All good things must come to an end

Today is our last day in Hong Kong. Like all holidays it is met with mixed emotions – oh no, back to routine and work and yay, back to the animals and my comfy bed.

Typical Hong Kong - people everywhere and loads of street signs

Typical Hong Kong – people everywhere and loads of street signs

We’ve had a wonderful time in Hong Kong retracing our steps from 12 years ago when we lived here.

Hong Kong Flower Market was always amazing with flowers flown in from all around the world

Hong Kong Flower Market was always amazing with flowers flown in from all around the world

The Peak Tram celebrating 126 years!

The Peak Tram celebrating 126 years!

It’s been fun showing our daughter (who was born in Hong Kong) around a city we know so well. Yet we don’t belong here any more.

Hi Rise as far as the eye an see

Hi Rise as far as the eye an see

Hong Kong changes at lightning speed so 12 years later there are big changes.

Tai O Fishing Village - a walk back in time

Tai O Fishing Village – a walk back in time

There are so many more people here now (7 million apparently), the harbour has shrunk with the never ending search for more land and reclaiming the harbour and of course more buildings, train lines and endless shops.

The Peninsula Hotel

The Peninsula Hotel

Hong Kong Harbour by night

Hong Kong Harbour by night

I’m so glad we returned to see it again and the changes that have occurred in the past 12 years.

Disneyland Hong Kong

Disneyland Hong Kong

But time to get back to our life.

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.

What’s your story?

Funny where life takes us, isn’t it? I was thinking about this when I was listening to Shannon Fricke talk about her career and imparting decorating advice at a talk she gave last week at the La Maison showroom in Surry Hills.

La Maison

La Maison

Shannon virtually fell into the decorating and design career when she stayed at home to raise a family. That’s pretty much my story too. After 16 years in the corporate world I decided to take a career break to be with my husband while he worked overseas, firstly in the Solomon Islands and then in Hong Kong. I always thought it was just a hiatus but then things change.

Shannon Fricke

Shannon Fricke

I loved making our temporary houses into homes where we could host our family and friends who came to visit us or entertain as it was imperative to find some friends and a create a social life. I’d owned three houses before we were married and put my stamp on each one.

My Gold Coast House

My Gold Coast House

But we returned with a toddler and all of a sudden the thought of 9 to 5 (or 6 or 7) had no appeal whatsoever. So I completed my qualifications in interior Decorating and Colour Consulting and set up my own business so I could decide when I wanted to work.

My little toddler

My little toddler

Shannon says interiors are about life and creating a home and that’s exactly what I had learnt in my time living overseas away from family and lifelong friends. I needed to create from the heart and tell our story in our decor so we felt good in our homes whether they were a fibro house overlooking Iron Bottom Sound or an apartment in the clouds in Hong Kong.

Hirise living in Hong Kong

Hi Rise living in Hong Kong

There’s something satisfying about bringing a story to life and injecting personality into a home. I’m so grateful I get to do that every day for my clients. As Shannon pointed out, the interiors that take time and are refined over and over again are the best. Many clients want pretty and they want it quickly but a good interior requires discipline.

My living room full of favourite artworks, colours we love and furniture bought on our travels

Our living room full of favourite artworks, colours we love and furniture bought on our travels

So what’s your story? Does it show in your home?

 

If you would like assistance with decorating your interior, contact us for an appointment.

 

September

Unequivocally my favourite month of the year. I love the warmer weather and the profusion of colour we see at every turn. The colour combinations are great inspirations for decorating.

Clivea from my garden

Clivea from my garden

My garden is flowering and I’m frantically trying to get the new beds ready for planting later this month.

Flowering Azaleas

Flowering Azaleas

Remember the area the builders trashed during our home renovations?

IMG_1861 The warmer weather means we can return to eating on the back deck and we enjoyed a lovely Father’s Day lunch out there on Sunday.

Blue themed table setting for Father's Day

Blue themed table setting for Father’s Day

The new season fabric collections are being released.

New fabrics just released

New fabrics just released

Painting season is upon us as everyone takes to the outdoors in the warmer weather.

House being renovated and seeking new colour scheme

House being renovated and seeking new colour scheme

I’ve advised home owners from Mulgoa to Kenthurst and many suburbs in between on new colour schemes for the exterior of their homes.

Tuscan colour scheme to be changed

Tuscan colour scheme to be changed

So what’s not to love about September? Does it put a spring in your step too?

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

My Favourite Place

Growing up in Brisbane you were either a North Coast fan or a Gold Coast fan. There never seemed to be any middle road. Me? I was definitely a Gold Coast fan. As a child, our family would holiday on the Gold Coast but that’s probably because there wasn’t much at the North Coast in the ’60’s and ’70’s.

We did go to the North Coast a couple of times but to me it was too quiet, too stayed and nothing to do. The beaches were mainly bays whereas the Gold Coast beaches went on for miles and miles. I loved walking along the beach which you could do for hours whereas the North Coast bays you had to hit the road and drop down into the next bay.

Gold Coast beach

Gold Coast beach

In the early 80’s a friend’s family lived on a canal at the back of Surfers Paradise and I would sit on their balcony and watch the lights come on in the high rise buildings and twinkle off the water. It was just spectacular. I realised then that I’m a city girl that loves the beach and the Gold Coast combined those two elements so well for me.

City on the Beach

City on the Beach

I even lived and worked on the Gold Coast for three years but chose to live in the suburbs where the population was more permanent.

My Gold Coast Home

My Gold Coast Home

Last weekend I had the pleasure of staying at my favourite hotel in my favourite place. The Sheraton Mirage. It’s not the first time I’ve stayed there having stayed there on numerous occasions since 1988. It’s the only five star hotel that is right on the beachfront on the Gold Coast. (I’m pretty sure of that, but correct me if you know another)

Hotel on the beach

Hotel on the beach

The hotel has had a makeover since my last visit in 2009 and I’m not so sure I like it.

Hotel lobby

Hotel lobby

The rooms are definitely an improvement but the reception and Terraces Restaurant is a bit too slick for my liking and I don’t really think works with the hotel location.

Terraces restaurant

Terraces restaurant

I must say I was a bit excited to see the fabric on the sofas in the conference area was the same as I’d used on a client’s office chair. In good company!

IMG_1496

Hotel Sofa

Chair by Inside Out Colour and Design

Chair by Inside Out Colour and Design

It’s still my happy place. One of those places that makes you feel good just be being there.

Hotel Room

Hotel Room

I think that’s why so many of us come home from holidays and try to recreate the resort at home.

Gold Coast with Sheraton Mirage in foreground

Gold Coast with Sheraton Mirage in foreground

Where is your happy place?

If you would like assistance to put the hotel feel into your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Friday On My Mind

Another busy week draws to a close. I hope you’ve had a good one.

Things have been hectic around here with so much going on. I’ve been having fun with Megan Morton and Jen Bishop’s Instagram challenge. It was all good fun posting photos of Things I Love for a chance to win a signed copy of Megan’s new book, Things I Love.

Things I Love – Chinese Brush Holder with my Costume Jewellery

I’ve also been busy with clients sourcing fabric for window coverings, upholstery and a bedhead as well as furniture for outdoors. The weather has been nice and toasty getting us ready for dining outdoors.

Outdoor Setting

The house is looking great too.

The scaffolding’s down, now the painting can begin.

The gyprockers are in so we have internal walls instead of frames.

My new studio with walls

It’s really starting to take shape and the cabinetmaker has started to manufacture the laundry and kitchen. Soooo excited!

Have you started your Christmas shopping? In 2 months it will all be over. Corban and Blair are having a sale for the month of November. You just need to enter the code Nov12 at checkout. There’s some great gift ideas.

Designer Rugs are having a sale too. That’s more a present you want to buy for yourself, though!

Have a great weekend. Apparently I’m going to be painting this weekend!

 

If you would like assistance with colour and design for your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Renovation Stress

Hi, my name is Coco. I’m the family mascot. Some people may say I’m the family dog but I don’t like to refer to myself by those terms.  After all, I don’t fit in at the dog park and much prefer to stand with the humans and discuss the local property market.

I’m so cute

Anyway, I wanted to drop by and tell you all about the stress of renovating. You see we’ve been renovating for a month now. First of all the boxes and suitcases came out and we spent weeks wrapping every single thing and putting it all in boxes. Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, was packed up. That was my first clue that we weren’t going on holidays. I hate when those suitcases come out and the stuff gets laid out on the spare bed. I know that usually means I’m off to the holiday park for a week or more.

Packing

So after all the boxes were packed, we moved some of them over to another home. The new home is much smaller and it has no garden. It’s upstairs and has a balcony, but I’m not allowed out there because I can see lots of people moving around in the street below and I bark at them. I also hear people in the hallway outside our door and I bark at them too. Boy do I get in trouble when I bark.

On our way to the house

When the family go out, my friend Pablo and I get taken over to the old house. The fence has been moved around the side garden and our day beds have been moved to the front porch. We have a good area to run around in and shelter when it’s hot or rains. But I don’t like it one bit.

The fence with reinforcing

As soon as the family leaves us there, I spend the next hour or so trying to find a way to get out. Every day for the first three weeks I succeeded. One day I walked back to the small apartment but dropped in to the school on the way, to see if I could find Sophie and tell her where I was going. Someone grabbed me and took me to the office. I didn’t see Sophie at the office, which is probably a good sign, and they locked me in the printing room with one of the staff members. After about an hour or so, Mum came to pick me up and took me home.

They cannot keep me in

Other times when I’ve escaped I pop around to see what all the noise is at the back of the house. There’s loud music blaring and lots of yelling and engine noises. I found this huge monster and as soon as I saw it I ran back to the little hole I’d made in the fence.

Big, scary, noisy monster

On another day, I managed to get back all the way to our apartment. But the door was shut and I couldn’t get in. So I walked the way we walk in the mornings to see if I could find anyone. Someone started yelling at me so I ran back to the apartment. The person followed me in his car and grabbed me. This time I went for a long drive in his car to the vet. I don’t know how he knew it was the vet we go to. I spent the afternoon with the girls there and watched them treat sick dogs and cats. Eventually Mum came to collect me. She spoke to the vet and now I’m on pills every morning. They are supposed to help me relax and get through this upheaval. I don’t think Mum was very happy with me because she didn’t speak to me all the way home. We picked up Pablo from the house and went back to the apartment.

I get very dirty when I escape

The next time I escaped the builder saw me and chased after me as I disappeared through the hole in the fence. He came and moved big pieces of timber over the wire so I couldn’t get out anymore that day. But Mum must have been worried because she sent her friend to come and collect Pablo and me. She took us home to her house and washed my muddy feet then drove us to meet Mum.

Apparently this is what I’m meant to do while everyone is out

The next day I tried all the usual parts of the fence that I had been breaking open but someone had come and put more wire and timber on the wire and timber that they put there last time I escaped. It’s not fair! I can’t get out anymore.

It’s very exhausting all this escaping

It’s very stressful this moving and renovating stuff. I’m much happier when everyone is at home and I can stay with them rather than being locked in the garden with all that noise and dust going on.

Now if I’d dug a hole like that in the garden I’d be in BIG trouble

They tell me it will be much better when it’s all over. I hope so.

Look what they’ve done to my house!

 

 

New York State of Mind

So now the calendar has turned over to September I can start to get excited about my upcoming trip to …… (drum roll) ……….. The United States of America!

All my favourite Billy Joel songs keep running through my head – Say Goodbye To Hollywood, New York State of Mind, Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway, Los Angelenos. I’m a HUGE Billy Joel fan.

Anyway, I’m off. Or should I say, we’re off. The three of us in the States for 4 weeks. New York is our first stop and I already have a very long list of interior design and homewares stores I’d like to see. It seems every magazine I pick up lately has an article on someone’s top picks of New York. And as I only read interior magazines, they are mainly design and decor stores.

After New York we’re heading to Vermont and Maine. We’ll probably be a bit early, but we’re hoping to catch a glimpse of some Fall colours. We have a four day road trip in this area.

Then it’s across country to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Corny I know but ever since I saw The Brady Bunch go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on donkeys I’ve wanted to check it out.

Next stop is Disneyland and Los Angeles and then a road trip to San Fransisco before heading back home.

So do you have any must sees?

We’ve never been to the States before, even though I’ve been trying to get there for the better part of 30 years. Would love to hear your stories or picks of places to see and things to do. We’re all very excited and have started the countdown. Only 10 more sleeps!

 

Never have to work

When I first heard this saying, it rang true to me.

Click on image for source

I consider myself very lucky to be working in the field of interior design. It is no trouble for me to go to work every day and play with colour and fabric AND I get to meet some lovely people, both clients and suppliers.

But like all of us, there are days that make you wonder if you are really doing the right thing. Naturally things go wrong, hurdles are placed in front of us that we have to work through. But fortunately for me those days are few and far between.

Yesterday I received a lovely note from a client and it makes me realise that it’s all worthwhile.

Click on image for source

“Thank you” just doesn’t describe, or begin to describe how grateful we are for ALL that you have done for us over this past year.

What you have created in the transformation of our home is beyond anything we could have imagined. Everywhere we look we see beauty, harmony, warmth, calmness, balance and “completeness”. Your amazing and insightful gift of being able to “know” what we want even when we can’t always find the words or can picture it ourselves is reflected in the way our home now feels like a “perfect fit” for us.

Thank you also for your endless patience, gentle proding and good humour. You really have made this past 12 months so enjoyable!

We’ve been overwhelmed by your commitment and effort and time given, by your professionalism and by your exceptional expertise. In every way, you went above and beyond.

THANK YOU so very much!

Knowing I’ve brought such enjoyment to my clients makes me very satisfied with my lot.

It’s a long weekend here in Australia. We have Monday off to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday. Enjoy!

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

Who Said You’re Not Creative

Creativity comes in many different forms. Many people say they are not creative but I don’t believe them. Everyone has a little creativity buried inside somewhere, like my Barista. He puts a little bit of his creativity into every cup.

So think about it, what do you do that’s creative?

 

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