Friday, January 22, 2010

Never met a magpie I liked . . . until now

'We've almost finished the dusting for you' said one of the shop assistants.

'So the advance party warned you of my approach?' I asked.

'Oh yes, we've been waiting for you'.

I'd never been in the Spotted Magpie before (which made the greeting even funnier). This morning, when I walked up Oxford St to Paddington, I didn't see the store behind the terracotta-coloured bars. But when the day started to warm up and the turquoise velvet upholstery on a chair at the front of the store caught my eye on the way back down the hill, I was drawn in.

Spotted Magpie is an interior design studio and furnishings store. It has a combination of antiques and new stock - mostly with a french feel. Although it could have been the french-style background music making me think that everything was so chic. The contents are from all over the world.


Out the back is a store room packed to the ceiling with rescued furniture waiting for a new life. I fell in love with this drawer unit thingy. The friendly assistant said it may have been used for paints and I immediately thought of my Mum. Maybe I'll go back to get it for her birthday or can try to get another one ordered.

The courtyard out the back has lots of white wrought-iron chairs and I heard a couple ask whether coffee was served there. Which sent everyone in the store into daydreams about how nice it would be to sit next to the courtyard's fish pond eating cake or drinking G&T's. It's that sort of place.

Upstairs is a room full of wallpaper and furnishing fabric books. Mary, the shop owner, showed me around a little. I lost myself for a bit in a Macro wallpaper book and Mary showed me some other books which I fell equally in love with.

The best part of Spotted Magpie is the people who work there. The atmosphere is relaxed and funny and inspiring - the best sort of creative environments. They run art and decorating classes there too.

Spotted Magpie Design Studio
202 Oxford Street, Paddington

The escape clause

Backpackers crowd the tree-lined street I walk down when I come home from work.

It's summer and they're all tanned, relaxed, dreadlocked and outfits as comfortable as pajamas but with a lot more style.

Old terraces have been converted into hostels. Parking is tough here, impossible on Friday nights, but somehow they find space to park their dusty 4WDs. The ratio is about two vans for every one regular car.

While deals of a different mind-altering nature are made on the Golden Mile just a few streets away, here the currency is combi-vans and hard cash. Fully equipped with all the camping equipment needed for a trip around Oz, the average price is about AUS$4,500 and they're inevitably up for a quick sale.

Backpackers congregate on the street and reunite with other travelling friends. They sing, dance, laugh, chat, play guitars or snooze in their vans. It's hard not to be envious.

And at the end of a frustrating day at work, when I see the signs sticky-taped to the inside of windows covered in red outback dust, it's tempting to think of how easy it would be to buy one of these vans. To hit the open road. Freedom just a 20 minute transaction away. It's good to have an escape clause . . . 

Someone must have thought this coffee cup
was cute enough to hang on a wall. I agree.
Maybe it's like an urban mistletoe when the
Saturday night Romeos come out to play.

It's 8.40am Saturday morning and a hot breeze is blowing through the apartment. The weather report says it will be 43 degrees. I have no plans but a few ideas for what to do today. Days like this are heavenly, if not a little hot. Hope you have a glorious Saturday too.

On a far less interesting note, my camera and computer are finally talking to each other again (the computer had a bit of a tantrum and decided the USB drivers were so last season). I hope to share more pictures with you now.