Friday, April 30, 2010

Sitting Under the Tuscan Sun...With an Italian Mojito!? Its Cocktail Friday!!

What woman wouldn't want to at some stage in her life, buy a villa in Tuscany and fill it with all things beautiful?

Due to a couple of minor health issues, we are working from home today.  Cath is staying with us for a few days (that makes 7...not including the dogs and the newly rescued bird...thats another story), and we have left Colette in charge of the showroom.
To help with the passing of time, we decided to pop on a dvd that we just never tire of.....'Under the Tuscan Sun'...Starring Diane Lane.  The stylish way that this particular old Tuscan Villa was renovated just screams..Charcoal Interiors!  From the rustic patina walls to the gorgeous iron beds...and that kitchen is simply to...die...for!  Oh the 'Putanesca' we could rustle up in that space...I would never....ever want to leave.  You simply escape into that movie.  Its the ultimate chick flick and we find that it gives so much inspiration, offering ideas on classic rustic Tuscan design and style.

 We also love how Frances (Diane Lane) eventually gets everything she asks for....just not exactly in the way that she had originally envisioned.  And thats the great thing about life isnt it?  One big exciting and unpredictable journey.

The Italians sure do seem to have it, passion, food, style.  But you can recreate your own piece of Italian style in your home by adding some inspired art pieces and rich textured fabrics. Keep it simply, stylish and uncluttered.

Bring a bit of Italy into your home. Plant out your own little Italian herb garden.  Its just so easy and you dont need a back yard.  Grab a decent sized rustic looking terracotta pot and get your hands dirty with some basil, parsley, rosemary, oregano and garlic.  These are such great herb staples for your Italian recipes.  Bring a bunch of your own home grown basil inside...pop it on the kitchen window sill and enjoy the freshness of herbs in your cooking and the wonderful aromas that they release!....'Bellissimo'!!

And what would Friday be, without the long awaited Cocktail Friday.  Keeping with the Italian theme, we have discovered 'the' most refreshing ever cocktail...The Italian Mojito!

Italian Mojito Ingredients: - 2 oz of white light rum - 2 oz Proseco - 1/2 oz fresh lime juice - 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp simple syrup
- 1 sprig fresh mint In a high ball glass place mint leaves, brown sugar, simple syrup and fresh lime juice and muddle. Add ice cubes, pour light rum and top with Italian sparkling wine. Stir directly in the glass. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and fresh lime wheel.

Sooooo refreshing.  So delicious.  We are going to sip this one whilst sitting out on the back deck tonight.  Its so balmy here tonight in Brisbane Australia.  Dont forget to send us your Cocktail Friday pics! We will definitely publish them.

And so, another Friday has come and gone.  We give thanks for the Cocktail experience and wish everyone a terrific weekend (its a long one here in Brisbane...thank you May Day holiday...what is that all about anyway?...)
Ciao Bellas!...Cathie...Colette and Jen.  The Charcoal Girls....xxxx

Italian Mojito
- 2 oz of white light rum
- 2 oz Proseco
- 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp simple syrup
- 1 sprig fresh mint

In a high ball glass place mint leaves, brown sugar, simple syrup and fresh lime juice and muddle. Add ice cubes, pour light rum and top with Italian sparkling wine. Stir directly in the glass. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and fresh lime wheel.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Our beautiful, forever eclectic showroom. All 700m2 of it!!

We are so proud of our beautiful showroom.  There is nothing quite like it in all of Australia!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Coco Chanel...The Woman...The Cocktail! Its Friday Folks...

Courtesy Wiki commons


Maybe it's because she was such a tough cookie. Or that she managed to look as chic in 1970 as she did in 1910. Or that she rose from the humblest peasant domicile to the poshest Parisian salon. Not to mention that, with her brass-buttoned suits, jaunty costume jewellery, and comfortable spectator pumps, she almost single-handedly invented modern dressing. Whatever the reason, for years Cath has been unreasonably fascinated by Chanel and with her Paris, the city of her dreams, the place where she vanquished the ghosts of her impoverished girlhood and scaled the heights of artistic triumph.

Photo via Wiki Commons


Although it is a myth that she invented the little black dress, Chanel was undeniably influential in popularizing it.

Chanel has said: "Women think about all colors except the absence of color. I have already said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute."


Adding another dimension to what is already known about style
icon Coco Chanel, her three rooms on the rue Cambon in Paris,
where she lived from 1954 until her death in 1971, are timeless,
bold, and surprisingly complex given her noted penchant for

Courtesy Kimintn - Flickr
 "Fashion fades....only style remains"....Coco Chanel

Courtesy Flickr - Kimintn

Her rooms were conceived by her, ” down to the tiniest
details…There in one place were all her passions, the screens,
mirrors, gilt wood, and chandeliers”.

Courtesy Flickr - Kimintn


 Chanels new fragrance Madamoisele - photograph via Wiki commons

“In 1921 Chanel’s signature fragrance
came out. It was called Chanel No.5, because it was the fifth sample product she created. Marilyn Monroe commented it was her favorite, and still today a bottle of Chanel No. 5 is sold every 30 seconds.”         

 And of course in the tradition of style and timeless classics...we present to you...Cocktail Friday!  This week featuring the 'Coco Chanel Cocktail'....YES...there IS such a thing...and we are grateful for it.

Ok fellow cocktail lovers....and of course it is the whole experience that we are trying to encompass here, so make sure that you sip this one with your faux chanel tweed jacket on, and obligatory large black sunglasses please!...dont let the side down now....  This one is as simple as 1..2....3!  Enjoy and Happy Friday to all. We are off to dinner tonight for Jens daughters 18th birthday....will post the pics next week for all to see.  We are getting glammed up and gorgeous!

'The Coco Chanel'

1 oz cream
1 oz Kahlua
1 oz Gin

Shake with cracked ice and serve in a chilled cocktail glass....enjoy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cocktail Friday!..Margaritas, Cathies Apartment and Dali....

My fiancee (Pete) has some facial growth at the moment, that quite frankly Dali would be envious of.  Pete is Greek, and in his own words, admits that his hair grows like grass...filmed on one of those time lapse cameras!  He can be completely clean-shaven, and then wake up the next morning sporting a goatee, complete with beading a'la Jack Sparrow!  
Anyway, this brings me back to Salvador Dali.  Did you know that the man only slept one hour  a day?  He slept sitting upright in a chair, holding a spoon with a strategically placed saucepan underneath the line of the spoon.  When he finally fell deeply asleep, the spoon would release from his now relaxed grip, and hit the pan...waking him up.  The man floated somewhere between genuis and madness.  My all time favourite Dali quote is: "The problem with the youth of today' is that one is no longer part of it".  Salvador Dali was a true, uniquely magnificent artist in every sense of he word.  We love the fact that he expressed himself in his own special and independent way...a bit like us at Charcoal Interiors.  We pride ourselves on stepping out of that square, and creating sumptuous, eclectic spaces.

Anyway...back to the subject of is one of his most famous works...aptly titled...'sleep'.  Of which, he was not much of an expert on really :-)
In the coming weeks, we have a real treat for everyone.  Cathie, our Head Designer and all-round spunk-a-licious fashionista around town (I know this will embarass her when she reads this...but hey..its just part of my job description..) will be starting the refurbishments of her brand new 'digs' at Hamilton.  The first step to the project is the beautiful 'sun room' with views to the Brisbane River.  Stay tuned for next weeks entry.  You are sure to see a major transformation in the coming weeks.  All completely achievable by us 'mere mortals' with just a bit of guidance from the experienced design team here at Charcoal.

Sshhhhhh....its a secret...we have 2 completely gorgeous French Reclaimed Oak Dining Tables on special.  One in the round style and the other in the rectangle.  We are able to let these go at a discounted price for a limited time only.  Contact either Jen, Cathie or Colette for all the details and payment options.

Cocktail Friday....Woo...Hoo...we are going up the coast...Bring on the Margaritas!
Everyone knows the Margarita, that refreshing drink that can be made in so many ways, take on many personalities and the must have summer cocktail. The Margarita is one of the most popular cocktails and shows no sign of slowing 'tis...enjoy!  Treat yourself to one tonight and think of me and Pete sipping ours at the Cotton Tree Boat Shed tonight overlooking the water.....aaaaaahhhhh..smell that sea air.....Cheers to you all from us...the Charcoal Girls...Colette, Cathie and Jen!...til next week xxx


  • 1 1/2 oz tequila
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • dash of lemon or lime juice
  • 3 oz sour mix
  • lime wedge for garnish
  • salt or sugar to rim the glass (optional)


  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake well.
  3. If desired, salt the rim of a chilled margarita glass.
  4. Pour contents, with ice, into the glass.
  5. Garnish with the lime wedge.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday...Its Here! Cocktails and our super busy Friday with lots of pics.

Well, its been a fun Friday folks! fact...a Friday with all the other days of the week rolled into it!  
 Cathie and Martin
Thanks to Martin at the Flower Trap for his absolutely gorgeous floral arrangements in our beautiful Rinaldi urns which packed quite a presence on the main stage at the Brisbane Powerhouse.  We popped in for a sneak peak today, and were gobsmacked at his work.    He truly is just so talented, and cheers to a successful 11th Queer Film Festival.
Centre Stage at the Powerhouse

Girls can do everything!  We had a very heavy French Provincial table made from original French barge planks and an iron base sourced from a French Cafe dated back nearly 100 years to crane out today.  It was quite heavy, but as usual the girl power banded together as a force to be reckoned with and voila! they say...table assembled and sold to a particularly lovely lady who is going to position it in her courtyard where we are sure it will look amazing.
 Girl Power! Craning out our gorgeous Parisian Cafe Antique Table

And being complete gluttons for punishment, we then went on to the next 'SuperGirl Power Challenge' craning in a masive pair of iron feature doors, fit for a palace.  We actually stopped the traffic on Doggett Street with this operation.  But with Cathie in her heels and forever gorgeous, there were absolutely no complaints from commuters. 
    Top Truckie and Crane Operator Guy Pete Prepares the Doors for Lifting by Crane
Jen moves the doors into position....Skill!
And finally a place in their new home at Charcoal Interiors.....and now for a drink...its all very thirsty work you know!

Cocktail Friday
 The Low-Cal...but sooooo 'out there'...Pink Flamingo!

Hands up who has been naughty over the Easter break with too many chocolates and not enough exercise??....I know my hand is up, and counting by all the others we seem to have a problem here of mammoth proportions, so this called for an emergency meeting in respect to the Cocktail Friday dilemma.  So, we decided today on the 'Pink Flamingo' in keeping with the Queer Film Festival theme...and it also fits in with the Low Calorie requirements necessary for at least the next few days.
Here 'tis!!....enjoy!


  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 oz cranberry juice
  • orange peel for garnish


  1. Shake all the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with an orange peel.
Optionally, use citron vodka in place of unflavored vodka for a fruitier taste.
Have a GREAT weekend with love from the Charcoal Girls...Colette, Cathie and Jen xxx