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2019 – A Year In Review!

Editor's Letter

OK people… I don’t know about you, but we’ve been *crawling* to the finish line this week. Are we nearly there yet!?

Today is our last day of regular programming for 2019 – so we’re taking a moment to recap what has been one massive year!

Never fear though, it won’t be totally silent around here next week! We’ll still be in your inboxes / instagram feeds for the next two weeks, sharing our top Australian homes, gardens, and trending stories of 2019. Then we’ll be back with all new content from January 6th. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

20th December, 2019

Left photo – Eve Wilson, styled by Annie Portelli. Right photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Left photo – Eve Wilson, styled by Annie Portelli. Right photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Photos – Annie Portelli.

Lucy Feagins
Friday 20th December 2019

‘A huge, huge thankyou to YOU, our loyal community, for tuning in to TDF each day, for reading our emails, downloading our podcasts, and double-tapping our instagram pics!’

2019 kicked off to a bit of an unexpected start for the TDF team. After the passing of beloved Mirka Mora in 2018, we were devastated to hear that the Australian art icon’s collection of personal items were to be auctioned off, piece by piece. We decided to launch ‘Mirka For Melbourne’ – a crowdfunding campaign to enable Heide Museum of Modern Art to acquire a significant portion of Mirka’s estate. Well, we were BLOWN. AWAY. by the response! Our goal was to raise $100,000 (which honestly seemed pretty ambitious at the time), but with the generosity of more than 1,000 donors, together we ended up raising over $200,000 in just one week… and somehow, that was only February!

Jumping forward a bit, another HUGE project this year was the inaugural TDF Design Awards in September! This unique awards program covered 12 different creative categories, we had 31 (!) esteemed judges, and there was $30,000 in prize money up for grabs. The ceremony was a BLAST, and a special mention goes to Tim Ross for being our hilarious host and taking it to the next level! (YES, it’ll be back next year – start planning your entries!).

A major highlight of our Design Awards was the incredible trophies that we commissioned by glass artist Amanda Dziedzic. These spectacular art objects were the perfect token for our winners, representing the best of Australian design and craftsmanship. We loved them so much, we ended up showcasing more of Amanda’s stunning sculptural glass pieces in a TDF Collect exhibition just a few weeks ago, in November.

We launched a Sustainable Homes series this year, in partnership with Sukin, taking an in-depth look at homes that prioritise low environmental impact and sustainable innovation. We’ll be sharing more sustainable homes next year, along with a whole bunch more content around design, sustainability and practical solutions to climate change – watch this space!

I got to interview 20 amazing new creatives and entrepreneurs for our fortnightly podcast TDF Talks this year. Some major highlights include Australian design icon Mary Featherston, singer and storyteller Clare Bowditch, magazine and food industry legend Donna Hay, entrepreneur Courtney Adamo and beloved Australian artist Ken Done! I loved learning about the stories of these inspiring Australians! We’ve got 40 episodes (OMG) of the podcast up now – you can go back and listen to them all here.

We closed out the year with a bit of an ambitious task… our EPIC end of year group art show, Art&Artefact! We brought together 21 creatives – 15 painters and 6 ceramicists/makers – for a beautiful final exhibition. It felt a bit like the good old days, where we nearly sold out before opening the show (!), and had people spilling out onto the streets at the opening. I’m so grateful to everyone who supported this show, and to all the artists for really bringing it! Next year we’re planning many more shows from amazing local artists, with the aim to give a platform to emerging (and affordable!) talent.

We had a few changes to our team this year, too. If you didn’t get the memo, we have a new Managing Editor –Sally Tabart! Sally stepped into this role just a few short months ago, and has brought such brilliant energy to the job already – we can’t wait to see where she steers this ship in 2020! We’re saying goodbye to our long-serving Writer and Researcher Miriam McGarry today (boohoo!), and we’ve welcomed the brilliantly talented Amelia Barnes as our new Senior Writer and Researcher. Finally, we also added a new Graphic Designer to our ranks this year – Sasha Aarons slid effortlessly into this role back in July, and we can’t actually remember what life was like without her!

Finally, both myself and our art director Annie Portelli were incredibly lucky travel to Paris this year for the world’s biggest home / gift / decor trade show, Maison D’objet! It was so creatively energising to uncover so many new creative people, places and happenings (see our discoveries here and here) – we very much hope to do more global adventuring in 2020.

Honestly though, this whole thing really isn’t about us… it’s about you. A huge, huge thankyou to YOU, our loyal community, for tuning in to TDF each day, for reading our emails, downloading our podcasts, and double-tapping our instagram pics!  We’re endlessly grateful for your support and enthusiasm, and can’t wait to bring you many more beautiful homes, interiors, studio visits and creative stories, podcasts, events and exhibitions in 2020. Bring it on!

Happy holidays! x

The TDF crew! From left –  Miriam McGarry, Sasha Aarons, Alice Johnson, Sally Tabart, Annie Portelli, Chelsea Hall and me! Photo by Caitlin Mills.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email