How To Make a Large Room Feel Comfortable
Jun10

How To Make a Large Room Feel Comfortable

There are many ways to divide a large space into more comfortable smaller areas in which to live, work and play but for this article I’d like to concentrate on room dividers. The clever use of a physical barrier can set the tone for the design scheme; traditional, mid-century modern, urban, scandi style or shabby chic, anything is possible. Space dividers Open plan living spaces are popular, particularly with families, and they work really well when numbers swell at party time. However very large rooms can make people feel uncomfortable and sometimes it’s difficult to arrange furniture due to the lack of walls. It feels a bit weird placing furniture in the middle of an expansive room when, having been used to smaller spaces, we would naturally place large items around the edges of a room and face them inwards. Moving from a house with several small rooms into one with an open plan arrangement can be daunting and space dividers have an important role. The open shelving shown in the image below (from Bolefloor), allows the maximum amount of light to permeate through. This has the added design benefit of creating shadows, which can be very attractive, and it means you have a visual connection through the space. The design is perfect for a contemporary look and you may wish to display items on the shelves although I must admit to liking it just the way it is. To bring pattern into a room you could try a folding screen that can be moved and adjusted to fit the space. A solid screen like the ones below (Butterflies from Timorous Beasties and parrots from WallpaperDirect) can create the effect you specifically need. Give your room a lift with joyful pattern or bold colour. If you have craft skills you could make this type of screen at home; cover with fabric, wallpaper, or paint. If you need a divider that also creates a thermal barrier a glazed wall is one to consider. The decision to have small framed panes of glass or large pieces that are unframed will be dependent on the style you want to achieve in your home.  In order to decide what type of room divider you need consider the following questions:- Is it going to be permanent or do you need to move it around? For instance, will you want to take it with you to a new home or use it in another room in the future? Do you require the screen for privacy and if so, must it be completely solid or can it be semi transparent? Should the screen be more than just a visual divider? Could it be a thermal or noise barrier?  Is the screen required for...

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The Whole Enchilada: Stop Thinking in Terms of Rooms
Jun05

The Whole Enchilada: Stop Thinking in Terms of Rooms

Interior Design can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you have no training or serious experience with it. In fact, for many people who choose to go DIY (or must do, due to budget constraints), their gut instinct is to reduce the project’s scale down to something more mentally manageable. This usually means focusing on one room of the house at a time – or, sometimes, just one aspect of a room. Once they get the scale down to something less frightening the ideas start to come. The problem? This approach usually results in an over-designed home, or a home with a chaotic, rudderless design scheme that doesn’t feel cohesive. Beautiful, unique objects, textures, and colours won’t do much for your home if they fight with each other or don’t complement each other. Scary or not, the key to good design in the home is to think about the Big Picture. The Problem Here’s the problem: Whether you’re tackling each room as a whole separate project due to intimidation or budget, the end result is that each room feels like an island of design. On the one hand, this might make sense to you, because you’re pouring all of your creativity and resources into each space, so they will all emerge feeling “done,” with nice finishes. And that may well be true. But if you step back and walk from space to space, think about whether the colour transitions from one wholly distinct palette to another are jarring, whether the decorations on the walls and surfaces tie into each other or not, and whether you feel like you’re walking through different people’s apartments instead of one family’s home. In some cases, you want this distinction – giving a child his or her distinct space can be a great idea. But for the public areas of the home everything needs to feel like it’s part of a larger plan. The Solution The solution is simple: Step back and make sure there are visual “through lines” between each space. Take into consideration: Colour Palette: You don’t need to use the same colour palette in each room, but each colour palette should launch from the same starting point and complement each other. One great idea is to have each room shift from one end of the palette spectrum to another as you move from the front to the back of the home. Wall Art: Each piece of wall art should refer back to others in the home. Subtlety is key. Different styles of canvas prints or other wall decor all depicting similar subjects, or canvas prints made from the same photo set you took on...

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Australia Uncovered: Lake Daylesford Country House
May14

Australia Uncovered: Lake Daylesford Country House

Daylesford is a pettite rural town, just an hour and a half away from Melbourne CBD. With 65 mineral springs the Dylesford-Hepburn district accounts for more than 80% of Australia’s mineral water reserve. As a result, Daylesford has been turned into Oz’ SPA capital. The picturesque village boasts unrivalled ratio of day spas in the entire country. But what makes Daylesford the perfect place to relax is the laid-back calm atmosphere. Unique and charming are the two words that come to mind when it comes to this town. The alluring combination of boutique retail, inviting restaurants, fascinating art galleries and period architecture dating back to the 1850’s will pull you away from everyday worries. But let’s talk architecture, or I might feel tempted to roam about the lush national parks, the surprises which await you in every tiny shop you visit and most above about the heavenly SPA treatments you can use. Something every newcomer notices about Daylesford is the oppulence. Glorious granite, sandstone and bluestone buildings add a flavour of grandeur to the little village. Most of the constructions can be dated back to the mid-1800’s – the time of the gold fever. Which leads us to the topic at hand – a majestic 1890’s Victorian country house, which has become one of the top luxury retreats in the area. Lake Daylesford Country House: Exterior Overlooking the eponymous Lake Daylesford, the magnificent historic building offers striking views of its timeless country garden as well as of the lake and the forest on the opposing shore. From the entrance to the property – a white picket gate, you enter a new realm. One of blossoming cherry and apple trees, dazzling water features – typical for the 1800’s European bourgeois housing. The artificial pond with its harmoniously ribbiting native frogs complete the idyllic picture. The lacy Victorian façade made of timber vaguely reminds of this of Queenslander houses rather than Daylesford’s typical stone architecture. But maybe this little detail is what distinguishes it from all the rest luxury SPAs. Lake Daylesford Country House: Interior If you thing that the garden with it’s blushing apple trees and bird songs are heavenly, wait till you actually enter the lake house. The traditional timber Victorian exterior is combined with ornate French Provincial style – upscale yet warm and inviting. Each bedroom has it’s own signature look but all four of them are fully equipped with the most pampering high-end bedding, cushions and draperies (Pierre Frey, Sheridan, Ashley – to drop a few names). For your privacy, each room has an en suite bathroom and three of them are quipped with corner SPAs. The...

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Turn Your Bedroom into a Luxurious Sanctuary

Here are three tips I’m going to share with you to achieve jaw dropping luxury for your bedroom. Many of us yearn to feel pampered and special and in the privacy of your own bedroom you can make it happen in a very personal way. Budget constraints often mean that the bedroom slips down the priority list so I hope to encourage you to spend a little time to create your sanctuary. You don’t necessarily need to spend lots of money to produce sumptuous richness, it’s more about making clever choices. These ideas will help you develop your interior design scheme and take it up a level:- Soft textures: Deep buttoned headboards, quilted bed throws, upholstered chairs and ottomans all add a sense of luxury. The softness is organised, not totally informal, and it makes the difference between a luxe feel and a relaxed feel. So if you’d like to add a throw, or a pair of fluffy cushions, place them carefully rather than just anyhow. Glitter and shine: Mirrors, chandeliers, metallics and all reflective materials make the space feel glamorous and give it a touch of ‘Hollywood’. In the UK we are forever trying to bring more light into our rooms and mirrors are used freely but be careful as too many hard surfaces can make a room feel unfriendly. Include fabric that has a sheen or a wallpaper with a metallic background – both give you shine without harshness. You can also add a romantic effect with artificial light by placing a mirror behind it; this works particularly well with wall lights and pendent lamps that hang close to a wall. Generosity of scale: Wide picture frames, full fringes, large furniture, big patterns and lots of fabric in your drapes suggest opulence. If you can double the amount of anything do it! So, for instance, a single picture would be set with a minimum of two mount boards and a large fluted moulding for a frame. When thinking about the presentation of pictures or photographs hang a group of smaller ones together to make a large display. And, finally, remember to include the details, as well as looking at the room as a whole, because they can make a big difference to the overall atmosphere and complete the...

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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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