Combining the Stock and the Personal into Style
May02

Combining the Stock and the Personal into Style

Designing the rooms in your home basically all comes down to four basic elements: the floors, the furniture, the walls, and the ceiling-slash-lighting. While all of these elements have to be brought into harmony, no one said that harmony has to be obvious. Sometimes, rooms that seem like they could never work when you first walk in eventually become your favourite ones as your brain slowly uncovers the hidden connections between every design aspect, and the plan is revealed. That’s no easy task. However, when successfully implemented these subtle connections can be awe-inspiring. One way of achieving this sort of effect is to think about your wall art a little differently: especially when you have to differentiate between the intimate and personal and the stylish and stock. The Stock/Story Divide All art can be divided into two very broad categories – personal, which tells a story and depicts you or your loved ones. Even places and things that are close to you. They represent your experiences and affections. Then there are stock pieces of art. These may be beautiful and stylish but don’t necessarily relate specifically to any personal aspect of your life. Stock art can appeal to you on a personal level, of course – which is one reason why you choose it in the first place. But that connection is rarely obvious to guests or visitors. On the other hand, photos of your family, yourself, or your travels have an obvious and immediate personal impact, warming up the room. Still, personal photos on the wall – even when presented as high-impact canvas prints – often lack the power and style of professional artwork. Too often, people assume they can have one or the other in their rooms – that they can have intimacy or style, but not both. Of course, you can have both – simply by combining your stories with style. The Stock/Story Hybrid There are several approaches that combine the high emotion of personal photos and the high style of carefully selected stock art: The Multi-Canvas Installation With a gorgeous personal photo as the centrepiece (a wedding shot, or a spectacular scene from a vacation, or that one perfect baby photo you managed to get), adding in some carefully chosen stock art creates a huge single piece of art. Choosing stock based on the colour palette of the central image, or extrapolating from the background of the main image and choosing graphic lines and shapes from that can create a powerful ‘moment’ on the wall that subtly blends the personal and the artistic. The Mix-n-Match Scenery If you’re using a powerful travel experience or location from your lives as inspiration, it’s okay to cheat a...

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Australia Uncovered: Sandstone Barn Turned into Fantasy Retreat
Apr04

Australia Uncovered: Sandstone Barn Turned into Fantasy Retreat

With clear water, picturesque coastline, fertile soils and vast national parks, Tasmania is a magical place. However, there is much more to it than the stunning views and landscapes. The 26th largest island in the world is also lucky to have an amazing array of beautifully-retained 1800’s historical properties. While the majority have been renovated and brought to the 21st century, visitors can still experience the two-centuries-old properties in a unique way. Armytage House is amongst these antique buildings with rich history. Situated in Bagdat, near Hobart, in a charming rural area, the almost 200-year-old building used to serve as grain storage facility to what was back then the Armytage family main residence – Milford Manor. Today the sandstone barn has been renovated and turned into a self-contained luxury vacation retreat. Secluded amidst lush orchard and flower gardens with a small dam and a creek running by, the place allows travellers to rest far away from the busy modern-day life. It is truly amazing that such an impressive construction was once a mere storage unit. With two bedrooms, bathroom and a kitchen which will make any chef drool, Armytage House stuns with its quiet elegance. The kitchen and one of the bedrooms take up the ground floor while the second sleeping zone is set up on mezzanine level overlooking the living area. The renovation works complement the traditional colonial architecture. Tasmanian timber and leather decorate the interior to create a luxurious finish while the exterior has been fully preserved from the hand-made bricks to the dazzling sandstone. The open-plan layout of the barn makes transition between the living area and the kitchen. The mixed wood tones, stone and terracotta flooring create the perfect rural atmosphere to help visitors relax in a modern yet calm domestic environment Outdoors, you will find a charming fireplace, patio, brick oven and a BBQ facility – the perfect equipment to have a nice typical Australian BBQ party. Aside from the gardens and rural areas, you will also find plenty of amazing sites to explore in the region like wineries, bric-a-brac markets, artisan food producers and many more. Images courtesy of Home Away.    ...

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The New Trend: Social Media-Inspired Home Décor
Apr02

The New Trend: Social Media-Inspired Home Décor

Style is ephemeral. What was once the height of style and the cutting edge in design slowly ages into yesterday’s look, then into deprecated old-fashioned non-style, and finally into retro cool – a process that used to take decades but now seems to cycle through every few years. Still, the fact is that keeping a ‘fresh’ modern feel in your home isn’t always easy, and chasing trends can be dangerous. The key is moderation. Just because a trend is hot doesn’t mean you throw it around the house with wild abandon. When Travertine was the stone to use, having it in every room of the house would be overkill – and leave you with a serious problem when the worm turned and Travertine shouted ‘I created this deign before 2010!’ The New Style: Social Social Media has been a growing part of everyone’s life since about 2008, when Facebook exploded and took the concept mainstream. Since then, even people who aren’t ‘geeks’ have embraced social media sites, and created profiles, shared life events, and discovered a sleeping community of friends, co-workers, and strangers from around the world. Now that it looks like social media isn’t just a fad, the style and design elements of these platforms are creeping into home design – and right now the best way to declare your home is modern and hip is to incorporate social media touches in subtle, cool ways. Facebook Blue The blue that Facebook uses on its page isn’t some special colour whipped up by Mark Zuckerberg, it’s HTML Colour Code 3B5998 – the closest Pantone colour code for this would be 7685C. It’s becoming cool to use this as an accent colour, especially in rooms that are otherwise white or off-white, as it’s actually quite pretty when used with restraint, and brings that modern sense of social media without clubbing people over the head. Where a ‘Like’ decal with the iconic thumbs up image would be overly literal and kind of kooky, the subtle use of the colour scheme brings a friendly, sophisticated feel to your room. Framing Facebook ‘Moments’ Another way to bring Facebook into your home that makes up for being a bit more literal with emotional impact is to take momentous events in your life that you’ve posted to Facebook, taking a screen shot, and having your Facebook ‘Wall’ turned into a gorgeous, high-quality canvas print. Think pregnancy announcements complete with sonogram image, or the moment you changed your ‘relationship’ status to ‘married.’ Or perhaps just an epic photo posted by a friend that captures an amazing evening you were part of – turning that screen into...

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Funky Zen Bungalow

Implementing Zen elements in your home décor is a trend that is certainly not going to fade away any time soon. But there are more reasons why you should consider adding them to your home. Let’s be honest, we could all benefit from a little bit of Zen in our lives and our dominions. A little bit of serenity and positive energy never hurts. And where better to begin implementing a Zen philosophy than the place closest to our hearts – home. Today, I decided to feature a design by Kim Smart of a 1929 Craftsman Bungalow in San Diego, California. While Californian beach housing is famous for their funky, laid-back style, it’s always refreshing to see a new interpretation on a subject we have all seen before. Another reason, I decided to feature this particular project is that I strongly believe the landscaping and the open-space design is just what our Australian homes would benefit from. Laid-Back Zen Exterior OK, here we don’t see the mandatory water feature which is one of the signature looks of Zen home decoration but we find a splendid multi-level Trex deck which simply invites you to enjoy the sunshine (while sipping a cocktail). A plain wall has been turned into a dazzling focal point with a colourful glass installation. What you don’t see on the photo is that once the sun hits the glass, vibrant reflections of the coloured glass dance on the wall. Free-Flow Interior Natural materials are an essential part of Zen elements at home. Therefore, the hardwood flooring and the Arcadia tree kitchen sideboard make perfect sense. As you can see from all the pictures, the furnishing is arranged to make the most of the natural light flowing in from the vast windows. The flow of the space remains uninterrupted. The living room is divided into two zones – a conversational area and a small home office. The glass cloth wallpaper is a perfect backdrop of the space and gives the work zone a Zen, organic feel. You can view all the pictures of the beautiful bungalow...

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Going Informal: Alternatives to the Formal Dining Room
Feb27

Going Informal: Alternatives to the Formal Dining Room

Time always moves at exactly the same speed, but our perception of it alters over time. The end result is impressions such as ‘summer used to last longer when I was a kid’ or ‘it can’t possibly be spring already!’ Just like our perception of time as individuals, time moves on for society overall as well. This can be seen pretty clearly when you examine homes built at different times in history: Rooms that were once absolute necessities become oddball spaces no one knows what to do with, floor plans evolve and change, and buildings that were once grand mansions get subdivided into more humble apartments. The Formal Dining Room is quickly becoming one of those dinosaurs of a past age. While there are certainly still families that use and love their Formal Dining Room, there are more and more families that are embracing a more casual use of space and have rarely, if ever, used the Formal Dining Room for its assigned purpose. Ask yourself: When was the last time you invited a dozen people over and used your buffet, China Cabinet, and good place settings? If the answer is pretty low, you might consider doing something else with your Formal Dining Room – because it’s turning into wasted space. Keep Things Appropriate Once you decide that the Formal Dining Room is a waste of space, you can, of course, do anything you want with it. Some folks have turned it into a game room complete with pool table. Others into a home office or children’s play room. However, just because you suddenly have a few dozen square feet to play with doesn’t mean that the room can be anything and remain appropriate in the home. While you can decide to use your space any way you like, the fact is Formal Dining Rooms tend to be off the kitchen, and that means having an office or a playroom – while perfectly sensible – won’t flow well with the house. To truly re-imagine your Formal Dining Room without ruining your home’s flow and balance, keep the new use in line with its placement. Dining Room Reinvention Ideas Here are some ideal uses for the space that make the room more useful and keep things making sense in your home: Kitchen Renovation The Dining Room is right off the kitchen – and thus could easily be where you expand in order to create the eat-in kitchen of your dreams. If your kitchen’s a bit tight or a bit dark, this is the easiest way to recreate it and gain valuable square footage. Of course, this is a drastic step...

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