As you know by now, I have a tendency to make impulse purchases at the scrapyard (or any place I can find an awesome one off piece) without thinking it through thoroughly. This is how we ended up with the most gigantic timber display shelf (over 3.5m long), a dent in the roof of our ute, and a closed off door that previously led to the guest bathroom from the kitchen.
Let me explain: The only way we could have a wall long enough to fit this hutch/shelf in the kitchen, was to patch up the door leading to the ensuite bathroom and guest bedroom downstairs. Luckily, we still have another access door, but now our party guests need to walk through the guest bedroom to get to the loo. Yes, my husband and I are still very happily married thank you for asking…
So here are my tips on working with this new layout:
1. USE A SIGN
Seeing that I’m over 40 (I know, very hard to believe), the first thing I do when visiting someone’s house, is to check out the location of the facilities. It has to be close enough to reach within seconds and I don’t necessarily want to make an announcement before I go try and find it. To make guests feel at ease, use a bathroom sign on the bedroom door. This way they’ll know they’ll eventually end up in a bathroom, even though they’re walking through the bedroom.
2. CLEAR THE WAY
My guest bedroom can instantly become a storage space when not occupied for some time. Make sure your guests have an unobstructed path to the toilet, as most of them would not have rock climbing experience.
3. AVOID RED FACES WITH TIDY SPACES
The bedroom your guests will be walking through, should be clean and tidy, functioning as a bedroom (not a storage facility) and the bed made and styled as if it’s a 5 Star Hotel. A tidy and clean bathroom with plenty of toilet paper, room deodoriser and a bin provided goes without saying.
When is it the right time to renovate? Does it depend on how long you’ve lived in your home, your budget or your future plans? This answer is different for every home owner. Today we want to give you some pointers to take into consideration when making this important decision.
1. FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS
You are now all excited about your first home. To save a bit of money you bought a “renovation project”. (Of course it was advertised by the estate agent as “needs some TLC”…) Now it’s time to decide how to spend that extra bit of money to make it your own. STOP RIGHT HERE! Only about 5% of renovations of first time home buyers are successful if they renovate within the first year. Why? Making good renovation decisions take experience. If you are a first time home buyer, we always recommend clients to first live in your home for at least six months before you start planning your renovation. You will have a much better spatial awareness of how you actually use your home and what features are missing what you desperately need to add.
2. EXPECTING A BABY
Nine months. Actually 8 months since you first find out you’re pregnant. And yes, we all know the last two months you’re the size of an elephant with the mobility of a hippopotamus. That literally gives you 6 months to really project manage a renovation before baby arrives. Take into consideration your fluctuating hormones and constant short term memory loss (believe me!), the worst thing to add to this package is a renovation project. If you just want to update a bathroom or kitchen, it might be manageable. Even a new paint job, flooring or moving a wall or window can be orderly timed and finalised. If you need any council plans which involves drafting, engineers, certifiers or council approval, rather pitch a tent in the dessert and stay there for a few months. That will be a much more enjoyable experience. You don’t want to hurry renovation decisions and later be devastated because you spent your money unwisely. Take it one “building process” (read baby) at a time. Even the first few months after baby is born, is stressful. Why add noise and dust to the equation. I am talking out of experience…
3. SAFETY PROBLEMS WITH YOUR EXISTING HOME
I’m with you, just do it! Nobody needs a bathroom that constantly leaks from upstairs down into your kitchen. Been there, done that. Every time my daughter pulled the plug of her bath, I had to run to the kitchen and hold a bucket mid-air to prevent water dripping on my kitchen shelves. Another big problem is infestations. You don’t want to be invaded or overrun by pests. If part of your home needs a semi-demolition to fix this problem, save enough money as quickly as possible and get the renovation done. These can cause other long term problems which eventually cost you even more. If you’re a first time home buyer, and expecting a baby and you realise you have infestation problems… well I have no idea what you should do! Run away to the closest hotel and hibernate for a year.
4. FINANCIAL DECISION
Renovation projects can start from $10,000 and end up to be up to $500,000 or more. Every family knows their own budget. Don’t forget that there are many costs before you even write the first cheque to your builder. You will need a drafter to draw plans for Council. (This is a few thousand dollars, depending on the size of your renovation) You might need an engineer to assist with structural issues. (Another few hundred or thousand dollars). You need to pay a certifier or council to submit your plans and get it approved. (Mmmm… another few hundred dollars) Sometimes you need to demolish existing structures, also at an additional cost. There are always a few hidden or unprepared expenses too. Your builder can suddenly report to you that there are asbestos in your walls or roof. (Another few thousand dollars to have this removed by a specialised team). Okay, I wasn’t intending to scare you, just to warn you that you should always add another 20% to your budget for unforeseen expenses. If you don’t need it in the end, you can have beautiful new furniture and an awesome house warming party!
Remember that you can ask your mortgage broker to assist you to apply for additional finance or to refinance your home. Some people play it safe and first save all the money for their renovation. This is the ideal situation, but sometimes this means that you never get to the stage where you can commit to your renovation.
Dinner time is usually a frenzy in our house, with kids on their way or arriving back from sport (sometimes half a team). Weekends are either spent with a small group of friends, just family, or large get togethers involving dancing around a table to the sound of Geronimo, kitted out in fancy dress. Either way, I’m a firm believer of having a comfortable dining table suiting my family and guest’s needs.
Square tables can be a bit tricky. Although they can seat a fair number of guests, the table takes up more room than you think. It also leaves a big empty space in the centre which makes conversation and passing food across the table rather difficult. To soften the hard lines of the edges, consider adding upholstered chairs. A lazy Susan in the centre, as well as a large centre piece to soften the look when the table is not in use, will benefit the overall look of the room.
The perfect shape for smaller spaces that has to double as thoroughfares. The curved edges will help the general flow of traffic as no one needs to carefully walk around it to avoid sharp edges. Because of the elongated shape, the oval table takes up less space than a square, seats more people comfortably and encourages a more intimate atmosphere.
This shape offers more flexible seating, as a six seater can usually accommodate 8 people – of course, the larger the diameter, the more people can be seated. A more amiable atmosphere is created when all guests can see each other and dishes can comfortably be passed around. It is also great when you have younger kids and you need to park their prams or assist them, without bumping into the guest next to you with your elbows.
Rectangular tables can be squeezed into small spaces without dominating the room. Even a very narrow table will be fine to use, as there will still be enough space in the centre for sharing dishes. Remember to allow at least a metre of space around the table to move comfortably. If you only need seating for a small family, consider the option of having an extendable table for when the masses come over. Otherwise you’ll be left with a lot of empty seats, making it feel more like a boardroom than a dinner table.
My children’s bathroom was so far out of fashion it was almost back in again! The tiles had lovely peach tones with a gorgeous gold framed shower and vanity mirror. To complete the look, the profile on the vanity doors catapulted me into another era and the towel rail also had a very special gold finish which unceremoniously fell to the floor every time we removed a towel.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore items from yesteryear that add character to a modern interior. A touch of Provincial has always been a favourite and I’m never one to shy away from the warmth of rustic timber combined with crisp white in a Modern Country style. Unfortunately, peach tiles combined with gold framed showers have yet to warm the cockles of my heart 🙂
So this is how I jazzed it up a bit… As this would be the only bathroom big enough to house a bath tub, I decided on a large freestanding bath to fit the country look and feel. I fell in love with the grey toned timber look ceramic tiles at a recent visit to Beaumont Tiles and I selected a top mounted basin for the bathroom cabinet.
In search of a new vanity, I realised that this item alone could easily blow the budget! Luckily, I found a lovely timber cabinet for $400 at Knots Pine, which I painted a crisp white and finished in polyurethane. I replaced the very ugly handles with something modern and stained the top to tie in with the floor tiles, then applied a coat of polyurethane for water resistance.
To complete the look, I decided on the Bastow Provincial range from Tradelink, as it ties in with the rest of the bathroom. A niche in the wall next to the bath ensures that shampoos, candles,bath bubbles and my wine glass are within easy reach. To add a sleeker look, we installed a frameless shower, a big improvement from the gold framed one!
The laundry basket was a lucky kerbside clean up find. One morning early, Eriana called me to inform me of this discovery in her neighbourhood. She also threatened that if I didn’t take it, then she would! As I’m such a good friend, I immediately found a spot for it in my home 🙂
If you’re thinking of a bathroom renovation and not sure where to start, email us for a price list or book an initial consultation. We promise we won’t bite! Our blogs about how to run a smooth bathroom renovation and ideas on subway tile layouts, will get you started on your bathroom make over.
Yes, I get sucked into trends too. Trends come and go. So it’s good to recognise when you just like something because everyone else do, or if it’s really something you want to buy for your home. Today I will share with you four items that I realised I didn’t like at all any more! (I hope I don’t get into trouble for this today…)
1. COPPER BASKETS
When they first came out, I loved them. Then all the big chain stores started to stock them in mass, and to me they lost their spark. Now everyone has a copper basket in their laundry, bathroom and play rooms. Too many for me around…
2. MARBLE CLOCKS
Same issue here: Everywhere it’s just marble… marble… marble… My biggest problem is, you can never read the time properly. I hate clocks without numbers! It makes me tipsy…
3. TYPOGRAPHIC CUSHIONS
I also have a few of these cushions on my deck outside… Luckily they are a bit mouldy and that gives me a good excuse to replace them! Just like all the words saying “LOVE” , “HOME”, “EAT” you usually find in kitchens, I’m not a fan. I do like the canvasses with messages, but prefer those messages not to be on my cushions.
4. DEER CANVASSES
The poor deer has been overplayed when Scandi fever hit the world. With all the cheap canvas imitations in the big chain stores, I rather save my money for true art works or quirky unusual canvasses. I think the bottom line is, when the chain stores overproduce a certain style, it no longer becomes a designer item, but just an ordinary room filler.
My laundry was in pretty bad shape. We first rented this home for 4 years before deciding to purchase it about 7 years ago. As it is with most laundries in rental properties, we only had the bare basics; an inset sink with small cupboard underneath and a washing machine. We bought a large freestanding laundry cupboard which took up a huge chunk of space, and a practical laundry basket without any personality whatsoever.
Luckily, when you live in your home for a while, you know what your needs are and how you want your workspaces to flow. I knew that I needed a place to store pool towels, shelving for easily accessible pegs and washing powder, as well as an area for hanging damp clothes or clothes that had just been ironed. A new benchtop would also come in handy when folding is required and a space to store endless cleaning products is always a big plus. I needed cupboards/shelving for sliding in tubs with individual family members’ folded clothing, because in my perfect dream world, each person would be putting away their folded clothing into their own cupboards (haha, it’s my dream world and I’m sticking to it!)
The list goes on… Not only did I want this space to be functional, but also easy on the eye. It usually takes me about 4 days to convince myself that doing the laundry will benefit myself and my family. If it looks pretty, it might only take 2 days, who knows. In my house, the laundry room can become a stressful space, so I decided on the colour combination of grey and yellow for a calming atmosphere. I painted my walls grey and added a splash of yellow in my ironing board cover, which is mounted against the wall.
I didn’t want to splash out on a stone benchtop, as our kitchen renovation is coming up soon and I would rather splurge there. To tie in with our new kitchen, I decided on white shaker style doors in a satin polyurethane finish.
For a bit of playfulness, I put in a pretty mosaic splashback and a succulent in a colourful canvas bag to make the laundry experience a tad more joyful.
My hooks are from Bunnings (for an earth shattering $7,00!) and my yellow welcoming greeting from Target.
Voila, there you have it! I would still like to put in black and white retro vinyl flooring to complete the look, but that can wait until the kitchen is finished. It’s made a huge difference in my life. I have a place for everything and doing the laundry is less of a chore than it used to be.
I would love to hear about how you’ve improved your laundry experience, so drop us a line with a few photos.
This week, I’ve been dealing with putting a pool into our back yard. It’s funny how things turn out, even after all the t’s had been crossed and i’s dotted… During this recent experience, I’ve found that if the digger doesn’t fit past the side of the house, there will be no progress. There are many little things that happen when you decide to make changes to your home, things that you might not have considered before starting your project. Find a list below on why an interior designer might benefit you more than you think.
1. YOU DON’T HAVE TIME
It’s hard enough as it is shipping kids out the door to school on time, packing lunch boxes, working full/part time and keeping things on track to have a presentable home. Designing a home/room, organising trades and selecting finishes, could take months to complete. The last thing you want to load onto your fork is sorting through quotes and finding the right person for each project. A designer has knowledge of all resources that will be needed for the project at their finger tips and will save you endless hours of time in research alone.
2. YOU AND YOUR PARTNER DISAGREE ABOUT EVERYTHING
My husband gets sentimental about framed rugby jerseys, likes bulky leather couches and a rustic industrial look. I’m more of a modern country type of girl and like sofas on sophisticated legs and lots of cushions with pretty patterns. If you and your partner disagree about the style of your couch or whether you should have an underground cellar, an interior designer might just save your marriage and serve as compass to the most beneficial outcome!
3. YOU FEEL OVERWHELMED DURING THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS
A designer can give you a solid plan of action after assessing the task at hand. This will give you an order and timeline for tasks to be completed so that you have guidelines for the sequence of the project. This will assist you in tile selection, floor covering, colour of your walls and furnishings and make sure these are finished in a timely fashion and work together as a whole.
4. YOU STRUGGLE TO BRING TOGETHER FORM AND FUNCTION
Not only does an interior designer create a space that’s pleasing to the eye and set a desired mood, but they make sure that it’s functional, safe and efficient and enhance the living and working environment. A designer offers an extra set of eyes that are trained to see and notice things that you may not. They have the ability to find unique solutions to problems that you might not have dealt with before. It can be difficult to trust a designer if you like to dictate exactly what you want and aren’t capable of accepting alternative solutions. It’s best to take advantage of someone that has many years of experience under the belt and, by working together as a team, will have the best outcome for your home.
5. YOU NEED A MIDDLE MAN TO RELAY YOUR IDEAS AMONGST BUILDERS AND TRADES
Dealing with trades can be frustrating at the best of times. You will need to understand the plans and know exactly what you want, as they will ask you questions that you haven’t even thought of! You have to know the size and thickness of tiles, whether they’re interior or exterior tiles, the size of windows/doors, the profile on kitchen doors, the type and size of oven, the placement of power points, the type of timber floor, whether it will be installed over existing floor….The list is endless and you will need either plenty of wine or an interior designer to convey the hopes of dreams you have for your home, to the builders/trades. Money well spent, I’d say!
6. YOU STRUGGLE TO VISUALISE THE END RESULT
Interior Designers have many tricks up their sleaves… They not only have to come up with possible layout solutions for a space, but also help their client visualise the end result. Luckily, with the help of computer programs such as Rivet, Google SketchUp and Photoshop, the entirety of the room can be seen in a completed state. Add to that a mood board with samples of your flooring, all textiles, such as cushions, rugs and upholstery, as well as pictures of furniture and colour swatches of the rooms, you can already imagine yourself enjoying your new home.
7. TO INCREASE THE VALUE OF YOUR HOME
We all know that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, but an interior designer will give you advice on moving or knocking down walls to connect areas and create a more modern and open plan style of living. Value boosters, such as adding windows in the bathroom, creating that extra bedroom and type of lighting that’s installed, are all helpful alterations that would benefit your pocket greatly when selling your home.
You know where to get hold of us for your next project 🙂
It’s not everyone that can say their mom set their kitchen on fire. I can! For months I persevered with a totally burnt-out range hood, three stove hot plates that didn’t work, an oven with a broken thermostat and lastly, a slightly charcoal coloured tone on my previously white kitchen cupboards. I postponed the kitchen renovation, as my first initial quote to redo my kitchen to the style and design I really wanted, worked out to be $45,000. It took me three months just to recover from that shock. I mean, my kitchen is 3m x 3m. As our budget didn’t allow for a “kitchen of my dreams” at this stage, I decided to accept the challenge and see how I can get a unique look, with a very limited budget, but still something that reflects my style. So I ripped everything out, and $12,500 dollars later, I had a kitchen. (Excluding appliances)
I didn’t realise I would feel so confused when I did my own Kitchen Renovation… Oh the pressure! When I told people I was renovating my own kitchen, everyone said: “Oh I can’t wait to see what you will install in your own kitchen!” The pressure was on, and the budget was non-existent. So today, I will share with you my new little kitchen. I feel very exposed! Here we go… Of course it all started with a very clear budget and a style board:
From $15 Kmart pendant lights, to bargain Industrial ALDI barstools. I did splurge on a proper oven & Caeserstone bench top with a waterfall! My unusual statement tiles are from Beaumont Tiles in Castle Hill. I love these funky patterned tiles, at it gives the otherwise neutral kitchen, an interesting and eye catching backdrop and ties in with the colour scheme in my dining and lounge area. I made sure the cupboards are a combination of neutral white & timber doors, which adds extra warmth to the grey concrete stone bench top. With such a neutral base, anyone can now add their own touch. (The budget did not allow for the 30mm thick bench top of my dreams!)
I guess we all have at least one regret after every renovation. Mine was to let my husband talk me out of using professional painter and tell me he will paint the walls. I am still waiting…
As you can seen, if you are clever with your accessories, you take the attention away from your neutral cupboards and small layout. It’s fun to play around.
Oh yes, in case you wanted to see the BEFORE photos:
Anyone else who wants to share their matchbox kitchen reno on a budget?
Colour is a real mood changer. (Okay, wine and chocolates too!) Have you noticed how many blue painted walls are in decor magazines lately? I have never been brave enough to paint one of my own walls blue. I am not a fan of light blue walls myself, but the darker toned paints, leaning towards navy, I do find interesting, calming and almost dramatic. They say, once you’ve changed over to the other side… you never want to have neutral walls again! .
Start slowly, choose one room or one wall to experiment with. Make sure the other furniture in the room are mostly neutral so you don’t need to stress about matching colours too. Make sure you have other blue accents in your room like cushions or ornaments to pull it all together.
So, not surprisingly, breaking décor rules come quite naturally to me. Here are only a few of my favourite ones that get me into trouble at times:
1. DARK COLOURS ARE A NO-NO IN A SMALL ROOM
Sometimes, there are more than one solution to a problem. Of course white, with it’s ability to project light, would be the most obvious wall colour and looks fantastic in a small room. But have you considered painting the walls a dark colour? Dark wall colour has a tendency to disintegrate the edges of the room and add a mysteriousness that crisp white would struggle to obtain.
2. A LIVING ROOM SHOULD HAVE A SOFA
Our rooms are becoming more open plan and formal areas a bit smaller as needs for such a room decrease, or drop away entirely. Nowadays, when guests come over, we tend to gather in the kitchen or around the barbie outside. If you have a smaller formal lounge,size and proportion of furniture pieces should fit the room. Lounge suits are very bulky, so a few occasional chairs around a small coffee table will utilise the space to it’s best advantage.
3. FURNITURE STYLES SHOULD MATCH
Successful rooms need some common ground, but that doesn’t mean that all your furniture styles should match. Try using furniture with similar height and scale, a consistent colour scheme throughout, or giving each piece a “companion” in similar colour, style or finish. By using these tips, your décor will become more aesthetically pleasing and not look like you’ve shopped at a garage sale.
4. A LOUNGE ROOM NEEDS A COFFEE TABLE
If you have a small living area and your coffee table eats up most of the space in front of your sofa, this might just be your rule to break. There’s no reason a side table can’t fulfil the same function as a coffee table. Even an ottoman can serve as footrest, coffee table as well as extra seating. It’s light enough to move around when your kids (or grown ups after the third glass of wine) want to have a dance-off in this area.
5. DINING CHAIRS SHOULD BE A MATCHING SET
Mismatched dining chairs are a great budget option if you’ve just moved into your first flat. These can be purchased as second hand and painted to your liking. It might need a bit of planning to pull this off, but the reward is great when mismatched chairs add balance and interest in your design. Another way to add comfort to a more formal look, is by complementing your existing set with upholstered chairs at the ends of the table.
6. CEILINGS SHOULD BE WHITE
In previous years, ceilings were adorned with murals, mirrors and gold leaf, so why are we so consumed with painting all ceilings white nowadays? I realise our homes are a bit smaller than the palaces of yesteryear and white paint is propably the more obvious choice to give ceilings an illusion of height. However, by painting your ceiling a few shades lighter than your wall, the same illusion can be obtained. Restaurants and bars are renowned for creating cavernous spaces with their dark ceilings, making long chats over a glass of red at small, intimate tables very enjoyable indeed. Try imagining the ceiling as an extra wall to enhance, hide or accentuate during the decorating process.
7. HANG ART WORK AT EYE LEVEL
Generally, we hang art at eye level to attract attention instantly when you walk into the room. Let’s think out of the box for a second – what if art is displayed in an unexpected way, placed on the floor for instance, or on furniture? Wouldn’t that make it all the more unexpected and attract a bit more attention?
8. KEEP PATTERNS TO A MINIMUM
I’ve recently read interior designer extraordinaire, Greg Natale’s book “The Tailored Interior”. Boy, Oh boy, I bet he’s never heard of this rule before! He has a knack of playing with patterns in a fearless way, throwing all rhyme or reason out the window, until it all comes together in a beautiful display.