Etsy at The Cullen

Last night Sharnay and I had the pleasure of attending the preview event of ‘Etsy at The Cullen’. Etsy Australia along with The Cullen hotel (part of Art Series Hotels) have transformed the junior penthouse suite to contain only products from Etsy. For two weeks in April, guests will have the opportunity stay in the suite. Creative duo Marsha Golemac and Brooke Holm curated and styled the suite, handpicking homewares from Australia’s Etsy community of makers and finders. The products, a mix of handmade and vintage homewares, have been sourced from almost Etsy sellers across the country, with products from all featured sellers available at Botanical designers Loose Leaf supplied plants for the space’s courtyard, completing the transformation. We heard first hand from stylist Marsha Golemac and photographer Brooke Holm about their collaboration and how the project came to life.

Open day for the public is 11-4pm Saturday 12 April (tomorrow) Guests can stay in the suite from 13-29 April 2015. It is definitely worth a look!

The photographs below are by Brooke Holm. For more information about staying at the suites see the Etsy Blog here.


Linen on bed by House of Baltic Linen  /  artwork by Gem Heart Art  /  geometric white cushions by SPIN SPIN  /  lilac velvet cushion by Villa de Luxe  /  side table by Kerf Design  /  plants by Loose Leaf  /  Brass bowl by Bring it New Life  /  wooden pleated  hooks by Marz Designs  /  grey felt-top stool by The Curious Craftsmen


Mulberry velvet cushion by Villa de Luxe  /  oak coffee table by The Curious Craftsmen  /  retro chair by The Master Upholsterer  /  alfy cork side table by Tiny Kiosk


oak coffee table by The Curious Craftsmen  /  ceramic coffee spoon by Winter Ceramics  / mini cheese platter by Susan Simonini  /  mug by Studio Hendry  /  mini porcelain bowl by boheni  /  assorted zines by Ashley Ronning


Glass candle holder by White Glass Designs  /  3D printed vessels by Mima Workshop  /  flame artwork + bed strange fellows artwork by Sandra Eterovic  /  ceramic totem sculptures by Vanessa Bean Shop


Glass pendants by Mark Douglass Design  /  artwork by Gem Heart Art  /  Custom soy candle by Wax And Co  /  side table by Kerf Design  /  Linen on bed by House of Baltic Linen  /  geometric white cushions by SPIN SPIN  /  lilac velvet cushion by Villa de Luxe


Glass jug set + salad bowl by The As Found Emporium  /  timber outdoor table + stools by Modrn AU  /  concrete hexagonal and cylinder seats by Kyash Cubes  /  concrete planters by Fox and Ramona

Photos: Brooke Holm, Styling: Marsha Golemac

The Cullen
164 Commercial Road
Prahran VIC 3181
P: +61 9098 1555

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colourblend 15 / Marsala Pantone colour of the year 2015


1/ Photography by The Satorialist  2/ Photography of hydrangeas by Liam Rimmington  3/ Hydrate and Conquer nail polish by KESTER BLACK, A limited edition colour in collaboration with O&M  4/ Cabinet by LILJA LÖWENHIELM DESIGN featured on Jelaine Shop 5/ Happy Socks x Karen Walker socks

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a lovely time with your family and friends over the holidays. Good news… I’m refreshed and ready to be more involved in the blog again. Last year brought lots of new things for Sharnay and I, and it became quite hard to keep up with regular posts. But I can tell you that I’m hoping this year will be different. I’d like to try some new columns and introduce some new topics – like makeup & skincare ( i’ve recently done an overhaul of my beauty regime that I’d like to share with you all ). So here’s to a new year!

I’m going to start 2015 with a colourBLEND post. Introducing Marsala, a naturally robust and earthy wine red, that is the 2015 Pantone Colour of the Year. For those of you that may not know what ‘Pantone’ is, it’s a set of standard colours used for printing, each of which is specified by a single number. You can buy a Pantone swatch book containing samples of each colour, commonly used by designers and printers. At first I wasn’t completely convinced that I liked marsala, but after trawling the internet (aka Pinterest) looking for inspiration of marsala coloured products, I started to like it. As you already know we are big fans of KESTER BLACK so I was stoked to find a marsala coloured nail polish in her limited edition colour in collaboration with O&M. Let me know what you think of Marsla.

– Lex xo



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Posted in colourBLEND, design, homewares, inspiration, photography


When I first laid eyes on the jagged asymmetrical shapes of Kim Victoria’s beautiful metallic rings, I knew I was a huge fan of her style. Kim is a self taught, Melbourne based jewellery designer who creates original pieces, drawing inspiration from the Australian landscape, geological topographies and the ancient jewellery from museums worldwide. I caught up with Kim to ask her a bit more about her jewellery, her background and some of her favourite spots around Melbourne. Hope you enjoy! – Lex x


Photography above: James Coombes

How would you describe/explain what you do? I am a jewellery designer and maker and I work with materials including gold, silver, opals, diamonds and sapphires. The landscape, particularly the Australian outback, is an important reference for me and my jewellery has a rugged, intricate and fragile appearance. My practice consists of a limited run production line and also one off commissioned pieces. At present all the work is made by me in my Melbourne studio.


Tell us about your background – what path lead you to what you are doing today? For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be an artist of some description and have always crafted and drawn. When I was younger I was involved in performing and originally hoped to be a set designer. I studied interior design with the intention of moving into theatre design but during the degree realised that I loved the act of physically making and that I ultimately wanted to work with my hands. I briefly practiced as an interior designer but then returned to university to get my Bachelor of Fine Arts in gold and silversmithing when I was 25.


When was the moment you decided to start designing jewellery? I was very inspired by a design studio during my interior degree. It was led by Andrea Mina who made small scale, incredibly detailed pieces. Both his work and his teaching proved extremely influential to me and in fact several of his students have gone on to become jewellers.


What is your favourite colour or colour combo? Can opal count as a colour? If not, then I am drawn to soft pinks and sky blues combined with gold and black.


Your favourite cafe and or bar in Melbourne? ‘Luncheonette’ in Kensington is my favourite local cafe. The coffee and gronala are absolute perfection and it is run by the wonderful Olivia Robinson. My favourite bar is ‘Von Haus’ in Crossley St. The wine, food and relaxed interior make it a great place to catch up for a chat with friends.


What shop/store in Melbourne inspires you? I love ‘Pieces of Eight’ which is a jewellry gallery that stocks my work. I feel privelleged to be included in their vibrant collection of jewellers and artists. The gallery also runs an exhibition program and during these events artists will install work into their phenomenal round, double height window, which is a joy to behold.


Who is your favourite local creative and why? Wow, that is almost impossible to answer in a city that is packed with great artists. I can’t pick a favourite, but at present I really love the work of sculpture Laura Woodward. She makes kinetic works using elements like water and mechanical components. The part that I admire most about them is the way that they animate themselves in such an animalistic fashion.


Where do you source inspiration for what you do? As I mentioned earlier, the Australian landscape is a constant inspiration and earlier this year I travelled to Coober Pedy which blew me away. I also find images of mountains, volcanoes and desert plains in books and combine these with my drawings to generate new designs. Recently I visited Dia:Beacon whilst in New York and am feeling very excited about the sculptures of Richard Serra and the art by Sol Lewitt that I saw there.


Website and online store:


28 Russell Place, Melbourne
+613 9663364

11/111 Pakington St, Geelong West
+613 52913064

386 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill

1/85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery NSW
02 9280 0999


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Posted in design, hiddenGEMS, homewares, inspiration

Adore Home magazine / FEATURE

We are super excited to share that The designBLEND was asked to contribute to the latest issue of Adore Home magazine! Adore Home is Australia’s first online only home and lifestyle magazine, its perfect for inspiration on beautiful homewares and the latest trends. We were asked to be a part of the Blog Loving section where local bloggers share their favourite on-trend items that we are lusting after. You can read this issue online here. – Lex xo


Our feature on page 30, go check it out!


Another beautiful spread from this issue. Love all the mint and gold!

adore_cover adore_spread

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Posted in design, homewares, inspiration

Fave pins on Pinterest

Hello everyone, feels like its been a while since our last post… Here is a bit of Pinterest inspiration to keep you going on this freezing foggy Melbourne morning. Enjoy.
– Lex x


Coconut Mousse Cake


Bianca Cash – Strawberry Patch print


Plant stand




Emerson Fry


Karen Walker Sunglasses

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I’d like to introduce to you the designer duo Natalie Knoll and Macayla ‘Bird’ Chapman who create beautiful scarves for Bird & Knoll. The luxurious cashmere blend scarves are printed with photographs of iconic and exotic destinations from photographs taken by Natalie on her travels around the globe.


We caught up with Natalie and Macayla from Bird & Knoll to find out exactly what inspires them both and the beautiful prints on their scarves. Enjoy!

We absolutely love your scarf designs, can you tell us a little bit about your background? What lead you both to what you are doing today? Natalie: I made a drastic career change from investment banking to photography more than ten years ago now but always felt like I needed somehow to tie in my love of fashion and travel too. I grew up in the fashion industry in South Africa (my father had the agency for Calvin Klein, my mother owned a fashion boutique and my step-mother was an international model), so I was constantly surrounded by that energy and dynamic. The concept of Bird and Knoll scarves was an epiphany on a sun-lounger in Hawaii about a year and a half ago – create a simple but luxurious accessory that is a juxtaposition of fashion, photography and travel and is the perfect final edit for any outfit.

Macayla: Similar story for me also really. However I came from a predominantly medical family so my initial career path was Nursing. This was an amazing career that gave me the ability to travel and work overseas easily which I utilized, however, on returning to NZ, in my mid 20s I felt I needed a change. As luck would have it I was offered a job as a Fashion and Beauty Editor for a teenage girls magazine,  From there I acquired a position with Chris & Helen Cherry’s NZ Fashion House Workshop, as the Sales and Marketing Manager where I was living, eating, sleeping everything fashion from a – z. I took a little hiatus when I had my two children but was feeling the need to get back into something creative, so when Nat approached me with the idea of Bird and Knoll, I jumped at it!

Bird&Knoll_6 Bird&Knoll_1

When was the moment you decided to start designing scarves? Natalie: I have always been a big believer that accessories can make or break an outfit and scarves have always been a favourite edit of mine (I have a ridiculously large collection.) As I mentioned before, the concept of Bird and Knoll came to me on a relaxing holiday in Hawaii when I had time to really reflect. Given my love affair with scarves, creating a range that also incorporated my two other loves, photography and travel, seemed quite natural. 

Where do you source inspiration for your business? Natalie and Macayla: From our travels and worldly adventures, things that we love, the beauty of nature and our own personal taste and style. Every image on our scarves is a vignette into an iconic or exotic destination and there is usually an interesting little anecdote behind the photograph. We are also very cogniscent of colours that are seasonal, not only according to what is popular, but also to what will work in summer and winter wardrobes. Our SS14 collection (arriving in stores in August) is brighter than our AW14 range – more colourful for a summer palette.

Bird&Knoll_11 Bird&Knoll_10

Your favourite cafe and or bar in Sydney/Auckland? Macayla: Auckland Cafe – Catroux One of my favourite cafe’s would have to be my local, the place I head to every morning for my coffee fix. With Betty Catroux, model and muse to designer Yves Saint Laurent, as the inspiration the cafe is, as you would expect stylish, uncomplicated and beautiful. All food is made on site and the fresh salads and juices are so delicious and most importantly really nutritious. Auckland Bar – Gypsy Tearoom in Grey Lynn, I am going local with this one too – close enough that I could stroll home after enjoying a few glasses of my favourite wine with some friends after work or a great prelude to a big night out. It has a really cool eclectic vibe and a well considered wine list.

Natalie: My second home in Sydney is Gusto Cafй in Randwick. They are literally a stones through from my backdoor so getting my morning coffee is quick and easy. There is an amazing organic bakery onsite too – Bake Bar. I love seeing the bakers rolling their dough, creating beautiful and fresh breads and pastries while I am waiting for my coffee. Bar – I am less a creature of habit when it comes to bars in Sydney. I quite like trying new places in different neighbourhoods. There are so many great places opening up and I love that you can find a bar in Enmore that is equally as groovy as any place in the CBD. Palmer and Co in the city is fun with it’s Prohibition era theme and the Wine Library in Paddington has a beautiful wine list with delicious tapas to compliment.

What shop/store in Melbourne inspires you? Melbourne is very European in its style and atmosphere and a lot of that plays into the look and feel of their boutiques. We love Grace  – they stock a lot of great international and local labels and their own label is gorgeous too. Really beautifully curated. 

 Bird&Knoll_7 Bird&Knoll_set

What are your favourite colours or colour combos? Macayla: I love colour and am not afraid at all to incorporate colour into my wardrobe, however when asked what my favourite colour combinations are I instantly think white on white! I am just slightly obsessed with white, and seem to have surrounded myself in all things white, with a few carefully selected splashes of colour. White makes the perfect backdrop for the vibrant splashes of colour in the Bird and Knoll scarves and we have drawn inspiration from colours of nature also, blues and greens of the sea, grays of the sky, glorious sunset hues …

Natalie: I am probably more adventurous with colour in my home than I am on me. I tend to wear a blank canvas of white and/or black and denim  I think we all have days when we just head for fail-safe black. I used to live in New York and after three years there, there was a lot of black in my wardrobe! However, adding a colourful Bird and Knoll scarf to my outfit has become almost de riguer for me now when I leave the house. The different pops of colour and texture that come through from the images on the scarves depending on how they are styled really stands out!


Who is your favourite local creative and why? Macayla: We are currently mesmerized by Sydney based photographer Bartolomeo Celestino’s latest series ‘Gone to Earth’. We could stare at these six images for hours … We love the sheer size of the work and the simplicity – there is such a sense of familiarity and warming sense of nostalgia staring at these views. I also love my local flower truck. I buy flowers from here every week and love her creative bouquets and styling.


Australian stockists here

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AMAZINE / The designBLEND feature

We were so happy to be featured in the latest biweekly issue of the AMAZINE eNewsletter. Thanks to Alissa Ugolini for interviewing us! See below for the full interview. Check out our online magazine for AMAZINE here! – Lex x


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create / concrete diamond

concrete diamond / The designBLEND

I know some of you have been waiting a while for this DIY, but now it’s finally here! Wahoo! After seeing so many of these DIY concrete diamond/geometric forms, we decided that we would show you all how to do it too. Its super easy, just gets a bit messy. We used a template from a merry mishap which you can download here.

concrete diamond / The designBLEND

You will need:
–  Concrete mix (we got it from bunnings, any hardware store will have it)
–  Clear packing tape
–  Craft Knife
–  Ruler
–  Mug or cup (to hold the diamond mold while its drying)
–  Bowl (to mix the concrete in)
–  Water


1/  Print off the template on either A4 or A3 depending on the size of diamond you want.
2/  Cover the template with clear packing tape trying to keep the tape flat without wrinkles. If it has wrinkles it means the surface of your diamond won’t be flat, it will have these small veiny things through them.
3/  Cut out the template using your craft knife.
4/  Fold twice on all the lines to give them a good crease. This helps the edges of the diamond to be very sharp.
5/  Tape up the mold.
6/  Place the pointed part of the diamond into your cup and leave the top of the mold open.
7/  Follow the instructions on the packet of concrete mix. Its kind of trial and error to get the right amount of concrete mix to water ratio right, so just start with a bit and keep adding more if you need too. Only add small quantities of water at a time, as you don’t need much.
8/  Pour the concrete into the mold, and gently shake the cup to level out the concrete. Use a piece of cardboard or the back of a knife to flatten the top of the diamond.
9/  Leave diamond a few hours to mostly set in the cup. Remove from cup and allow to set over night before cutting off the paper template.
10/  I used sandpaper on some of the edges of the diamond to get a smoother surface, but you can leave them as is if you want.

And you are done! Easy! Show us your concrete diamonds on Instagram or Facebook and #thedesignblend.

– Enjoy. Alexsia xo

concrete diamond / The designBLEND


concrete diamond / The designBLEND

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moochi / ladi6


Good morning, everyone! I wanted to share with you some beautiful photographs of Karoline Tamati, by Darren Meredith. Karoline (more commonly known as kiwi musician ladi6) teamed up with moochi, to put together a self-styled #mymoochistyle photoshoot. Karoline styled pieces from the moochi AW2014 collection that she loves, to match her own style. Have a look at the photographs and let me know what you think of them. To see the article on the moochi website click here. The olive green halt dress and purr belt is my favourite outfit.- Enjoy! Alexsia xo


moochi + ladi6 / The designBLEND ladi wears halt dress, snip boots and purr belt

moochi + ladi 6 / The designBLEND ladi wears you cami, cub shirt and cusp shirt dress

moochi + ladi6 / The designBLENDladi wears crane maxi and kimono dress worn open

moochi + ladi 6 / The designBLENDladi wears you cami, you skirt, wild cardi (coming soon), chained bag

moochi + ladi 6 / The designBLENDladi wears kimono dress

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Brad Wray Workshop


Hay peeps, again it has been too long since i have blogged! I’m working on getting back on track with updating more often. I have ventured out and started my own business and as a result i have struggled to find the time and allow myself the time since it’s a big scary adventure i don’t want to screw up, so i need to put my all into it. Things have been going good, so time to get off my ass and blog.

I’m sharing with you some furniture pieces i absolutely love from Brad Wray Workshop. We interviewed Brad and got an insight to what inspires his work and how he got to making furniture.


How would you describe/explain what you do?
Im an architect/designer who loves to make things with my hands. I like using raw materials such as concrete in contrast with more natural and refined materials such as natural timbers and plywood. I have always liked to experiment with contrasts, i think there is always something interesting that comes out of contrast of two or more things quite different.

What is your favourite colour or colour combo?
I have always loved lime green. I think its probably just one of those intuitive things but i have always loved lime green ever since i was really young.

Your favourite cafe and or bar in Melbourne?
Favourite cafe in Melbourne would have to be Captains of Industry. Im also a big fan of Carolina in East Brunswick. It was originally an old italian boot makers studio and now resides as a cafe. My favourite Bar in Melbourne is probably the Alderman in East Brunswick.

What shop/store in Melbourne inspires you?
Again probably Captains of Industry because the interesting overlaps and contrasts associated with the programs in one place – such as cafe, boot-maker, barber, jewellery etc. Little Mule is also similar with the cafe/bike shop overlap.
From purely a materiality point of view – I was also recently very impressed with the fit-out of the Manning Cartel boutique at Chadstone of all places.


Who is your favourite local creative and why?
Favourite local creative/s. Living Melbourne we are fortunate to have many great and talented designers. Melbourne definitely has a great design culture. One of my favourite local architecture studio is Freadman White. Apart from being really great people, they are hugely talent designers  and are doing some really good work, particularly across the low-rise multi-residential field. McBride Charles Ryan is a fairly recognised and established ideas-based design practice I have always admired & looked up to. I`m am also a big fan of what Make Architecture are doing at the moment. Aside from architecture, I like the artworks of Sam Octigan, a local Melbourne illustrator and artist who is doing some brilliant almost surrealist based works.

Who inspires you and what you do?
My Grandpa Nick, who passed away a few years ago, amongst other things, used to erect petrol station canopies around australia in the late 60`s and early 70`s. After he retired he had an old recycled canopy,  re-erected on his property outside Robinvale Victoria to use as a hay shed. The canopy is an italian design used to withstand snow conditions. It has a triangulated ‘fluted’ modular profile that from a distance looks flat in profile but when you get up close it reveals its almost landscape quality. It is definitely one of the things that inspired me to want to become an architect and want to build things like furniture. I have always had this dream to bring it back to Melbourne and turn it into a house. Its funny as i recently won a design award in the unbuilt category at the 2013 Architeam awards in Melbourne for the ‘Canopy House’ design. My grandma was a proud lady.

Tell us about your background – what path lead you to what you are doing today?
Ever since i can remember ive have liked to be creative. One of my early memories was winning a design & drawing competition in grade 1, which involved two winners overall from prep to grade 6. We had to design the cover of the school magazine.
As a kid, i was always drawing and doodling. Even now I still love to sit there drawing silly sketches of friends at dinner parties and trips away.

Growing up – My mum has always been quite a good artist and real ‘doer’ of things. I remember growing-up being impressed as she used to and still does allot of the handy work around the house – anything from bathroom renovations, tiling walls and floors, painting – you name it.

Early on in high school I wanted to be a graphic designer but was soon attracted to architecture through working part-time for my dad who owns a building company. From high-school i was accepted at RMIT to study architecture.
I hated first year, first semester but then soon fell in love and excelled from that time on, graduating with first class honours. In forth year,  I studied abroad at the Academia di Architectura in Mendiriso which is an architecture school close to the boarder of Northern Italy and Switzerland [ about 1 hour from Milan]. This was probably the most inspiring experiences i have ever undertaken. I was lucky to study under one of my archi-heros – Peter Zumthor and met some really terrific people, mentors & definitely gained some great life experience.

After graduating from uni – I worked for a really good but larger scale Melbourne architecture office for 3 and a half years, moved on from there to gain further experience at a smaller office, made it to Associate level and then decided at the end of 2011 it was time to venture off to try something of my own. At the end of 2011 I started Branch Studio Architects with a good friend of mine from university. Our studio is physically linked to a sculpture workshop which encompasses a variety of crafting equipment such as wood & metal working equipment to be able to test and explore through making things. My dad has also recently purchased a C&C routing machine which will definitely be line for some exploration over the coming time.


When was the moment you decided to start your own furniture?
I started to make my own furniture a few years ago when I moved out of home. I house-sat a friends house who had a house full of quite diverse stuff he had collected from all over the place including several really interesting chairs and artworks – I think that really set me off on my path. I have more recently become more active in making as i now have the facilities and equipment in arms reach whenever i want. Its also a good way to get away from the computer, clear my head after work and get me hands dirty.

Where do you source inspiration for what you do?
I definitely gather much of my inspiration for my furniture pieces from architecture. I love the crafted works of italian architect – Carlos Scarpa, particularly in terms of form, materiality and detail. Im also a huge fan of Alvar Aalto – I designed a building in first year uni and one of my tutors told me that it reminded him of an Aalto plan [huge compliment but looking back now it was actually pretty terrible]. He recommended I look at the work of Alvar Aalto… I`ve been hooked ever since.

I think probably one of the buildings that has inspired me the most is the Bages Church by Jorn Utzorn. The exterior of the building, quite simple & rectilinear in form & resembles some kind of grain store with an almost ruralist vernacular but the interior is a total surprise as a curved almost seemingly carved-out sculpted ceiling wraps its way though the space. I think its this contrast and element of discovery that i take as a sense of inspiration.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned since you started designing furniture?
Be patient in the making process. Making something of a good quality doesn’t happen overnight and also just as important not to get too worried about scratches and dings etc once you get it home or it goes off to a new home.

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alexsia / the design blend
sharnay / the design blend
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Welcome! We are Alexsia and Sharnay, two graphic designers living in Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia. The designBLEND is a design + inspiration blog about New Zealand and Australian designers. Our blog was born out of a need for a creative outlet. We hope you enjoy x
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a design and inspiration blog





We source unique, limited edition and designer made product from around the globe.