By Rita Bratovich
Winter is the season where designers can fully stretch their canvases and lay out all their colours. It’s when “more is more” – more texture, more hues, more volume; layering and accessorising, enjoying the feel as much as the look. Home becomes a retreat. Outdoor activities are replaced with the indoor comfort of a soft throw on a deep sofa piled high with fluffy cushions, as warm and inviting as the smell of freshly baked bread.
“People love to stay at home during winter so it’s particularly important to have a space that is ready to deliver pleasure,” says Kim Thompson, interior decorator and founder of the long-established furniture store, Annandale Interiors. Thompson favours natural materials such as wood and animal hides, not just for their ambience, but for their durability and versatility.
“Texture is key at this time of year. Animal hides and leather are warm in winter and cool in summer and don’t have any of the sticky feeling that comes with faux leather poly-plastic upholstery. Sandblasted hides give that real rough and tumble effect that goes well with a bomber jacket for a more masculine style. Pets also like it. It doesn’t scratch easily so blasted hides are an excellent choice for families,” says Kim.
It’s not hard to spot genuine, good quality leather over artificial products. Real leather has rough, uneven edges, and comes in varied shapes and sizes – remember, it’s an animal pelt. It does not come in long sheets that can cover a sofa smoothly.
Harmony is key to decorating at this time of year, but so is individuality. It’s where you get to truly appreciate the special items in your home.
“Winter is the time to bring together your favourite pieces to reveal the poetic beauty of each item, whether it’s a bohemian number or a classic 50s piece. Everything falls toward texture, colour, character and shape,” explains Thompson.
Annandale Interiors is one of the few Sydney design stores that allows clients to view the Warwick Fabrics and Dulux Paints seasonal style forecasts and get ideas and inspiration. According to Thompson, the hottest looks for the coldest time of year include Deco Revival, New York Hamptons style, and beautiful feminine florals.
You don’t need a full refurbishment to spice up your abode, nor do you need a huge budget. Some shrewdly selected accent pieces and simple adornments can easily add warmth and character.
Items that will rid you of winter woes include indoor plants, big bowls filled with bright citrus fruit, and fresh flowers. Long camellia branches look wild and fabulous in a large urn. And nothing says cosy charm quite like candles flickering over a steaming carafe of mulled wine.
If you’re worried about the banality of staring at the same four walls all season, Thompson has some expert tips.
“Well placed mirrors are always good for winter because they reflect a lot of light, especially if people are unsure about committing to art for their walls. Equally, for smaller city apartments, mirrors are ideal for limited wall space while opening up the space with an optical illusion. Add some beautiful photography – in black and white or colour – of the landscape that you have taken yourself. We are so lucky to live in Sydney, so take pictures of the harbour and all of the wonderful subjects that surround it, have the results printed and use them in your interior story.”
There is no better place to be on a cold winter night – or day – than snuggled inside a toasty bed. And, if you are going to spend hours tucked under the covers reading, streaming, typing, or even sleeping, you want to be sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. So it’s a good time of year to think about purchasing a new mattress, not just because it’s winter, but because there are lots of EOFY sales happening! Be wary, though – buying a mattress requires a lot of consideration and you should seek out expert advice and quality products.
Enter: Beds Australia. This is their specialty. They stock all the leading brands including AH Beard Domino, King Koil, Sealy, and Sleepmaker, in every size and level of firmness. Their expert staff will discuss your particular preferences and relevant physical and health issues before recommending the mattress they believe is right for you. In addition, your new mattress comes with a 100-night guarantee: if you get to night 99 and still haven’t had “the best life’s sleep” you can return your mattress and exchange it for a new one.
While you’re shopping for a new mattress you might also want to consider a new pillow. The shape, height, and softness of your pillow can affect the quality of your sleep and impact your physical health, especially with regard to neck, back, shoulders, and head. Beds Australia has a large range of specialty pillows to help you sleep and dream better.
Apart from focusing on the health of its customers, Beds Australia is also striving to create a healthy planet. They lean towards ethical practice and sustainable materials when selecting manufacturers, dealing only with quality products that are durable and environmentally friendly. They are also proudly Australian and always try to support locally made goods using local resources.
If you want a feel good shopping experience, you are unlikely to find anywhere that ticks as many “warm and fuzzy” boxes as Koskela. Apart from its unique sunlit, century-old warehouse premises, Koskela is a champion of social enterprise, collaborating with Australian indigenous artists and artisans and supporting traditional art and culture.
When you step inside their Rosebery store, you’re immersing yourself in a cultural world that includes exquisitely designed, sustainably built furniture; ethically produced goods; an art gallery that exhibits contemporary local artists; a library where you can sit and flick through a beautiful selection of books; and even an on-site cafe where you can sip a warm beverage and soak in the wonderful ambience.
Koskela’s designs are minimalist and functional; modern, yet with a natural, sometimes vintage aesthetic, and very stylish. Its bespoke but individual pieces would easily fit in with your existing furniture. The display allows you to see how settings work together, and the relaxed environment gives you ample time to think about and select your pieces.
Function meets form with a friendly handshake at Cosh Living.
They provide design and furnishings for homes, commercial spaces, and hotels with a range that includes indoor and outdoor furniture. Their pieces are imaginative, quirky, modern, sophisticated yet always practical and adaptable to a variety of settings. If you’re going to be spending time indoors, then you want furniture that looks good and feels good, and that’s what you will find here.
Founders, Colin Kupke and Shane Sinnott (note the first two letters of their first names) started out selling outdoor furniture by big name European manufacturers, then eventually set up a factory in Melbourne, hired designer, Justin Hutchinson, and now sell a combination of European and Australian brands as well as their in-house mark, Kett. They have completed a number of impressive projects for large organisations including University of Technology, Sydney; Royal Randwick Racecourse; QANTAS Airways; Crown Casino; The Hyatt and many more hotels, institutions, and large organisations.
While commercial furnishings are a big part of their business, they also cater to residential clients. So if you’ve got a courtyard or outdoor area that gets winter sun, you should visit Cosh Living and get some advice on how to make the most of it. They have expertise in making the outdoors feel as cosy and comfortable as the indoors. Of course, that expertise doesn’t stop at the back door, so if you don’t have an al fresco space, then invite them indoors to help liven up and enrich your abode.
There are few places that evoke a snowy, postcard Winter scene like Northern Europe, so if you want an authentic Winter feel then the Scandinavian style designs of Reddie Furniture are the perfect fit. They have a minimalist wooden finish with clear contemporary ideals, yet there’s an essence of 1960s experimentalism in the designs.
Founders Caroline and Andrew Olah had a mission: to create well-crafted furniture that is functional, appealing, durable and fully customisable. They have a selection of basic designs – you select the item you want online, then choose from a list of customisable options such as size, materials and colour. Each order is built by hand from scratch using ethically sourced, sustainable materials. They have a gainfully employed team of master woodworking craftsmen in Indonesia, which means they can produce quality goods at a fair price. That alone should warm up the cockles.
This is a true one-stop shop, with a very extensive range of furniture items, homewares, decor, and art as well as a personalised styling service.
If you’re after a winter make-over for your home, contact Charles Hinckfuss, designer and founder of MCM House. He can help you achieve some winter chic while still maintaining a cosy, homey feel. If you just want a few new items to warm up the place, there’s plenty to choose from here – for bedroom, dining, lounge and outdoors.
It’s amazing what small items can do: ottomans, cushions, wall hangings, lamps can all add character and cheer to a home. One of the most effective ways to warm up a room easily and inexpensively is with a rug. Neutral tones will work in any space and can add texture as well as being a bit nicer underfoot than a cold hard floor.