Happy 2013! Welcome back lovely blog readers. We hope you all had a great festive period. We’re very happy to be starting the year with guest blogger Neale Whitaker, Editor-in-chief of Belle magazine and judge on Channel Nine’s The Block. Over to you Neale…


In the current issue of Belle we focus on the idea of home. What is it that makes a house a home? In my editor’s letter I confess that for me, ‘home’ means layers of memory and experience. My partner and I don’t share a house crammed full of the latest designer furniture. To be honest, I don’t think we own one piece that’s ever been shown in Milan! Instead, we have a home rich with things that are significant to us. Our home is  a resume of the lives we’ve led and are living now. Here are a few favourite things …


Robert Doble artwork

Robert’s a British-born artist who lives in Melbourne. I’ve been familiar with his work for years but I finally acquired one of his simple, graphic line drawings a couple of years ago. Of course I couldn’t stop at one.


 Yastik by Rifat Ozbek cushions

Back in the 80s I worked in the fashion biz in the UK and Turkish-born Rifat Ozbek was a favourite designer. He now designs beautiful cushions in traditional fabrics and we stumbled upon them recently when we were on holiday in Istanbul.  We carried them all the way back from Istanbul but they’re available in Australia at Hermon & Hermon! www.hermonhermon.com.au


 Moroccan carpet

Our great friend Jason Mowen brings these beautiful vintage Moroccan carpets into Australia. They’re all different and are made by the Beni Ourain tribe. They’ve become very popular over the past couple of years and I see them in lots of interiors. This one dates from the 1970s. www.jasonmowen.com


Raga chairs by Norman + Quaine

These are designed and made in Australia. I love them because they’re a modern take on the traditional rattan-backed planter’s chair, one of my favourite designs.



Couldn’t live without books. They are literally everywhere in our house and so many of them are still waiting to be read! Someone once said that ‘a room without books is like a face without eyes’ and I totally agree. David and I have had some of these books for decades and they tell the story of our lives.


Mao figurines

I visited Hong Kong for the first time last year to celebrate a ‘significant birthday’ (yes, I know I look mature for 21!) and brought these back from Cat Street market. They cost me next-to-nothing but bargaining was all part of the fun. A little bit of kitsch never did any harm.


Paintings from Vietnam

My partner David and I made our first trip overseas together to Vietnam in 2003. We found these watercolours of Sapa tribeswomen in a gallery in Hoi An and fell for them. They still make us smile and have so many memories attached to them.


Gallery wall

At the last count we had 48 artworks on the wall in our kitchen! It’s an ever-changing gallery of paintings, photos, carvings and ceramics, each of them significant to us. The vintage photo you can see beneath the Fornasetti plate is of my late mum. She was such a beauty in her youth and I’m very proud of this photo!


 ‘The Four of Us’

I was so excited when Sydney artists Gillie and Marc Schattner contacted me early last year to ask if they could paint us with our two Weimaraners, Otis and Ollie. They love the breed and often incorporate Weimaraners in their work, so it was a perfect fit for them. ‘The Four of Us’ is the result and it’s now hanging in the kitchen! www.gillieandmarc.com


 Tolomeo lamps

Admittedly they’re an investment, but we’ve never looked back since buying these Artemide Tolomeo lamps for our bedroom. I love the clean, classic shape and the angle-poise function. To me they work within almost any interior design scheme. They make great desk lamps too.


Vintage lamp

You may have realised I’m a lighting nut. People often refer to our place as the ‘house of lamps’ and they’re not wrong. But I believe lighting dictates the mood of a home more than anything else. This lamp is a favourite and is from Drawing Room Theory in Alexandria, Sydney. www.drawingroomtheory.com


 Plantation shutters

It’s that colonial vibe again. I love plantation shutters from a practical point of view (they diffuse light beautifully) but also for their aesthetic appeal. They’re my favourite window treatment and we have them throughout our house.


George Nelson Bubble lamp

Another investment piece, but it will never date! American George Nelson designed his famous Bubble lamps in the late 1940s, and they’re considered a mid-century classic.  This ‘saucer’ shape is my favourite and it hangs in our bedroom.


Balinese boy

I’ve been to Bali several times but I actually found this bust in an antique market in Sydney’s Blue Mountains! I love its serene features and I swear it’s one of the first things I’d grab if the house was burning – after David, Otis and Ollie of course.

From Eri & Trudi: Thanks for sharing such personal items from your lovely home with us Neale. We can certainly see your ‘lamp love’ coming out! We’d also love to hear what makes your house a home, readers, so please leave a comment using the box below. The February/March issue of Belle is on sale now.


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