The heart of style

STYLING is all the go for anyone putting a house on the market, but it’s a relatively new phenomena, says stylist Adri-Ann Brown.

When she and husband Rob arrived from South Africa 11 years ago they trailed through many a home open before settling down in North Coogee.

Often they discovered homes that were a little too ‘lived-in’, with mismatched furnishings, untold clutter, unmade beds; “Or the agent was doing the dishes,” Ms Brown says.

• Madeleine Casey divides her time between working at Blu Peter and producing her distinctive artworks, which are available in-store. Photos  by Steve Grant

• Madeleine Casey divides her time between working at Blu Peter and producing her distinctive artworks, which are available in-store. Photos  by Steve Grant

The couple hail from Johannesburg, a city so plagued by crime that it spawned a James Bond-like invention to toast would-be carjackers using flame throwers built into the doors of the vehicle.

The blaster, nor it’s follow-up pocket-sized version, wasn’t a huge commercial success and was eventually taken off the market.

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Crime continued to rise, taking its toll on the Browns: “The crime rate, it’s what brings most South Africans here. We got to the point we had to make a change…especially for our daughter,” Ms Brown says.

A change of country came with a change in careers, and the couple set up Blu Peter in North Fremantle, selling gorgeous homewares and furniture from South Africa, the Philippines and Mexico – along with local furniture makers.

“We keep ourselves different by supporting the local furniture guys,” Ms Brown says.

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In South Africa she worked for a business supplying raw materials for cosmetic and mining companies, but that wasn’t an option in Perth so she did an interior design course.

The idea to set up Red Brown Design furniture stylists came from damaged stock at the shop which were put to work adding glamour to homes being sold: “Rather than mark down items I went into styling, which is probably the most rewarding,” Ms Brown says.

“You style a place and can immediately see a result.”

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Since then she’s been in demand from a number of real estate agents, the results from “styled” homes speaking volumes.

“Agents now tell people they have to make their property look better.”

You can check out her “style” amongst the very funky wares at Blu Peter, 82 Stirling Highway, North Fremantle, next to the Black Truffle.  

by JENNY D’ANGER

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