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Meet Our Stockist, This Old House

We absolutely love This Old House, can you tell us a little bit about the store and how it all started? 

I discovered a passion for furniture revamping and upcycling when faced with my new home full of 90s pine furniture, not wanting to spend thousands to purchase all new pieces I decided to try my hand at giving it all a new look. Blown away with the results, my passion grew and developed as I began to buy and sell pieces I had upcycled and also started taking on custom work. This Old House Studio was launched in September 2015 as a ‘pop-up’ shop in Nowra on the south coast of NSW offering Australian made furniture paint and furniture finishes, painting and upcycling supplies, how-to workshops, and a range of homewares and furnishings with a focus on Australian made and locally made products. Running the workshops is so important to me as I get to share my passion and provide participants with the tips, tricks, techniques and confidence to achieve their vision for their own projects. In January 2017 I relocated the studio to an amazing heritage listed cottage in the heart of beautiful Berry, closer to home for me, where we have a gorgeous light-filled studio and sun drenched workshop space. I couldn’t be happier.

What inspires you to support Australian made brands? 

From the very beginning I experimented with many different furniture paints and finishes. Popular brands in Australia at the time included many imported products which I had concerns about regarding their environmental credentials and human health impacts. I discovered that we had some amazing manufacturers of chalk-based furniture paints in Australia, who were focussed not only on producing beautiful products to use but also products that were fully eco-approved, environmentally friendly and safe to use. I am a proud stockist of ‘L’ESSENTIEL Australia’ and ‘Mezzie and Frank’ paints, waxes and furniture finishing products – all 100% Australian owned and Australian made. I also support as many Australian made and particularly locally made homewares, craft, gift and soft furnishing producers as possible. I think it is vitally important to buy Australian made and owned, shop local and be environmentally conscious.

We love the idea of transforming pieces of furniture with our wrapping paper designs. Where do you get your creative ideas from to make over each piece of furniture? 

Using wrapping paper to ‘decorate’ a piece of furniture is a technique often called ‘papering’ or ‘decoupage’. We use Little Branch wrapping papers to line the insides of drawers in dressers and wardrobes for a ‘pop’ of colour and also cover painted drawer fronts with complementing paper for a stunning and unique look. Each furniture piece is treated as unique and its story or history, shape and form will determine the colours and finishes we use – no two pieces are the same! Often the vision we have for a piece ends up nothing like the final product as the piece speaks to us through its behaviour while we work on it which dictates the direction we have to take. Each piece is a creative journey!

Your store is located in the beautiful town of Berry. Do you find yourself drawing inspiration from the architecture and nature surrounding you? 

Painting in our beautiful light-filled workshop space every day is an absolute joy. The reaction of visitors when they enter the front door of our little cottage is one of wonder and delight and many customers reminisce about furniture pieces they recall in their grandparents homes or as children. Being part of an amazing community like Berry is wonderful, rich in history and beautiful in nature. The gorgeous wrapping papers by Little Branch reflect the natural environment which surrounds Berry and inspires the use of stunning blues and greens in our paint colours and revealing gorgeous natural timbers on our furniture pieces.

Which is one of your favourite designs from the Little Branch collection? 

I don’t think I could pick just one! If I absolutely have to narrow it down I would say ‘Rainbow Puddles’ is a favourite – I love the vibrant colours and the feeling of absolute fun in this print – it is perfect teamed with the vibrancy of the Australian lifestyle inspired colour palette of the Mezzie and Frank Chalk Effects paint. My other favourite would be ‘Gum Nut’ which is so rich and warm feeling – this print is gorgeous with the natural earthy colours of the L’ESSENTIEL Botanics Furniture Paint range.

If you could renovate any piece of furniture what would it be? 

I think I’ve almost revamped nearly every piece of furniture there is haha! I do admit to wishing I had more free time to paint. Opening 7 days a week means there is a limit to how much time I get to ‘play’ with painting for fun just at home in my studio as I once used to. Also, I don’t have time to travel out to clients homes any more to do custom work which means I haven’t had the opportunity to paint something like a kitchen or laundry for a couple of years. I have had a few workshop participants tackle their own kitchens which I have been so pleased and proud of their achievements but I’d love to have time to make over a kitchen myself again one day. The transformation from a sea of boring brown to something light, bright and clean is so amazing.

Is there anything exciting coming up for This Old House?

We always have LOTS of new and exciting things coming up! We are running our ‘BYO Furniture Painting’ workshops all year round as well as our ‘Decorative Finishes’ workshop series where we teach participants lots of tricks like decoupage using wrapping papers from Little Branch. We love having local artists and makers use the workshop space for lots of different activities. We currently have local makers running workshops on making Kokedama (Japanese moss ball plants) on 21st and 26th April, a Free Form Fibre Art workshop on 6th May , a Drop Spindle Workshop on 3rd June, kids workshops on 13th and 20th April, art workshops in September and basketry workshops also later in the year! So lots happening!

Discover more about This Old House online at www.thisoldhousestudio.com.au or by visiting in store at 81 Queen Street, Berry NSW 2535.

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Who is Alice?

We sat down with Alice, the star donkey of the Little Branch x Emma Blomfield collection over the weekend and asked a few questions. 
 
Born: A lady never reveals her age… alright, alright… I will be celebrating my 17th birthday this year. Which means that I would be 51 years old if I were a human. 
 
Parents: I was adopted at a young age and never got to know my birth parents, however I’m very happy with my adoptive family and don’t plan to track down my birth parents anytime soon. 
 
Owner: Interior stylist and author, Emma Blomfield. 
 
Residence: I live in a beautiful country property in the Lower Hunter Valley of New South Wales. 
 
Dream Vet: Dr Chris Brown (you know the Bondi Vet). Hee Haw!! The girls (Emma & Penny) and I watch him all the time. If he ever needs a nice Ass on the show, I’m all his! 
 
Favourite Flower: Purple Amaranth
 
Ideal cheeseboard selection for a Saturday afternoon: Washed rind brie, quince paste, freeze dried raspberries and pickles washed down with a Crisp Riesling.  
 
Summer or Winter: My winter coat is much more fetching than my shorter summer coat so I’d have to go with winter. It allows me to do more with my fringe too. 
 
Favourite piece from the Little Branch x Emma Blomfield collection: Seriously?! There’s no question my fabulous ears on the gift card is the best product in the range. I heard my ears will be an art print soon too!
 
Must have item: An iPhone 7, for taking selfies with my flower crowns. Der…
 
Last purchase: The Donkey Basket from Olli Ella – to house all the fabulous flowers I pick from the garden.
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Little Branch x Emma Blomfield Collection

The new Little Branch x Emma Blomfield collection of luxury stationery is inspired by the lifestyle of Interior Stylist, Emma Blomfield and the illustrations of her first interior design book, HOME. Each design is personal to Emma, giving a glimpse into her creative soul.

The beautiful collection features a range of cards, gift tags, wrapping paper, art prints and writing paper sets. The selection of watercolour designs are now available for you to shop online. Made from sustainable paper stock, each design is handcrafted, designed and made in Australia for you to enjoy.

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Celebrate International Women’s Day

As mothers, sisters, grandmothers and best friends, it’s important for women to support each other and celebrate what makes us special. So this International Women’s Day we would love to invite you to connect, inspire and share the love by hand writing a card to someone who has changed your life for the better. Take the time to tell a woman in your life what makes them special to you and join us in celebrate all the wonderful women making the world a better place.

International Women’s Day is on Wednesday, 8th March so make sure you order your Little Branch card to arrive in time. You can celebrate someone special in your life any day of the year, so maybe grab a few extra cards to spread some happiness to all your loved ones. Plus, the Little Branch collection is on sale until midnight on 1st March 2017.

SHOP THE COLLECTION NOW

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FIVE TIPS TO MASTER YOUR GIFT WRAPPING

Step One

Choose a hard surface, like a table top to wrap your gift. Wrapping on carpet will cause wrinkles and it’s a little bit more difficult.

Step Two

Choose a colour theme to ensure your wrapping paper, ribbon and card all compliment each other. If you’ve chosen a neutral wrapping paper then you could work with a more textured twine or metallic ribbon. If you’ve chosen a bright and vibrant wrapping paper, then you may choose to stick with a block colour ribbon and a simple card design.

Step Three

Cut the right size piece of paper. This sounds simple but even a pro can rush and cut the wrong size piece of paper. Centre your gift first and then check that it’s the right size before cutting. If you need an extra guide you can mark your cutting point with a pencil on the inside of the paper.

Step Four

When folding the ends of the wrapping paper on either side of the present, create creases at the corner seams to make folding them down easier. If you struggle with folding, try watching this easy tutorial – watch now.

Step Five

Now it’s the fun part! Wrap your twine or ribbon around the gift to measure it before cutting. Then tie the bow and voila! If you want to add a special touch, try heading into the garden and adding some fresh flowers or greenery that match your colour theme.

For more gift wrapping ideas follow Little Branch on Instagram.