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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Castles of Love: Romantic Gestures & Buildings
Feb13

Castles of Love: Romantic Gestures & Buildings

Love stories of damsels in distress and brave knights on white horses – this is part of our history and cultural ancestry. The biggest modern day reminder of Medieval heroes and grand romantic gestures are castles. There is something about those monumental buildings with vast, lush gardens and prodigal furnishing that makes us dream and feel all nostalgic. Influenced by ancient mythology, Geek and Roman culture some castles simply throw us in awe. However, there are a few of them which awaken even stronger feelings when you see them. They are the castles of love – eternal monuments of love declarations expressed through architecture. Since Valentine’s Day is just at our doors, I decided to step back in history and find some of the most romantic gestures ever made by mighty men for their fair maidens. Taj Mahal – The Tragedy of a Love That Knows No Boundaries If we have learnt one thing from our history, it’s that stories of tragedies echo through the centuries while happy ones get quickly forgotten. Taj Mahal is a mausoleum, built in memoriam of a loved one. Its construction was ordered by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan after the death of his third wife Mutmaz Mahal. Heartbroken after the lost of his dear one, Jahan ordered the construction of a tomb which would remain in history as the most magnificent shrine created by a man for a woman. The unique architecture combining Persian, Islamic and Indonesian styles, the original (albeit already stolen) lavish lapis lazuli and turquoise decoration and translucent white marble have earned Taj Mahal a rightful place amongst the Seven Wonders of the World. Kellie’s Castle – An Unfinished Love Letter Kellie’s Castle is the oldest castle built in Malaysia. The project was started in 1915 by Scottish landowner William Kellie Smith as a present for his wife. Having blessed him with a son, she was incredibly homesick in a far away country with far too different culture. The building plan was magnificent combining Moorish, Indian and Greco-Roman styles. However, the construction didn’t go as planned after the Spanish flu epidemic took the lives of over 70 Indian workers. To please the locals and convince them to continue building the castle, Kellis created a Hindu temple just next to the castle. Despite his best efforts he never got to finish his love declaration as he died of pneumonia shortly after a trip to England where he went to retrieve a lift for the castle tower. Thus, the Kellie’s Castle remained an unfinished love letter to a loved one. Today, you can still see the remains of what was about to become...

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Art For Your Home – Do You Dare?
Feb06

Art For Your Home – Do You Dare?

Adding intricate accents to your home décor is the best way to make your property pop out. From unusual vases, pettite coffee tables, comfy cushions and cosy blankets there are hundreds of ways to spruce up your interior design. Still, adding a dazzling piece of art as an interesting focal point is one of the best ways to make a strong statement. A blank dull wall could become your favourite place in the entire room thanks to a gorgeous oil painting. A piece of art can set (or re-set) the mood in the space making it more interesting, sometimes even more intense. However, many people shy away from investing in paintings, digital prints, sculptures and other pieces of art. Some home owners don’t consider themselves art savvy, while others are more concerned about the high prices. Bottom line being very few home owners actually muster up the confidence to make a purchase. While experts don’t advice you to buy art as a long-term investment, they do condone getting a piece for passion. Nevertheless, you need to follow a few essential tips, if you want the art to enhance your rooms and not dominate them with art. With a carefully considered piece of art, you can create a stunning focal point, an intimate conversation area or simply augment the natural flow of the space. Match the Scale of the Room A well selected piece of art neither dominates a room nor gets lost in it. To make a right choice, you need to have in mind that the proportions of the piece must match these of the rest of the space. Let’s assume you want to hang a painting above the sofa in your living room. One way to match the right scale is to look for a piece that is almost the same size as the piece of furniture below it, thus creating a sense of harmony. Sometimes, it’s hard to fall in love in a big piece of art or you just want a design that looks more out-of-the-beaten-path. In this case, you should try the “Rule of Three“. Experts apply the rule both to three-dimensional pieces and paintings as it gives a sense of scale. Instead of purchasing a single big piece of art, you can get three items with roughly the same size. You can play around with them and set them over the space a single big piece of art would take up. Moderation is the Key to Success Once you see the positive impact a carefully placed piece of art has on your home décor, you might want to add more. It’s not a...

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4 Reasons to Choose Leather over Fabric
Jan28

4 Reasons to Choose Leather over Fabric

One of the most difficult decisions when it comes to buying a sofa is choosing either leather or fabric. We’ll run through 4 reasons why you’d pick leather over fabric. Durability Real leather is one of the most durable materials on the market. With proper care and maintenance, a leather sofa will last a lifetime. Most leather sofas will be treated with a clear top coat that protects the leather from water and dirt stains. Leather is made by skinning the hide of an animal. The hide is then tanned to prevent decomposition. The hide is then split into 2 pieces, known as top grain and split grain leather. If you’ve decided on leather, top grain is the best choice for durability. Split grain should only be used on low wear areas, such as the back of the sofa. The combination of top grain leather and split grain leather will save you money yet still provide you a durable leather sofa. Status Symbol Leather is typically associated with status. You’ll find leather in most offices because of this. Leather is more expensive than fabric so it’s seen as a status symbol. Another reason is that each piece of leather is completely unique, because of the markings and natural lines of the animal. In that sense it isn’t a mass produced piece and no one else will have the same leather sofa you have. Ages Well Like wine, leather only gets better with age. Leather is a natural product, so over time, leather becomes much more soft and supple. While it becomes softer over time, it’ll still retain its durability. Win win! Perfect for Families The durability of leather is great for young kids. They can spill drink and food on a leather sofa all day without damaging the sofa itself. Leather holds up much better than fabric when it comes to pets as well. Leather is durable, gets better with age, perfect for families and ages very well. Fabric also many pros, such as versatility and it’s generally cheaper. When it comes down to leather or fabric, personal preference should ultimately decide which one you...

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