Thursday, January 27, 2011

Furniture is Fashion

It's an idea that we take a lot of stock in here at Romantiques, and it's something that we like to remind clients of when they're unsure which way to go with their pieces. The idea that furniture- just like style- is an extension of your wardrobe and lifestyle.
If someone asked you to define your personal style, the things that you present to the world through your wardrobe and accessories, you'd probably have an answer on the tip of your tongue. You might talk about the colours you particularly enjoy, whether you consider your style more unique or casual, or your favourite designer. But what would you say if you were asked about your home's style, or your favourite style of furniture?

Your home, and the pieces you choose- to buy, or to get redone, should be an extension of your personality and style sensibility, just like the clothes you wear. And the best way to approach making these choices is similar to the way you assemble your wardrobe- choose pieces that you love, that work well together and that fit your lifestyle. If your style points toward a love of strong and vibrant colour, chances are that you're a person who can handle a boldly painted piece, or let's say... a giant portrait of your favourite fashion icon across your bedroom wardrobe. Or conversely, if you're more of a soft tone lover, and you enjoy spaces that promote a sense of calm and relaxation, you'd probably enjoy a piece from our 'beachy chic' range. Imagine soft peppermints and lilacs.

And just like that gorgeous Tag Heuer watch or beloved pair of Louboutins you dote upon (and don't we all have a special item like this!), everyone should have that highly personalised or just plain adored piece of furniture in their home. Give your self expression, whatever it may be, the royal treatment and extend it to your decor. For you, it will truly never go out of fashion.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The ultimate recycling experience

We're ready to let you guys in on a little secret. The secret to finding fabulously unique or rare pieces of furniture that you wouldn't hope to find in regular retail outlets. It's called the auction. But be ready for the experience if you choose to go through with it, because buying furniture at auction is certainly not for the faint hearted. However, you'll find the benefits greatly outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to discovering, and then buying the piece of your hearts desire.

The thrill of bidding for that special piece is all in the fun, with its fast pace and split second decisions, and even if the piece you've got your eye on slips out of reach, you can be sure to find something even better the next time around...because there's always something different on offer.

Buying at auction really is what we call the ultimate recycling can simultaneously acquire the perfect piece- essentially a blank canvas for you to tweak to suit your own style...and then enjoy the fact that you now own something with history and personality, especially when considering the idea that auction houses have an endless variety of antiques and period pieces to choose from. In its labyrinth-like showrooms, it wouldn't be surprising to come across an art nouveau piece and not to mention the wide variety of Australian pieces on offer.

For example, on one of our adventures to the auction house, we came away with a circa late 1800s,Walnut linen press. Though in desperate need of some tlc, we knew it was the perfect blank canvas for our 'beachy chic' range. One painted finish later a little tweak, and its a standout piece.

Where's the best place to go, we hear you asking? Romantiques recommends Raffan Kelaher and Thomas in Leichhardt every time, for the best discoveries. All it takes to getting you on the path to the auctions, and thereby limitless advantages in the art of choosing fabulous an open mind and a little imagination.

Period piece before and after. When we picked this Buffet up from auction, it was looking tired and old.
We soon after discovered its personality.

Victorian 6 drawer Walnut sideboard i don't have a before shot of this piece but let me paint you a picture.
When we discovered this piece, it was totally covered in grease as it was used as a large tool box for a mechanic.You couldn't even see what timber it was. We revived and polished this sideboard back to it's original state and voilĂ .

Monday, January 24, 2011

Think Big.Think Grand.Think Ornate

If there's something that gets us inspired, it's the Renaissance. Or rather, the ideas and style we can adopt from this historic period. Not only do we consider this time limitless in its style when it comes to recreating beautiful classical art from the likes of Raphael and Da Vinci, but also in our furniture. 

The term 'classical art' refers to the ancient Roman and Greek models, but is also represented in the revival of the Renaissance. For several centuries after the Renaissance, the classical past continued to be seen by many artists and designers as a source of subject matter and a standard of beauty and decadence...and it seems that today this idea is still kicking...especially if you're looking for a way to bring back the themes of this lavish time and incorporate them into your spaces.
The trick to pulling off this stye is to think big, and think ornate. Take your classical reproduction. Place the scene across your dining/living/bedroom room wall, frescoe style (we can do it for you) or alternately, put it in a gilt frame. This goes for mirrors too.
Pair your rustic chandeliers with a refectory table with a wrought iron base. Take your urns from outside and put them inside, plants and all. Think candleabras. Tall, carved candleabras, dripping candle wax. Think Louis or Carver chairs. Whatever takes your fancy.

P.S Faux Hide was used

wallpaper clippings from lost and taken

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A big hello 
To all our clients.
Hope you all enjoyed your time off and are having a great January.
We would like to introduce you to our brand new blog. On the blog you will find all sorts of interesting stories about what we do, and current projects.
Have a look and be inspired.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mixing Modern and Classic

It's surprising, given the times, that some people are still afraid of taking risks with design, in particular furniture and its placement within our homes.
Not to mention putting together rooms and pieces with an edge in mind.
Even in the studio, we see the glint of excitement in some people's eyes when they take in our pieces and decor, but also a note of trepidation in their voices .

Well, we say, take a risk.
You obviously love that pink Louis lounge, and not so surprisingly, it can go in your home too.
What we're talking about here has everything to do with the mixture of classic and modern in our homes but not overdoing it. And this isn't solely limited to furniture. It involves pieces of art as well.

Going back to that pink 3 seater Louis lounge. A beautifully classic piece of furniture, straight out of the 18th century.... but upholstered in pink.
A travesty... the pessimist might say. Awesome, we say. Pair the 3 seater Louis with a traditional artwork from the Renaissance, or even a portrait of a gallant gentleman from Tudor England.
Now who's the envy of all their friends?

It can work in reverse too. Fan of contemporary art? love all those geometric lines, or alternately, splashes of bright colour? pair your artwork with a classic ladies writing desk, or rich Walnut Spanish style dining table .

Modern and classic, you can never go wrong. And we can do it for you. Whatever piece you may have, whatever your fancy, our service is here to cater for it.

What the hell.... Live a little.
Artwork and furniture done by Romantiques
Upholstery done by old to new upholstery - John Camilleri

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This or That

It's something that comes up a lot in conversations here at the studio...and is subject to great debate. Which is preferable when it comes to lifestyle choices? Cottage living or mansion living? Or, to put it more plainly...the small house or the big house?

Can the person who loves decorating and grand pieces of furniture still enjoy these things if they live in a cottage? In my opinion, the answer is yes, they darn well can! And that's not to say that if you live in a mansion you're missing out, it's quite the opposite. The question is, how can cottage livers who enjoy large pieces get the 'mansion' effect?

With a little ingenuity and daring, that's what. Some might think (and we've heard it all before) that if you take a large piece into a small room it will utterly swamp it out, but have they tried it?

The answer is a simple one, and it has everything to do with colour planning and layout. Take for example my place. I prefer smaller spaces. And that's not to say I live in a matchbox. I live in the average sized cottage. And I have a love for grand pieces of furniture. Contrary to popular belief, these things go hand in hand. In the dining area sits a long hand painted refectory table that seats 10. And right next to it, a 2.6m tall dresser. Both are in neutral shades, to match the decor. Paired with fresh flowers, and a series of artworks depicting smoky bar scenes, it's the perfect correlation for a dining space. And even if your pieces aren't all from Romantiques, it just shows that grand pieces in a small space is a perfectly tangible idea.

Think about it...a small, dark room, with lots of pieces of smallish furniture. What kind of picture does that paint? Then take a small, bright room, with a few beautiful, special pieces...the right artwork, and all us furniture lovers can breathe a sigh of relief. We can have our furniture and enjoy it too, even in our cottage.

Colour Tip:
Colours that should be used to create an illusion of space to turn your house onto a home. 

To warm your cottage pick a white that is not a pure white, that has a warm undertone although it is white it stills feels warm .
If you decide to use a crisp white, compliment the white with warm colours like red,green and orange- make it cosy.

If you live in a big house and you want to make it more like a home. Look to nature for inspiration, use earthy colours .If you live in a bigger house you can afford to use deep neutral colours.To compliment the deeper tones add some greens such as olive, burnt orange, darker reds and taupes as opposed to bright primary colours. Leave the sharp,crisp and primary colours for a gallery/studious or warehouse look.
mansion  vs cottage
These 2 images are from

Monday, January 17, 2011

A touch of Romantiques

To put it bluntly, what we aim for here at Romantiques is to create bloody fantastic pieces of furniture. And then create, create, and create some more.
And the best thing is, that's not the only thing we pride ourselves in, and it has everything to do with being part of such a dynamic and passionate team.
But firstly, here's a taster of what we do- we put the life and fun back into lackluster pieces. Or any piece for that matter. Injecting a little bit of our personal style, combined with whatever fancy the client feels, is all part of a day's work, and the creation process in our Sydney-based studio.
Your favourite poem scrawled across a chest of drawers, brightly coloured harlequin chairs around an art deco dining table bearing a painted gothic cross, a full-scale reproduction of Raphael's Birth of Venus on your living room wall...whatever a client demands, whatever we feel like doing, it's really all possible. There's no want of excitement in our line of work.
While we include many different businesses and services as part of our team, the three people that really keep the wheels turning at the studio are Geoff Libonati, owner and founder of Romantiques, Andrea Libonati/myself, the graphic designer, and Caldonia O'Leary, the artist.
All three of our jobs correlate and contribute to every piece of furniture that comes through and leaves our doors. Geoff has over 25 years of experience in the furniture alteration industry, and is the self-confessed all-rounder, and furniture expert, of the business. His persistance and unyielding work ethic is an example the rest of us try to emulate. He's the first person in the studio in the mornings and is already busy preparing the pieces while the rest of us are still yawning.
But before the pieces are even ready for preparing, my job comes into play. After meeting with clients and discussing the endless possibilities for their piece, I can create a visual representation of the finished piece itself, making it a whole lot easier for the client to imagine. After all, for the layperson, our ideas might seem a little radical. Anything that makes the process a little easier for the client to handle is a good thing! I'm always thinking up new images for our art on furniture range, taking pictures, dreaming of colour schemes...there really is not enough time in the day.
After the piece has been thought out and prepared, it's onto the art department. This is where we can really see all our ideas take shape, guided by the paintbrush of our artist Caldonia. Her passion for art shows in every piece that crosses her path, and it's not only the furniture that undergoes the creative treatment. Her love of the Renaissance period have led to another service we are able to offer... reproductions of beautiful classical art. A perfect partner to any piece of revamped furniture.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Just a little bit quirky

Here at Romantiques we're very lucky to be part of such a dynamic and creative team, and our collaboration with Sydney- based interior stylist Dita Nicholls is just one of the reasons why doing what we do is so constantly gratifying when it comes to creating.

Offering Dita's service- D.N.D Designs- to clients that are looking to go that extra step with their interiors and special pieces is always something we do with enthusiasm, and if you think Dita is primarily concerned with the function of making a space look and feel attractive- think again. If the selection of self- designed, beautifully quirky cushions we have on display in the studio are anything to go by, you'll know that Dita's talents and eye for detail are limitless.

Hailing from a little village 45 minutes from Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic and also one of the most beautiful and historic places to visit in Europe, Dita credits her sense of style and fondness of rich colour palettes to the European approach of decadence and decoration, reinforced by constant inspiration trips to the jewels of the continent. And Dita practices what she preaches, living the way she styles- playing with pattern, form and colour for dramatic effect in her own home, letting the European influence of taupes, olive greens, mochas and reds do the talking for her.

But whatever your personal style, Dita has the connections, and the imagination, to source and come up with what you're looking for. As well as being able to think up such sassy designs and colour combinations for soft furnishings and lampshades, with colour palettes that range from soft and subtle to acid shocking, Dita prides herself in her ability to create rooms with character and comfort, matching beautiful furniture, artwork and wallpapers to achieve whatever the desired effect.

Slipping into Summer

 Get some new shades with vibrant colours.
 RedsGreens or Pinks. When grounded with Black, White or taupe they become the perfect neutral.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A little touch of Venice

Inspired by History- Venetian art on furniture

Whether it be because of our love of combining the features of the past and contemporary settings, or just because of our obsession with the decadence and styles of our background (Europe) here at Romantiques are going mad for traditional Venetian furniture.

Our penchant for decorating the 

pieces in our Studio with vibrant and unique pieces of art has led us on a search through the history of the practice, which is by no means new (though our designs would beg to differ!). And naturally, we came across the very old, and the very respected style of furniture known as Venetian.

And it's not just because of its astounding originality and beauty, these brightly painted pieces, in ornate shapes and decorated with floral motifs, Renaissance scroll designs and plaques with groups of classic gods or lordly ladies and their gallants, can fit with remarkable ease into any modern setting. Use them to spark up your living room or bedroom, parade them in your front hall, or even air their graces in the office. And believe us, based on the feedback and response we've had to the pieces we've created in the style, you'll never want to go back to undecorated furniture again.

The age out of which these ornate pieces emerged was one of frivolity and careless living. Clothed in gay silks, the men and women of Venice idled through the day and night with balls and masques, garden parties, festivals, theatres, pageants and private theatricals in magnificent palaces. The great Venetian society was in its decadence, and even science and art became polite accomplishments rather than serious efforts.

Venetian furniture reflects all this blithe life which, in spite of its shallowness, possessed amazing artistry. The name Venetian that has been bestowed on the furnishings stamped with the frivolous touch of the eighteenth century in Venice, can now be used in 21st century life for those with a little spirit.