My own Industrial Country Kitchen Renovation on a very tight budget!

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:

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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!)

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My somewhat unusual splash back. To me, it’s artwork in the kitchen!
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It’s all in the presentation and accessories!
reviews, vanilla slate designs, interior designers, best interior designers, the hills district, sydney interiors, council plans, hornsby council plans, drafters hornsby, drafters castle hill, drafters north shore, renovations castle hill, industrial kitchen, makeover, beaumont tiles, grey tiles, splashback tiles, blue toaster, tolix chair, black taps
$15 Pendant lights from Kmart, with vintage globes from Bunnings hard ware store.
reviews, vanilla slate designs, interior designers, best interior designers, the hills district, sydney interiors, council plans, hornsby council plans, drafters hornsby, drafters castle hill, drafters north shore, renovations castle hill, industrial kitchen, makeover, beaumont tiles, grey tiles, splashback tiles, blue toaster, tolix chair, black taps
Black handles on the widest drawers ever!
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My $9 Kmart tray, IKEA placemat & IKEA plant, $12 Howard Storage Containers & $8 Target Timber Container.
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Who can say no to a blue, vintage, half price, Delonghi, floor stock toaster?
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I splurged on a waterfall benchtop. The extra few dollars was so worth it to me.

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:

before photos kitchen renovation interior designers hills district sydney
My old kitchen. I am now very happy to have a bin inside my cupboard.
Eriana kitchen before stove
I am very happy to be rid of all the old-fashioned cream colours.

Anyone else who wants to share their matchbox kitchen reno on a budget?

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

Are blue walls making a comeback?

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! .

navy blue paint walls decorate
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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.

navy blue paint walls decorate
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blue bathroom wall chevron
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We’ve said it before: Don’t think you always have to follow all the traditional interior decorating rules. Sometimes you have to break a few rules and be brave and think outside the box.  Your entrance hall is sometimes so neglected. One would think an entrance hall is too small for a dark deep blue? No, not at all! It will add a funky design to your home, with a punch when your guests arrive.

blue paint walls entrance hall decor tips
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Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

8 Decor Rules that you should Fearlessly Break

I come from a family of rule breakers, but luckily not one of us reckless enough to have ended up in prison 🙂  (OK, just for one night but it was completely innocent).

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

breaking rules dark walls
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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

Breaking rules no sofa
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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

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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

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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

breaking rules matching set dining chairs
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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

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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

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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

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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.

Happy rebelling!

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

How to tidy your house ONCE, and never again!

Apparently there is a way of tidying your house only once, and never again. I saw this on a Facebook post of a group I am a member of, called The Hills District Mums. Girls were asking for advice on how to keep their homes tidy when it’s filled with kids and chaos and stuff and everyday life. A few people commented on how the book “The life-changing magic of tidying up” from Marie Kondo has changed their lives. I just laughed and poured myself another glass of red wine, because how on earth is it possible to tidy your home ONCE, and never again?

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Let me be honest, I did go out and buy the A5 sized little book. With a boring cover and no images anywhere in the book, I read it while I got my highlights done at the hairdresser. Oh bugger, I got hooked on page 5 and couldn’t wait to get home and try the Marie Kondo method of tidying your home!

Let me first explain: I hate cleaning my house. I hate tidying my house. I always thought this to be one and the same thing. Marie Kondo taught me how wrong I was. Tidy ONCE, and from now on I just need to clean regularly. Is there a difference? Yes!

I am not going to repeat the whole book. I just want to tell you that I definitely got inspired to do a few things:

  1. First purge my stuff – no organising yet (no sorting and new ways of storing yet, just throw away the nonsense and close the chaotic cupboard again) Very important, go through your whole house first, before you start sorting.
  2. Purge correctly: Don’t decide what you are willing to throw away. (could be only 30% of your stuff) Decide what you can’t live without (It is literally only 30% to 40% of your stuff. Just keep this and chuck the rest) Difficult? Don’t worry she tells you how to do this in the book.
  3. Only keep things that brings you joy. (Her exact words) That means get rid of all the stuff that you feel guilty of throwing away, but you don’t use. (Gifts, hand me downs, expensive things you don’t use, things that you might –probably won’t- need in the next 10 years. You have to. This is your last chance!)
  4. Never store things in containers. You hardly use it again. If it does not deserve to be stored in your cupboard where you regularly see and use is, purge it. This was hard, but I’m getting there! (Except for a few sentimental things…but only a few!)
  5. Throw out almost all your paperwork. If you can google it, throw it out. Follow Marie’s method of how to organise paperwork. It works! (Read the book)
  6. Get rid of 60% of your crap. Don’t feel guilty. Someone else might actually  need it more than you do. Give it to Salvo’s or sell it.
  7. New Golden rule: If you use something, put it back in it’s place within 10 minutes, then you never will have to tidy again. Only the stuff you used the last 10 minutes will not be packed away! Does it work? I have been trying this for the last two months. If it works for me, it can work for everyone!!!! I am a lazy self-confessed “leave everything in the counter” type of girl. Okay, ignore the playroom… but get a dedicated playroom!

I still have not worked my way around my whole house. (Sorry Marie Kondo, I know you said I am not allowed to stop before I finished purging, but I had to celebrate Christmas, New year and pretend I enjoy visiting the Gold Coast theme parks for a week with my kids.)

The thing that I struggle with the most, is getting rid of things that cost me a lot of money, but now I don’t need it, but I keep it “in case I might need it in the next ten years”. I am now finally in the state of mind that I realise that I already spent that money. It’s gone. I already felt guilty about the money for the last few years, and I am still not using the item. So now it’s time to stop feeling guilty and get on with my life. If I don’t see it in my house anymore, my shelves and emotions are now decluttered! Within a few days you can’t even remember what you threw away. You never saw it anyhow when it was hidden in the back of your cupboard!

My Marie Kondo journey is not finished yet, but I really recommend you to read the book. It fits in your handbag. Small, but powerful. Maybe you think it’s nonsense. Oh well, so be it. At least it will make you think! If it helps one person to sort out their life, I am happy! I have even inspired my husband. We have Council Cleanup in two weeks, and I have never seen him throw away so many things before. Last night he told me: “I am going to the garage. I have a meeting with Marie Kondo there. ”

Happy tidying (once only!) & purging!

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

5 Ways to Create an Envy Inspiring Shelf Display

 I’ve never been secretive about my love for collecting stuff.  I find joy in white platters with a pretty rim from my local Salvo’s store, my heart beats faster when I discover a vase with an unusual handle, a patterned blue and white tea set creates a flutter in my tummy and I won’t even mention my quirky vintage finds.  To show these items off to it’s fullest potential and make it look more valuable than a pile of junk, we need to follow a few simple rules.

1.  USE WHAT YOU LOVE

shelf display things you love
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The secret of styling a shelf, is to start with what YOU love.  You will find that, if you start there,  your display will naturally start following a particular theme, whether beachy, ethnic, art deco or eclectic vintage. The best part is, by displaying your most loved possessions, your house will turn into a home and give your visitors a peek into the heart and soul of the owner.

USE DIFFERENT TEXTURES

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Each display, whether it’s a vignette on a hall table, a coffee table or a bookshelf, needs to be multi-dimensional.  A successful display has to include something soft to the touch, a bit of bling for the “wow” factor, timber for warmth and something leafy to show off your green thumb ( of course, dead leaves and ornamental branches in my case also works well 🙂

3.  VARY THE HEIGHT OF THE ITEMS YOU USE

shelf display varying heights
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Once you have your treasures sitting on the shelf and it’s still not looking like it’s jumped out of the pages of Home Beautiful magazine, you might be lacking items of different sizes.  The best way to get the structure right, is to place the bigger/taller items at the back and create a triangle with smaller items in the front.

4.  CREATE NEGATIVE SPACE

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Don’t make the the mistake of cramming books into a bookshelf, without leaving space for the eyes to breathe (sounds like something out a horror movie… “watch out for the breathing eyes!”).  Anyhow, leave some gaps for an ornament here and there, a bit of greenery or even displaying art against the shelf.  This trick will give you a more uncluttered look and showcase a top notch stylist shelf.

5.  ODD NUMBERS

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Odd numbers are used in flower arrangements, graphic design and even seating arrangements.  Basically, objects that are arranged in odd numbers are more appealing, memorable, and effective than even-numbered pairings, especially when using items of varying heights, shapes, sizes and textures.  Of course, even numbers have their place when trying to create symmetry in a formal area.  An example of this is identical lamps either side of a couch or large candle holders on either side of a mirror on a mantel.  This formal evenness will generally not be welcome in a playful and interesting vignette.

Enjoy the journey taking your shelf to perfection!

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

How do I know if I can add a second storey to my existing home?

Before you get excited about that second storey for your home, there are a few very important facts you need to know about building up your existing house.

WHO CAN TELL ME IF I CAN BUILD UP?

  • The best way is to pay a building inspector to do an independent building inspection
  • This can be for your own home or a home that you plan to buy
  • A qualified builder might also give you some good advice on extension possibilities and problem areas they normally come across
  • A structural engineer can give you more expert advice if you expect that your project will have difficult or unusual building specs
  • A drafter and interior designer can give you advise on what Council will allow on your plot regarding extension regulations for your plot or neighbourhood. They will normally advise if you need an engineer for your project and can put you in contact with builders, engineers or building inspectors.

ADVANTAGES OF GOING UP?

  • You can expand without loosing existing garden space.
  • It gives you an opportunity to change the style of your home by replacing the roof or view in a major way

DISADVANTAGES OF GOING UP?

  • More expensive than just a normal extension
  • Extra building costs for extra support on existing home
  • Additional cost for structural engineer to be involved in the project
  • If you need to replace or take off part of the existing roof, you might have to move out for a few weeks. This might cost you some money, or you can be brave and stay with family for a while.

IMPORTANT POINTS FOR BUILDING UP:

  • Your existing house must have the foundations to support a second storey
  • The existing walls must be able to be strengthened to support the new weight
  • The height of the new roof will be determined by council regulations and might influence the style of your extension (your drafter and interior designer will advise)
  • The slope of the new roof is also determined by council
  • Your new storey might influence the view of your neighbours and they might need to give permission for your new storey
  • A structural engineer will be appointed by your drafter to do the engineer drawings for council. These need to be handed in to Council with the drafter’s plans. This will be an added cost to your project.

Just think for the moment what the additional weight of a second storey is… I can hardly carry 5 tiles on my own! A second storey will have new walls, ceiling, new heavy roof tiles, new floor boards or even bathroom fittings. You want to be sure your bath does not end up in your downstairs living room after a few weeks!

Rather be safe than sorry, and get all the facts before you start stripping your home and removing walls.

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Happy renovating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

Pantone Colour of the year 2016 – how to decorate your home

A week ago I waited in anticipation for what the “colour of the year’ in 2016 will be. Why is it important? It is, because shops will tend to lean towards these colours when they buy furniture, clothes & all things decorating. The new colours for 2016 are: ROSE QUARTZ & SERENITY. This is the first time ever that two colours are chosen as colour of the year.

pantone colour of the year 2016 interior decorating
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So if you’re not into pastels, do you have to follow this trend? Of course not! You do your own thing! It is just important to know that you will see these colours pop up everywhere in shops and magazines as it is seen as the chosen trend setting colours for the year. See, we are just here to keep you informed and help you look very intelligent and up to date with what’s going on in the market!

pantone colour of the year 2016 interior decorating
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Here are a few examples of how these colours can be used in your home. The beautiful rug & canvas are from Urban Road.

pantone colour of the year 2016 interior decorating
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These colours are supposed to make you feel calm, experience tranquility and increase your overall well being. Are you feeling relaxed yet? If not, grab a glass of red wine. After all, it is still 2015 and the pantone colour of the year for 2015 is still Marsala for the next three weeks. If you don’t know, Marsala is the colour of red wine! Go check it out here –  Marsala: The misrepresentation of red wine.

Yes, you even celebrate Christmas this year with these lovely new pantone colours! (And very wisely tell your guests all about the new trends for next year…)

pantone colour of the year 2016 interior decorating pink pine cones
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Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

Best False Excuses for an untidy home!

People think my house is perfect because I am an Interior Designer…. NO!!! Sorry to disappoint you, but most of the time my house looks like I recently moved in. I feel under so much pressure to present this picture perfect home every time someone visits my house unexpectedly.  If you know me well, you would know that I would much rather drink a glass of wine on the terrace than sweeping the floors or dusting.

We live in a gated community, so from the moment that my guests ring the bell at the gate, until they arrive at my front door, it takes approximately 60 seconds. That’s not enough time to clean your house… (Not that I haven’t tried several times before!) So the next big thing is to hide the mess. Again, 60 seconds is just not enough time to hide it all. So finally I came to the conclusion that the best way to instantly clean your house, is to rather create false, believable excuses why it’s not clean. Here we go:

  1.  GET WELL SOON CARDS

If you don’t have any real ones, make your own with lovely $1 cards from your local news agency. A lovely little DIY project over a cup of coffee. When your doorbell rings, grab them out of the drawer and display them prominently for your guests to see. Don’t forget to imitate a cough and constantly rub tissues under your nose.

get well soon cards, how to display cards, upcycle shutter, how to hide an untidy house, interior designer sydney hills district
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2.  TEA TOWEL OVER THE SHOULDER

The old faithful one most of us know. Yep, grab a tea towel, drape it over your shoulder, and with a bottle of floor tiler in your one hand and liquid soap in the other, open the front door and say: “Oh sorry, it’s house cleaning day, but you’re welcome to come in.”  Elaborate on how you are moving things around, sorting out cupboards and cleaning. You might even sound like superwoman! You get bonus points if you have time to put on an apron too.

vintage housewife, tea towel woman, how to hide an untidy house, interior designer sydney hills district
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3.  BANDAGE YOUR ARM

We all have a cupboard close to the front door. Keep a bandage and safety pin in there. Before you open the door, quickly bandage your hand. With practice it takes less than 20 seconds. With lots of practice, you can do both hands! What better excuse not to be able to clean house?

how to bandage a hand, how to hide an untidy house, interior designer sydney hills district
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4.  LEFTOVERS ON THE FLOOR

Let me warn you, this one is daring & a bit disgusting… Okay, so we all have those plates in the fridge with leftover food. The ones we should have thrown away yesterday. So if the doorbell rings, drop the plate (just the food!) close to the front door. When your guests open the door, tell them to stay as far away from your house as possible as one of the kids or the dog might have a virus. Someone in the house is nauseous…  Let me tell you, all your guests will scatter home and nobody needs to see the rest of your house! (I told you this one is a bit disgusting.)

when is food old, how to hide an untidy house, interior designer sydney hills district
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I guess you will now be either annoyed about these suggestions of false excuses, or very excited for all this inspiring information!

Come on, be honest, what are YOUR false excuses when you get unexpected guests and your house is very untidy?

Happy cleaning,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

How to Set the Mood with Colour

We’ve known for quite some time that, the way you introduce colour into a room, can have an effect on how you feel when walking into the room.  While red is the colour of danger and energy, blue is associated with depth, calm and stability.  Apparently, violet encourages deep contemplation, but in our house I forgo the purple and just use wine for those introspective moments.  We could go on and introduce the entire colour spectrum, but the moral of the story is, that a little care should be taken before going crazy with colour in your room.  Below are a few ideas on how to set the mood by using colour:

LIGHT AND BREEZY

light and breezy pastels
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Soft pastels with equally soft furnishings will create the appearance of a fresh and relaxing mood.  The Pantone colour of the year for 2016, will work a treat in this setting and create an instant calming atmosphere.  Use a watered down pastel colour for the walls to create some more marshmallow softness in your interior.

WARM AND COSY

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Choose deep reds, browns, burnt oranges and muted yellows. Pair it with worn leather, warm timber and a glass of good red wine to get the party started.  These welcoming tones work a treat in living rooms or intimate dining rooms.

COOL AND REFRESHING

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Cooler colours, such as blues and greens evoke the sea, endless skies and breezy afternoons under a palm tree.  This sense of calmness is further enhanced by combining it with crisp white walls.  Perfect for when it heats up during the Summer months at that little dream house by the sea…

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

 

What if you hate the modern look of a kitchen island?

So you’re planning your new kitchen, but you really hate the typical “island bench” look? Do you HAVE to have an island bench? Of course not. Do you NEED an island bench? Of course yes. So now what?

Not everybody likes the modern sleek lines of a marble or concrete look island bench. There are a few other options. You do have to be careful when you choose to use a table in stead of an island bench.  You might find that one day if you sell your house, new buyers will be put off by having no official island bench. Your kitchen layout can even feel a little bit smaller without an island bench. If you do have a butler’s pantry, then size will not be a problem.

1.  FORMAL DINING TABLE

This is one of my favourite images below. Rustic table, soft chairs, masculine lighting and a neutral palette. This table meets with the kitchen seamlessly. The kitchen is not the focal point, but almost becomes a backdrop for this amazing table setting. The kitchen also has enough bench top space of its own, so an island is not that necessary. This table is huge so it gives the owner enough extra bench top space if needed.

country table in kitchen interior designer hills district sydney
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2.  PICNIC TABLE

For a little more informal look, use informal bench seats and different size chairs. This table will serve as additional bench space and a dining room table. This is ideal if your kitchen flows directly towards the outdoors.

picnic table kitchen interior designers hills district sydney
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3.  WHITE SCANDINAVIAN

With the Scandinavian look, the negative space of the room is actually the hero. A big oversized island bench can almost overpower the room. A sleek, timber table can create a more open look and accents the beautiful timber floor.

white table in kitchen interior designer hills district sydney
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4.  RUSTIC TABLE

When your home is on the smaller side, an island bench can actually take up way too much space. A rustic informal table can serve as a dining room table and an island bench. I can see myself cutting vegetables and drinking a glass of wine at this beautiful table.

rustic table in kitchen interior designer hills district sydney
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So there are many ways to replace your modern island bench. This is also a great way of adding interest, being a little bit different and creating a seamless look.

Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney