Pop-up shops mark style blogger's entry into land of bricks and mortar

FOR his many followers around the world, the Cool Hunter is the ultimate arbiter of style.

Designers clamour for approval on his blog and marketing honchos subscribe to his regular email dispatches on cutting-edge furniture, architecture and art.

Less well known is that his alter ego, Bill Tikos, was born and raised in Victoria, and has been living and working in Sydney for the past 14 years.

Now Mr Tikos is bringing his signature, eye-catching aesthetic to his home town, where he is launching his first retail project - a series of pop-up stores.

For 10 days from Friday, a penthouse on top of the Swiss-Grand Resort & Spa at Bondi Beach will be transformed into "The Cool House", an offline showcase of specially selected wares.

Luxury cushions, wall prints, a dining set and a rug will be among the products on display, as well as Swiss watches, kitchen accessories and dog beds.

Also on show will be Mr Tikos's first venture into design - a bird-shaped letterbox called Koo Koo for his new Playso brand.

Local and international brands such as Zuster, Jardan, Hub, Hay and Loom Rugs will be included.

Mr Tikos said the space would be presented like an apartment, with plenty of theatrical flair.

"It's more like an art installation," he said.

"You walk in and there's the 'wow' factor … it just takes a little bit of creativity and imagination to make it fun."

The pop-up series launched in Melbourne on Thursday and will eventually travel to London and New York.

Mr Tikos, who will man the stores, said the events would be a rare chance for him to meet his readers in person. He also plans to launch an online store at thecoolhunter.net in February featuring many of the same products.

Mr Tikos launched his website eight years ago as an offshoot of a magazine column.

The former band manager and literary agent now divides his time between Sydney and New York.

With no formal qualifications in art or design, Mr Tikos said much of his success had been accidental.

"I started at an earlier time and I think [my blog] aesthetically just looks better.

''It pops out, with nice colours and graphics, and I have a lot of exclusive content."

Despite Mr Tikos's international following, including 180,000 monthly blog readers and 35,000 newsletter subscribers in Australia, he rejects any suggestion he is a trendsetter.

"It's just more what inspires me and if I think, 'That looks great', I'll write about it."

This story Pop-up shops mark style blogger's entry into land of bricks and mortar first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.