Living Etc – furniture, furnishings and fabrics (etc)!

Living Etc

Where: Corner of High Street and Mt Pleasant Road, Belmont

When: Mon – Fri 9 to 5.30 & Sat 9 to 4


Ph: 5241 2664

When it comes to sourcing good quality contemporary furniture, Geelong folk may automatically think that they have to go to the melbourne or any other major city to find the best (Well, that’s what we thought, anyway!). Oh! Hello Geelong has discovered that this is absolutely not the case and we feel quite chuffed that we can officially debunk this myth! Living Etc, in the pretty suburb of Belmont, is the place in Geelong to go for furniture that makes a statement.

Surprise visit…

Like many of our adventures, this one occurred on a bit of a whim after we discovered we both had a free space in our diary to get out and about (quite a rarity in recent weeks). Due to our spontaneity we weren’t able to catch up with Living Etc’s owner Sue, however we were very well looked after and informed by one of Living Etc’s lovely and style savvy consultants, Ken, who boasts an impressive knowledge of design, styling and of course, furniture – thanks Ken!

Living Etc is a breezy space with gorgeous sunlight pouring in through the windows that wrap around the entire front façade. The floor is dotted with stunning pieces of furniture, which are thoughtfully displayed using colour themes, lighting and soft furnishings to tie everything together; just like walking through fab little furniture exhibits, so fun! As all good furniture stores do, Living etc expertly demonstrates the art of displaying furniture in your home through the use of colour, wall paper and fabrics, decorative pieces and soft furnishings.

Furniture is an art…

So after doing several laps we both agreed that we had fallen in love with pretty much the entire store and added about 50 items to our Oh! Hello Geelong wish list! However, we do have some extra special favourites that we will share. Our fave living and dining pieces include the gorgeous selection of recycled timber tables by dbodhi, the entire Jardan range – made and designed in Melbourne (sooo good!) , Design House Stockholm nesting tables, bentwood chairs, leather Acalpulco chairs AND if you are not ‘anti-replica’, Living Etc also have a massive offering replica Eames chairs,  Tolix stools and Wishbone dining chairs. Also stocked are pieces from the Marie Claire furniture collection, including a fabulous sculptural book shelf and lounge setting. Living Etc also offer a custom made dining table service, who knew!

Of the soft furnishings and decorational pieces, we were drooling over the huge selection our favourite Pony Rider cushion, Bonnie and Neil  linens, cushion covers and screen printed wooden goods as well as the chunky and bright cable knit pillows. The store also houses a great selection of  wallpapers and fabrics, including the seriously amazing Design Team for Rosetti fabrics – vintage photographic goodness! We were also quite fond of the Citta range of soft adorable soft toys and buntings for little ones…

Light bulb moment…

As well as the selection of furniture, Living Etc has a fabulous collection of contemporary lighting including oversized hanging bulbs, sculptural Cu C Me lights, industrial pendants, arc lamps, cluster pendants and tripods.

Sue has owned her business for over 20 years now and her experience and expertise really shows through her selection of fashionable and on-trend furniture and accessories. To Sue from Oh! Hello Geelong, we hope to meet you sometime soon! And to Ken, thanks for taking such good care of us and giving us a crash course in the wonderful world of furniture.

Love Penny + Laura

A visit to the studio of ‘A Skulk Of Foxes’

A Skulk Of Foxes

We are pretty confident that most Oh! Hello Geelong readers may have come across the super cool designs of A Skulk of Foxes’ in recent years. What readers may not know is that this much-loved brand is created, designed, made and managed right here in Geelong and has been for nearly 6 ½ years! Yep, that’s right, the brand known for its friendly folk fox face and its range of amazing silver, acrylic and timber jewellery, timber iPhone covers, soft furnishings and clocks is as local as they come! Oh! Hello Geelong was lucky enough to spend Sunday morning learning the tricks of the trade and the story behind the fox face, with the entire A Skulk of Foxes family (three cute and superbly behaved cubs included) at their Geelong West studio.

Dear Diary…

The couple behind A Skulk of Foxes is Natalie and Andrew Cirillo who together turned Natalie’s “hobby” into a booming business. The idea for the brand began life as a journal of ideas, which was compiled by Natalie while she and Andrew were living in Ealing in London. As the journal was growing so was Natalie’s and baby Milla’s fascination with a group of cheeky foxes who would come out every night for a rummage and stroll through the local streets only to disappear magically during the day. It was these foxes (collectively called a skulk of foxes) who inspired the logo and obviously the name of the brand we know today!! Such a beautiful story.

Coming to life…

When the couple arrived back in Australia, with journal and baby (and another one on the way) in tow, they decided to spend “a little” time in G-town with Andrew’s parents while they looked for a house to move into in Melbourne. However the couple fell in love with the homeliness of G-town and decided to set up their nest right here. After settling down and making their home, Natalie decided to open up her journal and make her ideas come to life. To get things started she enrolled into a silver smithing course at The Gordon, which she absolutely loved. It filled her with inspiration and loaded her up with the technical skills she needed to begin making her beautiful jewellery entirely by hand. Shortly after this Natalie began putting her range on the market and the orders began flooding in. It soon became obvious that Handy Andrew needed to come on board!

With Natalie’s background as a production manager in the fashion industry and silver smithing skills and Andrew’s experience in industrial design and computer animation, the couple was able to take A Skulk of Foxes to different levels through introducing new technologies and innovation to jewellery making and design. They are truly the perfect team, together they dream up concepts and bring their trademark folk and nature inspired illustrations to life through their well honed modern production techniques and a whole lot of team effort! Nothing mass produced here, each little element of every design is pieced together by these two super talented and patient people!

A peek behind the scenes…

It was super inspiring for us to see how much effort and love goes into each and every item made by A Skulk of Foxes, whether its their products to sell or the amazing Market and display stands. The studio was littered with little piles of ‘works in progress’, tiny silver and gold silhouette animals, doily’s and skulls, hand painted wooden iPhone covers, amazing moulds + prototypes, layers and layers of delicate laser cut woodland creatures, flowers, geometric shapes, silver pieces and beautiful little half made ‘ideas’ which may never actually make it to production.

We also feel pretty special that Andrew very kindly, charged up the mean laser cutting machine and made us 2 of the sweetest little timber Oh! Hello Geelong brooches! That machine is AMAZING!

It’s obviously no secret that we love all of their designs, but at the moment we have EXTRA love for a couple of their newer silver ranges, ‘Polyhedra’, a range of super cool 3D geometric shapes ”Inspired by the study of perfect geometry and patterns in 3d space”, and the precious keepsake collection of the most beautiful little silver lockets, beautifully embossed with their trademark Fox, Scull and Lovebirds designs …LOVE! Oh and, the timber engraved iPhone cases, yes please!

Working with others…

As well as being totally focused on evolving the brand and producing new fabulous goods, Natalie and Andrew are massive supporters of independent designers and makers. And they have a massive love for collaborating with other creatives. A Skulk of Foxes’ most recent collaboration, which Natalie is super excited about, is with Melbourne illustrator Madeline Stamer (the artist behind Little Circus Design). The result of this joint effort will be a range of striking silver lockets and earrings using some of Madeline’s bold and unique illustrations – including a very cool skull.  And in the pipeline, A Skulk of Foxes is working on another collaboration with Sydney-based illustrator Andrea Smith who we hear is working on a lovely little bird for the brand – can’t wait to see the final product!

Whilst A Skulk of Foxes can be found online, Natalie and Andrew also pop up at some of the big markets including Finders Keepers, the Big Design Market and Bower Bird Market.

Hard work + lots of love…

Oh! Hello Geelong was left feel totally in awe of the Cirillos and all they have achieved with A Skulk of Foxes! Proof that love and passion and a massive dose of talent in what you do goes a long, long way!

Love Penny + Laura

Q&A with Sassica Salter – Plus ‘mud australia’ GIVEAWAY!


Where:  224 Pakington Street, Geelong West

When: Mon – Fri 10 to 5 & Sat 10 to 4

Ph: 5242 8101

When Oh! Hello Geelong recently visited sassica + salter, the words timeless, classic, clean and fresh instantly sprang to mind. Even on a cold winter’s day, walking into this gift and homewares store on Pakington Street made it suddenly feel like spring! The creator of this heavenly space is the lovely Sassica Salter (what a fabulous name by the way) who very kindly agreed to answer a few quick questions about her life and loves and of course her beautiful shop and new online store. Thanks Sass!

Photos by Sara Taylor Photography + Nikole Furnari Photography

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what lead you to opening this wonderful shop and online store?

My love for homewares, giftware and kitchenware really started during my university days. One of my early jobs was working for a shop in Melbourne called Minimax where I eventually became weekend manager of the Toorak store. From there I moved into the magazine industry, where I worked in the advertising departments of several titles including Home Beautiful, New Idea, Better Homes & Garden and Famous. After lots of hard work I landed my dream job as Victorian Advertising Manager at donna hay magazine. I was working in that role for a few years when I found out I was pregnant with my first baby! While I loved working for Donna, I wasn’t so keen on the daily Geelong/Melbourne commute and started thinking about new pathways that would allow me to work while taking care of my family.

During my maternity leave, I decided to research how to run a business and looked into what brands were missing in Geelong. After Tom (my baby) arrived I felt ready to put my business ideas into practice. When I began setting up the shop, Tom was 8 months old and not yet mobile, so he spent many days with me in the shop while I set up things. After lots of hard work, sassica + salter’s doors opened in September 2010!

As for the online side of the business, I always knew I would do this eventually and originally thought it was something I could do myself – ha! I decided I needed a hand, so I engaged the services of a local web company, Goop Websites, who have been so amazing to work with. In July 2012, sassica + salter was finally launched online!

What can visitors to sassica + salter expect to find, how would you describe your shop?

They can expect to find amazing products that they might not have seen elsewhere in Geelong. I have purposefully arranged the store to be as freestanding and fresh as possible through the use of whitewash floorboards, shelving units that are made using wood and glass, white Carrera marble table tops and simple product displays. For me the products are the hero and are shown as such. The music is tasteful and is played to blend in with your shopping experience; many customers end up toe tapping as they shop!

What are some of your favourite products in store? 

I love my collection of coloured teacups & mugs by Dibbern. There are 37 colours in the range and I still can’t decide which colour I want for my own personal collection! I also love New York brand The Laundress, which is an amazing laundry range designed to remove the need for dry cleaning some of your clothes – genius! If I had to pick a candle and fragrance collection, it would have to be Simpatico Home, they are the BEST candles as they burn for ages and the glass holder itself makes a beautiful vase or toothbrush holder. This brand also do a lovely hand cream, bubble bath and reed diffuser.

I also adore the Donna Hay for Royal Doulton collection. While I was working for Donna I watched as this amazing range was developed, I even remember seeing some of the sketches (I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on it for myself!). When I left the magazine, Donna personally approved me as a stockist of her brand and am currently the only stockist in the region. I’m really looking forward to the Donna Hay range I have coming for Christmas!!

Photos by Sara Taylor Photography + Nikole Furnari Photography

What is next for sassica + salter? Any big plans for the future?

Right now I am gearing up for a big Christmas! I even started ordering Christmas crackers and decorations in February this year! But there is lots of stock due to arrive before then, which is very exciting. I have been busy getting the online part of the business up and running and my goal is to have it flowing nicely in the next few months.

And my ‘big plans’…I’d love to one day start my own small range of select items to sell in the store and online and potentially wholesale to a few stores. Might be a few years away yet!

What are your biggest inspirations?

I love the artwork of Arite Kannavos, I would like to start an art collection soon! I also love Emma Cleine’s artwork and printing; Emma is the maker behind Lumiere Art + Co (which we sell in store!). I have Emma’s cushions on my bed at home and am a little obsessed with them! I also love Pia Blair and recently placed an order for a collage she created which will look perfect above my bed head at home.

Other inspirations include the Design Sponge blog, as well as The Design Files. I pour over homewares and interior design books and have a pretty major magazine obsession, my favourites include donna hay magazine, Inside Out, Home Beautiful, Real Living, House & Garden, and Country Style. Oh, and I’m a huge fan of Martha Stewart!

Where was the last great meal you had in Geelong? 

We went to Customs House for my husband’s birthday lunch, it is owned by some old friends of his and it was delicious! Give me a steak & frites with béarnaise sauce any day!

What do you love most about Geelong?

Being a “Melbourne Girl” for so long I thought I would struggle when I decided to move to Geelong! Now that I have been here for almost 6 years, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Geelong has a great vibe, the restaurants are getting better, Pakington Street is great, the beaches are nearby and Melbourne is just a quick trip up the highway.

Thanks Sassica!  (and thank you for the beautiful photos too!)

And as an amazing added bonus, the super generous Sassica has offered an amazing GIVEAWAY for one lucky Oh! Hello Geelong reader! We absolutely adore mud Australia, such beautiful table ware and vessels….. the range is made from the finest porcelain in the most delicious palette of  pastel colour. One lucky reader will win 1 x Fish Platter in Ash Grey and 1 x Dipping Bowl in Citrus – to a Value of  $148.00! How amazing is that.

TO ENTER THE COMPETITION –  Simply like us on Facebook (if you don’t already) and leave a lovely comment on this post by midnight, Friday 17th August,  We’ll pick the lucky winner at random and notify you the next day. Yay!  ** Competition open to Australian residents only**


Love Penny + Laura

Busy Times!

As always, over the next few months we’ll be out and about  gathering interviews, shop visits and other adventures to blog about for you all. But in the meantime we thought we’d share a few of the dates that are filling up our diaries!

Artefact Market – All Saints Hall, 113 Noble St, Newtown

Friday August 31st- 11am until 7.30pm

6 x 8 Competition  + Exhibition – Kaleidoscope Gallery, Cnr Gheringhap St & Little Malop, Geelong

Opening Tuesday August 7th- 6.30pm until 9pm

Animalia – Collaborative Photography + Illustration exhibition @  Kaleidoscope Gallery, Cnr Gheringhap St & Little Malop, Geelong

Opening Friday August 17th- 6pm until 8pm

Boom Gallery  / Works on Paper – Group Exhibition @  Boom Gallery, 11 Rutland Street, Newtown

Opening Saturday August 18th- 2pm until 4pm

Three Little Birds Market – 1 Gheringhap St, Deakin Waterfront

Saturday September 1st – 10am until 3pm

Moriac Makers & Growers MarketNewling Reserve, Moriac

Sunday September 2nd – 9am until 2pm

Maybe we’ll see some of you at one or ALL of these events!

Love Penny + Laura