Friday, September 17, 2010

To Trend...or Not To Trend...what is the answer?...Decorating to suit your own personal style, Rice Paper Rolls, Passionfruit Mojitos...Oh Yeahhhh!...Its Cocktail Friday Daaaaaaahlink....


This week has been all about Design Trends here at Charcoal.  The Design Team has been asked several times by journalists to give their 'take' on the new interior decorating trends for the coming Summer months.  And the answer to that question, is that 'we don't do trend' here at Charcoal Interiors.  As far as we are concerned, spending a fortune on a new dress that suits the season trend, but never to be worn again is disasterous enough, let alone decorating a room, or worse, whole home in the latest trend of the moment.  This can be a very costly exercise and doesnt really give much scope for change.  Like that dress worn once, but now discarded and purse that much emptier, following the trend can lead to disappointment.

In respect to Interior Design, choosing the right furniture, wall colour, artworks and accessories is all about balance.  Taking the time to choose quality, classic pieces and mixing them with lush textures and rustic tones will leave you with a timeless canvas of which you can then add your seasonal pieces, i.e floral soft furnishings in Spring/Summer and warm, delicious textures for the cooler months.  This way, you end up with an inspirational space in your home, that quite frankly you will never tire of.


Decorating for Individuality

When you are decorating your home, choosing décor that represents your personal sense of style is much more important than sticking with a singular decorating style throughout every room. Combining different styles of design can be one of the best ways to create a home environment that is uniquely yours.
Your home décor should reflect your personality and taste. Including both rustic and contemporary elements in your home can be the perfect way to reflect your appreciation for both modern and traditional design throughout your home. A perfect visual example of a rustic mix with contemporary is in the image above, supplied by our great friends, Unique Fabrics  We love how there is an individuality to the room with the art and collectibles, balanced with the timeless sofa.  The addition of colour for Summer is evident, yet not overpowering.  The transition from Summer to the cooler months is effortless.


6 X 18 cm rice paper sheets
2 tbs fresh coriander, chopped
250 g cooked chicken, shredded
1 carrot cut into matchsticks
40 g snow pea sprouts
½ green capsicum, thinly sliced
125 g vermicelli noodles, cooked according to instructions
1 tbs grated lemon rind
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs lemon juice 
In a bowl combine juice, sauces and ring with 1 tbs of water and set aside.
Place all ingredients separately on the bench.
Fill a bowl with warm water and dip one rice paper at a time into the warm water. Let soak for 30 sec or until soft and then place on the bench.
Place a small amount of each ingredient (except sauce) in the centre of paper. Fold one end over and roll up to enclose, leaving one end open.
Repeat to make 6 rolls and serve with dipping sauce


Getting into the Spring of it....with a Passionfruit Mojito


  • 2  parts Passion Fruit Mojito mix
  • 1  part white rum
  • Ice
  • Club soda
  • Mint sprigs
  • Lime slices

  1. Combine in a pitcher 2 parts Passion Fruit Mojito mix, 1 part white rum, and ice. Mix, then pour into ice-filled glasses. Top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lime slice. 
 Relax, put your feet up and most importantly....Enjoy!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Weekend!  Be sure to come and visit us over the weekend.  Our sale is drawing to a be quick for some great savings on quality furniture, rugs, lighting and accessories.
Until next week!....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sprucing up for Spring, Our Home Cover Story, Colettes Spring Tips for Freshing up a Room, Art in your Home...Its so Easy!..Dominique Portet, The Cherry Vixen....Plus! Savoury Pancakes with Super Salsa!...

Spring has well and truly sprung, and from what I can glean from the comments lately from our Interstate followers on Facebook, the pleasant warm change is not only just isolated to us Brisbanians!

We have had so many people coming into the showroom this week, who want to refresh an old tired looking room for Spring.  Our Senior Designer and co-director of Charcoal...Colette Venardos has been busy putting together some fabulous design ideas for her clients.  

One client has a room that just needs that little bit of something extra to really give it a bit of colour...Colette has found a gorgeous imported French Fabric to use for an upholstery project in this will add a nuance of interest and colour without being too overwhelming.  

Colette suggests the use of  a hint of colour and patterning in a room.  She says "You dont overwhelm with too much is brought in with subtleties rather than overpowering...I honestly feel that too many patterns congest a room.  Keeping things subtle guarantees a room its classic, timelessness".

On the weekend, Charcoal Interiors featured heavily in the Courier Mail Home section. In fact, we were the Cover Story, with a couple of our design projects showcased, and not to mention the cover of Home Magazine Liftout...not quite the Rolling Stones, but we were pretty chuffed.  You dont get chosen for these things unless the belief is there and we were thrilled and honoured to be chosen by the Courier Mail.

  In the article, Cathie was interviewed and asked for her expert opinion on Artworks and how they are able to add style and tone to a home.  The good news when it comes to collecting art for your home, is that there are no rules to be broken.   Cathie says " Home decorators are now digressing from the "this goes with that, goes with this" packaged look of design and thinking more of the idea of putting a traditional armchair with a modern clean-line sofa...and Cathie goes further "Its OK to infuse all of that with artwork and pieces that crate an eclectic fusion of styles.  It brings together that whole timeless feel and gives a home its soul".
 Charcoal Interiors Exclusive Project Featuring Dean Reilly Artwork
We have some amazing artworks in our showroom by Archibald Prize and Moran Prize finalist Dean sure to pop into the Valley this weekend for the Valley Fiesta, and come visit us too!
Our Sale is almost over...Do Not Miss Out on significant discounts available now.

Valley Fiesta...Fortitude Valley comes alive this weekend with amazing live performances, art, fashion, food and so much more.  For more information click on the link below and be sure to visit us while in the Valley Precinct...we are the heart and soul of art, fashion and style.

Part of the excitement of working in this gorgeous showroom space every day, is that you just dont know who is going to walk in through the doors.  

This week we were delighted to welcome Dominique Portet, Owner of Dominique Portet Winery in Victoria.  Such a delightful man, and we have promised to visit him next time we are in the Yarra Valley.  Being a bit of a wine buff, I am particularly looking forward to sampling his wine, that has been lauded by the likes of James Halliday. 

Anybody who walks into the showroom between the hours of 1pm and 3pm will find us at some point stuffing ourselves with the weeks new recipe.  We decided to try a Healthy Savoury Pancake Recipe with fresh Salsa Topping.  I made the Pancakes the night before, let them cool, wrapped them in alfoil and then refrigerated overnight.  I did the same with the salsa....preprepared it, except for the Avocado, which I cut up fresh and then served up immediately to keep that lovely colour to the avocado.  I also added a bit of fresh coriander as a garnish to keep the colour up and vibrancy and freshness to the dish.  It was a fantastic, easy recipe and perfect for Spring lunches, dinners or it would be great to bring along to a picnic.
Spinach and Feta Pancakes


  • 1 quantity Basic pancakes (see easy peasy Pancake recipe below)
  • 1/2 bunch English spinach, trimmed, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 100g Greek-style feta, crumbled 
Basic Pancake Recipe...makes 10
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Whisk all pancake ingredients together in a bowl until all the lumps are out and its nice and smooth.
  2. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush pan with butter. Using 1/4 cup mixture per pancake, cook 2 pancakes for 3 to 4 minutes or until bubbles appear on surface. Turn and cook for 3 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining mixture, brushing pan with butter between batches. Serve with the salsa dressing (see below) on top and add the Avocado last to keep it fresh, and a vibrant colour to the dish....enjoy!
Serve with: Diced Tomato, parsley, coriander, avocado and red onion salsa (just mix all these ingredients together in a bowl, adding a drizzle of lemon juice and balsamic..and a tiny sprinkle of raw sugar)
Add 2 to 3 tablespoons extra milk if batter is too thick, or has thickened on standing.
To 'freshen-up' day-old pancakes, microwave, covered with paper towel, on medium-high (70%) for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until heated through.

Welcome one and all to Friday Cocktail, we bring to you the very sexy and delicious...
CHERRY VIXEN....sigh...Oh, we do love Cocktail Friday so....For this one, you are going to need to set the mood with some Barry White and Candlelight.....Oohhhh Babeeeee....

Cherry Vixen

Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients: 2 ounces Frangelico
1/2 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce Kahlua
1 cherry or Hershey kiss

Directions: Combine Frangelico and grenadine in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until foamy. Strain into a chilled martini glass and top with Kahlua. Garnish with a cherry or kiss!...Mwaah!

As we pull down those big shopfront rollerdoors on yet another Friday, we say kick off your shoes, put your feet up and ponder another week in the battlezone of life survived.  Here's to family, friends and Friday!
Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!...Our Rice Bucket Floral Displays..Sale..Sale..Sale...Did someone mention a Sale?...Fathers Day with Johnny and Hugh...Dads BBQ Rub..Go on Spoil Him!..and 'Ol Deanos Scotch with a Twist...Happy Friday!!

Spring Has Sprung
Here in Brisbane, it feels like, just as Alice and her Looking Glass, we have stepped through winter and straight into Spring!  

There is a beautiful warmth in the air and people have come out of hibernation...the streets are busy with browsers,shoppers, families with prams, joggers, cyclists and more.  We just love this time of year.
We are just loving our Asian Rice Buckets.....

Our gorgeously large Rice Buckets are the perfect way to showcase your garden blooms.  Our rice buckets are all authentic and most still wear the original chinese markings.  All that is needed is some greenery from the garden, placed in a container filled with water, and you have a stunning display that is super easy to achieve at home.

Our Sale is Still Going Strong!...We need to make way for even more new arrivals after a lovely little shopping spree again this week...we love to shop for YOU xx

Helloooo Spring!
Spring brings with it 'sunshiney' days,  al-fresco dining, fresh flowers, crisp sun-dried white linen, fresh spring herbs like mint, coriander and dill, Sundays spent gardening, after a morning of coffee and the paper anywhere you can catch some sun.  For some its out on the deck, and others a favourite front door step.  

Either way, we all love Spring, and indulge in it our own way.  Over the coming weeks we are going to be sharing with you our favourite Spring tips on how to freshen up your home, wardrobe organisational secrets, colours and textures for the change of season, our great Gardenscape ideas...wait until you see our new French urns to die for...and just so much more.  Spring is here and we have some amazing ideas to share.

Fathers Day
Fathers Day is almost are you going to spoil Dad?  Speaking of Fathers Day...lets reflect for a moment on some of the famous Fathers of the World.....
Hugh Jackman...what an incredible Dad he must be....oh, and then heres another devoted father...

...Johnny Depp...of whom we admire from afar for his excellent parenting skills also... we are using the fact that its Fathers Day by unashamedly posting pictures of gorgeous men, who just happen to be Dads!!....its Friday...and it made us feel good anyway! :-)
Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads, and we hope you enjoy the super simple recipe below.

Fathers Day BBQ Ideas

We love our Dads don't we?  How are you going to make yours feel special this Sunday for Fathers Day?
The quintessential way to celebrate your Dad and all he does for you, is to cook up a storm on the BBQ this Sunday....whether it be for Brekky, Lunch or Dinner, just the smells emanating from the cook up will have him smiling like a Cheshire Cat!
Here's a super easy Fathers Day BBQ idea for you that's amazingly simple and super tasty. Spicy Barbecue Rub!

Jazz up your barbecued meat this Fathers Day with a spicy rub.
Blend a mixture of spices, such as ground cumin, coriander and paprika, then season with salt and pepper. Or, buy an already-blended season mix (try Cajun or Moroccan).
Sprinkle it over meat, such as chicken breasts, lamb cutlets or pork medallions, to be barbecued, and use your fingers to gently rub the spice mixture into the meat. Set aside for 15 minutes for the flavours to be infused. Preheat your barbecue well before char-grilling and brush the meat with oil before cooking as this will prevent the meat sticking (brushing the barbecue with oil can cause flare-ups).
For extra flavour, use rosemary stems as a food ‘brush’ and try a flavoured oil, such as garlic or basil.

Dads Cocktail Friday
We haven't forgotten the Dads this week, so please indulge yourselves in this very masculine of drinks...
Scotch on the Rocks...with a twist.

This one is just soooo easy.
Pour your Scotch over ice with a twist of lemon peel. Twist the lemon peel to release the zest (aromatic oils) and run the peel along the rim of the glass, then put it in the drink.  Tinkle that ice and swig away....playing a bit of the old Dean Martin in the background does help to get one in the mood too...'Everybody...loves Somebody..Sometimes....'

Happy Friday to everyone...we hope you have a wonderful weekend.  We are all off to the River Fire Festival on Saturday night and will take lots of piccies to show you next week...until then...