Five Rules for an Inviting Seating Arrangement

So the bottle of red has been opened to breath, your house is smelling of incense and roses (or toilet spray), the kitchen counter’s been cleaned and your dirty pots and pans from the previous night’s dinner are hidden in the oven.  What else can we do to get our guest comfortable (but not so at home that they don’t know when to leave)…

1.  EASY ACCESS TO SEAT

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Your guests had taken the trouble to travel all the way to your door, in some circumstances negotiated an abundance of traffic to finally arrive at your doorstep.  Take care to clear their path to a comfortable seat so that they don’t need to circumnavigate around obstacles to find a place to rest.

2.  LOW LIGHTING

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I cannot stress this enough – low lighting makes everyone look beautiful!  Wrinkles disappear and complexions become flawless – intimate atmosphere only an added bonus.  Light a candle and invest in a beautiful table or a floor lamp for a truly memorable evening (memory depending on how much wine is involved).

3.  ARRANGE SEATING CLOSE ENOUGH

We might not be at the age where our friends are cupping their ears to hear parts of conversation, but more youthfully inclined reliving the glorious 80’s in the form of Bon Jovi for our “come for a quick wine” Friday evenings.  This is why it’s of the utmost importance that the seating arrangement is set up at a distance that everyone will be able to have a decent conversation – even through the last throes of “Pour your Sugar on Me”.

4.  ACCESSORIES TO TOUCH AND TALK ABOUT

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Make sure your conversation starter is in the line of ornaments you’ve picked up on your travels, vintage market finds, or a few interesting books.  Best to leave the Lego car your child built or the Ken & Barbie travel set in the kids’ rooms.

5.  REFRAIN FROM BLOCKING EYE CONTACT

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Although I’m a firm advocator of bringing the outdoors in, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to stare into a huge bunch of flowers while trying to have a conversation with the person sitting across from you.  Keep your centre pieces to a low level for open lines of communication, or move them to another part of the room for the time being.

Enjoy your Friday night!

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie

Eriana – 10 things about me you did not know…

Recently Lyndie shared with you 10 things about herself that you did not know.  Now it’s my turn. I feel a bit scared and exposed…

Most of you know that I was born in Cape Town, South Africa and we emigrated to Australia 6 years ago. Here are 10 other things you might not know about me:

  1. I suffer from Themeklophobia

There is no such thing, but there should be. Let me tell you why: If you don’t want me at your party, make it a theme party. I have an absolute phobia for dress up parties.  Where did it all start? When I was at University, we had to dress up and sell stuff at traffic lights as part of  fundraising. I dressed up as a clown. While the traffic light was red and I was standing at someone’s car window, another car drove over the red light and hit me. I rolled over the car, broke off the side mirror, cracked the front window and fell on the road. There I laid, in the middle of the street, in my clown suit… lights out. With a huge red plastic nose, a red curly wig and a bright blue dotted clown suit with Ronald McDonald size red shoes. My white LOOK sunglasses were even still on! Thank goodness there weren’t mobile phones or Facebook yet… Instead of helping me, my friends were just standing in the street, laughing uncontrollably at the clown that just flew through the air. Yep, I still have the scars to remind me of that day. So forgive me if I don’t want to drive anywhere again while dressed up in some stupid suit!

  1. I broke my own nose with a beer bottle

One night at University we were in a pub drinking beer. My open bottle of beer was standing in front of me on the table. Someone told a joke, I threw my head back and laughed out loud. When my head came back forward I hit my nose exactly on the top of my open beer bottle and broke it. My nose… not the beer bottle.

  1. I ran naked through flames at a day spa

On our 12th wedding anniversary we booked in to a day spa among beautiful vineyards, with a huge stone building and a thatched roof. There were about 100 guests. During our full body massage (yes, the one massage where you have almost nothing on), we suddenly heard noises and screaming. Our masseuses suddenly ran away and we never saw them again. When we peeked out the door, the whole building was on fire! No time to put on gowns or clothes, we literally ran through flames to safety on the lawn outside. The spa burnt down in 20 minutes. Absolute chaos, and very uncomfortable when 100 guests all stand half naked outside. Some with no clothes, some covering their bits with tissues and others hiding behind trees and lamp poles. Yes, we got our money back but not our ego’s.

  1. My veil caught fire on my wedding day

At our wedding reception we had long beautiful candles as part of the decorations. They stood on the floor, and were each about 1 metre high. I was standing talking, when I suddenly heard “whoop!” and smelled something burning. I stood too close to one of the candles and it literally burnt out my veil within one second. Gone! The only thing left was the outside wire…

  1. I had a blue dog

When I was in High School, I got a white Maltese Poodle for my birthday. I loved running cross-country, but was scared to run alone. So I often dyed my dog blue with food colouring and took him for a run with me. Best guard dog ever…no one wanted to come near me.

Eriana Bredenhann

  1. I can dictate weather forecasts with my thumb

While backpacking in America, we drove on the wrong side of the road in San Francisco and our small car was involved in a head on collision with a huge American SUV. I could actually write another 2000 words about all that followed the rest of that night (involving bikers, tow-trucks and a serial killer) Today I can still tell you when it’s going to be cold, as I crushed my right thumb in the accident and therefore lost the proper use of the knuckle in my thumb. I can feel cold weather days ahead! Painful I tell you…

  1. I played elephant polo in India

I love travelling and have been on every continent except Antarctica. There are many highlights while you travel, like flying in a 6-man airplane over the Grand Canyon in Nevada while everyone except the pilot is vomiting. One of my best overseas experiences was when I played in an elephant polo team in India. Was amazing, except that elephants fart a lot. Especially when they are “running”.

  1. I spent the 2000 Millennium New Year’s Eve in a hospital ICU

The morning of 31st of December 1999, I was admitted to hospital with incredible stomach pains. Long story short, I had an ectopic pregnancy that went wrong. It led to enormous internal bleeding. I lost 3,5 litres of blood, got a blood transfer and had a flat line during the emergency operation. So yep, while everyone was partying into the new Millennium I laid in ICU creating my own fireworks.

Eriana Bredenhann

  1. I was the only girl in a gay hotel on a holiday trip to Paris

My husband and I wanted to go on a romantic holiday to Paris. So we booked a hotel online that seemed to be very reasonable and close to all the attractions. Our first impression was: “Amazing decor!” But from a bright pink front door it slowly developed into leopard skin furniture, black and pink striped hallways and finally with the full version of the Kama Sutra painted on the tiles in our bathroom. Yep, I was the only female guest in the hotel. Well, we’ll always have Paris…

  1. My life is too short

My life is way to short to try out all the careers I am interested in. I have been an Accountant at a Bank, a Commerce Lecturer at a TAFE, had a Framing Business, qualified as a NSW Estate agent, became a Master Barista and completed my diploma in Interior Design. I can also see myself as an Architect, Full-time artist, Graphic Designer or Photographer. As an Interior Designer I get a chance to be a little bit of everything!

Eriana Bredenhann

I hope you all understand me better now. (Well I don’t, so I won’t blame you…)

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann

 

MISSED OUT ON “LYNDIE- 10 THINGS YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT ME”? CLICK HERE

 

 

Personalise your Home with Plants

Many people can feel a bit intimidated when using indoor plants in a display, but plants are a great way to brighten up a space and bring the outdoors into your home.  On top of that, they purify the air and liven up an unused corner in a room.  Here are a few striking ways to display plants effectively:

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This climber in the corner lets your eye travel to the ceiling and add height and substance to this room. Macrame plant hangers are now very popular and affordable and can help you achieve that height in a corner.

plant display office
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I could spend the whole day in the office staring at this display of greenery! Just make sure that, when you water them, they don’t drip on your computer…

plants retro living area
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Who said you can’t turn your whole lounge into a garden?  Masses of plants displayed in a group can add lushness to your interior.

succulents and geometric table
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If you are a plant killer (like mwah), rather play it safe with succulents.  Colourful pots and geometric designs add some extra punch to this area. Succulents are so easy to keep alive, so no more excuses!   Read one of our previous blog to get some Inspiration on succulents.

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It only takes a single ornamental olive tree to get a feel of sophistication and elegance in this room.  Of course, the beautiful white sofa also helps… It is amazing how this one olive tree instantly gave this room a French country style!

Good luck with the green thumbs!

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie

Catch the Eye with Art

I love walking into someone’s home (invited of course!) and getting a sense of the person who lives there straight away.  There are a lot of ways to add a personal touch to your home, but displaying art is probably the best way to impart your unique personality to your space.

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Art can create an instant focal point in a room and adding symmetry in the shape of book cases or furniture pieces can help draw the eye towards it.

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Personalising your space to make it unique to you, need not be expensive.  A simple black and white print will lift a room in no time and can be used in any colour scheme.

Art letter
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The great thing about art is that it can be done without breaking the budget.  A single letter placed correctly can be more effective than a whole gallery wall of prints.

Art statement colourful parrot
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Be bold with colour and get noticed.  Nothing lifts a black and white colour scheme than striking hues and bold prints.

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Do you have too many art pieces to know what to do with?  Get them out from under your bed and let them work for you in a cohesive display.

If you want to get a few more tips on how to create a comfortable and welcoming home, read our blogs Secrets to Create a Cosy Home or How to personalise your home with plants.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie

Easy way to repaint your skirting without messing paint

Painting a existing skirting is a real pain in the butt… You now have your wall and carpet or timber floor in your way and you definitely do not want to repaint the whole wall too! So now what? Thanks to Erin from Domestic Adventure, you can follow this great tip: Use a large spackle knife!

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Wedge the blade in between the wall and skirting board to do the top, and press in between the carpet and the skirting board to do the bottom.

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Ta daaa!!! No more paint on the carpet or wall!

Don’t forget to also read our blog on how to make your existing small skirting bigger, without having to remove it.

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann

Do you hate your small skirting?

Did you know you can make your skirting look bigger without removing them first? Many of us have those thin, cheap, small skirting in our home. Installed by someone who either wanted to cut costs, or has no idea that a skirting can give a room a real sense of elegance when chosen correctly! We get this question a lot from our clients. “Should I replace my old skirting?” Today we have good news. You can make your skirting look bigger without a handyman. Just one trip to the hardware store.

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We really love this tutorial above from The Smiths of The House of Smiths. You just buy some trim from your local hard ware store and nail or glue it to your wall. Then paint it the same colour as the existing skirting, as well as the piece of wall in between. It now looks exactly like a big brand new skirting! Don’t you think it is a great idea?

No more excuses, grab that nail gun and paint and upgrade your skirting! It is really a job that anyone can master!

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If you are brave, you can even install two skirting boards on top of each other and paint them different colours for some extra design feature. Enjoy, and send us photos of your masterpiece!

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann

 

Easy geometric wall patterns anyone can paint

You don’t have to be creative to get the latest paint trends on your wall. Anyone can do this! It can take between 15 minutes or 4 hours. Depending on your commitment, who’s helping you and if you are allowed to drink a glass of wine while you paint.

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It is really that easy! And if it is a mega failure, just paint over it again.

Here are some more inspirational images for you. Make your own patterns, or use them as guidelines. Such an easy and affordable way to give your room a BIG BANG!

nursery diamond geometric wall paint patterns pink
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diamond pattern geometric wall paint
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grey and pink geometric paint patterns on wall
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grey geometric patterns wall paint
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diamond pattern wall paint diy
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Until next time,

eriana bredenhann

 

Best tips for cheap subway tile layouts

We recently helped a client to renovate her kitchen and bathroom and let me tell you, her budget was very tight!  We all know the ordinary, nothing special subway tile. One of the cheapest on the market! We decided to use the subway tile (only $12-00 per square), but be creative in the different ways we could apply them. We still wanted an elegant look, but on a budget. Today I share with you some inspirational images we gathered for the Kitchen & Bathroom. These tiles come in different sizes, which also make it possible to create a unique look.

KITCHENS:

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This is your traditional layout, but with a twist. Use black grout to give the subway tiles more “bang”! Especially if you use some other black features in your kitchen like cupboards, handles or black taps. Which is now very on trend of course. (I also like those cute little display cabinets on the top, in stead of using a bulkhead!)

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I have not seen this layout often, but to me it suits perfectly with a kitchen that wants that bit of a vintage or retro quirkiness!

white subway tiles coffee shop
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Your tiler might charge you a bit more to tile this layout.. but this pattern is so fresh and very interesting. I think this is what I am going to use in my new kitchen!

modern kitchen subway tile layout
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Modern, symmetrical, clean lines. Same subway tile, but suddenly creates a total different style.

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Who said you can only use white subway tiles? They are now available in a range of colours. White and black are still my favourite choices though. Great for re-sale value, and it will be suitable to different people’s choice. I just love the dramatic edge these black subway tiles give to this kitchen!

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Herringbone. The all time favourite! Even with simple, understated cupboard doors the herringbone pattern adds character and flair to the kitchen.

BATHROOMS:

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Play around with subway tile layouts. Look carefully how interesting this pattern is in the shower! A simple inexpensive tile quickly transformed this shower into an artwork!

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I am totally in love with this pattern layout of thin subway tiles! Modern, sophisticated tiles at $12-00 per square! Not impressed by the size of the bath, but luckily that is not what we are focussing on now 🙂

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My favourite layout again, but this time in the bathroom. It gives an interesting, but simple backdrop for the mirror, cute pendants and beautiful vanity.

I hope you feel inspired! You can save a lot of money when using these cute little inexpensive subway tiles, and just add other pretty finishes. Some of these tiles in the images might be expensive porcelain, but all of these layouts are possible with the normal subway tile. They are always on trend, and have been here for years.

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann

 

 

How to prevent a family fight within 47 seconds

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What is the one thing our family disagree and fight about the most? Making your bed… I mean, how hard is it really to make up your own flipping bed? Apparently no one has that one extra minute in his or her day. It totally drives me nuts!

(Excuse me for a moment; I am just going to quickly time myself how long it actually takes…Like the Terminator says: I’ll be back) “And she stands up and walks away from her computer”

I am back. It took me 47 seconds. No, it does not look like a hotel, but it is neat. What did I do?

  • I removed everything from the bed
  • Quickly flattened the fitted sheet
  • Replaced the doona
  • Put the throw and cushions back (5 of them)

So what is the point if you are going to mess it all up again tonight? Let me tell you:

FEEL IN CONTROL

It is something small, but by making your bed you will really feel like you start the day by being in control and on top of things. If you don’t find those 47 seconds to make your bed, how are you going to find time to run your own business or finish your homework or dealing with all the other chores? Making your bed is the first thing in the morning that actually challenges you as a task that needs to be completed. Ever thought of that? Why do you want to start your day with a “fail”?

 

FIND ALL YOUR LOST ITEMS

How often do you loose your socks, misplace your phone, or the charger for your phone or your glasses? Many times they hide between your unmade bed’s sheets. It will literally save you time if your bed is made and you don’t have to search for stuff. I am sure my teenage daughter will agree on this point. Hair ties, books, phones, letters, jewellery. Always lost… The reason is because her doona and cushions also lie on the floor when the bed is not made. She has to pick up everything when she searches for her stuff. Why not just make your bed and you can use your bed to put down all your stuff during the day?

 

SAVE YOURSELF THE EMBARRASSMENT 

So your beds are not made and friends or family unexpected arrive for a visit. They wander past the kids’ rooms or your own room on their way to the guest bathroom. An unmade bed does not only look untidy, but also screams sloppy, non-caring, and probably dirty. Even if your bed was made, but there were other stuff on the floor and everywhere, people will just think: untidy. Not dirty.

 

KEEP YOUR SHEETS CLEAN

If you bed is not made, then the dirty paws of your dogs and cats will end up on your sheets during the day. That’s what you want to sleep on tonight?

 

MAKE BEDTIME INVITING

You have to admit it. We all want to climb into a clean, fresh and neat bed when we go to sleep. Just make your bed for 47 seconds every morning, and you can jump into a tranquil bed each night. It is not that you don’t have the 47 seconds in the morning to do it… You are just never “in the mood to do it”. Come on! Just do it… Those 47 seconds can change your life!

Until next time!

eriana bredenhann

 

why do you need to make up your bed
Image from the home-journal.com

 

What you should know about Styling with Cushions

I am an absolute sucker for a beautiful cushion.  Going to a home ware store and leaving without something soft and decorative in tow, is like sheer torture and I would usually go back the next day to rectify my mistake. If this is the way you operate, it’s pretty easy to end up with a colourful mess on your couch or bed.  To avoid these haphazard compulsive purchases, I’ve put together a few pointers on how to coordinate your arrangement of cushions in a more structured way.

1.  IDENTIFY YOUR COLOUR PALETTE

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Choose your cushion colours by referencing something else in the room.  The room will have a more cohesive flair if repetition of colour is used, whether it is something large, like your rug, wall, or something small like a decorative item or lamp.  A simple palette of no more than three colours will be more effective than a whole rainbow.

2.  MIX UP THE SIZE AND SHAPE

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Your cushion collection need not be the same shape and size.  The most effective arrangements are those that combine different combinations with even a round one thrown in.  It’s easy to go overboard if you’re a cushion lover like me!  Remember to allow some space to sit comfortably on your sofa.  For an informal look, place a larger one in the back and layer smaller ones to the front.

3.  PLAY WITH PATTERNS

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Be adventurous and mix floral motives with bold graphic patterns, but make sure that you have another cushion that would match in either colour or pattern.  If using large, medium and small patterns together, make sure that they share a similar palette.  To separate and highlight different patterns, as well as creating a spot where your eye can rest, place a few solid or neutral cushions in your arrangement.

4.  EXPERIMENT WITH TEXTURE

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If using a simple palette like a monochromatic colour scheme, create some interest by throwing in textures such as waffle weave, faux fur and chunky knits.

Of course, if you’re short on cushions and love a vintage, retro, quirky look, view the Vanilla Slate Designs Sisterhood range at our online store.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie