Friday, September 23, 2011



We are a family business with over 38 years experience in design.

We pride ourselves on sourcing unique product from around the world...this is a 'Flat-Pack-Free' Zone.
Bringing back the romance of shopping, with our beautiful exotic pieces and a custom made service where you can order exactly what you have seen in a magazine to your specifications....we look forward to seeing you soon....

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If a house could be transformed into a gloriously eclectic and colourful costume, then this would be an apt starting point.
The flamboyant Hollywood set and costume designer Tony Duquettes home in Beverly Hills features in this months Vogue Living Magazine and the design girls here were completely taken by it.
Duquette, born in 1914, grew up in Los Angeles and became one of the worlds most acclaimed artists and designers.  
Likening himself to the magical Phoenix, Duquette loved the combination of nature and magic, the twin sources of an "enchanted vision that we carry around in the treasure house of our own minds".  His love for the fabled bird also suggests the designer's talent for constant reinvention an creating fantasies full of life, colour and theatre.
This was certainly true of Duquette's own Beverly Hills Home, Dawnridge.  A home of delightful excesses.
Over the years, he mastered many different mediums, designing jewellery, hotel interiors and public spaces.  Yet Duquette is best remembered for the homes he created not just for himself, but also his high society clients, including Elizabeth Arden and J Paul Getty.
There is a great youtube link for those who would like to have a brief little tour through the house, now of course in the hands of a different owner.  Watch as he shows a keen jewellery designer through her idols home.  There is some great footage.  Interesting to see too that this home is arguably the smallest in swanky Beverly Hills.

Duquette added depth of colour to rooms with bright cushions and fabric.  The Biomorphic Console and mirror were designed by him in the 1960's.  All the paintings are by his wife Elizabeth who was an accomplished and well known artist.

Worked into screens made from hubcaps, Duquette called his sculptural piece above the mirrored door a fragment of priestess robe.  The Pedestals flanking the door were designed by him in the 1950's.  The two 18th Century French ahairs still have their original finish, while the orange ottoman sofa covered in Thai silk was inspired by a sofa Duquette designed for his home in San Francisco.
A feature to the right is a sculpture of the Phoenix by Duquette.  The designer strongly identified with the mythical bird, an ever recurring symbol in his work.

(Above) The Living Rooms's high ceiling, crowned with Duquette's chandelier of Venetial glass lilies, and the use of mirrors lend a sense of space to the small house.

The 'Rose Chest' in the garden room appeared in many movies, including My Fair Lady, where Cecil Beaton used it, painted white in Mrs Higgins house.

The Vestibule leads to the Powder Room through a door bearing a mural by Elizabeth Duquette.  The chair, still with its original needlepoint covering was designed by Duquette for his one man exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of art around 1952

The 'Garden Room'   Behind the sofa is a photographic blow-up of a pen and ink drawing Duquette did of Venice Circa 1947.

Hopefully, after seeing the photographs of his home, you will agree that Duquette was a true visionary and complete risk taker when it came to Interior Design, he also created jewellery, costumes for stage and screen,  and was an accomplished artist.  His home is now entrusted to his good friend and business partner Hutton Wilkinson who can be seen in the youtube video linked to his story.

Duquette left this world in 1999 aged 85.  His legacy lives on with selected furniture designs replicated, and his friend Hutton is constantly scouring auction houses for additions to the vast collection of Duquettes eclectic designs.

We would absolutely love to be able to share some images of his work, however it is very, very closely protected, however you can see and also find out so much more via the Tony Duquette Website and there is also a great book available that takes pride of place in our showroom.



I love this recipe for Angel Hair pasta with Garlic and Chilli, because its simple to make and makes for a great budget meal for the family.  Usually we have 7 around the dinner table and sometimes more, depending on how many 'ring-ins' we have....boyfriends, girlfriends...just friends etc....

I also love this recipe because I can use a few ingredients from the Vegie Patch at home.  I have Australian Garlic growing at the moment...(its easy to grow too, just split the cloves and plant pointy side up about 2 inches into the ground...cover and you will know when its ready to harvest because the green shoots on the surface will die off) plus I have a fabulous Chilli plant that just produces all year.

This pasta recipe is great for a side dish, or sprinkle some fried bacon pieces over the top, plus chopped rocket and fresh baby tomatoes and you have a meal in itself.  If you dont have time, or like in our household all the bread goes in a flash so theres never any day old stuff left to make the crumbs, just use shop bought bread crumbs in a packet.
Traditionally, this is to the Italians as meat pie is to the Aussies.  Its a staple Italian you better drink red with this one.  :-)

Thank you to our friends at Taste for this recipe

Ingredients (serves 6)

1 x packet of Angel Hair Pasta...its the thin one available in all good shops...San Remo make a good one, and there is enough in the packet for 6 to 8 people depending on how hungry everyone is.
  • 150g olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (50g) breadcrumbs, made from day-old bread
  • 6 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced widthways
  • 1 1/2 small red chillies, seeded, finely chopped
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon


  1. Heat 1 tbs oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes or until golden, then remove from pan. Wipe pan clean.
  2. Heat remaining oil, garlic and chillies in cleaned pan over low heat for 2 minutes or until oil is hot and garlic is light golden. Add 1 1/2 tsp salt, lemon rind and juice and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Add fresh pasta to a large saucepan of salted boiling water and cook for 20-30 seconds or until it just floats (for dried pasta, cook following packet directions).
  3. Drain, then add immediately to hot oil mixture with the breadcrumbs. Toss well to combine. Serve.


The other night, I watched Pohs Kitchen on the ABC.  You may remember Poh as the effervescent chic from the first Masterchef series?  She is just a little pocket rocket and so inspiring to watch her cook.  With her Asian background and love of eclectic flavour combinations, she has really made a name for herself in the world of innovative cuisine.  I found a Cocktail recipe on her website that really ticked all the boxes for me, and decided to give it a go.  Needless to say, it was a hit with all of us here, so here's the recipe to share on to all of you.  Thank you Poh for being you and always bringing a smile to our faces when you're on the telly.


Serves 1
  • skin and juice of 2 wedges of lime
  • 10 crushed mint leaves
  • 15ml Amaretto (for that bitter sweet almond taste)
  • 15ml of lychee liqueur (the perfect compliment for almonds)
  • 60ml lychee juice
  • 60ml soda water

  1. In a cocktail shaker of ice add the juice and skin of the lime wedges, crushed mint leaves, Amaretto (for that bitter sweet almond taste), lychee liqueur (the perfect compliment for almonds), lychee juice and the soda water for a little bit of efferscence.
  2. Shake, pour and garnish with a fresh lychee....Poh shows you how to make the Lychee into a little Frangipani flower for that extra special touch to the's the link.  
  3. Poh's Kitchen Website Link
  4. p.s to be drunk with your feet up and a copy of 'Farewell my Concubine' in the DVD player (voted one of the 100 best films of world cinema too thank you very much....)


We have been asking our Facebook friends over the past weeks for their all time favourite quotes.  The little mantras that they live by and that help to get them through the tough times, or put perspective on situations that may be out of their control.  Here's the latest installment, this week from Maria Albiez...

"You cant discover new oceans until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore"


Until next week!  Enjoy your weekend and do something nice just for you!  Thank you to everyone for their contribution on our facebook page over the past couple of weeks too...we love hearing from you and really appreciate your input!

Cathie, Colette and Jen...The Charcoal Team xxx

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