A few Fancy Spaces:

Whaaaaaaat is this! Who did this!

Love: the built-in bedsides and built-in low window sill, bay-leaf-green linen throw, and framed prints that don't have to go up on a wall...
I have to admit, I've never been a fan of that poofy style of light shade - so that's gotta go. But everything else can stay right where it is... Love the speckled duvet cover, especially in a room that is otherwise very classic and grown-up. (Also, black-framed, moody photographic prints for the win.)
Inside London's Merrydown, a minimalist home by architects McLaren Excell. (See the rest of it here)
Black, steel-framed, glass, internal doors are definitely becoming a thing and I'm not mad at it one bit.

Steal this idea - huge long sink, with moveable shelves/ledges. I love this!
Love this! Square tiles are having a moment, but going anywhere anytime soon.
Photography by Dean Bradley
OK this is beautiful. It's a dedicated photography studio space for hire (Rye London), with floods of natural light, super-high ceilings, white exposed brick walls, white flooring... STOP IT. The founders wanted to create a space for local makers to be able to create and collaborate (and style and shoot). Can someone open one of these in NZ please?

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Get out there...

Steve and Mark of Hatchet on a weekend hike.

A double happy today - some super nice graphic design, and a new NZ brand started by two mates who're chasing their dream.

Hatchet is Steve Cornwall and Mark Heginbotham. Since graduating from Uni and getting 'real jobs', they've been escaping their desks and screens as often as possible, to explore NZ and the world. On every one of these adventures they've had, though, there was some part of their kit that failed them in some way. The idea of Hatchet was born - a place for likeminded people to find the best (best looking, but more importantly best quality) products - the sort of stuff that could tell a hundred good yarns in years to come; stuff that's tough but humble; tools and kit built to be handed down to your kids and grandkids. Steve and Mark want Hatchet to inspire you to go on that day-hike or escape to the coast to catch a wave, to connect you with nature and with craft, and give you the kit to accompany you.

Hatchet's logo and graphic identity was designed by NZ's Kindly Studio with help from illustrator Logan Smith, and the brand photography is thanks to one of our NZ photography faves, Josh Griggs.

There's still plenty of summer left to plan some adventures... 

Studio Visit - NZ Illustrator Loryn Engelsman

Loryn fills sketchbook after sketchbook with everyday-weirdo characters and observations on life.

One of many editorial illos Loryn has created for NZ's Metro magazine

Loryn's workspace is an old Victorian-era commercial building
that she shares with a group of other Waikato creatives

Do Your Work. Don't Be Stupid.  (How did you know, Loryn?)
You can buy sticker packs of these motivational ladies and dudes on Loryn's Etsy store.

Photography by Dan Hilson for Fancy

Guys, meet Loryn Engelsman. Loryn is 24, and a full-time illustrator. From a old Victorian-era commercial building in Hamilton (a studio she shares with a crew of other young freelance creatives), she creates hand-drawn type and character illos for brands, organisations and NZ magazines. Let's just hand the rest over to Loryn, shall we?

What's been your journey to becoming a full-time illustrator?
I am lucky enough to be able to say that drawing has always been a passion of mine - from a really young age I was an avid sketchbooker. Inspired by the illustrations of Quentin Blake, particularly his illustrations for Roald Dahl’s - The Twits, I only wanted to draw hideous people because they were so interesting to draw! This passion filtered throughout my schooling and I loved the way that I could draw something and get a laugh out of people or get an ‘ah-ha I can relate to that’ response.

I applied to The School of Media Arts at Wintec, not quite knowing what direction I would go - just knowing that I wanted to be a visual artist of some description. I ended up majoring in painting and throughout my studies I focused all my assignments on illustration.

During this time I was following other artists from all over the world, and I came to realise that most illustrators were freelancers and that this was the creative career I wanted to pursue.

I was lucky enough to receive a few design and illustration commissions while I was studying. Just before I graduated, I took a part time job to supplement my income while I started in the freelance game. I then spent the next few years working part time and taking on whatever freelance illustration and design jobs I could get.

In the early days I had massive doubts about whether or not this illustration career would ever work out. I then came to know Angela and Jayden Keoghan from illustration studio The Picture Garden. They helped me so much in these early years with advice, encouragement and answering the million questions I had about freelancing. I have been so lucky over time to have met more and more illustrators working as freelancers to get advice from, be inspired by and now call good friends.

Now, over time (with a lot of hard work) I have entered the realms of being a full-time creative.

Loryn is illustrating a free desktop/iPhone wallpaper every month for this year. Here's January's - go here to get one for your computer, laptop or iPhone

What challenges have you pushed through on this career journey? 
Working hard, but not overdoing it. I would send myself into burn out all too often because I didn’t know when to stop working and take a break.

Learning how to organise myself and use my time working efficiently so that I could have a life outside of work was a great lesson to learn. For me, using some apps (mostly free) apps online such as Toggl, Trello, Xero and Slack to keep track of my work and finances has helped so much in achieving the elusive work/life balance.

What have been some of the working highlights of the last year in terms of projects?
Early 2016 I was in Wellington visiting some friends and I had an afternoon to myself so I ended up filling a whole page in my sketchbook on how I saw Wellington city and posted it on Instagram, and it proved to be hugely popular. I then carried on making these based on different situations, topics or things that I have seen and putting them on the gram. A happy discovery that has opened up some new doors in my work already. I hope to make many more of these in the year to come!

Super cute wordmark for Waihi Beach cafe, Oliffe & Franks

What are you working on at the moment/what's coming up for you in 2017? 

First off this year I will be carrying on with my collaboration with the Live For Tomorrow project with Zeal where I will be creating a whole lot of illustrated content to increase awareness, encourage and inform young people of mental health issues.

Also, I am wanting to set aside more time to develop a range of products such a tees, patches, prints for my online store. And I have started working with some very talented design friends on some super exciting branding projects that I can’t wait to share with everyone!

So much to look forward to already this year!

Love this little piece Loryn did for the Live for Tomorrow project

What does a typical working day look like for you? 
Up early, coffee, cycle into my shared studio space in town, set up for the day, check the news, prioritise tasks for the day, send emails and do some suuuper fun admin work, more coffee, get hyped from second coffee and get distracted by memes, distract studio mates with memes I have found, then launch into working on projects for the day, stop for lunch with studio mates, work all afternoon and into the evening on projects before a cycle home and spend the evening cooking and browsing the interweb.

What helps you be at your best creatively? 
For me it’s all about keeping my eyes open to find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes brilliant ideas seem to just seem to strike as I am just watching the world happens, so carry a sketchbook and pencil case with me everywhere I go. I also try to regularly set aside some time where I can experiment, this involves having a slightly cynical attitude, my sketchbook, all my drawing tools close at hand and no pressure of coming up with any necessarily ‘good’ ideas.

What advice would you give to any one dreaming of becoming a career illustrator? 
The way that you communicate ideas is totally unique to you so figure out early on exactly what your voice is and own it. For a long time when I started out I would try approaching briefs in the way I imagined some of my favourite other illustrators would. I would start sketching out all these super serious illustrations that would look fine, and do the job, but was not authentically my voice. Once I had identified and owned my voice as an artist I could approach new projects with confidence. For me figuring this out was a matter of getting some portfolio critique from peoples whose opinion I trusted and taking on board their advice.

Also, keep reminding yourself how lucky you are to be drawing what you love for a living! It's amazing.

Finally, some quickies - what are you currently...

Listening to: 
My Spotify mix of top songs from 2016, it’s mostly a tasty mix of D’Angelo, Tame Impala, James Blake, Last Shadow Puppets and Kendrick. Also, the new Leon Bridges, Coming Home album is really good!

Clicking on:
ItsNiceThat.com - everrryday.

Reading or watching:
Reading - The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.  Watching - Brooklyn Nine Nine and Last Man On Earth.

Sriracha sauce on everything, always.

Stretching more, sweating in the summer sun, getting sunburnt, watering plants, swimming, creating unrealistic wish lists on The Book Depository, trying to stay off Pinterest.

Daydreaming about:
A trip to America this year. Also, being irresponsible with my finances and purchasing the unnecessary amount of books on my book depository list.

Loryn's website / portfolio  ~  Loryn's Instagram

Photography by Hamilton-based Dan Hilson for Fancy - we're big fans, Dan

Real World

Imagery by one of my #girlcrushcombos -
Stylist Gem Adams (Blackbird) and Photographer Heather Liddell

Kicking us off this year with a golden trifecta - a story about a very good-looking new brand, a product that's also good for you, and a brand created by an average New Zealander who decided to dream and to do. Triple threat. These are my fave kind of features, and I hope they inspire you in some way - either to finally start that thing (you know, that thing) you've been thinking of starting, or even just to choose and use design-lead brands that don't only just look better, but are better.

Hawke's bay-based Nicola Mossman is a mum of four - that means a lot of time spent in the kitchen, and a lot of time cleaning. Suffering super dry, damaged hands that were getting worse and worse and sorer and sorer thanks to crappy Supermarket cleaning products, Nicola decided to create her own. No chemicals, all natural, and tested on real people's hands (not on animals).

The RealWorld range includes an all-natural lemongrass and citrus Dishwashing Liquid - available in a plastic pump bottle or a big 1 litre glass bottle (my fave), with refills also available. Of course, being a shallow aesthete, I'm about the fact that it looks stylish on your benchtop. Yaaaaaaas. But I also appreciate that, like all RealWorld prods, it has no sulphates, silicons, parabens, toxins, petrochemicals, artificial dyes or colours. Seriously, guys, the shit we've been putting on our hands and on the dishes we eat off?! What the actual.

Along with the Dishwashing Liquid, Nicola has developed hand and body wash, hand and body soak (with magnesium - hunty, we are getting old and sometimes we just need a long soak in a magnesium bath), and hand creams. I use the coconut and lemongrass hand cream daily - it's stupidly thick and creamy, smells in.cred.i.ble and is like a big drink of coconut water for your skin. Yes, I am very passionate about this little brand. Like I said, it's a golden trifecta and that's magical, ok?

RealWorld has an online store, or is also available at Father Rabbit, S U N D A Y, Blackbird Goods, The Clever and other nice spots.

Back again! Let's begin with some Fancy SPACES...

Happy New Year, lovers! I hope you had a good looooooong break, ate all the things, filled yourself up with Vitamin D, and are ready for 2017 to come thru! I thought you might appreciate us leaning into a new year with a few fancy Spaces. Right? Good? On we go! 

In my dream house, there are arched windows.

Storybook master bedroom. And I can't not show you these shelves in more detail...

*Faints* (The rest of this home is like something out of a Scandi folk-tale come to life. See it here.)

Soft grey for the sophisticate win.

(If you've wondered, that super adorable plant with the circular leaves is a chinese money plant - starting to see these around a lot more.)

Love the weathered-so-much-they've-lost-their-polish floorboards, the mist grey cabinetry with black handles, and always (always) a goose neck faucet. I also love how they obviously couldn't knock down the entire wall... gives it character to just be effectively a hole in the wall.

Thanks to Melbourne designers Sisalla, this old home got not just a renovation, but a new barn-style addition. That pitched-roof, inky blue, tongue and groove wall though!

Totally under-rated bonus room of a home - the entranceway.

Yes to new, old and handmade all subsisting together.

Arches again. I think they're lucky. Digging the use of the glass globes here - anything else would crowd out the hallway and take the shine away from the architecture.

Oh hi, little laundry nook.

One for my members of the Scandi Sleep-ins Club.

A corner of the Pop & Scott showroom. That couch is the Pop & Scott Dreamer (in size: 'Lovers') in midnight blue velvet. 

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