the building façade. Blending new materials with old creates interest and also acknowledges the building’s core and history. Materials such as composite wood and aluminium cladding, both of which require little maintenance, can add the cutting edge to a building. The composite


Softening concrete expanses with landscaping and different materials, even concrete stencilling, will add to the appeal. Vegetation, if possible, softens the overall look and provides privacy and a threshold to the boundaries. By making our built environment more appealing we are making our lives easier. As Winston Churchill said “We shape our buildings; therefore they shape us.” Robyn Hawke





The History of Wallpaper Interior Decorator Lucia van Gerwen and former Owner of Krysler Wallpapers, Geoff Butler, explore the development of wallpaper from hand painted Chinese silk panels to digitally printed wall art. We can see it everywhere…in chic restaurants, boutiques, fashion editorials and the modern home. Myriads of patterns and colours prevail; as consumers we have never been offered so much choice in texture and graphics. Wallpaper has come a long way since its origins as hand painted silk panels in China many centuries ago. Due to the intensive labour required, these wallpapers were relegated to the homes of the nobility and as such, denoted a certain status. With the development of paper production, including its quality, durability and decreased expense to produce en-masse, wallpaper started to become more available to the


lesser social ranks. By the17th Century, folks would paste sheets of paper to their walls, which would be decorated with scenic pictures and illustrations. Block Prints on Paper Advancements in printing techniques produced block printed patterns on paper, which was more reminiscent of what we now recognise as ‘wallpaper’. Throughout the 18th Century, wallpaper grew in popularity and designs became more complicated, incorporating elaborate colours and patterns, and requiring hundreds of blocks to print. Mass production in the mid 19th Century enabled the manufacture of endless rolls of


wallpaper. Woodblocks became cylinders (rollers) and this development whetted the cultural appetite for patterned materials throughout the home. It also made wallpaper inexpensive and therefore available to the general population. Although factory production of wallpaper remained popular in the early 20th Century, designers such as Englishman William Morris started a movement towards superior hand made patterns and a resurgence of the artist-craftsman. Many William Morris designs are still being reproduced today. Wallpaper Fluctuated in Popularity Throughout the 20th Century, wallpaper fluctuated in popularity. Modernism

emphasized the beauty and simplicity of architectural design, and many believed the ornamentation of wallpaper detracted from this. Furthermore, with technological advancements in the quality of paint, one could easily and cheaply decorate a room in a simple effective manner with no professional tradesman required. By the late 1980s, wallpaper had almost completely disappeared from Australian homes with the exception of heritage buildings. To illustrate this point, Australians purchased an average of eight million rolls of wallpaper per annum in the 1970s. This number dwindled to less than 250,000 rolls by 1990. However, wallpaper has made a huge resurgence in recent years. Massive advances in digital printing technology enables any image, colour or pattern to be reproduced accurately. Photographic images can be transferred to wallpaper; there really is no limit. Historic designs can be faithfully reproduced for heritage situations where original wallpapers have been damaged over time.

The papers themselves are far superior in quality than what was previously available. Some papers can be removed and repositioned without damaging the walls – great for renters. Many are washable or can be scrubbed; some contain glass fibres, diamantes, fur, and leather. Make a Statement Popular designs are definitely hearkening back to the mid 20th Century – bold, repetitive and colourful. Now, home decorators use wallpaper to make a statement, to add texture or colour to an otherwise drab area. We can delight in the myriad of colours and patterns we see around us as we shop or peruse design magazines. Florence Broadhurst, a flamboyant Australian designer in the 60s and70s, created extravagant wallpaper designs that were widely used by high society in Australia back in the day. Many years after her mysterious death, her audacious designs have been brought back to the marketplace and reproduced for another generation of consumers who


delight in her stunning dramatic colours and patterns. Retro wallpaper is reminiscent of an era past – where we fully expressed our personalities in our homes and were not afraid to be a little bit extreme. These wallpapers are a lot of fun and take us right away from the dramas of 21st Century living. Where could you use some Retro wallpaper?

Lucia van Gerwen


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Four 60s Television Shows to Inspire You How TV Networks Used Retro Design to Make Their Shows a Success The development of the television has had a major impact on the lives of its viewers since it became available to most people in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Along with the subsequent lifestyle changes, came a whole new way of influencing consumers and extending ideas to the masses. Based on this the TV networks recognised that the style of the house and its furniture and fittings were an important factor in the success of a program, as well as the fashion and the story line. The most successful, and popular shows in the Retro period included all of these items. The style of this period included the development of the open plan living area, the use of open mezzanine floors and open stairwells linking the downstairs living spaces to the upstairs bedroom areas. Dark greens, yellows, pinks and oranges were very popular and were used for wallpaper, carpets, sofas, cushions and drapery. With such a dominant theme of décor in this era, it was important that the television shows be accurate examples that viewers could relate to. There were a number of series in the 1960’s that used these elements that are still relevant today for the aficionados of the Retro style.


Bewitched was a comedy fantasy broadcast from 1964 to 1972 involving a witch who marries a mortal. It is still regularly seen on both ‘free to air’ and cable television. The design within Darrin and Samantha’s home changed throughout the series, with furniture often being changed by a ‘twitch of a nose’. The set illustrated many of the motifs of the era. A kitchen with avocado and orange cupboards with a feature display of coordinated coffee mugs on the shelf above the bench, Sunbeam kitchen appliances in the background and an adjacent laundry area with avocado appliances were the epitome of style. The living room was often the focus of entertaining for Darrin’s advertising colleagues with its shag pile rug, designer furniture and the retro accessories. The set was designed to reflect the wealth and success of the family, as well as whom they were meant to be.

The Brady Bunch Another popular show incorporating the Retro style was The Brady Bunch. The show was often set in the kitchen with its bright orange and timber fit out, and widely sought after dinnerware and kitchenware. The living area was a formal area with Knoll style chairs, timber and stone features along with an avocado green feature wall. Let’s not forget the ‘open’ style stairs that dominated the set. The Brady’s also had a separate ‘family room’ or informal lounge, where Mrs Brady would often retreat to for reading or sewing. Even the family backyard with its huge station wagon often parked within sight, reflected the era’s family lifestyle to include sliding back doors, grassed area and a garage. The whole idea of this house was to not be too affluent or too blue collar. It needed to look like a place an architect would live.

GET SMART The satirical spy show, Get Smart, also effectively utilised the design style of the 1960’s. The white curved lounge and bright cushions in Max’s apartment with the open staircase leading to the mezzanine area was a major feature in many scenes with Max and Agent 99. The apartment reflected the overall look of the period: open and clean. The headquarters of Control was decorated with a distinctive dark timber design with dark leather chairs; the highlight of the office being the ‘Cone of Silence’, the moulded plastic screen that lowered from the ceiling, reminiscent of the polypropylene furniture and accessories of the 1960’s.

I DReAM of JeANNie I Dream of Jeannie was aired in the late 1960’s, and consequently the style of the set in this show reflected the changing style of home design. Major Nelson’s house had a veranda or outdoor entertaining area that was often seen in the background, the typical orange kitchen and an abundance of designer furniture items. Lots of bifold doors with amber glass or narrow louvers were in place. However, the highlight of this show was Jeannie’s bedroom in the bottle, surely the envy of many a young girl who grew up in the late 60’s.

Each of these TV shows – along with series such as The Avengers, Batman and The Saint – effectively reflect the minimalism of the Retro style as well as celebrating the new trends and points of view of the era. It’s great fun to watch the reruns and see how many items are sought after and still in use today.




Ruth Newman





Boogie Bop Dames Miss Pixie: Pinup Princess As you step into the domain of the gorgeous Miss Pixie, founder of Boogie Bop Dames, you are immediately transported back in time to the 1950s. Surrounded by countless genuine antiques and Retro paraphernalia, together with the dulcet tones of Elvis playing in the background, you would be forgiven for thinking you were an extra in “Back to the Future” or “Happy Days”! With genteel manners and impeccable presentation, Miss Pixie has transformed her home into a 1950s Mecca, and she herself has encompassed the era in her daily dress, hair and makeup. As a Period Stylist, qualified hair and makeup artist and a qualified dance instructor, Miss Pixie is the ideal mentor for women who wish to discover their “inner pin up”. Her business, Boogie Bop Dames, allows women to experience this era in a fun environment. Miss Pixie was first influenced by her parents who took her to Las Vegas at the age of six to see Elvis live in concert. With front row seats, Miss Pixie clearly remembers Elvis’ on stage energy and angelic voice. This fabulous experience paved the way for Miss Pixie’s passion for all things Retro. Miss Pixie sports quite a few fabulous tattoos, which often get her stopped by curious onlookers. Although tattoos were not generally seen on women in the mid 20th Century, Miss Pixie’s tattoos are replicas of vintage advertisements. A typical Retro beauty salon has been cleverly recreated in Miss Pixie’s home, where her clients can have their hair and make up styled 1940s or 50s. The familiarity of many of the salon items draws you in and takes you down memory lane. A huge variety of reproduction and vintage clothing is available from sizes 8-24, and Miss Pixie will advise the client what suits the shape and how to pose for the perfect pinup shot. Using her approachable manner and charm, Miss Pixie aims to capture a woman’s true inner beauty through her photographs. Many of her clients arrive feeling uncertain, but always leave invigorated and empowered. The vintage clothes are feminine and flattering, and women cannot help but be motivated by the colours, shape and fabrics that enhance the figure. The more confident clients will push the boundaries further and do some elegant retro lingerie shots. So if you are in Sydney, why not treat yourself to a unique Boogie Bop Dames pin up session? Grab a girlfriend and share the excitement. Miss Pixie will, without question, bring out your inner pin up!

Lucia van Gerwen

you are immediately transported back in time







THE RETRO INFLUENCE Nostalgia for Emotional Design The last couple of years have seen a very strong ‘retro’ influence in Graphic Design work; Kellogg’s even jumped on the trend in August 2013 by launching a limited edition retro packaging range. This range was intended to provoke an emotional response in their customers who would have been children when this retro packaging wasn’t so retro... a perfect example of when ‘old is the new new’. Danni Deane from Purple Pigeon Design feels that retro continues to be so influential in the Graphic Design world because it uses the ‘emotional design’ technique (Source: Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter) Designers are setting out to intentionally create work that will connect with you on a personal level (if anyone asks you didn’t hear this design secret from us!). Our ultimate goal is to trigger a positive emotional response in order to achieve recognition of a product, message, brand etc. We are deliberately taking you on a trip down memory lane where you played outside until sun down and five cents would buy a big bag of lollies!

comic-style illustrations and halftone patterns, a place that is full of childhood memories. So, as you can imagine, if we came across a product that portrayed any parts of our retro world, we would be sold: and this is the goal of emotional design. Look at current signage, particularly in hipster style cafes, where Retro inspired fonts are used against a backdrop of faded paint, old timbers and vintage colours. The immediate response is recognition of an era past, with the ageing patina of the surfaces to enhance the overall effect. Wedding cakes are simpler and being adorned in a minimalist style in timber cutouts very much reminiscent of days gone by. Our emotional response is generally a warm fuzzy feeling of familiarity, solidarity and melancholy. We always remember days gone by as “The Good Old days”, and even something seemingly insignificant as a style of font, can evoke such a response. It is hard to say how long the current retro influences will continue to hang around, but we hope that it stays a while longer to remind us of when we were young and life was simple. Don’t you agree?

So how would a designer get ideas for a retro inspired emotional design? We would start by asking the simple question ‘What does our retro look like?’ Well, it is coloured in browns, yellows and reds, with striped starbursts,



Danielle Deane



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Is There Such a Thing as Retro Glass? Deb Deeth of Greater Glass spoke with Ted Oberg, a pioneer of the glass industry, and looked at the origins of the glass products we know and love today. Ted Oberg is a pioneer of the glass industry, previous glass person of the year, NSW Association president, not to mention inventor of the speed cutter – a glass-cutting tool, which revolutionised the industry around the world. Simply known as Ted to most, he founded Sydney Glass in 1958 which still proudly sits on Canterbury Road today in the same location in South West of Sydney, albeit a larger version of its original self. Ted has been a glass merchant for almost six decades so is well placed to comment on glass trends, specifically the revival of glass we may deem “retro”. Ted can best be described as a humble man who is always happy to give up his time to talk about his passion for glass. Ironically, Sydney Glass was founded on the back of a dying trend – the bevelled mirror! When Ted lost his job as a beveller at Cheaper Glass where he worked from 1955 to 1958, Sydney Glass was born. During that time, bevelled edge mirrors were very fashionable; however, this specialised trade, which required a steady hand, died out in the late 50s to early 60s to be replaced by machines fit for purpose – but eventually so did the bevelled mirror, for a while at least arguably a retro product with some vouching for its longevity. Either way its popularity has experienced peaks and troughs much like a hemline but sells well today. Ted describes the comeback of older glass as a ‘generational trend’, which comes in waves of approximately 30 year cycles with the best of the original designs making a comeback with each new generation. Another good example of this is Antique



A true home is the finest ideal of man - Frank Lloyd Wright

Mirror. Ted recalls buying a lot of Antique Mirror in the 70s. Obrien’s Glass in Padstow had a silvering plant and silvered the mirrors to make them look old. Now in 2015, due to high demand, Sydney Glass is importing this product in three colours, grey, bronze and silver, and it’s selling well. This is a product Ted never predicted would see such resurgence. Thinking of retro glass, the first product that springs to mind is Georgian Wire Cast (GWC) and other variations such as “chicken wire” glass. In the last 12-18 months, Greater Glass has used GWC at the request of architects and designers alike. It seems to have made a comeback in the commercial fit out space. Funky restaurants, hotels and shops are all reviving this 70-year-old product. Ted gave some insight to the origins of this product. The earliest he can recall this product being used was in tractors but never in buildings. With the post-World War 2 era it was the product of choice for factory sawtooth grooves. In fact Ted recalled glazing the original British Paints factory around this time. This style of glass roof was replaced by steel and in the 1970s with GWC glass became the glass of choice for shower screens. I’m sure many of our grandmothers’ homes still have an original shower with a variation of wired glass. However, with the introduction of the Australian Standard, AS1288 – Glass in Buildings, GWC was deemed to ’B’ Grade Safety Glass and no longer fit for purpose in showers. Now 30 years on, it is appearing as a feature glass and in restoration projects! So what’s the next hot pick for retro glass? This is anyone’s guess, but if the copper tones featured heavily in the recent reality home shows are anything to go by don’t be surprised if we see bronze and ambers making a comeback in a less intrusive and more creative way. Bronze and amber glass was a must have in the 70s, but completely died in the 1980’s. Those taking full advantage of the energy saving revolution would love the wide range of Low E / energy efficient glass available today and may not realise that a large portion of the early reflective coated products were bronze in colour. While this has been overtaken by clear, light grey and even green in keeping with customer demand, the bronze might come back. Deb Deeth



Downsize With Style How to Create a Happy Home and Refine Your New Lifestyle Are you planning to downsize, but don’t know where to start? Are you overwhelmed by the amount of clutter you have accumulated over the years? Are you wondering how to prioritise what to keep and create a stylish and functional home in a more compact space? We know from talking to empty nesters that some of their major challenges are de-cluttering, prioritising what to keep, and storage optimisation in a more compact space. Keep reading this article and you will have access to a box of tools, checklists and practical tips on how to overcome procrastination, sort out all your clutter and stuff, and stay organised and in control along your downsizing journey. In this article I will share my top three strategies to achieve a stylish and functional home in a more compact space. You will discover 1. How to become more productive through storage optimisation 2. How to avoid costly mistakes through space planning 3. How to simplify your life through de-cluttering Strategy Number 3: Storage Optimisation Storage is a major topic for any homeowner, no matter how large or small your home is; and it is even more important for people moving into more compact spaces. Generally speaking, storage can be found in the most unlikely of places. Think of built-ins under stairs, a floor to ceiling bookshelf along a narrow hallway, full-height storage cabinets in nooks, or shelving around the perimeter of a room. In his Manual of Dwelling, Kevin McCloud even suggests lowering a bathroom ceiling to create extra overhead storage space. When you start planning your rooms, incorporate adequate storage solutions in your room layout. Think about what you want to keep in a certain space and


work out how you can store or display your belongings. Depending on the result of your room assessment, start looking for appropriate storage units. Compare customised built-in solutions with standard options available in the mainstream retail outlets. Take the time to do your research, as storage doesn’t have to be boring. Luckily, there are great solutions out there proving that function and style can go hand in hand. Strategy Number 2: Space Planning Space planning is one of the most important steps when downsizing, as it will help you avoid costly mistakes and save a lot of money by not moving furniture that won’t fit into your new apartment. Space planning will also give you a better idea of the size and proportion and the overall look of your new home. Finally, you will see immediately if your interior will work, or if you need to rethink your furniture placement. As you most probably are moving to a smaller space, you may find it hard to visualise how your furniture will fit and how you can make a small space look larger. The fun part about space planning is that you can create a new look, something different for your new home by playing around with your cutouts on paper first, before you implement your ideas in your new home. All you need is a scale ruler and grid paper. Draw the floor plan of your apartment to a chosen scale. Then measure your tables, chairs, lounges, sideboard, console, etc. and draw each piece to the same scale. Cut the pieces out. Now you can place them on your floor plan and move them around to find the best layout for your apartment. Read more about how to layout your space in Step 4 of Downsize With Style. Strategy Number 1: De-cluttering De-cluttering is the most important strategy to follow in order to make your downsizing journey as hassle-free as possible. When downsizing, you need to de-clutter for two reasons: Firstly, you won’t be able to take all your furniture with you, and secondly, if you are planning to


sell your family home, you will need to prepare it for inspection day. Even if you are super-tidy and organised, you may face some de-cluttering challenges. Clutter builds up due to unresolved issues and unmade decisions. You are not alone, and your procrastination can be overcome by working with a plan and a strategy. The first step to successfully downsize is a 100 per cent commitment to getting it done. Make a decision, and make it a priority. See it as a chance to start a new chapter of your life. De-cluttering and sorting out your things by category, for example clothes, books, papers, is the first step of this journey. Create four piles and allocate each item to one of them: 1. Things that go straight in the bin 2. Items you can sell 3. Donations to charities, schools, community centres 4. Beloved treasures you want to keep. Now, the important thing is to follow-up your de-cluttering session with action and finish off one category completely. And don’t forget to celebrate once done!!! To learn more about strategic de-cluttering and get a list of useful websites where to sell, donate and swap, order your copy of Downsize With Style.

“This book is an important contribution to the shape of our cities as it encourages older people to downsize to apartments. There is an amazing new lifestyle full of activity that comes with retirees moving from large homes into well-designed apartments in urban locations. Downsize with Style is an excellent guide and support to help potential downsizers understand the steps along the way as well as the importance of good design in a more compact space.” – Chris Johnson, CEO Urban Taskforce Australia, Former NSW Government Architect

Downsize With Style

Storage, space planning and decluttering are major steps in my 5-step process to downsize with style. I have self-published the first practical style guide for empty nesters, Downsize With Style, for those of you, who struggle to get started and overcome their procrastination. If you are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have accumulated and the number of decisions you have to make, Downsize With Style for you!

Downsize With Style is a practical

style guide interlaced with inspirational quotes. You will get expert advice on de-cluttering, space planning, storage optimisation and interior decorating. The book is connected to the Downsize With Style website, where you can download free worksheets and checklists to help you stay organised in style and subscribe to the

Downsize With Style podcast show. Take the first step of your downsizing journey today and order your copy here! Imagine what it would feel like to • Finally overcome your procrastination • Sort out all your clutter and stuff, and • Work towards a stylish and functional home that incorporates your decorating style. A home where you can truly relax and re-energise and eventually refine your apartment lifestyle!

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The Retro Revival in the Rag Trade In 2015, the future of fashion lies in the past Over the past few decades, the fashion world has had a nostalgic obsession with the styles of yesteryear. High fashion has embraced stylistic elements from each decade of the 20th Century. In 2015, the future of fashion lies in the past, with touches of the 1950’s, through to the 1990’s coming through. Yes the 1990’s – I can hear your sigh of despair. As if it wasn’t bad enough the first time, we are reliving the era of Baby Spice’s platform sneakers, Alicia Silverstone’s plaid twin sets and Gwen Stefani’s bare midriff. But let’s forget about the 90’s for a minute.

But why do women love wearing retroinspired fashions so much? Personally, I love the theatrics of it all – putting on the dress, the shoes, the accessories, the hair and the makeup. I feel like I’m playing the part of a woman from a different time. I asked designer Kylie Van Wanrooy of Beyond the Sea Swimwear her thoughts on the matter; “Retro styles are flattering on a lot of figures… women look good and feel good wearing them”, she suggested. Kylie grew up with a family who collected vintage cars, so her love of retro was in her blood. Inspired by the glamorous girls of the pin up era, her swimwear collection is targeted at sizes 8-24, specifically catering to a figure with curves. Bombshell Vintage is another great example of a label reinventing retro styles. Designer Kate Millet creates a story and brings a modern twist to

each collection of retro reproductions. She believes that “The clothes should make the woman look beautiful ... not the other way around”, which is why she enjoys creating pieces for women who wear a size 14 and above. In fact, on the cover of this issue, I am wearing her amazing Iceni Houndstooth Coat! Our present was shaped by the past, even in the fashion world. Have a look at the Retro Fashion Timeline, and see how many of these you have in your wardrobe. You may be surprised! Elise Harper


Retro fashion is big business. There are countless retailers and designers offering clothing with a retro ‘flavour’ to women across the world, and there are plenty of buyers including celebrities like Dita Von Teese, Christina Aguilera and Katy Perry. It influences the fashion trends every year in such a way, that you may not even realise

you’re wearing a design with origins in the 1960’s.




• Full circle skirts (w/ petticoats) below the knee


Mini and knee-length skirts, shorts & culottes • Sheath & swing dresses, tunics & pinafores • Swing coats • Dropped waistlines • Kaftans, capes & ponchos • Bold & colourful prints • Crocheting • Colour blocking •


Boxy jackets • Waist belts • Oversized tops & jumpers • Leggings & skinny leg jeans • Androgynous suits with shoulder pads • Bodysuits • Acid washed denim • Colour clashing •

• Form-fitting pencil skirts • ¾ length pants • Soft knits • Defined waistlines • Sweetheart necklines • Pearls


• Flared & bell bottom pants • Ponchos • Maxi dresses, jumpsuits & playsuits • Vests • Halter necks • Macramé • Tassel fringing • Sunray pleats


• Crop tops & t-shirts • Double denim • Bias dresses • Sportswear • Mini skirts • ‘Boyfriend’ blazers & pants • Flannel shirts • Plaid & Argyle IMAGE CREDITS: BOMBSHELL VINTAGE


Returning to the Curtains of our Past Lucia van Gerwen of More Than Curtains reminisces about the window coverings in her ancestral home, and how these styles are all coming back! Yes, have a laugh at the photo with the little girl below left… it is me on my second birthday; my high chair placed in front of Mum’s hideous (but very trendy at the time) venetians and curtains. Obviously my career in window coverings had been pre-destined – in actual fact my Grandfather in Holland owned a drapery business in the pre war years! As you read this article you may reminisce about the weird and wonderful window coverings that you grew up with, from the end of WW2 until the1980’s, where taste was quite often questionable. The paradox is that it is all coming back, bigger, brighter and better than years ago! The onset of the War changed decorating styles considerably. Materials were in short supply and women had to “make do” with second hand or re-purposed fabrics. Gingham, ticking and other utility fabrics served as practical curtains where possible. Big homes were divided into smaller apartments, so privacy was paramount and window coverings a must. Interestingly, during the1940s, Harrods introduced the first packaged ready made curtains. These were for those on a tight budget who obviously had no sewing skills. Of course these product ideas still exist today. As the 1950s emerged, so did a general affluence. New housing estates were built and homes reflected an informal but comfortable lifestyle.

Windows were larger and rooms were more open plan in design. Window coverings were still essential for their thermal benefits. Curtains were simple in style; generally straight hung with possibly a simple pelmet or architectural feature to enhance the windows. Fabrics included cotton twills, poplins, linens and hopsack weaves; many of these being utilised in today’s modern homes. Stronger colours emerged such as turquoise, kingfisher blue, orange, pistachio, red and pink. Motifs such as stylized flowers; leaf shapes and geometric patterns more than overcompensated for the simplicity of the curtain itself. Timber venetians were replaced by trendy new aluminium venetians, and block out roller blinds were also popular, particularly in children’s rooms. This was an era of optimism and innovation that was truly reflected in window coverings. 1960s: New Designers Emerge In the 1960s, influenced by emerging designers from London (such as Laura Ashley) and Scandinavia influenced the fabrics. Abstract designs based on technology rather than traditional patterns were ‘de rigeur’, and the Pop Art culture also had a huge impact on available designs. Fabrics were cheap and bright due to the availability of new dyes and synthetics. Over the top textures were used, such as furs, silks, satins and brocades. Curtain designs became more complicated to include festoons, fabulous bedcovers, bed canopies and even tented ceilings. Through the general affluence of the era, many people could afford a holiday house, so country patterns and small prints became popular. Indeed, an increasing trend was to hire an Interior Designer, to ensure that the home featured the best window coverings. 1970s: Decade of Coordination The next decade rolled along with more high tech advances in synthetics and a return to bolder colours and patterns. The 1970s became the decade of coordination: fabrics, wallpapers and borders all coordinated in a room for a total look! It was overkill.


Surfaces were shiny and bold. Designers such as William Morris put together entire ranges of coordinating fabrics and wallpapers so that one could have the curtains, bedspread, bedhead, tablecloth, and walls all match together. This trend lasted well into the 1980s. So fast forward to present day… we are seeing a massive resurgence in the recreation of post war window coverings. However, new fabrics are not only fun, they have a much more technological flavour given the widespread use of digital printing. One great example in today’s market is the Delamere range from JW Design. This exclusive collection consists of four feature designs specifically created by the studio to work either as a wonderful co-ordinating statement or individually to suit a variety of decorative situations: Retro with a Scandinavian feel. Of course there is the eponymous Florence Broadhurst Collection, fondly remembered by industry aficionados in the 60s and 70s, and proudly recreated for today’s market. These designs are distinct, colourful and definitely designed to make a statement. Florence Broadhurst did not design for the faint hearted but for an elite section of mid century Australia and the upcoming Designers of the time. We are fortunate indeed that her designs have been resurrected for today’s mainstream market as they not only allow the client to inject some pattern and colour into their decor, but the designs successfully and tastefully recreate a bygone era of slight excess and rule breaking in window coverings, which is always fun. So are you games enough to return to the halcyon decorating days of your childhood?

Lucia van Gerwen


The Colour Purple – Heavenly and Delicate, Incomparably Rich Learn how to decorate with purple from Judith Briggs of Colour Consultants Australia.

Purple was once a rare and expensive colour, reserved for nobility and the church. Although synthetic dyes are inexpensive, to this day, purple remains associated with dignity, pomp and decadence. A mix of red and blue, purple creates a balance between stimulation and relaxation; it is the colour of inspiration. Purple returned as a fashionable colour in 2012 and looks to remain so for a few years yet at least. In 1948, Fuchsia appeared in fashion as a reaction to the previous years of war. Purple was very popular in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, so it is having a retro revival. Tones of Purple Purple can be heavenly and delicate or incomparably rich and plush. Its red versions are plum, grape and violet, aubergine, amethyst, mauve, lilac and radiant orchid. Lavender, jacaranda, hyacinth, iris, mulberry and indigo are the bluer shades. The more delicate tones are wistful, soft and calming. The deeper shades are more moody and intense.

How Purple Affects You

Decorating With Purple

Purple is often referred to as ‘hard on the eye’. This is because it’s the hardest colour for our eye to distinguish.

Too much or too strong a purple can look overpowering, but used carefully, the effect will be plush and luxurious. Decorating with purple gets tricky when you try to combine warm and cool purples. It is better to stick to all bluebased purples or red-based purples in a colour scheme.

Purple can provoke a strong response. It’s a mix of warm and cool. The redder it is, the livelier it will be. The softer shades of lilac and lavender, containing more blue, are tamer and calming.

Too much purple in your life, on the other hand, can cause too much introspection

Softer shades of lilac and lavender are the most popular types of purple. These shades have a calming effect. They are ideal for bedrooms for this reason. Be careful though to avoid it looking too feminine. Strong purples can be difficult to use in decoration and they are often better used as accents.

What Works With Purple

What Purple Says About You

The redder purples work beautifully with greens - just look at nature. Purple flowers in the garden tend to recede from the eye, which can make a small garden appear larger.

If you like purple, you’re probably a nonconformist. You may be artistic, eccentric or otherwise creative. If you have a tendency to be flamboyant, you will likely love purple. You’ll also be drawn to purple if you have psychic abilities.

Purple in its bluer forms is idealistic and supports meditation. This is because it encourages contemplation and thought. Added to a working environment, it is conducive to creativity.

Purple also works well with blues and gold or mustard yellow. Red, orange and plum create a dynamic combination. The softer shades combine beautifully with aqua and crisp white. Plum and aubergine work better with cream. Aubergine looks fabulous with green. Another lovely combination is lavender, lemony yellow and rich brown

If you avoid purple, you’re likely to stay out of the limelight and be grounded with a practical approach to life. If you enjoyed this article, you are sure to enjoy my book called Bye Bye Bland – How to create sensational spaces using colour. Judith Briggs







Fashions fade, style is eternal

Cover Girls

- Yves Saint Laurent

A Look Behind the Scenes at the Designer Chicks’ Photo Shoot When Lucia, our fearless leader, first told me she wanted to put the Designer Chicks on the cover of our Retro issue, I went through quite a number of emotions; excitement, intrigue, fear, motivation… I’m also pretty sure that a few four-letter words ran through my head too! The 1960s themed shoot was to be like nothing I’d ever styled before. It took months of organisation, from scouting possible locations to sourcing hair and makeup artists. There was also the added task of approving the outfits that each of the ladies planned on wearing. There were schedules to be set, looks to be planned, and very little sleep. On the day of the shoot, setup began at 9am at Central Park Sydney. Our amazing hair and makeup artist, Jo Fullagar, and her assistants Charlotte McLeod, Dempsey Newman and Kachina Ka Lam Li from Cameron Jane Make-up Academy set to work getting each of our DC ‘models’ made up into their 1960’s alter egos. The very amazing Sharon Newman, Designer Chick and owner of SN Photography, lugged an entire studio of photographic equipment all the way from the Blue Mountains (and up several escalators) to create our cover. One by one, each DC member transformed. Costumes were inspired by names such as Audrey Hepburn, Barbra Streisand and Peggy Moffatt, with looks ranging from mod and Carnaby Style to boho and pinup. It’s truly amazing to see how a costume can make a person step further out of their comfort zone than ever before. The ladies really took on the challenge! It was a long day, but a fabulous opportunity for the Designer Chicks to bond and feel a sense of camaraderie. Congratulations to all on a job well done! Elise Harper

A BIG thank you to the following people:

Designer Chicks on the Cover (left to right) Back row: Bettina Deda, Ruth Newman, Elise Harper

Photographer Sharon Newman -

Third row: Maria Bellissimo-Magrin, Fi Thomas, Margie Tweedie, Judith Briggs, Sally Gardner


Second row: Deb Deeth, Robyn Hawke, Lucia van Gerwen, Jenny Williams

Elise Harper -

Floor: Sharon Newman, Michelle Davies, Tiz Porecca, Melissa Kuti

Hair & Makeup Artist Jo Fullagar -

Special Thanks To: Jane Make-up Academy -

Assistant Hair & Makeup Artists Charlotte McLeod Kachina Li Dempsey Rai








It’s not the houses I love, it’s the life I live in them - Coco Chanel


Giving Your Retro Pad a Touch of Life Bringing the Outdoors in Michelle Davies of Creative Finishes by Michelle explains how using a wonderful array of indoor plants will bring a retro touch in your home. If we look back to an era that we wish to replicate there would have always been the same choices of plants that are still available today; why?? The familiar plants of yesteryear were tough and accessible, everyone you knew had one growing. Propagating was child’s play. The plants chosen were so tough that when a cutting was collected it was thrown into a plastic bag, put in the boot of the car for the travel home, the stem was recut and re potted or placed in water till it showed roots and hey! you had your own plant.

displayed in the new stylish macramé hangers that have now come back into fashion? By hanging plants you are able to liven up a dull and uninteresting corner using a look alike of another favourite, Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata). Why not try a combination of Xanadu (Philodendron xanadu), Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum spp.) and the Birds Nest Plant (Asplenium nidus)? They look great together with the different textures and shapes of the foliages creating an interesting vignette when grouped. Once again, importance should be placed on the pots. You cannot create a true Retro feel without the use of bold citrusy colours.

Remember, having plants indoors produces oxygen and is great for your health. Just make sure that you place these plants out of the way of careless children or animals and that they receive a little bit of protection from radiant heat (direct sun pouring into windows) and excessive air conditioning. These suggested indoor plants are low maintenance, but you cannot simply forget them entirely. They are living entities and will require just a tiny bit of attention.

To add a little bit of fun Michelle found Pink Flamingos at Swane’s Nursery in Sydney’s Hills District, hiding amongst the Chinese Happy Plant (Dracaena fragrans)… another beautiful plant to use. Some of you will remember fondly passing by neighbour’s gardens with the obligatory pink flamingos, garden gnomes and Aboriginal statues! These ornaments inject a bit of whimsy and are definitely Retro. Why not use them inside too??

Also our changing lifestyle, such as apartment living, lends itself to creating an indoor oasis. Many of us no longer have yards, so indoor greenery is the way to go. The choice for containers in which to display these plants is growing also. Even your local hardware store has a colourful array of shiny ceramic pots in all shapes and sizes, plus hanging baskets made of macramé, or terracotta pots (which can easily be painted).

We hope our suggestions inspire you to run to your local nursery and bring a bit of plant life inside to enjoy and who knows, if the plant is growing well you may be asked for a cutting!! Happy Planting! Michelle Davies

Creative Finishes by Michelle

So when choosing plants for the Retro look you need not go past the good old favourites like, the Mother-in-law’stongue (Sansevieria trifasciata); the hardy vertical leaves with interesting variegation gives fantastic visual impact and is tough as nails. For a fuller look the Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) is one of the all time greats for survival with its broad dark green leaves. The Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureus), is another plant that seems to survive when neglected. Imagine how beautiful it could look when slightly cared for and








Design is so important because chaos is so hard - Issey Miyake


“In matters of grave

importance, style, not

sincerity is the vital thing” - Oscar Wilde 52


THE 1920 S


The 1920s, also called The Machine Age, were characterised by mass production of high volume goods on assembly lines. Innovative designers used emerging materials and production techniques to create new furniture. The race to design the first cantilevered chair started. It was eventually won by Mart Stam, a Dutch architect, who presented the first cantilevered chair, S33, in 1926.

B3 The Wassily Chair (1925) Marcel Breuer (1902 – 1981), was a Hungarian-born furniture designer, studying at the German Bauhaus School, where he studied and later on taught in Weimar and Dessau. His career was massively influenced by the Bauhaus giants Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier. He later became the Head of the Bauhaus carpentry workshop. During this time he pursued two goals: firstly, to design furniture from the same material as his bicycle was made of – tubular steel; secondly, to design a chair that was supported by one single base. By experimenting he produced the angular B3 chair, which he named after his colleague tutor Wassily Kandinsky.

B3 Wassily Chair (1925)

Chromium-plated steel, leather Design: Marcel Breuer | Reissue: Knoll International, US Image courtesy of

MR10 (1927) & MR90, Barcelona Chair (1929) German architect Mies van der Rohe (1886 – 1969) is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential architects of the 20th century. He introduced open space and industrial materials in his constructions. In 1930 he became the Director of the Bauhaus. During the 1920s, he collaborated with interior designer Lilly Reich (1885 – 1947) to develop furniture for his architectural projects. Both were fascinated by the possibilities of tubular metal for furniture design. By 1927, they had developed several models of a cantilevered chair with a textile or leather seat. One of the most iconic chairs of that period was their Barcelona Chair, designed in 1929. The chair was developed for the German Pavilion at the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona, where Mies van der Rohe was commissioned to design the German pavilion and everything that was exhibited inside. Because the German pavilion hosted the opening ceremony, Mies van der Rohe decided to use a throne-like form for his chair, inspired by the ancient Roman stool.

MR90 Barcelona Chair (1929) Chromed flat steel, leather

LC7: Swivel Chair (1928-1929)

Design: Mies van der Rohe, Lilly Reich | Reissue: Knoll International, US Image courtesy of

The Swivel Chair was originally designed for a desk or dining table. Under the supervision of Le Corbusier, French architect and designer Charlotte Perriand (1903 – 1999) revamped a simple office chair by upholstering the seat and back in lavish leather. For the back of the chair she drew inspiration from ‘automobile tyres’. Bettina Deda

LC7 (1928-1929)

Chrome-bent tubular steel, fabric Design: Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand Production: Thonet, Austria | Reissue: Cassina, Italy Image courtesy of WWW.THEDESIGNERCHICKS.COM.AU


OUT AND ABOUT Australian Furniture Design was an exhibition of innovative pieces of original Mid-Century Modern (Retro) furniture and homewares produced by Australian designers and craftspeople. Jenny Williams shares her favourites. As a huge fan of the Mid-Century Modern style, I was really excited to head down to Melbourne to see the exhibition for myself. It was a feast for the eyes! Spectacular pieces by celebrated Australian designers such as Grant Featherston, Clement Meadmore, Michael Hirst, Fred Lowen, and many others featured in the showcase. Each piece was constructed with a minimalistic silhouette and a ‘futuristic’ vision. They were groundbreaking in their simplicity. The idea was to leave the over-blown designs of the 1920s, 30s and 40s behind for a very pared-back look, using simple materials, as well as focusing on comfort and functionality. Jenny Williams






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For all design aficionados and passionate home decorators we put together an event calendar with a selection of worldwide design events throughout the year. JANUARY



Heimtextil 13 – 17 JANUARY 2016 WHAT : Leading international trade fair for contract and residential textiles spread over 20 exhibition halls. WHERE : Frankfurt, Germany WEB :

Grand Designs Live 2 – 10 MAY 2015 WHAT : Grand Designs Home Show WHERE : ExCel Centre, Royal Victoria Dock, London WEB :

Helsinki Design Week 3 – 13 SEPTEMBER 2015 WHAT : Meeting point of the Finnish design scene with a focus on furniture design, fashion and architecture. WEB :

imm Cologne JANUARY 2016 WHAT : International Furniture Fair WHERE : Cologne, Germany WEB : Maison & Objet 24 - 28 JANUARY 2016 WHAT : International Trade Fair for Interior Design and Decorating WHERE : Paris, France WEB :

FEBRUARY Stockholm Furniture Fair + Northern Light Fair FEBRUARY 2016 WHAT : Sweden’s largest furniture fair + trade show for lighting design WHERE : Stockholm, Sweden WEB : Design Bloggers Conference 25 – 27 FEBRUARY 2015 WHAT : The event of the year for interior design bloggers WHERE : Grand Hyatt, Atlanta, Georgia, USA WEB :

MARCH Wohnen & Interieur 7 – 15 MARCH 2015 WHAT : Austria’s largest show for interior and garden design, showing furniture, decor and home entertainment. WHERE : Vienna, Austria WEB : Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival 14 – 22 MARCH 2015 WHAT : Fashion Festival. WHERE : Crown Hotel & Central Pier, Melbourne WEB :

APRIL Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia 12 – 16 APRIL 2015 WHAT : Fashion Festival. WHERE : Carriageworks, Eveleigh WEB : Salone Internazionale de Mobile 14 – 19 APRIL 2015 WHAT : Global benchmark for the home furnishing sector with more than 20 exhibition halls WHERE : Milan, Italy WEB :


Visual Impact Sydney 13 – 15 MAY 2015 WHAT : Digital Printing, Signage, Screen Printing, Trophy, Engraving, Design, Airbrush Art WHERE : Sydney, Australia WEB : ICFF International Contemporary Furniture Fair 13 – 15 MAY 2015 WHAT : International furniture fair WHERE : New York, USA WEB : DMY International Design Festival Berlin 11 – 14 JUNE 2015 WHAT : International platform for architecture, interior and product design WHERE : Berlin, Germany WEB :

JUNE Mostra Internazionale di Architettura 7 JUNE – 23 NOVEMBER 2015 WHAT : Leading international architecture show organised from the Venice Biennale. WHERE : Venice, Italy WEB :

JULY Australian International Furniture Fair + Decoration + Design 16 - 19 JULY 2015 WHAT : Trade Show for Interior Design and Decorating WHERE : Melbourne, Australia WEB :

AUGUST Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival Sydney TBA 2015 WHAT : Fashion Festival WHERE : TBA WEB : Melbourne Spring Fashion Week TBA 2015 WHAT : Fashion Festival WHERE : TBA WEB : Formex 19 – 22 AUGUST 2015 WHAT : Trade Fair for Nordic Interior Design. WHERE : Stockholm, Sweden WEB : Formland UP/GRADED 13 – 16 AUGUST 2015 WHAT : Trade fair divided in design communities with a focus on inspiration, trade, networking & experiences. WHERE : Herning, Denmark WEB : WWW.THEDESIGNERCHICKS.COM.AU

London Design Festival 19 – 27 SEPTEMBER 2015 WHAT : Annual design event to promote London as a worldwide design capital and a gateway to the international creative community. WHERE : London, UK WEB : Visual Impact Melbourne 17 – 19 SEPTEMBER 2015 WHAT : Digital Printing, Signage, Screen Printing, Trophy, Engraving, Design, Airbrush Art. WHERE : Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre WEB : 100% Design 23 – 26 SEPTEMBER 2015 WHAT : UK’s leading event for interior design, innovative furniture, lighting, and textiles WHERE : London, UK WEB : Vienna Design Week 25 SEPTEMBER – 4 OCTOBER 2015 WHAT : In cooperation with international designers Viennese museums and companies show different approaches to design. WHERE : Vienna, Austria WEB :

OCTOBER Grand Designs Live Sydney TBA 2015 WHAT : Grand Designs Home Show WHERE : Sydney Exhibition Centre, Glebe Island WEB : Orgatec 25 – 29 OCTOBER 2015 WHAT : Trade show for the work environment and innovations for flexible work forms WHERE : Cologne, Germany WEB :

I need contrast – the old and the new, the rough and the soft. The clash of it all is very sexy - Catherine Malandrino






More Than Curtains 0412 225 437

Ruth Newman Architect

Inspired Spaces 0401 068 670 Yelle Styling

Mcrae + Lynch Interior Design 0412 585 450 0412 468 217

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Purple Pigeon Designs 0421 043 277

Creative Style Interiors 0416 190 792

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Colour Consultants Australia P/L 0403 800 888


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Brilliant Colour Concepts 0410 439 491


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Twist Lifestyle 0434 091 828 Rebecca Beaumont Interior Design 0405 606 377 The Clutter Bug 0421 030 428 Creative Finishes by Michelle 0402 133 140

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Bettina Deda Colour Design

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Margan Tile Design 0408 217 121 Archisoul Architects

Curtain Connections 0411 419 128 BLUE MOUNTAINS/PENRITH

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Profile for Lucia van Gerwen

Retro Revival  

By The Designer Chicks

Retro Revival  

By The Designer Chicks


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