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!

The Hottest Trends in Window Furnishings Right Now

diy-blinds

Windows are a key achor point in setting the tone of your space.  These seemingly innocuous panes of glass are one of the first things people notice when entering a room and as such, they deserve the right complementary treatments.

Whether you want to turn your windows into an eye-catching statement feature or are looking to subtly spruce up the whole ambience of your space, here are the top window treatment trends home dwellers are currently loving.

ROLLER BLINDS IN NEUTRAL COLOURS AND RICH TEXTURES

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If you’re looking to revamp your windows but want to invest in something timeless, roller blinds in neutral shades are your best option.  Not only are these ideally versatile, but the current surge in minimalistic design gives them added bonus points.  Crisp whites and simple greys are massive winners right now, and with DIY Online Blinds’ nifty Dulux colour match range of fabrics, customers can easily choose the best neutral shades to match their wall paint.

While it’s stylish to keep colours simple, many people are opting to inject a dose of personality into their roller blinds by choosing interesting textures.  Our Australian-made Serengetti collection has proven to be a top seller, encompassing an intricate, slightly-chunky texture that adds that nice touch of flair.

FABRIC-WRAPPED VALANCES

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The idea of pairing a fabric wrapped valance with roller blinds is gaining a lot of traction in the market at the moment.  Customers are either pairing with the same colour/fabric as their blinds, or choosing something entirely different or mix and match.  (The image below shows a Dakota Quartz Sunscreen blind with a Metroshade White fabric wrapped valance).  This style offers a really clean and streamlined look, proving that the smallest details can make all the difference.

COMBINING RECESS FIT AND FACE FIT BLINDS IN ONE

blinds-plantation-shutters

This might sound like a bit of an oxymoron, but trust me, it works.  Double roller blinds are always going to be popular thanks to their dual functionality, but many customers are now choosing to take a new twist on the way they hang these window furnishings.  Rather than opting for either a recess fit or a face fit, it’s becoming increasingly on-trend to recess fit a sunscreen roller blind followed by face fitting a blockout roller blind on top to provide better light coverage.  Herein, residents are able to gain greater control over light saturation in a more compact set-up than a standard bulky double roller blind, plus they have the option of adding a valance (fabric-wrapped, if so desired).

PLANTATION SHUTTERS

energy-effecient

Emanating strong vibes of nostalgia, plantation shutters are making a fierce comeback right now.  Traditionally used as a feature in the renovation of period houses in Australia, many residents are now fitting their new homes and modern interiors entirely with plantation shutters.  At DIY Online Blinds, we offer custom Australian-made shutters which can be delivered to your door in just four weeks.

ENERGY-EFFICIENT BLINDS

honeycomb-blinds

Many residents are also becoming much more conscious of energy consideration in modern home-decorating, opting to furnish their windows with treatments like honeycomb blinds.  These advanced blinds drastically reduce the transfer of heat through windows, thereby cutting down on the need to get that split system cranking during warm summer days or chilly winter nights.  While predominantly chosen for their energy-efficiency, honeycomb blinds also harbour a stylish, contemporary look and boast a slim-line design, making them suitable for almost any window in the home.

Visit www.diyonlineblinds.com.au for more window treatment inspiration.

Lyndie’s Renovation: The End is in Sight

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It’s been a good 4 months of renovating and living in an environment of noise and construction mess.  Can’t believe that very soon we’ll be stoking a fire at night, cook in a beautiful new kitchen and hang out with friends around the new bar.  Next week, I’ll show you how the new extension turned out, but first, the finishes…

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The tiling of the interior of the pool is well underway and the limestone paving around it, have come up a treat.  The stone colours flow very well with the indoor tiles of the new extension and create a seamless look.  We can start visualising hanging out on the deck around the bbq and taking frequent dips in the pool as the day heats up.

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The brickwork is slowly disappearing under render – this new room will have a bright, fresh look for that perfect indoor/outdoor feel.

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To get the massive new bi-fold doors to the back of the house, extra muscle was required.  I couldn’t assist, as I was holding a “heavy” camera at the time…

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Our photogenic dog, Chloe, is supervising the tiling process.  She’s trying her utmost to be in every single renovation shot.  These indoor limestone tiles from Marble Matters have lovely warm tones and tie in well with the interior timber flooring.

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The last few bits, painting and electrical and we’re ready to roll.  Don’t miss next week’s reveal!

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

Before & 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 camera

Find your Inner Interior Designer and Start Decorating

emma-joyce-contributor-slide

Decorating your home according to your own tastes and style is a must if you want to feel truly at home and relaxed.  Diving into your own personality and sensibility is the key to pinpointing your inner interior designer and surfacing it.  Therefore, don’t feel pressured about anything and allow yourself some time and research in order to reach the peak of your inspiration and creativity when it comes to home décor.

ADEQUATE LIGHTING SOLUTION

lighting
Image Source

Every room deserves its own lighting style.  In that respect, there’s no need to limit yourself to only a few lighting styles and options.  Also, these days you don’t have to sacrifice functionality over the looks and vice versa, when it comes to lighting.  You can easily check out some creative picks for lighting online and find even more than you hoped for.  In general, don’t underestimate the power of light for your interior décor.  It can make the whole home a lot warmer, brighter and pleasant to be in.

SEARCH FOR INSPIRATION

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The best thing about modern age is that you don’t have to do everything yourself.  There are magazines on interior design that could help you find your perfect style for décor.  Websites such as Pinterest, are teaming with ideas and pictures that can motivate you to reorganize, repurpose and utilize many different things and items that you thought useless.

CAREFUL WITH COLOURS

Colours can always make the space warmer and more pleasant, but if you want to change the whole colour scheme of your décor, you should think it through first.  If you’re set on changing everything, from your furniture and accessories colour to wall paint and/or wallpaper, you can make a big change like this, work.  But, if you only want to play with the colours of your decorative details or repaint the walls, keep it relatively simple and make sure that the new colours won’t clash with the old scheme beforehand.

STATEMENT PIECES

statement-piece
Image Source

Nothing can make the interior more unique and decorative than statement pieces.  You might not think that you’re ready for this step, but be brave and at least try one statement piece in your décor.  It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant.  There has to be something that you found very appealing while looking through the magazines and blogs, but your own comfort zone prevents you from acting on it.  Taking a step forward is very important in both your life and home décor, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

BEAUTIFUL AND EFFICIENT LAYOUT

When you start decorating, the process itself can sometimes become overwhelming.  This is especially true for various accessories that you find likeable.  But remember, too many bits and bobs scattered around your rooms can create a lot of mess and, in that way, cause the impression of chaos and clutter.  Therefore, don’t go overboard with accessories.  Strategically placed details will make the home shine from the inside but you still need to achieve the effiency and functionality of the room layout.

TRENDS NOT A MUST

trends
Image Source

If you find that the current interior design trends are not all to your liking, do not feel pressured to use them as your own home décor.  If you happen to love the contemporary home design trends, that’s great!  But the most important thing about the look of your place is to represent your own self.  And if modern design trends simpoly do not cut it in this respect, feel free to skip them.

Decorating your home, picking out different designs and accessories, choosing colours and all that jazz should be a fun and engaging process that soothes your soul and mind.  That being said, you don’t have to rush things.  Take it slowly, at your own pace.  If you force the task before you, you might end up with a result you don’t like.

xx Emma Joyce

Where to start when decorating a kids room

We will not bore you with a long post about the correct steps to decorate or how to copy a decor magazine look alike room. We want to teach you the tools to do it yourself and be proud of what you’ve done. So this is just a short blog to help you get started.

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Not everyone has the budget or time for an interior designer. There are also many people who want to decorate their kids’ room by themselves, but feel a little bit overwhelmed on where to start. Sometimes you just need a kick of confidence! Here we go:

 1.  USE AN ART WORK AS INSPIRATION

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We have written a blog before on how to help your teenager create and decorate their own room. (Read blog here)

The best place to start with many children rooms is art work. This will immediately define a colour palette and style for the room. In the image above we used an art work from Urban Road. They have a beautiful range of art works. Framed, unframed, and many sizes and prices. You don’t have to overspend. Then we added furniture and accessories  from Target. Depending on your budget and time frame, this should be a fun project!

 

 2.  USE ONE PIECE OF FURNITURE AS INSPIRATION

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Maybe you have that one amazing piece of furniture that you definitely want to use in the room. Then use it as your starting point. It could be a funky bed, an interesting bedside table or even a rug. Above we show you an example on how you can start your project. We began with a bed and then added furniture and accessories from Adairs. With digital decorating you can play around with internet and Pinterest images on your computer until you find the right look.

Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

 

 

 

Is an interior design mood board still relevant in the digital age?

Do Interior Designers still make mood boards for clients? When I studied for my diploma in Interior Design we spent a lot of time making and creating mood boards. I once almost lost a thumb with a Stanley knife, and one day I glued myself and my dress to a chair. (There is another story at the end of this blog…) The question is: Is it still relevant in today’s digital world? Many of our clients ask us: “Will you also make me a mood board for the design?” The answer is “yes” and “no”. A physical mood board is great to give a client the overall look and feel of a design, so we do include a mood board in most of our designs. However, there are so many other design tools available today.

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One of our tools we use are hand sketches and 3D visualisation where you can literally “walk through your home”. With digital technology we find we can make a client almost 20 to 30 different “mood boards” to explain different elements of the design concept. If we now stick all the samples to a mood board, the client can’t always mix and match the different options. It also makes it very uncomfortable for a client to walk into a home ware shop with their A3 sample board under the arm! We prefer to provide the samples separately in a box, basket or file. It also makes it easier to change samples if a supplier is out of stock or the client decides to use another fabric.

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So if you are thinking of being your own designer, get yourself a specific basket, tray, cork board or folder for each room. This way you can add samples, magazine snippets or even trinkets that resemble your colour and style. Most of us want to touch and feel tiles, timber or fabric before we make a decision. So have fun and create a basket full of texture. When needed, you can spread them all over your home to help you make final decisions.

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Even if you want to eventually make use of Interior Designers (like us for instance!), it will be great to gather as many elements as possible even before the first meeting. The more we know about your taste, the easier we can get to a great design. Don’t stress that everything in your basket need to match, your designer will narrow it down now that they understand your taste.

how to make a mood board, interior designer mood board, do i need a mood board, interior designers hills district sydney, best decor blog australia, vanilla slate designs, decor tips, mood board tips

My biggest fiasco with a mood board was the one Monday morning I had to do a presentation at my design school in the city. (I studied at Sydney Design School) I was holding on to this A2 sized mood board full of tile, timber and fabric samples. I worked on this mood board until about 3 am the previous night, pasting and cutting and preparing for my presentation. So needless to say I was really tired at 8am on the train. When I reached my station I stood up to exit the train. At the door I realised I had my mood board but not my handbag. I rushed back to my seat and ran back to the door again. I slightly tripped (mind the step) as I exited, hitting the mood board against the train door. At that moment, my precious timber and tile samples slid off and fell between the train and the platform. Gone. On the tracks laid my samples, my dignity and my presentation marks.

Our advice is: Don’t be too hung up on the mood board that is created, but rather look into the design concept, visualisation elements, colour and spatial design elements. Your interior designer might not be the best at arts and crafts creating a fabulous mood board, but might actually be a fantastic designer with loads of ideas for spatial layout and colour recommendations.

Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

 

 

Lyndie’s Renovation: A NEW ROOM TAKES SHAPE

 

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We’re not newbies at realising the potential health benefits of outdoor living.  Although this was not our first consideration before deciding to extend and enclose our entertainment area, it certainly helped in ticking more boxes in the pro’s than con’s list.  This room would enhance our lifestyle by becoming a dining, living and entertainment room all in one.  We wanted the design to be an extension of our home, opening up to the outdoors with new pool and merging indoor living areas with outdoor areas effortlessly.  We had to do it right, first time around.  Of course, the trick to designing that perfect outdoor room is to make it complement your existing home, to have it blend in architecturally, as well as selecting finishes that would tie in with the indoor rooms.   The exterior part needs the same consideration, selecting roofing material that would match the existing roofing structure, face brick matching existing brick, as well as considering the pitch of the new roof.

Proposed plan for renovation

 

renovation changes

As you can see, our dog still can’t miss any of the action and can’t wait for this project to come to an end…  Nevertheless, she’s doing a great job overseeing the build 🙂

renovation tv room

Before: This door to our tv room will be replaced by bifold doors and the corners of the room will be squared.  We’ll remove the existing roof, as this is the only way we could effectively create a unified look with the new roof of the new entertainment area.  The other option was to leave the roof as is and build a new sloped roof onto the new extension.  Only trouble was, this could only be done by creating a box gutter, which collect a lot of water and could cause problems in the long run.

tv room door

Construction: The timber structure for the new roof is up and foundation ready to be tiled.  The tv room has been squared and steel support installed for the bifold doors.

renovation new wall

Before: It’s time for the wall of the new extension to be built.  This wall will house a fireplace and connect to the old formal dining room.  The cavity, that used to be the formal dining room window, is now ready for a bifold door that would eventually lead to the new bar.

new wall progress

Construction: I considered the design of the fireplace very carefully, as this would be an eye catching feature in the new entertainment area.   I wanted the fireplace at table height, so that it can be seen from across the room, including the dining area.  I also wanted a cavity on either side of the fireplace to store firewood, while simultaneously benefiting from the rustic charm of raw timber.  I wanted the design not only to be practical, but to fit the overall personality and style of the house.

renovation new fireplace

Well, now you’re getting the idea!  We’re finally ready to tile and render, install the new bifolds and share some great before and after photos!  Hang in there, we’re almost done…

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

Before & 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.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera