Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An old world charm

Have i ever mentioned i love walking into the studio in the morning?

Well i do. i love pulling up the doors and smelling the scent of my new favourite love, my candle from circa candles- still lingering in the air. 

Deep breath- smells like creativity.

Just recently i have found it more exciting when i walk in. Like i said before there is no want of our excitement in our line of work, not even for me. As i walk in on the right one of the most recent completed pieces in our studio, sitting next to a parisian scene hand painted like as if it were a movie prop. 

The vintage, farmhouse style coffee table has this feel about it. For me it feels as if i have just opened a really old book, and the pages are worn around the edges.

Once a Queensland Maple coffee table that sat meekly in the middle of a mish mash room.
Although it was a beautiful coffee table then and i loved it, i just love it that bit more, it needed a change.

Quite a transformation, now here sits a delectable treasure, that i adore.

Once a coffee table with a traditional hand polished maple top with a hand painted base in Mocha. A striped inlay with productions in each corner, green crazed moulding which canvassed an opaque production on each side, bordered by worn gold leaf. 

Now a bespoke piece of art. Lending an old world charm. natural Maple top with worn inlay in off white, a hand drawn antique map. A worn base painted in off white finished in an antique rub and torn back to natural, showcasing the gold leaf on the moulding and is more functional. (spill hot water form the kettle, drop frozen ice cubes, place down you drink- it works for you, you don't work for it)

Also another feature to this that makes it extra special is the eye for detail, we papered the inside of the drawers with old maps of the world. 

A romantiques signature look, nothing is plain on the inside.

Beauty is form the inside out after all right?

p.s this piece is looking for a home, and so are  many others.
for any enquiries email us at info@romantiques.com.au 

From this 

Came this

Sunday, March 27, 2011


What is in?
Who is doing it?
What is the definition of a trend?

I thought I would like to share something.
I have been seeing slot of beige and ivory coloured clothing on racks lately.
Which is mean't to be the it colour for the moment-call me unfashionable but I wear colours that flatter my shape.
Same goes for decor and furniture, what colours are in?,what pieces are in?
My answer -whatever you like!
If you like deep blues and purples on your wall go for it, if you like coral and emerald coloured cushions go for it.
Trends are like a circle, things seem like they in and out of fashion but they are actually always there. You only realise them when it becomes a 'trend' again.
Here at Romantiques we are all about personalising. It's about what you like. What breathes your personality and what compliments your home.
No two women at the same table are alike are they? They have individual style, this creates a interesting creative world.
Bespoke,individual and unique sums up a home styled by personality and character.
Last night over a glass of white wine, I found myself engaged in a conversation with woman by the the name of Lauren. Lauren became entangled and infused at what we do here at the studio. Lauren was telling me about her newly furnished apartment. "we have very French style furniture, and for our upholstery on our chairs in the lounge room they are done in blue and
cream shades", Lauren also told me how she likes to travel and never fails to acquire a new treasure for her apartment based on sydney's northern beaches. Lauren said she feels like the treasures add a different feel to her home, she likes the feel to be different. Lauren asked me what I would think if I walked through the front door of an apartment and saw a tribal mask bought from Africa paired with a Louis commode finished in a linseed grey with an antique rub, and cushions that she purchased from italy in pewter and soft green paired with the French blue and cream upholstery. My reply, you guessed it "i would love it" I said. A few reasons why I love this look- firstly because the home becomes a open photo album, a living memory. Also because you create a bespoke style of your own. Lastly why I love this look is because it is nationless. We can categorise parts of this room, but by looking at it as a whole you can't- everything goes. Neutral painted walls to sharpen the contrast of all the tones like
the French blues and creams with accents of pewter and soft green, a Louis style commode paired with a hanging piece of tribal art. But from where is all this?, you'll never know , in this setting everything just goes together,even though it's different. Opposed to putting the tribal mask next to a deep chocolate coloured tall boy and a free standing statue of a giraffe with a zebra mink rug beneath.
Where do you get all this inspiration for a nationless look? Your imagination! It could be with any thing your Favourite styles meshed into one or just having one style but not feeling like one. But whatever it may be don't forget your individuality is the best investment.

Andrea xx

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A True Timeless Beaty

Antiques- True antique pieces that have history written all over them. pieces that have been passed from one generation to the next.

I love antiques and always have  (i thought i'd share that with you), especially this piece we just recently had in our studio.

A Walnut chest of drawers with artworks of timber inlays dating back more than 100 years. 
This piece required to be repaired as over time the piece had little parts that had been damaged.
The owner of the chest of drawers an influential woman herself, Connie Crisp one of Sydney's best architects in her time. 
Mrs Crisp requested specifically that Geoff from Romantiques do the job after being recommended by John  Austen one of the master cabinet makers. 

We found the job a delightful one, having Mrs Crisp telling us her fruitful stories.

I must say the way she spoke about antiques gave us so much joy here at the studio, Connie felt the same as we do- we feel that antiques give soul whether it be in your home or elsewhere.

Here at the studio we are forever talking about painted finishes and artwork. But a true beauty everyone forgets about that was here longer than you and me are those soulful pieces of antiques. I love the early victorian circa 1850 Walnut sideboard inside my home paired with the long white refectory dining table and dresser, the sideboard gives the room extra depth, warmth and a little bit of history.

I think it is truly sad that some people are getting rid of their antiques full of history and replacing them.

Here at Romantiques we encourage you to keep your antiques, make them an invest for yourself for years to come. It's also surprising what what antiques can be paired with both colour and style wise.

So next time you look at your antiques whether it's a walnut davenport circa 1830's or its a a chippendale design bombe commode circa 1753 appreciate the piece that appreciates. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The price of quality

An interesting thing to take into consideration...the relationship between price and quality. It's an issue that a lot of businesses have had to face in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, and an issue that's basically been around since currencies were invented. Here at the studio, we've got a point to prove. But before we get into that, it's necessary to look at the general concensus.

Most consumers perceive that a relatively high price is a sign of good quality. Sometimes this is true, but sometimes it isn't. And it has a lot to do with expectations. Take this for example...one doesn't walk into Louis Vuitton on Park Avenue expecting to spend ten dollars. But then, change the setting to one of a small business, and the same person expects to recieve their product for what we call 'peanuts'. Expectations, you see? But consider this...what if the small business actually provides an exceptional service, something you wouldn't dream of receiving anywhere else, what if the product you're left with is one entirely on par with what you would receive at a 'name brand' store, and still, the customer is dubious. A paradox.

When discussing the issue, I came across the idea that pricing in general is a black art that is based more on what people are prepared to pay than on the actual cost of what is being sold. If you took this idea and used it, you'd be getting whatever you purchased for cheap...but then everybody would be in ruins. The system, no matter how much some resent it, just doesn't work like that. Whatever happened to the negotiation of a reasonable price based on labour, materials and a profit geared towards the betterment of the whole enterprise? And then, what about the product you'll receive in the end...the product you'd hoped and expected? You'd get it, that's what. And you'd be satisfied.

People seem to forget that cheap lasts forever. It will always be on your mind. What we're all about promoting here at Romantiques is the idea that your piece should work for you, not against you. What are you looking for, in the end? Quality. The question is, are you willing to receive it?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Another Possibility

You may have read my recent post called rich and quirky contrasts, i actually found a before picture of that chair.

It has become my favourite setting of the moment just let me tease you....

Pink Fuchsia upholstery on a reflective pewter, French farmhouse style chair sitting around an art deco dining table, bearing a hand painted gothic cross.
 So fabulous actually that's an understatement divine is a better word choice to describe how i feel about these pieces together.

So here is the before.

And from that came this

Love it!

Endless Possibilities

At one stage in this piece's life undoubtedly it was sitting in someones garage, gathering dust and no one had any use for it.

Actually we know the owner thought the piece was plain useless. Geoff was doing a delivery of a lovely Oak display cabinet finished it an Antique rub. Where the Display cabinet was to be placed was sitting the parker sideboard completely empty, they asked Geoff whether we could do anything with it here at our studio, Geoff laughed (thinking in his head that it was the perfect piece to showcase what your furniture  at home can turn into no matter what its original condition) so we brought it back to our studio-"the creativity vortex".

When the sideboard arrived it looked tired and worn, it was lacking excitement , and it had total loss of its own personality and character. It was a piece that any person would walk by without realising it was there.

It only took us here a matter of hours to figure out what the piece lent itself too, the moulding on the sideboard gave us a good feel, we looked at it like a frame of an artwork. We begun our work in stages and to help the the process along we created a back rail and recycled 2 pairs of old feet.
The rest like i always say, is about the piece connecting with us, letting us bring out its true personality. The feel we got from the piece was that is was a statement piece, it doesn't need anything else around it. Ironically it stood by itself most of it's life in the corner.

The idea stemmed from Geoff with his knowledge and expertise having a massive background in European style furniture and in connecting with the piece itself.
Second stop myself, to put Geoff's ideas together and produce the finished product.

After we collaborate as a team and love the way the finished product is going to look, it goes around in a circle again from Geoff through to Cal to put our services into play.

So from this
Came this

Your furniture really does have endless possibilities no matter its original condition. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rich and Quirky Contrasts

Taking something that is looking like trash to 'city chic' smash.

By saying trash by no way am i calling this chair trash. 
I unfortunately don't have a before picture of this, it was outdated (for the look we were after), we felt like its true personality was yet to be found.

The inspiration for change came from a recent holiday. 
I stepped off the plane then took a shuttle to my hotel. Beautiful an understatement of what the hotel looked like inside. 
There were polished marble floors and landeliers ( chandeliers that are lamp like), massive mirrors with ornate gold frames. They had modern streamline chairs and and a long like coffee table in the waiting area for reception- that brings me to the next part.

All this beauty and i still felt like something was missing.
 i bet all of you out there do it too, i was rearranging the hotel in my head from furniture to colour schemes, artwork and fabric.

It hit me there was a bit of soul missing it was cold and spacious in there.  I felt like the clean lines had to be broken. The modern style seats had to be covered in warm tones to match the coloured abstract abacus like sculpture that covered the main wall as you walked in the entrance. 

As soon as i got home i put everything i thought the hotel was missing into this chair. 
Rich and quirky contrasts. The beautiful contrast of female like curves with it's arched cane back with the simple carving at the top of the french farmhouse style chair. Finished in a soft reflective pewter and Pièce de résistance is it's plush fuchsia velvet seat. Very decadent. Would have fit in perfectly- Rich contrasts of upholstery on the chairs even placing in some period pieces to add extra warmth. Mellowed out by soft tones of the walls to compliment the landeliers. 

And voilà.

To conform or not to conform

I happened to be perusing the Sunday Telegraph recently, and I came across a segment in the lifestyle section on the cliche's of interior styling. While it addressed some good points, it also brought up the idea of 'trend' colours. The writer wasn't exactly sympathetic to those of us who like to keep up with colour trends.

It got me thinking. While I'm all for choosing colours according to personal taste, and going by one's own example, not conforming to other's ideas of what will look good...all that jazz...doesn't this idea put a lot of people out of business? Just think of all those wonderful magazines we love to pore over on a lazy afternoon, all the contributors, the research that goes into them, and not to mention the sense of inspiration we receive from viewing all the new products- whether they be items of furniture, lighting, or colours- on the market.

But when considering these ideas...another one occured to me. Why do we look to magazines and 'trends' in the first place? To refine our own sense of style, that's what. It all comes back to the element of inspiration, after all, and where we find it. It could be from a magazine, or it could be (when considering colours specifically) from a historical period, a treasured object, the sunrise...you name it. The beauty of inspiration is that it is completely personal. And if you're intent on gearing your inspiration towards a goal...an interior design project, a piece of art, or buying that perfect piece of furniture, then your goal will envariably turn out to be personal and unique, too.

Coming back to those colour trends...I've come to a conclusion. If trend is what you fancy, then by all means go for it. That's your, personal, inspiration. If you prefer to dance to the beat of your own drum, that's just as valid. When it comes to personal inspiration, anything goes.