Welcome to Room to Grow – a new Interiors column dedicated to helping busy parents create beautiful and practical family homes. This page promises loads of practical and inspiring information on creating rooms for all size kids and families.
I’ve been designing, styling and retailing for 30 years, with a career stretching from Urban & Regional Planning to Interior Design. Designing for communities and families, I’ve had a wealth of experience in creating family environments with personality, style and functionality. As a mum to 3, I know from experience what works!
Returning to Adelaide after 20 years in Melbourne, I founded Asser & Co, an Interiors studio catering for both retail and trade. We work with personal shoppers and industry experts in sourcing the right pieces for growing families. I’ll be showing you some great pieces from our range which are stylish and sustainable.
House of Orange Nina Loft Bed
This issue I’m talking about the number one investment piece for your child – their bed! Let’s face it – we spend a lot of time telling them to go there, so we want to make sure that kids find them both fun and peaceful. Choose classic styles with longevity and flexibility, and the best quality your budget will stretch to. This allows for a bedroom which will grow up with your kids. You can then add fun and playful accents like bed linen and cushions which are easy to swap as your kids’ tastes mature.
If you’re short on space or rooms, my pick is the House of Orange Frankie Bunk or the Nina Loft Bed. These can be custom made to suit your space, in a combination of 5 signature colours. These hand painted beds are robust, with kind rounded edges and have brilliant options like trundles (for sleepovers!) or storage boxes. Available in both Single or King Single, the fresh, clean aesthetic suits both little and big kids. They can also be easily cut down at a future date to create 2 separate beds.
House of Orange Gus Bed
The Nina Loft Bed allows your kids to sleep amongst the clouds and keep occupied down below. An instant desk/storage space or a nook to curl up with a book or game, this is definitely a value add concept!
House of Orange also has 2 styles of stand alone beds which come in Single, King Single, Double (and Queen if you’ve given birth to a future rower!). The Gus is great for little tackers – close to the floor for them to climb into, but still room for a trundle or storage underneath. The Alfie bed sits up slightly higher on posts. Both styles come with headboard/footboard options, which finish off the beds nicely and helps avoid “lost” pillows in the middle of the night.
Remember to consider elements like room proportion, window & door location and activity/movement flows when choosing larger pieces of furniture. It’s all about balance. If you’re not sure, seek some advice. Remember, kids spend a lot of time in their rooms (especially when they’re teenagers!) so it’s important to get it right.
House of Orange Alfie Bed
Photo Credit: House of Orange
HK Living Metal Triangle Table Lamp
Photo Credit: HK Living
Cultiver Blue/White Stripe Duvet Set
Photo Credit: Cultiver
HK Living Metal Wire Chair in White
Photo Credit: HK Living
HK Living Lamp Factory L Matte Black
Photo Credit: HK Living
Colour lover, artist, designer and mother, Tiff Manuell creates wearable art that brings a bright, happy pop into the life it lands in.
Tiff’s designs are hand-crafted and incorporate all of her passions – painting, making, sewing and, more than anything, working freely with colour with no boundaries.
The process used to create Tiff clutches ensures every piece produced is completely individual. Each paint splatter or stroke falls a different way on the canvas, creating a new effect every time. Tiff’s Adelaide studio has produced tens of thousands of these gorgeous handmade creations.
Spending a lot of their early days in the studio, both of Tiff’s daughters and husband also help out with the forever evolving brand.
Born and bred (and still remaining) in South Australia, Tiff Manuell is now an international brand, that includes the likes of London’s Tate Modern in its stockists.
We chatted to Tiff to find out more about where her journey began and how Tiff Manuell unfolded with the help of her family:
What was your first memory of being creative?
That’s is a loooong time ago! Very young, It’s actually harder to remember an age when I wasn’t doing something creative. I think I just really found it to be a natural outlet so cutting, pasting, making, drawing, anything and everything. I quite honestly remember how good painting at kindy used to make me feel.
You were the artist behind Happy House, tell us about that, was that your first business?
Happy House was my first official business. I had made and sold lots of things before that to make money on the side. I had a little range called Lime clothing that was all hand painted, then I hand made jewellery which pretty much paid for my one year of traveling around Europe.
Happy House was born when I knew I really wanted to start my own business and I didn’t want to work a regular job. I started hand painting giant sized gift tags when I was 25, when I moved to Adelaide. They started selling so quickly and after about a year of hand painting and cutting to all hours of every morning David and I decided to sell our little unit and invest the money into our first print run. Happy House grew over many years to cover many products for young girls and women and we sold in over 40 countries around the world. We licensed our artwork to wonderful companies who created product under the Happy House label, it gave us an opportunity to sell hundreds of products to such an amazing array of countries. I am super proud of that. We established a wonderful team of product designers and illustrators, we created such a beautiful brand that I think was uniquely Australian.
Have you had any business mistakes?
YES! Many! Happy House taught me many lessons……. too many to list but mainly I guess that it all got too big too quickly and we took too many risks financially, global economic climate hit and probably poor management meant we just came crashing down. They were very tough times and harsh lessons to learn but I am not regretful in anyway. What I have walked away with are lessons that I base my life happiness and balance on now.
How did Tiff Manuell unfold?
Dave my partner/ husband suggested I take a break once a week from working on Happy House and do something else creatively. I moved off the computer and started painting. I guess the reality is that I have always equally loved product design.
I made a couple of clutches from some painted canvas and added the PVC outer to protect the painting. The rest is history I guess. I gave one to my friend Anna and then also a girl walked past my studio and saw it sitting on my desk in the window, She asked if she could buy it and from there girls just started walking in and I kept painting…
How do you help juggle work and family life? Do your daughters get involved?
I have always involved my daughters, hopefully in a fun way, they have had an opportunity to earn their own money from a young age being helpful and resourceful. My eldest daughter Indigo started sewing the first bags with me from age 13. She understands every element of our business now. She is an integral part of our business and I think an entrepreneur in the making.
I would say it has developed both my daughters to be very resilient, passionate hardworking and respectful of opportunity. I must admit though now I am very conscious of my time. I don’t overwork and more so self preserve my energy so I don’t burn out. We open our studio a little later and close earlier to avoid traffic and see more daylight!
I limit my work at home to just creative stuff in front of Netflix with my girls! I only do the jobs at work I love the most and that I am relevant and productive enough. Hence, just painting all day! I also work full-time with David my husband, we have always been a team, he is my knight in shining armour, always balancing me out, super practical about everything and a great operator.
What do you love most about your job?
Painting every day, working with colour and creating endless colour combinations. Creating product that inspires happiness and meeting the wonderful people that are drawn to it. I LOVE my work… it’s not work.
3 other SA female artists or designers you’re loving right now?
That is very hard because there are so many amazing SA designers, artists and makers.
Marnie Wark – artist
Naomi Murrel – designer / illustrator
Alice Potter – jewellery designer
Anna Dimond – Palas Jewellery (my bestie)
Gorman has just released their adorable new Playground range online!
Now you can treat your kids with colour, so that they stand out from the crowd!
The range has everything from bucket hats to library bags and overalls with patterns including Cha Cha Cheetahs, Bug Catcher, Secret Garden and more!
Lisa Gorman explains “Gorman PLAYGROUND has been a while coming, but I feel like the time is right to launch the collection, exploring fantastical, otherworldly and illustrative prints that speak to kids imaginative minds. I’ve been particularly focused on ensuring the artworks within the kidswear collection remain completely exclusive to anything we produce in our womenswear range.’
We know your little ones will love expressing themselves with such bright and bold designs. We also wont judge you for sneaking into the adult section and treating yourself too.
It’s one thing keeping up with your own self-love/mindful/diet/fitness regime, but what about one for your little one too?
Whether it’s enrolling them in gymnastics, taking them to Nature Play or buying the latest fad sensory toy, we all try to encourage healthy mental and physical habits for our kiddos. Keeping fun in mind through all of this is also an art.
Lucky for us, local artist and illustrator Jana Rushforth has come up with an easy and ADORABLE way to encourage mini mindfulness…
Happiful Journal, a print-at-home daily gratitude journal for kiddos. This 98 page ebook is a place for your child to connect with their emotions, cultivate gratitude and nurture their curious mind. In addition, there are 20+ fun activity pages for your child to do during the school holidays, when you go out to dinner or even on a rainy day!
Kiddos can also customise the journals by choosing the hair colour, style and skin tone of their cover. The journal is available in colour and monochrome too, which kiddos can colour-in themselves!
We chatted to Jana about her new journal and inspirations:
What skills, both practical and mental, do you think Happiful Journal will assist kiddos with?
The Happiful Journal can assist kiddos with their bedtime routine and help them relax and unwind before sleep. It also shows kiddos it’s important to prioritise self-care, by taking 10 minutes to mindfully write or draw about their day.
I designed the journal with illustrations, written prompts and exercises for kids to use their creativity. These encourage them to use their creative skills like drawing, writing or colouring-in to quiet their thinking minds. The journal also helps kids process their emotions by introducing them to the idea of seeing and identifying emotions through cute emoji illustrations.
How did you learn mindfulness and gratitude yourself? Or what practices do you use yourself?
I experienced post-natal depression and to help me I started journaling what I was grateful for each day. I found each day I could find three things I was grateful for and this practice really helped my mental health. I use drawing as a mindfulness practice to process my feelings and thoughts, it brings me back to the present moment and stops my brain overthinking.
I also make sure that every day I go outside and just be present in nature. This could be looking at the clouds, picking a flower, watering the garden or watching a bee. I find doing all these things brings mindfulness and gratitude to my daily life.
*10% of the journal sale will be donated to Kids Helpline.
What’s the best gift you can give a new mum? Sleep. Me time. Help with the baby. Help around the house. Sleep.
Maybe this Christmas it’s time to think out of the box and give/receive the gift of help.
Because we all need a little help sometimes…
Little Poppins is a professional boutique nanny and babysitting agency consisting of an established team of 200+ career nannies, babysitters, overnight carers and mother’s helpers.
The agency was established in 2011 by Holly Auld, a mother of twin boys and professional nanny with 20+ years’ experience in Australia and overseas. Holly realised through her study in education and nannying experience that there was a great need for in-home support and decided to dedicate her professional life to easing the pressure on Adelaide families.
Little Poppins is now managed by Holly together with Deanna Hughes, who joined the company in 2015. Holly and Deanna’s approach to business is extremely personalised, from the placement of the most appropriate nanny to suit every families’ needs, to guarantee a direct line of communication with each and every client throughout the whole process.
We chatted to Holly from Little Poppins to find out more about this great local business:
What are some of the services parents can access through Little Poppins?
Little Poppins offers the ultimate in flexibility with a solution to every childcare need. Whether it be an ongoing nanny to care for your children on a regular basis, a short-term nanny to fill a ‘gap’ over a short time frame, an after school carer to pick up your children from school, a casual babysitter to cover the occasional night out, emergency care if your child is too unwell to go to childcare or school, a short-term live-in nanny while parents are travelling, overnight care for newborns, the list goes on!
All Little Poppins nannies have been personally interviewed and screened by us. All of our carers are required to have a Senior First Aid certificate, a DHS Working With Children Check, a Child Safe Training certificate and two childcare related references. Accordingly, all of our nannies, babysitters and mother’s helpers have experience in caring for children, have the relevant qualifications and are rigorously screened by us.
Tell us how Little Poppins started?
In my early 20’s, my love of children and desire to help families in raising wonderful, happy and kind children pulled me like a magnet towards nannying. I could see that often parents needed the support of an empathic, caring person to help them navigate juggling all the stresses of work, family and parenting, whilst still maintaining a life outside of parenthood! I began my nannying journey helping families who needed support, advice and sometimes also a break from their children! By providing these families with care for their children I realised it also helped their household to run smoothly and allowed them to be the best parents that they could be.
After living in the UK and working as a nanny for 3 years I returned to Adelaide and realised that there were a huge number of families who needed the support of nannies to provide themselves and their children with the healthy and happy ‘village’ in which they could grow. This prompted me to start my own nanny agency, Little Poppins, in 2011. Jump forward a few years, Little Poppins now has a team of over 200 nannies and supports thousands of Adelaide families.
SCHOOL HOLIDAY FUN SORTED WITH THE NEW ADELAIDE OVAL KIDS TRAIL
Make your kiddos dreams come true with a new opportunity to peak behind the scenes extending further than the usual oval green!
See the iconic stadium in a whole new way on this action-packed tour with the Adelaide Oval Ambassadors. Follow the trail with interactive activities along the way, which will have the kids thinking and walking in the footsteps of famous sporting heroes.
Experience all aspects of cricket and football games at Adelaide Oval, where you’ll get the chance to be the coach, part of the media, a commentator and even a scoreboard operator!
A fun day out for the whole family, with plenty of photo opps along the way, this tour will have both kids and parents learning and laughing.
Every child will receive an Adelaide Oval souvenir and activity booklet at the end of the tour.
Tours run on select dates throughout December and January. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Bookings essential.
$20 for adults, $15 for children (aged 5-15) and $60 for a family (2 adults, 2 children). A really great experience for all ages!