### Category: Decorating Tips

Proportion and scale are the most important design principles to achieve great design.  The formula dates to ancient Greece and is called the “golden ration”.  In mathemateical terms, this magic number is 1.618.  This number is achieved by recurring relationship between blah blah yawn… Apologies, but I’ve almost nodded off typing the word maths.  In simpler terms, scale is the size of things and proportion is the relationship between them.  Phew, that could have taken hours (for me to understand!)

This magic number is a ratio that appears in nature, in music, architecture and art.  For some reason, something in our DNA finds this proportion the most comfortable and we instinctively know when things aren’t placed as they’re supposed to.  Something’s ringing a bell, right?  This is what happens when you’ve envisaged your dream room, but after you’ve made all your purchases, the room doesn’t turn out the way you’ve imagined it in your mind.  The reasons could be very simple.  The proportion and scale of a few of your items, could be out of whack!  Here are a few things we tend to buy too small:

# ART

Nothing looks skimpier than a tiny piece of art on a big wall.  I’d go as far as to say that the wall is probably better left completely bare.  Luckily, the size of your art is easy to calculate and has another mathematical equation attached to it (yawn…)  In general, artwork should cover about 3/4 of the wall it’s on.  The magic number for this is .57.  If your wall is about 3m in width, multiply that by .57 to get the area your art should cover (in this case it’s 1.7m).  So, a large print of about 1m x 1.5m should do the trick, but you could also do a gallery wall of smaller prints to cover the same area.

# RUGS

It’s tempting to buy a smaller rug, as the next size up usually costs a few \$100 more!  Instead of trying to save a few dollars and go for the smaller size, I’d suggest waiting until you can afford the larger rug.  Your rug should hopefully reach under the front legs of your sofa, as well as under your accent chairs.  It looks pretty bare and unwelcoming when you have a tiny rug that only your coffee table  fit onto.

# LIGHTING

A large pendant is a great opportunity to bring balance and character to a dining table.  Unfortunately, we tend to purchase table and pendant lamps too small and it can ruin the effect we’re trying to create.  The golden rule here is that the lamps should be tall enough that the bottom of the shade is at seated eye level.  A pendant light should be big enough to visually balance the surface below it, but it’s equally important to hang it at the right level.

And finally, here is what you’re buying too big:

# SOFAS

Being from South Africa originally, we tend to steer towards big, chunky leather sofas we can sink into in front of the fire in the evenings.  Nothing wrong with that scenario, but if your room can’t justify a big sofa, don’t buy it!  You should have enough room for movement around the sides to avoid feeling cramped and claustrophobic.  If you’re worried about entertaining a large number of guests, there are other ways to accommodate them without squashing too big furniture pieces into a small room.

Of course, if you suffer from an untrained eye when shopping, you could always take us with you! Read here how you can do this.

Cheerio til next time!

Yes we know we are so lucky that shopping is our job! I find shopping for myself is much more difficult than shopping for someone else. Firstly, I don’t spend my own money (haha!) and secondly I can make good design decisions without being too emotionally involved in the process. So where do we shop as Interior Designers and how can you get your hands on our products? We are lucky, as we have access to many suppliers and showrooms where the general public isn’t allowed to shop. Are you interested in coming along? You can! Let me tell you how. (And why you should do it!)

If you like a girls day out (yes boys are welcome too of course!) combined with shopping, this will be the perfect day trip for you. We offer two options, a half day and a full day. We meet you in the city and we take you to all our special places where you will be treated like a guest of honour. You will have the benefit of having two interior designers (that’s us!) with you in the shops, guiding you towards solutions for your home. Who can say no to trade discount on top of all that?

We have a long list of suppliers and will take you to those we think suit your style and home. You don’t have to use us for a full home design, as some of our clients are only looking for a few pieces of furniture to complete their space and don’t need a design package. If you are interested in shopping advice, unique pieces and trade discount, then you will benefit from this “shopping package”. It is also a great birthday gift or “congratulations with your new home” gift to a friend.

Shopping makes you tired, we know! So we will definitely break for coffee and/or lunch. It gives us time to rest our feet and discuss all the information of the shopping trip.

We have access to so many products, but usually clients want to see and touch products before buying. This gives you a great opportunity to get your hands on those products without having to order them blindly. Many items can also be custom made according to your choice of colour combinations,  for example the combination of lampshades and lamp bases or even specific patterned or coloured rugs. You don’t normally have those options at your local homeware stores.

To enquire about prices or book a day trip with us, please email us at: info@vanillaslatedesigns.com.au . You can come alone or gather a maximum of three of your friends. The price decreases per person with every friend added to the group. Don’t forget that this is also a great birthday present. An Interior Designer for the day! We only need you to bring along a few photos of your home.

So get some girls together and give us a call!

Carpet has been used as flooring for thousands of years and is installed to provide warmth for cold feet, reduce sound and add colour and decoration to a room.  It helps a room to stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer.  So now I ask you… why does my interior designer want me to put a rug on top of it?

Interior designers consider the principles of design to create a well-rounded room.  No, you don’t need to be good at Maths to figure it out, but most of the time it’s based on feelings and common sense 🙂  Not only do they want to create balance in your room, but they need to think about the atmosphere (we’re not talking about oxygen here), consider the scale in the room and ways to apply textures and colour to get you the desired result.  The first reason for putting a rug on top of your brand new carpet, is to create a zone for a space.  This is especially important in today’s open living style homes  To give an example:  If your living room is next to your dining room or kitchen, a rug placement under your coffee table and sofas will define that space as separate and create a zone for an activity in that area.  Having a rug has the added benefit of grounding your furniture so that it doesn’t appear as if it’s floating.

# PATTERN & COLOUR

Placing a rug on the floor is the perfect opportunity to add patterns and colour.  By adding these, the interest in your room is heightened immediately and the effect can be very appealing.  Always make sure that your rug complements the carpet, so that they look married to each other and not out of place.  It also need to tie in with your colour palette, whether you decide on a neutral or coloured rug.

# A LAYER OF TEXTURE

Textures work in mysterious ways.  It has the tendency to create comfort, dampen noise and give a room visual depth.  Not many people consider textures carefully before making their selections for a space.   The reason for this could be because they don’t realise the potential of adding textures to their design.  Jute, wicker, animal skin or shag rugs can turn a one dimensional space onto a comforting, warm and inviting cocoon, ready for guests to relax and enjoy.

Our next blog will be about how to get rid of guests that enjoy being in your home too much (only kidding!)

Cheerio ’til next time!

Us Vanilla girls are always on the look out for a night out, especially when it has something to do with what we’re passionate about.  Of course, when there are nibblies and wine on the menu and we have a chance to meet others in the industry, we’re more than eager!

We were pretty thrilled to be invited to view Beaumont Tiles in Castle Hill’s latest range in tapware, vanities and tiles.   We heard first hand from Beaumont Tiles’ suppliers what all the new trends are for 2017.  If you love the natural look, make sure you investigate their slate mosaics.  They are to die for, especially the chevron pattern!  If you want something a bit brighter, pretty peacock green and bright blue scale patterned mosaics might create that feature wall you’ve been looking for.  If you’re not sure which to make a feature wall, give us a call for an hour consultation.

If you think that gold or bling accessories and tiles are best left in the eighties, think again!  Gold plated tapware and hexagon mosaics will lift the level of sophistication in any bathroom.  Combine it with black and white and you have that instant hotel experience while staying at home! Just add room service and you’re good to go.

Although Pieter, Kerene and Jaco from Beaumont Tiles are pretty laid back about it, they’ve won the best performance award last year!  Out of 120 branches nationwide, that’s a great achievement. Being so professional in their field, this doesn’t surprise us at all!  If you’re confused about tiles, remember to give us a call to for a visit to their showroom.  All you need is a couple of hours to sort out your tiling needs for an entire bathroom or kitchen.

Yes, you can tell we’re all holding our breaths and pulling in our tummies for this shot… it has been holiday after all…

Cheerio ’til next time!

I have just returned from a 6 week whirlwind around the world trip. Except that I probably need two new feet, I am totally broke as well as exhausted. Then again, I haven’t felt this alive, excited and motivated in a long time! Over the next few weeks I will share a few of the things I learned on my trip. As I had two teenagers in tow, there wasn’t much of a “design element” to my trip, but still, being exposed to other countries and cultures you always learn a few new tricks.

Today I want to kick off with my visit to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. Yes, most of us know exactly where we were the day the aeroplanes hit the twin towers. However, being an outsider I could never imagined the impact on New Yorkers and the Manhatten skyline.  This museum has probably touched me more than any other museum I’ve ever been in.  It was extremely well presented. (One day I will tell you how it took 7 years to build this structure, but it fell down in 20min) What I actually want to discuss today is not the museum, but the shopping mall on the memorial site. At the time of the attacks, there was a Westfield shopping mall on the site already. This was damaged and demolished during the clean up operation. As we know, Westfield is an Australian owned shopping mall group. I was blown away by the amazing new mall that Westfield built on the same site. (Imagine the new Castle Towers could look like this!) It only openend in August 2016, so it’s brand new. It is architecturally stunning, with its’ huge white gleaming structures. However, the symbolisation of the fallen towers are breathtaking. At the moment it’s the biggest shopping mall in Manhattan.

The photo on the left is one of the most well known images the day after the attacks. The image on the right is the inside of the new Westfield centre. It is an amazing and huge structure. It’s supposed to represent the fallen building. I think it was very well done, especially because it is extremely white and bright and feels like a new, fresh beginning for the people of New York. This white structure is called the Oculus. Many people have mixed feelings about it as some people have never set foot on the site again after 2001.

The shopping mall is mostly underground, except for the top of the huge Oculus that sticks out above the ground. The Oculus is designed so that every year on 9/11 at exactly 10:28 a beam of light will penetrate the opening in the roof of the building, dividing the structure in half.

With a project so close to so many people’s hearts, one can understand that some love it and others prefer not to shop in a mall that reminds them of the fallen towers. I’m not a New Yorker, but from an emotional and architectural point of view, I really like it. I love that it has a story. So this is why Australia plays a small part in part of the 9/11 memorial site. The mall/Ocuclus hosts a huge subway station and entrances to the Memorial site. The two reflection pools are right outside the exit of the mall.

What I thought was going to be an hour visit to the World Trade Centre museum, turned out to be a life changing and architecturally inspiring 5 hours . When Americans go big, they go big!

I wish I had more time and space to tell you more!

Until next time,

What better way to end a renovation project than with a sausage sizzle.  The team has almost become like part of the family, so we just had to thank them by leaving them with a full tummy at the end of the project.  The guys had been amazing and an absolute pleasure to work with.

To see the entire project, check out the links below:

At the end of a long day, we’re lighting the fire for the first time and sitting down with a well deserved drink.  Plastic garden chairs might not be as comfortable as a sofa, but it’s better than nothing 🙂   Can’t wait to move the furniture back in and start the decorating process…

If you’re planning a renovation, you’re going to spend a fortune – be sure to do it right the first time.  You know where to find us!

Cheerio ’til next time!

It’s time for the big reveal at last!  With careful planning, thoughtful design and working with a great builder (Thank you Daniel and Team :)), we’ve managed to improve the liveability, as well as add value to our home in Cherrybrook.  To maintain continuity, our builder made sure that the new extension blends seamlessly with our existing home by using the same materials.  The finishes of our interior spaces portray a Modern Country/Colonial character and fits the exterior style of our home.  The way each room flows into each other, makes entertaining a breeze and a relaxed atmosphere is present as soon as you enter our home (which immediately dissipates when greeted by Chloe, our rescue dog).  We can’t be happier with the end result.

Image by Blue Poppy Photography

If you’ve missed the renovation in other parts of our home, follow the links below:

Cheerio ’til next time!

Our renovation has finally come to an end.  We can now move freely around our home without leaving muddy tread marks all over the timber floors, we’re cooking in the kitchen instead of the garage and the bar has had an initiation of note!  It’s time to reveal the much anticipated new extension.  We’re extremely happy with the end result and can’t believe we can finally share the first images of the exterior.  Next week, we’ll show you how the interior of the new extension turned out.

Image by Blue Poppy Photography

Image by Blue Poppy Photography

If you’ve missed the renovation in other parts of our home, follow the links below for a catch up:

See you next week for the reveal of the interior of the new extension.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Windows are a key achor point in setting the tone of your space.  These seemingly innocuous panes of glass are one of the first things people notice when entering a room and as such, they deserve the right complementary treatments.

Whether you want to turn your windows into an eye-catching statement feature or are looking to subtly spruce up the whole ambience of your space, here are the top window treatment trends home dwellers are currently loving.

# ROLLER BLINDS IN NEUTRAL COLOURS AND RICH TEXTURES

If you’re looking to revamp your windows but want to invest in something timeless, roller blinds in neutral shades are your best option.  Not only are these ideally versatile, but the current surge in minimalistic design gives them added bonus points.  Crisp whites and simple greys are massive winners right now, and with DIY Online Blinds’ nifty Dulux colour match range of fabrics, customers can easily choose the best neutral shades to match their wall paint.

While it’s stylish to keep colours simple, many people are opting to inject a dose of personality into their roller blinds by choosing interesting textures.  Our Australian-made Serengetti collection has proven to be a top seller, encompassing an intricate, slightly-chunky texture that adds that nice touch of flair.

# FABRIC-WRAPPED VALANCES

The idea of pairing a fabric wrapped valance with roller blinds is gaining a lot of traction in the market at the moment.  Customers are either pairing with the same colour/fabric as their blinds, or choosing something entirely different or mix and match.  (The image below shows a Dakota Quartz Sunscreen blind with a Metroshade White fabric wrapped valance).  This style offers a really clean and streamlined look, proving that the smallest details can make all the difference.

# COMBINING RECESS FIT AND FACE FIT BLINDS IN ONE

This might sound like a bit of an oxymoron, but trust me, it works.  Double roller blinds are always going to be popular thanks to their dual functionality, but many customers are now choosing to take a new twist on the way they hang these window furnishings.  Rather than opting for either a recess fit or a face fit, it’s becoming increasingly on-trend to recess fit a sunscreen roller blind followed by face fitting a blockout roller blind on top to provide better light coverage.  Herein, residents are able to gain greater control over light saturation in a more compact set-up than a standard bulky double roller blind, plus they have the option of adding a valance (fabric-wrapped, if so desired).

# PLANTATION SHUTTERS

Emanating strong vibes of nostalgia, plantation shutters are making a fierce comeback right now.  Traditionally used as a feature in the renovation of period houses in Australia, many residents are now fitting their new homes and modern interiors entirely with plantation shutters.  At DIY Online Blinds, we offer custom Australian-made shutters which can be delivered to your door in just four weeks.

# ENERGY-EFFICIENT BLINDS

Many residents are also becoming much more conscious of energy consideration in modern home-decorating, opting to furnish their windows with treatments like honeycomb blinds.  These advanced blinds drastically reduce the transfer of heat through windows, thereby cutting down on the need to get that split system cranking during warm summer days or chilly winter nights.  While predominantly chosen for their energy-efficiency, honeycomb blinds also harbour a stylish, contemporary look and boast a slim-line design, making them suitable for almost any window in the home.

Visit www.diyonlineblinds.com.au for more window treatment inspiration.

Decorating your home according to your own tastes and style is a must if you want to feel truly at home and relaxed.  Diving into your own personality and sensibility is the key to pinpointing your inner interior designer and surfacing it.  Therefore, don’t feel pressured about anything and allow yourself some time and research in order to reach the peak of your inspiration and creativity when it comes to home décor.

Every room deserves its own lighting style.  In that respect, there’s no need to limit yourself to only a few lighting styles and options.  Also, these days you don’t have to sacrifice functionality over the looks and vice versa, when it comes to lighting.  You can easily check out some creative picks for lighting online and find even more than you hoped for.  In general, don’t underestimate the power of light for your interior décor.  It can make the whole home a lot warmer, brighter and pleasant to be in.

# SEARCH FOR INSPIRATION

The best thing about modern age is that you don’t have to do everything yourself.  There are magazines on interior design that could help you find your perfect style for décor.  Websites such as Pinterest, are teaming with ideas and pictures that can motivate you to reorganize, repurpose and utilize many different things and items that you thought useless.

# CAREFUL WITH COLOURS

Colours can always make the space warmer and more pleasant, but if you want to change the whole colour scheme of your décor, you should think it through first.  If you’re set on changing everything, from your furniture and accessories colour to wall paint and/or wallpaper, you can make a big change like this, work.  But, if you only want to play with the colours of your decorative details or repaint the walls, keep it relatively simple and make sure that the new colours won’t clash with the old scheme beforehand.

# STATEMENT PIECES

Nothing can make the interior more unique and decorative than statement pieces.  You might not think that you’re ready for this step, but be brave and at least try one statement piece in your décor.  It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant.  There has to be something that you found very appealing while looking through the magazines and blogs, but your own comfort zone prevents you from acting on it.  Taking a step forward is very important in both your life and home décor, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

# BEAUTIFUL AND EFFICIENT LAYOUT

When you start decorating, the process itself can sometimes become overwhelming.  This is especially true for various accessories that you find likeable.  But remember, too many bits and bobs scattered around your rooms can create a lot of mess and, in that way, cause the impression of chaos and clutter.  Therefore, don’t go overboard with accessories.  Strategically placed details will make the home shine from the inside but you still need to achieve the effiency and functionality of the room layout.

# TRENDS NOT A MUST

If you find that the current interior design trends are not all to your liking, do not feel pressured to use them as your own home décor.  If you happen to love the contemporary home design trends, that’s great!  But the most important thing about the look of your place is to represent your own self.  And if modern design trends simpoly do not cut it in this respect, feel free to skip them.

Decorating your home, picking out different designs and accessories, choosing colours and all that jazz should be a fun and engaging process that soothes your soul and mind.  That being said, you don’t have to rush things.  Take it slowly, at your own pace.  If you force the task before you, you might end up with a result you don’t like.

xx Emma Joyce