How to Create a Cohesive Look in your Home

With all the beautiful furniture and decorating items available today, it’s sometimes hard to stick to just one decorating style or loving just one type of furniture style.  Here’s some good news, YOU DON’T HAVE TO!  Do you want your home to end up looking like a furniture catalogue or display home?  No thank you!  For a style that reflects YOU, incorporating objects from your travels, your childhood or nature, is closer to the new style you’re striving for.  You need to be brave enough to add your personality and create your own unique style by blending your own experiences and display them throughout your home.  Have a look at a previous blog on how to find your decorating direction.

This is what you do:

TAKE STOCK OF WHAT YOU HAVE

Walk through your home and take note of what you currently own.  Are there pieces that stand out, or are there a few you only purchased to fill an empty space?  If you’ve gathered a few things from overseas, did you have a few favourite cities?  Which would you love to return to?  Take note of the textures, colours and style of each item you’ve collected, as this will be the base of your new, unique style.  Remove everyting you don’t have a connection to.

GATHER INFORMATION

sticking to style inspiration board
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Start a board on Pinterest or Houzz and gather images of your dream rooms.  Tear images out of your favourite magazines and display them on your wall.  A common thread will soon start to appear, whether in the way of architectural details, patterns, or a prominent colour.  You could even realise you’re gravitating towards a more rustic theme, or perhaps something more bohemian?  It’s also quite natural to have a couple of favourite styles and, if they’re true to your personality, they need to be embraced and encouraged!

TIME FOR COLOURING IN

Stick to style colour
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Now that you have a good idea of a style that you could call your own, you need to choose a colour scheme.  Colour is probably the most powerful decorating tool, as it’s not only very personal, but it creates moods within us that could quite easily be spoiled if done incorrectly.  For a more in depth look on creating mood with colour, click here.  Don’t get side tracked by Pantone’s colour of the year, but rather look at your inspiration boards when selecting your colours:  Are there any prominent colours that call to you?  Those are the ones that will form the base of your new colour scheme.  You’ll need three base colours, to avoid a serious yawn fest out of boredom.  One colour will go on the walls, one for an accent such as an occasional chair or sofa, and a third for accessories such as cushions and vases, etc.  If you only want a single colour, use it in different shades and tones, to make things more interesting.

JAZZ IT UP

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This is where playtime starts!  If your style is leaning towards the rustic side, use rustic timber trays, potted succelents, leather ottomans or side tables with steel legs.  The same goes for a more sophisticated theme:  Add more glamorous touches like a mirrored tray, glitzy vases, pretty flowers and a scented candle.  You get the idea… These combined accessories will enhance and polish your newly created style.

NOW STICK TO IT!

The hardest part is over!  Now that you’ve found the style that reflects your personality, stick to it!  Don’t get side tracked by the new “scandustrial” style that’s all the rage in magazines, if your newly created style is more “rustic/nostalgic”.  Your goal is to have a cohesive look, so don’t fall for what you’ve seen on the latest episode of THE BLOCK if it doesn’t fit your new look.

Well done and good luck,

Cheerio ’til next time!

Why we don’t do e-decorating

Nowadays everything is online. You can even get online interior designers! You just email a few photos of your room and someone emails you back a list of furniture choices for your space. For busy clients or people living remotely, this is definitely an option. Well, this is not what we do.

 My dad once told me: “Not everybody can be your client. You have to decide who they are, and focus on them.”

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So here’s why we don’t like to be online interior designers:

1.  We like the personal contact with clients

  • We like sharing jokes and chatting about their daily activities. This way we get to know them and can assist them better in creating a personal design.

2.  Photographs alone do not give you a good enough indication of a client’s style and home

  • It’s only by walking through their whole house that you can define their style, see what other items you can also use in the design and understand a bit more about their daily routines and how they utilise all the spaces in their home.

3.  Clients don’t always know what they’re after

  • They could tell you online they want the French Provincial style, but when you visit their home and have time to ask many questions, you might realise they are actually after a French Country style. There are many confusing terminology in design and many facts can get lost in translation by only communicating via email or Skype.

4. We want to help the client make all their rooms work together

  • We might still only work in one room, but we can make suggestions on how to pull the design through to other rooms in their home, by using their existing furniture or add a few accessories. We can even advise the client on how to swop around a few rooms to give a better spatial layout for their home. This won’t be possible if you only work online.

5. We are designers not online shop assistants

  • For clients that are time poor and they are in need of specific furniture, e-decorating might be the answer. Our team doesn’t only help with decorating issues like choosing cushions and furniture etc, but we also focus on how each room works together with all the other rooms in the house. Each project includes a few personal design meetings before any shopping trip kicks off.

Many times clients invite us to do one room, then a few months later another few rooms, and then a few years later a whole new renovation when they move house or get a big fat bonus. For us each interior design client is a potential long term professional relationship. Working with someone’s budget and in their personal space at home, is a privilege and we feel proud to be trusted with their dreams.

So next time when you want to replace your furniture, we can help you with a “real life” shopping trip to our very own suppliers, or we can come to your home and create your dream space.

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

Proportion and Scale: Things we Tend to buy too Small or too Big

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

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

ART

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

RUGS

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

LIGHTING

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

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

SOFAS

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

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

Cheerio til next time!

What happens on a shopping day with the Vanilla Slate girls?

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

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

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

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

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

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

So get some girls together and give us a call!

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

Why on Earth do I need a Rug on top of my Carpet?

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

DEFINING YOUR SPACE

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

PATTERN & COLOUR

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

A LAYER OF TEXTURE

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

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

Cheerio ’til next time!

Beaumont Tiles Reveals their Latest Range

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

Beaumont Tiles Mosaic Vanilla Slate

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

Gold Mosaics Vanilla Slate

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

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

Vanilla Slate and Beaumont Tiles

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

Cheerio ’til next time!

How Australia plays a small part in the biggest shopping mall in New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

 

 

Lyndie’s Renovation: The Sausage Sizzle

 

Lyndie's renovation

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

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

The new extension, Final Photos, New Extension:  Revealing the exterior, Lyndie’s Renovation: The end is in SightBefore & After of Entry and Stairs, Before Photos of the Interior, Renovation, First Phase, Ensuite Bathroom Make Over, Kids’ Bathroom Make Over, Demolition day, Formal Lounge Room Reveal, Kitchen installation begins, Kitchen Reveal, Formal Dining Room Demolition, Inspiration for the new Bar, Bar Reveal, The New Extension, Digging the PoolConcreting the Pool, Pool Progress, A new room takes shape.

Lyndie's renovation - the team

REnovation plans

Lyndie's renovaton - first fire

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

Making dream home happen

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

Cheerio ’til next time!

LYNDIE’S RENOVATION: Final photos

Vanilla Slate Designs Renovation in Cherrybrook

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

TV Room before renovation

 

TV room renovation

 

Entertainment area extension

 

Pergola Area Renovation

 

Jetmaster Fireplace

 

Entertainment Area Extension

 

Backyard renovation

 

Garden view new extension

 

Before extension renovation

 

After Photos renovation

Image by Blue Poppy Photography

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

New Extension:  Revealing the exterior, Lyndie’s Renovation: The end is in SightBefore & After of Entry and Stairs, Before Photos of the Interior, Renovation, First Phase, Ensuite Bathroom Make Over, Kids’ Bathroom Make Over, Demolition day, Formal Lounge Room Reveal, Kitchen installation begins, Kitchen Reveal, Formal Dining Room Demolition, Inspiration for the new Bar, Bar Reveal, The New Extension, Digging the PoolConcreting the Pool, Pool Progress, A new room takes shape.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie’s Renovation: THE NEW EXTENSION REVEAL

 

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

Image by Blue Poppy Photography

Image by Blue Poppy Photography

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

Lyndie’s Renovation: The end is in SightBefore & After of Entry and Stairs, Before Photos of the Interior, Renovation, First Phase, Ensuite Bathroom Make Over, Kids’ Bathroom Make Over, Demolition day, Formal Lounge Room Reveal, Kitchen installation begins, Kitchen Reveal, Formal Dining Room Demolition, Inspiration for the new Bar, Bar Reveal, The New Extension, Digging the PoolConcreting the Pool, Pool Progress, A new room takes shape.

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

Cheerio ’til next time!