Addicted to Renovating

Do you follow The Interiors Addict? Jen Bishop started her blog four years ago and it has quickly become a fabulous resource of all things Interiors.

Last month Jen took on a new venture or sister site called Reno Addict to help quench our growing thirst for all things to do with renovating.

First job was to remove asbestos thanks to some 1970's additions

First job was to remove asbestos thanks to some 1970’s additions

I’m thrilled that Jen and her offsider Olivia, featured my own renovation on this new site. You can read all about our californian bungalow renovation. Thank you ladies.

The house was peeled back to the original 1929 build.

The house was peeled back to the original 1929 build.

Are you addicted to renovating? Do you have your own renovation story? Tell us in the comments .

Before

Before

I love renovating and creating the perfect home for it’s owners. If you would like assistance with your renovation, contact us for a consultation.

After

After

2015 makeovers

Happy New Year and welcome to 2015!

Un-Corked

I trust you had a great break and are now ready to get the year started and perhaps make some changes to your home?

I know I LOVE going away but always love coming home to my house and my things. I find coming home always wants me to make a few little changes to the house, whether it be a cupboard I’ve been meaning to tidy or an area of the home that needs some tweaking.

Beach and sunset

I haven’t got around to the cupboard yet and was reminded this morning when the sliding wardrobe door caught on something on the top shelf. I hid all the Christmas presents up there and need to get up and rearrange it now. Maybe next week?

I did, however, makeover my console table in the entry. It’s been bugging me for over a year. The same table has had the same silver photo frames (I have updated the photos) on it for the past…… um…..10 years? (Cough, cough) But moving back into the house after renovating, it was just easier to put things back where they were, if possible, and get to it at another time. Pity that “other time” took me two years!

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I knew it was in desperate need of updating and I had a Pinterest Board full of great ideas and inspiration. I’ve even written a previous blog post and given loads of advice and suggestions to clients regarding decorating their entry but never had the time to do my own. Typical!

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So I took some time out last weekend to Just Do It! I’m very happy with the end result and feels it reflects my style and the decor of my home better than it did previously.

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So what area of your home are you going to attack in 2015? Contact us if you’d like some assistance.

 

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.

It’s June!

Can you believe that? That last week of May slipped by in a flash with so much going on.

Firstly a bit of sad news. We had to have a tree removed from our front garden. I know, there are worse things that could happen but it was such a favourite. When we bought our house over ten years ago, I remember telling our then neighbours where the house was and they knew it because the Crab Apple draped over the fence and footpath and was so spectacular when it was all in flower. It would always flower for my September birthday and herald the arrival of spring. Unfortunately it was dying and had to be removed. About 30 years of growing was a 5cm stump in under an hour. Now we have to decide what to plant in its place.

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Designex was held last week at the new temporary home of Glebe Island. One of the nice things about this venue is that it is accessible by ferry and Sydney Autumn is perfect for a short ferry ride.

On the ferry from Circulay Quay

On the ferry from Circulay Quay

I’ve been attending Designex for over 10 years now and it has changed so much since my first visit. Back then it was a jam-packed exhibition hall with so much to see and do. Speakers were dotted around at various stages and there was everything from fabrics to outdoor furniture, rugs, carpets, soft furnishings, lighting, windows, doors, tiles, pavers, planters, mirrors, Homewares and artworks – just about everything required for home design. Over the past few years the shows have become smaller and smaller and this year was no different. It’s one of those catch 22 things where if I don’t go I might miss something and if I do go then there’s nothing really exciting there.

Interesting wallpapers at  Designex

Interesting wallpapers at Designex

But I did find a couple of nuggets. The first are these fabulous power points. I know right? Power points? But look, they have USB slots too so no more clunky transformers sticking out of the wall. You can charge two devices and use two electric sockets at the same time. Perfect for that spot in the kitchen where everyone charges their phones. And they can be retrofitted into the old power point spots by a qualified electrician.

Excel Life Power Points with USB Ports

Excel Life Power Points with USB Ports

A few of the fabric houses have returned to Designex and it was great to have a look at the exquisite fabrics from South Pacific Fabrics. Anyone have a cool $800 for a metre of fabric? If you do I’ve got a lovely selection to show you.

South Pacific Fabrics' stand at Designex

South Pacific Fabrics’ stand at Designex

I also attended the launch party of Timothy Oulton furniture at Coco Republic. It was a lively evening with the best of British on display. The furniture is gorgeous but big.

Timothy Oulton furniture

Timothy Oulton furniture

The light fittings were stunning.

The lights in the background have 1500 crystal balls. Just stunning!

The lights in the background have 1500 crystal balls. Just stunning! Oh and that’s the man himself on the right.

Everyone who attended received a leather luggage tag which you could have embossed with your initials. The champagne was flowing and the cheese table was heaving.

Cheese table at Timothy Oulton launch at Coco Republic

Cheese table at Timothy Oulton launch at Coco Republic

Coco Republic sure know how to put on a party!

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And finally I did spend some time on client work during the week. Custom made furniture which I designed was delivered and installed as well as window coverings. I can’t wait to show you this home when it’s finished. Just a couple more pieces to finish it off.

Client living room taking shape with custom made bookcases, dining table and banquet seat.

Client living room taking shape with custom made bookcases, dining table and banquet seat.

If you require assistance with furniture for your home, contact us for an appointment. We have a very thick black book of suppliers for all styles, tastes and budgets.

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.

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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

 

 

The garden, twelve months on

2012 was the year of the much anticipated renovation of our Californian Bungalow on Sydney’s north shore. The builders left on Christmas eve, however, there was still a mountain of work to do. My husband decided he would paint the exterior of the house and of course there was a trashed area of the garden which needed a complete overhaul.

Builders' mess

Builders’ mess

Twelve months ago this weekend, the garden makeover started. My Dad flew down from Brisbane and we all pitched in and started marking out the garden which Nadia had designed for us.

Beginning to build a garden wall

Beginning to build a garden wall

For the next couple of months, the beds gradually were made. Organic Garden mix was delivered and poured on top of the existing soil which I had been feeding with gypsum.

The site resembled a lunar landscape

The site resembled a lunar landscape

Then the fun began. I visited the nursery and ordered the 200+ plants. I like to let everyone know that I dug the holes and planted each and every one of those babies.

Top soil all spread and ready for planting

Top soil all spread and ready for planting

Then the wood chip mulch arrived and we spread that over the gardens.

Little bitty plants all sitting pretty

Little bitty plants all sitting pretty

Taking shape

Taking shape

I’ve been pouring the water and fertilizer onto the plants and am thrilled to say that the garden is now taking shape.

I finally have a row of Magnolia Little Gems.

I finally have a row of Magnolia Little Gems.

Whilst I have been lovingly caring for the plants, my husband has been busy laying paths which lead from the driveway to the front door and stepping stones to the back door.

After the builders left

After the builders left

Building the gardens

Building the gardens

Nice new path

Nice new path

It’s so easy to look around and see what still needs to be done, but looking through the photos for this post, I can say I’m thrilled with how much we’ve achieved over the past twelve months with only working on the weekends.

How it was

How it was

How it is now

How it is now

Now we can put our energy into the driveway and fixing that broken wall. Does it ever end?

Before

Before

After

After – Hopefully in another twelve months that fence will be covered in sweet smelling jasmine.

If you would like assistance with your home renovation, contact us for an appointment.

What a difference a year makes

This time last year we were saying farewell to our builders and then making a mad dash for the supermarket to stock up on Christmas day lunch essentials.

Make shift Christmas tree amongst the boxes

Make shift Christmas tree amongst the boxes

Our Christmas 2012, the first one in our much anticipated renovated home, was not quite what I had envisioned with no time to put up a tree or to fully unpack.

Boxes as far as the eye could see

Boxes as far as the eye could see

The last twelve months has seen alot of painting

Painting

Painting

and gardening,

Making new gardens

Making new gardens

cooking

Had to feed the hungry workers

Had to feed the hungry workers

and installing.

Finished Plate Wall

Finished Plate Wall

And just when it looked like the end was in sight,

Painting

Painting

there was more to do.

Painting

Painting

The house has come along way in those twelve months and I’m pleased to say this year’s Christmas is a little more organised and a lot more relaxed.

View from the front door before we renovated

View from the front door before we renovated

I hope all the preparations at your place are going along smoothly and you will have a wonderful Christmas surrounded by friends, family and loved ones.

View from the front door after we renovated

View from the front door after we renovated

We are taking a month off and will be back at work on 20 January. You can check in on Facebook and Instagram to see what I’m up to in the meantime.

Our house when we bought it

Our house when we bought it

Thank you so much for joining me here throughout the year. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Our house today

Our house today

Time to Partay!

December is here and the entertaining has begun.

Due to our home renovations last year, we haven’t done much entertaining for over 12 months. But we are now at a stage where, for the most part, the house is finished and ready to receive visitors.

Cocktails coming up!

Cocktails coming up!

For a number of years, we have hosted a Cocktail Party with a group of friends we made 9 years ago when we first moved to Sydney. We met at playgroup when our children were little and as we all live in the area, have stayed friends. So Saturday evening was our Cocktail Party. A night out without the kids, who are all big enough to look after themselves these days.

Glasses all ready for the Cocktail Party

Glasses all ready for the Cocktail Party

With the front path being finished mid afternoon we were all set for a good night.

Newly finished front path

Newly finished front path (the pots were removed prior to the guests arriving)

This year our theme was James Bond with food and drinks to match. I bought a plastic toy gun at the $2 shop and a can of gold spray paint and turned it into the Golden Gun. A few playing cards, dice and a bottle of champagne in a bucket of ice helped set the scene.

James Bond theme decorations

James Bond theme decorations

Hors d'oeuvres

Hors d’oeuvres on the back deck

Everyone went all out and dressed accordingly too.

Shaken not stirred.

Shaken not stirred.

It was a fun night and nice to back on the entertaining circuit.

Mixing Cocktails

Mixing Cocktails

Dessert in the lounge room

Dessert in the lounge room

Something we both enjoy very much and makes the home renovations all worthwhile.

Cheers!

Cheers!

Also this week we finally had the builders, architects, cabinetmakers and other tradesmen back to thank them for helping us reach our goal.

Builders Drinks I was a bit excited too when I heard the other half talking to the cabinetmaker about more cabinetry.

Bucket of Booze It was a different type of party to our Cocktail Party but just as fun and enjoyable. It was so nice to actually spend time enjoying our friends and our house rather than racing around finishing off landscaping, painting and the myriad other things that need doing.

Builders Food Now I can think about Christmas lunch and what will be on the menu.

How are you spending the festive season?

If you would like assistance with renovating your home, contact us for a consultation.

Choosing Paint

As a Colour Consultant, I am often choosing paint colours and paint types for my clients.

There are so many different paints on the market so when it came time to choose them for my own house, I thought I’d try a few different ones.

The best paint for the internal walls of your home is Low Sheen paint. All the different paint companies have this type of paint.

To mix it up a bit, I chose Resene paint for the majority of the interior of the home but Dulux for my studio

and my daughter’s bedroom

and Taubmans’ for the feature wall in the master bedroom.

I always recommend a Kitchen and Bathroom paint for those rooms as it has mould inhibitor in the paint recipe.

             Main bathroom tiled and painted

I considered using blackboard paint for my office and my daughter’s bedroom but I was worried about the chalk dust, especially on the carpet. So I decided to use Resene’s Whiteboard Paint. This paint is really just a top coat and can be painted over any colour. I used it over Resene paint in my office and

Dulux paint in my daughter’s bedroom and they have both been extremely successful. I would recommend putting a frame around the area that is painted with the Whiteboard paint or else paint it on an area that is separate from other walls just in case there’s a momentary lapse of memory as to where the whiteboard paint has been used.

As our fridge will not take magnets I was looking for somewhere to put the school notes, invitations and raffle tickets. Previously I had an Officeworks magnetic board hanging in the kitchen but I didn’t really have a spot for it in my new kitchen. There was one wall on the entry to the pantry but as a door would shut onto that wall, it was impossible to hang something thick there which would result in the door not closing.

So I thought I’d give Resene’s Magnetic Paint a whirl. This paint is actually an undercoat. When I bought a can, I was surprised at how heavy it was but then it’s full of iron oxides.

The paint is actually grey and is very thick so I wouldn’t recommend it for a wall in a prominent position or with a white topcoat.

I’ve also found that you need to use really strong magnets and probably quite a few of them. Those cheap free magnets that turn up in the junk mail just don’t cut it.

It’s great for my application, just to hold a few school notes from time to time, but I’m not sure it would be ideal for kids artwork and other more weighty papers you may like to keep handy.

Your painter will tell you that it doesn’t really matter which paint colour you choose as all the companies can mix each other’s colours. I disagree. Being a purist I would much prefer to use the colour from the particular company so there is no room for error. In most instances, your painter will prefer one paint company over another. As I am an independent Colour Consultant, it doesn’t matter to me. As long as the colour is right for your home and the type of paint is right, I leave the paint company decision to the homeowner and painter.

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

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.

 

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