Wednesday, September 28, 2016

meaningful, beautiful & useful

I have been tidying up the blog a bit, and I watched this interview I did when we had just moved into our newly built house 4 years ago.

I was really struck by one comment, that where possible everything you own should be meaningful, beautiful & useful.  I think those three words still say it all.  There are things we need, and things we want, and lots of things we have, but they should all be viewed through the lens of meaningful, beautiful and useful.  As we prepare to move on from this home (sad sad face), I will be trying to take with me only those things that meet those criteria.  Meaningful, beautiful & useful.




I still agree with everything I said in this video, but that hair, hmmm not so much.  Just shows that although styles evolve, and our needs from a home change, the basics of what a home should be stay the same.
Ultimately, home is where my family is, and creating a restful haven for us all is my goal.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

sea side inspired before and after

An amazing before and after by the talented By Sabine Interior Design.  Sabine's work has been featured before on Reno Addict, and I was lucky to get the scoop on this fabulous reveal.  Scroll down for the amazing before and afters!
The design approach in Sabine's own words:
"This project was so much fun, just a perfect combination of dream clients and an already bright and airy space. 
My clients are renting this property, so we opted to invest in things that can be taken with you, like smaller pieces of art, custom made cushions, quality lamps and gorgeous accessories. It made sense to revive existing pieces with new upholstery and fabrics, as they were suiting the space, amazing quality and super comfy too.

On the larger wall we opted for light weight basket art, that does not leave any damage to the wall and adds lovely texture. The colour palette was taken straight from the beautiful Sydney beach on the client's doorstep, a careful mix of neutrals, fresh blues and navy and black to balance the existing dark wood dining table and sideboard. The aim was to create a fresh, light and unpretentious, yet elegant space, perfect for entertaining and in tune with the personalities of the people living in it." 
 
This is a family home so Sabine chose hard wearing upholstery fabrics for the soft furnishings, making them the perfect place for a family to relax.  The client loved her sofa and chairs and wanted to keep them, but the large floral was replaced with a soft grey blue fabric which makes these comfy oversize pieces less dominant.




Baskets hung as artwork create enormous visual impact.


Taking inspiration from the beach side location, and the client's love of the colour blue, Sabine created a fresh palette by building up layers of blue fabrics and touches of silver and mirror.  Additional texture has been added with accessories in bone, ceramics, and fresh green leafy plants.









Decorative objects, lamps, artwork and a luxurious rug add layer upon layer of gorgeous detail.  The finished result is a contemporary space that is sophisticated and fresh, detailed but not fussy.  Sabine's considered approach and eye for detail has transformed the space, it was gracious before, now it exudes a cohesive easy to live in elegance.

Project By Sabine Interior Design   Photography by Build House Home

Monday, September 12, 2016

art deco...the block 16

Well the room reveals were far better on The Block last night.  I do think the Art Deco feel they are stipulating is rather hard on the contestants.  It is a very hard  style to pull off on a modest budget and tight time lines.  It is also a hard style to make contemporary.  I really battled to find inspiration, just like they have, but did find a few rooms and pieces that I would turn to if I had to pull off this style.
By coincidence it seems that almost all the items come from either West Elm or Pottery Barn.  It is also mostly brass, which is what the stores have right now, but I would definitely mix in some dark lacquered furniture.

Clockwise from top: faceted mirror, living room, decadence rug, arm chair, side table
I love the design on the mirror doors.  Almost like a giant architectural window in the room.  And I do love the velvet chair with hints of brass.

Love the grey curtains which soften up this space.  Swap out the Marilyn photo for a black and white architectural photo and I think this space is onto being a winner.  It is a pretty formal space with all the chrome, mirror and black lacquer.
Clockwise from top: art deco inspired room, bar collection (I love love love these), desk or dining table, decadence rug

I think the trick may be a soft metallic influence, mirrors and velvet or sheer fabrics - lots of lustre.  

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...