A Place For Everything

and everything in it’s place.

Colour coded storage

That was the title of the article I wrote for this issue of St Ives Shopping Village Life.

The shopping centre publishes a magazine bi-monthly which spotlights the many retailers that belong to the centre. A number of those are home decor related and I am asked to write an article on a topic of the centre management’s choice. My article is then teamed up with images from the retailers that illustrate my article and give the readers a place to purchase the items I mention.

Order in the kitchen

You can read the article here.

I mentioned in the article that one of my favourite items for hidden storage is the hinged ottoman. There are a number of these on the market including an ottoman that stores a bed.

Bed in an Ottoman - from $1500 for single bed size

They are very versatile pieces of furniture as they not only provide storage but also seating.

Paisley Storage Ottoman in Red or Black $200 each plus delivery

Click on any image to be taken to it’s source.

If you would like assistance finding the right storage pieces for your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Masterclass in Masterkitchen

On Wednesday night I had the very delightful pleasure to be invited into Tetsuya’s Masterkitchen for a Masterclass. The evening was hosted by Electrolux. It was a small select group of design bloggers and Electrolux personnel who gathered around the magnificent island bench to watch Tetsuya put the Electrolux induction cooktop through it’s paces.

Tetsuya's Master Kitchen

The kitchen is amazing. Apparently Tetsuya along with Electrolux designers, hand picked the piece of Calacutta marble that covers the island bench. I love this marble with it’s mixture of warm and cool colours.

Another design feature of the kitchen is the tap-less sinks. There are leather knee pads which can be leant on to bring water into the undermount sinks. This all helps in setting the stage. Because this kitchen IS a stage and nothing blocks your view.

Knee pads and tap-less sink

During the masterclass the room was filled with wonderful aromas of lobster, foie gras, garlic, ginger, chilli and sesame oil but we were so disappointed that the custom designed and built, Electrolux overhead exhaust worked so well.

Delightful aromas wafting straight to the exhaust

The nominal smoke and sumptuous fragrance was quickly sucked away. The exhaust is hidden behind smoked glass which hangs above the island bench.

Hidden exhaust above the island bench

Tetsuya talked and cooked his way through five dishes. He has been using Electrolux kitchen appliances for over 20 years and has nothing but high praise for them.

The Maestro at work

He loves the immediacy of induction cooking as well the ability to maintain the same temperature over the entire pan.

Wagu Beef with a touch of Wasabi

He demonstrated this by searing Wagu steak before popping it in the oven at 70C whilst he cooked the other dishes including Chilli Crab, an amazing lobster dish and a colourful chicken dish with couscous.

Chicken and Couscous

We then moved into the working kitchen and sat down to an 11 course degustation menu with accompanying wines.

Tetsuya's kitchen

The food was absolutely delicious and included Tetsuya’s signature dish Confit Petuna Ocean Trout with Konbu, Celery and Apple.

Tetsuya's Signature Dish

In between oohing and aahing over the food, the wine and the busy 7 chefs in the kitchen, we had time to talk amongst ourselves.

I was delighted to be seated next to three lovely fellow bloggers, Jo, Lisa and Camilla. We chatted about all things blogging and it was so much fun to put faces behind names.


The two polite gentlemen from Electrolux, that were seated with us, probably wondered what on earth they had struck. But they regaled us with their knowledge on current kitchen trends and the making of a fridge. Did you know that Electrolux manufactures fridges in New South Wales and Ovens in South Australia? And did you know that an energy efficient fridge uses about the same, if not less, power than a 40 watt bulb?

It was a wonderful night and we left singing the praises of Electrolux and Tetsuya, swinging our sample bags.

Contents of the goodies bag

Thank you Electrolux!





The Making Of A Kitchen

A couple of years ago, I received a phone call from a home owner in the next suburb. They were about to embark on a major renovation and had decided to hire an interior decorator who could help them with the myriad of decisions that needed to be made. One of the main reasons they contacted me, was that I was local and would be able to help with troubleshooting, as both partners worked full time and had two primary school aged children. The other reason was because I had worked on similar Federation houses in the area and the renovation would be sympathetic to the era of the home and they didn’t want to lose that period feel.

Fast forward to this week and the beautiful kitchen I designed for them is featured in Country Home Ideas.

The kitchen was part of the new extension and as all members of the family like to cook, it was to become the centrepiece of the home. Linda and Kevin knew what they wanted, a sort of cross between French Provincial and Farmhouse style. So I dubbed it the “Farmincial” Kitchen. After designing the layout, we went through every pot, pan and utensil in their kitchen and worked out which would be the best location for them in the new set up.

Linda fell in love with the granite slab which worked beautifully with the existing colour scheme we had chosen for the home. The splashback presented a problem as we liked the look of glass but it was far too modern for the style of kitchen. We didn’t like the traditional ceramic tiles either. Linda had seen an image of a splashback that had two colours and liked the idea of a mixture. So in the end we settled on glass 100 x 100 tiles in 4 colours.

We didn’t want it too contrived, so I asked the tiler if he would just put them up, any old how. He was too scared to be left with that weight on his shoulders, so I drew up a plan and he tiled by colours!

The end result is a beautiful family kitchen that is the main attraction in this fantastic home.

A big thank you to Editor, Margaret and Sub Editor, Zoe for featuring my work and to my wonderful clients, Kevin and Linda for not only being fabulous to work with, but also allowing the magazine to feature them.


If you would like assistance with your home renovation, contact us to see how we can help.


Kitchen Reflections

Well last week it was bathrooms and this week it’s kitchens!

I’m looking at various splashback options and one I can’t go past at the moment is mirror.

It looks especially good when there is a wonderful view being reflected and there is no need to bring in a colour as the mirror does that for you.

via Home Ideas Magazine

If you are thinking of using a mirrored splashback, make sure it’s made of moisture resistant tempered glass. Try a smoked mirror which will soften the look.

What do you think? Would you like a mirrored splashback?

If you would like assistance with designing your kitchen, contact us for an on-line or in person consultation.

Hot in the City

With the barbecue season hotting up, Electrolux have launched the new E:Volution Barbecue.

Electrolux E:Volution BBQ

Barbecues are synonymous with summer in Australia, where most families cook a meal on the barbecue 2 – 3 times a week. This new barbecue has been designed here in Australia so will complement today’s contemporary outdoor spaces and deliver precise cooking results.

I was fortunate to be at the launch of the E:Volution Barbecue yesterday at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Sydney’s Circular Quay. It was a beautiful day and the view across the quay to the Opera House was sensational.

Ben O'Donoghue

Chef Ben O’Donoghue put the barbecue through it’s paces and served up a delicious Thai Style BBQ Fish and BBQ Vietnamese Lamb. Ben did say that most people think of barbecues as steak and sausages but there is a whole world of flavours that can just as easily be cooked on the barbecue as they can in the kitchen. And this new barbecue makes it very easy with it’s roasting hood and separate grilling plate.

I wondered if Ben had been playing Spotto with his kids.

Most of us love getting outdoors in the warmer weather and what better way to entertain friends and family than with a shared meal outdoors.

Outdoor room via Australian House and Garden Photography by Maree Homer

Fire up the barbie, gather round the friends and while away the afternoon in your outdoor room.

Thank you Electrolux for a lovely day and the goodie bag wasn’t half bad either!

Herbies BBQ Spices, Maggie Beer Vinegars and Oils and Ben's Barbecue Book

If you would like assistance creating an outdoor entertaining area to share with your friends and family, contact us to enquire about our design services.

Hot and Steamy

I was very excited and honored to be invited to celebrate the launch of the new Electrolux Compact Steam Oven at a masterclass hosted by world-renowned chef and Electrolux ambassador, Tetsuya Wakada.

Tetsuya Wakada

There’s a long list of famed restaurants I would like to visit here in Sydney and Tetsuya’s is at the top of the list. So how could I refuse such a wonderful invitation?

It was a treat to see his Masterkitchen, designed especially for him. There is a huge marble island in the centre which houses 2 Electrolux convection cooktops and two sinks. The sinks have knee operated water dispensers. These knee pads are positioned to suit Tetsuya’s knee!


The kitchen, which was designed in collaboration with Electrolux Design team. Tetsuya has been using Electrolux products in his restaurant for the past 20 years and this kitchen features the Electrolux Ebony Collection. These dark appliances were inspired by emerging design trends at Eurocucina back in 2008. They work well with the dark cabinetry and striking marble island.

Electrolux Compact Steam Oven

But the real show was watching Tetsuya demonstrate the new E:Line Steam Oven which has been designed for the domestic kitchen. Tetsuya was very impressed with the steam oven and cooked baby barrumundi and chicken breast fillets. His advice for cooking at home was to only use one pot or one dish which was all that was needed in the oven. I liked that – hardly any washing up!

Tetsuya explaining the steaming process

Tetsuya explained that the technology in these ovens does everything for you. And the best part was you get consistent results. Unlike steaming in traditional methods over a pot of boiling water, the oven keeps the temperature constant. All you have to do is tell the oven what you’re cooking and how much it weighs. The oven calculates the correct temperature, amount of steam and cooking time for you.The Electrolux Compact Steam Oven combines steam, heat and grill functions to bring out the best in food.

Steamed Fillet of Baby Barramundi with roasted fennel, chinese olive, orange and garlic

Apart from the health benefits steam cooking offers, it is also convenient and enhances the natural taste of fresh produce as the food retains its flavour. The proof was in the eating and I must admit, I couldn’t fault it.

Steamed Breast of Chicken with Polenta, Tomato, Basil and Bacon

Tetsuya also demonstrated the new E:Motion Trivet allowing wok cooking on induction hobs through an innovative and beautifully designed trivet accessory. The trivet is made of aluminium and can be placed directly on the induction hob.

E:Motion Trivet and Wok

It will not become hot and will keep the round based wok flat and just above the heat. I wanted a baby trivet to wear as a cuff. It was very stylish. The trivet and wok will be available in Australia in October 2010.

Tetsuya using the E:Motion Trivet and Wok

Thank You, Electrolux, for the invitation and Thank You, Tetsuya, for the wonderful lunch.

What’s Cooking?

With the huge following of the second series of TV show Masterchef, I started to wonder if our kitchens will be changing.

Masterchef Top Ten

The kitchen has always been the hub of the house and used to be designated to it’s own room.

1950's kitchen via Photosfan.com

Over the years, we have opted for open plan living and the Kidili was born.

Kitchen Dining Living Room

At one stage everything was on display and then we put all the ugly bits behind cupboard doors.

Kitchen by Larry Laslo via Metropolitan Homes

A few years ago, kitchens became smaller as there was a general consensus that we didn’t cook anymore, we assembled. You know, buy the salad mix, garlic bread and pre-made pasta and just assemble the meal in the kitchen.

via Australian House and Garden

According to attendees at the recent Milan Furniture Fair, it would appear there is a push to have the kitchen look like furniture pieces and not built in cabinetry.

Kitchen designed by Vincente Wolfe

But now with this interest in cooking (over 2 million viewers are watching Masterchef each night), are the kitchens going to get bigger again?

Gwynneth Paltrow's kitchen via Habitually Chic

Kitchens remain the most expensive room in the house and it’s usually the first area the woman checks out when looking to buy a property.

Kitchen designed by Steve Gianetti

So tell me, what’s cooking in your kitchen? Are you creating gourmet meals from scratch and therefore need that huge island bench, large fridge, commercial style cooktop and plenty of cupboard space, or are you still assembling a quick and tasty meal for the family?

What's cooking?

Be sure to have a good weekend and enjoy your kitchen no matter what size it is.

Do Your Duty

I seem to have been noticing a sudden influx of Copper, lately.

London Bobby via Flickr

No not that one, the metal one.

via Axolotl

It seems weird to me that for the past eight years or so, we’ve been putting shades of brown on our walls, sofas and floors yet all of our metals have been stainless steel. Think refrigerators, range hoods, dishwashers etc.

via House and Garden Photographer Phillip Castelton

Now we are moving into a grey era and the metals turn to Copper.

I have lived with a copper range hood for the past seven years. I vowed and declared the day I moved in, that that range hood HAD to go. Alas, my new kitchen is still coming and now I’m wondering if I should be keeping the range hood and working the kitchen around it.

My kitchen range hood

These are some of the copper items I’ve spied of late.

Tom Dixon's Copper Shades

Boyd Copper Side Table

Bandhini Copper Coin Cushion

What do you think, is it a fad or is Copper here to stay?

Wall colours selected by Inside Out Colour & Design

We can help you create a harmonious environment in your home, whether you like copper or steel. Contact us to arrange an appointment.

I See Red

Today is Go Red for Women Day to draw attention to the Heart Foundation’s fight against heart disease in women. What a good day to talk about Red!

Red Paint

I have used red in my own home in both the casual and formal living areas. The casual area because it is dominated by a large artwork by Sydney artist Karen Benton, which my husband bought.

Karen Benton Painting - The Journey

The formal area has red accessories because we have a number of Asian furniture pieces from our time living in Hong Kong and we fell in love with a Jim Thompson silk that HAD to be in the scheme.

Touches of red from Jim Thompson

I love reading Leatrice Eiseman’s book, Color For Your Every Mood. Here is an extract from her chapter on red.

Red Sofas

“Throughout history, red has signalled excitement, dynamism, danger and sex. It elicits the strongest of emotions in every culture: love and the pulsating heart; anarchy and the waving war banner; Satan and the martyred saint. It is the colour of life and the colour of evil, the colour of danger and colour of excitement.

Red Dining Room

People don’t just like red – they love it. People whose favourite colour is red have a zest for life, they are, quite literally “movers and shakers.” They need to be well informed, involved. Because of its psychological associations with fire, heat, blood and danger, red is impossible to ignore and so is the person who prefers this most exciting colour. They are passionate in their pursuits, ardent and extroverted. Red lovers are achievers, intense, impulsive, competitive, energetic, daring and aggressive. They are exciting optimistic, animated people, leaders who like to be the centre of attention. Red people can also be restless and driven. Routine drives them crazy. They crave new things and new experiences. Because they are assertive, they can be opinionated and overbearing as well. They can be moody, bossy and fickly in the pursuit of new challenges. But what would the world be without these exciting people?”

Red Bedroom by Inside Out Colour and Design

Red can be used in so many rooms. It stimulates the appetite so is a good choice for restaurants and therefore works well in the kitchen and the dining room. It’s great for a library, family room, lounge room and even in a bedroom, especially if the red wall is behind the bed and you are not waking up staring at a red wall!

Red Feature Wall via Dulux.com

Enjoy some red in your life but also take check of your risk to heart disease by following these steps.

Red Living Room via HGTV

If you would like to add a touch of red to your home interiors, contact us for an appointment.

Clever Storage

I don’t think we can ever have enough storage in our homes. I know, we all have too much stuff but some of it’s good, or important or has sentimental value and we shouldn’t just toss it away because we can’t find somewhere to keep it.

Messy House via Paintermommy.com

I love finding clever storage solutions for my clients and I keep a file of things I come across in magazines. I thought I’d share them with you. I don’t have credits on many of these as I’ve ripped them out of magazines long before I started blogging.

Often under stairs can be left as “dead” space, but these clever ideas are worth considering.

via bhg.com

Sorry, I haven’t kept the Source.

Another one from pre-blogging days

How clever to have CD and DVD storage in the walls of the stairs

How clever to have CD and DVD storage in the walls of the stairs

Moving into the bedroom, one always needs plenty of storage.

Ties – equivalent to women’s shoes. Makes an eye catching display and he doesn’t have to look too hard

Died and gone to heaven

Then there’s the kitchen!

Nice and spicy

My ultimate pantry

Unsightly dish cloths handy yet away

And after all that storing, somewhere to relax and read your magazines which are close at hand.

Window Seat with drawers instead of a lift up lid

Window Seat with drawers instead of a lift up lid

If you would like assistance adding clever storage to your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

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