Saturday, July 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Florence!

We are nothing if not die-hard fans of Florence Broadhurst. 113 years ago today, Florence Maude Broadhurst arrived on the planet to blow our little minds and continues to do so long after her passing.

To honour our favourite designer on her birthday, we've restored this 1950's Parker Knoll with Florence's 'Japanese Floral' design, produced exclusively by Signature Prints and now adorning handbags, shoes, dresses, jewellery and a bus (!), courtesy of New York fashion designer Kate Spade.

The 'Japanese Floral' fabric is from the Signature Prints 'Home' Collection, fabric is 100% cotton 'Tan Union', colour: 'Bley'. We've combined Florence's design with a 100% Australian wool eco-felt in red.

Flourish and Blume just love going with the Flo.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Retro Vision

Last year, late one night, we heard some very loud crashing and banging on our front stairs that sounded a tad ominous. We sat shaking in our Ugg boots and then the loud knocking came. It was Max, our heavily pregnant friend who never sits still, who had just lugged a chair she'd found down an alleyway (ask no questions) and hauled it up our front stairs and over the gate. The girl could do chin-ups over door frames with a full grown baby in her belly, I kid you not.

The next day in the daylight, to our delight, we beheld a Fler SC55, designed by Fred Lowen in 1955 and produced up until 1959. An example of this chair now lives in the permanent collection of the Sydney Powerhouse Museum. The chair is manufactured with Queensland maple and a metal frame which supports the floating arms and spring base for the cushions.

We took our inspiration from the autumn leaves of our backyard maple trees and the ever present grey skies that can bugger off now thank you.

The frame beautifully sanded to a superfine finish...
And the Grand Finale... ta da!!

This piece of Australian design history could be yours for $1200. For enquiries contact us or visit our store on Down That Little Lane.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Mardi Gras!

Up here in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, we have the largest LGBT community in any regional area of Australia. Tropical Fruits is a Lismore based LGBT social group that has been running for (almost) 25 years and this year they're off to Sydney Mardi Gras to join in the parade. To honour our beautiful community and wish you all a Happy Mardi Gras, we've done what we do best... chairs!

Here's the Tropical Fruits Pride march through Lismore CBD. That's our gorgeous Alesha Nicole up top and our beautiful friend and Bundjalung Queen, Destiny Haz Arrived on the bonnet of the car (she's is leading the Mardi Gras Parade again this year with the First Australians Float).

 A remedy for bland old mouldy vinyl chairs x 6, hmmm, no problem darling!

They're 'Elite' dining chairs, solid teak, fully sanded and Danish oiled, new foam and re-upholstered in Sustainable Living Fabrics 'eco-wool' (100% wool). $1800.


Friday, February 17, 2012

The Rod Stewart (the old Scottish Rocker)

Seeing as this chair is currently featured in Home Beautiful magazine's 'Design Profile' (thank you Home Beautiful and the lovely Bronwyn McNulty who was good enough to tell me to adjust my skirt for the profile picture!) we thought we better tell you its make-over story.

Remember back here when we pulled two chairs out of a skip? Well this was one of them, the other one had special undergarments attached, this one had cockroach eggs and hellish dirt.

The curse of polyurethane varnish had to be dealt with - paint stripper - we use Citristrip which is biodegradable and non-toxic, but it's a hell of a job.

Sanding complete and layers of Danish Oil applied. We kept the original Don Rex label and reapplied it to the new base cover.

With the left over wool from the recycled kilt, we piped and buttoned and then styled with our own thistle cushion which was bought by Fiona for her 96 year old mum who spotted it in the magazine.

Why the Scottish theme you ask? Well, my clan motto is 'we will Flourish again' hence Flourish and Blume. Needless to say, my poor ancestors were pretty well hammered by the invading forces from the south and their landowning puppets. And it irks me to see all these Union Jacks all over the place as 'British Imperial' style becomes everyones favourite as if it was a period in history we should be celebrating. Not that I'm saying an English man or woman shouldn't proudly wave their flag but I find it strange and a tad obscene that Australians are sporting the Union Jack all over their furniture and homewares at the moment especially considering the British Imperial era of this country. The flag cushion being the most popular, we've taken a stand and printed the Saltire cushion and here it sits proudly on the Rod Stewart.

This is the first and only Don Rex rocking chair we've ever come across. It's constructed with beautiful Queensland maple. SOLD!

An Interview with an Interiors Addict

The extremely prolific blogger Jen Bishop of Interiors Addict did an interview with us the other day...

You can read it HERE

Jen has also been a very diligent reporter on the Herman Miller vs. Matt Blatt court case and the design reproductions debate. She has great interviews from both sides of the debate and I highly recommend and make sure you read the comments - brutal!
And a passionate advocate of original designs and intellectual property rights of designers.

No prizes for guessing whose side we're on!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"the best seat in the house"

Photo by Bec Duff @

Bec Duff from Kambamboo approached us about upholstering a chair in her hand screen-printed upholstery fabric. We had 'the best seat in the house' for her and combined her teal coloured 'Whale Tail' design with an acid yellow eco-wool felt from Instyle fabrics.

We picked up this little beauty, a 1960's Wrightbilt Australian 'T.V. chair' from our favourite (secret) seaside town, it was covered in a floral tapestry which we valued so much, we left the seat cushion on the roof as we drove off. I thought that all the headlight flashes were warning me of imminent danger - snake on the road, police, etc but no, we realised an hour later down the road...

It's first portrait after first stage wood and upholstery stripping (above). That's the original footstool which we modified to suit the chair.

And a very special introduction to my siren...

I know this is an 'ad-free blog' but adverts from the 60's seem a whole lot less offensive than their contemporary counterparts, and you'll love this and have the added bonus of a catchy tune in your head for the rest of your fun-filled day. It's featuring this very chair..


Here she is posing for her portrait before she left home.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


One of the best things about living in a small country town is the great stuff you can find for bargain basement prices. But don't be thinking you can all move to downtown Lismore with us as we also have the threat of floods (presently imminent), the off-the-scale unemployment, the junkies, the shortage of housing, homelessness and there's only room for a couple of bargain hunters.. have I put you off yet?!
We do love our town though (honest) and every second sunday there's a car boot market in the carpark of the hideous monument to capitalism - the Lismore Square shopping centre (upstairs - the two corporate giant supermarkets and every franchise of 'Made in China' you can think of while downstairs there's locally grown, chemical-free produce and all things wonderfully old and collectable) and that's where our friend Ali found us a couple of Parker Knoll 'fireside' chairs both with their stamped and dated labels (1954).
Katie's enthusiasm for stripping them back as soon as something special comes in the gate means that I don't always manage to get the 'before' photo.

The wood wasn't in a great state but we'd seen worse and the fabric was a nasty 70's refurb of synthetic bird-poo yellow stripes. Parker Knoll were the first to develop the coiled spring (tension and suspension) seating system, the company still produces furniture including re-issues of heritage styles like their famous wingback chairs. Here's a couple of process shots..

The wood glows once more.

The original labels reattached after the upholstered backs are completed. We've used charcoal eco-wool from Sustainable Living Fabrics and yellow felt ("Sense extra") from Instyle fabrics also 100% eco-wool.
The finished babies..

Currently in residence at Evoke in Lismore and priced at $950 each. Don't hesitate to contact us for more information.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Don a Frock and Smash a Machine

Flourish and Blume have been venturing into the hardcore DIY scene, yep, we're screen-printing. We've become regular Luddites - you know those funny fellas from the early 1800's, the original hardcore DIYers who wore frocks and smashed the new (at the time) textile looms that did away with the necessity for their skilled labour? Well I tried to write a whole postgrad thesis on this shit, how the relatively recent romance with 'Handmade' had all those associations with socialist ideology from way back - the rights of workers to meaningful labour, the production of local economies and the survival of craft skills in the face of all consuming technology... Am I boring you? Well imagine the horror of trying to fill in the blanks with another 40 000 words? Hence, no letters after my name.

It does sound Utopian though doesn't it - all that handmade labour, and we've had such a great time making this Home Decor and you know you need another cushion for Christmas!

The flying duck design is based on Katie's Nanna's ducks on our wall (chipped wing and head glued on). It's my own drawing and the best thing about technology is that you only need one drawing then you just shrink it down twice on the photocopier and voila, you have three differently scaled, perfectly replicated flying ducks (no machine smashing today). The design was originally called 'Quick Before They Shoot' but then when I stuffed them with 100% duck feather inserts, I realised the implications of the poor wee things not having made it and wondered what kind of sick mind came up with that. The design is now called 'Pillow Stuffers'.


The pig's head design is called 'Who's Your Dirty Pigman' which goes out to all those women who have to live with one.

Anne Leon has been incredible with her expert tutelage and assistance and we've had so much fun working at her fabulous studio in Byron Bay. Thank you Anne!

Colour-ways are as follows: white ducks or charcoal ducks on natural linen (100% european linens all from Thea and Sami); white or charcoal on sage green linen; charcoal pigman on natural or dusky pink linen. Measurements are 60 x 40cm (give or take a couple of cms) for ducks and 40 x 40cm (same) for pigs. Visit our shop at Down That Little Lane.

Next post we're back to chairs (a cushion or two thrown in perhaps).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Clunky to Funky

I'm starting with the finished item this time so that if you're inclined to share this on Facebook, you aren't posting an ugly thumbnail of a dead chair... always thinking of your reputation and style kudos.
Yes, it has been a while hasn't it? Well just think of all the amazing things we have to catch up on!

I wasn't totally sold on these Parker Dining chairs, there's a couple of Parker Dining chair styles that I just can't stand but Katie insisted I put my visualisation cap on and see 'the potential'! The potential could easily outdo the purposefully pilling, special-shades-of-green fabric that was covering them.

Absolutely stunning sanded teak.

The backs are finished in 100% Natural European Linen from Thea and Sami and the buttons and seats (super-comfy, webbed) are in 100% eco-wool from Sustainable Living Fabrics, it's our favourite 'Poppy' again! SOLD!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DIY your mouldy old chairs

Now here's a project any of you keen DIYers could take on. TV chairs are possibly the easiest of 'retro' chairs to come by, we've found them on the side of the road, in dumpsters, charity shops, donations on our front verandah and on ebay. All that's needed is your elbows  - sleeves pulled up and grease applied (and your expert sewing skills of course). TV chairs are distinguished by their metal frames and shaped foam backs and (usually) beautiful wooden arms. These two belong to Thea and Sami and were looking very sad..

See that mould, well sand paper is its number one enemy and if you start with a 120 grade (80 is too rough and leaves scratches that take longer to sand out) and work your way up to 600 grade, you'll have wooden arms that sing to you when you obsessively and proudly stroke their smooth finish. Most of these chairs from the 60's and 70's have beautiful wood under their tacky varnish (if the varnish is thick, you may have to paintstrip it first), most are teak, Queensland maple or, as in these, Tasmanian blackwood. Finish it off with a couple of coats of Danish Oil. Try to get one with its cushion covers and base cover in tact then you can make a pattern from the pieces.

We've used Thea and Sami's 'Dotty About Roses' and 'Hydrangea' as the main fabric and 'French Stripe' for the borders and feather-filled lumber pads. It's a deep red printed on a beautiful natural linen. That's my restored Chiswell dining table that is now my conveniently extendable cutting table. Just sew, sew, sew...

The moulded foam backs are still available from most foam supply stores and fit perfectly and give lumber support and neck support for when you doze off in front of the telly.
Thea's taken some lovely photos of these and you can see them on her blog here.

Go on, give it a go!