Tag Archives: design


Whenever I need some interior inspiration this is the place I go.

There are a few places I love to go in New York to get ideas – and to get lost in. One is ABC Furniture, and the other is Andrianna Shamaris.

Andrianna has been a friend of mine for several years now. I first met her when I was furnishing Ananda and I purchased several amazing pieces from her store. Andrianna imports from Indonesia but actually designs most of the pieces by incorporating modern elements and shapes into the Indonesian classics. 

If you get a chance, drop in to her store in New York and say hello. Or even just check out her website for more inspiring pieces. It’s definitely one of my New York favorites! 


Get more out of your Christmas cheer this year and start decorating your HOMESPACE now!

Being the oldest of five kids, I remember Christmas as a time filled with lots of laughs and household madness. My Mum would cook an incredible roast turkey and my Grandmother would make an unbelievable pudding that was served with coins hidden inside each serving. My Dad would video the family being together every year and it became his favorite tradition.

In a way, it’s strange to celebrate Christmas in a hot climate such as Australia. Particularly when Santa is pictured wearing warm clothes and fake trees are covered in fake snow. It’s not until I celebrated my first Christmas in New York that I really ‘got’ the whole white Christmas fantasy. Now, every year, I love to walk down 5th Avenue, see the shop windows and really feel like I’m in a movie set. If you have never celebrated Christmas in New York it’s something I would definitely recommend.

Over time, I have really embraced decorating and celebrating the season. I particularly love the tradition of getting the tree and covering it with lights. As you see in the images below I use clumps of red berry bush to keep it more rustic. I also wrap empty boxes in shiny gold, red and green paper to go under the tree. It doesn’t take a lot to create a stunning table setting either, or to fill the house with small details that really add to the magic. I have attached a number of images that I hope will give you some inspiration and ideas to create your own Christmas magic.  And don’t leave it ’till the last minute to start enjoying it!


Ananda was recently featured in LUXE (Interiors + Design) magazine. A big thank you to Karen Kurlander for the great article and Grey Crawford for the photography. Check out the article.


The energy of a space is more important than the interior design.

When it comes to interior design, one of the most important things to consider is the energy that you are creating for yourself and your guests to experience when they enter your home.

A lot of people rely on interior designers to create their home interior for them. I think this can help someone who has money, but not a lot of ideas, as long as the home owner is working with the designer to ensure the energy aligns with what they want to experience.

We have all gone to someone’s home, a hotel or a restaurant and felt the energy was too cold or not welcoming. Energy is not something you can buy on a shelf. Nor is it something that one piece of furniture will magically create. It’s a combination of several elements that work together to create an experience or effect for anyone entering the space. As I’ve blogged about in the past ‘Flow and Balance’ is crucial in a space; as is creating an interior journey through lighting, scents and the placement of furniture and objects so that the flow of the space is considered and utilized.

One of the challenges today is the whole modern, minimalist movement. Try to keep it warm and comfortable by using throws, colors and soft textured rugs to help soften hard lines. So much modern furniture simply isn’t comfortable and doesn’t invite guests to relax and feel at home.

I must also say at this point ‘each to their own’. I’m not here to tell you that an incredibly uncomfortable, very cool looking chaise lounge that you love isn’t working. I’m just asking you to consider the comfort level of the space you live in.

It’s also great to occasionally smudge your space! Simply light a small smudge stick – a bundle of herbs you can buy one at your local crystal store – and walk around the space letting the smoke filter through the rooms. Smudging clears any negative energy in the space and ensures the energy is clear and positive. Keep one on hand in case you need it. Another big part of the energy in your home is of course, YOU. When you are in a good place, and connect to positive thoughts, the energy around you is clear and inviting. People will pick up on this and enjoy being in your presence.


Australian design magazine, Belle, recently published a covery story on Ananda. Of course Hannah was the star of the spread. Having a professional interiors photographer shoot the house was fantastic and I appreciated his fresh perspective on the space. Enjoy the read. 



There’s a reason why people end up in the kitchen at parties.

The heart of the home is the kitchen. When I was designing Ananda I really considered all the best homes I had experienced over the years to see what would work best for me.

Ultimately an open plan is the best option. You can be in the kitchen preparing cocktails or a meal and still be part of the conversation. For me, natural light and a view are also a must when it comes to buying or renting an apartment or house. Natural light makes me feel much more positive and I like to entertain in an open setting.

The other great thing to have in a kitchen is a bench space and bar stools. I love Cherner stools for their design and incredible comfort. When I finally got to design my own kitchen I knew this was essential. I have to say, after living in NYC, I never take space for granted. Having room to prepare food, mix cocktails and serve meals whilst having your friends around the counter space is such a great experience. However, when you have a lot of space the one trap is clutter. Like all spaces in your home you need to edit the clutter in your kitchen on counter space and on shelves to keep it clean. It’s easier to prepare meals and, visually, is more inspiring. A few items, like a great espresso machine and a beautiful bowl for fruit or vegetables, gives the kitchen character. Beyond that, you need to keep it in check.

I also chose to have open shelving. They actually become a design feature and I love the easy access. Keep the color scheme complimentary and create a story with all elements of the kitchen. When in doubt refer to some interior magazines and start looking for inspiration.

There are certain colors that just don’t work in the kitchen and be sure to consider the lighting so you can see what you are doing but still manage to look good. Use accent lighting on shelving and a few spots on the work area but be mindful that you are not creating harsh shadows on your guests’ faces.

Remember, it’s all about creating a magic moment wherever you are.


Fresh flowers or plants help change the mood in your home.

One of the things I love most about Paris is the flower shops. The way the French really respect flowers and present them for sale is just beautiful. They are so well put together and feature such a spectacular array of colour you can’t help but go in and browse.

I am fortunate to live in the West Village of Manhattan where, just up the road from me, there are several flower shops I love. Take inspiration and ideas from the expensive flower shops (where you pay a fortune) and then visit your local flower market. You can put together your own arrangements at a fraction of the cost. I also love to browse through the flower markets so I don’t mind taking time to visit them. I also recommend buying flowers that will last at least a week. Orchards are amazing, and seem to last forever, although my favorite are Peonies.

Bringing flowers or plants into your HOMESPACE also connects you with nature and, unlike plastic or dried flowers, emit a special energy. To see your flowers or plants bloom is a great surprise to come home to.

Whenever I have guests over I always make sure I have fresh flowers in the house. Like candles and burning oils these details make all the difference.

Here are a few arrangements that caught my eye recently.


Live in your best light.

When the sun goes down, the mood can really pick up in your HOMESPACE.

Once you have you have your lamps and architectural lighting sorted, it’s now time to add some candles. There are three kinds to consider: firstly, look at small, unscented candle votives that you can buy in bulk and place inside an array of holders around the room. I like alabaster candle holders, as I love the warm color and illuminated stone texture. The reason I mentioned ‘unscented’ is because you should only have one scented candle in the room that dominates, not competes with other scents. When it comes to scented candles I love Diptyque. Believe me, it’s worth investing in a few decent candles as they last a long time.

Thirdly, a battery powered, flickering candle is also one to consider. Don’t laugh! If you have a deck or balcony it’s great to put one in a lantern and program it to automatically turn on and off every night. They look incredible outside and you honestly can’t tell the difference when housed inside a lantern. I’ve even had guests at my lake house trying to blow them out, believing they were real.

Music is also crucial when trying to create a memorable mood at home. This can really make or break the moment. Thankfully, an iPod allows you to create different playlists for each stage of the evening and day. I know this may sound a little over the top, but there is nothing worse that scrambling around, trying to find the right track after you have had a few drinks. Remember, entertaining at any level should look effortless and you should be having a great time yourself. I have a playlist for cocktails, pre-dinner, dinner, party, chill out, a morning mix and relax. I even have one for bath time.

I personally prefer a consistent vibe for a playlist with a subtle change of pace. You don’t want to go from Dean Martin to ACDC. Keep it cool, sexy and consistent. If you have a friend who has great music taste, give them an iPod and ask them to create a few playlists for you. It’s a great way to experience different music.

Now that you have created the right lighting, scents and music, both you and your guests will notice, and enjoy, the difference. Trust me, it’s worth the effort.


Illuminate your HOMESPACE with nature’s greatest gift

One of the most important things to consider in your HOMESPACE is the use of light; both natural and artificial. I love the idea of painting with light.  That’s what I do as a photographer and I love how different light can affect a face or a body landscape.

In my business it’s all about angles and light to create a mood. A camera is just a lens. It’s what you create in front of the lens that actually makes the photograph. In the same way that I paint a face with light to create a photograph, you need to consider painting your HOMESPACE with light to create a warm and beautiful space.

When renting or buying a place to become your HOMESPACE, where possible, you should consider the available natural light. If you live in the U.S, south facing light is ideal. In Australia and Asia, it’s north facing light. People don’t often consider this but, ideally, you want to be facing the sun when the earth rotates on its lower axis in winter. You will experience the best winter sun and warm your HOMESPACE with perfect light. It’s a magical experience that nature provides and is a great asset.

My Manhattan apartment and house in Upstate New York both face south. When winter comes I experience the most amazing light creep across the living room floor and form a magical glow.

When the sun sets you also have a chance to create a lighting experience that people will notice and remember. There is nothing worse than going to a restaurant or home and having to sit in harsh, overhead lighting. That said, it’s also important not to have the lighting so dark that you are literally stumbling around trying to find things.

First and foremost, use a lamp as the main light source in a room. Many don’t have a dimmer though so be sure to use a low voltage bulb. Don’t skimp on a cheap shade – lamps are a great feature element worth the investment and really add character to a room with subtle, illuminated textures.

Recessed, overhead spotlights and downlights help to showcase artwork and architectural features. Ensure they are dimmed – these lights should never be bright enough to create unflattering shadows on someone’s face.

If you ever came to my house for a romantic night you would never look better. I know that the better the lighting, the better you will feel and the sexier the moment becomes. If I can’t dim it, it won’t work. Every light switch in my home has a dimmer.

When lighting your HOMESPACE, consider three scenarios: one where you are there alone, one where you have guests and one where you have romantic company. This doesn’t just refer to one room; look at the whole experience you are creating. Your HOMESPACE is an experience you can control – the lighting, music and the mood. They create an EFFECT that should be respected and entertained.




My favorite place to have lunch in New York would have to be ABC Kitchen. The co-located ABC Home – a massive, ten-level building above the restaurant – is also my favorite store to visit.

This restaurant is really popular. It’s often hard to get a table unless you book a few weeks in advance so I usually just sit at the bar. The food is all organic and just delicious while the interior is a cool combination of industrial and contemporary rustic. You can actually purchase the china wear, the tables, even the art on the wall.

I love to wander around the store admiring the incredible collections of crystal and wood. Each floor offers a variety of inspiring ideas and creative pieces. Against the backdrop of the building’s old walls and massive windows, the store installs amazing furniture displays.

The brand has a very cool philosophy and mission that I respect and admire.

“our mission: abc home’s mission is to serve by manifesting a retail paradigm shift in which we compose a revolutionary platform for offering cause related product through beauty, experience, and magic, in order to guide you to creatively express your individuality, values and to actualize home as sacred space”

Go on the website and check it out. You can also shop on line but its definitely worth a visit to the store next time you are in New York. Don’t forget to visit ABC Kitchen too and be sure to try the crab toast.