Too Much Timber

For the past two years I have been corresponding with a client in Airlie Beach, Queensland. As I explained when we first started exchanging emails, it’s been over 30 years since I was in Airlie Beach so she figured I wasn’t going to pop in for a consultation any time soon, no matter how much I would have liked.

Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays

Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays

Mel has a house on acreage which is all timber inside and her query was the same as I am often asked, “Will I paint the timber?” She had timber panelled walls and timber panelled ceilings. A number of skylights were allowing some light to enter but she was also wondering if she should instal more skylights.

Before

Before

Before installing more skylights, I suggested she paint the ceiling but leave the beams in timber, as the timber on the ceiling AND the walls was sucking up any light that was getting in to the room. I was conscious of the fact that the timber panelling was part of the style and architecture of the home and I always believe that the architecture should be maintained or acknowledged. I wasn’t sure if Mel was open to painting the walls as well.

Timber panelling on ceiling AND walls

Kitchen Before

Mel came back to me very quickly saying, Yes, she was open to painting the walls. She had just completed painting her son’s bedroom and realised that paint doesn’t detract from the charisma of the timber. She agreed that the paint modernised the space and took away that dated look.

Son's Room Before Paint

Son’s Room Before Paint

Son's Room After Paint

Son’s Room After Paint

Just as we had completed the emails, I spotted this image which I sent through to her. From then on it was a done deal.

Perfect example of leaving some timber

Perfect example of leaving some timber

So last month she sent through images of the living area all painted. Hasn’t she done a wonderful job?

Before

Before

After

After

There is never a right or wrong way to treat timber. Just keep in mind what you want to achieve. In this case, Mel wanted light, bright and modern. I think she got it.

Look at that stained glass detailing. You couldn't see it with all that dark timber.

Look at that stained glass detailing. You couldn’t see it with all that dark timber.

Painting the ceiling

Painting the ceiling

Kitchen After

Kitchen After

If you would like assistance with your interior design dilemma, contact me for a consultation.

 

Bright Colours on Your Home

I recently contributed to an article on house colours for the Domain website. Most of us want our houses to look like all the other houses around and we certainly notice if someone has decided to paint their home a bright colour. Is it wrong?

Bright and Colourful Exterior chosen by Inside Out Colour and Design

Bright and Colourful Exterior chosen by Inside Out Colour and Design

No of course it’s not wrong, you can have whatever colour you desire but you do need to consider carefully if you want your house to be known as the “purple house” for instance or if you are happy for it to stand out in a sea of greys and taupes.

Grey Exterior Colour Scheme Selected by inside Out Colour and Design

Grey Exterior Colour Scheme Selected by inside Out Colour and Design

My theory is that as long as the combination of colours works together then the overall effect will be great. Unlike this house which I featured 5 years ago. It still hasn’t had a coat of paint.

Pink House

You can read the article here.

If you would like assistance choosing colours for your home, contact us for a consultation.

 

A Step Back In Time

On our recent trip to Hong Kong, I wanted to visit Tai O Fishing Village to see if it had changed in the 12 years since we lived there. Tai O is a rare example of traditional Chinese stilt houses built over the water and was once a true fishing village. It is situated on Lantau Island between Hong Kong, Macau and Mainland China and dates back to the Ming Dynasty. In it’s hey day it had a reported population of over 30,000, however, now as few as 2000 residents live there.

Tai O Fishing Village

Tai O Fishing Village

So we set off from Hong Kong by ferry to Mui Wo, then bus to The Big Buddha at the peak of Lantau. After a walk around The Big Buddha, we boarded another bus down the hill to Tai O. I had read that there was a new hotel at Tai O which was a great stop for afternoon tea. After alighting from the bus, we walked for about 20 minutes following the signs to the Tai O Heritage Hotel.

The Big Buddha

The Big Buddha

Now this village is not a pretty village and the smell of dried fish is strong and attacks the nostrils. We passed the local school and many small houses some of which were made from metal. We couldn’t help but wonder how on earth people live in such small, dark homes with very low ceilings. The houses often have common walls with their neighbours which meant the fire of 2013 would’ve caught very quickly and destroyed so many properties. It’s a miracle no lives were lost and more damage wasn’t done.

Tai O Fishing Village

Tai O Fishing Village

As we walked further and further along the path away from the main area, I was starting to doubt that the reward would be worth it.

Sign Street Post

It was hot, and smelly and I had envisioned a beautiful oasis with potted palms, rattan fans and beautiful food but feared we would be dining in a house with animals and washing.

Cats Washing

There were fishermen fishing and women in big coolies sitting on the rocks collecting something.

Fisherman Oysters

There was a building out on it’s own that appeared to be sinking and for a few minutes I thought this was going to be our destination.

Sinking Building

But a turn in the road took us paste the shrimp paste drying in the sun. More overpowering fishy smells!

Shrimp Paste

And at last I caught a glimpse of a building high up above the path. It was exactly what I had imagined, from the outside anyway.

Heritage Hotel

There was nothing else around so that had to be it. A few more steps and the sign pointed to the pathway. Oh, wow, it was everything I had imagined and more. The building was the Old Tai O Police station built in 1902 by the British Government as one of the first colonial police stations. It closed in 2002 and was left vacant and dilapidated until it was restored in 2009. In 2012 it was reborn as a nine-suite boutique hotel and to help rejuvenate the historic Tai O fishing village.

Heritage Hotel 1

We found the dining room, with sweeping views of the South China Sea, and took our seats. I was thrilled to learn the furniture came from the now closed China Tee Club (another past favourite of mine).

The China Tee Club (formerly in the Pedder Building in Central but now closed)

The China Tee Club (formerly in the Pedder Building in Central but now closed)

The food was great and for a short time I could pretend I was back in Colonial Hong Kong.

The Dining Room of the Tai O Heritage Hotel

The Dining Room of the Tai O Heritage Hotel

It’s a beautiful spot and well worth the trek. It’s also pleasing to read that the hotel operates as a non-profit social enterprise with surpluses being used for conservation and maintenance of historic buildings. The hotel also provides local employment opportunities, employs local service providers and uses Tai O ingredients at the restaurant in order to support the local economy. There are numerous hiking and nature trails in and around Tai O and the hotel would be a welcome respite for overnight.

Looking back to the village from the Hotel - not the prettiest of views

Looking back to the village from the path to the Hotel – not the prettiest of views

I hope Tai O never loses it’s charm and remains available for tourists to visit and see how life used to be.

Drying salted egg yolks

Drying salted egg yolks

 

Ask An Architect

For many people buying, renovating or building a home can be a daunting prospect.

When we purchased our home in Sydney 12 years ago, we knew we wanted to change a few things and make the home suit our lifestyle better. The formal lounge and dining room were separate rooms and we considered knocking a hole in the joining wall to open the rooms but then the hallway would be a waste of space. We wanted to update the kitchen as it was well and truly past it’s use by date. I wanted a home office and the second bathroom was miniscule. We measured and measured and drew plans on bits of paper but just couldn’t get it all to work. img301 For the first twelve months after moving in, a builder was working on a house next door so one day I asked him if he could recommend an architect to help us with our ideas. Mum and Dad had built an architect designed home back in the late ’60’s so I knew the benefits of having professional input. We contacted one of the architects the builder suggested and were amazed at how they could transform our house into the home we knew it could be.

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You see they see things differently. They know which would be the best side of the house for the living areas, how to get flow from one room to the next, how to maximise the space you have and what you can and can’t do to utilise it. We didn’t end up knocking a hole in the wall between the lounge and dining rooms keeping the formal part of the house as it was meant to be. But we did move the kitchen into the centre of the house (you know the hub of the home) and left the north east corner with the best light and views for the everyday living.

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So now there is a new online portal ready to help with your home renovations or building. www.askanarchitect.com.au can demistify the process and make architecture something eveyone can easily access. An independent source of information and advice to help consumers understand what’s involved in renovating and building a home, the website is treasure trove of guidance, tips and tools that will help make your dream home a reality.

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Plus it’s a place for consumers to see real stories, gather inspiration, ask questions, participate in webinars, discover events and engage with an architect.

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Launched last week by the Australian Institute of Architects, www.askanarchitect.com.au is all about helping and guiding people through buying, building, renovating or maintaining their home and to help consumers build trust and confidence to engage and work with an architect.

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“It’s a great chance to build a relationship between you and an architect.” Cameron Frazer from ask an architect comments. “An architect is a valuable and independent partner who can help you through the murky and complex world of building or renovating a home. They can be your trusted advisor.”

Whether you’re looking to buy, build, renovate or maintain a home, www.askanarchitect.com.au is there to help. The website is designed to help those who really aren’t sure where to start, and for those wanting easy to access quick online advice. If you’re buying, the site can guide you through home inspection tips, renovation advice, pre-purchase questions and other options.

“It’s a great way to begin working with an architect if you’re not sure where to start or what you want. Our fixed price services are the perfect answer to achieve the best advice within a budget.” Cameron adds.

The site also includes a handy online question and answer service, relevant upcoming events, the Find an Architect directory of professional architects, a gallery for inspiration and Pinterest tools to help you start collecting ideas.

So now you can complete lots of research before you even meet with your professional. Trust me, the more knowledge you have going into your build or renovation, the smoother the process will be. And if you’d like some assistance choosing paint colours and fixtures and fittings, you know where to come.

Hong Kong Here We Come

Holidays! Yes, we’re going on holidays and for the first time in three years we’re heading overseas.

Hong Kong from The Peak

Hong Kong from The Peak

We’re off to Hong Kong for 10 days for the first time in 12 years. Hong Kong holds a very special place in my heart. It was my first overseas destination back in 1988. Then 20 years ago today, my husband and I went to Hong Kong for our Honeymoon. At the time we were about to relocate to the Solomon Islands for three years when we returned so just enjoyed our break. But after our stint in the Solomons we were offered a posting in, you guessed it, Hong Kong.

The view from our apartment in Hong Kong

The view from our apartment in Hong Kong

We had three wonderful years there with the highlight of our time being the birth of our daughter. Now 14 years old, we can’t wait to take her back and show her around her place of birth. There will tears, I have no doubt! And there will be recreating a few scenes like those in this post.

Hong Kong Park amidst the high rise

Hong Kong Park amidst the high rise

We are all very excited. Hong Kong changed so rapidly whilst we lived there so I can’t imagine the changes that will have taken place in the past 12 years. Disneyland, for one, was just being built when we were there. I believe the harbour has shrunk yet again with more buildings being built infront of those on the waterfront back in 2002. But the buzz will still be there and the excitement of a city that never sleeps.

Shopping for baby clothes in Stanley Market

Shopping for baby clothes in Stanley Market

Apart from recreating some scenes and visiting favourite haunts, I have a long list of interiors shops as well as restaurants and hotels to check out the fit outs. I have created a Google Map and plotted everything on it so when we are in an area I have a ready reckoner of places to go and things to see in the area.

Waiting patiently

Waiting patiently

Follow me on Facebook or Instagram for daily updates of our travels and I’ll be sure to fill you in on the details when we return.

The only park in Hong Kong with grass

The only park in Hong Kong with grass

I’m off to pack.

Emporium Melbourne

As you know, last week I was in Melbourne and one of the must sees on my list this time was the brand new Emporium shopping centre in the CBD.

Emporium

Looking up

A few months ago I had attended a speaker series for the DIA, titled Secrets of the Trade and one of the speakers was Byron George from Russell & George.

Organic Seating

Organic bench seating

This practice was responsible for a number of retail and food outlets in the new centre and his descriptions peaked my interest.

Emporium Melbourne

So much detail

What a beautiful space with so much to look at. Each shop was a work of art just for their fitout. There are still a number of stores to be completed so next trip it will be even more exciting.

Chokolait Window

Chokolait window

I was worried about the name being confused with Myer Emporium which connects to the centre but have since read that the new Emporium is on the site of Myer’s old Lonsdale Street store and takes up almost a city block.

Camilla Store

Camilla

48000m2 of retail heaven. They don’t call me born to shop for nothing!

Iced Chocolate

Had to try out the eateries!

 

Amazing Before and After

Whenever I am asked to consult on exterior colours, I will check out the home on Google Street View.

This assists in preparing me for the type of house and construction so I can make sure I take the correct tools of trade. I can also have a look at the neighbouring properties and sometimes formulate some ideas prior to arriving for the consultation.

Home as it is now

Home as it is now

This happened last week, when a previous client phoned to make an appointment for their rental property at Palm Beach. The client explained that the previous owner had been inspired by the Pastis Hotel in St Tropez. She sent me photos of the home as it is now and also a link to the hotel website.

Pastis Hotel, St Tropez

Pastis Hotel, St Tropez

But the biggest surprise came when I checked it out on Google Street View. Wow, what a transformation!

Home before

Home before

If you would like assistance choosing a colour scheme for your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Look Up!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you will know that when it comes to ceilings I am definitely a white girl. I just love the crisp clean look a white ceiling gives a home. And as the majority of houses on which I consult, are period homes and therefore light challenged, a white ceiling will help to brighten a room.

White ceiling by Inside Out Colour and Design

White ceiling by Inside Out Colour and Design

However, there are always exceptions! I love when the ceiling has been considered as another plane to decorate and this can be especially important in hairdressers’, dentists’ and beauticians’ rooms. We are seeing the line between commercial and residential decor blurring. Who doesn’t want to transport that spa bathroom in Phuket and plant it into their suburban bathroom in Sydney?

Spa Bathroom from Phuket

Spa Bathroom from Phuket

Sometimes a room needs to feel like an outdoor room and a pale blue ceiling will do it as the blue emulates the colour of the sky. I recommended this colour for a nursing home in the therapy room where most of the residents were confined to wheelchairs or beds and spent the majority of the time looking up.

Sky blue on the ceiling of a verandah or outdoor room

Sky blue on the ceiling of a verandah or outdoor room

A dark ceiling will make the room feel cosy. Or if it’s a small room or one with a raked ceiling, wrap the wall colour right around the walls and ceiling.

Enveloped in turquoise! Blue walls, woodwork and ceiling really packs a punch.

Enveloped in turquoise! Blue walls, woodwork and ceiling really packs a punch.

Remember, dark colours will make the ceiling feel lower than it really is. This is fine for rooms with very high ceilings or rooms where the height really doesn’t matter and a bit of drama would be preferred.

As dining rooms are mainly used at night, a dark ceiling helps with the cosy mood

As dining rooms are mainly used at night, a dark ceiling helps with the cosy mood

In my own home, I chose to paint the ceiling of the laundry a sea green. There are full height cabinets in white and a bright yellow tiled splashback. The height of the ceiling is the lowest in the house but it’s not really important to have a high ceiling in the laundry, particularly as I don’t plan to spend too much time there!

Laundry

Sea Green Ceiling in a Laundry

Another treatment overlooked for the ceiling is wallpaper. It can give the room interest and a luxurious feel. The same colour rules apply, light colours give the feeling of height while dark colours bring the ceiling down.

Wallpapered ceiling for a happy bedroom.

Wallpapered ceiling for a happy bedroom.

I selected a simple lattice pattern for the ceiling in my walk in wardrobe. The paper has a metallic sheen too which helps with light reflection. The dark cabinetry and wallpapered ceiling give a luxe boutique feel to the room.

The photos in this post have been collected on my Pinterest board, “Look Up” where you’ll find more examples of interesting ceiling treatments. So what are you waiting for? Start planning a makeover of the ceiling in one of your rooms.

Paint stripes on the ceiling

Paint stripes on the ceiling

If you would like assistance choosing paint colours for your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Is the kitchen a stage?

Besides the talk on Dining Rooms at the Historic Houses Trust, I also attended the talk on Kitchens.

19th Century Kitchen

19th Century Kitchen

We all know the kitchen is one of the most expensive rooms to renovate, it is also one of the rooms that will make or break the sale of the house. And we also know that the kitchen is the heart of the home.

20th Century Kitchen at Rose Seidler House

20th Century Kitchen at Rose Seidler House

The kitchen has changed so much throughout the ages. What was once a separate enclosed room with basic facilities located at the rear of the house, then moved to an enclosed room right next to the dining room and is now an open plan area full of all sorts of technology situated smack bang in the centre of the communal area of the home.

21st Century Kitchen designed by Inside Out Colour and Design

21st Century Kitchen designed by Inside Out Colour and Design

Our kitchens have become a performance space. I hadn’t thought about this aspect of cooking before. I thought the open plan was more so the cook can converse with the family and guests while throwing together the meal. But design historian Michael Bogle suggested that the island bench (which nearly everyone is putting in, if they don’t already have) is the stage where the cook can perform to the audience in the adjacent dining or living room.

Kitchen designed by Inside Out Colour and Design

Kitchen designed by Inside Out Colour and Design

Hannah Tribe was the second speaker and she pointed out that no longer is it only women in the kitchen. The focus is now on the interior of the home rather than the streetscape. There doesn’t seem to be the attention to detail on the outside with often modest exteriors opening up to opulent interiors.

Kitchen designed by Tribe Studio Architects

Kitchen designed by Tribe Studio Architects

The kitchen is a place of nostalgia and nurturing with many of us having fond memories of our childhood spent in the kitchen with Mum or fighting with our siblings over whose turn it was to dry the dishes (that had been hand washed by Mum!)

Helping Mum in the kitchen

Helping Mum in the kitchen

Therefore we are all creating designer kitchens with a focus on the values of the occupants on show for all our guests to see. Yet we still require the basics – tons of storage, easy to clean, lots of sunlight and effective appliances, in particular a good extractor and oven.

Kitchen designed by Inside Out Colour and Design

Kitchen designed by Inside Out Colour and Design

Tribe Studio Architects has just been awarded Designer of the Year at the Interior Design Excellence Awards. Congratulations Hannah and the team!

Kitchen designed by Tribe Studios

Kitchen designed by Tribe Studios

If you would like assistance updating your kitchen, contact us for an online or in-person consultation. Or visit my Pinterest Board for more inspiration

Tickets to Grand Designs Live

What’s not to love about Grand Designs? I think anyone with a remote interest in homes, renovations, building and interiors is a fan of the British series of the show. The Australian series is fabulous too. I know we used to watch it all the time until I realised it was hindering not aiding my push to renovate our own home. My husband was getting cold feet at the cold hard reality of renovating which was exposed on the show. You know, double the time, double the budget, disasterous weather conditions and people living onsite in caravans or containers.

The Sliding House A couple of years ago Grand Designs Live came to Sydney as did Kevin McCloud. I’m sure I was one of the first to purchase tickets and waited patiently for Kevin to appear on stage. Then last year the show came to town again. This time I was in the middle of renovations and was thrilled to snap up a bargain kitchen package from Kleenmaid that was being offered as a show special.

Grand Designs Live The show is coming again in a couple of weekends. Kevin will be there on the Sunday and the team from Selling Houses Australia – Shaynna, Charlie and Andrew– will be there too. There’s a great line up on The Lifestyle Channel Grand Theatre which is bound to excite those planning to renovate or sell their home.

Selling Houses_Group Shot But the best part is we have a special offer of a half price double pass. A double pass was $59 and is now $29.50. Simply enter the code word GDLBLOG6 in the “Special Offer” field and check the website for full terms and conditions. This offer is only valid to the first 100 readers so pop on over and grab yourself a double pass.

GDL 2013 Logo-National

And we can announce the winner of our Air Wick Candle! Congratulations to Michelle who left a comment here on the blog. I pooled to comments on the blog, Facebook Page and Instagram feed and Michelle’s name was drawn out. An Air Wick Candle is coming your way Michelle! It was fun reading all the different scents people favour for their homes – peonies, cranberry vanilla, Christmas and sandalwood.

Air Wick Candle

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