The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Stellar - - Contents - Neale Whi­taker is edi­tor-in-chief of Vogue Liv­ing.

Neale Whi­taker re­solves to em­brace the pared-back look this year.

Iknow what you’re think­ing, but no, it’s not too late for New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. To be hon­est, af­ter Aus­tralia Day is per­fect tim­ing be­cause all the daft ones that you’ll never keep (like a daily swill with co­conut oil and six al­co­hol-free nights per week) have evap­o­rated and what re­main are the sen­si­ble, achiev­able res­o­lu­tions, like sep­a­rat­ing the pa­per clips and rub­ber bands in the kitchen drawer – and not buy­ing any more chairs that can’t be sat on.

It wasn’t un­til we re­cently moved into our new apart­ment (sell­ing off most of our use­ful fur­ni­ture in the process) that my weak­ness for ac­quir­ing un­us­able chairs came to light – chairs that are more ob­jets d’art than ob­jets d’as­seoir. The Tom Dixon S chair might be a Cap­pellini clas­sic, but a greasy pole would be eas­ier to sit on. And the an­tique Chi­nese chairs with worn rat­tan seats? Fine for curl­ing up on – if you’re a moth. In other words, I have a habit of view­ing chairs as sculp­ture. Per­fect in a spa­cious ter­race house where they can co-ex­ist hap­pily with more com­fort­able vari­a­tions of the same species, but in our new, vol­un­tar­ily pared-back, home less is most def­i­nitely more.

So what are my other res­o­lu­tions? Well, it’s go­ing to be a big year and I’d like to have some fun. The Block will be back, and Aus­tralia’s favourite real-es­tate agent, An­drew Winter, and I will be pit­ting our wits against each other as co-hosts of an ex­cit­ing new TV series. (More of that as the year un­folds.) Vogue Liv­ing reaches its half-cen­tury, and while that’s a mile­stone for any mag­a­zine, I pre­fer to think of it as 50 years young. We’ll def­i­nitely be cast­ing a wry eye over some won­der­ful cov­er­lines from decades past (“Life­styles of the Richly Fur­nished” was a good one), but what ex­cites me most is the future. Good de­sign is within reach of all of us in Aus­tralia now and that’s some­thing to cel­e­brate.

While look­ing through the Vogue Liv­ing archive, I stum­bled upon an is­sue from 1969 and found dec­o­ra­tive ce­ramic tiles (just like the ones cur­rently en­joy­ing a re­nais­sance), tribal art and cane-backed fur­ni­ture. What might have been a very cur­rent In­sta­gram post was a room from half a cen­tury ago. It made me smile. Plus ça change, as they say. The more in­te­ri­ors change, the more they plun­der the past. I love that.

EYE ON DE­SIGN Neale’s love of sculp­tural chairs is at odds with his new pared-back decor; (be­low) in­te­ri­ors shown in a 1969 is­sue of Vogue Liv­ing echo some of to­day’s hottest trends.

by Neale Whi­taker

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