If we’re honest, when Justin Hemmes opens a new Sydney hospitality venture, we’re probably more interested in its design features than its culinary offering. Original, iconic and market-leading, Hemmes’ Merivale Sydney bars and restaurants are always defined by their fabulous interiors (oh, and the food and drinks too…).
Next Monday (7 March), Sydneysiders can get the insider tips when Justin and Bettina Hemmes, architect and interior designer Kelvin Ho (of The Paddington and Coogee Pavilion fit-out fame) and stylist Amanda Talbot host an intimate evening called Style Me Merivale at The Ivy. We have two tickets and dinner to give away to a lucky reader but more on that later…
From a venue’s conception to how much its location and food influence its interior, it’s sure to be a hugely informative evening, hosted by Vogue Living editor in chief and The Block judge Neale Whitaker. You’ll learn how to take high-end interior design ideas and translate them to your own home at a fraction of the price.
We chatted to Amanda Talbot, who says while being inspired by others is great, you should always be true to your own style first and foremost. “The biggest advice I can give to people is to design your home for you and not get caught up in the latest trends. Take the anti-design approach so that your home feels timeless and provides comfort.
“The best way to give a hospitality venue longevity is by not getting caught up in current trends as they will date very quickly. The other trap many people fall into is creating spaces that are very themed,” adds Amanda, who loves to mix old and new furniture. I often buy furniture from the Salvation Army or eBay at bargain prices and get it reupholstered. Invest in some custom pieces and give yourself a brief – it’s the perfect way to make sure you stick to your design and don’t stray.
Coogee Pavilion games area
“With a commercial space, it’s important to get people to connect with an environment without any of their personal belongings and the best way to do this is by connecting to people’s senses, nostalgia and to give the space a buzz.”
As for a venue’s location, it’s a very important consideration when designing from scratch. “Location is fundamental to the interior because it dictates the people who will be coming to the venue and the location also holds history that we can use to inject into the space. For instance, with Coogee Pavilion, I found out Coogee was famous for Sydneysiders to catch a tram from the city and go whale-watching during whale season. The original building also used to house a roller skating and fun park so it gave us the idea to build a games area for children and adults.”
What’s on the menu can also dictate the direction the interior takes. “Fred’s is based on head chef Daniel’s philosophies. The food is honest and the cooking is done over an open hearth which gave us the cues for the space.”
The creative team start with mood boards in what is a very collaborative design process. “We are like a big family on the Merivale projects. I work alongside Justin and Bettina Hemmes and architect Kelvin Ho depending on what project and we all go through every detail together,” says Amanda.
Monday’s event promises to be “all your Pinterest dreams come true”! Tickets are $45 including drinks on arrival. Get your tickets here
One lucky reader will win two tickets to the event plus dinner for two at Uccello –to the value of $150– afterwards. To enter, complete the form below by midnight tomorrow (Thursday 3 March 2016).