Category: We visit quirky coffee shops, restaurants & home ware stores

Coffee in Baroque Barn Style – Ouland Royale

Last year I was lucky enough to spend a wonderful 2 weeks in South Africa to share a very special occasion with my family; my sister’s 40th birthday!  We were spoiled for choice dining at wine bars in picturesque settings, snacking at divine coffee shops and brunching at locations extremely diverse in character and style.

timber & glass antique front door

 

One such location still sticks in my mind, as the setting and atmosphere was like nothing I’ve come across in my hometown of Sydney.   In a city with coffee shops and restaurants decorated in the ever popular rustic industrial style, this particular restaurant hit me like a breath of fresh air on a cold winter’s day.

Floral accents & painted timber

Claw feet bath and rustic wall

Ouland Royale is a huge Barogue Barn built by Wilja Reitz and her team on her family farm just outside of Plettenberg Bay in South Africa.  Wilja is an interior artist and created a unique venue, filled with spectacular French Baroque furniture pieces which she had collected and restored herself.

 

Baroque style love seat

French Baroque mirrors fill the walls and the luxurious upholstered chairs lend luxury and old world charm fit for Kings.  The hearty, double sided fireplace warms the interior and create an euphoric ambience, letting guests relax into the glamour of yesteryear.

Fireplace with floral cushions

 

Double sided fireplace and leather armchairs

Fascinators, made by the owner, are placed on the antique pieces dotted along the walls and add a surprising theatrical element.

Fascinators and french styling

The vintage style tables, leather suitcases, crockery and dining chairs, combined with the luxury of baroque furniture, give the interior a more cosy and approachable atmosphere, in step with the hospitality of this country environment.

Antique bicycle, love seat

Baroque style hall table, antique mirror

For those of you who would like to replicate this ornate and extravagantly theatrical look in your home, look for gilded, framed mirrors, dark ornately carved furniture, luxurious textiles rich in colour with large patterns, sparkly chandeliers and generous servings of gold accents.

 

sleepy cat, piano stool

To complete the look, don’t forget to add a sleepy cat on a piano stool.

Good luck!

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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We visit Azul Home in Castle Hill

We decided that, every month, we would like to share some of our discoveries with you, whether it’s a tucked away home ware store, or a cosy coffee shop we happened to find by chance.  This week, I found Azul home and can’t wait to share it with you.

It’s funny how we always tend to hit the shopping centres when trying to find that something special for a corner in our homes to make it more interesting or welcoming.  Sometimes we forget about the smaller retailers, because we find them difficult to park at or think that they are out of the way.

torquoise side table2

I’ve driven past Azul Home many times and always promised myself to pop in to see what they have to offer.   Parking was easy, it’s just outside the Piazza at Castle Towers in Old Northern Rd, Castle Hill. If you park at the shopping centre’s cinema parking, you will be close enough.

frames

I walk in and discover a shop smelling of sandalwood and vanilla and décor placed in a way to entice passers-by to enter and delight in its interior.  Each item is thoughtfully displayed to create a warm atmosphere, colours combined to create a lovely unity.

B & W Tree Prints

Angela, who is a local mum from the Kenthurst area, has been here for the past 18 months and won best new small business award last year.  I can understand why!

crosses

This is the perfect place to hunt for a special birthday gift for a loved one, or just to browse around in endlessly.  Luckily the shop is open 7 days a week, so pop in any time during office hours.

green and leather

Light fitting

azul 2

Angela can’t wait for you to come browse, so visit Azul home at 270a Old Northern Road, Castle Hill when you have a chance.   Phone them at 02-96592400 or email at info@azulhome.com.au.  Make sure to have a look at their Facebook page for updates on the arrival of new stock.

Phew, shopping is hard work – might just go for a quick coffee while I’m here 🙂

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie

 

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The Station – Quirky Industrial Coffee Shop in Wahroonga

It’s funny how the sight of a coffee shop with a beautiful interior can instantly bring a smile to our faces and momentarily add an extra beat to our hearts.  The Station is one of the longest established cafes in Wahroonga, originally called Café Laurella, when it opened in 1998.  Husband and wife team, George and Emma, decided to add their own flavour to the community of Wahroonga and started this thriving family friendly restaurant.  Among the hussle and bussle, we have a quick chat to Emma to ask about their journey and how the interior design of the restaurant unfolded.

coffee shop quirky industrial

VSD: The opening at the street side gives great access to passers by.  Was this done during your renovation?

It is one of my favourite aspects of the fit out.  I wanted a feature that would be immediately noticable and where it would by easy for passers by to stop and get a take away.  At the same time, it acts as a drawing card for people to come inside and see what else is on offer.

yellow chair coffee shop industrial

VSD: How did you come across the premises?

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Poets Ode – Monochromatic Heaven in Hahndorf

Thankfully, our day does not start with another wine tasting like it has for the past few days.  Wine for breakfast could easily become a habit, so today we prefer to avoid it.  Our holiday in the Barossa has been a glorious fest thus far and the only hindrance (from our husbands’ point of view) could be the amount of time we spend photographing every wall, stone, log, rusted corrugated iron and other textured surfaces we can find.  Today we head in the direction of Adelaide Hills to visit the much talked about German settlement town of Hahndorf, just 30 minutes from the CBD.

Blackboard

Among the original and beautifully restored and maintained “Fachwerk” (medieval brace timber) buildings, we unexpectedly come across a store that stands out from the rest.  From the bustling main street, we enter its calm interior and it is immediately apparent that each item has been carefully selected and displayed in a way to delight all those who enter.

The owners of Poets Ode are husband and wife team, Alia and Scott, who are talented wedding photographers who travel all over Australia taking remarkably memorable photos of those special moments.

teatowel display

Poets ode shop

Their philosophy is to keep things simple and they always source ethically made goods locally or from abroad.  The cascading light from large windows and the backdrop of white walls create a perfect setting for natural, handcrafted and classically designed pieces.

Clothing

The muted tones of creams, greys and caramels lend a perfect serene calmness to the area and one tends to spend hours browsing through the unique wares. A monochromatic heaven! 

whitewashed drawer and linen

Alia tells us that her love for being surrounded by beautiful things, comes from her mother.  She regularly took Alia to antique markets and second hand stalls from a young age.  Even though she didn’t enjoy it at the time, she is now grateful developing such a keen eye during those annoying shopping expeditions!  (I think I’m going to make my kids grateful this weekend!)

book display

Duck egg basket

The highlight of Poets Ode is to experience all the different textures together. So well chosen, all with a neutral tone, create a shop filled with texture and makes you want to touch each and every item.

leather textures

Chunky knits and leather

church bench

Cup and saucer, rustic table

Part of the shop is a beautiful tea room where you can relax and daydream about all the lovely home ware you can’t resist buying.

row timber chairs

We just love the beautiful rustic timber chairs.  When asked about future plans for Poets Ode, we hear that live music, exhibitions, workshops and poetry (of course!) are on the cards soon.  Remember to visit their Facebook page or follow their Instagram feed to keep up to date with future events.

Poets ode shop counter

Thank you to Alia & Scott for inviting us into your monochromatic world of Poet’s Ode. Whenever you are in Hahndorf, Adelaide Hills, make sure to visit Poet’s Ode at 100 Main Street, Hahndorf.

*(All photos in this blog was taken by Vanilla Slate Designs)

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Coffee at The Grounds in Alexandria

A “destination café” is a café that has coffee, food and atmosphere so wonderful, that you would be willing to travel great distances to experience its uniqueness.  Although we came across The Grounds per chance and without well thought out travel plans, we would certainly take this journey across town again, without a second thought.

Coffee at the Grounds

As we take a seat inside, mouths agape at the rustic chic décor and absorbing the cosy ambience created by soft lighting, we order a cappucino.  Lyndie decides that hers lack chocolate sprinkles and generously pours some over her coffee from the container on the table.  After a greedy gulp, she realizes that the newly acquired peppery taste, is not due to the ground organic coffee beans!  Luckily, the dumbfounded waiter replaces it with a smile, head shaking as if not believing in such stupidity!

Hanging plant and yellow tollix chairs

As described in our previous blog, The Grounds of Alexandria is situated among factory outlets and showrooms, so it was an unexpected delight coming across this oasis of kitchen gardens, chicken pen and a sprawl of casual seating.

Outdoor seating, industrial

The Grounds café, is a former warehouse and 1900s pie factory that was turned into a restaurant with artisan bakery and coffee roasting facility.  The renovated space opens onto an urban kitchen garden, with a fit-out that creates a rustic, inviting atmosphere with contemporary highlights.

black board and timber table2

The designer, Caroline Choker, embraced the former rustic, industrial interior and combined it with eye catching polished tiles in interesting patterns, steel frames and timber cabinetry to create this unique atmosphere. The starting point for their design concept was a seed to cup approach and it combines well with the holistic dining and coffee experience.

The Grounds interior shelving

The Grounds Coffee poster

The site also hosts a coffee research and testing facility.  The Grounds offers wholesome, rustic food where fresh herbs are picked from the garden every morning.  A full-time horticulturalist grows seasonal produce for the menu.

Fresh bread display

Caroline’s brother, Ramzey Choker, and his longstanding business partner, coffee roaster Jack Hanna, own the café.  Caroline also designs and manages bespoke events there.

Brick hallway with lighting

If you would like to have a unique outing, visit The Grounds at Building 7, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria.  Phone 02-96992225 to make a booking, especially for large groups or over the busy weekend period.

 

Cheerio ’til next time!

 

Lyndie and Eriana

Images found on petitepassport; nicoalaryjr on Flickr.com; and Pinterest by arlaaston.com

 

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Coffee, food & music at The Grounds of Alexandria

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We were just strolling down the street, minding our own business, on the busy streets of Alexandria in Sydney. Then we turned a corner, and unexpectedly faced a small piece of paradise with a strong smell of freshly brewed coffee.

alexandria the grounds

alexandria the grounds outdoor tables

This amazing cafe garden was built in 2012 into the remnants of an old heritage-listed warehouse. It is almost like a little town. There is a mixture of freshly brewed take-away coffee stands. The lovely Industrial style coffee shop, The Grounds, is the centre of attention for this cafe garden.  Walk around and explore and you will find more restaurants, deli’s, bakery’s and even activities for children.

rustic outdoor table

alexandria the grounds coffee shop

In the outside courtyard you will find either secret spots or huge sharing tables. Plans for a beer garden is well on it’s way! Order something, have a seat anywhere and just relax!

coffee shop wine barrel table

alexandria coffee shop take away

There are so much to explore, you will have to plan to stay a while.

alexandria children playground

alexandria petting zoo

There is even a play area for kids, and a petting zoo with a pig called Kevin Bacon.

alexandria the grounds markets

alexandria live bands

With regular market stalls and live bands on weekends, this cafe garden in Alexandria is the place to be on a lazy Saturday morning. Check out their facebook page for updated shows & markets.

dog parking

outdoor bathroom

Even dogs are welcome, with their own special “Dog Parking” for water. An outdoor bathroom with rustic features is available. Don’t worry, the toilets are inside!

So here is the address for your next visit to Alexandria:

BUILDING 7A, NO.2 HUNTLEY ST ALEXANDRIA NSW 2015

 

Until next time,

Eriana & Lyndie

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A visit to “The Baron” – An Industrial coffee shop in Castle Hill

The Vanilla Girls are always in desperate need for a quick caffeine fix and it was not by accident that we ended up at the Baron.  This funky, industrial style coffee shop in Castle Hill, North West of Sydney, has been our secret “pick me up” for the last few months.  We decided, because we are generally good people, that it would be a sin and extremely selfish not to share it with our readers.

The Baron Castle hill

With locally sourced ingredients and home made sauces and relishes, they’ve created a winning menu with some interesting variations on the good old favourites. (more…)

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“Kiplings Garage Bar” – Your wine bar and fireplace in Turramurra

We came across Kipling’s Garage Bar after a suggestion from a friend that lives in the local area of Turramurra. Early settlers referred to the area as Eastern Road, until the railway station was built in 1890.

This time, we arrive at our destination almost without incident, the only mishap being a slight detour into one way traffic in combination with hysterical giggles and a near miss of a pole in the centre of the road. The Bar’s location is opposite the Turramurra Station. We have a chat with Helen, the owner, to find out about this intimate establishment, which used to be a service station.  The neglected building stood unoccupied for a number of years, before Helen decided to turn it into a lively, modern bar & restaurant.

Kiplings_garage_bar_turramurra_outside_restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VSD: How did you come across the premises and decide on a wine bar?

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Dolcettini – A rustic Patisserie heaven in the Hills

As we walk through the door of Dolcettini, we immediately become aware of the homely smell of freshly brewed coffee and hot, buttery pastry.  Even though the patisserie is tucked away on a side street in Dural, they sure don’t have a lack of passing trade through the door!

Bianca and her husband, Francesca, opened this shop in 2012, after creating a huge following by setting up market stalls and selling award winning delights. Nowadays, they can hardly keep up with demand and their delicious creations are very well known in the area.

We caught up with Bianca in the midst of the bustling trade, to ask about the design and decorating stage of the shop.

timber bar counter coffee shop

VSD:  How did you decide on the style of the décor?

My husband always wanted an industrial, rustic patisserie and I’ve always loved a more French Provincial and Italian country look (which can be very expensive when done properly).  We had a very tight budget not knowing what to expect from a shop in Dural in a small community.  We found the building to be awkwardly designed and weren’t willing to spend too much on the interior.

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