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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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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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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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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