Verge Victory

There is surely no thrill so great as a top verge find.  A few times a year our local council collects virtually anything from outside houses, and some wonderful treasures can be found.  I'd just bought a new TV for our soon-to-be-completed studio, and was subconsciously thinking about having to get some sort of unit for it to sit upon.  Which are universally hideous pieces of furniture, I find.

Driving along yesterday I did the old drive-by double take at a pile of teak coloured furniture.  U-turn.  A few broken pieces, around this - what do you know - TV unit.   Lovely simple mid-century styling, and jackpot, it's a Parker.  A helpful jogger helped me heave it into the back the car.  What loot!  What booty!

What is funny is that when I googled 'Parker Furniture History' I found.... Kylie's blog post on the very same topic!  Parker produced iconic top-end furniture in the mid-century decades in Australia.  This dealer has some lovely pieces, price on application.  I'm loving the no price applied my piece.

Isn't she a cracker?!  Some backyard restoration is underway, one small split that needs gluing.   I'll give it a bit of a wax and polish but apart from that leave as is.   Some days life really is worth living.


Down Time

I try to include some point of worth in my blogposts, but this might just be a post and some pics about the simplicity and pleasure of downtime.   Taking time to smell the roses, or the bush in our case.

I'm not a parent who lives for school holidays, honestly speaking I find having my kids in my personal space 24/7 hard going, but then again I do love the break from making lunches and pestering about homework, dragging out of bed etc.  Sometimes you have to look for the tiny things that come from down time.  These holidays it was Boggle and Uno - in a holiday house with no wifi we had to revert to non digital entertainment.   And with no dishwasher, the kids did the washing up.  Which was kinda nice.

Thankfully we were never too far from good coffee, which came with some old school gaming thrown in.


Perry's Legacy

Perry Lakes was an athletics ground built in Floreat, Perth for the 1962 Commonwealth and  Empire Games (nope never heard of them either).   Some would have us believe it was a dog from day one, unfit for purpose etc.  But Perry Lakes Stadium, until it met the wrecker's ball last year, had a certain elegance and grandeur that bought a whiff of something sophisticated to mid-century Perth.   Generations of budding athletes, and anyone that made it into the inter-school aths team had the opportunity to feel like an olympian for a swift moment or 30.  Its modernist lines and counter-levered canopy just made you feel like you could run faster and be a champion for one day.

This blog Perth 6000 times has also turned an eye to PL's faded glory in this post, where you will find some interesting interior shots.  OK, so it doesn't look that great, but it was derelict by then.

Apparently it was full of asbestos (isn't everything in Australia from that time) and given its location in the heart of the fashionable Western suburbs, the ground and majestic grandstand was always destined to meet the dozers.

Landcorp have developed the site for executive housing which they have creatively called "Perry Lakes".  Marketers have squarely targeted the Boomers and Xgens who will reminisce with fondness their youth and better days, and dig deep for the $1m for 500 square metres of deemed heritage land.

So what has become of athletics in Perth?  Over the road from the old site, we now have the new State Athletics Stadium which is by all accounts a much better prospect for those serious about running fast and jumping high.   But utterly charmless.  Maybe it was built on a budget, but the grandstand does nowt for me.

I was there today.  Not doing anything energetic myself, I hasten to add.

But there is hope!  Back at the old Perry Lakes site the original scoreboard still stands, like a mini stadia in itself, echoing the materials and lines of the now ghost grandstand.  I'm optimistically thinking it might be turned in into a cafe or kiosk, as a nod (hate that expression) to the mid-century styling that dominated this pocket of Perth and the memories of so many, of decades gone.  Or maybe they've just not got round to bowling it yet.    


80's don't throw me back

As much as I love all things retro, even I have to confess there is a charisma chasm that happened in the early 1980s.  Maybe the eighties were the beginning of the end for mid century style?  If home decorating in Perth, Western Australia is anything to go by, it was most certainly a low point in the design files.  

This was the local glossy (now that's an unjustified compliment) for home decorating enthusiasts in early 80s Perth.  My Mother used to buy it, and god bless her, still has a stack of copies.  Thanks to inspiration from Kylie and her wonderful op shop decor book find, I'm compelled to drag them out and conduct some cruel harsh cultural analysis (that's the comms studies scholar in me).

Just to set the scene, if you were looking for decor inspiration in October 1981, you would probably be perusing this cover and saying "hmm, now that exposed brick and nic-nac laden bench top does look good".   And trust me, this is a better one.

I need to do a LOT more research into this, but it would seem that the magazine relaunched to be WA Homes and Living (or maybe it was a completely different magazine and the two were fierce rivals) which entered the barren media landscape that was magazine publishing in Perth at the time.

Here, meet the team!

To be fair, I have a photo of my own fourteen year old self taken at the time and I too was wearing a knitted jumper upon a collared shirt.

So the crew's on board, all set to shake up the world of Perth interior design.  Let's go girlfriends!

Or, not.  You would have thought, after nineteen issues, the creative flair might have kicked in and we would be believing that Perth is moving with the times.  Instead, we have this issue, which I'm looking at and scratching my head as to why on earth I would be motivated to buy it.  A combination of truly appalling and badly lit photography, drab artwork, lame editorial and frankly shite content generally add up to one seriously bad consumer offering.  But who knows, maybe in 1983 I might have looked at this cover and though "now that's a back yard I'd like to party in". 

C'mon, let's go inside!  This Claremont gaff is the home of (wait for it) a leading couple in the Perth fashion industry.  Mrs peroxide perm is enduring the gin hour in her velour jumpsuit with a rum and coke on the go, at the bar.  Sorry, I'm getting unkind now.

With a DPI of about 6, this photo spread hardly does 34 Cliff St Justice.  It was probably quite nice in real life.

Magazines would not be on the newstands without advertising.  Most was truly dreadful (think local cinema advertising), but some thankfully injected some marginally better art direction via an ad agency.  Here we have some particularly poignant images of the era.   Catt furniture made wonderful quality furniture in Perth over the mid century decades, indeed we have a table and chairs from this range above.   But I draw the line at those storage units, made all the less appealing with the submissive big-hair doe-eyed chick on the carpet.  

Timeless slate?  Yes, it did become timeless because it's so bloody hard to rip out and a bunch of unfortunate people have been stuck with it long after it lost its quarried charm.

But what you won't see, anywhere, is an interior void of.... an indoor plant.  I struggle to find a single room without a potted plant.  Indoor greenery was derigour, but has quietly slipped out of vogue over the past few decades.  I reckon this might be changing now though, as the odd potted palm can now be seen around.

Naturally every indoor plant with not complete without a wicker basket.
I could have kept going way beyond this small selection from the pile I have here.  But no need really, you get the general idea.   I also have national magazines from the early sixties which look slick in comparison, proving it really was a time and place thang. 

Now look how far we've come.  Perth's interiors scene is sailing ahead with the Scoop Stable which easily compares with any national or international mag publishing.  It's not rocket science to work out how factors like the internet, travel and a global trends impact on media production, even in a lil' ol' town like Perth.  

So why were they SO bad these magazines, was it the time, place or both?!



It has been busy busy out the back this week, with progress on the garage studio ramping up to a cracking pace.   Yesterday was insane, with the cabinet maker spitting the dummy when the plasterers got in his way, who we needed there so the tiler could come next week.   I've decided the real skill in building is largely in scheduling a bunch of uppity men and their egos.

The glass went in today, exciting, so felt like the right time for an update post.

Sitting on the corner of two laneways, there's easy access which puts a smile on the tradies faces.  Can't wait for the round window to go in, which we salvaged about ten years ago from an old power station in the UK.  

This is the rear/side view, sliding doors.  The garage space is quickly morphing from somewhere to put cars, to be a general games-room-hang-out-space.  Great, except now I'll need to find somewhere else to park the car.


We've had these salvaged ship's doors for years, which go on the loo and shower room.  The Ikea kitchen was fitted this week, now shrouded in cardboard while a bunch of clumsy blokes bang around her for another month.  (Did I mention I've been to Ikea three times this week?  And that's a week that included a public holiday.  I kid you not.)

This long thin window looks out through the Jacaranda tree.

Upstairs, still lots to do here.

 Downstairs the guys fitting the sliding glass doors.  Note the lovely sanded concrete floor,
which was a weekend of hard work for us.

This bit felt like an episode of Grand Designs.  One pane of glass, three men, a huge sigh of relief.

Of course husband has gone quite OTT with the details for which is swiftly turning into a mancave to beat all mancaves.   Once finished, the plan is that we will all move in and live here (partitions downstairs to make some bedrooms) while we take the back off the old house and extend it.  If there's any money left, that is.