Thursday, August 29, 2013

Inspiration Profile: Amy Jo Tennant

Yay, it is almost the weekend! Today we have a cool profile from Amy Jo Tennant, otherwise known as Milo and Mitzy. Enjoy and Happy Father's Day on Sunday to all Dads out there - hope you get some loving and treats from your little ones.

Amy Jo Tennant and the adorable Frankie

Milo and Mitzy - the blog

Name: Amy Jo Tennent

What do you do: Well, I do a few things really. Firstly I am a Mum to my 10 month old girl Frankie and wife to hubby Rob. I have another baby due in November. I am just about finished my primary teaching degree, also in November. I am a blogger (Milo and Mitzy) and I retail gorgeous 100% New Zealand wool chunky knit throws with the idea to expand come next winter.

Where do you live: On a sheep and beef farm in Hawkes Bay New Zealand.

What are you working on: A few writing projects on the go, I blog for Father Rabbit and occasionally Superetteand have just started a new role writing for Est Magazine. Also I am constantly coming up with new ideas for the chunky knit throws and how to keep growing them.

100% New Zealand wool chunky knit throws available from Milo and Mitzy.

Colour: In home, muted colours and black and whites. Fashion wise, bit of a sucker for yellow or red.

Plant/Flowers: Always loved hydrangeas. They remind me of my childhood. My Grandma used to have them in her house. They were the choice of flower at our wedding. I do love lilies too.

Food: That’s easy, avocados and second on the list, home made burgers. Whoopsy!

Smell: Issey Miyake

Style: In home I tend to mix trends such as vintage and industrial and from there mix textures such as a gorgeous knitted throw on a brown leather chair in front of a white wooden wall. Perfect!

Amy's idea of a perfect kitchen - bricks, Tolix chairs, black board and open shelves.

Who/what inspires me: Business wise, I think Claudia and Nick of Father Rabbit have done an amazing job and it is inspiring to see what they have achieved in such a short space of time.

Locally here in Hawkes Bay, the owners, Alex and Chris of Pipi Café have really cracked it. If you visit you NEED to stop there.  

And then close to home is my Mum. She is an extremely hard worker which is often forgotten in our family. I think Mums are just expected to do everything for everyone, their whole life. I am an adult and still go home to Mum and Dads to be looked after if I am ever sick or need anything.

I work best:  I am a morning person for sure. In saying that though often you will find me up in the middle of the night if I have an idea in my head that I cant escape.

What I do when I’m stuck for inspiration: Hmmm, that’s a hard one as this has happened to me a bit lately. I have had so many things going on that I found myself a little uninspired. My husband calls these ‘Amy’ days. I like to go on Sundays to the local farmers markets, out for lunch and then finish off with a wander around a few of my favorite shops. Usually after one of these days I feel refreshed and inspired.

The best advice I have been given is:  When out for dinner the other day I read a Winston Churchill quote on the wall - "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference". So true. Also I am always being told, finish something properly before you start something else. I am not very good at that!

"I am a big sucker for that industrial lamp"- Amy Jo

My latest discovery is: Instagrambelieve it or not. I am actually not that good with social media. A bit slow on the up take. I have also discovered after 5 or so years of living here that the little country café just up the road from us is AMAZING. Don’t judge a book by its cover is the lesson learnt there.

Books that I get inspiration from: I am a magazine addict. Anyone who knows me can vouch for that. Otherwise I am a total sucker for a good recipe book. I can sit there for hours flicking through the pages of these. Little and Friday is my latest love and another Donna Hay is on my wishlist. I love to cook, I think it is the thing that relaxes me most.  
Magazines that inspire me: Home Style, Your Home and Garden, Marie Claire and I used to love the Australian Madison but much to my disappointment they have just put out their last issue.

Blogs that I enjoy: There are so many fabulous sites out there now. International blogs that inspire me are The Style Files, April and May79ideas and Nordic Design. Blogs that inspire me closer to home are Cush and Nooks and The Design Chaser.

"Love the striped rug topped with a gorgeous black and white cowhide. The art work adds interest and the mix of cushions is a great way to add pattern" - Amy Jo

My favourite room at home is: Kitchen living area. It is open plan so I can have family time whilst I am in the kitchen cooking. Multi tasking at its best. I also take it for granted but we have a pretty fabulous view out towards the hills. I didn’t really pay a huge amount of attention to it until I noticed that it is one of Frankies favorite things to do. Stand at the window steering out to the sheep on the hills.

My office is: A nightmare. Our dining room and office space is shared at this present time. Drives me a bit bonkers.

What am I looking forward to: Sounds bit selfish really, but I am looking forward to lots of things to do with me. Finishing my degree in November, having a baby in November. Getting through that new born stage, enjoying a wine or 2 and then getting fit again. Having 2 babes so close has meant that I have basically been pregnant 2 years in a row. Bring on bootcamp!

Thanks for this great profile, Amy - it was a pleasure to have you on board. Best of luck in November for the new arrival and finishing your degree.
You can keep up to date with Milo and Mitzy on the blog, on Facebook and Pinterest.

Bed head-board created with washi tape - an awesome and clever idea.
All photographs are selected and used with permission from Milo and Mitzy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Waiheke Island Yacht Club, San Francisco

Not only are we making a splash on the waters in San Francisco (winners of the Louis Vuitton Cup and hopefully the America's Cup), we're also taking the restaurant scene by storm with our delicious New Zealand food.
This is Waiheke Island Yacht Club, a pop up restaurant located on Pier 29 on the Embarcadero. A collaborative team of architects Fearon Hay, furniture designers Douglas and Bec, chefs Desmond Harris and Hayden McMillian, and restaurateur Tony Stewart have created this relaxed culinary experience inspired by Waiheke Island and its nautical freedom. Leaving the building mainly as it is, the space has a central bar topped with New Zealand terrazzo, custom leather chairs, long communal tables and spirited kiwi hospitality personalities on the floor.
I like that the tableware is from Heath Ceramics, a great San Francisco brand from which I brought home a gorgeous vase earlier this year. I was sorely tempted to bring back a lot more.
Go Kiwis!

Photographs via Waiheke Island Yacht Club.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Inspiration Profile - Emma Hart

Welcome to the end of another week and we have a great Inspiration Profile for you.
I have been sick and under the weather lately, which makes one feel rather uninspired - however, I am happy to feature Emma Hart and her Scandinavian furniture business, Skandi today. Her enthusiasm and passion just oozes from her profile and is a great read. So enjoy and have a relaxing weekend all.

Emma Hart

Skandi Store

Name:Emma Hart

What do you do: I do many things including running a media coaching agency in Europe which I set up 12 years ago and allows me to travel the world coaching extraordinary people and see amazing places and things whilst keeping a close eye on trends.
Now my focus is on Skandi which opened as a pop up last year (and sold out within 3 months) and is now back for the foreseeable future as I am just about to sign a permanent lease!
Skandi is the only store dedicated to sourcing, importing and selling authentic furniture and lighting from the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s purely from Denmark, Sweden and Norway. This essentially means I am the one climbing through farmers’ barns in minus 5 degrees to see if the chair leg in the distance does in fact belong to Hans Wegner or Kai Kristiansen.  Good quality vintage pieces are getting harder to source which means that I have to travel into the small towns and countryside to find interesting one-offs which have design pedigree as this is what we specialise in.
I started collecting mid century Scandinavian furniture after moving to Copenhagen in 2008. My apartment got rapidly jammed with gorgeous pieces from Hans Wegner, Fritz Hansen, Børge Mogensen, Hay, Kai Kristiansen with lighting from Louis Poulsen, Sven Middleboe and Fog & Mørup.
My floors were painted black with far too many vintage rugs along with a small herd of reindeer skins scattered over chairs. Our apartments back in Denmark are big but it wasn’t long before I had to make a decision - stop buying or get a warehouse and do it properly. The former was never going to be an option.
Also this year we have a luscious range of interiors textiles from the UK including Designers Guild, Miss Print, Harlequin and gorgeous new European fashion including Danish and Swedish brands.

Danish three seater couch

Where do you live:  I moved back to my home town Wellington, New Zealand last year after 15 years away in Europe although I do travel back to Denmark, Finland and the UK 2-3 times a year for both media work and buying trips.
I currently live in a small soon to be renovated cottage on the rugged and currently very tumultuous south coast which on stormy days throws everything it has at you...and then some. It’s a lovely small still very Italian fishing community and I love seeing the fishing boats chug out at dawn on a sea of glass on the hunt for groper, but on stormy days you can be picking seaweed out of your garage and borrowing buckets from the neighbours. It can be totally dramatic.
I see a lot of similarities between Denmark and NZ, not only the coastline can be similar but they way we interact with our houses, our castles. The Danes and Swedes are very house proud with much of family life revolving around the home which mirror the change of the seasons.

What are you working on: The 1950’s house was a scientific triumph, designed in a laboratory and tested on inhabitants of all ages before being built for the masses. Never had homes been so thoroughly contemporary, with antiques and period styles entirely banished. Skandi  looks at this seminal decade and exhibits ways and ideas for taking the 1950’s look forward whilst mixing and matching it with existing pieces from our pasts (nana’s dresser, family tables etc) plus using modern textiles, period lighting and vibrant floor coverings to bring a strong and unique narrative to a room or home.
Because there is so much to look at upon entering the shop, people can get overwhelmed so I like to cluster pieces together in vignettes to show how a certain wood like a rosewood sideboard might interact with a Designers Guild fabric or how many of the lights that came out of Scandinavia in the 1950’s were designed to be hung really low over tables or cabinets. There is a lot of education that goes with introducing people to the designers we stock at Skandi and how they influenced generations of designers and furniture. If you take a look at Ikea’s latest catalogue you will see that so much of it is based off designs from the key designers of the 1940’s-1960’s.
One of the main aims of Skandi is to make people stop and think about what it is they like about design, the grain of the wood, the slight curvature of the armrests or the signature strong clean lines.
We display items with contrasting sometimes clashing textiles and colours to stop people and allow them to take a stance on what they like and dislike based on their own appreciation of colour and form.

Colour: Right now I am loving brass and copper colours and metallic contrasted with the dark and gritty grain of rosewood. Colours and textures that give off warmth, reflect light and give depth. At Skandi we have a great selection of original copper lights from the 50’s and 60’s. Some of them are the pull down ceiling lights which are great for creating and intimate space at dinnertime. Rosewood is not so common here and is an elegant dark hard wood from the mahogany family. It cannot be milled anymore due to it being on the endangered species list and therefore is becoming more of a coveted commodity. 

Copper light shades at Skandi

Food: After living in Denmark for so long I am a total convert to all things Scandinavian. Some of the best chiefs on the planet are Danish or Swedish and seeing what they do with food is awe inspiring.
I prefer simple clean food which is the cornerstone of the Danish diet. It is hard to beat an open rye bread sandwich with gravalax or pickled herring with dill sauce. My diet is still very Danish which means heaps of beetroot, salmon, dark bread, rucola, rye and very strong coffee.

Smell: Smell is so underrated. It has an emotional force that engages memories, comfort and sensory arousal. Many of our customers comment on the scent when they walk into Skandi which is a mix of teak oil and lemongrass which I burn constantly. It is a good motivator and has a lovely uplifting clean feel good aroma. 
On a personal note, for me right now Tom Ford’s White Patchouli scent is instant gratification albeit a slightly complicated but totally indulgent scent. Peony, night jasmine, coriander and bergamot created on a rose heart scent and then darkened with a patchouli base.

Flowers: Bright red Gladioli and lots of them!

Style: Totally eclectic but always warm, sumptuous and elegant and you can guarantee there will always be candles burning.

Who/what inspires me: Kelly Wearstler, design queen from furniture to necklaces anything this lady touches is gold. Tom Ford – he turns beauty into art and then into sales, Danish design icon Marlene Birger, young and super talented furniture and objects of desire designer Niels Christophersen, Alexander McQueen, Danish icons Kaare Klint, Finn Juhl who pioneered Danish design as we know it. Børge Mogensen who took things further and designed simple and robust objects of furniture for the average Danish family.  Nanna Ditzel who had a very individualistic approach and was successful in helping to renew Danish furniture design in the 1980s.
Lastly my good friends Glen and Arthur who remind me that it is not just about the things but where you are in yourself at any given time that create harmony and beauty in a space.

I work best: Mornings are for planning, function and for doing, evenings are for creativity, ideas and orchestration. I totally admire those creatives that are up at 5am to do emails, a class of Bikram and run their empires before getting the kids off to school but that is just not the way I roll.  More of a night owl with a glass of wine, candles burning and music playing to inspire and have the room to mull.

Borge Mogensen oak armchair

What I do when I’m stuck for inspiration: If I am stuck it is usually because of fear. The best ideas for me usually lie right under the fear. To drop the fear and make the move I know in my gut I should, I need to (and not necessarily in this order..) leave the house, walk, listen to Burial whilst in nature, read or watch the brilliant things other creatives are doing and why, ask questions, sit in a friends’ studio and observe their process, watch biographic documentaries from Ai Weiwei, Yves Saint Laurent, Georgia O’Keffe, to NYC Street photographer Bill Cunningham, Frances Hodgkins etc remember the bigger picture, have a boozy dinner with friends and have faith in ones abilities.

The best advice I have been given is: When I packed up my flat in Copenhagen last year and was have jitters preparing to move back to NZ and open Skandi a very good Norwegian friend and jewellery designer Annette Ravenhill printed this Steve Jobs quote off in A1.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. 
I majored in art and design but started off my professional career a print reporter and photographer, moving onto become a TV reporter and latterly founding a corporate media business in Europe. At the end of the day all of our lives are expression in motion of all the different parts of us and I like this quote for recognition of how we are never just one role, persona or ambition.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me. –Erma Bombeck
We may be chasing beauty, desire and comfort but surely it is how we interact with people every day that is the lasting and rarer treasure.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. –Maya Angelou

My latest discovery is: The crazy city of Helsinki, that everything tastes better with cardamom and that I cannot live without reindeer skins. The major design find are these lights from Swedish lighting master Sven Middleboe. I can’t tell you the amount of joy that I and nearly every single customer gets when looking at these giant gorgeous original ceiling lights.

Reindeer skins

Books that I get inspiration from: Northern Delights, Noma – Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine, A Day at el Bulli by Ferran Adrià who is the master at peeling back what we thought we knew to reinvent more of what we never thought could exist. The Sourcebook of Scandinavian Furniture: Designs for the Twenty-First Century which is the bible when it comes to learning and identifying mid century furniture from the five Nordic countries.

Magazines that inspire me: Eurowoman, Rum, Elle Interior, World of Interiors, Purple, Wallpaper, Times Style Magazine, Bolig,

My favourite room at home is: I prefer pieces and places rather than rooms... so if I had to choose it would be at the wee beach house in Waikanae nestled in my Danish 1950’s bear chair, Verner Panton white standing lamp at my side or back home in the city in my new (old and original) Hans Wegner Y chair.. which have to be the most extraordinarily comfortable dining chairs ever made.

My office is: Either my shop or my upholstery table inside my crazy upside down cottage by the sea which is a mixture of fabrics, paperwork and things of beauty in various states of readiness for the shop.

What am I looking forward to: Heading back to the summer next at the end of the month to catch summer in Copenhagen, Trondheim  and Helsinki, check out some reindeer farms, hunt out some more lighting and pack another container of goodies. I have also been asked to write 24 hours guides for Copenhagen and Helsinki.. a great excuse to catch up with friends for a fabulous day and night out!

Thank you Emma - such a great profile. Keep up to date with Emma and Skandi on their website or on Facebook

All photographs are used with permission from Emma Hart and Skandi.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Father Rabbit has a Guest

Indeed what is going on at Father Rabbit's house?
I had a surprise package arrive this afternoon from Father Rabbit, who is telling everyone about his new friend that is staying in his guest house - please meet Hello My Tropical Princess Bird Friend. While Father Rabbit has a love for white and monochromatic interiors, My Tropical Princess Bird Friend is the total opposite bringing with her a riot of colour - have a look here at the 'guest house' store.
Many thanks for the package, Father Rabbit - it is well timed as I am at the end (hopefully) of a persistent virus and this has perked me up no end. Meanwhile the rest of you - go and check out the gorgeous world of colour from Tropical Princess Bird Friend, I think you will like it.

Photographs by Charlotte Minty.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Yesterday I received a message from a friend who is visiting Christchurch - she sent me a photo of a cafe where she was enjoying a coffee and I noticed the table she was sitting at. It was a Rekindle table.
Rekindle are doing an amazing job turning the waste wood from Christchurch's earthquake into furniture, jewellery and sculpture.  I'm glad to see this social enterprise still going strong - they now have a pop up store and gallery on Regent Street and an online store for the rest of us. Looking good.

Weatherboard Series I Chair

Weatherboard Dining/Meeting Table

Weatherboard Trestle Table

Offcut Inlaid Bracelet

Offcut Bracelet

Offcut Necklace

Weatherboard Bench Seat

Weatherboard Series Short Stool

City Scape

Photographs by Laura Forest and Emma Byrne via Rekindle

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Stylish London Cafe

I was looking for some visuals of the lovely Hay J77 chair when I came across this London eatery, the Cornerstone Cafe - which had the very chair looking great on their floor.
Designed by London based Paul Crofts Studio, this cafe is located in a former munitions factory and store, which inspired the V shaped military badge chevron motif used throughout. You can read more about it here.

Photographs by Chris Tubbs via Dezeen.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Orla Kiely in Dwell Magazine

Textile designer, Orla Kiely's London homes have appeared on this blog several times, however I enjoy seeing different views of the same house in different publications - as they always capture something new. This time, Kiely's home makes an appearance in the latest Dwell magazine.

Nice TV installation to the left (and I would like the jug painting on the mantlepiece).

The lady herself, Orla Kiely.
Photographs by Chris Tubbs for Dwell.