Nelly’s latest styling project

Posted on Tue, 13 Dec 2011 by KiM

Nelly, a stylist based in Perth, Australia, emailed the other day with photos of her latest project (see her home here and reno/deco project here). It is a GORGEOUS house. She styled it for a photo shoot organized by Scoop Publishing which can be viewed online here – see pages 114-124. The house is an amazing, super-contemporary and quite sustainable weekender for a young Perth-based family who enjoys the wine, food and beach region of Margaret River. It was designed by Craig Steere Architects. It is quite minimalist inside, but I’ve tried to ‘warm it up’ a bit with my styling (although I was given only 3 days before the shoot to source decorative items without even seeing the house…) The artwork featured in the hallway and in one of the bedrooms (above the bed) is by Meleah Farrell. Photos by Heather Robbins of Red Images Fine Photography. Nelly certainly gave it a more homey touch – including hits of orange in the main living spaces. I really am a fan of this house, but on a side note, I think I would have loved to see something besides concrete floors everywhere. The other day I asked my husband if we should consider doing concrete in our new house but after seeing this home I think I changed my mind. I need the warmth that hardwood offers (despite the inevitable cat claw marks). 


Nelly says:

Hi everyone!

Thanks a lot for taking the time to comment on this post and on some of my works. I am sorry but cannot help but smiling a bit when reading the reactions of disgust when it comes to the cow hide. I hear you people and I am certainly not one to encourage animal cruelty, believe me! However, has any of you been as shocked by the two leather couches? Or the morrocan pouffe? No? Interesting because they also are made of animal skin…

If using animal rugs in decoration (BTW mine is a vintage; the cow was dead several decades ago and was probably from the meat industry anyway, as it was very often the case back in the old days…) equals promoting animal cruelty, then wearing anything from H&M, Zara and about 90% of the clothes industry equals promoting child labour, "sweat shops" and encouraging poverty in third world countries. And buying stuff made in China equals supporting a dictatorial country and encouraging climate warming (the stuff has to come all the way to you by boat or plane, remember!)…

Now if we're talking about style only, the reasons why this rug has been used on this shot are the following:-
– the uneven shape and the texture soften up the space otherwise quite "masculine", with lots of sharp angles and cold material;
– it did fit the clients' brief of a house which is very easy to maintain. The house is very exposed to the elements and can get dirty very quickly (surrounded by nature, exposed to lots of wind, massive openings to the outdoors… and regularly hosting the adventures of a 18 months old baby…);
– from a stylist point of view, it is probably one of the most flexible rugs you can get; it goes pretty much with everything and the uneven shape means it is more likely to fit in any space than a standard rectangular rug where measurements are capital. Don't forget that I had only 3 days to style this house without even looking at it before;
– and… it was easy to pack in the back of my small car!

I hope you understand my choice, but please, be assured that I completely respect your opinions and comments ๐Ÿ™‚

Kim (and Jo), keep the good work; this blog is just brilliant!

KiM says:

Nelly, I'd like to apologize for our readers monopolizing this post to comment once again on the use of cowhide rugs. I'm frankly embarrassed each and every time this happens as it takes away from the freaking point of the post, and in this case it's this beautiful house and the wonderful job you did staging it.

Thank you for pointing out the leather sofas ๐Ÿ™‚

I have a friend with concrete floors in her entire house. But the concrete was scored into 24" tiles. So it breaks up a sea of concrete into what appears to be a tiled floor. You probably could also buy concrete tiles. Or you could come up with your own design. Wonder what it would look like scored into 7" planks? Herringbone? Nah – too much like an outdoor patio.

ร…sa Gbg says:

Iยดm sorry, but this is so cold and impersonal, except maybe for the kids room. It does not look like a home more like a showroom.

Dorothea says:

What a beautiful home! I have one question for Nelly. I noticed there're no dust ruffles/ bed skirts on the bed. Did you do that on purpose?

Melanie says:

Nelly, You say it soooo well. We have retail stores here in Western Australia which specialise in a lot of Australian hand made design products. If our producers are making overseas they are either Fair Trade certified or have strong, committed, personal and supportive relationships with the makers. We hear people say "OH, I don't want to buy anything made in China!" I don't think they consider the chain-store clothes they wear or the mobile phone etc etc etc etc.

Off my soap box and back to focus….
Interestingly enough we live the same area as this house and it really depicts many of the beautiful, beach homes here. I love the entrance shot with the art work, its just gorgeous. The front door too. Like any house, even the holiday type, it will evolve over time. We often have stylists in our stores borrowing items for shoots and its always a mad rush, no idea how you do it, especially sight unseen!!!

Kim and Jo, love your blog, check it every day, its brilliant.

sue says:

Kim, I like your design style and posts and we share the same interest in whites and darks. We also share a love of cats. Love your blog and pets on furniture. I have contributed to it.

There are lots of people out there like me who feel compassionate towards animals. I also am passionate about design. You obviously are because you rescued and live with 7 cats! Sometimes, we don't see the suffering of ALL our fellow animals caused by humans unless it is in front of us.

Please know that it is not a game or funny to us when we express our compassion towards animals used as furniture or "design" elements and are berated for it. We enjoy design and should feel free to comment on it, good or bad. I hope you can understand.

KiM says:

I did not think you were amusing yourself Sue by brining up the cowhide issue. Nor do I think I berated you. You all can comment all you want about your disgust over the use of cowhide rugs, I don't really care. I would just ask that everyone make an effort to at least address the subject of the post. It takes away from the purpose (in this case Nelly's hard work) and turns it into the never-ending debate that has happened on here at least 2 dozen times now.
But we all have our opinions on this topic, and Jo and I have no problem posting photos where there are animal products shown. So get used to it. Especially considering we both have such products in our own homes.

christa says:

I haven't been reading this blog for long and didn't realize the cow hide floor rug was such a sticky subject! What I like about this blog (beyond the cleverness of Jo and Kim) is that the comments are often interesting, and feel more like a school crit than just a big cheerleading session. I don't enjoy blogs where all the reader comments are limited to positive 'love it' — it's just dull and I stop reading. Obviously everyone has different tastes and opinions are just that – no one has to agree. Any comment I leave is only my opinion and my perspective, and is always given in the spirit of debate.

Nelly says:

Such controversy, it's almost exciting ๐Ÿ™‚ More seriously, thanks to everyone who are taking the time to comment and who provide valuable (positive or negative) feedback.

@ Dorothea: To be honest with you, I didn't see the house before the actual shooting (the styling was done over two hours before the shoot with items that I've selected only three days before with only mental images of what I wanted and hoping for the best). It was a bit hard to bring bedskirts not knowing the size of the beds, nor how many bedrooms would be styled. Looking back, I think some very simple bedskirts (white linen, single pleat, chic and simple) would have looked great, especially in the master bedroom (the white one). But saying that, the clients' brief was pretty straight forward: a weekend house, exposed to the elements where housekeeping must be kept to the strict minimum. Bedskirts and dust unfortunately don't go well together… So, in the end, I'm pretty happy with the minimal bedding we featured.

@Melanie: You have tickled my interest, lady! ๐Ÿ™‚ Please let me know where your store is located si I can pop in and see all the beautiful things you have. It might be exactly what I need for future residential projects or magazine features.

@Kim, I forgot to react to what you say in your introduction about the concrete floors. I completely understand your point – I have always been big on concrete floors, but spending a full day in this house I felt like I would not like living in a place with concrete floors everywhere due to the lack of warmth. That said, for this particular house, the concrete floors were an obvious choice for the easy maintenance aspect of it. They are also very soft under foot which makes walking barefeet, inside and outside, a breeze. And they suit the overall desgin of the house with a continuity between indoors and outdoors. Now, if this was my house (or if I had more time to prepare this shooting), I would have tried to inject more character into it; I would have used some rustic piece of furniture, more timber throughout (via furniture and accessories) and more "layers" (various rugs, more textiles, various accessories, etc), while keeping the overall design clutter-free, relaxed and easy to clean. Next project maybe ๐Ÿ™‚ All of this to say that concrete floors can look cold but if they are balanced out with "warmer" textures and colours in the design, they can also be just fantastic!

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