Tuesday, August 30, 2016

give us some real drama

I am a Block fan but really, the master bathroom reveals this week were bland, boring, blah. The materials, with the exception of Dan & Carleen, were bland at best, but it was the layouts that I thought really lacked any imagination, especially in such huge rooms.  

I am not even sharing the reveal pics here, I would much rather share the fabulous space below.  So I started playing "what if it were me" & decided to share (scroll down for more).
Top of my agenda: create some visual drama & hide the toilet.
The contestants were all guilty of placing the bathroom items all around the edges.  A classic mistake that you most often see in living rooms where all the furniture is pressed up against the wall. 

With so much space I was surprised nobody changed the shape of the room.  I thought it was screaming for a dividing wall to hide the shower and loo behind, creating a backdrop for the bath. How gorgeous does this design look above.

Don't mistake size for luxury
I thought all of the contestant's could have considered making the bathrooms a little bit smaller and giving some space back to the walk in robe.  Ben & Andy did exactly that and the size of their bathroom was fine even if the finishes were bland.  I am not convinced that a cavernous bathroom is that desirable, I would much rather have an extra room or walk in robe space.
Plus a large bathroom is super expensive to build, so much more space to tile, far more underfloor heating required which is costly to install and to run.

Now I don't have exact room measurements, and I know the contestants battle against time constraints, but this is what I would have done.

Option 1: center entrance, bath against feature wall, hidden shower & toilet
  • The entrance did not have to stay tucked against the side of the room.  Centering the door would have been a super easy way to create a gorgeous view walking into the bathroom.
  • Build a center feature wall: a wall for the bath to stand against, and create privacy screens for the shower and toilet.
  • The wall doesn't have to go all the way to the ceiling, just high enough to screen the shower & loo.  Placing the shower on the window side would ensure it is plenty light enough.  
  • The toilet is neatly screened, so not a luxe item to look at.
  • The bath against the wall creates a fabulous feature, this is the type of drama I like.  A fab place for a really luxe tile or gorgeous mirror.
  • His & hers basins to left and right of centered door.  

Option 2: separate toilet & storage at entrance, super long vanity, bath with shower behind
This one does depend on the room being wide enough, but I think it could have worked in the spaces they had.
  • Toilet in separate cubicle at entrance
  • Built in linen or storage cupboard opposite toilet door
  • Position bath as focal point through entrance
  • Glass screen behind bath separates bath from shower
  • Super long vanity against right hand wall

Option 3: separate toilet & storage at entrance, super long vanity, shower at end
A variation on option 2, leave out the bath altogether and create a super generous shower, maybe even a steam room.  Create space for a makeup or dressing table, a real luxury.

I know it is really easy to be an armchair critic but these bathrooms were a disappointment and I wouldn't pay premium prices for any of them.  Lets hope they are full of good ideas next week.  Less drama drama, more interior drama.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Are you designing a smaller bathroom?  Want small but spacious?  Stylish goes without saying of course.  This post is for you!  We have two smaller bathrooms and our architects did a fab job of making the most of these smaller spaces.  Small but perfectly formed as the saying goes.  Here's how you can design the perfect petite layout at your place too.

Basic bathroom dimensions
Each bathroom is a petite 2.775m x 1.5m (see plan above)
This is just enough space for a generous vanity (900mm), toilet and large walk in shower (900mm wide).  I was worried these spaces would feel small but they don't.  

Another win is that each bathroom is located next to a bedroom.  They aren't en suites, but they function as if they are.  In fact the spare bedroom and bathroom have a pocket door that closes off the space creating an en suite space.  Its a great layout you can see more of here.

Light and bright
It definitely helps that the rooms are light and bright with white tiled walls and soft grey floors.
 The frameless glass shower panel was worth every dollar, it doesn't divide the room visually which keeps the feeling of space, and it is easy to keep clean.  Glass panels are much easier to clean than any kind of track or hinge door system.

Floating vanity
The vanity is a floating wall mounted piece.  It has a single large draw for storage, yes I know we could have storage all the way down to floor level but it would have felt and looked a lot tighter.  This way I get to tuck a clothes hamper and bin discreetly underneath too.  We haven't needed more space so far.

We used this vanity from Cibo but if I was specifying right now I would use the Mizu (above) from Reece. 

Finishes
With a small space you can afford to put expensive tiles on the floor, or on the back wall, without blowing the budget.  We needed 4-5 square meters of tiles, at $150 per tile this is $630, at $50 for tiles it $210.  So for a difference of $400 you can create something amazing.

Our bathrooms are finished with white subway tile walls , grey marble hexagon floors, this vanity from Cibo, and these taps from Brodware.  It is classic and gorgeous and I still love them. 

But if I were building now I would go for the finishes in the mood board:
I know brass is having a bit of a moment that might not last but it is so pretty!  Much easier to swap out some fittings than tiles.

Other decisions to consider:
  • Make sure the shower lever is positioned so that your arm won't get wet when you turn it on.
  • Decide whether you want tiles floor to ceiling on all walls.  I saved some dollars by only tiling two of the four walls.  If I had used a large format tile I might have taken it the whole way round, but it works well with the smaller subway tiles.
  • Keep tapware and other metal finishes consistent throughout.  Different finishes is a pet hate of mine, looks so cheap.  If you are going with brass everything needs to be brass, the basin wastes and traps, the hooks and towel rails.  Sticking with chrome will be easier and may be cheaper in the long run, no matter how cute brass is right now.  
  • Hidden "in wall" cisterns create a very clean look, but they are more expensive to buy and install.  You also need to consider the depth of the cavity required to install one of these systems.  You may have enough space in an existing wall, or you may have to create a space by widening the wall.  We would have lost 10cm of width across the room and I didn't want to lose that space.  There are new slim line products available now that might have made this possible for us.

For more details you need to know to get the finish you want, see the rest of the Build 101 series here.


Build 101... a great layout for a small bathroom

Are you designing a smaller bathroom?  Want small but spacious?  Stylish goes without saying of course.  This post is for you!  We have two smaller bathrooms and our architects did a fab job of making the most of these smaller spaces.  Small but perfectly formed as the saying goes.  Here's how you can design the perfect petite layout at your place too.

Basic bathroom dimensions
Each bathroom is a petite 2.775m x 1.5m (see plan above)
This is just enough space for a generous vanity (900mm), toilet and large walk in shower (900mm wide).  I was worried these spaces would feel small but they don't.  

Another win is that each bathroom is located next to a bedroom.  They aren't en suites, but they function as if they are.  In fact the spare bedroom and bathroom have a pocket door that closes off the space creating an en suite space.  Its a great layout you can see more of here.

Light and bright
It definitely helps that the rooms are light and bright with white tiled walls and soft grey floors.
 The frameless glass shower panel was worth every dollar, it doesn't divide the room visually which keeps the feeling of space, and it is easy to keep clean.  Glass panels are much easier to clean than any kind of track or hinge door system.

Floating vanity
The vanity is a floating wall mounted piece.  It has a single large draw for storage, yes I know we could have storage all the way down to floor level but it would have felt and looked a lot tighter.  This way I get to tuck a clothes hamper and bin discreetly underneath too.  We haven't needed more space so far.

We used this vanity from Cibo but if I was specifying right now I would use the Mizu (above) from Reece. 

Finishes
With a small space you can afford to put expensive tiles on the floor, or on the back wall, without blowing the budget.  We needed 4-5 square meters of tiles, at $150 per tile this is $630, at $50 for tiles it $210.  So for a difference of $400 you can create something amazing.

Our bathrooms are finished with white subway tile walls , grey marble hexagon floors, this vanity from Cibo, and these taps from Brodware.  It is classic and gorgeous and I still love them. 

But if I were building now I would go for the finishes in the mood board:
I know brass is having a bit of a moment that might not last but it is so pretty!  Much easier to swap out some fittings than tiles.

Other decisions to consider:
  • Make sure the shower lever is positioned so that your arm won't get wet when you turn it on.
  • Decide whether you want tiles floor to ceiling on all walls.  I saved some dollars by only tiling two of the four walls.  If I had used a large format tile I might have taken it the whole way round, but it works well with the smaller subway tiles.
  • Keep tapware and other metal finishes consistent throughout.  Different finishes is a pet hate of mine, looks so cheap.  If you are going with brass everything needs to be brass, the basin wastes and traps, the hooks and towel rails.  Sticking with chrome will be easier and may be cheaper in the long run, no matter how cute brass is right now.  
  • Hidden "in wall" cisterns create a very clean look, but they are more expensive to buy and install.  You also need to consider the depth of the cavity required to install one of these systems.  You may have enough space in an existing wall, or you may have to create a space by widening the wall.  We would have lost 10cm of width across the room and I didn't want to lose that space.  There are new slim line products available now that might have made this possible for us.
For more details you need to know to get the finish you want, see the rest of the Build 101 series here.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to warm up Scandi style

Scandi style is huge right now.  We all love the less is more look, the stylish essentials and monochrome colour schemes.  We want the simplicity, but there has been a shift in how we are living with Scandi.  We want Scandi warmed up with softer contrasts, a little more heart, and by heart I mean more lived in, warmer, more of your own personality (see my 2016 trend report).  

Dennis Family Homes, who believe "It takes a Family to make a Home", asked me to share my top tips for warming up Scandi style. 


Use linen for beds & cushions
There is just something about the texture of linen. It is the perfect fabric for creating textural layers in white on white schemes, or for introducing soft shades of colour.  It is unfussy simplicity without being bland, it looks lived in without feeling messy.  
Linen is increasingly everywhere in my home, from gorgeous printed cushions in the living room to tumbled looking sheets on the beds.

Keep it fresh with plants
Plants are the quickest and cheapest way to add vibrancy and life to a cool modern scheme.  Sit large plants on the floor, let them drape off shelves, or place a single leaf in a cut glass vase.  It doesn't matter how, just add lots of fresh green.

Lush ferns and structural succulents or (the blog world fave) fiddlewoods are easy to look after and much cheaper than buying fresh flowers every week.  Sit them in baskets or brushed brass rather than traditional flower pots. But if you want fresh flowers bunches of eucalyptus, peonies or proteas are my fave.   


Softening the contrast with blush, grey and brass
Soften up a monochromatic look with small subtle additions in your finishes, a little added colour goes a long way.  It doesn't matter if your Scandi starting point is white or black because both love pink, grey and brass. 
Add:
  • blush cushions
  • hang soft grey curtains 
  • decorate with brushed brass trays and vessels.

Warm up Scandi style by...adding naturals
It is the layering of texture on texture that builds a space that feels lived in, warm and inviting.
  • Warm up a minimal look by adding natural finishes: wool rugs, wooden furniture where you can see the grain, handcrafted pieces, sheepskin throws, aged leathers, marble and stone.  
  • Don't go crazy with colour, try and keep items neutral in greys tones, charcoals and whites, waxed wood rather than gloss varnish.  
  • It is the layering of texture on texture that builds a space that feels lived in, warm and inviting.
  • Add geodes for a hint of sparkle, petrified wood for mystery.



Mix vintage with modern, hand crafted & organic with industrial
Soften the modern edges by adding objects with patina and character: aged leather, waxed woods, interesting ceramics, industrial objet.  See how well it works below: an antique desk, a collection of aged objects paired with the uber modern iMac.  This is your chance to break the rules a little, add things you adore.

Keep it curated
This look is simple but comfortable, informal but uncluttered.  It is peaceful rather than perfection.  Edit what you own, buy what you love. 

Today's post is sponsored by Dennis Family Homes, builders of quality stylish modern, minimalist homes just waiting for you to add your personality, your touch of heart.  All opinions are, as always, my own.

Image links: inspiration from all over the web

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

shelfies for Miss J

Been trying to get my hands on one of these pegboards from Kmart for ages!! A real bargain at $29.  Now that it is up in Miss J's room she has a pretty place to show off her ever changing collections.  It has made this such a pretty corner (rest of the room here).

Would love one for my desk too.


Great design from Kmart who is knocking it out the park at the moment in homewares.  
Planning to try and convert the brass lamp into a wall mounted sconce.  May take a while to work up to courage to take it apart.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

some pretties...

So I haven't been posting much lately...  
A combo of the day job being very busy at this time of year, school holidays, and a bad bout of flu.  Sometimes you just have to let that one extra thing go, and for the past few weeks it has been being creative.  As the saying goes "I can do anything, but I can't do everything".
These pretty things have been getting the creative juices are restarted so thought I would share in case life has been getting to you too.


Gorgeous styling in a San Fran apartment.  


The cleverest lettering diy I have seen in a while.  May be doing something similar soon.


Anything by Amber Interiors...seriously

This styling by Tess Neustad

This entrance

This cute narrow bathroom
Because next time I am putting in a smaller bath too, big one takes to long to fill and uses to much water.

Back to the sofa for now, more soon...

Monday, July 4, 2016

the innocent bystander series...neill williams

I spotted the piece below on a wall of decorative objects in a decor store in Prahran recently.  I do have a very soft spot for cows, my dear granny had a Jersey cow dairy on her farm and I grew up with these beautiful gentle animals.  But then I discovered that the artist, Neill Williams, is based on the Mornington Pensinsula where we have a property, and next that the one I love is called "Main Ridge" which is our suburb!  Synchronicity at work!!!  

Main Ridge
The series is called "The Innocent Bystander" and is about the cows watching humans.  I like the concept that cows might be watching us and wondering what on earth we are all up to, even though knowing cows I imagine they are more likely just thinking of their next mouth full of grass.   I love that they are country pieces without being a traditional landscape, and their peaceful melancholy.

Flinders

Shoreham

Boneo

All in all for $590 framed I think you have a real nugget of original beauty for your home or office.  

Monday, June 27, 2016

philips hue...bespoke lighting for your home

Meet Philips Hue!!  Finally a wireless home lighting system that you can retrofit without calling out the sparky.  So excited about this product.   This is what you can do with Hue - smart control from your phone, control lights away from home, set light schedules, create an ambience, paint with light (yes really), synch with music.  Did I mention I was excited about this product?

Looks pretty easy to install, you need to buy a starter kit with a bridge that must be plugged into your wifi, and some smart bulbs.  Then download the Hue app and control the smart bulbs from the app.  The bridge retails at $89 and colour bulbs from $89 each, but if you want a few lights to turn on when you come home you can probably get away with an initial investment for around $300.  Once you have the base set up installed there are some pretty cool options to play with.




The app allows you to set lighting moods, turning on "moments" they call it.  So you can have relaxed moment, a normal bright light moment, a wake up moment, a party moment.  Sounds like fun and watching reviews it reacts really quickly and is easy to set.  The colour globes can be set to any colour, the blues and reds are really effective.  I like the Bloom light ($99.90) which washes the wall in colour and is small enough to sit on a desk top or credenza, and the Hue Go which is similar to the Bloom but cordless and portable.  Again controlled from your phone and really easy to use.  See the cute video below.

No need to wait for the Vivid festival anymore, you can have your own little festival at your house whenever you want.

And with the Hue Party app you can really throw a party (see video below) with the lights syncing to music, strobe function, candle function, scrolling rainbow lights.  I want to have a party...


I would install it just to be able to set the entrance lights on remotely, or when it gets dark, never like coming home to a dark house.  Useful to make it look like somebody's home when you are away too.   You can set the geo-fencing feature which switches the lights off when you reach a set distance away from home, and switches on when it senses you coming home.  Pretty cool.

And how genius for people who are renting!!!  Because I never rented a house that had decent lights.  You can upgrade the lighting and take it all with you when you leave.

Lighting is very under rated in creating the mood of a home.  I know it is an area of design I would love to do better at our house, and this looks like a good first step.  

Would love to install this at my house!!   Check out Philips Hue website for more info and the other cool products like the LED light strips and tap switch.  

Monday, June 20, 2016

currawong updates

Little things around Currawong Cottage...

New wooded cooking utensils and bird topped jar on the kitchen counter.

Fresh picked eucalyptus in my lovely new basket.

Horse shoe coat rack made by Miss E in the white bedroom.

If you are looking for a country retreat, why not visit Currawong Cottage yourself.  The perfect relaxed spot to explore the Mornington Peninsula from.