Bathrooms, bathrooms and more bathrooms

Did you grow up in a house with one bathroom? I did. These days it seems there are just as many bathrooms as bedrooms in houses and not every bathroom is the same. Like all renovations, the end user must be kept in mind. And there’s products to suit every taste, age and size. Freestanding baths or built in, back to wall toilet suites or wall hung hidden cistern, vessel basins or undermount or something in between, wall taps, mixers and spouts, double showers or single, fixed or hand held. The options are endless.

I was recently asked to give my tip on renovating a bathroom. You can read the article here.

If you would like assistance renovating or designing your bathroom, contact us for an appointment.

 

Recent Interiors and Exteriors

Before

Before

After

After

It’s taken me a week and a bit but I’ve finally uploaded to my website, photos of interiors and exteriors which I have completed this year.

Before

Before

After

After

My lovely friend and talented photographer, Lyn Johnston, took these great shots. We spent a day touring around the suburbs visiting clients again.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

Kitchen After

It’s a fun day and lovely to pop back in and see houses that have been completed for a while. I’m very grateful to my clients for allowing me to come back, some whilst they are not even there!

Love me a red front door

Love me a red front door

You can see more images of these houses over on my website.

Bedroom Before

Bedroom Before

Bedroom After

Bedroom After

If you would like your home to have a new look, contact me for a consultation.

When space is at a premium

Not all of us have the luxury of living in expansive homes with spacious rooms to decorate. Many of my clients wish their rooms had an extra square metre or so. Unfortunately we can’t always knock down walls and create bigger rooms.

Demolishing walls

Demolishing walls

But we can dig into our box of tricks and make the rooms appear bigger.

Now we all know mirrors help as well as light walls. But making every square centimetre count is the most important. And don’t just think about the floors pace. There is lots of room on the vertical plane that can be utilised as well.

Small Bedroom with hanging bedside lights

Small Bedroom with hanging bedside lights

In the bedroom, build storage units including wardrobes and display space around the bed. Use pendant lights which hang from the ceiling and small bedside tables or shelves instead of wide, bulky bedside tables and lamps.

Small bedroom with built-in wardrobes around bedhead

Small bedroom with built-in wardrobes around bedhead

In the living room, use a coffee table with stools or ottomans underneath to provide extra seating when needed. Or use two small tables that can be placed together for one larger table or separated and drawn up to the sofa for individual side tables.

Small living room with two coffee tables

Small living room with two coffee tables

Cabinetry can be taken all the way to the ceiling which will assist with creating height plus providing much needed storage.

Small kitchen with full height cabinetry

Small kitchen with full height cabinetry

But don’t think small space small pieces. Oversized items can trick the eye into thinking the space is actually much larger than it is.

Small dining room with oversized pendant light

Small dining room with oversized pendant light

These images along with more ideas and inspiration can be found on my Pinterest board, When Space is At A Premium.

If you would like assistance with creating space in your home contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Staring at the toilet

It’s one of my biggest bugbears. You know when you look into a bathroom and the toilet stares right back at you. And if that bathroom is seen as you enter a home or on your way through the home to the living area, it’s worse.

DSC01893 Unfortunately this is the case with many homes in Australia built before 1950. That’s when the outhouses started to vanish and the toilets were moved inside. Prior to that time, the bathroom inside was just for washing and the toilet had its own building about 100 metres from the house.

The easy answer if like me, you don’t like looking at a toilet as you pass the bathroom, is to move it. However, that’s easier said than done! Moving plumbing is a costly exercise and sometimes it’s just not possible due to limited subfloor access, concrete flooring or existing plumbing arrangements. So the next best option is to create a focal point that takes the eye away from the big white bowl.

DSC03476 This bathroom was a perfect example. The clients didn’t want to do major renovations to move the toilet behind the door and “hide” it from view. In a perfect world, I suggested moving the toilet to right of the door, where the vanity sits, and swing the door the opposite way. Instead we moved it slightly and although it can still be seen from the hallway, we created a spacious shower that became the main attraction of the bathroom. The clients no longer needed a bath and opted for an oversized shower recess. A modern vanity and large mirror helped to reflect light and make a showpiece bathroom rather than an afterthought.

DSC03477 If you would like assistance renovating your bathroom, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Fashionable Formica

What comes to mind when you hear the word “Formica”? For me it’s an old kitchen table dating back to the 1960’s just like the one I used to eat at for just about every meal of my childhood. It had a Formica top and metal legs with matching vinyl chairs. Formica has just celebrated it’s 100th anniversary but there’s nothing last century about their new range of colours and textures.

Formica Kitchen Table

Formica Kitchen Table

Formica has introduced 29 new products, including a combination of  flexible solid colours, versatile woodgrains, modern patterns and popular stone designs, offering homeowners and renovators with more options to create looks that work.

Made specifically for the Australian market, the updated Colour Range embraces the latest interior trends and adds a new dimension to the contemporary collection. There’s even a new clean, clear white for those people who must have a white kitchen, bathroom or laundry.

Formica in the Kitchen

Formica in the Kitchen

The new range works beautifully with the latest interior trends providing a great choice of patterns and finishes for all rooms of the home, with products suitable for either vertical or horizontal application.

Formica in the Laundry

Formica in the Laundry

For a fraction of the cost, Metropolitan Concrete and Grey Kashmir allow homeowners and renovators to create the on-trend look of concrete benchtops. Likewise, Brushed Zinc and Brushed Nickel help create the new brushed metals look without the hassle of maintaining a metal surface, but with the durability of a laminate surface.

I love the luxe look of woodgrains and the new Formica varieties can be used in both horizontal and vertical applications.

Woodgrain Formica

Woodgrain Formica

A clever addition to the Formica offering is the new magnetic metallic laminates in Glossy White and Matt Black finishes. Glossy White is the perfect answer for your magnetic whiteboard surfaces in areas like busy kitchens, kid’s bedrooms or laundries, while Matt Black gives you a magnetic chalk blackboard finish that can be fixed to kitchen panels, inside cabinet doors or throughout the pantry for handy shopping lists and notes.

Whiteboard Formica

Whiteboard Formica

The Formica Colour Range has a solution for every application. All products within the Formica range are designed to be mixed and matched and are backed by a seven year limited warranty to help create perfect interiors that last.

So what are you waiting for? Consider Formica for your next renovation project. If you would like assistance selecting the right Formica for your home renovation, contact us for an appointment.

Let your light shine

The renovation of our Californian Bungalow on Sydney’s North Shore is, for all intents and purposes, “finished”.  If you’ve renovated, or loved a house, you will understand that renovating is never really over.

DSC05760

When designing a renovation, one of the aspects that needs consideration is a lighting plan. This needs to be done fairly early in the piece so wiring can all be in place when it’s time to install the beautiful fittings.

Wiring in place

Wiring in place

A good mix of downlights, pendants and wall lights help in creating atmosphere and functionality for your home. LED lighting has come a long way since we started designing our home five years ago. So much so that we ended up installing LED downlights through the hallways and KiDiLi as well as my office. These lights give a good even light and save on electricity at the same time! Dimmers were installed on all the downlights to adjust the brightness. We opted for warm white bulbs which gives a softer light than the cool white.

LED strip lighting was also installed under the wall cabinets in the kitchen and laundry. I’m amazed at how much light these give and yet they are not harsh on the eye.

LED Strip Lighting under wall cabinets in kitchen

LED Strip Lighting under wall cabinets in kitchen

However when it came to “pretty” lights, there were so many options. Our bedroom already had a chandelier but I needed a light for the dressing room.

Master bedroom chandelier

Master bedroom chandelier

The ceiling in the dressing room was lower than the rest of the house as it was once a verandah. I knew I wanted a luxe feel to the dressing room so opted for a single glass pendant that had chandelier-like crystal droplets inside the cone of glass. It looks great and creates a lovely pattern on my wallpapered ceiling.

Pendant light for dressing room

Pendant light for dressing room

The lounge, dining and entry all had existing lights which took me five years to choose after we moved in.

Front Entry pendant light

Front Entry pendant light

Fortunately, I still liked them and so didn’t have to set about choosing alternatives. I sometimes wonder if my dining room could handle a more dramatic fitting now that I’ve painted it a dark colour, but for the time being it’s fine.

Dining room light

Dining room light

I chose lights for the kitchen and casual dining to complement the cabinetry in the kitchen. The black iron look echoes the black ladder rail and cabinet handles and the shapes of the pendants help create the Hamptons style I wanted.

Kitchen and casual dining glass pendant lights

Kitchen and casual dining glass pendant lights

Each single bedroom needed a pendant light too. They would all have bedside lamps but you still need a larger overhead light for those times you lose something and need some brighter light. My daughter chose her Factory light which possibly wouldn’t have been my choice, but it works well and gives out a good light.

White factory light

White factory light

The main guest bedroom needed something elegant. Along with my daughter’s bedroom it was part of the new build. We replicated the high ceilings and decorative plaster strips so I chose a white wire chandelier. I thought it was good value at $125!

Guest bedroom wire chandelier

Guest bedroom wire chandelier

The other bedroom is in the original part of the house and was once my daughter’s bedroom. I commissioned the girls at Feature Pieces to make me a large conical drum shade in a fabric that co-ordinated with the roman blind fabric.

Conical Fabric Drum Shade

Conical Fabric Drum Shade

Then it was on to the bathrooms. Appropriate facial lighting is key in the bathroom and ideally there should be a light source at face height or above the mirror to provide reflected and direct light on to the face.  In the main bathroom, we installed downlights as well as cute little wall lights with glass shades. Being practical, I chose glass shades rather than fabric as it will wear better with steam and water.

Bathroom glass shade wall lights

Bathroom glass shade wall lights

I had been eyeing off the Verona wall light for a number of years and so it was an easy choice to make for the ensuite. However, the mirrored cabinet could not be recessed into the wall. The wall was original and only single skin brick. The builders were not keen to take out bricks for the cabinet as it would result in weakening the entire wall.

DSC05869

So the cabinet was face mounted. The lights sit beside the cabinet but I don’t feel they give enough light. I have devised a plan to rectify the situation but it will have to wait.  There’s always something you would do differently next time when you renovate. So you should always do at least two……if you have the energy!

Ensuite Verona Wall Lights

Ensuite Verona Wall Lights

The powder room is my drama room. The gorgeous Catherine Martin Antique Lace wallpaper, gold framed mirror and black vanity help create the scene. I didn’t want to detract from the wallpaper or mirror so chose not to install wall lights. The ceiling has a skylight leaving little room for a pendant light. You may remember last year we had a weekend at the refurbished Sydney Shangri La Hotel and I stole the lighting idea from their spa rooms. The builder and electrician placed a strip of LED lights behind the mirror so a warm glow seems to emanate from the mirror. It adds to the drama without detracting.

Powder Room with LED strip lighting behind the mirror

Powder Room with LED strip lighting behind the mirror

I’m really happy with all the lighting choices I’ve made. They add the finishing touch. Lights are a very personal choice but can add so much personality. I was working with a client about 6 months prior to starting my own renovation and it had never occurred to her to put a different light in every room. I gave her some suggestions and she had a ball at the lighting shop choosing a different light for each area of her home. If you think about light fittings as the jewellery then they will add to the overall finish of your home.

A car load of lights

A car load of lights

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

 

The downstairs loo

Part of our renovation involved a new toilet downstairs. It will service the pool, the garden and also my studio.

Laundry with downstairs toilet being built

Laundry with downstairs toilet being built

Space was at a premium and there was no room for a vanity but rather a small wash basin. I chose the Parisi Powder Room basin.

I chose a back to wall toilet, as I always do, because I hate the spider trap of toilets that don’t sit flush to the wall.

Now I’ve been busy adding the final touches. The toilet is off the laundry so I’ve adopted the colours of the laundry for the accessories. The toilet itself was too small and dark (with no windows)to use the turquoise paint on the ceiling so it’s just ordinary ceiling white.

Laundry

Laundry

I had been looking everywhere for a yellow framed mirror. Not only did I want yellow, but I wanted it round! Sometimes we get these ideas in our heads and then drive ourselves crazy trying to find them.

I had seen a round mirror at a homewares store. It had a grey distressed frame which could be painted. I waited until the mirror was reduced and then pounced when it hit $10.

Distressed round mirror

Distressed round mirror

I took it home, sanded it back and gave it two coats of yellow paint, which I had from my yellow whiteboard (but that’s another story). After I painted it, I gave it a coat of Feast Watson Glossproof which I had left over from my Re-love Project. It gave the mirror a nice glossy finish, just the look I was after.

Mirror after painting and topcoating

Mirror after painting and topcoating

I had carried around in my wallet a chip of the ceiling paint from the laundry. Eventually I found a hand towel the same colour to complete the room.

Completed Downstairs Toilet

Completed Downstairs Toilet

Now the downstairs loo is fit for any visitors I have to my studio.

If you would like assistance choosing fixtures and fittings for your bathrooms, contact me for an online or in-person consultation.

Building a new bathroom

We have been back in our renovated Californian Bungalow now for 4 months. And as we still chip away at our “To Do List”, I am excited to finally reveal the main bathroom.

full size bath set in bay window

We bought our house 10 years ago and inherited a second bathroom with the house. It was a very small tiny bathroom with no room to move. It had a toilet, washbasin and shower.

bathroom before demoliton, built in the 1970's

As it was in the fibro extension that had been added to the house in the ’70’s, (yes that meant asbestos and care and cost to remove it) it was going to be removed completely and a new and improved bathroom would be added.

bathroom built in the 1970's about to be demolished

The new bathroom was built on the same footprint as the old guest bedroom. You have no idea how many times I paced out that room and tried to imagine myself in a bathroom.

Enclosed verandah turned into a guest bedroom

Would it be big enough? The guest bedroom wasn’t that spacious with no built-ins and just enough room to move around the queen bed. It only had one bedside due to space being at a premium. Oh dear, was I doing the right thing or should I make it bigger?

guest bedroom prior to demolition

After many months of demolition, excavation and rebuilding, the bathroom was starting to take shape. We had crimped a bit of extra floor space by building a bay window and sitting the bath in that.

new bathroom being built with bath fram installed

I opted for opaque glass in the windows as although the window looks out to a private garden, it’s still reassuring to know that there is no chance of anyone peering in. Also the bay window was at right angles which makes it very tricky to add window coverings unless it’s shutters. I must admit I was a bit disappointed when they first went in. I was not listening to the advice I give my interior design clients, that is – wait until everything is finished and then you will see that it all works together.

new bathroom with gyprock walls

I had spent months agonising over floor tiles, wall tiles, paint colours and feature tiles. It’s really hard doing your own place when you have been exposed to so much and your head is full of possiblities.

choosing a colour scheme for tiles and paint for the new bathroom

So, once again, I tried to take the advice I dish out. What feeling would you like when you use the room? That was easy, I wanted it to be a bright space with loads of light yet I wanted to feel calm and relaxed when I was there. A touch of luxury and femininity seeing my daughter would be the main occupant and I might sneak in there occasionally for a bath.(Must get around to doing that!) That set me on the right path and I was able to make the selections relatively easily.

new bathroom ready for waterproofing

I’m so happy with the end result.

glass shelves installed around the vanity. mosaic feature tiles behind vanity

The feature tiles add a touch of glamour while the white wall tiles and bay window makes the room very light. And surprise, surprise, when everything was in place the windows look just perfect.

new bathroom complete with marble tiled floor and full sized bath in bay window

If you would like assistance with bathroom design or sourcing fixtures and fittings, contact me for an online or in-person consultation.

 

Grout should not be ignored

Renovating a bathroom or kitchen? Chosen all your tiles? What a releif, you can now sit back and let the tiler do his thing. Wrong!

Once you’ve chosen your tiles the next thing you need to choose is the colour of the grout. Don’t leave it to the tiler as you will probably end up with white or grey. The grout needs to support the tiles not detract from them. No-one wants to make a feature of the grout! Unless you’re really making a statement like this image below.

red grout

When we renovated I had definite ideas about how the tiles would look once grouted. The large format tiles in the bathroom were rectified which means they have square edges. I wanted the walls to look seamless and the rectified tiles can be placed close together so choosing a white grout assisted with the overall look.

IMG_0172

In the ensuite, we used natural stone tiles on the walls and floor so I chose a cream grout there to match the filling in the travertine.

IMG_0180

The black marble mosaic splashback in the powder room needed a dark grout as anything lighter would make the space look too busy. I already had a wallpaper above the splashback and that was the main feature of the room. The splashback needed to enhance the wallpaper and save it from water splashes but didn’t need to be a feature in itself.

IMG_0178

The kitchen was tricky. I was using white subway tiles. The kitchen has a nod to French provincial style without the fuss so I wanted the tiles to stand out but I didn’t want the industrial look like the kitchen below.

industrialkitchen

White grout would’ve blended with the tiles and dark grout would give that industrial look, sort of like a butcher’s shop. So I selected a pale grey grout. The cabinetry is grey and the bench top is also a grey – Stone Italiana KSoul. The grey grout sets off the whole kitchen perfectly.

IMG_0170

So don’t think once you’ve chosen your tiles your decisions are over. Think about the overall look you’d like, take some time and choose the colour of your grout wisely. Like everything else, the options are endless but will make a big difference to your finished home.

IMG_0504

All images can be found on my Pinterest boards.

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

 

Odds and Ends

And another week begins!

Last week was a busy one as we move closer to Christmas and start to get to the pointy end of our own home renovation.

Lock Up

I spent the week in the car, or so it seemed. Not doing anything terribly exciting and collecting all the necessary bits that are essential for the home. It’s all those things that seem to just appear but are very important and need to be selected, ordered and installed.

Still building

Like window hardware. The windows were all put in at the house over the last two weeks so then I had to choose latches, fitches and lifts.

Teardrop Window Locks

We have a mixture of double hung and casement windows so I had to make sure I had the right hardware for each window. Not very exciting, but very necessary!

Sash Lifts

Door hardware was selected last week too. But door handles are only a minor part of door hardware.

Door Handles

You also need to consider door stops, whether you need privacy locks and roller latches for french doors.

Door Stops

Thank goodness for the knowledgable staff at Mother of Pearl & Sons who know exactly what you need.

Privacy Sets

I took in my list of doors and what I needed on each door and they carefully went through all the components.

Not very exciting essentials

And, I took delivery of taps and other fittings for the bathroom and laundry.

Washing Machine Tap Set

I love the Smart Tile to use in the floor of the bathrooms. The end result is a streamlined floor.

Floor Grate

One exciting trip I did have, was to collect all my pretty light fittings.

Carload of light fittings

We’re using LED downlights throughout the hallways and family living areas but adding a selection of wall lights and feature pendants.

LED Downlights

I just can’t wait to get them all installed.

Ensuite Wall light

Enjoy your week, and remember, if you need assistance selecting all the odds and ends for your home renovation, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

 

Open modal