Lifestyled by Paula Joye

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August 23rd, 2013

At Home With Louise Bell.

At Home With Louise Bell.

I’ve known Louise Bell from Table Tonic for almost twenty years.

We spent many of them working in magazines (her as a Creative Director, me as an Editor). Louise is uh-mazing visually. From the way she dresses herself to the how she plates a salad – Louise has a touch that makes everything look just right.

Effortlessly so.

Louise is now owner/creative director of home wares company Table Tonic which specialises in everything from feathered JuJu Hats to rainbow coloured Moroccan puffs. Mum to Jasper and Anoushka, she’s also a hilarious writer (her blog is a must) and somewhat of a health coach – if you haven’t gotten into green smoothies she will have you hooked.

We share a love for fonts, glitter eyeshadow and coffee table books and I could honestly look at photos of her world all day. She let us into her house and her wardrobe – try not to hate and let the inspiration wash over you.

How would you describe your home’s style? 
We (my architect husband, myself and two kids) live in a modernist house built in 1957 so, being sympathetic to the era, it’s decorated relatively minimally. But we have a yellow thing going on (a yellow juju hat above the fireplace and yellow butterfly chairs out the front), so it’s a very sunny, happy place. My shop is what the ideal house in my head looks like though – colourful, eclectic, bohemian.

Describe yourself.
Calm, efficient, positive.

What inspires you?
Juxtapositions of any kind excite and inspire me hugely in all areas of life. Surprising and unexpected combinations – A skull or studded ring in beautiful gold, a rough crystal cluster on a beautiful smooth timber table, mixing designer with chain store fashion finds. I suppose this is why I am so in love with everything I sell at Table Tonic. The bulk of it is handmade, eclectic, colourful folk art and it sits beautifully amongst the modern/minimal homes and décor most of us are surrounded by today.

Describe a typical day for you.
I start every day with a teaspoon of organic green powder and six spirulina tablets. I get the kids ready, pack school bags and Mr Tonic takes them to school. I’m working in the Table Tonic shop here in Avalon five days a week (Tue-Sat) at the moment, so days are spent serving customers, packing online orders, answering emails, rearranging stock and ordering more stock. Oh and I get to catch up on my favourite blogs too!

Where did your passion for homewares begin?
I suppose being a very visual person by nature, I’ve always just loved being surrounded by beauty in all its forms. When I was in high school, my bedroom was (neatly) plastered with photos, I had scarves hanging from the ceiling and my stereo (remember them?) was handpainted in a million colours.

What are your top tips for decorating your home?
1. Declutter. And keep the “ugly” stuff (tv remotes, paperwork etc) out of sight as much as possible.
2. Stick to a broad colour palette or family – blues and greens/warm colours/earthy colours.
3. Don’t forget the walls and floor. Good art/wall hangings and a nice rug will complete the space and cosy it up instantly.
4. On beds I always stick to plain white bedding, even in children’s rooms. Introduce colour and personality with pillowcases, cushions, art and accessories instead.

What’s hot in homewares right now?
Colour! People are definitely catching on and less afraid of colour than in the past. Ceramics are also making a huge comeback right now and birds (in many forms) don’t seem to be going anywhere either. Personally, I’m a bit obsessed with elephants right now.

Where do you find inspiration for your store?
If I love it, it’s a good fit. It’s as simple as that. But the words “Modern Bohemian” are my ever-present guiding light.

How often do you rearrange your furniture or change the look and feel of your home?
Constantly (only yesterday we moved some rugs around)! I love the energy change brings.

What is your most treasured piece in your home?
That’s a hard one! Probably our very 50s, white iron table and chairs we have on the patio. Where else but eBay!

What’s the last item you bought for your home?
Two huge black bean bags for the tv room (from King Kahuna). We actually bought three, but they’re so big only two would fit!

Any DIY pieces in your home?
The whole home is DIY in a sense – Mr Tonic (an architect – gdbarchitecture.com.au) is slowly restoring our house to its former glory. One thing I particularly love is our living room floor. We pulled up the old carpet and painted the concrete slab under it with white paving paint.

What’s on your wish list?
A huge piece of art! 

Her Style.

eBay Fur Vest, Bassike 3/4 Sleeve White Top, Red & Pink Pants, Isabel Marant Sneakers, Table Tonic Blue & White Bead Necklace.

How would you describe your own style?
Masculine, colourful, simple. I’m always inspired by the street style photos that emerge of the male fashion editors at Milan Fashion Week. And celebrities in airports provide me with a lot of “mental notes”. Their dressing down is my dressing up! And bonus points – it’s always comfortable.

Who’s your celebrity style crush?
If I had to pick a celebrity, I’d say Elle Macpherson. But I am more inspired by Fashion Editors (like Julia Sarr-Jamois) and fashion bloggers (like Sincerely Jules).

What three pieces do you find yourself wearing constantly?
At the moment – Bassike Relaxed Cotton Pants (I have them in five colours), Isabel Marant sneakers (I have them in four colours) and a good knit.

What is your most treasured piece of clothing in your closet?
My grey cotton leopard print quilted jacket from Gorman. It has multicolour edging and is the perfect statement jacket. And any jacket you can machine wash and tumble dry gets my vote.

What’s in your closet that you’ve never worn before?
Eeeek! A capelet made from metal sequins, a pair of black,suede high heel ankle boots, and mustard yellow levis (I know?!).

What was your most recent purchase?
Isabel Marant Bobby’s in beige from La Garconne.

What are your favourite places to shop?
Bassike, hands down. I live and work less than a kilometre from their Avalon shop. So dangerous.

Where are your favourite places to shop online? 
FarFetchMy TheresaLa GarconneMrs H and Luisa Via Roma for overseas designer labels, MeadowlarkSpell and Trilby Phoenix for beautiful jewellery, and I’ve recently discovered three great Aussie online (fashion) stores – Velvet LaneSuede and Zara Bryson.

What’s on your wish list?
More K Jacques sandals for summer!

What fashion advice do you live by?
I always keep it simple, simple, simple. Much like interior decorating, I think the more you have going on, the more the overall look/effect is diluted.

Her Threads.

Alexander Wang Neon Yellow Jumper, Bassike Black & White Stripe TopBassike Fly Front Chino in Apple, Isabel Marant Sneakers.

Zoe Karssen JumperBassike Pleat Front Wool PantIsabel Marant Sneakers, Hermes Cuff.

Tigerlily Indigo Woodblock Jacket, Bassike 3/4 Sleeve White Top, Helmut Lang Leather Leggings, Marni for H&M Sandals, Table Tonic Clove Necklace, Hermes Cuff.

The (House) Details.

Large Bamileke Feather Juju Hats from Table Tonic, $650 each.

The LifeStyled List.

Tea or Coffee? Both. Please.
Favourite Flower? Parrot Tulips.
Heels or Flats? Flats. No brainer. 
Favourite Cocktail? Frozen Margherita from Mexicano!
Signature Scent? Diptyque Philosykos.
Favourite City? Sydney.
Reading… The China Study. Still.
Listening… Reggae at the café outside my shop.
Every home should have… Moroccan Leather Pouffe from Table Tonic!
Biggest fashion weakness… 
Isn’t it obvious? Isabel Marant sneakers! And white t-shirts.
Biggest homewares weakness… 
Huge crystal clusters.
Guilty pleasure…
 Jewellery.
Every woman should own… Clarisonic.
I will never wear… 
Costume jewellery. Or anything uncomfortable.
Can’t live without…
a good holiday.
I need…
 a holiday?!
I want… fresh flowers 24/7.

Hand Woven Ikat Cushions from Table Tonic, $79 each.

Moroccan Leather Pouffe from Table Tonic, $199.

Shop the Table Tonic range at TableTonic.com.au and don’t forget to check out Louise’s blog too.

Come back next week for PART 2 – we’ve shot Louise’s brand new shop and she’s going to teach us how to decorate with colour.

Photographer: Erin O’Sullivan



  • jody kearney

    love everything about louise

  • Dana Mac

    Louise dresses like an ex-ACP girl. (not real world). I just can’t connect to her, but i’m sure she’s a great friend.

  • Prue

    I really enjoyed having a peek into Louise’s world, I love her website and blog and cannot wait to order a leather pouffe for my new home & the Ikat cushions are on the list too… The shell and glass cluster brings back memories of my Nana’s home as a child. Love it!

  • Kylie2

    I love the blue (turquoise?) and white painting. I can’t see it on the Table Tonic web site.I’d love to know where Louise got it if she’s willing to share

  • Anon

    oh Dana – perhaps you are just jealous?? #negativefeeder

  • Stacey

    Great article, I’ve been a big fan of Louise and her blog for some time now.

  • Carolyn Berry

    Thanks for the look in to Louise’s home. I love her simple yet eclectic style and I just received a very funky bright yellow Table Tonic pouf for my Birthday wrapped beautifully with a cute chevron tag.

  • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

    Big, big fan of Louise … have bits and pieces of Table Tonic infiltrating my house … slowly but surely!

  • esmerelda

    What a fantastic article! Beautiful and bright and so summery. I have been reading her blog for years and have always been a fan.. I just need to win lotto to keep up with her these days! :( One day.. Thanks for the peak into her pad!

  • Jayde~Little Paper Lane

    Ohhh I love this so much! Lou is just the most lovely happy little head ever!! Im lucky to live 3 minutes from her shop and she is such an inspiring person, and is ALWAYS smiling!! pretty sure her daughter is marrying my son as well, so thats something to look forward to! can u imagine the wedding ahhhhh mazing!! haha cant wait for part two!

  • Jayde~Little Paper Lane

    yes i agree! What a negative thing to say about such a positive person!

  • Table_Tonic

    Hello Kylie2, I bought it (on eBay) for Mr Tonic’s birthday a couple of years back. I think the artist (Aboriginal) was Patsy Ross something-or-other and it came unstretched. Hope that helps! :)

  • Table_Tonic

    Thanks so much Prue!

  • Table_Tonic

    Hi Dana, yes, fashion is a bit of an addiction/vice right now. Not good! :)

  • Table_Tonic

    Awwww thank you Jody!

  • Table_Tonic

    Thanks for the kind words Stacey!

  • Table_Tonic

    Hi Carolyn – Woohoo! Happy Birthday and enjoy it!

  • Table_Tonic

    MWAH. x

  • Table_Tonic

    Hi Esmeralda, thanks for the sweet words. And yes, thank you for the gentle reminder (needed it) – must shop less!!?! :)

  • Table_Tonic

    Anoushka Leeder…. I like it! xxx

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrina.lum Andrina Lum

    I am a huge fan!! And can not wait to have the time and money to nip up to Avalon!!
    Have become a green juice addict thanks to Louise! And love it!!

  • Jane from Adelaide

    I’m a HUGE Louise Bell and Table Tonic fan! Wish I lived in Sydney – I think I’d be in her shop daily. I just love her and her style, her fabulous blog, everything Louise Bell touches is gold! She has really had a huge influence on me. Thanks for doing this one Paula – can’t wait for Part 2!

  • Anna White

    Lou is an inspirational creative soul with such a postive light shining from within…how can you not fall inlove with every little fibre of her being…one super cool modern boho mumma! ; )

  • Simone- honeyandfizz

    Love Louise’s style, she is too cool! xx

  • Table_Tonic

    That’s great to hear Andrina! Cheers! :))

  • Table_Tonic

    Oh Jane, you are too sweet – thank you so much! Shucks…

  • Table_Tonic

    And you can talk Mrs White! Thank you. xxx

  • Table_Tonic

    Nawww thanks Simone. :)

  • Suzanne H

    Love Louise and TT!! So cool and sweet at the same time, she shines positivity and she shares and encourages!! Love her house too!!

  • gen.dys

    Louise is truly an inspiration. This article just makes me giddy with ideas and trends to try for myself. What a gorgeous human being!

    Gen x
    havenliving.blogspot.com

  • Pingback: Decorating With Colour. « LifeStyled

  • Kate

    I was going to ask the same! Love the painting. I’m from Adelaide
    and can’t wait to drop in to the shop. I love how Lousie is so down to earth and rocks to her own beat : )

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