Introducing Simone

Q Simone, tell us a bit about yourself …..

A My name’s Simone Linehan and I’m an artist.

Q How long have you lived in Adelaide?

A My whole life! Born and raised in Adelaide – sounds a tad boring but it really is a lovely spot. I adore my family and gorgeous partner who all live here, so it’s home for me too.

Q What do you enjoy most about living in Adelaide?

A The Adelaide Hills. We moved up to Belair when I was 12 and I have never been able to leave. It’s just so beautiful, calming and tranquil. The trees and having nature around me brings me so much joy.

Q How would you describe your Adelaide business?

A I have a few arms to what I do. In my teaching I promote relaxation and expression and individuality. I never use a cookie-cutter approach. I work with each client to ensure they are feeling supported and brave on their art journey. In my arts practice I am thrilled to have recently taken up an artist’s residency at  Fleurieu Arthouse.  Come and say hi when you’re next in McLaren Vale.

Q What are your favourite Adelaide places to eat?

A Stamps Restaurant in Mitcham and Seafire On The Marina at Glenelg.

Q What are your favourite Adelaide places to drink and what is your favourite South Australian drink?

A I love our McLaren Vale wineries. I’m quite partial to a Paxton’s Organic Red.

Q What are your favourite Adelaide shops for furniture and homewares?

A I love a second hand shop for furniture. My ex-husband and I started one 17 years ago – Sarage Gale – but with small children and a graphic design business it was the wrong time and we didn’t keep it very long. I still love anything with history. I also adore Scandi style furniture and anything with a Mid Century look. I did love Matt Blatt too.

Q What books are you currently reading?

A Far too many! My night stand is full. Here are a few….. The Barefoot Investor, Steal Like An Artist, Brene Brown’s Dare To Lead and Women Who Run With The Wolves.

Q What’s on your current playlist?

A That’s a minefield too! I have incredibly diverse taste and it depends on my mood. Rufus Du Sol is always a top fave, but anything from RyX to Sofi Tukker to Aurora. I adore live music and (when we can) my partner and I frequent live music venues.

Q Which travel destinations are ones you’d recommend?

A Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Flinders Ranges are my favourites.

Q What are your favourite things to do in Adelaide and South Australia?

A Bushwalking, wineries, camping, long drives.

Q Anything else you’d like to share with the OLIO community of authentic home lovers?

A Being an artist, I’m always encouraging people to buy and support local artists. South Australia has a massively diverse arts culture with some brilliant artworks available at very reasonable prices. Supporting our local industry will keep it alive. And….. never be afraid to use colour!

Simone Linehan

Simone Linehan is one of the fabulous people we visit on some of our OLIO Tours.

Weight Of The Earth

The first photograph of Earth as a whole was taken on December 7, 1972 by scientist-astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt, a member of the Apollo 17 crew on their way to complete NASA’s final mission to land on the moon. How astonishing it must have been to see our robust planet for the first time as just a fragile orb in a unimaginably massive universe. Perhaps there is link to this first photograph and the rise of the environmental movement, then mostly known as anti-pollution, in the 1970s.

A good friend of mind found inspiration for his art practice several years ago from the pages of a very old family atlas. The sinuous contours of geography in a perfect palette of pastels were the catalyst for a whole series of paintings. I’m privileged to be the owner of one of these artworks.

My first OLIO homewares collection of four cushions called ‘Elements’ will be launched soon. One of my cushion designs in the ‘Elements Collection’ is called EARTH.

It’s fascinating to see how close our two colour palettes are. Earth itself is far from pastel. Yet cartographers, artists and now me as a homewares designer, have all picked up on this palette.

Not at all like the swirling blues of the first photograph. Altogether more interesting, more beautiful and more optimistic. There are days when world events can make us weep to think of the damage we keep doing to our fragile orb. Other days when the minute moments of terrestrial life fill us with awe and wonder.

I hope my Earth design is able to capture just a little of all of this complexity!!



My Favourite Dark Walls

Light and airy is not the only way to go. Sometimes it’s all about dark and dramatic. Dark walls can provide a strong background that pulls together all the different elements in the room.

This midnight blue wall makes everything in front of it pop. Imagine that artwork and sofa against a white wall ……. so much less interesting.

Dark walls can also work wonderfully when you want to frame a fabulous outside view. These dark stained plywood walls and ceiling lead your eye to the beautiful Australian bush landscape.

Dining rooms can also benefit from dark walls. Imagine this dining table aglow with candles for a dinner party. How gorgeous would all your guests look??

And, of course, the bedroom is also the perfect candidate. Like sleeping in a comfy dark cocoon (with block-out blinds or curtains as well). Great for a Sunday lie-in.

Are there rooms in your home that could be transformed by some dark tones of paint or wallpaper?

More info on the designers of these four rooms via the links below.

1. Peti Lau

2. Hearth Studio

3. Tollgard

4. Sarah Jayne

Growing Together

My first OLIO homewares collection of four cushions called ‘Elements’ will be launched soon. One of my cushion designs in the ‘Elements Collection’ is called LIFE.

At first glance it might appear to be a flower with leaves opening up to the SUN (another one of my designs). And it is. But it also represents a person (albeit with what a medical professional might see as major spinal problems!).

When I think about life I want to include all of us animals and all of us plants, and somehow portray us all as equally significant. There is an enormous freedom achieved when you are able to melt your edges into the edges of others. Maintaining individual-ness and independence takes huge amounts of energy and vigilance. How ultimately relaxing and nurturing it is to understand that we are all growing and experiencing life together.

I love the colours of this Mid Century ceramic bowl I bought at the fabulous This Fine Day – gallery and cafe – in Mitcham. To me it perfectly captures a sense of optimism and growth in its vibrant design.

Interesting to ponder how all my life experiences, and all the colours and objects around me in my home, get distilled into an apparently simple design. Just one of the many mysteries of LIFE I guess!!

My Favourite Bedrooms

Is there anywhere more comforting and nurturing than your bedroom? The one place you can let go of all cares and artifice. The one place where you can be totally and utterly you.

Forget fashions, forget trends, forget pleasing other people (with the exception of the person you share your bedroom with of course!).  How you furnish and decorate your bedroom is entirely about pleasing yourself, and creating a space that you love to fall asleep and wake up in everyday.

This first bedroom creates a fun twist on the classic white painted brick walls with a circle of red bricks left exposed to form a fabulous artwork. The bold striped upholstered bedhead sets the rest of the room’s energetic colour scheme.

The second bedroom is altogether more calm and muted, featuring a layering of tactile blue-grey fabrics.

A bright cobalt blue is the starting point in this third light and airy room. I do love an upholstered bedhead and they can be made in literally any shape or size you desire. The fluted bedside pendant lights are also a stand-out. Don’t limit yourself to only table lamps. Both pendants and wall-mounted bedside lights are worth investigating.

Have you considered a dark bedroom wall colour – whether all bedroom walls or just the wall behind your bed? It can create a wonderfully enclosed feeling plus many artworks look fabulous against a darker background.

Whatever colours and decorative elements you choose for your bedroom, make sure that they are what you really love and that they make you feel totally you.

More info on the designers of these four rooms via the links below.

1. Amanda Lynn

2. Markham Roberts

3. 2LG Studio

4. Andrew Flesher

Pull Of The Moon

There is something both mysterious and comforting about the many moods of our moon. Each night it appears completely different from the night before. Whether waxing or waning, shrouded in clouds or illuminating a clear sky, it is both unique and constant.

Perhaps we are a little envious of the moon’s ability to re-invent itself. We all have life moments when we’d like to re-set and start again. When utterly depleted, what a gift it would be to be reborn as a ‘new moon’.

I have a Mid Century ceramic bowl that used to hold bits and bobs on my mother’s dressing table. Inky blue on the outside and creamy yellow on the inside. It reminds me of the beauty and unknown of the night sky.

My first OLIO homewares collection of four cushions called ‘Elements’ will be launched soon. One of my cushion designs is called MOON.

If the moon can pull the massive tides of the world, what impact must it have on us small creatures who are 70% water?

Power Of The Sun

I bought myself a signed print of John Olsen’s painting ‘Sydney Sun’ for one of my major decade birthdays. Every day I enjoy exploring the seemingly endless splotches and squiggles that make up this quintessentially Australian artwork.

I’ve noticed that, over the years, I’ve acquired a collection of sun shapes and images around my home. A sunburst mirror, other artworks, bowls and platters.

The sun is one of the first images a child draws. Hopefully this means that many childhoods are filled with sunshine and happiness. Interesting that the face of the sun in children’s drawings always has a smile. As if sunshine itself is powerful enough to banish all bad feelings.

In an earlier period of my working life, I was an accredited teacher of Edward de Bono’s thinking skills. One set of skills I taught was the ‘Six Thinking Hats’. In this you learn how to change your type of thinking, designated by a particular colour hat, as easily as you might change headwear.

The Yellow Hat is all about looking for the positives in an issue or problem. I would explain that a way to remember the Yellow Hat is to think about the yellow sun shining light on everything around it. I’d also explain that thinking positively in not about skipping through a field of daisies and saying everything is fabulous. Uncovering the positives in difficult or unlikely situations is a learned skill that requires both energy and resilience.

Much easier to put on the ‘Black Hat’ and list the endless things that are, or could go, wrong. While Black Hat thinking is an essential part of risk management, over-use is far too easy and not that helpful. As they say ‘Everyone’s a critic’ …..

So for me, the bright yellow sun is a daily reminder to keep my thinking positive, even when the going gets tough.

My first OLIO homewares collection of four cushions called ‘Elements’ will be launched soon. One of my cushion designs is called SUN.

I’m certainly not in competition with John Olsen’s famous painting (or Edward de Bono’s fabulous thinking skills either)! But I hope that, in some small way, I will now join the community of human beings who have attempted to capture their daily awe of our magnificent (and positive) sun.

My Favourite Greens

Green is the colour of life. It comes in as many variations as there are plants on the planet. Green fits into all homes, all styles, all ages. You just need to pick the right green (or greens) for you.

How happy is this first room with all that light on green walls? See how well green plays with a whole range of different colours – yellow, orange, blue, red.

But green can also be moody and introspective. This muddy-green makes both the white painted, and the polished timbers, practically glow against it. A stunning shade of green, particularly for an older home.

But it’s not all about about green painted walls. Consider green as a neutral (and far more interesting than beige!) when selecting fabric for upholstered sofas and chairs. How about a green velvet sofa? This olive green is stunning, but emerald green or sage green velvet would be just as sumptuous.

Green is also a great colour to link your indoor and outdoor living spaces. There are so many more options in outdoor fabrics now (remember when it was either blue and white stripes or beige and white stripes?). And many indoor/outdoor fabrics work seamlessly across both. Your outdoor upholstery can look as sophisticated as your indoor, and your indoor upholstery can be as hardwearing as your outdoor.

And sometimes a shot of green can be just that. A single chair in a vibrant grass green that adds life and fun!

More info on the designers of these five rooms via the links below.

1. Gisbert Poeppler

2. Ben Pentreath

3. Commune Design

4. Flack Studio

5. MIM Design

Introducing Alison

Q Alison, tell us a bit about yourself …..

A My name’s Alison Arnold and my business is Red Bird Studio.

Q How long have you lived in Adelaide?

A We moved to Adelaide 20 years ago with our young family. It was a huge leap of faith but we felt at home immediately.

Q What do you enjoy most about living in Adelaide?

A Everything is in close proximity. The city is a very accessible. It feels local but offers a bounty of world class cultural experiences. Within half an hour of the city we have stunning hills landscapes, beaches and wine regions.

Q Why did you start Red Bird Studio?

A I have been making and selling pottery for over 30 years. In addition to my passion for making art, I love talking about the process and sharing skills. Now that I have a large enough studio space at home, I am able to teach others and introduce them to the endless possibilities that clay offers.

Q How would you describe what’s special about Red Bird Studio?

My aim is to create a welcoming, relaxing space in which clients can feel confident to explore their creativity and ease any anxiety they may have about ‘making art’. Creative pursuits are so important for well being, mental health and happiness, and I believe they should be available for all. Clay is a unique medium that offers all these benefits as well as the opportunity to create almost anything out of what is essentially mud!

Q What’s new at Red Bird Studio?

A I’m excited about my new retail/display space next to my studio which I’m calling ‘The Littlest Pottery Shop’.  Covid-19 has forced most artists to rethink the way they sell their work. With the temporary or permanent closure of galleries, shops and markets, many have turned to online sales. But I believe nothing beats the direct contact between maker and customer. The new space will be open once a week or by appointment. It gives customers an opportunity to see where and how the work is made, like a mini ‘Studio Door’ experience.

Q What are your favourite Adelaide places to eat?

I love to go for early morning beach walks with my dogs followed by breakfast or brunch at local cafes.

Q What are your favourite Adelaide shops for furniture and homewares?

I love browsing antique and vintage shops when I get a chance. I’m also a compulsive fabric hoarder. My favourite place is Eastern Silk at Mile End where I often find beautiful silk remnants.

Q What books are you currently reading?

I listen to audio books when I’m working. Lately I’ve been listening to ‘A Man Called Ove’ by Fredrik Backman.

Q What’s on your current playlist?

I mostly listen to BBC Radio 6 Music in the studio.

Q Who are your favourite Adelaide tradespeople?

Parker Landscape Construction recently did some landscaping for us and laid a concrete slab in preparation for my new retail/display space. Brad and his team are friendly, easy to communicate with and efficiently carried out the work for a reasonable price.
Brad Parker
Parker Landscape Construction

Q What are your favourite things to do in Adelaide and South Australia?

Visiting galleries and exhibitions.  Live music, festivals and wineries. Beaches and Belair National Park for walks.

Red Bird Studio

Red Bird Studio is one of the fabulous places we visit on some of our OLIO Tours.

You’re allowed to have chairs you seldom use and probably don’t actually need. They even have a special name – occasional chairs. Dining chairs and armchairs have a purpose they need to fulfill. Occasional chairs only need to look good!

Occasional chairs can be a great way to settle an unresolved wall or corner in your home. This first image is a perfect example of the power of a pair of well chosen chairs to ground an artwork in a sense of place. Notice how both the yellow colour and the curves of the tufted seats are echoed in the painting. When bringing different pieces together, it’s much more important to think about repetitions of colour and shape than it is to match the eras of the pieces.

Another great place for a fabulous occasional chair is in a bedroom. Yes, it may become a dumping ground (well that’s useful isn’t it?). But when it’s a chair as beautiful as this one, you may become more self-disciplined just so you can enjoy admiring its fine lines.

As interest in all things 1970s continues, consider a new or retro chair in tubular steel and leather. While this chair sits perfectly here in a contemporary setting, it would also add great contrast among more traditional furniture pieces.

And finally, occasional chairs can be all about adding some whimsy. While sheep’s wool covered chairs have been in fashion recently, they are also a design classic that will bring years of enjoyment. Very difficult to be grumpy when you have a chair like this in your life!

More info on the designers of these four rooms via the links below.

1. Alberto Pinto

2. Arent + Pyke

3. MIM Design

4. Nildo Jose