The Amazing Australian Architecture
Jan05

The Amazing Australian Architecture

Ever wondered what is typically Australian in our architecture and what is influenced by other cultures? Learn more about the history of Australian architecture, and its development over the centuries. What inspired some of the greatest architecture landmarks in the Land Down Under? Find out in the infographic below:   Amazing Architecture in Australia by...

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Enjoy ‘Health Through Water’ In Your Very Own Spa

Many might still hanker for a pristine polar white kitchen but in the bathroom there are signs of a more sophisticated approach to colour and pattern. It’s easy to add colour with wall decor treatments and accessories but we also have help from the manufacturers who are keen to introduce us to new materials and some rather smart design. No longer is the tub just a tub! With different shapes available we can inject style and personality into our bathrooms just as we would any other room in the house. From Teuco, ‘Accademia’ is a new collection by Carlo Colomb and this bath, made from Duralight®, is from the range called POP. It caught my eye at the interiors trade show 100% Design, which took place in London in September 2014, and it wasn’t only me that noticed it. Design London voted it as being rather special and Teuco picked up a further two awards for it this year: Red Dot Award Best of the Best 2014 and MIAW Muuuz International Award 2014. Colour and Wellness White is considered a hygienic neutral to use where germs can spread so it is popular for decor in the kitchen and bathroom. But the trend is to think of our bathrooms as a place of relaxation and the tub especially is key to this idea. Clinical no longer, the bathroom can replicate the appeal of a spa and with colour being linked strongly to wellness we can use more of it. Getting the feel of a spa at home requires a sense of luxury and through colour, texture and pattern it is achievable.  The naturally occurring blues, aquas and greens we enjoy where water is present will always have the effect of making us feel at ease and help us unwind. Whatever the style of your home you can enjoy ‘health through water’ in your very own spa. Even if we keep our all-white bathroom suite for a while we can work around it by introducing colour in accessories, in the decor and window dressings. But when buying a new suite the choice is varied and as innovative materials become more affordable we can splash out on something that is functional but has aesthetic charm like this tub designed by Jaime Hayon. The shower is where we wash and the bath a place to relax, meditate and...

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Spring Make-Over
Sep19

Spring Make-Over

Spring is in the air! Time to do some spring cleaning and get ready for the new season. Whether you are looking to do slight enhancement or major overhaul here are some pointers to get you started. First identify what it is you aim to do, then get an inspiration notebook to keep all your ideas in one place. I suggest the following pointers to assist you in getting ready for spring new look 2014:  Cut-out or make a copy of the inspiration room picture you so desire. Next, get yourself a notebook to help you get organized. Paste the inspiration image in your notebook, and use that page as your concept page.  Once you have your concept page, identify the elements and items that you will be needing to change or add. Some example of this can be: choosing new colors for the walls, getting new lamps, replacing an existing rug, etc. Keep this list in your notebook and don’t forget to take it with you when you go shopping!  Look for those items you already listed, and remember to always use the concept image as a reference a guide to your design – do not get side tracked with the items you like randomly! Keep referring to your list and stay focused on your inspiration concept. Now that you have your 7 pointers to help you stay on track let’s look at the “IN” colours according to Pantone Colour trends for spring 2014. Colour is super important and sometimes we shy away from bold colours but as long as you pick one main colour and use it as an accent colour then it can tie the rest of the space rather nicely.   Here is a great way to accessorise your space with some Celosia Orange. If you’re just looking for a simple enhancement to your space, you can add accent pillows, or choose a nice piece of art work to complement the pillows and the gray, adding a pop of color to enhance the space without having to change too much, patterns seem to be dominating the scene this spring as far rugs go. Here is a beautiful example of how to make patterns work in your space. Use neutral tones for the walls and accentuate with a nice pattern rug. Whether you are trying to enhance or add colour this spring, just remember to keep your ideas together and not lose focus on the ideal style you are looking for. Lots of bold colours can be used this spring to accentuate and layer with home accents. When in doubt refer to your inspiration image and have fun creating your new space for...

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Stripes – A Big Statement Or A Subtle Design Element
Aug11

Stripes – A Big Statement Or A Subtle Design Element

Geometry is extremely useful in interiors and can transform a space. From the softness of flowing curves to the solidity of a cube, to the excitement of a zigzag and the charm of spots and circles you can change the feel of a room based on the geometric patterns you employ. Today I’m going to concentrate on stripes for their ability to both make a big statement and add a subtle design element to your decor.  If you want to make a room feel wider, take the stripe horizontally around the room and if you want to make it feel taller, take it vertically up the walls. The wide stripes create a soothing atmosphere. The clever mix of neutral tones and the use of different types of paint make an interesting and stylish combination. I really like the addition of a metallic paint to add a hint of glamour. Horizontal stripes can be very calming.The main thing to remember with stripes is that they lead the eye. You cannot help but follow a line whether it’s up the wall or along the floor. A really bold line, or a long line, will make your eye travel even quicker.  And if you have an awkward shaped room to deal with you can use stripes to balance it, to make it even more edgy and exciting as in this image which plays on graphic black and white. The high contrast stripes are bold, confident and modern and if that’s a fair description of your personality I hope you try out something like this. Now you have these designer tools in your decorating bag let’s think about the beauty of stripes and how the colours and the width of the lines make a difference.  Try varying the line widths and changing directions that demonstrate a creative spirit and bring a plain wall to life. You really don’t need many stripes to make a huge impact. In this final image you can see how a striped wall brings a mix of colourful furniture together, binding the separate pieces into a cohesive scheme that feels comfortable and playful. Whether you start with the furniture and add the stripes or find a striped wallpaper you love and then look for the furniture is up to you but if you like colour I hope you will give this a whirl. Let me know how you get along with stripes in your...

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Kitchens That Get Better For Living In

The kitchen is the hub of the home and it is often the room we remember as being the place where we were nurtured as children, where we learned about family life and where we saw food prepared and brought to the table. The trend in kitchen design has been towards a streamlined look with high gloss cabinetry and granite work tops. Improvements in kitchen technology have given us: large deep drawers that close quietly with a gentle nudge plug sockets that pop up from work surfaces when required extractor fans that seem to hover in space, and surfaces that have ‘easy to clean’ written all over them I wonder if kitchens are becoming sterile and characterless? Have we gone a step too far and designed all the love out of them? When I met internationally famous kitchen designer Johnny Grey earlier this year he said that the kitchen has to be a friendly space, a place to be lived in where clutter is evidence of family life and where creativity should be encouraged. I found his words inspiring because I’m forever trying to tidy up and put away and keep work surfaces clear. His ideas inform his designs so that they contain ledges for putting things on, little round tables for kids to sit around, a corner here and there for a book or some papers and somewhere to perch and rest while the potatoes are boiling. You can have a modern design with simple lines and smart styling but you don’t need to remove visible signs of your family’s story. So, breathe easy, you can leave the kiddies drawings on the fridge and have the jar of coffee on view along with last night’s opened bottle of wine. In the design world we often describe certain materials as ‘forgiving’ and I think these kitchens are just that! Here are a few images I think to work well with this philosophy. They will still look good with crumbs on the work surface, finger marks on the doors, and scuffs on the floor, reminding me of this comment roundup from farmhouse kitchen experts. How do you rate your kitchen for...

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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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