Dining and Decor

September is my most favourite month, not least of all because it is my birth month. So I get to dine out with friends and family at least three times and try to spread it out a bit. As an Interior Decorator I am always on the look out for interesting places to eat. Places with good food and great decor so I was thrilled to be able to visit East Coast Lounge with my designer friends last week. Four of us studied interior design and colour consulting together and we have been firm friends for the past 10 years. We bounce ideas off each other, help each other out with design problems (and a few life problems along the way too) and visit trade shows and events together. We also get together for our birthdays. (any excuse for a get together, really)

East Coast Lounge is at Chowder Bay in Mosman in a weatherboard cottage that was built in the 1890’s and was home to the Submarine Miner’s Depot. The location is on the edge of Sydney Harbour and there are commanding views of the harbour and back to the city.

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Entering the lounge is like walking into a friend’s home. The venue is not large and there are tables scattered throughout. Long tables and chairs and benches or small tables for two.

Taken from Instagram

Taken from Instagram

There’s also lounges and coffee tables if you would prefer to sit back with a drink or a cup of coffee. The furniture is from local designers as well as Stuart Membery Home and is all available to order. Infact everything is available to order or purchase. We were pretty taken with the stunning Villeroy and Boch cutlery we used.

IMG_7348 And then there’s artwork and homewares available as well or just there for you to enjoy as you sit and relax.

Image via Instagram

Image via Instagram

There’s a licensed bar for afternoon cocktails and a concise menu featuring wholesome food for brunch and lunch and lots of small plates that can be shared or accompany drinks.

Our Bruschetta

Our Bruschetta

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

I thoroughly recommend you check out East Coast Lounge soon. The weather is warming up and ideal for a meal by the harbour.

 

Upcycling To Win

Following a successful online charity auction, Feast Watson will present $10,000 in charitable donations to the Salvos Stores as part of the Feast Watson Re-Love project. The fortunate top-bidders have also procured some exquisite furniture items which were upcycled into unique statement pieces by a group of talented designers.

Before Side Tables
The eBay auction which closed at 5pm (AEST) on Saturday 18 July, reached a combined total of $6,115.58, with all proceeds from the auction to be donated to the Salvos Stores. Feast Watson provided further funds to bring the total to $10,000 in donations.

Side Tables
Feast Watson’s Brand Manager, James Fisher, says “This year’s talent produced captivating designs, and it is through the support of the wider public and their love of design, impressive results for the Salvos Stores could be achieved.”
Before Single Beds
Upcycling continues to grow in popularity as one of the leading craft trends. The Re-Love Project shows just how a little time and effort can take a second hand piece of furniture and transform it into a something beautiful.

Single Beds

Design Lovers are now invited to get involved in the Re-Love revolution by sharing their own upcycling projects on Instagram. Simply share a before and after image of a recent upcycling project on Instagram using the following hashtags for a chance to win exquisite Mark Tuckey furniture to the value of $3000!

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Step 1. Follow Feast Watson on Instagram
Step 2. Upload a before image with hashtags #before #relove2015
Step 3. Upload an after image with hashtags #after #relove2015
Competition closes 4 September 2015.

My Grandmother's breakfast room table before

My Grandmother’s breakfast room table before

My grandmother's breakfast room table after

My grandmother’s breakfast room table after

So what are you waiting for? Get down to your nearest Salvos Store and pick up a piece of furniture and get creative.

Wirelessly checking on your plants

Apart from interiors, I am also a keen gardener. I love getting outside with a pair of gloves and a two pronged weeder. Something about digging around in the dirt calms my nerves.

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I am also blown away by the technology we have at our fingertips these days. I am of the age where I can remember making the first phone call on the home phone. I can remember getting excited watching a piece of paper pass through a machine and knowing that someone, somewhere was seeing that same piece of paper. And don’t get me started on the capabilities of smart phones and the myriad of information we now have in the palm of our hands.

To Do

So I eagerly accepted the offer to road test the new Parrot Flower Power. It is the first smart wireless sensor designed to help you take care of your plants and provide advice to keep them flourishing all year round. A lovely potted paper plant was delivered to my door with a funny looking green twig inside the pot. That’s the monitor with bluetooth smart technology.  A quick read of the instructions (not much into reading manuals, I’d rather do!) and I downloaded the app onto my phone.

Parrot Flower Power

Parrot Flower Power

Now I’ve always had houseplants and the spathiphyllum or Peace Lily is one of my favourites. I’ve had them for years with their green glossy leaves and elegant white flowers. I have one in the dining room on a plant stand my MIL gave us as a wedding present. So I popped the Parrot thingy into the pot and started to watch the magic.

Peace Lily on Plant Stand

Peace Lily on Plant Stand when we first moved in over 10 years ago

I don’t tend to go into the dining room often so it was a great test of the app. It sort of became addictive to check in on how the plant was going. Previously I would walk past the plant notice it was drooping and give it a cup of water. Aah, but with the app, I now know when it needs fertilising, more sunlight, higher room temperature and extra water. It’s very cool.

Peace Lily

There are over 6000 plants, trees and vegetables in the database and the monitor can go outside. So if you are having difficulties with any of your plants you just pop the monitor into the ground next to the plant, add the particular plant to your phone via the app and then check in every couple of days to see how it’s going and what needs to be done.

Parrot Flower Power Monitor in pot

Parrot Flower Power Monitor in pot

I must say, my plant is looking very healthy, as I now know it needs a spell in the kitchen once a week to receive more sunlight and the odd cup of liquid fertiliser goes down a treat too.

Light

The Parrot Flower Power can be purchased at Apple Stores, DIY stores and selected landscaping and nursery outlets at an RRP of $79.99.

Dining Room Now

Peace Lily on Plant Stand now

 

 

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.

Modern Mid Century Style

It’s been hotting up around here. So much to do and so little time! The pre-Christmas rush is well and truly upon us. I was laughing last night when this little notice popped up on my phone.

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This week I met with a new client, a charming 83 year young gentleman who has just sold the family home and moving into a retirement village. He has decided it’s time to purchase new furniture to suit the new smaller space. So many people try to cram their “old” stuff into a new house and in many cases it just doesn’t work.

The gentleman wants a mid century look to his new digs so I’ve been busy sourcing this style of furniture. I can’t say I’ve had this request before (which is why I love my job with every new client requiring their own personal look). Here’s a few of the items I’ve found for his selection.

 

MidCenturyBedside ParkerRound Fido 2 Lamp DiningChair172 Nikephoto 167DiningTable porter

 

Baya3light Retrophoto

So if you were to start all over again, what style would you choose?

We can assist with sourcing all styles of furniture and furnishings, 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.

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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.

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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.

 

Morning Tea for a Good Cause

I must admit, morning tea is my favourite meal of the day. I love my 10am coffee and try very hard to refrain from a tasty morsel or two.

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But the Cancer Council has created Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and it’s a great excuse to pull out the pretty crockery and set a table fit for a Queen.

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There are lots of great ideas and a planning guide on the Cancer Council’s website. And don’t forget to register and raise money for such a good cause during the month of May and June. I don’t think there’s too many of us these days who doesn’t know someone that this dreaded disease has affected.

Shabbytable

Online homewares retailer, TheHome, is supporting the Cancer Council this month by making sure your tea party looks fab! For the next month TheHome is having an exclusive TEATIME sale, offering the latest designer teacups, saucers and serving platters at up to 70 percent off the recommended retail price.

Teaset

If you are a first-time buyer at TheHome this month, use the code TEATIME at checkout and be rewarded with a $15 discount. (one use only)

tieredplatestand Enjoy your morning tea!

 

 

 

 

Florence is coming to a store near you

I’m a HUGE fan of the fabrics and wallpapers of Florence Broadhurst.

I read the book on this amazing woman about 8 years ago and was fascinated by her life. She was a Queenslander and had the ability to turn her hand at whatever career she chose while travelling the world. One year she was a singer and dancer in China and the next she was a French clothier in London. And all this was back in the ’30’s and 40’s when women didn’t do things like that. She was so ahead of her time! And then she met an untimely death when she was murdered in her studio at Paddington in Sydney. The murder remains unsolved.

Japanese Floral

When she returned to Australia she set up shop and created hand printed wallpapers. These wallpapers and their patterns are still popular today. Her artworks have been recreated as rugs, clothing, homewares and fabrics.

Dinner Set

And in June this year, you will be able to add those very same patterns to your home in soft furnishings. Australian home textile label, Rapee will release The Broadhurst Collection which will be available in five stories and a number of colourways.
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These exceptional designs will be printed on premium fabrics using various techniques including: 100% silk jacquards, embroideries on 100% cottons, foil prints on 100% linens and prints on cotton linen blends. The palette extends to bolts of blue; tranquil sea foam, denim and periwinkle; as well as punchy coral and flamingo fuchsia. The collection also welcomes shades of yellow and high-wattage metallic which will help to create richness and playful elegance while putting a fresh spin on timeless designs.

The Florence Broadhurst collection will be sold initially through department stores and boutique homeware retailers, and will arrive in store from June 2013. Prices start from $99 for embroideries, through to $120 for 100% silk scatter cushions.

I can’t wait!

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If you would like assistance adding a touch of Florence to your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Is the Dining Room Dead?

I don’t believe so! I love a dedicated dining room especially in older homes.

Back in the mid 1980’s I bought my first home in an outer Brisbane suburb. It had a combined dining and lounge room and for a few years I had a pine round table with 4 rattan and metal cantilevered chairs as the dining table. Then one day, one of my colleagues at work asked out loud if anyone was interested in a Rosenstengel dining suite. He had been appointed Executor of a Monseigneur’s Estate and apparently there was a silky oak dining table and 6 chairs to offload. The asking price was $200. With all my income going in to my house repayments I said, “No”. Besides I didn’t want some old table and what was Rosenstengel anyway?

Rosenstengel Dining Suite

I was telling my Mum about it a few days later and she said, “Grab it.” She knew all about Ed Rosenstengel and his furniture making and knew it would be a great buy as well as owning a piece of Queensland history. So I purchased the table and it is still serving me to this day. Although right now it’s in storage as we renovate our home.

When I moved to the Gold Coast in the ’90’s I decided to have the dining suite refurbished. A furniture restorer cleaned down the table and applied a new coat of shellac which gave it a rich glow. I had the chairs reupholstered in a plain pink fabric to co-ordinate with the curtains and sofa.

Dining suite after polishing and upholstery

When I moved back to Brisbane we renovated a little Workers Cottage on the northside and we created a formal dining room in the old sleep-out.

Sleep-out being transformed to the Dining Room

This time the upholstery on the chairs dictated what colour the walls would be.

Pink Dining Room

When we moved to Sydney and bought our Californian Bungalow the dining suite suited the period of the house and the existing curtains.

Inherited Dining Room

However, after a few years, I was ready to ditch the curtains and I replaced them with gold silk and repainted the walls in the warm earthy tones of the time.

New paint, curtains and light fitting

Now we are renovating, I have decided to keep the formal dining room. We’ve closed off two of the three doorways into the room and I’ve decided to be a little bit adventurous in choosing the paint colour.

Latest reincarnation of the dining room

I’m a firm believer that the formal dining room is mainly used at night time so why not make it dramatic? But alas the existing upholstery will not suit the new look room. The question is, will I keep the suite and have it reupholstered, or is it time for a complete new dining suite?

Dramatic dining room

Do you have a formal dining room or a dining suite with provenance?

If you would like assistance choosing colour or furniture for your dining room, contact us for an online or in-person consultation. Or visit my Pinterest board for Dining Room inspiration.

 

Don’t Put It Down

Put It AWAY!

That’s one of my favourite sayings. I’m a bit of a neat freak and love being organised. I think it comes from being born under the sign of Virgo. No matter how hard I try I just can’t train the rest of the family to be neat AND organised.

Hamblin Chest – we had one like this in our daughter’s bedroom. Great for all the toys and she could put everything away in a basket when she was finished.

Not putting things back where they belong really drives me insane. At the moment someone (who will remain un-named) did not put the balcony key back where it belongs and we are unable to access the balcony at the moment. Drives me CRAZY!

So it’s no wonder I got very excited when I saw this collection of storage solutions from our friends at Whiteport.

Nantucket Buffet – fabulous for the dining room

And they are all so stylish and reasonably priced. Hop on to their website and check it out. Go, get organised.

Hampden Bedside Chest – love dual purpose storage

I’m going back to look for the lost key. When I find it, I think I’ll put an oversized something on it, like they do at garage and cafe toilets!

If you need assistance choosing storage furniture for your family home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

 

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