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 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. 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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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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