Renovation & Conversation Evening

Last week we held an evening at our workspace with our friend Laura Jeffares. Our aim was to let our guests know a bit more about our businesses, and for them to leave with a few interior styling and floristry tricks that they could try themselves at home. Dael and I work in a very cool old warehouse in Ahuriri, Napier which we share with a number of other small businesses. The building has an industrial vibe, and this combined with Laura's amazing floral arrangements made for a great venue.

A gorgeous big floral display greeted guests outside our building | photo: Florence Charvin

The lady herself, Laura Jeffares, next to one of her arrangements | photo: Florence Charvin

The entrance to our work is through an old shipping container which we lined with greenery. Inside guests were welcomed by the dulcet tones of super talented local musician, Sarah Wiig.

One of our favourite artists, Rae West, arriving through our shipping container entrance | photo: Florence Charvin

Sarah Wiig sings as our guests arrive | photo: Florence Charvin

Another of Laura's creations in a Bibby + Brady vase | photo: Florence Charvin

Even Sarah's mike and music stand didn't escape Laura's touch | photo: Florence Charvin

Upon arrival guests were treated to a glass of delicious Rod McDonald wine, and there was a spectacular 1m long grazing platter that was created by The Mad Platter - a relatively new local business that is growing in leaps and bounds.

Beautiful bouquets by Sarah Till of My Flower Cart were available to purchase | photo: Florence Charvin

The incredible platter provided by The Mad Platter | photo: Florence Charvin

Sister-n-laws, Kylie and Birgitte, are The Mad Platter | photo: Florence Charvin

One of the best parts of our job is being surrounded by so many clever and interesting people. We had an incredible group of women at our event, both helpers and participants, as well as our guests.

Our fabulous friends and helpers, Kathryn (Savve) and Sally | photo: Florence Charvin

Birgitte explains more about her and Kylie's business The Mad Platter | photo: Florence Charvin

Dael and I have worked with Laura Jeffares a lot over the years. She is highly talented when it comes to floristry, styling, and hair, specialising in weddings and events. If you're interested, book her now, as she gets super busy over the Summer months.

Laura demonstrates a simple floral display using flowers from My Flower Cart | photo: Florence Charvin

photo: Florence Charvin

Laura demonstrates how to use oasis when putting together an arrangement of foliage | photo: Florence Charvin

Dael and I wanted to explain a bit about how we work and show some "before" and "after" images of our work. We shared some of our top interior design tips, and finished with a quick demonstration and explanation of how to style a console table.

photo: Florence Charvin

Thank you to everyone who attended our Renovation & Conversation evening, we had a fantastic time with you all. We will be holding more of these events in the future (including one next month in Gisborne), so keep an eye on the blog and our social media for up to date information. Please let us know if you have anything in particular you'd like to hear us speak about, or if you're outside of Hawke's Bay and would like us to visit your town. You can get in touch with us here.

A special thanks to all of our amazing friends who helped make this evening a success - Laura Jeffares, Florence Charvin, The Mad Platter, Rod McDonald Wines, Sarah Wiig, Sarah Zonneveld, Sarah Till, Kathryn McGarvey, Sally Barnett, and our awesome landlords, Band.

Style a console with Rae West art

One of our favourite artists, Rae West, just happens to live right on our doorstep - Hawke's Bay is full of so many talented people! When she recently offered us one of her spectacular original tondo's for our showroom, we jumped at the chance. Her work is super beautiful, she uses resin and ink, and this particular piece also has gold leaf for an extra layer of subtle shine. It's quite hard to capture the beauty on camera, believe me when I say this art is even better in 'real life'.

We decided to combine Rae's piece with a little styling demo, and show you how we styled the console in our showroom in six simple steps. Styling flat surface like consoles, coffee tables and bookshelves is one of our favourite things to do. In my home I'm constantly changing things around to suit a new piece I've found, or just to keep things fresh and interesting.

It can be hard to know how to get the right balance, and how to make it look pretty but also have functionality. To help you get started (if you're new at this), we'll run you through our steps and explain why we've used certain pieces:

Step 1: We like to start with a large piece of art, or a mirror can look great too. Hang it just above your console - too high and it can look disconnected from what's going on below it.

Step 2: A lamp is a great starting point. It adds height as well as light for functionality. We've chosen a lamp with a fabric shade we had custom made. The shade will soften the light rather than having directional light like a desk lamp.

Step 3: Add something sculptural or quirky, purely for fun. We liked the curves of the swans next to the round artwork and the curve of the lamp. The brass links to the subtle gold found in Rae's artwork (although it's hard to capture this on camera).

Step 4: Books are a great tool for grounding objects, they act like a little platform for smaller pieces like bowls or vases. They also add a bit of weight and squareness to balance the curves. If you're anything like me (book crazy!) you'll love the chance to have some of your favourite coffee table books on display.

Step 5: To balance the right side we added a large floral arrangement. It's always great to add fresh flowers or greenery. They bring life and add another sculptural and textural element. We were lucky enough to have this stunning arrangement by Laura Jeffares, but if you don't have access to Laura, a pot plant in a beautiful planter will do the job, or grab your secateurs and snip some greenery from your garden.

Step 6: We could've left it at that last step, but that little space to the right of the vase felt like it needed something. A little dish, bowl or tray is handy for throwing your keys, sunglasses etc in as you walk in the door. It's a functional piece and also another low, horizontal element to balance the height of the vertical pieces - it's all about the balance.

So there you go, six simple steps to create a pretty good looking console. We've kept our colour palette consistent with greens and blues to compliment the artwork, and pinks, gold, and the light wood of the console to balance those cool tones.

This beautiful artwork is for sale, so if anyone is interested in purchasing a stand out piece for their home, please get in touch with us. You're welcome to come and see the art in our showroom so you can truly appreciate it's beauty. Make an appointment to make sure we're not in a meeting or out and about, as we'd love to give you our full attention.

Favourite Space | Stacey Bancroft

I'm really pleased to be able to share with you another 'favourite space', this time it belongs to Stacey Bancroft, graphic designer and co-owner of Darcy the Caravan Bar. It's no surprise then that Stacey's favourite space is in fact Darcy. It's easy to see why, he is super cute, and he's a bar! :)

Stacey and her husband, Mark, were living in Melbourne and on holiday in Cambodia when the idea for Darcy was conceived. With time to relax and switch off from their normally busy lives, it was Stacey who started brainstorming the idea, and draughtsman Mark immediately jumped onboard. Once back in New Zealand, he threw himself into the project and started trawling TradeMe for the perfect caravan.

They found Darcy and began renovating him in March 2015. That required gutting the caravan, putting in a new floor and bringing him back to life. With the help of CedarVille Joinery & Building they added the pine bench and cedar window. Mark and Stacey lined the walls themselves in ply, and they then got Darcy professionally painted. Keeping the colour scheme neutral means Darcy will suit any event, whether it be vintage, sophisticated, bohemian, country or town.

By the end of November 2015 Darcy was ready to go to his first party and is available to hire for your special occasion - a wedding, birthday, work or any private function. Pop over to his website to find out more.

As always, I had a few questions for Stacey so we could get to know her a bit better...

What do you love most about Darcy the Caravan Bar?

I love the clean Scandinavian feel of Darcy. He is such a great blank canvas for any kind of style. It is so much fun dressing him up for events. It's my favourite part of the job.

Were there any hiccups along the way with the renovation?

Once he was all finished, we went to get his Warrant of Fitness and he failed!!! But after a new drawbar and some rust proofing he passed with flying colours.

Do you have any advice for others renovating a caravan?

It takes longer than you think, so make sure you have plenty of wriggle room if you need it finished by a specific date.

What’s your favourite time of the day?

Gin o'clock.

Who or what inspires you?

All of the wonderful creative people we have here in the Hawke's Bay. After living overseas in large cities I am loving being back and involved in such a great community of creative people. I enjoy meeting up with, or bumping into people and finding out what is happening around here. It's so nice having that network. And for a business like Darcy it is the perfect way to get his name out there.

What are your reading at the moment?

I have had the 5th book 'A Dance with Dragons' from the Game of Thrones series on my kindle for over a year now. Whenever I manage to get a minute to read it, I love it! After living overseas for 8 years and having to take public transport all the time, I read so much. But now that we are back in New Zealand I miss my compulsory reading time on the tram or tube.  

Sweet or savoury?

Sweet!! I am particularly partial to any kind of french pastry. 

Favourite drink?

Champagne. Especially when there is something to celebrate.  

Favourite thing you own?

My husband's nana's spoon collection. When she passed away a few years ago I went around her house and took photos of all her amazing bits and pieces. I was particularly taken with her spoon collection she had on the wall. She had made the wooden case that they sat in. That year Mark's mum gave me the collection for my birthday. I felt very honoured to receive it. It now features in our living room where everyone can see it. There are spoons from all over the place including, Bonnie Doon, Australia (made famous in the movie The Castle) and Fantasyland, Hawke's Bay.

Top of your wish list for your home?

We just bought our house in January and I cannot wait to put in some french doors off the dining room. Once we have done that we can buy a new dining table with money we were gifted for our wedding over two years ago. I cannot wait!!

As you can imagine, Darcy is very social. If you want to follow him and see what he's getting up to, he has his own Facebook and Instagram page. You can also follow Stacey's graphic design and styling business, The Blushing Teacup on Facebook and Instagram.

A wee thanks to Lushka Flowers for the beautiful foliage in the shoot. Last, but definitely not least, many thanks to the incredible photography skills of Florence Charvin.