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Terri Winter: Design Hunter™ Profile

We take some time out with Terri Winter of the award-winning Top3 by design store.

If you’ve ever found yourself standing in a department store looking at around 30 different salt and pepper grinders with no idea which one’s the best and little more to go on than the price… then Terri Winter can help.

This is exactly the situation that helped Terri and her husband Berndt come up with top3 by design 9 years ago.

top3 is a design store founded on the concept that good products should stand out in their design and their quality of manufacture – helping identify the top 3 products in any category.

The store now has 2 locations in Bondi Junction and Crows Nest in Sydney and a thriving online store – with plans to expand into other states in the near future.

We met with Terri to find out what makes her a Design Hunter™, her top tips for buying good design and her thoughts on sustainable design…



What makes you a Design Hunter™?

“I became a Design Hunter™ almost by default, it’s not that I went out to become one. I think it’s wanting quality and not necessarily fashionability.

“I’m looking for integrity in products from a wide range of areas and places, rather than just whatever is the current here and now – I just love finding great, cool design.”


The Bauhaus Chess set by Josef Hartwig – the beginning of a lifelong obsession with design


Is your home filled with the designs from your store?

“Yes, but probably not the way that people would expect.

“It doesn’t matter how many designer objects you have if you put them all in one place it’s always going to look like a dogs breakfast, so I think you still have to have a strong sense of who you are and what the flavour of your mood is.”



Tips for finding and buying good design?

Make sure you do go somewhere that cares about good design

“There are a lot of stores that do mix brand with funky stuff and don’t differentiate between that and I think you need to know that you’re dealing with people that are going to be honest with the design integrity if you’re not sure of that yourself.

It has to mean something

“Whether it means something to you is more important than whether it’s a brand or not. I think people used to buy brands because they were ‘brands’. I think people are now buying brands because they know it’s real and authentic.”

Authenticity and attention to detail

“I look firstly for integrity in design and to be honest that’s getting more and more difficult.

“As design has become more of a buzz word, so to speak, over the last few years more and more companies that aren’t very design focused are putting on the ‘design’ persona and it’s becoming more and more difficult to get through to understanding if their company has integrity.”


Coveted: the Aalto Vase


What about sustainable design?

“I think that integrity of design and longevity of design is more important than people producing stuff that’s ‘green’.

“It shouldn’t be a sub-category, it should be a part of the process – part of every design process.

“I think if you’ve got a Piet Hein candelabra, or a Stelton Vacuum Jug that’s lasted you for 40 years and you’ve never replaced it, the fact that it’s made out of plastic doesn’t make it bad.”


If you were leaving the country for good and had to pack light, what would make the cut?

“I think it would have to be a group of Australian things if I was leaving the country.

"Even though I have the covetable things like the Aalto Vase and the Bauhaus Chess set and those things I adore, if I felt like I was leaving the country forever I would want to take some of this country with me.

"So it would be a couple of products from people like Stephen Blaess and Sarah and Nick from DesignByThem and basically get myself a little Australian collection to remind myself of what I’d left.”


‘Stem’ from DesignByThem

top3 by design also power the habitusliving.com shop, where you can find a selection of their products.

top3 by design