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    Category Archives: bricks & mortar

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    Studio Visit: Samara Greenwood Architecture

    By Keely Malady

    Samara Greenwood and Anna Castles outside SGArch’s studio/pavilion – Photo by Martina Gemmola.

    Samara Greenwood and Anna Castles outside SGArch’s studio/pavilion.

    Samara Greenwood Architecture is a young, boutique architectural practice focused on creating homes with heart. Founded by CWC Member Samara Greenwood, under her direction the team have an approach to design that is without pretense and is firmly focused on people – their hopes, dreams and everyday way of life.

    What inspired you to start your own practice?
    In many ways, the business began itself. My youngest daughter was nine months old when I was asked to help a couple who were struggling to understand the architectural process.

    While I originally only agreed to help scope out their needs and prepare a brief, I fell in love with the project and decided then and there to use it as inspiration to create a more ‘user friendly’ architecture and design practice.

    Model making experiments during a recent Dream Home Workshop.

    Model making experiments during a recent Dream Home Workshop.

    The SGArch.'s practice philosophy encourages listening and sharing of ideas.

    The SGArch.’s practice philosophy encourages listening and sharing of ideas.

    ‘Listen’ and ‘Heart’ are quite unusual key words in an architectural firm’s mission statement – why are these important to you?
    The focus on ‘listen’ actually came from a workshop attendee – who commented how great it was to spend the day with talented architects who listen. We were so taken with what he said that we have used it as a kind of motto ever since!

    A lot of the time I meet people whose experience with Architects has been more difficult than it needs to be, where the designer’s vision has taken over and the client feels forgotten in the process. I wanted to create the kind of practice that I would want to engage as a client. Listening is critical to that process, balancing our skills in understanding our clients with our expertise in translating their needs into beautiful designs that work for them.

    In that same sense, the ultimate aim for us is to find the ‘heart’ in each design, to produce beautiful pieces of architecture with the ‘human factor’ built right into the core.

    What factors drove you and Anna (Castles) to start the Dream Home Workshops?
    Anna and I met whilst working at the same architectural firm many years ago and have been friends ever since. Over lunch one day, I was describing to Anna the new methods I was developing to understand my client’s needs at a deeper level. She then simply stated ‘that would make a great workshop’ – and so the adventure began!

    Both Anna and I love the conversations that arise during the workshop. We are amazed at how much the attendees get from each other, as well as from us. I know they appreciate the opportunity to spend a whole day with two architects who are willing to talk about pretty much anything (oh and we do!). It is a really warm and open experience, designed to make people comfortable with both the design process and with figuring out what they really want and need from their home.

    The Dream Home Workshops are held at our tree-top studio in Ivanhoe. Again, people tell us this is a really great part of the day, as they get to step outside of their normal, everyday lives and have quality time in a beautiful, inspiring environment. We do love it when they say that!

    Scrapbooking of a dream home

    Scrapbooking of a dream home

    A Dream Home Workshop participant trying their hand at model making.

    A Dream Home Workshop participant trying their hand at model making.

    Who are your typical clients, and why do you think they are drawn to SGArch’s new approach to architecture and design?
    We attract a broad range of clients, but there are some common factors we are beginning to notice; when they first come to us, most clients feel ‘stuck’ in some way – perhaps they have lots of ideas but don’t know which ones will work best, or maybe they know what they want and need someone who can translate those dreams into a great design – whatever it is, our job is to help them get ‘unstuck’ and moving forward to their goals.

    Our clients want a home that works beautifully, is well built and feels amazing – what we call the dream home trifecta. Many clients haven’t been through the architectural process before and aren’t sure what to expect, so we take them through what is involved as clearly and concisely as we can. We love how pleased and surprised they are by the detail we go to, and how involved they feel in the evolution of the design from start to finish.

    How do you approach the next step, making ‘dream home’ aspirations a reality?
    The first step in any project, small or large, is exploring all the (many!) factors that are taken into account to determine the best design strategy.

    Basically, we listen, ask a lot of questions, and then more questions about the answers to those questions, then do some research, then try a few ideas out, then ask more questions, until both we and our clients feel we’ve hit on the best course of action. This is a process that takes a fair bit of experience and intuition to navigate, but is so much fun at the same time! We call it our ‘house doctor’ strategy – you tell us your problems and, together, we’ll find the cure.

    The Dream Home Workshop's are held at SGArch’s studio pavilion in Ivanhoe, with  stunning views of the Darebin Parklands and CBD.

    The Dream Home Workshop’s are held at SGArch’s studio pavilion in Ivanhoe, with stunning views of the Darebin Parklands and CBD.

    Find Samara and the Dream Home Workshops online at www.sgarch.com.au, or on Instagram @samara_greenwood.

    Keely Malady is a twenty-something year old graduate architect living in Melbourne. Her passions include art, design and the environment, both built and natural. Keely’s blog, Small Talk & Co., is on a mission to share the brilliance of big hearted entrepreneurial thinkers from around Melbourne and Australia with the world. Find Keely on Twitter and Instagram @keelymalady or on Facebook /smalltalkco.

    {All photos by Martina Gemmola}

    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: bricks & mortar, interview, virtual visit, women in architecture | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Virtual visit: Page 8 Mornington

    Eleesa Howard at Page 8 Mornington contacted me a little while back about stocking Conversations with Creative Women: Volume Two. A little research into this coastal establishment led me to want to find out more about the shop and Eleesa herself!

    page 8 shoot 2

    Tell us about Page 8. It seems like more than a place to buy books, but a hub for the local creative community. How long has it existed in Mornington and what kind of customers does it attract?

    You are right, Page 8 is so much more than a place to buy books. I guess you would call us a lifestyle shop. It was started eight years ago by a local couple. They started the business while having three beautiful boys, they did an amazing job. We aim to be the place that customers can come and find something a little fresh, quirky, interesting, creative and inspiring. Our customers are across a range of age groups and backgrounds. One minute, there will be a grandmother looking for an interesting gift for her grandchild. Next, it will be a business man checking out the selection of Architecture books, then a group of teenagers looking out for latest Frankie mag! Such an enthusiastic and wide variety of customers, which I love. I guess we have something for everyone!

    What labels do you stock?

    We love stocking local designers and crafters along side quality brands from Melbourne and internationally, such as: Polli, pigeonhole, wewood, telegram, make me iconic, pony rider, keep cups, Salus, Elk, Spider & lily, Printspace, Down to the Woods, One Sunday Morning, Gozi & Pop, Once Made, Lascari, to name just a few! We also stock the latest across a range of books, including children’s titles, cookbooks, art, photography, graphic design, interiors, architecture, gardening , craft and design…..so many!

    page 8 shoot 6



    page 8 shoot 4

    What is your background personally? What did you study and how did you find yourself at Page 8?
    This is a bit of a long story as I have ‘fallen’ into many things. I finished high school and found myself in the real world pretty quickly. I started out in retail and then worked in an amazing place called the Organic Market Café in Stirling, SA. I learned so much about food and life there, I loved that job.

    In between, however, I did have two little people come into my life. I had my daughter at 23 and then a few years later had my son. This is where the creative side of me really took hold! Being a stay at home Mum, I felt the need to do ‘something’. So I started to sew clothes for my kids and then quilts, mostly using beautiful vintage fabrics and materials. It was around this time that I was given the oppurtunity to work as part of the visual merchandising team for Country Road. I loved it and realised I had a natural talent for design and display.

    After a few years my husband and I moved interstate and I had a fresh start in hosplitalily. This lead to the oppurtunity to opening my own little cafe, which was great fun but a steep learning curve.

    Due to the ‘surprise’ of our youngest son popping into our lives, the café was too much to continue. So again I was home with a new baby and going a little insane! I was itching to do something. This is when I got back into sewing. I started doing markets, making and selling bags, quilts and cushions under the name ‘dorothybills’.

    We moved to Victoria four years ago and settled on the beautiful Mornington peninsula. I continued on with markets and also stared working at Page 8 in the old cafe. Somehow, I cant even remember, I stated working in the shop helping with the visual merchandising there. Then as time went on I became the Manager. In October 2013 new owners took over the store, and now I am both manager and buyer which I love! I am truly lucky to have an amazing group of wonderful ladies to work with and support me.

    What creative things do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    As my life is so busy, I seem to have a lot of half-finished projects. I’m current making a twine coil basket, painting some plant pots and have managed to sit down with my teenagers and dabble creatively while they are doing their art homework.

    I think that’s why I love to surround myself with creative people and their goodies, even though I may not be creating as much as I used to, it makes me happy knowing I’m helping others get their work out there in some small way.

    page 8 shoot 3

    What’s on your summer holiday reading list?
    I just finished, finally, ‘ Let’s pretend this never happened’ by Jenny Lawson, which made me laugh out loud with tears rolling down my face!

    Also on my bedside table is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Cloudstreet by Tim Winton,which I cant wait to read, and the latest issue of Frankie. I must admit I have a weakness for magazines and interior book such as Beci Orpin’s new book Home and  A Place Called Home by Jason Grant. Lots of constant stimulation and inspiration!

    Thanks Eleesa! You can find Page 8 on Facebook or visit the store at: 188 Main St, Mornington, Victoria.

    {Photos by Danielle Trovato}

    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: books, bricks & mortar, virtual visit | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Bricks & Mortar: Shelley Panton Studio

    Today we visit the new store location of CWC member and former CWC speaker Shelley Panton in Melbourne’s Prahran. 


    In 2011 you were a CWC guest speaker, but for those who weren’t able to attend, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to open your first studio/shop?

    I had been working as an event stylist and producer before the GFC hit in 2008 and work dried up. With a bit of time on my hands I took up a short course in pottery while I worked out what to do next. I was also house hunting at the time, and stumbled across a quaint century-old butchers store in Middle Park. I saw 88 Park Road as an opportunity to have a go at building up my own studio ,where I could handcraft my ceramics alongside stocking other local artisans and craftspeople’s wares.

    I opened the store and studio space (living out the back!) in 2009 and my shop range grew to include artful books, furniture and staples home wares.

    In August 2013 we relocated to 440 Malvern Road, Prahan, as the landlords wanted to develop 88 Park Road and I felt my business had also outgrown the space. The timing was right. I am loving my new location and the business has continued to grow.

    Shelley Panton Store_Store Photograph

    Shelley Panton Store_Shelley Panton Table Ware Range

    Can you tell us about the process of moving your shop and studio to a bigger location? What were some of the challenges and what have been some of the highlights of your new location so far?

    Finding out I had to move both my house and my shop in one hit was overwhelming. Whilst I knew business was ready to take the next step of moving to a larger premises with a busier frontage, actually finding the new site proved to be quite a challenge of top of running the day to day of my business. I had to constantly remind myself that the right place would turn up, and it sure did, at the 11th hour.

    The new location has proved to be a wonderful move, trade has increased dramatically, but then so have the overheads. All in all, I’m glad for the move as I feel I am in the right place for healthy long term growth. If I had my time again I would have taken a bit more of a break plus invested in getting some more help as I took a bit too much on and suffered fatigue in the first few months from trying to keep up with admin, training staff, producing my work and the day to day of shop keeping.

    My work ethic is very strong, probably partly based on the fear of having to ever having to write a CV or apply for another job again! I’ve had my fare share of setbacks in life, but this has taught me resilience and gives me passion and energy to do what I do.

    Shelley Panton Store_Uashamama Paper Bags

    Shelley Panton Store_Rock The Shack

    Shelley Panton Store_Adriana Christianson Pottery

    What are your favourite products instore at the moment, and why?

    I’m loving colour and copper at the moment. Plus I’m a big fan of Adriana Christianson’s stoneware beakers. I picked up a few earlier this year at a pottery fair and loved them so much I decided to stock them alongside my own ceramics.

    I’m also loving our current range of recycled timber frames, beach umbrellas and books. Summer is my favourite season!

    Shelley Panton Store_Murphy and Daughters Bon Bon Soap
    Can you tell us about some of the special in-store events you have planned for 2014?

    In March we are hosting two Dinners in the Studio for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. I’ll be collaborating with chefs Perry Schagen and Josh Powell, and winemaker Paul Scorpoto celebrate all things artisan and water inspired for the table. Tinker by Printink will also be printing our napkins, which each guest will get to take home.

    We’ll also continue our Meet the Maker Q& A series as I thoroughly enjoy interviewing and sharing the stories of makers whom I stock.


    Shelley Panton Store_Pottery Studio

    Thanks for the virtual visit Shelley!

    Shelley Panton Studio
    440 Malvern Road, Prahran, Vic
    Opening hours 

    If you would like to know more about Shelley’s career path you can listen to Shelley’s 2011 CWC speaker event on our Podcasts page – FREE for everyone!

    All images by Caitlin Mills

    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: bricks & mortar, interview | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Buy handmade this Christmas at our Member’s pop-up shops

    Around this time of year, Melbourne bursts at the seams with markets and pop-up retail spaces, giving us ample opportunity to purchase gifts for others (or for ourselves!) direct from the makers themselves. How lucky are we?

    Here are a couple of upcoming retail events run by our members, that will guarantee a beautiful shopping experience in stark opposition to brightly-lit suburban shopping malls, and of course put a smile on the gift recipient’s dial :)

    Abbotsford Convent Pop Up Shop


    Some of the clever tenants who are working at the Convent have banded together to provide a unique retail experience.
    The large space in the Sacred Heart courtyard (where the nuns used to do the ironing!), is now a funky and enticing shop that is filled with different products; from ceramics to books to clothes and paintings.

    The artists involved will be in the shop at different times so you can talk to them about how they make their work. With any purchase made, the entire amount will go to the artist making the artists’ professions more sustainable.

    Open 11am until 8pm Thursday-Sunday through November and December
    Scared Heart Courtyard
    Abbotsford Convent
    1 St Heliers Street Abbotsford VIC 3067

    For info contact Ilona at info@conventpopupshop.com.au

    Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


    The Shop that went Pop Bang Sparkle



    For one night only, contemporary jewellers Liz Ickiewicz, Anna De Kretser, Susan Ewington, Anastasia Grace and Eli Speaks will sell their wares and preview their new ranges.

    Tuesday 3rd December, 6-9pm
    Upstairs at The Alderman, 134 Lygon St, Brunswick East, Victoria
    {Cash only}

    For more information email hi.liziitt@gmail.com or see sneak peeks on Instagram via the hashtag #popbangsparkle

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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: bricks & mortar, member news | Comments Off