Renovations – Four Months On

The beginning of September marks four months into our home renovation. It’s certainly an exciting time and we love heading over to the house every weekend and going over the work that has been undertaken during the preceding five days.

The wall with the hole used to be the kitchen. That hole will be enlarged as the doorway to the family room.

The day the excavators moved in it rained for the next two weeks but since then we’ve been blessed with fine weather. The building is springing to life as we now have rooms and roof trusses.

Looking west during the demolition stage

The same view as the above picture now.

Some of the work in the existing house has started too with the gutting of our old bathroom which will be our new ensuite and removing the plaster walls in our daughter’s old room. The plaster was in a very bad state as was the ceiling so it was easier to remove both and replace.

Sophie’s Bedroom before

Sophie’s Bedroom Now

The original hallway will be extended and the wall has been taken out so we can really see the overall effect this new long hallway will have from the front door.

From the front door, then

From the front door, now

And the bathroom is starting to take shape too. The bath will sit in a bay window which will mirror the one in the dining room.

The new bathroom has been built where the guest bedroom used to be

Bay window for the bath

Side view of bay window

Apparently this week we should see more brick work, roof tiles and guttering and there’s a whisper that the windows and doors should be arriving any minute.

The view from the new guest bedroom. Lucky our neighbours have such a beautiful large garden.

Let’s hope this fine weather continues until the roof is on and the windows are in and then it won’t make any difference if it rains.

Do you need assistance with your family home renovation? Contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Latest Colour Combinations

It must be the weather! It seems everyone is about to paint their houses.

I’ve been helping people all over Sydney lately choose colours for the inside and outside of their homes.

People usually have a bit of an idea as what colours they like and we also need to consider the items that are staying in the home.

The style and period of the home also comes into play. Whether it be a modern home, a Californian Bungalow, Federation or Post War Home, paint colours make a big difference to the look of the house.

There are never any two jobs that are exactly the same, which is why I LOVE being a Colour Consultant. These are the most recent combinations I have specified.

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

Home Design

Do you subscribe to HomeDSGN? It’s a fabulous resource of architecture and interior design that appears in your Inbox everyday.

House in Lemesos, Cyprus

I love trying to guess where the featured homes are situated. Unless it’s a period home I find it very difficult to choose. The contemporary homes all have certain elements that are more universal.

Villa In Andalucia, Spain

Is that because of our global world and the ability to zoom in to any country at any time to see what is being designed?

Swedish Penthouse

I think all of us, the world over, want great living spaces with loads of natural light, cosy bedrooms where we can shut out the worries of the world and a place to entertain our friends.

Maribyrnong House, Australia

Do you think these houses could be anywhere in the world?

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


The Beach Shack

The Historic Houses Trust in Sydney have been running a series of lectures based around different architecture styles both then and now. I attended the talk on Bungalows a few weeks ago and recently attended the session on the Beach Shack. It’s been a long dream of mine to own a house on the beach. I don’t mean a beach house, I mean a house right on the beach. You know, where you step off your verandah and on to the sand and it’s more about the location and lifestyle than the size of the house and it’s interiors.

I am definitely a warm weather person and I love the water. We will go for a drive into the countryside and my husband will say, “Look at that, isn’t if beautiful?” Mmmm, I can agree it’s pretty, but give me a water vista any day and I’m happiest.

So I was keen to hear the history of the beach shack as presented by Design Historian, Dr Michael Bogle. A shack is a collage of found objects – materials assembled with no real form. It usually responds to the site and provides shelter. A hut, however is more structured usually made from precut uniform materials. It could possibly feature architectural conventions such as gables and doors. Many huts became shacks as extra rooms and areas were added to the original structure.

A shack is generally made from only that which is necessary and available. There was a great emphasis put onto getting the right site away from prevailing winds.

Stockton Bight outside Newcastle has a shack community which was erected after World War 2. There are 11 shacks known as Tin City which are on 99 year squatters’ leases and no new shacks can be built nor can destroyed shacks be replaced. This area was used for several scenes in the Mad Max movie.

Australian Artist Ian Fairweather who became reclusive in his latter years lived in a shack on Bribie Island just north of Brisbane.

Bribie was a favourite haunt of mine in my latter teenage years. We used to go sailing there as it was an easy drive from my home in the northern suburbs of Brisbane. When I started working, I would pack my beach bag and my dog into the car on my day off and head on up to Bribie for a few hours of sun worshipping before having an icecream and heading home.

I think it’s that carefree life that we desire that suits so well to life in a beach shack. But there’s not many real shacks left these days. Council Inspectors and Park Rangers have put a stop to these haphazard buildings. The appeal of shifting things around, framing the view and the sense of freedom and pleasure this beach combing lifestyle gives have been banned from our lives, as they don’t conform or are deemed to be dangerous.

The new beach houses are more like our suburban homes plonked on a block of land facing the sea. The shack has a connection with the landscape and has a holiday or relaxed feel, whereas a home eludes to a regimented life. I guess we all get to an age where we long for something of our past. It’s not better or worse, it’s just different.

I’d love to hear your stories of life in beach shacks or huts.

If you would like assistance with colour and design for your shack, no matter where it is, we would love to help. Contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

The Joys of Renovating

One of the items that adds dollars to the cost of your renovation is site access. When homes are built close together and there is no access down the side of the house to the back, wheelbarrows, timber, tiles, sand, dirt, etc all have to be carried through the home. This is not only inconvenient but costly as it takes more time and manpower to get things done.

I couldn’t help but wonder what the cost of renovating these lovely Victorian homes in San Fransisco would be.

Unfortunately we weren’t in San Fransisco long enough to see the end result, but I’m sure they were just stunning afterwards.

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

Sydney Houses

The Historic Houses Trust is currently running a Lecture Series on various house styles. A couple of weeks ago I attended the talk on Bungalows.

As a Colour Consultant and Interior Decorator located on the North Shore in Sydney, I am in the Californian Bungalow heartland and have consulted on a number of Cal Bungs on both the North Shore and other parts of Sydney.

So I was keen to attend the talk given by Dr James Broadbent followed by another given by Scott Robertson.

Dr James Broadbent spoke on the original bungalows of Australia. Although the first use of the term Bungalow wasn’t used until 1854 when it appeared in a real estate advertisement for a house in Burwood. The term bungalow has different connotations. In England, the term bungalow implied a cottage and was looked down upon in disdain. It was usually a small single storey dwelling.

Macquarie Fields House

The colonial bungalows that started to appear in the 19th century had distinct Australian character. Many of the bungalows had verandahs like the bungalows seen in India. Army personnel that were stationed in India transported the ideas and architecture back to Australia.

The grandest bungalow built in the early years of Sydney’s settlement was Captain Piper’s Naval Villa and was originally built without a verandah.

Captain Piper's Naval Villa

Scott Robertson spoke on the Californian Bungalows that started to appear in the early 1900’s following Richard Stanton‘s visit to the United States in 1905. The bungalow style was quickly adopted and the book Australian Bungalow and Cottage House Designs lists 78 different bungalow designs. The bungalow was used as war service homes between 1920 and 1927 and a range was produced by George Hudson and Sons in a ready cut version.

Californian Bungalow Style House on North Shore

The series continues with talks on Beach Shacks, Terrace Houses, Project Homes and Portable Housing yet to be held.

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




To paint or not to paint?

Being based on the North Shore in Sydney, I am often consulting on home renovations or redecorations of Californian Bungalows or Federation homes. Many of these homes have dark timber trim on the interiors, which the home owner either loves or hates. I’m often asked whether the client should keep it as stained timber or paint it.

Californian Bungalow

It’s interesting because more often than not it’s the man of the house that wants to keep the timber and the woman who would like to have it painted.

Timber trim in Californian Bungalow Interior

The dark timber looks quite heavy and makes the rooms feel very dark and old fashioned. This doesn’t always suit the lifestyle of today’s families. Most would like the home to feel lighter and brighter.

Timber trim in Californian Bungalow painted white

Now there’s no right or wrong answer here and it will really depend on the room, the décor, the house and the inhabitants as well as who has the most sway in the relationship!

Federation House Interior

But I think one should also consider what features they liked about the home when they bought it too. Sometimes it’s the period features and feel of a place that makes people part with their money. You don’t want to then start deleting all those features once you move in.

Formal room with timber trim

I saw this photo in the real estate listings and thought it was a great example of working the dark timber into the décor and making it look fresh and modern.

Bedroom with white timber trim

It would appear the formal room has been left with the original dark timber trim while the timber in the other rooms have been painted white.

Renovated Californian Bungalow

That’s a great way to keep some of the original features yet create a contemporary space for the family.


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

Walkin’ the ‘hood

Whilst I am technically back at work, many of my clients and some of my suppliers are still on holidays so I can enjoy a slower pace. However, I am enjoying my walks around the suburb each afternoon and watching the houses changing colours.

I live amongst Californian Bungalows and Federation homes in Sydney’s North Shore and many of them have undergone renovations over the last few years to accommodate the families that have moved into the area.

It’s interesting to see the colour palette moving towards grey rather than brown which is what the colour forecasters have been predicting.

Most of the houses subscribe to my 3 colour formula and I must say, I think the homes look smart with a light, medium and dark colour.

It’s a shame this homeowner hasn’t read my blog or decided to spend a nominal outlay on a Colour Consultant to get the overall look just right.

This was the house before via Google Street View and I really think it would’ve benefitted from a dark colour on the barge boards (they’re the wide boards at the top of the gable). Alternatively, the shingles could’ve been painted a colour between the dark grey and the white.

Remember a Colour Consultation is the cheapest part of repainting your home but will make all the difference.

If your home is brick then the brickwork is considered a colour so you only need to choose two colours. What do you think – two colours or three?

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


Grand Designs

Grand Designs Live came to Sydney over the weekend.

I have long been an avid fan of the TV show Grand Designs, and have marvelled at the amazing creations Kevin McCloud finds on his travels in the UK and further abroad. I have also marvelled at the sheer tenacity of the home owners who tackle the building process with naivety and determination. And naturally I marvel at the end result and how, most times, it all works out and they all live happily ever after.

The Gap House via

So I was intrigued as to how the TV show would translate to a Live event. I had no idea what to expect.

Grand Design Live Official Opening via Facebook

It turned out to be more like every other home related show I have been to, for both trade and the general public, however the difference was the appearance of Kevin McCloud. And doesn’t he have a following? About 200 – 300 people packed the area of the Grand Stage with seating quickly snaffled up by the early birds. The doors only opened at 10am and Kevin was due on stage at 11am, but by 10.35am it was standing room only.

Kevin McCloud - photographer Mark Fairhurst. Image via

Kevin is naturally passionate about homes and building and his 40 minute talk centred around the fact that all homes, in fact all things, we love have three main attributes. They have firmness, commodity and delight. Like the Fiat Spider, Kevins’ favourite car. It is solidly built, very comfortable and has the WOW factor.

Fiat Spider via Wikipedia

And of course the interesting point, and one that I have so often mentioned here and in my work, is what one person finds comfortable or attractive, may not have the same effect on the next person. He spoke about the famed Eames chair and how for years he had coveted an original. However, when he finally did sit in one, it was not comfortable for him as he is fairly tall and therefore it lost all it’s appeal. The one perfect piece that is perfect for and to everyone, does not exist.

The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

However in our homes, we should fill them with things we love because of their meaning. The things we touch every day, like the humble light switch, should be top quality and beautiful to touch. Kevin’s parting piece of advice was that the story in things is what makes the design.

What piece or pieces do you have in your home that tells a story?


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


Absolutely Amazing

One of the places we visited on our recent holiday to the States was Las Vegas. We had a very packed two days and three nights in the place and it was “absolutely amazing”.

I loved seeing all the hotels with their international replica architecture but what really stood out was the lighting. I’m a sucker for interesting light fittings and think they can really pack a punch in a room.

I think I was the only person in the city taking photos of the ceilings.

I could just imagine the fun the interior designers had in putting all this over the top decor together and either sourcing or designing the fittings for each area of the hotels.

Like The Cosmopolitan which had a central Chandelier Bar with the biggest Chandelier I have ever seen. In fact it was the whole bar.

The other interesting lighting was in the foyer of the Bellagio Hotel. Looks like Murano Glass to me.

I mentioned on my Facebook Page how nice it was to see the many seasonal decorations and installations in the hotels and shopping centres, something we really don’t do in Australia, or if we do it’s not as grandiose as these.

If you would like help with decor or lighting for your home, contact us for an on-line or in-person consultation.


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