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Top3, timeless by design

North Shore luxury emporium Top3 by Design outlasts the trends.

woman taking selfie in a mirror
Terri Winter

Terri Winter believes good design is often silent or invisible. The founder and curator of Top3 by Design has been in business since 2001, selecting and selling some of the world’s best products, from pet accessories to furniture. 

The Top3 ethos, which centres on curated design that resists trends to focus on timelessness and quality, has stood her in good stead for more than two decades in a world where fickle fads and copycats have threatened the industry.

Much of this is due to her prominent commitment to design, not just “stuff looking good” but a true understanding of neuroaesthetics, the science behind why we feel the way we do in spaces we inhabit, she says. 

“There is more and more understanding that interior design is not just making a space look nice, it is about how the space makes us feel when we are in it. This impacts our well-being on a daily basis, so it is vital to have it well considered.”

The premise of Top3 is simple. Winter curates pieces based on form and function, sustainability and innovation, which means buying less but buying better. It’s an antidote to “the fast-paced throwaway-ism of social media trends and the constant search for ‘new’,” she says.

Basket console featuring smoked oak & brass
Basket console featuring smoked oak & brass

If it sounds like a rant about social media, it’s not. Social platforms, after all, have enabled the business to find its ‘tribe’ of like-minded customers – among them design professionals and clients who appreciate craftsmanship. 

“We are not for everyone and over the years have embraced that,” Winter says. “At the beginning, we certainly tried to have something for everyone, but, over the years, the passion for quality, and also a growing understanding of the impact of production choices on the planet, has meant that many novelty items from the early years simply don’t fit our more stringent need for a sustainable approach.” 


The longevity of authentic design is also a big factor. Top3 stocks only original items, which is not just an aesthetic choice, but one that values quality and speaks to the sustainability of the design industry beyond the product.

“For many years, [the proliferation of] replica furniture and fake copies of original design pieces was one of our biggest challenges because Australian law does very little to protect original design,” Winter admits. Ironically, higher shipping costs have helped the authentic market. “The price difference between an original piece and the throwaway copy becomes less – and thankfully that means more people avoid the copy.”

Winter’s dedication to timelessness also contributes to how she selects pieces. The value of curation can’t be overstated. “The interesting thing is that the concept of curation has existed from when we first opened, however, the reason for it has shifted,” she says. 

“When we first started in 2001, the editing was to unearth products because it was difficult to find unique products. Fast-forward to today and we still provide an edit of product, however, we now live in a world where you can find anything – so with so much choice, what do you buy?”

Unsurprisingly, getting her to name her favourite piece is like asking her to name her favourite child, especially as Top3 has more recently become about collections. “The edit stems around how pieces go together as a curated mix,” she says. 

“I get real joy from wandering through our showrooms and enjoying the vignettes and spaces we have created throughout. It is about the pieces working together to create something together... it’s the sum of the parts that brings me joy.”

Freifrau swing chair in grey velvet
Freifrau swing chair in grey velvet

But if you really must know, it’s a Hoffmann Kahleyss piece. “I think the Freifrau swing chair, in both indoor and outdoor versions, is my favourite.”

Visit the Top3 by Design showroom at 168 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest. Join as a member at and receive special offers, plus exclusive invitations to functions.

Top3 tips to find your style

Terri Winter shares how to develop your style.

  1. Start by collecting images and items that ‘talk’ to you. “Not overthinking it – just collecting spaces and furniture pieces that you are drawn to. They may all differ in style, but a thread will emerge that helps to guide the final space. The best spaces are not of a fixed ‘genre’ but are a tapestry of your life,” she says. 

  2. Remember to include any existing pieces that are meaningful to you “so they can be integrated and not become at odds with the design afterwards”.

  3. Try to avoid trends and look at what functions well for you. “Think about a space that can grow with you over time,” says Winter.

Local favourite

Even before starting Top3 by Design, Terri Winter was a Crows Nest local and says she has seen it ‘grow up’ over the years. Her tip? Go al fresco when you dine.

“I love to eat outside, so favourites for me are Small Bar for a glass of rosé or a gin goblet and halloumi salad, Salmon and Bear for the best tuna cooked in their Mibrasa oven with crispy cos lettuce, or Vietnamese restaurant Chill for just about anything on their menu – delicious! For pizza lovers, a table outside at Bravo is most rewarding with a yummy woodfired treat.”

By Adeline Teoh


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