What Tradies do you need for a Bathroom Reno?

If you’re a newbie at bathroom renovation, there are a few people you need on your side before you begin.  They will all be equally important in the steps you take to a beautiful bathroom, so treat them well!

INTERIOR DESIGNER

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That’s us!  If you’re thinking about changing the layout to make it more suitable or functional for your needs, get a professional to help you at the planning phase.  It might be a bit more costly changing the plumbing around, but will work out better in the long run.  Any changes will be beneficial in increasing your enjoyment while spending time in this small little space.

PLUMBER

Unless you can do this job yourself, a licenced plumber will be your best friend during this renovation.  He can change the layout of pipes, install beautiful tapware, showers and gorgeous freestanding baths.

WATERPROOFER

Another step not to be missed for a successful renovation.  The waterproofer applies a membrane in your wet area, ensuring no water leaks to other areas.  Make sure he hands you a waterproofing certificate as proof that everything is up to scratch.

TILER

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A quality tiler is essential in a great bathroom renovation.  Tiles need to be sloped towards drains to ensure water doesn’t run out the door.  They also need to be equally spaced, applied with the correct colour grout and feature walls or niches need to look top notch.  Good tilers are usually pretty busy, so make sure you book them well in advance.

CABINET MAKERS

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Today, there are many custom options for cabinets available, but if you need a bathroom cabinet to fulfil you storage dreams or fit a specific space, this is one trade you’ll certainly need!

ELECTRICIAN

You might think that water and electricity don’t mix, but your extractor fans, lighting, power points and heated towel rail will need proper connection.  A qualified, licenced electrician is the best man for this job.

BATHROOM BUILDER

Getting all trades to line up in sequence to finish a renovation in under 3 weeks (or 6 months!) could be a challenge for most.  To make things a bit easier, book a bathroom builder to do the hard stuff for you.  It might be more costly, but it will safe you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

Read our blogs Lyndie’s Ensuite Bathroom renovation or Eight Tips on getting the Kinks out of a Bathroom Renovation, before you start knocking down walls.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

Lyndie’s home Renovation – BEFORE photos of the Interior

Today, you’ll finally see the interior of our house before we started this renovation!   My previous blog, “Lyndie’s Home Renovation, First Phase” will give you a bit of background of the area we live in, as well as what the exterior of our house looks like.  Today, I’ll share a bit of the interior and the changes we’ll be making over the next few months.

In order to modernise the interior, our very talented draftsman, Ronel, drew up our plans and was instrumental in getting it ready for submission to Council.  If you’re planning a renovation or extension for you home and not sure where to start, contact us by clicking here.  We can also assist you in measured drawings, new designs, selecting finishes, as well as submissions to Council.

 

Before and After drawn plans

 

Changes to entry and stairs

Changes to formal living area

Changes to Formal Dining area

Changes to kitchen, fridge

changes to cooking area, kitchen

Changes to Pantry

Changes to informal dining

Changes to TV Room

Next week, I’ll show you how the building phase is progressing and the inspiration for each room.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

How to decorate your home when you have a dog

Does your dog need a decorated room/special area? What? You never heard of this? Or even considered it? Let me share with you some inspirational images on how you can create that special nook in your home for your dog…yes… a special decorated nook! The last image is of me and my dog, Charlie.

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A beautiful monotone colour scheme. How awesome are those timber blocks and black and white photos? I adore this little corner.

decorate dog decor tips animals home decor
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Time for a bath? A doggy “wet room” bathroom! A practical area to wash your dogs, but still beautifully designed to suit the style of the rest of your home.

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A great idea for that sometimes awkward empty corner next to your stairs.

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My dog always sits on my lap when I work on my computer. I wish I had such a great little corner for him close to my desk.

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So if you need to go all the way… why not use this lovely black and white wallpaper? You can shop for it here on ETSY.

decorate dog decor tips animals home decor eriana bredenhann cavoodle
My dog, Charlie

As you can see, I don’t have a special decorated area for my dog, Charlie. In fact, that would probably shock him as he doesn’t know that he’s a dog and not human. Nope, he thinks he’s the youngest, spoiled brat of our family. He sleeps in my cozy decorated bed at night, on the kids’ sofa in our rumpus room during the day, and casually joins us in the evenings when we enjoy a glass of wine. Our whole house is his “decorated area”.

Any of you in the same boat?

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

 

 

 

Lyndie’s Home Renovation, First Phase

My husband and I moved from Coogee (in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney) to Cherrybrook in the North West , in search of a larger home and more lawn about 11 years ago.  At this stage we had 2 little ones in tow and received regular visits from our respective families in South Africa.

At first, we could only afford to rent and needed a house with enough room for us, as well as our visitors.  Luckily, in those days, you could haggle the price down in Cherrybrook and get garden services thrown in 🙂  The property we had our eye on, had been empty for a good 7 weeks, so bingo, it was ours!  After a good five years of renting this house,  we put in our offer to purchase it.  It was just in time, as in recent years, everything had changed in Cherrybrook!

A bit of background:

Inspiration of the name Cherrybrook is rumoured to have come from cherry trees near Cherrybrook Cottage, a cottage built in the mid 1800s.  The area was mostly rural land until around 1959, when it was subdivided and became the first project home village in Sydney. The original bushland was bulldozed, and exhibition homes were built and landscaped.  For this reason, most of the homes here look fairly similar (Federation style), with entertainment areas, double garages and multiple bathrooms.  The area has great public schools and beautiful parks that offer all sorts of sporting activities throughout the weekend.

After the introduction of the North West Rail link in recent years, the median 4 bedroom house price shot up from 800 000 to about 1.4 million, so this is where our story begins…

Lyndie's home renovation front of house

Our house was built in 1998 and had not been renovated until we moved in.  Our kitchen has a tile splashback depicting fruit, peeling laminated kitchen cabinet and an oven door that wouldn’t close.  The bathrooms didn’t fare any better, with gold plated shower doors and peach coloured tiles.  We decided to start renovating at the top and work our way down.  We started renovating our bathrooms last year, so if you’re curious about the end result, see our main bathroom make over, as well as the kid’s bathroom make over.

Lyndie's back yard

As you can see, we’re not the most effective gardeners. Low maintenance all the way 🙂 What we do love, is the hedge in the back yard.  It efficiently blocks our neighbours view into our yard.  Unfortunately, the pergola roof has a hole in it, as our son wanted to see if he could kick a rugby ball from the street onto our lawn.  He missed by 2 metres…

 Entertainment Area

We’ve had plenty of get togethers, epic bbq’s and a dance or two under this roof.  No wonder it’s starting to look a bit worn out, time to move on 🙂

Renovating a home is a time consuming, money consuming and patience consuming journey, so you need to consider it carefully.  Before we made our final decision to move on or stay, we had to do a bit of homework first:

What we wanted:

  • A new kitchen with an oven door that closes and without fruit tiles
  • Timber floors
  • A bar (essential, especially during a renovation)
  • A swimming pool (Cherrybrook gets hot)
  • A fireplace (Cherrybrook gets cold)
  • An enclosed outdoor area to entertain (because we love it)

We went to a few open homes in the area to see if there was anything on the market that offered everything on our list.  After a few heart attacks (only accepting offers over 2 million (what?!!) for nothing spectacular) we decided that renovating was the way to go.  After another few heart attacks after getting our first builder’s quotes in, we pushed through.

 

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So this is the grand plan for the outdoor area:

  • Remove the hedge at the back and trees on the side to make way for a new pool, deck and tiled area.
  • Extend the formal dining area wall and build a fireplace into it.
  • Replace the roof of the tv room and cover this and the new entertainment area with a sloped roof
  • Enclose the entire entertainment area with bi-fold doorsGround floor plans

The grand plan for the interior of the house:

  • Modernise the kitchen and place built in cabinets in the pantry
  • Widen the window between the kitchen and entertainment area and replace with bi-fold windows.
  • Remove existing interior tiles and replace with timber flooring
  • Level the formal dining area with the formal lounge area
  • Remove window between formal dining area and entertainment area and replace with bi-fold door
  • Build a bar in the formal dining area.
  • Remove “beautiful” pillars in the formal dining and formal lounge area
  • Square up the corners of the TV room

Shouldn’t take too long, right?  WRONG!

Next week, I’ll show you what the interior looked like before we renovated and possibly a few sneak peak after photos …

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

Five fun things to do with unused paint chip samples

Sometimes Pinterest really frustrates me. It reminds me that I am not as good and crafty with my fine motor skills than a 1000 other pinners. I also often think to myself…. where do people find the time to do all these craft projects? It is overwhelming and sometimes just too much information! So today I narrowed it down to a few options that I feel really works.

When we choose paint colours for our homes, we always end up with a bag full of paint chip samples. It does not matter if you’re an interior designer or home decorator. Do you also feel bad to just chuck them in the bin? I recently browsed on Pinterest to find ideas on how I can reuse these paint samples. Unfortunately I could only find a few ideas that I actually think is do-able and will not look like my five year old daughter has done it.

PUNCH THEM

For a few dollars you can buy a whole range of punches from your local craft shop. Just punch the chip samples and paste them on cards or decorations for presents.  You can even sew them together and make garlands to decorate with.

paint chip samples, colour inspiration, craft project paint, punch craft, tags, gift wrapping, decor blog, diy blog , garlands, diy garland, sew garland
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paint chip samples, colour inspiration, craft project paint, punch craft, tags, gift wrapping, decor blog, diy blog , girls room, heart garland, diy garland
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TAGS

Punch them and add a string, and you have an unlimited colourful supply of tags for presents. When I am invited to a dinner party, I like to add these tags to flowers, chocolates or wine bottles as a gift for the host.

paint chip samples, colour inspiration, craft project paint, punch craft, tags, gift wrapping, decor blog, diy blog , colourful tags, diy tags
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HOUSE WARMING

In a previous blog I told you how important a house warming is! These cutlery holders below is a great idea to add to the house warming theme.

paint chip samples, colour inspiration, craft project paint, punch craft, tags, gift wrapping, decor blog, diy blog , house warming, tags, cutlery display, setting table
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SORTING

A quick and effective way to organise your addresses, recipes or details about friends or clients.

paint chip samples, colour inspiration, craft project paint, punch craft, tags, gift wrapping, decor blog, diy blog , stationery sort, organise recipes
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ART

For the very arty among us, you can try one of these art projects. I haven’t tried it yet, but it is still on my to do list.

paint chip samples, colour inspiration, craft project paint, punch craft, tags, gift wrapping, decor blog, diy blog , art work paint samples
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Although I love DIY projects, I am not very much the crafty type. So when it comes to punching, cutting and glueing, my projects need to be quick, easy to make and easy to store. That’s why the few examples today are all my cup of tea!

Don’t forget to read our previous blog on where do paint names come from.

Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

Why you MUST have a house warming party!

Not the party type? Too much effort? Find out today why you should not miss this opportunity! It’s not like a birthday that comes again every year. A house warming only happens every 5 to 8 years per family. It could be because you move into your new house, or maybe you have done major renovations and want to celebrate the end of the building process with your friends. It does not have to be expensive. It can be an informal sausage sizzle, or just cheese platters and a few bottles of wine. What’s important, is to get your family and friends over and have a party!

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WHEN SHOULD WE PARTY?

Do it as soon as possible after you moved in. Like in days or one or two weeks. At this stage, people will still expect a bit of chaos, unpacked boxes and you will not have to present a picture perfect home.

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FREE LABOUR

Still have a few boxes in the garage that need to be moved upstairs? Or maybe you want to try out different furniture layouts for your living area. What better time to move these items than when you have a few people over, ready to help and who still feel sorry for you being in this “overwhelming situation…” This works especially well if you have a case of beer close by.

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FREE DESIGN ADVISE

It is the perfect opportunity to “ask for advise” from all your friends on how you should place your furniture, paint the walls or do some extensions to your home. This is why it’s good to host a house warming before you have unpacked everything and before you have put your personal stamp on your home. Friends will still have the confidence to share ideas. Especially because most people believe they are decorators by heart…

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FREE GIFTS

It’s tradition to take a gift to a house warming. A new plant, some gadget for the kitchen, a cute ornament or just snacks or wine. I usually take potted herbs. If the host loves gardening, they can plant it. Otherwise they can at least use it in a few dishes when cooking.

house warming gift plant decor tips vanilla slate designs best decor blog australia
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Okay, this blog was a bit tongue in the cheek, but seriously, it’s a good excuse to throw a party! Don’t wait till your home is perfect, use it as an excuse to just enjoy a wonderful evening with friends, celebrating your new home. It’s a great milestone, it needs to be celebrated!

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

What do Guests Notice First about your Home?

Let’s be realistic, most of us don’t keep our homes tidy 100% of the time.  We stress and fuss for hours before friends come over, very aware of any specks of dust or an unclean dish.  Today, I want to put your mind at ease, as friends notice different things to what you may think.  Here they are:

THE SMELL FACTOR

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You may have become “nose blind” to the smell of your dog, the garlic prawns you cooked the night before and the cupboard full of sweaty sneakers in your entry way, but your guests have not!  Make sure you close cuboard doors with offensive items and light a lovely smelling candle well before they arrive.

DRINKS ANYONE?

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Although all friends might not demand a mojito as soon as they enter the door, make sure you have the basics ready to soothe parched mouths.  Red and white wine, a few beers, a vodka chaser (my friends, not yours) and some soft drinks (for nobody I know) will settle even the most demanding of guests.

FRESH FLOWERS

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Nothing beats a vase of fresh flowers or a potted plant to detract from dust at your home.  A pretty orchid is a great investment as it lasts for months if you look after it well (the fake ones even longer… 🙂

LACK OF CLUTTER

Your guests will (hopefully!) not run their finger along skirting boards or look under your sofas.  What they will notice, is dirty dishes in your living room, jackets draped over sofas and magazines or books strewn over a coffee table.  Your visitors will not poke around uninvited through your home, so chuck all clutter into a room that can lock and throw away the key for the time being!  I’ve been known to hide dirty dishes in the oven (a special trick I learnt from my mother) and embrace the space in the garage.  My car hasn’t slept in it for months 🙂

TIDY BATHROOM

Your friends will need to use the bathroom while in your home, so make sure it’s tidy, clean and has enough toilet paper.  It should have a deodorising spray, as well as a privacy lock.  No one likes to cut off in mid stream when surprised in the bathroom.

ORGANISED ENTRY WAY

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It’s enevitable that you’ll have piles of shoes (especially when you have kids), sport bags, umbrellas, mail, keys, etc in your entry way.  If you don’t have a hall table with drawers or a shoe cupboard, find a good hiding spot (even if it’s under a bed) for everything, before guests arrive.  Create a space for guest to leave their umbrellas, jackets or shoes (which is not under the bed with all your stuff) when they enter the house.

Happy tidying!

Lyndie camera

 

Best tips for a wet room

Hold your horses, this is not as easy as you think! The wet room is a popular bathroom trend, but can be very unsuccessful if not done correctly. For a proper wet room, you need to throw a few extra dollars into your budget.

Wet rooms started as a solution for very small bathrooms where a toilet, shower and basin had to fit in a small space, but there were no place for extra walls. It reminds me of the bathroom in a standerd suite on a cruise ship. No ways two people can use those bathrooms together. You can’t even brush your teeth without hitting your head against the shower head. However, if people now mention a bathroom renovation with a wet room, they actually want a huge wet room with a spa feeling where you can almost fit a whole sports team in.

Things to consider when planning a wet room:

1.  EXTRA COSTS

You need to do extra waterproofing as your whole bathroom might now be splashed and become soaking wet. Make sure you also buy waterproof light fittings and special sealed joinery. Make sure you plan your storage to be out of reach of any spray and steam. You don’t want to have soaked shelves every time you shower. Invest in heated floors, because they will help to evaporate water quicker. Also invest in a proper overhead shower head to prevent too much spray outside the designated shower area. I hate it when I get out of the shower and my towel is wet!

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2.  SPECIAL TILES

In a wet room there is a lot of water spraying everywhere. After your shower you might find it difficult to walk around in the bathroom without slipping. Invest in floor tiles with a bit of texture or non-slip characteristics. You can even add a timber area to create the real spa feeling and to prevent slipping.

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3.  DRAINAGE

So how will you contain all the water in the bathroom and prevent it from running down your hallway? Get a great tiler that can build a gradient in your floor and make sure that all the water flows towards your drain. In a wet room it is best to invest in strip drains that cover bigger areas. The other option is to create a total seperate space just for the bath and shower and split them from your door, toilet and basin with a floor to ceiling glass partition. It is less wet room and more open shower design, but it will still give you the feeling as if the whole room is one big wet room.

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4.  POSITION OF YOUR TOILET

Nobody likes wet toiletpaper or a drenched toilet seat. If your bathroom is too small to prevent the shower’s spray to reach your toilet, maybe you should reconsider the wet room. Always position your toilet as far away from the shower as possible. Your other option is again to seperate the toilet from the shower with a floor to ceiling glass partition.

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We would love to see photos of your wet rooms! Email them to us at: info@vanillaslatedesigns.com.au and you can be in one of our next blogs! Or, if you need help designing a bathroom, send us an email to ask for our price list.

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

Does size really matter? How to Pick the Right Side Table

So you’ve just purchased your gorgeous new sofa and can’t wait to finish your room with side tables, a rug and coffee table.  Luckily, side tables are easy, they don’t really matter as they’re tucked away to the side of the sofa and one can hardly see them… WHAT?!  Come again?  OK, all jokes aside… Finding the perfect side table requires patience, quite a few shopping hours (preferably without your husband), sometimes a few tears and lots of planning.  Side tables are part of your overall room design and you have to make sure that  they don’t distract from your focal point.  They should also be practical and not conflict with the rest of your room design.  Although side tables never get the glory, they whisper of a homeowner that pays attention to little details to create a comfortable, inviting space for guests.

Let me give you a few guidelines to help in your search:

HEIGHT

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A side table works best when it’s at the same height as the arm of the sofa it’s next to, or no lower than about 10 centimetres below that.  A standard sofa arm is aroud 60cm high, so aim for a table about that height, or a couple of centimetres lower.  If you can’t find a table you like within your target height range, then rather go for  shorter rather than taller.  Side tables that are taller, look awkward and make for an uncomfortable journey for your arm from sofa to table.

WIDTH

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Think about what you would like to place on your side table.  You’ll probably want some soft lighting in the form of a table lamp, you might want to put a book down just before your nanna nap, or most probably a drink if you’re visiting my house.  Side table widths vary greatly, but look for something that would be substantial enough to carry a few items.  Aything smaller that 45cm would be impractical and not in balance with the size of your sofa and coffee table.

FINISH

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There are some beaufitful side tables available today in any style you can imagine.  Matching side tables to your coffee table is fine, but it could create a yawn worthy experience.  This is your chance to create some interesting effects in your living room. Why not go for a metal and marble combination, or steel frame and timber top.  Wire mesh or woven material can add another layer of texture, or you may even find that an interesting, art deco inspired bling table can add a touch of sophistication that had been lacking in the room.

SHAPE

In general, lounge rooms have a lot of rectangular shapes.  They’re found in the frames of art works, the rug, the shape of the sofa, as well as most coffee tables.  Adding round side tables is a no fail way to soften the overall look of your lounge room.

STYLE

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Your side tables do not need to match the coffee table.  I know it’s probably the easier option to just go out and buy the whole set (especially when shopping with your husband and you want the experience to be over and done with :)) It’s important to carefully consider each piece, as they will impact the room differently.  If you want to have harmony and balance with a touch of “WOW”, take a little time with your shopping, even if it means leaving hubby at home.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

Restaurant interiors that will inspire your kitchen renovation

So you ran out of kitchen ideas? Not to worry. Why not visit your favourite coffee shops and restaurants and use their decor as inspiration for your kitchen! I mean, they were designed to be cooked in, to be practical and to show off!

Today I only use three images of restaurants and then I will show you how you can pick one or two ideas and use it in an imaginative way in your own kitchen design. You don’t have to copy a whole restaurant design. Grab the idea you like most, and use it as your focal point.

 1.  COPY THE BAR COUNTER & LIGHTS

This amazing bar counter is from King & Duke in Atlanta. Things you can use in your own kitchen are the fabulous combination of timber, leather, marble and copper. How about installing your own marble kitchen island with a timber bench top? (It is usually done the other way around, so why not be different?) What about black and leather bar stools? You can also add stunning copper pendant lights and black kitchen cupboards. You can see here how these textures all blend together very well. Scroll down to see how some of these features can be used in an everyday kitchen.

marble island bench copper pendant lights kitchen restaurant
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marble island bench copper pendant lights kitchen restaurant

 

 2. COPY THE TIMBER SHELVING DISPLAY

Not many of us have huge kitchens with pretty display areas. (My total display area in my kitchen is one lonely shelf of 50cm long…) This designer shelf is from The Curious Teepee in Singapore. I particularly like the colour combination of timber and grey shelves. In stead of just having ordinary shelves, they also added the striking diagonal lines. You can use different variations of these in your own kitchen. Especially where you store your wine.

restaurant timber shelving ideas wine bottle display
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restaurant timber shelving ideas wine bottle display kitchen timber shelves

 

 3. COPY THE ISLAND BENCH & LIGHTS

The Stables of Como is a venue in South Yarra that offers facilities for weddings and picnics. They also have a cafe and  I love their combination of rustic textures. With a neutral background, the green and mint lights and island stand out and become features. The green and timber combination is perfect for a kitchen environment. I will show you two ways how you can copy these ideas into your kitchen design. Remember to stick to a neutral background and add timber for warmth.

green mint kitchen pendant lights island bench
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green mint kitchen pendant lights island bench

 

Now it’s your turn. Next time when you are in your “new kitchen design phase”, make sure you take photos of your local cafe’s and restaurants. Use them as inspiration, and this way you will definitely have a unique and funky look that makes your kitchen look a bit different than all the kitchens you see in display homes and show homes.

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney