Friday, November 30, 2012



Honolulu International Airport Design, Vladimir Ossipoff, Hawaiian Design, Interior Decorator Fortitude Valley CBD Luxury Design Brisbane
The very grand Honolulu Airport

Although I did not recognise Vladimir Ossipoffs name, I have unknowingly admired his work at Honolulu International Airport.  Funny because Pete the Greek mentioned that the terminal had not changed for years and years (he’s been to Hawaii a bit over the years). ...I was too busy marvelling a the open air corridors between terminals that allowed me,  the traveller to experience Hawaii’s temperate breezes either whilst waiting for a flight...which was problem..sitting with the breeze on my face, or immediately upon disembarkation (and what an introduction to this marvellous island of Oahu).  The Architecture is quite though provoking really, as there are no walls between terminals.  Overhanging roof lines which extend way over the average combined with the use of local materials and very careful and thoughtful regard to the environment for brilliant effect, which is as I have since found out is to be Ossipoffs trademark.

Vladimir Ossipoff

Born in 1907, and raised in Japan, educated in California Ossipoff completed over 1,000 buildings, all in the Hawaiian Islands.  Lauded as one of the most influential architects of the 20th Century, Ossipoff’s strikingly beautiful structures can be found throughout Honolulu and the outer islands.  He combined elegance with functional simplicity, free flowing floorplans, courtyards, comfortable shady verandas and exposed beam ceilings being his trademarks.

Pete the Greek driving on route to Waimea Bay

We hired a car to explore the island and in particular I wanted to see if we would be fortunate enough to spy one of his creations on the coastal drive.  We left Waikiki and decided to follow the coastal roads as opposed to the highway, taking in the beauty of the Oahu coast.  High up on the hill overlooking Diamond Head and Honolulu is the Heritage Listed residence Lijestrand.  Owned by Bob Lijestrand and built by Ossipoff for Bob’s parents on a lot high above the city with spectacular views of Downtown and Diamond Head. 

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Credit with thanks for photos via Liljestrand House website.

Ossipoff was responsible for every aspect of its design and construction, including all of the furniture.  Even the rugs are original and were provided by the architect.  The residence is a true time capsule and listed on the national Register of Historic Places.  As we were heading along the coastal road, and with no extra time permitting, we didn’t get the chance to book a tour of the home, however this experience is now going on the ‘Bucket List’ of must see and do’s.

Thank you to the Liljestrand House Website and proprietors for providing us all with such fabulous information, and you can find more on the website.



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The super sleuths of finding amazing pieces are Colette and Cathie.  Whenever I go away, half the fun is being on a holiday and the other half of the fun is knowing I will be coming back to work and not really knowing what to expect in regards to their latest 'finds'.  This week they have truly excelled with possibly a couple of the most unique old Antique Workbenches I have ever seen.
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These benches are circa 1900s and have all the original vices and quirky hand forged attachments.  One even has the original hand made drawers with little compartments.  
Rustic and handsome, carefully restored without detracting from their original beauty these benches would make the absolute perfect gift for the man who has everything and wishes to reminisce on a by-gone world when his Grandfather taught him perfectly suiting a high end mens boutique space as a shop counter.  I could go on and on and know that your creative minds will take over with ideas, but for now, they are available on the showroom floor and of course being 'one-off' pieces will not last!

Speaking of benches, we also have this absolute beauty that came into the showroom this week and promptly sold (gotta love that)...however, the good news is that we can stock more into the showroom on request. 

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 Rustic, solid and super versatile this console has extensions at the sides and back, so it would suit an entrance, kitchen or even work as a small dining table.  We think this console would also work well in a boutique.  Once again, your creative minds can go crazy with the options.  We love the zinc top.  
All enquiries for this console/bench and Antique Workbenches can be directed to us here at Charcoal Interiors.
Ph 07 38526002



Today marks the final day of Movember and we say 'seeya later' to those hairy mo's that some of us women have had to endure the annoyance of over the past month.  Pete the Greek had a full beard and moustache overnight it seems!  He also got some silicone stuck on his top lip and moustache this week while doing some very handy things around the house.  He walked around oblivious to its existence for hours, unknowingly allowing the paste to set into a rock like blob.  So, after chiselling away at it without success, he went for the scissors and now has a very wonky looking mo.  

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Heres a pic of the Mobros of 85 Team.  
The total as it stands at this moment is $1373 raised by the team for Prostate Cancer research and Mens Health issues!
Its not too late to donate!
Click the link below and any donation of $2 or more is tax deductible.
We look forward to bringing you photos of the boys 'Shave Off' this Saturday.
Thanks so much to everyone who has supported and donated.





We are now on Instagram!  All you need to do is click on the follow button below....Voila!..and be instantly connected through to us for daily updates and all photos!



Over the weeks leading up to Christmas we are going to be sharing with you our top fave Finger Food recipes, keeping in with the seasonal produce theme, so it will be fresh, fun, colourful and most importantly super dooooper easy.

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Due to the over supply of fresh Basil in the herb garden at the moment, heres a fantastic Sweet Basil Pesto Tapenade recipe that just requires blending!

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photo credit to prideandvegudice via flickr with thanks


What you need....
3 cups fresh basil leaves
150g walnut pieces 
2 - 4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp grated fresh lemon zest
1 and a 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
Black Pepper

What to do....
Set aside about 25g of the walnut pieces.  Chop the basil, garlic and most of the walnuts in the food processor until chunky, stopping often to scrape the sides.  Add oils, maple syrup and the lemon zest and process until thick and creamy.  Stir in reserved walnut pieces.  Season with salt and pepper. Can be stored in a glass jar with a thin layer of olive oil on top until ready to serve.  

Pita Chips.
Once again you cant get much easier than this.  You just need a packet of Pita Bread....slice into triangles (I use a pizza cutter) then spray with olive oil, dust with rock salt and parmesan and then place on baking tray and cook in the oven until they are crispy and crunchy.

This is great party fare....more to come next week.



You know you're not in Kansas any more when Margaritas for breakfast are frowned up....sooo not fair and have hit reality and arrival back to Brisbane with a thud! 

The beauty of holidays is that you can throw the diet to the what you like, drink what you like, and at whatever time the mood takes you.  Lunch at 4.30pm with those big waffle fries?...sure!....cake at 10.30pm?...of course!....Margaritas with your ham and eggs Miss?? problem!  I found the perfect Margarita at The Shorebird restaurant and bar at Waikiki.  (see pictured).  The good side to this discovery is finally I had found Waikiki gold!...but the negative was that I then, due to being on holiday, considered it quite normal behaviour to have one for breakfast, lunch and a couple at dinner too!  Twas marvellous.  The staff there were just lovely too.  I think showing open appreciation of Margarita perfection every time they delivered one to my table helps with all-round employee mood.

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Here's the recipe to the Ultimate Lime Margarita...take it from me...I'm an expert ;-)

Serves 4

What you need.....

1 cup Tequila
3/4 Cup orange liqueur, such as triple sec
1 cup fresh lime juice....mmmmmm.....limmmeee......
1 tbsp sugar

What to do...

Combine first 4 ingredients into a 4 cup measuring cup
For blended margaritas fill blender halfway with ice cubes.
Add half of margarita mixture
Blend until mix is thick and icy.
Divide between two glasses
Repeat with more ice cubes and remaining margarita mixture.

For Margaritas on the rocks (my personal fave)
Divide margarita mix among glasses and serve

For both recipes: before pouring the mix in glasses, coat the rims with salt....

Party Tip - Mix can be made up to 8 hours ahead and prior to being blended with ice...just cover, refrigerate and use when youre ready to parrrtayyyyy!




Until next week.  Enjoy your Margaritas and the Party Season. 
Love, light and laughter....The Charcoal Team

Pete Venardos Jenny Venardos

Thursday, November 15, 2012



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The Newport Round Table in Weathered Oak

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French Farmhouse Style Table...Great dimensions for smaller spaces and in beautiful reclaimed timbers.

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The Aztec Drum Stool...perfect to perch yourself on, or a book, glass of wine or both!

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The Jolon seat in marvellous Natural Hemp

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The Atlas Pendant Light in large.

Want to see more?  Pop into the showroom - Charcoal Interiors. 59 Doggett St. Newstead.

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If I had a $1 for every customer who rang or emailed us about a product they had seen a week or a month prior...loved it...left it....and then wanted to buy it and it had sold!!...........

And so, here's a real bargain for those who love casual living...LAST ONE! make excellent yoga chairs too for those who have trouble sitting cross-legged (like myself)...very comfortable.

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Pod Chair in the Natural with Brian our Chief Salesperson.

Exclusively to our Charcoal Interiors Blog and Facebook readers, we now have our Natural Rattan Pod Chair ex floor stock reduced down by 40%....the price is too ridiculous to publish here on the blog, so contact us 
07 38526002 or you can send us a message via the blog.  Alternatively, pop by the showroom as we have just so much gorgeous stock available.

Charcoal Interiors
59 Doggett Street
Newstead.  Qld   4006


....NEW AND LUXE....

Our latest 'must have' and 'must sit in'....this Cross Arm Chair is Art Deco meets Hamptons in luxurious French Crushed Black Velvet...and fully customised by the design team at Charcoal Interiors...of course...

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....aaahh Brian..I had to show this pic because he once again insisted on being in the shot!

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Art Deco meets Hamptons...and hows the plush French Velvet?...wait until you sit on it.

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Available now and exclusively for sale....p.s dont forget that 'Snooze You Lose' rule! :-)



Last weekend I attended the wedding of the year down in South Australia (my darling cuz Kristen married her prince charming Al)...and of course a visit to SA just wouldnt be complete without a trip to the McLaren Vale region.  Time was of the essence and with only an hour or so to kill, Pete the Greek and I were left in a quandry because we wanted to relax, have a glass of red and eat!...what to do..what to do?...and then we remembered a gem of a place we had discovered a while back that would tick all of our boxes...Oscars of McLaren Vale.

Oscars is in the main street of McLaren Vale and caters to groups big and small or your romantic lunch/dinner etc....we always sit under the vine canopy outside (weather permitting).  Mediterranean fare is the mainstay of Oscars and they do it will.  Our pizzas were full to the brim with fresh ingredients and being in the heart of superb wineland country, the wine list is well stocked and covers all bases.  We went for a local Shiraz that complimented the Greeks Spicy Meat Pizza and my Marguerita pizza.

Oscars on Urbanspoon

Service was prompt and friendly.  On arrival we were the first in the courtyard but it quickly filled with groups and everyone seemed to be enjoying their experience there too.  We have dined here now 3 times and will be back due to the convenience, quality food and you know that you can always get a decent glass of wine.  Recommended for larger groups and for those who need to be fed and watered in a hurry.  Relax in the courtyard during the warmer months, or retreat to the fireplace inside in Winter....nice....

Like to visit Oscars and the McLaren Vale region?



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Breakfast at The Gun Shop....Our Large Leaf Basil is plentiful...Jacarandas are in bloom in Brisbane....Sweet Coffee in and old home in Clarendon....



I have recently discovered the beauty of marinating chicken for barbecuing...and a secret ingredient which is Pineapple Juice.  The juice gives it a real 'zing' but also helps with tenderising the chicken as pineapple has enzymes that assist with the process (and thats about as technical as I get...).  But, do try this recipe as its been lauded as one of the best ever by barbecuers around the world!

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Photo credit to josh bousel via flickr with thanks

Marinating chicken not only gives additional interesting flavours but also helps the chicken keep moist while its on the grill.  We like to add a pot of natural yoghurt to the table and some freshly cut lemon wedges to squeeze over the cooked chicken too.....yum!

What you need.....
1 medium onion finely chopped
1/2 cup spring onion flinely chopped
1 hot pepper finely chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oil - we like to use Bon Haye quality Olive Oil
1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leeaves
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice ground
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
a dash of hot sauce.....Yowza!

What to do....
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  This marinade can be stored in the fridge for up to a month!
Add a few tablespoons of Pineapple Juice to the mix (optional)

We like to use this marinade for drumsticks, satays and also chicken breast pieces.  Can also be used on a whole chicken (we get ours butterflied) and I like to baste regularly during the barbecuing process.


highrocketphoto via flickr credit with thanks


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Photo credit to TheDeliciousLife via flickr with thanks

What better way to compliment a deliciously spicy barbecue feast than with a cocktail with a kick...but also refreshing!?
We bring to you this week...The Jalapeno Margarita.
A combo of delicious fresh ingredients...including the hero of the concoction which is our dear friend the Lime...
This recipe is cocktail making on a grand scale!
Muchas Gracias!

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How to....
Make a BIG batch of margaritas with a twist!
Blend 1 thin slice of jalapeno, a handful of celery leaves, 6 ounces of fresh lime juice and a spoonful of sugar in a blender.  Mix with 16 ounces of Tequila and 8 ounces of orange liqueur.  Pop it in a large jug.
Serve up on the rocks in a salt-rimmed glass.
To be sipped with chicken drumstick in one hand and cocktail in the other....under the shade of your Sombrero...Areeeeebahhh....Reeebahhhh!!



Until next week....we hope that the week ahead brings you love, light and most of all laughter!

The Charcoal Team

Pete Venardos Jenny Venardos

Wednesday, November 7, 2012



And just when you think that you have seen it all, some very clever person comes up with a new Tie Back design for curtains and drapery.

These gorgeous Tie Backs are not only beautiful to look at, but also take the fuss out of installation, with magnetic catches that just lock together.  No more messy tie back hooks on walls!

Here, we have the marvelous Colette Venardos, Head Designer here at Charcoal Interiors doing a demo for your viewing pleasure....

Love it?...Want it?....just contact us for more details.

And for more Trimming inspiration...sleek, contemporary and sophisticated...

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Ornate, inspired by archival designs, these very lavish trimmings feature exquisite detailing.

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Be sure to contact us for more information on this extensive range.

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This fabulously stylish chair reminiscent of the Art Deco style was customized for our client, including the standard lamp and shade in a textured velvet in a Chinchilla.

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Beautiful embroidered silk cushion.

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Brian taking full credit for all the girls hard work....ahhhh get outta the shot boy :-)

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The feature chair will be taking pride of place in the lounge/living area.
Chair is in stunning European Velvet with Silk Embroidered Cushions.
We have most definitely delivered the 'Wow' factor to our client and she is thrilled!

Catering to your design want is what we do best....see it and you can have it!

Contact us today for all the details.


Last Saturday, 4 of the 6 Mobros team members got together for a catch up, spot of fund raising strategising and oh, what the heck a beer or two!

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Your author has a very personal reason for promoting Prostate Cancer because as fate would have it, all my Uncles, Father and Brother have been its probably safe to say we have a genetic disposition to this cancer in our family.  It can strike later in life, or as with my brother early on.  So, its very important for you fellas to get tested.  One in 9 men will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.  

MoBros of 85 Movember Fundraising Link

Donations of $2 and over are tax deductible and its very simple to navigate the website, just follow the prompts with secure payment via paypal or credit card. 



At Popolo Southbank

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I had dined with a group of girlfriends at Popolo before and was taken by the little 'couples' seating areas.  I made a mental note to be sure to bring Pete the Greek there for a romantic dinner as a matter of urgency!

And so, last Friday night myself, my new frock and Pete the Greek took ourselves off to Popolo for the much awaited couples night.  

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Our view...

Let me paint a clear picture here so as not to bore you too much with paragraphs and paragraphs of description...but the view is divine for starters.  The open air style Italian restaurant is situated at the Ship Inn end of the river at Southbank so you look straight down the 'guts' of the river.  The lights, the boats, people watching....its beautiful.
And so we sat there happily at our little couples table.  

The lovely German pocket rocket waitress with the short blonde hair (if you've been there you will know her...) was attentive, pleasant and prompt with our drinks and food orders.
The drinks list is extensively Italian inspired with a few local ring-ins of them also...all well priced.

Most of the dishes at Popolo are share plates, so you get to try a few things over the course of the evening.  We had the Arancini and the Italian Meatballs which were delicious.
Then we shared a Marguerita pizza that was fresh and with a lovely crispy base and finished off with the Chocolate Donuts rolled in orange sugar on a bed of crushed pistachios...
All our meals went down a treat and were served up at appropriate intervals.  I hate feeling rushed when I dine, and with such a salubrious and distracting view to contend with, it was nice to just feel like we were going with the flow of the evening.  
Pete the Greek finished off with 2 espresso Martinis (you can guess who was driving!)...after having one and loving it so much he ordered another....then coffees and a stroll back to the car along the river.

We both enjoyed our evening from the service, view and the food.  I would recommend Popolo to our friends and know for certain we will be back there again one day soon....I just want to soak in that view...and next time it will be me having the extra Martini or two!  
Bookings recommended
Best parking without the stress is in the Southbank carpark...costs money to park there but its easy and close.

Popolo Italian Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon



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Our 'tip' for the day....

After displaying our Melbourne Cup 'tip' on the Buddha Chalkboard this week (and possibly leading some other poor uneducated tipsters along the wrong path also...).....being absolutely 100% assured that this horse was a dead set, dinky di winner...we were faced with the disappointment, just like all the other years prior of picking a slow nag!
Fortunately we just placed the bet in our heads and chose to put our money where the mo's are and donate to Movember instead.

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Our Melbourne Cup 'spread'

But, needless to say we never turn down the opportunity for a lovely lunch and glass of Champagne!
Good food, company and the hindsight luxury of knowing we hadn't lost a motza on a slow horse!
Until next year......and congratulations to Green Moon.



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credit to caroline on crack via flickr with thanks

We had the yummiest Goats Cheese Quiches amongst other tasty treats for Melbourne Cup lunch on Tuesday, which got me back into a hankering for quiche...the food of real men, perfect for picnics, lunches, eaten hot or cold, with salad or vegies...its close to perfect convenient healthy food dependent on what you put into it....and its very hard to get wrong!  So...lets get cooking!

Note: Quiche is very simple and quick to make when you used prepared shortcrust pastry.

What you need....
1 kg frozen chopped spinach
1 sheet ready rolled shortcrust pastry
1 tsp vegetable oil for greasing
150g goats cheese
2 eggs
200ml light thickened cream
4 - 6 rashers think sliced bacon
75 g grated Gruyere Cheese (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

What to do....
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Grease a quiche dish, then line with shortcrust pastry.  Prich the pastry all over with a fork
Arrange the bacon in the pastry case in the shape of a star.  Set aside.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.  add the spinach and heat for about 15 minutes or until the spinach has thawed and the water has evaporated.  Drain and cool slightly.
Meanwhile, beat together the eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in the cream, salt, pepper and spinach.
Pour egg mixture over the bacon and top with slices of goats cheese (form a circle and then place one in the centre). Sprinkle Gruyere cheese on top, if using.

Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until cooked and golden.


highrocketphoto via flickr with thanks


Weird drop!
It is suggested that you use the subtle method of coating a chilled cocktail glass with absinthe and then tossing the excess, rather than the usual 'splash' of absinthe...this creates a nice, fruity cocktail with a slight taste of anise.

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photo credit caroline on crack via flickr

What you need...
2 oz gin
1 oz orange juice
 1/4 oz grenadine
1 dash absinthe
Orange slice for garnish

What to do...
Swirl a dash of absinthe in a chilled cocktail glass to coat it, and then discard any excess.
Pour the other ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes
Shake, Shake, Shake....
Strain into the cocktail glass
Garnish with orange slice

Sip...enjoy and try not to think about the name or the origin.....!!


And so...until next week!
Enjoy your weekend and do something nice just for you....
Jen is off to SA for her cousin Kristens wedding and I am sure she will have lots of pics and stories from her visit next week!

The Charcoal Team....Colette, Cathie and Jen xxx