Bye Bye Bland

As a Colour Consultant, I spend my time working with, reading and thinking about colour. So I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of Judith Briggs’ new book “Bye Bye Bland.” Judith is a fellow Colour Consultant and Interior Decorator and has worked in the industry for many, many years.


I read the book when I was on holidays in Hawaii a few months ago and it was a very easy read. It’s not at all technical and is filled with easy steps to guide the homeowner through colour selection for the home. Over the years I have collected a number of books on colour and many are more suited to the professional Colourist. Some are very wordy and seem to go around in circles explaining the same thing many different ways which ends up getting confusing.

So Judith’s book was very refreshing in it’s simplicity. The book is broken up into four sections and then easy chapters like What is a Colour Personality, Combining Different Colour Personalities, Considerations When Choosing Colour, What Colours Where?. There are case studies and lots of drool worthy photos to illustrate the point.


“Bye Bye Bland” would make a great Christmas present for the home decorator or new home owner. Judith has very kindly offered free freight to all my readers. So if there’s someone in your life struggling to define the look they would like in their home or about to embark on a renovation, this is the perfect gift.


Click through to the website and use the check out code of NOF07 when you place your order for free freight. All copies are personally signed by the author.

And if you go to page 138 you’ll see one of my bathrooms using the fabulous Catherine Martin wallpaper.



Happy shopping!

Giving Old Tiles New Life

My clients, Justin and Melissa were ready to update their bathroom and kitchen. I had worked with them previously choosing colours and furnishings for the living room, hall and bedrooms. The kitchen worked well and really just needed a facelift. We arranged for new cupboard doors to be installed on the old carcasses and chose a new tap which brought the kitchen into Melissa and Justin’s style. However, replacing the dated brown tiled splashback would be costly and potentially could result in having to replace or repair the existing benchtop. So I suggested painting the tiles. Justin and Melissa pick up the story.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen before makeover

Justin and Melissa here. Thanks to White Knight, we have a splashback we are very happy with. Here is our story and we hope you enjoy it while picking up a few pointers along the way.

So after settling on a colour (Ashen Mist by Taubmans), we used White Knight Tile & Laminate Cleaner, Tile & Laminate Primer and Tile Paint. Before launching into anything, we sat down to watch the instructional video from the White Knight YouTube channel. We found this exceptionally helpful in showing us the steps of painting and things to look out for when taking on this project.

New Kitchen but Old Spalshback

New Kitchen but Old Splashback

Armed with this knowledge, we set off painting. First, we cleaned the tiles thoroughly with the Cleaner as that was stressed in the video. After allowing the surface to dry, we had to sand down the tiles with 120G sandpaper in order to improve the paint’s adhesion to the tiles. This required some good elbow grease as the rougher the tiles, the easier the paint will stick, so we had to get this step right.


Upon cleaning the dust from the sanding and taping up the edges and sockets, we went about applying the Primer as an undercoat with a small roller brush for the main areas and a 1-inch brush for the edges. As it is quite viscous, it sticks well to the tiles (possibly thanks to the rigorous sanding we did). Four hours later, we started applying the paint itself in two coats, leaving 4 hours between coats (we actually left it overnight as it was getting dark on Saturday so we picked up again on Sunday morning).


A tip that we discovered was that as the paint is an oil-based, it is vital to have paint solvent on hand. After finding the paint had started clogging the brush and roller despite leaving it in water, pouring solvent on them quickly dissolved the paint. A little water after to wash off the excess solvent and we were back in business for the second coat. We let that dry and peeled off the tape, taking the advice to allow a full week to let the paint cure (that included using the oven for all our food as using the stovetop was out of the question!)


A Few Things To Note
Last but not least, here are a couple more lessons we learnt on our journey that we hope you find useful:

Remove the covers from the electrical sockets before taping and painting; it’ll give a nice seamless finish when you pop the cover back on.
The paint doesn’t work well with silicone so you end up with an uneven edge of paint on the silicone that was in the corner between the tiles and the bench top. I suggest buying new silicone (black in our case) and reapplying it to give these corners a nice finish again.


It’s amazing how this simple change of colour makes the kitchen look brand new. With this missing piece in place, it really completed the look we were going for. The paint has really held up after curing and splashes from cooking on the stove top wipe off with ease.


Finished kitchen

We hope we’ve inspired you to try your hand at a simple update of your bathroom or kitchen. Happy painting!


Isn’t a great way to revive your home? Take a look at the other White Knight products and if you need any assistance with colour or design for your home, contact me for an appointment.

Touching Up Timber

Whether we’d like to accept it or not, there’s no denying that Spring has officially sprung.


Despite the weather in Sydney being sporadic over the past month, with temperatures over 25 one day and drizzle and cloud cover the next, people and their homes are taking on new life. Whether this be through summer clothes shopping, attending barbeques or spring cleaning, everybody seems to be embracing the new season. Being a Virgo, cleaning and tidying the house is an all-year festival, but there’s something about Spring that makes even the grubbiest of home-owners feel like picking up a duster and dancing around the house like Snow White. However, when spring cleaning it’s easy to get caught up in arranging and dusting rather than really looking at the damage areas of your house may have. It’s easy to forget about the chips and scratches on timber floors, doors and furniture which can easily detract from the most beautiful of homes.


Luckily for you there’s an easy solution. The new Touch Up Pen from Cabot’s can quickly disguise imperfections on timber surfaces around the home that suffer the most knocks and bumps, such as tabletops, chairs, doors, floors and the corners of furniture. Designed to closely resemble the colour of most timber finishes, Cabot’s Touch Up Pen range is suitable for use on all interior timber, and is available in five popular stain colours – Black, Walnut Brown, Golden Maple, Honey Oak and Jarrah Red gum – as well as Clear Satin and Clear gloss.


What a great way to refresh and renew slight imperfections the patina of life gives to floors and furniture. So if you’re Spring cleaning or have noticed scratches or chips in the timber work around your home, pick up a Cabot’s Touch Up Pen for only $8.50.


That’s less than what you’ll find under the couch cushions!


If you’d like interiors advice for Spring, or help with timber furniture and flooring contact us for an appointment.

Upcycling To Win

Following a successful online charity auction, Feast Watson will present $10,000 in charitable donations to the Salvos Stores as part of the Feast Watson Re-Love project. The fortunate top-bidders have also procured some exquisite furniture items which were upcycled into unique statement pieces by a group of talented designers.

Before Side Tables
The eBay auction which closed at 5pm (AEST) on Saturday 18 July, reached a combined total of $6,115.58, with all proceeds from the auction to be donated to the Salvos Stores. Feast Watson provided further funds to bring the total to $10,000 in donations.

Side Tables
Feast Watson’s Brand Manager, James Fisher, says “This year’s talent produced captivating designs, and it is through the support of the wider public and their love of design, impressive results for the Salvos Stores could be achieved.”
Before Single Beds
Upcycling continues to grow in popularity as one of the leading craft trends. The Re-Love Project shows just how a little time and effort can take a second hand piece of furniture and transform it into a something beautiful.

Single Beds

Design Lovers are now invited to get involved in the Re-Love revolution by sharing their own upcycling projects on Instagram. Simply share a before and after image of a recent upcycling project on Instagram using the following hashtags for a chance to win exquisite Mark Tuckey furniture to the value of $3000!

Step 1. Follow Feast Watson on Instagram
Step 2. Upload a before image with hashtags #before #relove2015
Step 3. Upload an after image with hashtags #after #relove2015
Competition closes 4 September 2015.

My Grandmother's breakfast room table before

My Grandmother’s breakfast room table before

My grandmother's breakfast room table after

My grandmother’s breakfast room table after

So what are you waiting for? Get down to your nearest Salvos Store and pick up a piece of furniture and get creative.

Too Much Timber

For the past two years I have been corresponding with a client in Airlie Beach, Queensland. As I explained when we first started exchanging emails, it’s been over 30 years since I was in Airlie Beach so she figured I wasn’t going to pop in for a consultation any time soon, no matter how much I would have liked.

Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays

Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays

Mel has a house on acreage which is all timber inside and her query was the same as I am often asked, “Will I paint the timber?” She had timber panelled walls and timber panelled ceilings. A number of skylights were allowing some light to enter but she was also wondering if she should instal more skylights.



Before installing more skylights, I suggested she paint the ceiling but leave the beams in timber, as the timber on the ceiling AND the walls was sucking up any light that was getting in to the room. I was conscious of the fact that the timber panelling was part of the style and architecture of the home and I always believe that the architecture should be maintained or acknowledged. I wasn’t sure if Mel was open to painting the walls as well.

Timber panelling on ceiling AND walls

Kitchen Before

Mel came back to me very quickly saying, Yes, she was open to painting the walls. She had just completed painting her son’s bedroom and realised that paint doesn’t detract from the charisma of the timber. She agreed that the paint modernised the space and took away that dated look.

Son's Room Before Paint

Son’s Room Before Paint

Son's Room After Paint

Son’s Room After Paint

Just as we had completed the emails, I spotted this image which I sent through to her. From then on it was a done deal.

Perfect example of leaving some timber

Perfect example of leaving some timber

So last month she sent through images of the living area all painted. Hasn’t she done a wonderful job?





There is never a right or wrong way to treat timber. Just keep in mind what you want to achieve. In this case, Mel wanted light, bright and modern. I think she got it.

Look at that stained glass detailing. You couldn't see it with all that dark timber.

Look at that stained glass detailing. You couldn’t see it with all that dark timber.

Painting the ceiling

Painting the ceiling

Kitchen After

Kitchen After

If you would like assistance with your interior design dilemma, contact me for a consultation.


New App for Renovators

There are literally thousands of apps to help make renovating easier for the home renovator. But now there’s a new one available for those of us who want to incorporate timber in our homes. And let’s face it, timber floor boards are the one element nearly every home owner desires at the moment.


Intergrain have created a great little app to assist you visualise what the floor will look like stained or treated with their range of colours and finishes. You can take a snap of the flooring and then choose from their colours to get an idea of what the end result will look like.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 4.44.32 pm

Maybe you’re half way through a job and need some advice? You can just click on the Solutions tab. Not sure how much stain you’ll need? Click on the Calculator. Ready to roll but don’t know where to buy the product? Click on the Store Locator.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 4.44.48 pm

I can see this will be a very handy app for me to use as well, when I’m trying to assist clients with their flooring needs. It works for both inside and out, flooring, decking, fencing, doors, windows, panelling, stairs, garage doors and furniture. You can download it right now, for free!

Pool Deck

If you would like assistance with choosing timber species and colours for your home, contact us for an appointment.



When white is not white enough

I was at the Caesarstone showroom last week when a lady came in to look at the white slabs. She was commenting to the showroom assistant that the Pure White and the Snow didn’t really look white. Her house was all black and white and she thought these colours looked too cream.

Caesarstone Whites

Caesarstone Whites

Choosing white is probably the hardest colour of all. When a “white” is put next to another “white” it suddenly doesn’t look “white” after all.

All white kitchen with Caesarstone Snow benchtops

All white kitchen with Caesarstone Snow benchtops

So how do you create a white kitchen (lets face it, everyone wants a white kitchen at the moment)? Firstly, choose your benchtop white. Caesarstone Snow, Pure White or Organic White are all very white but they each have a dash of another colour – yellow, grey, brown. But the trick is to match that white with the right white cabinets. If the benchtop has a touch of grey and the cabinets are stark white, then that’s the look you will end up with – grey benchtop and white cabinets. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want. But to get an all white kitchen then you need to have a touch of grey in your cabinet white.

All white kitchen with Caesarstone Organic White benchtops

All white kitchen with Caesarstone Organic White benchtops

Marrying the right white with the white benchtop will give you a seamless look. The same rule applies to tiles and other surfaces. It’s always best to choose them first and then the paint as paint can always be matched to the surface but it’s a bit harder to choose the paint colour and then find the right surface to match that.

All white kitchen with Caesarstone Pure White benchtops

All white kitchen with Caesarstone Pure White benchtops

And always look at samples of the paint and surface in your own home not in the showroom under harsh lighting or when the slabs are vertical but in your kitchen the benchtop will be horizontal. That will have a big impact on the perception of the colour.

Matching the right white paint to the white tiles will give you that seamless white interior.

Matching the right white paint to the white tiles will give you that seamless white interior.

If you would like assistance choosing the right white for your kitchen, contact us for an appointment.


Upcycled Furniture

Time is ticking for you to own a unique piece of furniture lovingly restored and remodelled by some amazing Australian design aficionados and help charity at the same time!

Before Single Beds

The Feast Watson Re-Love Project is live on eBay and taking bids right now. You have until 5pm (Eastern Standard Time) tomorrow to make a bid and secure one of these pieces for your home. There’s a beautiful sideboard by Steve Cordony, a funky set of side tables from Tara Dennis and not one but TWO timber single beds from Mark Tuckey. There’s alot more as well so why don’t you click on over and check out all the amazing work and do your bit for charity.

Single Beds

The Feast Watson Re-Love Project is now in it’s third year and has raised thousands of dollars for Salvo Stores. “Salvos Stores are delighted to once again benefit from the outstanding efforts of Feast Watson and the Re-Love project. We’re incredibly grateful to the eight talented designers who have generously donated their time and talents to the project. We can’t wait to see the auction outcome,” CEO, Allen Dewhirst said.

Before Sideboard
While upcycling continues to lead as one of the more popular craft trends, it seems it hasn’t quite extended to medium and large furniture pieces, with people still inclined to throw them away rather than consider their potential. The Re-Love Project shows just how a little TLC can inject personality into second hand furniture to give it a new lease on life.

Black Sideboard Feast Watson’s Brand Manager, James Fisher, says the designs showcase how timber furniture items of all sizes can be transformed into something truly special and unexpected.

Side Tables

So have a look and make a bid or maybe head out to your nearest Salvos Store and purchase a piece to remodel yourself. We’d love to see the end result.


Upcycling for a Cause

For the third consecutive year Feast Watson has just launched the Re-love Project.

Feast Watson Re-love Project

If you remember, I was involved with the inaugural Re-Love Project and had a lot of fun finding a suitable piece of furniture from a Goodwill store and then deciding how I would upcycle it and then doing the work. The great part is that the items are auctioned off on eBay at the end of the project and all proceeds are given to the Salvos Stores.

Chairs Before and After

This year the designers include interior and event Stylist, Steve Cordony, iconic furniture maker, Mark Tuckey, Editor -in-Chief at Real Living, Deb Bibby with dedicated craftsman David Moses, TV DIY personality, Tara Dennis, Interiors Addict staff writer, Olivia Shead, Kristine Franklin from one of my favourite blogs, The Painted Hive, as well as Simone Barter returning for a third year and Helen Edwards from Recycled Interiors.

Chest of drawers before and after

You can follow the progress of the pieces on Instagram and Pinterest and don’t forget to make a bid on eBay from 8 July.

Lamp Before and After

I can’t wait to see what the creatives come up with this year.

Caring for your Deck

In Australia, we love our decks. There’s nothing better than an outdoor space with timber underfoot. We really feel like we’re living the dream entertaining outdoors on our decks. But the maintenance is a pain. To really look after our timber, it needs to be treated and cleaned on a regular basis. And at this time of year, it’s perfect for doing that. So I was pleased to see that Cabot’s have released a new timber wash designed to refresh the decking in between oil coats.

Oiling the deck

A wash down with this product helps remove dirt, dust, bird droppings (love the magpies singing on my deck, but hate the mess) and other hard to remove items to maintain its “good as new” appearance.


That will be better than sweeping, hosing and still not being happy. It will brighten up the area for the autumn entertaining season, before it gets too cold to be outdoors. It’s much more gentle on your timber than normal household cleaners.

Back Deck

Cabot’s Deck Wash is available from your local hardware store and a 1 litre bottle will give you about 6 washes. Guess what we’re doing this weekend?


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