Mum’s Special Afternoon Tea

It’s been another whirlwind week with quite a number of colour consultations going on around here. I haven’t had a chance to tell you about the Home Food and Wine Weekend I attended last Saturday here in Sydney.

Home Food and Wine Weekend Lifestyle Stage

It was another great event with loads of ideas and workshops and plenty of goody bags. But the one workshop that stood out was the Royal Albert Tea Party. And seeing it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday I thought today would be a great time to tell you all about it and maybe plant some ideas for a special afternoon for Mum.

Love the pink chair

Royal Albert Fine Bone China really needs no introduction having been around for over 100 years. It has that vintage, girly look with plenty of flowers and pretty pastel colours.

And there were green chairs too.

The stylists had created a fabulous table setting which is pretty easy to do, once you know how.

Afternoon Tea Table

Let’s start with the wall art – using an Ikea deep frame, some liquid nails, a sheet of wrapping paper and your chosen tea cup and saucer you too can create this pretty piece to either hang on the wall or lean against the mantlepiece.

Wall art with tea sets

You don’t have to have all your tableware matching. By using mismatched styles and colours, you create interest in your tablescape. It’s always the unexpected that surprises and delights your guests too.

One of the centrepieces

There were plenty of surprises on the table that was styled for the workshop.

Royal Albert Stand

Each placemat was different. There was a mirror (although some of us thought that wasn’t such a good idea and probably best suited for the younger members of the Tea Party!)

Mirror Placemat

A blackboard with appropriate message.

Blackboard Placemat

And a carved frame.

Frame Placemat

And all those cupcakes were actually baked IN the teacups!

The centrepiece was made from cheap white vases and chipped plates and of course, clear liquid nails. You can really let your imagination run wild here and put together any bits you find. Think about the height you wish to create on your table.


Then there were the place cards. The cork was really easy and can be achieved with a sharp knife. That’s if you can find a bottle of wine with a cork, these days.

Cork Place Card Holder

But the fork was very cute. The stylist explained that she placed the fork between two sheets of board and then DROVE over them in her car. This flattened the tines of the fork. Pliers were then used to bend the handle of fork at right angles and the place card was slipped between the tines. Effective, don’t you think?

Fork Place Card Holder

A similar treatment was given to a spoon, except the driving bit, and the spoon was used as a tealight holder.

Uri Geller Tea Light Holder

After the workshop, we were all treated to a cup of T2 in beautiful Royal Albert Teacups. It was great fun.

So why don’t you take one or more of these ideas and create a special tea party for your Mum this Sunday. Take some photos and post them on our Facebook Page. We’d love to see your creations.

Happy Mother’s Day!


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

Home Food and Wine Weekend

If you are in Sydney and wondering what to do this weekend, head over to Moore Park, especially if you love to cook, decorate or entertain.

The Home Food and Wine Weekend starts today and runs until Sunday with workshops, tastings and demonstrations on all things Home, Food or Wine.

I’m heading over to the Brownie Making Demonstration only because my daughter wants to go. I suppose they’ll be giving taste tests too. Oh well I’ll just have to indulge.

I’ve also booked into the Tea Party with Royal Albert.

And the Window Fashions trends with editor of Belle, Neale Whitaker.

Should be a great weekend. Don’t forget to register before you go so you’re not disappointed that your chosen event is booked out.

Have a great weekend.

Decorating Mistakes

The 2012 Annual Gold Edition of Queensland Homes has interviewed a number of Queensland based Interior Decorators and posed the question, “Is there a decorating mistake you see over and over again and how can it be addressed?”

Fae Rentoul says, “Badly hung artwork, often hung too high. It is well worth spending what is often a small amount of money to get a professional to hang any artwork.”

Artwork hung too high

Paintings, when hung as a single piece of artwork, should be placed at a height so the average person looks straight into the middle of the piece. Naturally if you are hanging more than one artwork, such as a pair underneath each other or a photo wall, then the centre of the overall size of the combined pieces should be at head height.

Suzie Beirne says, “A complete lack of attention to balance, proportion and lighting. If you don’t know what you are doing, even with the tiniest budget, ask a professional for one good session to guide you on your way. I can’t count the number of times I have been asked to try to fix expensive mistakes that cannot be returned. Men are particularly stubborn when it comes to this – women seem to understand that you don’t fill your own teeth, cut your own hair or make your own clothes unless you are skilled – so why decorate your own home without professional guidance. The time to ask for help is before you buy, not after – it’s often too late. How can this problem be addressed? Not many people are prepared to throw away new furniture and start again but it has been done, believe me.”

Out of proportion

It’s true, so many people try to fit their old furniture into their new house, or set about making changes and then realize it doesn’t fit or they have made a drastic mistake with their choices and then call in the professionals. It pays to engage a decorator as early as possible and formulate some sort of plan so you can then move forward at your leisure.

Helen Glover said the mistake she sees the most is, “Bad bathroom tiles! Generally by the time people are choosing the bathroom tiles, they are over the process and are often under pressure from the builder to “just pick one”. Eeek – this can be a 15 year decision and one that can plague you every morning when you brush your teeth. Don’t rush this one, get professional help if you need to but don’t tick the box until you feel comfortable with your choices – remember that trends will change over the life of the bathroom as will you and your family, so go for neutrals or something that really matches the home you live in so that as it ages, it ages gracefully.

So many choices

NEVER feel pressured by your builder. Don’t get yourself in that position in the first place by making sure you choose everything in advance. Too often I have seen clients leave it until the last minute and then the item they have their hearts set on is out of stock or won’t be available in time. Somehow, nothing matches up to our first preference and we have to make do.

Tonie Robertson said, “The most common decorating mistake I see is not knowing when to stop. People get an idea, which can be a good one, and then want to use it everywhere, so the initial idea is no longer special. Keep it simple, if it looks good then leave it.”

Too much pattern

I laughed at this one. Sometimes it is very hard to stop, but keep on telling yourself – less is more!

And Deborah Atkins went in to bat for us all. “Not using an interior designer! Good interior designers will actually save you money by avoiding costly mistakes that can easily be made by the inexperienced.”

Call in a professional

Hear Hear!

If you would like to avoid making costly mistakes, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.


Be Inspired

One way to ensure you and your decorator, designer or architect are on the same page is to show them. As they say, “A Picture Paints A Thousand Words.”

Retro Style

Most of us see things we like online, in magazines, in nature or out and about. Sometimes we don’t even know why we like them but we know that they appeal to us. The best idea is to capture these images and articles and keep them together. Technology today makes this so easy as we can save images from the internet, take photos with cameras and mobile phones and of course, the good old fashioned way of tearing pages out of magazines.

African Style

You might even jot down a few words that come to mind when you see these images which will help convey the mood you want in a room.

When you have collected your inspiration, put the items and images into a folder. Kiki K have a great folder called “My Dream Home” full of plastic sleeves ready for you to fill. If you have bulky items, like a shell you’ve collected on your last beach holiday, you could purchase a lidded box from a Variety Store. Whatever you do, make sure you keep all your bits together. This will be invaluable when you meet with your architect and/or designer to convey the types of things you like.

French Provincial Style

Rarely do we want exactly the same as in our inspiration file, but collectively the images and items will tell you and your designer the type of things you like. It’s then up to the designer to create those features in your home bearing in mind the type of lifestyle you lead and the architecture of the building.

Beach style decor

Beach Style Decor

Never lose sight of the big picture and make sure everyone is working towards the same end result.

Queensland Houses and Decor

Queensland Style

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

Mr Jason Grant

Last weekend I attended a Q & A with stylist Mr Jason Grant.

Since leaving his post as Style Director of Real Living Magazine, Jason has been freelancing as an interiors, lifestyle and props stylist and his work is appearing EVERYWHERE. He has been involved with the latest Officeworks catalogue styling an extremely appealing series of photos for Officeworks’ Philosophy products.

Jason Grant for Officeworks

He contributes to a number of magazines including Gourmet Traveller and Inside Out and recently launched a range of limited edition paint colours for Murobond.

It was at the Murobond showroom that Jason met with a group of past and present students from the International School of Colour and Design where he answered our questions such as “What it’s like to be a stylist and How did he get started?”

Mr Jason Grant at Murobond

It was interesting to hear that Jason just “fell” into his career. With no formal training, he was working for a company when he styled up the products for a photo shoot. The rest, as they say, is history.

You've got to love his philosophy on life!

Jason said he loved working with Murobond and creating a palette of colours suitable for today’s homes. Not all colours would work on the walls although the brave may be tempted.

Murobond Colours by Mr Jason Grant

Jason even designed the paint tins. We were intrigued to learn the history of the dog but apparently it is Jason’s “one day” dog.

Cute Paint Tins by Mr Jason Grant

Mr Jason Grant is now collaborating with Freedom Furniture and will be giving style tips and trend advice at Freedom’s Moore Park store in Sydney on 19 July. Tickets are $25 each and available from Moshtix.

Welcome To My Wonderland Fan Deck by Jason Grant for Murobond

If you need assistance choosing the right paint colour for your home, contact us for an on-line or in-person consultation.



Build A Room From Scratch

Live House Bathroom

Did you manage to venture over to the Hordern Pavilion during the past week? The Live House of the 30 Days of Home, Food and Entertaining was there for 7 days.

Live House Dining Room

I managed to squeeze in a couple of visits and took these photos of the “rooms” to show you.

Live House Family Dining Table

Girl's Bedroom

Boy's Bedroom

The lounge room came to life before my very eyes as I attended the Build A Room From Scratch workshop with Real Living Magazine Editor Deb Bibby and Senior Stylist Sarah Ellison.

Deb Bibby and Sarah Ellison before the transformations

They put together two rooms with completely different looks using all items from Freedom Furniture. As Deb said, ordinarily she wouldn’t recommend purchasing everything from the one place as it can end up looking too matchy, matchy with not much personality. However, Freedom have extended their range considerably over the years and now stock items from many different styles including industrial, provincial, modern, retro, and contemporary. Putting a little bit of everything into one room is challenging but does create a unique space.

Metropolitan Sofa from Freedom

Starting with a black leather sofa and 2 white leather swivel chairs, Sarah created a comfortable living room for adults.

Completed Room

The “other” room was to become the children’s TV room or fun family area. The swivel chairs were turned around to sit adjacent to the limited edition Digital Sofa which would become the main furniture piece in the room. The end result was a bright, fun space for relaxing and watching television or playing games.

Digital Sofa and side tables

Sarah layered items into the room keeping in mind proportion, colour and height of objects to give an interesting result.

Completed Fun Family Room

There’s still time to check out the remaining events of 30 Days of Home, Food and Entertaining before the end of the month.

If you would like assistance, building a room from scratch, or just layering some more pieces to give it that unique look, contact us for an on-line or in-person consultation.


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.


Styling 101

As you know I spent Friday in Bangalow at Shannon Fricke‘s first ever Styling 101 workshop.

It was such a treat to be back with a group of like minded women for a day, as well as learn from such an Interiors Expert as Shannon.

We learnt about the ins and out of being a stylist and how the image you are trying to capture must say something to the viewer. I’d never really thought about that before!

We also learnt about catching the image in a frame and deciding on the frame size prior to starting. It doesn’t always have to be a “big” picture.

We had some practical, hands on time too. Our brief was to create a concept for Country Style magazine with the theme of Spring. Cutting up Shannon’s magazines and rifling through her fabric boxes, we each created an inspiration board that would convey the story behind the image we would style for the photo shoot.

Then Shannon threw open the cupboards in The Little Cottage and everything else besides was up for grabs as we all worked to create a vignette of our own.

My idea for the Spring photo shoot was to take a bed onto a covered verandah of a country cottage and dress the bed in fresh, pastel coloured bedlinen. There would be bunches of wildflowers and Australian natives in vases on the bedside table and chooks and domestic animals roaming around.

So when it came to styling my vignette, I narrowed that image down to a bedside table and used flowers and soft pastel vases and cushions to illustrate my idea.

It was great walking around and seeing the other ladies ideas and listening to their thoughts behind them.

Shannon also gave some ideas on how the different scenes worked and what would happen on a real styling photo shoot to hide things like cars in the background or photoshopping ugly elements out of the final photographs.

Thanks Shannon, for a fun and informative day and thanks to Nicky and Charlotte for their assistance and the delectable lunch.

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

All photos by me.

Stylish Styling

Tomorrow I’m heading north to take a one day workshop with Shannon Fricke.

Styled by Shannon Fricke

I’m very excited as I’ve long admired Shannon’s work and when I saw she was holding a Styling 101 workshop, I decided that was just what I needed.We are going to learn the ins and outs of being a stylist on a photo shoot.

Styling by me Photography by Lyn Johnston

Now I’m not looking at changing tacks, but I do struggle when it comes to putting the finishing touches on things. And I’m not good at moving things around once I’ve got it the way I like.Why mess with perfection, right?

Styled by me

When studying interior decorating, I learnt the Principles and Elements of Design so I do know what should go where and the idea of odd numbers and repetition, etc. But seeing it through a camera lens seems to be completely different and needs some fine tuning.

via Habitually Chic

I am required to take some images of still lifes I like and I’ve been scouring magazines and websites trying to find some.I like lots of negative space in my arrangements (read “do not like clutter!”) but then I wonder if it’s all too minimalist.

via House and Garden

So by Monday, I’ll be able to tell you some of the tricks and whether Shannon has been able to cure me of my affliction.

Interiors by Inside Out Colour and Design

Have a great weekend and see you next week.


Weekend Activities

Om my goodness, I can’t believe the weeks are just flying bye.

We’re flat out here getting pre-Christmas deliveries and orders underway and helping choose paint colours for those painting their house over the summer months.

Ready to paint

I thought you may be interested in a few sales and events that are happening over this weekend.

Signature Prints, home of the amazing Florence Broadhurst, is having a sale with 30% off special Christmas presents. If you can’t make it to the showroom at Rosebery, you can still join in the fun online.

Florence Broadhurst fabrics via Apartment Therapy

My good friend and gallery owner, Ruth da Silva, is holding her Christmas Collection with a number of artists exhibiting beautiful pieces.

What is and what should be by Brett Hayes

And fellow blogger and artist, Chris Chun is having a sale at his online boutique. You just need to to type in the code 2010 when you checkout to receive 25% on everything.

Cupcakes and Memories by Chris Chun

If you’ve completed your Christmas shopping and want a quiet relaxing weekend, grab a coffee and check out the summer edition of online magazine Adore.

Sydney rooftop garden featured in Adore Magazine

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Jennifer xx

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