Life by design: Amanda Talbot
Amanda Talbot is the interior designer who has worked on some of Sydney’s hottest venues, including the Coogee Pavilion, The Paddington and The Newport Arms. She is as passionate about personal spaces as she is about the high profile public places she has helped to create, and here she shares her tips and tricks on how to make the most of limited space in inner city apartments.
Bring the outdoors in:
Greenery is a key component of any happy, healthy house, and if you don’t have any outdoor space it is particularly important to bring plants into your home. Be sure to speak to your local nursery first for advice before you buy, so your plants will go the distance rather than wilting within weeks. And make sure your pot sizes are always big enough to give them room to grow.
Find what you love:
Embracing a new paint colour is an easy and affordable way to transform your home. Start by thinking about the colours that you personally love. Consider what colours make you happy and what mood you are trying to create in the space you plan to paint, rather than trying to follow trends or being influenced by what you see in an interiors magazine.
Take to textiles:
Fabrics are another simple and cost-effective way to refresh your décor. New curtains will transform your outlook with ease and rugs really add personality and warmth to a space. Many people get scared of buying rugs because they think they’ll be super expensive, but go to a rug store and tell them what your budget is and you’ll be really surprised at what they can do.
Do double duty:
Storage is the biggest issue in any small apartment, so look for multi-function furniture that can double as a repository for your stuff. Beds with built-in drawers can be used to store linen, and storage under lounges and seating can hold all manner of objects, as can coffee tables and side tables. Make a design feature out of extra items by stacking books on either side of a fireplace, or creating a cool coffee table from bound together magazines.
Sweetness and light:
Lighting is key to creating a warm and welcoming environment in any home. Try to avoid using overhead lighting because it is stark and can feel uncomfortable. Instead try to incorporate table and floor lamps because they are softer and more atmospheric. Vintage stores are a great source of eclectic and inspiring light fittings; just remember to get them checked by an electrician prior to installation.
TOP FIVE INTERIOR DESIGN DESTINATIONS
If Scandi cool is your thing, you need to make a beeline for Fred International. Founded by Michael Liira and Melissa Walker in 2007, Fred International is a leading light of Scandinavian design. Furniture, lighting and accessories fill this light-filled warehouse space that delivers 200 square metres of Scandinavian living in the heart of Sydney.
Fred International, The Cannery, B4/85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery
Koskela creates original products with the aim of producing future design classics. From stools and sofas to shelving, throws and chairs, each item is made with sustainability in mind and a commitment to positive social enterprise. Products are made in Australia and reflect the relaxed yet stylish aesthetic of Koskela founders Russel Koskela and Sasha Titchkosky. The company’s mantra is: “Follow your heart. Trust your judgement. Do it with joy.” In short, what’s not to love?
Koskela, 1/85 Dunning Avenue, Roseberry
The Inner West is so rich with vintage furniture destinations that it would be unfair to single out just one. For cheap-as-chips prices with the possibility of finding a diamond in the rough, rummage through the enormous Reverse Garbage second hand depot beside the Marrickville Markets. Collectika in Enmore sits towards the upper end of the market, selling retro and mid-century furniture, while Lunatiques in Alexandria offers a wide range of vintage finds under the slogan of “crazy for anything old”. Mitchell Road Antique & Design Centre in Alexandria offers enough stock to satisfy almost every interior design need.
Reverse Garbage, 8/142 Addison Road, Marrickville
Collectika, Shop 2, 82-84 Enmore Road, Enmore
Lunatiques, 284 Wyndham Street, Alexandria
Mitchell Road Antique & Design Centre, 17 Bourke Road, Alexandria
Precinct 75 comprises 12 character-filled buildings on more than 1.5 hectares in St Peters. A large number of the 75 businesses that operate there are interiors, homewares and design stores, making Precinct 75 the perfect one-stop-shop for all your home needs. Interior designer Sibella Court’s store The Society Inc is filled with Turkish towels, paper lanterns and furniture. Design Twins offers affordable homewares. And Water Tiger sells a range of Asian artefacts and vintage crockery.
Precinct 75, 75 Mary Street, St Peters
Garden Life sells an extensive range of pots, plants and ornaments to embellish any urban garden. Founder Richard Unsworth has sourced everything from water features and garden furniture to jute baskets and hand thrown terracotta planters, and his staff have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge when it comes to horticulture and what plants will work best in homes.
Garden Life, 158 Princess Highway, St Peters