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THE BEST DESIGN FROM NEW ZEALAND. AND AROUND THE WORLD. AND NEW ZEALAND! Homewares, Furniture, Interiors, Graphic Design... and lots of other awesome design.

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    It's almost that time again... the day on the calendar when many hundreds of design-lovers get chauffeured around Auckland city's best design showrooms. Urbis magazine pairs each showroom with a NZ artist of designer, and together they collab to transform their space into something extra spesh for Designday.

    Beyond beautiful design and creative installations, expect to be hosted with drinkies and delish eats at most of the stops. Many of the showrooms are releasing new products and will have special offers on the day. The cool thing about Designday is that the exact experiences awaiting you are a surprise, but some of my memories from previous Designdays include: modernist bath tubs filled with M&Ms, pop-up architectural pavilions with amazing audio-visual installations, gin cocktails served in ornate tea cups, short inspiring talks by furniture designers, beetroot and horseradish ice-cream; a floral meadow 'planted' with macarons to pluck...



    Urbis Designday 2017 is happening Saturday 25th March - and we have three triple passes to give away - so you and two of your besties can make a day of it.




    We have three sets of triple passes to give away. To go in the draw:

    • Just email enter@newzealanddesignblog.com

    • We're also accepting entries via our Instagram - so if you prefer (or if you'd like an extra entry in the draw), head to our Instagram and tag two of your friends in the comments to be in the draw.


    Winners will be drawn Thursday 16th March. 







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    Loren, and Sarah


    Testing out their own range of sleepwear (which is coming real soon)






    Choosing materials for an upcoming (secret squirrel) project




    Tweaking details for their upcoming display at Auckland's INEX (interior design exhibition)






    Lunch stop at little vietnamese joint, Try It Out - the girls often order this in if they're working late
     (Try It Out? Best English-as-second-language name ever! How good does this look?) 

    Back in the studio - time for some emails and phone calls (Oh, and a baben portrait)


    Planning the roll-out of the new collection 


    Wrapping and boxing orders for retailers and customers



    Refining patterns for linen house slippers - coming soon!

    Penney and Bennett art prints have hand-applied gold leaf



    Penney and Bennett sleepwear - coming very, very soon...




    End of the day - bread, red wine, good cheese - that's all the food groups.



    Sarah Carson and Loren Marks first met at Whitecliffe College of Art & Design, where they collaborated on a few projects that combined their varying fine art practises. They found a shared passion for homeware, fabrics and furnishing, and during breaks between lectures they'd go to cafes and drink tea and talk about how they could turn their designs into beautiful textiles. After graduating, they each went into the workforce for a year, but kept meeting up for those chats over tea. The informal cuppas soon turned into more serious meetings on evenings and weekends, as they began to design and develop what would become Penney and Bennett.

    Today, Sarah and Loren are both 26 and Penney and Bennett is almost three! And they're about to launch their third collection, Guardian. Inspired by New Zealand's native forest, it's a moody, botanic direction, with a palette of deep greens and autumn shades.

    Each surface pattern is created using a media mix of photography, painting and digital design, then printed onto metres of beautiful quality linen, cotton and silk, and transformed into cushions, pillowslips and bed linen, throws and more. Their range also includes table linen and large scale art prints.

    Sarah and Loren live at opposite ends of Auckland, so sometimes before a big work day, they have a sleepover at one of their houses. It's a chance for them to make the most of the day, starting with some early morning exercise to get the brain humming. (On this day, they went for a walk around Auckland's Te Atatu Peninsula boardwalk). Days are spent getting orders of their dreamy printed textiles out to their customers and an expanding fam of retailers, and developing new collection prints and new products. Specifically, on the day Jonny visited them, Sarah and Loren were choosing materials for a whole new product line, checking the progress of their display stand for an interior design expo (INEX - happening in Auckland later this month), testing a new pattern for their linen house slippers, and finalising details of their new sleepwear range - a full range of pyjamas, which will come in plain linen, organic cotton and printed cotton.

    Watch out for their new 2017 collection of cushions and throws, Guardian, in-stores very soon.



    Explore the Penney and Bennett catalogue here:






    Thank you Jonny!
    You can (and should!) follow the Narrative of Love Instagram here.





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  • 03/18/17--18:05: Fancy SPACES

  • A much, much sexier Fifty Shades of Grey. 

    Having two sinks is just being greedy, but I can't hold that against this Barcelona beauty. The herringbone flooring is everything. Love the suspended shelving, and that ancient-looking brick wall.

    You didn't think I was going to overlook that amazing black steel arched window did you? Wait, they're french doors? Ded.

    I love almost everything about this - the rug, the brick, the mouldings... (but word to the wise - that coffee table is impractically small, babe.)

    Steal this palette - greyish blues, with bold black and a warm wood base.

    OK so I really like this wooden work top with the extra-extra wide draws (am imagining the most precise organisation inside those draws!) and the shelving at the end. Also, I'm all for minimalism but that shelving is being SIGNIFICANTLY UNDERUSED, guys. See the rest of this Scandinavian lakeside home here.

    Bathroom details by the always on point Flack Studio.

    Lovely little workspace by NTF Architecture. (I spy some very cool half circle handles, love those - and I appreciate how they're the same colour as the cabinetry, so they're not drawing too much attention to their modern selves).

    ARGH! This. Sink. at Ten Over Ten, a beautiful nail salon in New York.


    I love everything that Whiting Architects do - they're my A1 since Day One. This is from one of their projects that I've shared a lot, the O'Grady House.

    That'll do ya.

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  • 03/19/17--15:36: Restful Retreats






  • It's a good day! The new issue of Homestyle is out, which means you can go and buy it, and refuse to do anything this evening aside from get lost in its pages. (And maybe watch The Bachelor? Don't judge me). The theme this issue is Restful Retreats, and - as per - they've packed loads of sanctuary styling into the pages.




    Above is a sneak at one of this issue's home tours - Clare and Simon Cato's Snell's Beach home. The newlyweds spent over a year living in a boat shed (that had no hot running water) whilst they worked on the renovation nights and weekends. Their story - and the finished home - is definitely inspiring.

    Styling Alice Lines and Sam van Kan; Photography by Simon Wilson


    Homestyle Editor Alice Lines and Citta designer Sam van Kan make one mean aesthetic team; they've been touring the country hosting Homestyle Magazine and Citta Design styling workshops, showing how to create beautiful but lived-in looks for your home. Case in point, this moody-blues bedroom above. In this issue, they take one space and style it two ways - with more than a couple of ideas to steal.


    This New Plymouth home is a stunning sanctuary for its owners. Love the soft and hard of those sheer curtains against the polished concrete, the wee corner sink in the back there, and the wall tiles mirrored under the kitchen island.



    Photography by Larnie Nicolson


    This very elegant home - with her palette of light timber, brass and jewel blues - is this issue's cover girl. It was designed by the owner, Interior Designer Nikki Willis. See it, and so much more, in the April/May issue of Homestyle which is on shelves this week. Go!



    ~ W I N ~


    Homestyle magazine are giving away some amazing prizes at the moment (including a $500 voucher to spend at my online homeware store, Sunday). Head to the Homestyle website (go here) to enter.


      online-homeware-store-nz



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    One most exciting things about Auckland city in recent years has been the move to transform its historic buildings. The Imperial, Seafarers, City Works Depot, Amano... there's been a rebirth of relics all over the city. Two of the architects responsible for creating this new-old Auckland are Jeff Fearon and Tim Hay. They were, at first, just looking for a new office for their practise, but decided to go one further - to purchase a dilapidated cluster of old warehouses (1940's wool stores), and turn them into a new office, hospitality and retail precinct. They saw past the roller doors and painted-over windows to see what the old sheds could become - a pocket neighbourhood from which they could not only headquarter Fearon Hay, but grab coffee during the day and a drink after work.

    And here it is - the new (and already award-winning) Fearon Hay digs, with the feel of a sexy loft apartment and the functionality of a high-performing work space. The office is essentially a massive mezzanine that floats above the original carpark, an open plan office that celebrates the bones of the old building, and introduces a pale poured concrete floor, huge communal pin-up surface, very sophisticated black-tiled bathrooms, and perhaps the best-looking meeting room I've ever seen.

    The crowning glory is of course that exposed gabled ceiling - anyone with eyes can see why Tim and Jeff would want to design themselves working as close as possible to those huge, rough sawn, criss cross beams. What an inspiring place from which to design other inspiring places.

    Special mention to that broodingly handsome steel stairwell.




    Photography by Auckland photographer
    Michelle Weir of Studio:Weir
    Michelle specialises in interior and architectural
    photography, and fashion photography



    Check out a few of the other features Michelle has shot for Fancy:









    online-homeware-store-nz



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  • 03/25/17--15:02: Fancy SPACES

  • Just lovely.

    I'd personally steer clear of black in the kitchen if it were anything glossy (hello, fingerprints) but this stained oak is loooovely. Also, I really dig a sink at one end of a counter... who says it has to be in the middle? Espesh if you have a small kitchen. 

    Predictably, I love this. Bench seat with storage baskets underneath and a wee dining table set-up with mismatched chairs; tiniest of balconies that's probably an OSH hazard and can't actually be used; pale timber floorboards, vintage cabinets that aren't perfectly uniform; gas hob. All yo' classic Scandi ingredients.

    No, this isn't a showroom. Yes, this is someone's house. That sink! Those faucets! The knobs! 

    Welcome to my bathroom, here is my black vintage bath with gold claw feet. Here's all my Aesop things lined up in a row. Here's my antique cabinet with towels folded with the folds displayed outwards (not the ends, never the ends) and things arranged neatly. This is my happy place. Want to see the rest?

    Simple but lovely. It's the little things - like a pure linen white towel on a little brass hook.

    If I were single, I'd be looking for a profile picture like this on Tinder. Don't show me your eggplant in grey sweats, show me your beautifully organised bachelor pad. 

    What do we think of a hook rail in the bedroom? Good? Random? Is the candle a fire hazard there? 
    I think we can all agree the wall colour and bedding combo is stunning tho...


    Steal this idea: Nursery tucked into a reno'd wardrobe - because bebes don't actually need wardrobes, and this is an awesome idea for getting more space out of a space.

    Love the super bleached floors, a little touch of brass, and grey on grey bed linen - with a little deep green thanks to foliage and that linen cushion  - super elegant, right?

    Love a big injection of black into an otherwise light, clean space.



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  • 03/30/17--13:59: Together Journal

  • Covetable; collectable


    Your first look at Issue Seven - in subscribers' mailboxes today and on shelves this coming Monday

    This INSANE cover shot is by Queenstown-based photographer Jim Pollard

    Style and Substance - Together is more like a periodic coffee table book than a trad magazine

    World-class floral styling is a regular feature of Together Journal's content



    From a small studio in a Parnell home, to the world. 

    Discussing layouts with designer Hannah Lawless
    (Hannah won Best Designer at the Magazine Publishers Awards last year - so deserved Hannah!)

    The Together Journal team, from left: Hannah Lawless - Designer; Rose Hoare - Sub Editor and Senior Writer;
    Greta Kenyon - Founder & Editor; Caroline Waldergrave - Writer;
    Delena Nathuran - Editors Assistant and Vendor Sales & Marketing (Greta's right hand lady)



    Together Journal's founder, wedding photographer (and mum of three) Greta Kenyon



    No, print is not dead. In fact, there's a renaissance happening for a small number of niche, high-end publications - magazines with a standard of content and print quality that make them every bit as collectable as coffee table books. (You and I know this, of course.)

    Together Journal - founded by New Zealand wedding photographer Greta Kenyon - is now one of these very special publications finding a cult following around the world.

    When she started Together Journal, Greta was travelling NZ and abroad shooting creative, contemporary weddings. Working alongside her clients, fellow photographers, and other wedding specialists such as stylists, she saw a very inspiring new niche of the industry developing - a direction being driven and lead, in many ways, by our New Zealand (and Australian) wedding professionals and their ideas. This world-class talent deserved a global platform.... 

    So, Together Journal was born. A curated quarterly dedication to the modern wedding, and to the phenomenal creative talent that a wedding represents - bringing together fashion and wedding couture, design and illustration, styling, cuisine, flora, contemporary homeware, travel... and breathtakingly beautiful photography. Yes, it's for those planning a wedding, but it's also just for aesthetes in general. Each issue involves up to 40 different contributors - including those who shoot on assignment (such as Danelle Bohane who won Best Photographer at the Magazine Publishers Awards last year for her work for Together) and photographers who submit inspiring real weddings. 

    This small-but-perfectly formed New Zealand brand is now very much global. Together Journal is sold throughout NZ, Australia and the US (including in Anthropologie stores and over 300 Barnes and Nobles'), and the team are currently working on European and Asian markets for distribution, too.

    As Issue Seven is about to be launched (to subscriber today, and on shelves from Monday) I thought it was the perfect time to share the story of Together - it's one of vision, cajones and the power of collaboration.







    online-homeware-store-nz



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    You know how much I love a collaboration. And this one is a clever little threesome, combining the delicate illustrations and simple aesthetic of young creative and slow-living proponent Abigail Bakker (find her on Instagram here) with the handmade earthenware ceramics of JS Ceramics, and the ethos of design store Paper Plane.

    The beauty of handmade ceramics like these are in the mindfulness of the makers. Every piece requires patience and presence to be realised. 

    The Seed Collection at first glance may seem simple, but each little detail is completely unique to that piece, and has taken time and complete focus to create. The metaphor for nature isn't accidental...
    I also love how subtle the sage green watercolour pattern is, it still lets the form of the ceramics shine.

    The Seed collection includes a tea bowl, small dish, spoon, pasta bowl, dinner plate, and platter. Available exclusively from our friends at Paper Plane.



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  • 04/29/17--15:32: Fancy Spaces


















































  • The home of Danish lifestyle and interiors blogger Allan Torp (Bungalow5).
    Photography by Brooke Holm; stylist Marsha Golemac for Inside Out.

    'Grammer to follow - Carole of Sunrise over Sea (and her beautiful little home). Love the light ply door, the white painted floorboards and always a white Smeg.





































    Love a layered rug. Melbourne's Pop and Scott (designers of the sofas, tables, planters and lighting) always get it right with their boho-beach vibe.

    I dream of owning a home with a big grand hallway (high stud, extra wide, ceiling moulding, wooden floors) like this... Also, if you're framing up a photograph/photographic print, consider a thin black frame - it defo kicks up the modernity and sophistication factors.

    This master bedroom has been getting a lot of love around the interweb in the past couple of weeks. Imagine having a turn-of-the-century home with a bedroom that's bigger than your current lounge. This looks like a hotel suite... in a good way. 

    Humble, simple and calming.

    What would you do in this space? It's lovely as it is but I see a few things I'd change right away - like put those cushions on the chair, and change out that light shade... Love that black bench seat though.

    Love this breakfast bar with its view of Stockholm city...


    Remember that time the judges crucified Hayden on The Block for his black kitchen? They had it so wrong. I mean, the splash-back was 50 shades of awful, but the kitchen itself was very cool.


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