Oh and what an experience it was! It was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be guest stylist and speaker at the King Living X Vogue Living Styling Events held in Perth last week, working alongside highly regarded design expert and editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, Neale Whitaker.
The events brought two different audiences into the Perth showroom of King Living to showcase the latest designs and styling inspirations. The first was an evening cocktail event for Perth design lovers and members of the public. The second was a champagne breakfast for WA interior designers, architects, builders, influencers and the media.
I was absolutely thrilled to be invited to develop and present a bedroom scheme for both events.
Neale Whitaker’s Living Room – the Boulevard
In his presentation, Neale took us through his personal tips for “What makes a great room”, using a living room setting he created to illustrate his design style and passions. Neale’s room was a fusion of contemporary and art deco influences, incorporating the brand new Boulevard sofa from King Living and Oliver tub chair in bold hues of royal blue, with cushions and accessories in contrasting geo patterns and gold.
Neale suggests “throwing away the trend book” when decorating your home and buy only what you love. He says ask not ‘what colour cushions should I buy?’ and instead ask ‘what is my favourite colour?’ And, no surprises here, his favourite colour is……blue. According to Neale, blue is a symbol of safety and security and perhaps that is why, in our troubled world environment, we continue to gravitate towards this colour for our homes. Blue is the new black? No says Neale, “it’s the new white”.
Neale’s personal style is a mix of old and new, classic, contemporary and art deco influences, referencing round shapes and curves. He loves collecting art, books and ceramics. Neale’s personal favourite is the Bitossi range of vases and vessels, which were shown to beautiful effect in his created room.
Moroccan influences – bold greens and blues and vibrant tile patterns – also continue to inspire him.
Neale loves mood lighting rather than direct lighting in rooms and is a big fan of large floor rugs in neutral tones to ground a space.
His big tip – and this may seem an obvious one until you see it – is don’t match your cushions to your art! People can get anxious about decorating a room and feel everything has to “match”. Relax and let the room evolve using pieces you love and that have meaning for you.
Neale then took us through his favourite homes from around the world, and insights from the Salon Del Mobile, Milano (or Milan Design Week) 2016. Coloured glass, privacy screens and ceramics (in a tone of pink he describes as “bandaid pink” – think a dirty shade of blush!) were all strong elements at the fair.
We absolutely loved hearing Neale’s personal take on interiors and the styles that continue to inspire him.
Jane Ledger’s bedroom – the Promenade
Next, the audience was invited to another part of the showroom where I presented a bedroom scheme using the beautiful Promenade bed. My ‘Snowgum’ scheme drew on snowy whites, soft greys and blues, with accents of charcoal and sage green.
I spoke about how the bedroom is increasingly becoming a place of retreat, where people are looking for luxury finishes and a sanctuary feel. Choosing a beautiful bed base and high quality linens in colours you love is a good starting point.
I loved working with the Promenade bed, King Living’s latest design, which features a fully upholstered base and softy curved, low-line bedhead. This piece works beautifully with the curved shape of the Boulevard sofa in Neale’s setting.
I then talked through the different layers I used to create this setting – starting with 100% linen bedding, then layering this with contrasting fabrics and textures, including velvet, leather and wool. Texture, such as quilting, knitted effects, open weaves and stitching, is a very strong element in home accessories right now and a beautiful way to add tactile layers to a scheme. Moroccan influences are also coming through strongly in tassels, fringe detailing, tile patterns and embellished cushions.
Green is a huge colour in interiors at the moment. We’ve gone mad for indoor greenery and now that’s being reflected in our fabric and interior choices – from deep forest greens through to earthy sage and, for brighter contrast, the jewel tones of teal, turquoise and emerald.
For me, the knocked back, earthier tones of sage, moss and olive green combined with petrolly or lead-based blues are really appealing in a bedroom. Blues and greens are generally very soothing in a bedroom scheme.
On layering, not everything has to match to create a luxe scheme. Here, I talked about playing with different pillow and Euro arrangements to create an unstructured look, and mixing linen sets to create layers rather than blocks of colour.
I sourced all these beautiful layers – the linen, accessories, throws and hides – through the gorgeous Tracy Lefroy at Cranmore Home. I’m so grateful to Tracy for her generous loan of these products, which for me exemplify the best in Australian bedding and homewares.
I love introducing round shapes into spaces dominated by squares and rectangles, so the King Living Farnsworth side table in soft walnut with a milk glass top was the perfect choice for bedsides for the Snowgum scheme. For a luxe finish against the linens and textures, I chose the Ross Gardam Silhouette lamps in solid brass. Thanks to my friends at Stylecraft for the loan of these gorgeous bedside lamps.
Where space allows, I also love introducing other furniture into the bedroom, such as an end of bed ottoman and/or an occasional chair. These contribute to the feeling of the bedroom as a sanctuary, a place of rest and relaxation and, of course….provide more opportunities for layering! Sheepskins and hides are beautiful draped over the back of a chair or across an ottoman. A large rug under the bed is another luxurious way to finish the bedroom scheme.
The Seymour chair, Uno ottoman and Casablanca floor rug featured in my scheme are all available from the King Living showroom.
Triana Odone – The Jasper
King Living’s resident trends expert, Triana Odone, then took us through the ever-versatile Jasper sofa and how these pieces can be configured in a number of ways to suit your space and lifestyle. Triana demonstrated how easy it is to manoeuvre and shift the components of the Jasper to create different settings.
I also discovered that the fabric on ALL King Living upholstered furniture can be easily removed and replaced with new covers if you choose a new scheme for your space, or simply want to change up the look and feel of your room. I was also impressed by the choice of in-house fabrics and leathers available, and the engineering processes that go behind creating the perfect degree of comfort and cushioning.
I feel so grateful for the opportunity to have presented at these Styling Events. Meeting and working alongside Neale as a guest stylist was – I won’t deny it – a dream come true. When I returned to my home town just over 18 months ago now, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be collaborating with the wonderful team at King Living, Vogue Living and Neale, delivering style inspiration to Perth audiences. I just put my head down, worked hard and kept doing what inspired me – creating beautiful spaces for clients and sharing snippets of my passions and palettes on Instagram. However, I have learnt that hard work and being authentic does attract more of what you truly want. You never know who is looking at what you do. And you never know when or why you will be approached. Just keep doing. Keep being you.
A huge thank you to all who came along, and to the wonderful team at King Living for hosting the events. Once again, the Perth design community proved what a supportive and genuinely appreciative group of people we are. I look forward to seeing you all again soon.