Friday, June 24, 2011


When I first started working for the Charcoal Team I had never heard of Axel Vervoordt..let alone spell or pronounce his name.  Over my time here I have come to recognise the main design influences of Colette and Cathie, with one of them being Axel Vervoordt.  He is undoubtedly one of the most influencial designers in the world, and you will find that there are not many experienced Interior Designers out there who have not heard of him. 
 Axel Vervoordt 

Amongst his many achievements, Axel has established a castle in a locale near Antwerp called 's-Gravenwezel, and Kanaal gallery in a restored industrial complex on the banks of a nearby canal. Vervoodt started buying and selling antiques when he was a student. As a young adult, he bought and restored a 16th-century house in the center of Antwerp. When numerous admiring clients asked him to do the same, he fell into decorating. Now, with a staff of 100, he personally supervises between 12 and 20 interior design commissions a year for a variety of royalty, pop stars, museums, bankers, collectors and musicians.

In 1984 Vervoordt bought the castle, from which he operated his antiques and design business, and when he ran out of space his search for larger quarters led him to the Kanaal in you do...
Though the Vervoordt castle and Kanaal are two entirely different buildings, some of the spaces and the way they are arranged with furniture, art or objects look very similar at the hands of Vervoordt.

"I like to live in the warm, rich world of the baroque and the serene, calm world of the Orient. I love Zen houses ... and I also admire Thai monasteries because even unrestored and empty they have a real aura of peace and beauty," writes Vervoordt. In the castle, many of the spaces are minimally furnished, with a few pieces of furniture and sculpture.
 The Kanaal

When Vervoordt decided to buy the Kanaal, a complex of warehouses, grain silos and a large round building, he wanted a truly minimalist environment where he could exercise his vision of "limitless spatial purity." By stripping the buildings down to the bare wooden board or cement floors and exposed brick or whitewashed-cement block walls, Vervoordt hopes to show "how we might wish to live in the 21st century." Not only is the variety of the antiques and art that he offers awe-inspiring but so too is his philosophy. "I consider myself a very eclectic collector and dealer. I treasure the timeless and disdain the trendy," states Vervoordt.

"My taste spans centuries, continents and economic strata. I love the tension between different object and different cultures." Two elaborate silver candelabra "taken away from some princely 18th-century dining table become not table decoration, not emblems of wealth and power, but strange and beautiful abstract objects," he writes.

The castle and Kanaal are both opened to the public once a year, and those who appreciate his work flock to see for themselves the incredible beauty of the interior and grounds.


Queensland Timber Flooring now have a permanent post here at Charcoal Interiors, and we are very excited to be able to showcase such a premium product.
They are the oldest company in Brisbane to supply and install Tongue and Groove strip flooring over concrete and provide the largest range of timber species available with the availability also of Antique Wide Boards.  Queensland Timber flooring can even install parquetry floorboards, and every person who works for the company has a background in the Timber Industry.
Sunshine Beach Project

For those of you who have always wanted a beautiful timber floor, but thought it was an unattainable dream, we invite you come in and have a look at our display that you can touch, walk on and see for yourself the quality and beauty of real timber flooring on concrete.
Queensland Timber Flooring Display now at Charcoal Interiors 59 Doggett St. Newstead, or visit their website


Raising money for Breast Cancer Research for the PA
From left: Tracey McGown (McGown Creative), Katie Noonan (Songstress Extraordinaire), Melinda Leisemann (breast cancer survivor), Georgie Lewis (Channel 10) and Simone Plunkett (PA Research Marketing Mngr)

We love music here at Charcoal.  Firm believers in the fact that your shopping experience should encompass a treat to all the senses.  This is our sanctuary, and we want it to feel like that for you too.  That's why we love to play the music of Brisbane based songstress Katie Noonan.  We have been fans for years now, so you can imagine how excited we were for our friend and client Tracey McGown from McGown Creative when she got the job to look after Katie who is one of the ambassadors for Breast Cancer Research Fundraising via the PA Hospital.  Apparently at a fund raiser held on Wednesday night of this week, Katie was asked to say a few words but asked if it would be OK if she sung instead....Wow!

With about one and a half million new
cases of breast cancer diagnosed globally
every year and predictions the incidence
of this disease will increase substantially
between now and 2019 – Dr Naderi from the PA and
his team are upping the ante in their fight
for a more effective treatment with better

How can you help?  Donate to:
Or, you can call 07 31762359


Discover the Newstead precinct with an array of quality cafes and restaurants, Art Galleries, parks, bars and of our favourite little haunts is just down the street...a little place called 33 Squares.  Our recommendation?...The Turkish Bread toasted sandwich washed down with one of their superb coffee blends.

Then, call up the road to number 59 Doggett Street and say hi to us! Pick up a bargain in our Sale!


No explanation needed


Mmmmmm?? Easy you say?  Yes!  These little pies are so easy to make and Leeks are in season, so you get the full nutritious benefit.  Mushrooms are my all time favourite food and combined with the Leek and the Chicken I found this a very moorish recipe.  It truly is easy and you will have the kids coming back for seconds and thirds with nary a notion that they are ingesting anything remotely 'healthy'.....enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 6 sheets filo pastry
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 6 chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 200g Swiss brown mushrooms, halved
  • 2 leeks, white part only, thickly sliced
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) sour cream
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs coarsely chopped tarragon


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Cut the filo sheets in half lengthways. Cut each filo strip into thirds to make squares. Brush the filo with butter and layer sheets into 4 stacks. Line four 10cm fluted tart tins with removable bases with the pastry stacks. Place on an oven tray. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until golden.
  2. Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a bowl. Heat remaining oil and add mushrooms and leeks. Cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Return chicken to pan. Add the mustard, sour cream and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the tarragon and gently toss to combine.
  3. Place filo cases on serving plates and fill with chicken mixture. Serve immediately.



    Hot Chocolate and Frangelico combo says to me gotta run 30 kilometres over the weekend, and carrot sticks for all of next week...but who cares?  It's all worth every seductive sip.  We bought one of those cool outdoor fireplaces (not the mexican chimenea type...ewwww) the other day and its been a camping experience every single day of the week since!  We are hooked on this fireplace, although I am coming to work every day smelling a bit like a lump of coal, but its all worth it!  So what if the house reeks of old smoke and my voice is a bit '1900 raspy'??  Just to be able to sit by the fire every night is better than telly!  And the teenage kids sit with us too now. So much fun.  So, as a little dessert treat I made Pete the Greek and I a Hot Chocolate with the frangelico.  Frangelico is a hazelnut liqueur of Italian origin.  A little does go a long way, so you can also use it in desserts.  There are some great recipes out there using Frangelico.  I also like it over ice with lime...yes..lime...have I mentioned before how much we like lime?...sorry LOVE lime.  So, may I suggest that if you do have a fireplace, brazier or even a wood barbecue, you light it up, pop the feet up and enjoy this delicious drink that is guaranteed to warm you from the inside out.

Make this recipe just before serving. Frangelico is a hazelnut-flavoured liqueur. If unavailable, you can use amaretto, an almond-flavoured liqueur.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1.5L (6 cups) milk
  • 375ml (1 1/2 cups) thickened cream
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) Frangelico liqueur
  • 200g good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped


  1. Combine the milk and cream in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring just to the boil. Remove from heat. Stir in Frangelico.
  2. Divide the chocolate among serving glasses. Pour over the Frangelico mixture and serve immediately.

Wishing you a terrific weekend.  I have much to do in the herb garden.  Cathie is going to be here on Saturday so pop in and say hi whilst checking out our fabulous Sale (up to 50% off selected furniture styles, furniture and accessories).  And so we leave you with this beautiful quote from Audrey Hepburn...its an oldie but a goodie and I have shared it in the past, but worthwhile posting it up again for those who have not seen this before....until next Friday.....Cathie, Colette and Jen....The Charcoal Team