Tag: best decor blog australia

How to Survive a Renovation

Our home had peeling laminated kitchen cupboards, a tile splash back depicting fruit and very unfashionable floor tiles when we moved in about 10 years ago.  We’ve been dreaming and saving for this renovation since our kids were little, so we thought we were truly ready for the next phase.  I’ve learnt a few things in the last few months, so I’ll share them for your benefit:

1.  MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING INTO

Planning your renovation is wonderful and the best part of the process!  You dream about your beautiful new kitchen bench top and love browsing through magazines to find that perfect cabinet handle and splash back.  Reality quickly sets in when a team of builders arrive at 7am every morning for 3 months straight and you, and your neighbours, can’t find a parking spot close to home.  You’ll almost think about turning back the clock when your kitchen is set up in your garage and you fold and iron in the same room as washing dirty dishes and the dog.  Although you’ll experience a number of emotions while going through the process, boredom will certainly not be one of them!  A renovation isn’t a fun project to fill in the time or a form of entertainment, but more like you’ve taken on a second job…

2.  PROTECT YOUR BELONGINGS

renovation survival protect your stuff

The less stuff you have in the house, the better the builders will be able to move around to do their job.  Not only that, but drywall dust is more pervasive than sand in your bathers after swimming in the ocean. It will settle into places you never knew existed.  Make sure you protect art pieces and your timber flooring. Cover your carpets with drop sheets.  Seal off areas not undergoing any changes with plastic sheeting and pack up all loose items and put it in storage.

3.  CREATE CHAOS FREE ZONES

While undergoing a renovation, your family will still expect clean clothes, clean plates, cutlery and probably a meal more nourishing than toast 3 times a day.  Make sure you set up work stations for those everyday chores and a place for the family to relax and watch telly at the end of the day.  We currently have a kitchen set up in our garage and my husband and I have become experts at cooking meals in the electrical frying pan. Although these meals end up a mixed mess on a plate, the chance of anyone dying of hunger or malnutrition is rather slim.

4.  LEAVE THE HOUSE

Try to plan a short family holiday, just to get a break from the mess and noise.  Accept all invitations for social get togethers and drop hints to get invited to friends that love cooking.  Food that’s served in separate heaps on a plate, will count as a blessing and a side salad might be more special than a glass of wine (… or maybe not to that extreme).

5.  BE AVAILABLE FOR THE BUILDERS

renovation survival answer questions

I bet you thought that, if you have a properly drafted plan and a report from an engineer, your job is done!  Nope, it’s only starting… Your builder and team will need constant information and feedback from you.  Even with a drawn up council approved plan, constant adjustments are made while on site, that can’t go ahead without your input.  Make sure you’re prepared and know your building plan by heart.  You might not need in depth knowledge of structural beams and support joists, but take note of the size of your skirting boards, the thickness and size of your floor tiles and the profile of your architraves and cornices. Make sure you know where all your bulkheads will go.  You’ll need to know the position and height of your pendant lights and how you want to control all the lighting of the house.  You’ve probably only dreamt of the colour of your timber floor, but have you thought about how the thickness will affect your existing doors, or if you want it laid vertically or horizontally?  Have you considered the colour of the eaves and fascia of your new extension? Have you given thought to your new interior wall, ceiling and skirting colour?  Make sure you have everything on file, so that information can be retrieved and conveyed instantly, without holding up the project.

6.  STICK TO A SCHEDULE

Do as much planning as you can before your renovation begins.  If you have your heart set on an Italian tap, designer pendants and handmade tiles, make sure you order well ahead of time.  It would be a shame to turn a 2 month project into a 6 month project because of delay in delivery of one item.

7.  LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR

Renovation survival love neighbours

We’re lucky to have wonderful neighbours in our cul de sac and would like to keep things amiable.  Some have gone through a similar project or are due to start one themselves.  They’re interested in our progress and curious about what it will look like when finished.  Learn to apologise frequently – as you will need to 🙂  They’ll be more willing to forgive you once the value of their homes had once again increased, due to the removal of all skips and rubble from the front of your house.  It’s not necessary to wait until your lawn and broken branches had grown back and your driveway repaired, before dropping them a box of chocolates to thank them for their patience.

Remember to take photos of your project as you progress.  The best way to stay positive and excited about the end result is to see how far you’ve come!

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Questions and Tips about waterfall kitchen bench tops

What are the pro’s and cons? Is it in or out? Today we will give you some tips on the trendy waterfall finishes of kitchen bench tops. For those of you who have no idea of what I am talking about… It’s when a kitchen bench top is extended on the side, all the way down to the floor, to cover the side panels of your kitchen cupboards.

waterfall bench top, kitchen bench top, marble bench top, tips for kitchen design, kitchen trends
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PRO’S & CONS

waterfall bench tops, pros and cons of waterfall bench tops, kitchen designs tips

waterfall edge bench tops kitchen, tiles on kitchen island, blue kitchen
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IS IT IN OR OUT?

Oh, it’s very much in and not a trend that I think is likely to change in the near future. It’s almost like the “trend” of using drawers everywhere in the kitchen. People find it so useful that it is now a permanent design to most kitchens. The waterfall bench top is here to stay!

MITRE VS BUTT PROFILE

Personally, I prefer the mitre edge profile, as the joint looks seamless. The mitre edge is normally a bit more labour intensive and a few dollars more expensive. The butt edge might be a bit cheaper and sometimes designers like the “architectural look” it creates.

SHOULD THE WATERFALL GO ALL THE WAY TO THE FLOOR?

Most people take the waterfall all the way down to the floor. The biggest reason is that it serves as an extra support for the horisontal bench top. If you prefer for it to end 3 or 5 cm from the floor, it needs extra support to “hang” in the air. This can be more expensive too. Some people like the shadow line effect it creates when the bench top is not meeting the floor.

SHOULD I HAVE A WATERFALL ON BOTH SIDES OF MY BENCH TOP?

This is entirely up to you. It will depend on your kitchen design. If the kitchen island is a feature  in the kitchen, I would suggest using a waterfall on both sides. You might want to use bar stools on one end, then you can only put a waterfall on the other end. The latest trend is to even let it go down the back panel too!

waterfall bench top, kitchen design, marble bench top
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waterfall bench top, cement bench top, white and grey kitchen
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If you are in the process of designing and planning your new kitchen, try to work in a waterfall bench top. It gives a real modern and updated feeling to a new kitchen design.

(And don’t forget that we can help you with kitchen designing and arrange great kitchen companies to install them!)

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

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How to Avoid getting Wallpaper Wrong

The surest way to insanity is to start browsing through wallpaper supplier sites to find that perfect print for that wow factor in a room.  There are endless wallpaper prints available and if you don’t have an inkling of what end result you want, you’re very likely to end up with a less desirable outcome.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

1.  START WITH THE RIGHT SPACE

wallpaper panelling
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First decide if you would like four, or only one covered in wallpaper.  If all walls are covered, an understated print with fewer colours and not too much contrast will be a better choice. If you have your heart set on a bold and colourful print, try breaking it up a bit by adding panelling or a mantel piece for some colour contrast.  A combination of no more than two colours for the furnishings will calm it right down and create a more subdued effect.  If you decide on wallpaper to create one feature wall, a bolder, large print for a magnificent statement, would be appropriate.

2.  WHAT SCALE PRINT WILL SUIT THE ROOM?

wallpaper small rooms
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The busier the pattern, the more distance you will need away from it to get the full impact.  In general, small prints work better in tight spaces and larger print for bigger rooms.  Luckily, some rules are meant to be broken…  If you have a small room with odd shaped walls, a large scale print will hide it.  A large scale pattern with a solid background can make an eye catching, graphic statement in a small room.

3.  WILL THE PATTERN FIT THE APPLICATION OF THE ROOM?

wallpaper geometric
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Pattern and colour are essential elements in design that impact the way we feel in a room.  Soft pastels, some chevron patterns and spots, look lovely in children’s rooms.  Applying these in a formal living space, will look out of place and not fit the way we’re using the room.  More sophisticated colours such as warm greys, a touch of bling, a textured finish or bolder patterns will look more “grown up” for your living spaces.

4.  USE THE CORRECT PAPER FOR WET AREAS

If you’d like to push yourself out of your comfort zone and want a full on wall statement in the bathroom, make sure the wallpaper is suitable for wet areas.  After all your hard work and lots of dollars spent, it would be a shame if it started peeling off, because you haven’t read the instructions!

5.  REFER BACK TO YOUR PERSONAL STYLE

wallpaper tropical
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Take special care that your personal style doesn’t get lost in all the choices and trends on the market.  If you’re after a modern country look, a botanical print or textured paper will make you feel more at home.  Geometric patterns will suit an art deco or sophisticated theme and wallpaper with palms or exotic birds will fit a tropical theme.

Remember to get a few samples before making your final decision.  It’s best to hang it against your wall and living with it for a few days before jumping into the deep end.  If you’re still unsure, you know where to find the professionals 🙂

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Design Project: Style my Melbourne Unit to Rent Out

We love all our projects, some are more challenging than others but all are equally interesting.  This one was certainly challenging, but only because of the distance it was located from our office.  Luckily, we had a floor plan to work with, as well as photos of each room the client had taken on her last visit to Melbourne.


1. CLIENT BRIEF

“Our client has an investment property in the heart of Melbourne which they intended to rent out.  They needed assistance to refurbish and style the unit to suit a professional person, as well as suit the Art Deco exterior style of the building.”

In addition to that:

  • The carpet needed to be replaced in a colour that would tie in with the timber flooring in the kitchen
  • The unit needed a fresh coat of paint applied by qualified professionals
  • The blinds had to be refitted
  • Some of the existing furniture pieces had to be painted and reused
  • New furniture with a modern Art Deco appeal needed to be sourced to fit the style of the building
  • Some existing prints had to be modernised by reframing, as well as additional artworks sourced and installed
  • Bedding, furniture, lamps, rugs and a few accessories needed to be sourced to create a lived in feeling to the unit.

2. SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

We had very limited time to source all trades people and furniture pieces, as the estate agent had a set date to take photos for their website.  In addition to that, the owners lived in Sydney.  The carpet installation, painters and furniture delivery had to be organised for a specific weekend to coincide with the owners’ presence in Melbourne.  Over that weekend, the carpet installation, furniture delivery and painting of the unit had to take place.

3. BEFORE PHOTOS

Before Photos, Melbourne Unit


4. OUR SOLUTIONS

Art Deco shopping list

We went on a local shopping expedition with the client to ensure that all soft furnishings and accessories matched the colour palette throughout the unit.  These were then transported to Melbourne by car.  We supplied our client with a shopping list for lighting and smaller accessories from furniture stores such as Domayne and Freedom, so that these final touches could be purchased in Melbourne.  We arranged all furniture deliveries, carpet installation, painting and window covering installation from Sydney and she organised a very handy husband to hang the prints and paint the furniture.  All of this occurred without us ever having visited the unit.

5. MOOD BOARDS

Art deco styling, bedroom

art deco styling, Living Room

We gave the client several options for all her rooms, with a colour palette that matched the paintings in her lounge room.  This way, we could use the colours throughout the unit for a cohesive look.  The furniture pieces we sourced were modern with an art deco flair.  We decided on a look that would suit either a male or female professional person, so items that were too “girly” or “blingy”, were ditched during the planning phase.

6. AFTER PHOTOS

Blog Melbourne unit After Photos

 

As interior designers, we supply our clients with a design concept for an entire room, which include layout options, shopping lists, quotes for trades and a full colour palette.  If clients need us to implement the design, or project manage a renovation, we will always give that as an option at an additional cost.  In this case, flight tickets and accommodation would have been an additional cost on top of our hourly rate, so the client decided to implement the design herself. She was extremely happy with the result, as she had adequate guidance to complete the design.


Long distance interior design is only possible when we have images of each room, as well as an updated floor plan with all measurements included.

 

Eriana & Lyndie

 

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Design Project: How to select finishes for your brand new home – chosen from a “Home World Village”

One of the most overwhelming steps in building a home, is to select the finishes. This means flooring, tiles, kitchens etc. After you’ve finally chosen your dream home at the Home Village Display, you need to make an appointment with the Home Builder to choose your finishes. This is a full day appointment where you have a few hours to decide what the inside of your home will look like for the next 20 years. Scary? Of course! By the time you have this meeting, you should have done all your homework and know exactly what you want. Yeah right… We have many clients that ask us to assist them to create a design concept and colour palette for their newly built homes they choose at a Home World Village. We take into consideration their existing furniture and lifestyle to make decisions. Today we will show you how we are involved in this process, by telling you more about our last project that involved this service.


1. CLIENT BRIEF

“We chose our floor plan and signed all the contracts, but in three weeks from now is our meeting with the Home Builder’s Design Consultant to choose and sign off our finishes. We are unsure if our colours and if our options will work together and need someone to help us create a colour palette for the whole house before our final meeting with the Home Builder Consultant.”

2. SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

  • We had to meet the client at the Kellyville Home World Village so we could walk through their “new home” with them
  • We had to choose finishes from the range of tiles, paint, stone and cupboards that are supplied by the Builder

3. BEFORE PHOTOS

Our client chose the “Soul 39” Home from MOJO Homes and we met them at the Kellyville Home Village. This home has a great layout. Very spacious and focused on entertaining. We did not only walk through the already built display home, but we could also prepare for the meeting in advance due to  MOJO Homes’ 3D online videos where you can “walk through your new home.” It’s amazing, and you should check it out at this link: SOUL 39 HOME by MOJO HOMES. (And no, we don’t get sponsored by MOJO Homes for this post!)

masterton homes, mojo homes, home builders, choose finishes, 3d home walk through, soul 39
Mojo Homes: Soul 39

4. OUR SOLUTIONS

  • We asked our clients to share with us their style with a shared Pinterest board and photos of their existing furniture. They also brought a list of questions on their design/decor problems.
  • We met the client at the display home, with bags full of samples of stone, flooring etc to make decisions on the spot.
  • Client booked out ‘n Half Day Block with us, where we had uninterrupted access to the display home for 4 to 5 hours.
  • We went through every room and discussed finishes, possible layouts, tile layout patterns, window covering options etc.

5. MOOD BOARDS

This is a hands on meeting, so we just “take over” the dining room table in the display home, spread out all the samples and have a mini workshop right there. (Don’t eat the display, the bread and fruit are fake…!)

moodboard, style board, before photo, home styling, design project, home village, home builders, finishes select, how to choose tiles, interior designer sydney, home village


Clients find these meetings very valuable as there’s no pressure yet to choose and sign off any finishes. They can discuss details and decor and direct  the meeting towards the problem areas they want to solve. One meeting is usually enough to gain confidence and settle on a colour palette. They also have the opportunity to ask any questions regarding their home decor. Clients enjoy the kitchen layout the most as we ask them practical questions of everyday tasks, which they never thought about before. It’s also nice to help them to add a few WOW factors to their home in an affordable way. A building project is hard work and tiresome. Sometimes clients just need someone else to add a twist of fun and advice. That’s our job!

If you are planning on building a new home, we are there to help!

Eriana & Lyndie

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What you may have Overlooked in your Laundry Design

To get that perfect laundry layout, you first need to consider the tasks that will be carried out in the space.   Although not an essential activity in the laundry, I’ve been known to sneak in my laptop and watch “Orange is the New Black” while happily folding/ironing away.  If this type laundering work is required after sundown, this becomes even more enjoyable with a glass of wine – almost like a Gold Class movie experience, but in an upright position.  I’m getting off track, let’s have a look at the essentials:

1.  A SPACE FOR FOLDING

laundry, folded washing

Although I sometimes feel like just shoving clothes into cupboards or chucking it onto beds, these feelings are best kept to a minimum and will not get the job done.  In most cases, neat folding is required and if your laundry room can accommodate this, install a bench top that’s as big as possible.

2.  A SPACE FOR DIRTY LAUNDRY

You’ll need a designated hamper for dirty laundry.  In a perfect world, dirty clothes will go into this hamper and not on the floor.  Mmm… I’m considering writing a memo…

3.  HANGING SPACE

vintage laundry me

I love being able to hang those slightly damp items onto a rail for that last bit of drying.  It’s also great for items that come straight out of the dryer and if you’re quick enough, will not require any ironing, Yeaheee!!

4.  SINK

dog in bath

We have a lovely staffy pup and although she thinks she’s a person, I wouldn’t like her to bath with the kids or in the kitchen sink (for obvious reasons).  A laundry sink is great for rinsing paintbrushes, cleaning pets and emptying out the mob bucket.

5.  IRONING

wine and ironing

There are some great options on the market for mounting an ironing board on the wall.  This will make your laundry space more streamlined and getting the board out will not be such a chore.  You already know my secret for making ironing fun, so make sure you create your own happy place away from the rest of the world.

Have a look at how I created my “happy” place (laundry…) by clicking here.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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WHAT IF ACCESS TO YOUR GUEST BATHROOM IS THROUGH A BEDROOM?

As you know by now, I have a tendency to make impulse purchases at the scrapyard (or any place I can find an awesome one off piece) without thinking it through thoroughly.  This is how we ended up with the most gigantic timber display shelf (over 3.5m long), a dent in the roof of our ute, and a closed off door that previously led to the guest bathroom from the kitchen.

Let me explain:  The only way we could have a wall long enough to fit this hutch/shelf in the kitchen, was to patch up the door leading to the ensuite bathroom and guest bedroom downstairs.  Luckily, we still have another access door, but now our party guests need to walk through the guest bedroom to get to the loo.  Yes, my husband and I are still very happily married thank you for asking…

So here are my tips on working with this new layout:

1.  USE A SIGN

bathroom sign
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Seeing that I’m over 40 (I know, very hard to believe), the first thing I do when visiting someone’s house, is to check out the location of the facilities.  It has to be close enough to reach within seconds and I don’t necessarily want to make an announcement before I go try and find it.  To make guests feel at ease, use a bathroom sign on the bedroom door.  This way they’ll know they’ll eventually end up in a bathroom, even though they’re walking through the bedroom.

2.  CLEAR THE WAY

My guest bedroom can instantly become a storage space when not occupied for some time.  Make sure your guests have an unobstructed path to the toilet, as most of them would not have rock climbing experience.

3.  AVOID RED FACES WITH TIDY SPACES

bathroom through bedroom
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The bedroom your guests will be walking through, should be clean and tidy, functioning as a bedroom (not a storage facility) and the bed made and styled as if it’s a 5 Star Hotel.  A tidy and clean bathroom with plenty of toilet paper, room deodoriser and a bin provided goes without saying.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

 

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When is the best time to renovate?

When is it the right time to renovate? Does it depend on how long you’ve lived in your home, your budget or your future plans? This answer is different for every home owner. Today we want to give you some pointers to take into consideration when making this important decision.

1. FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS

You are now all excited about your first home. To save a bit of money you bought a “renovation project”. (Of course it was advertised by the estate agent as “needs some TLC”…) Now it’s time to decide how to spend that extra bit of money to make it your own. STOP RIGHT HERE! Only about 5% of renovations of first time home buyers are successful if they renovate within the first year. Why? Making good renovation decisions take experience. If you are a first time home buyer, we always recommend clients to first live in your home for at least six months before you start planning your renovation. You will have a much better spatial awareness of how you actually use your home and what features are missing what you desperately need to add.

first time home owners should i renovate now or later

2. EXPECTING A BABY

Nine months. Actually 8 months since you first find out you’re pregnant. And yes, we all know the last two months you’re the size of an elephant with the mobility of a hippopotamus. That literally gives you 6 months to really project manage a renovation before baby arrives. Take into consideration your fluctuating hormones and constant short term memory loss (believe me!), the worst thing to add to this package is a renovation project. If you just want to update a bathroom or kitchen, it might be manageable. Even a new paint job, flooring or moving a wall or window can be orderly timed and finalised. If you need any council plans which involves drafting, engineers, certifiers or council approval, rather pitch a tent in the dessert and stay there for a few months. That will be a much more enjoyable experience. You don’t want to hurry renovation decisions and later be devastated because you spent your money unwisely. Take it one “building process” (read baby) at a time. Even the first few months after baby is born, is stressful. Why add noise and dust to the equation. I am talking out of experience…

3. SAFETY PROBLEMS WITH YOUR EXISTING HOME

I’m with you, just do it! Nobody needs a bathroom that constantly leaks from upstairs down into your kitchen. Been there, done that. Every time my daughter pulled the plug of her bath, I had to run to the kitchen and hold a bucket mid-air to prevent water dripping on my kitchen shelves. Another big problem is infestations. You don’t want to be invaded or overrun by pests. If part of your home needs a semi-demolition to fix this problem, save enough money as quickly as possible and get the renovation done. These can cause other long term problems which eventually cost you even more.  If you’re a first time home buyer, and expecting a baby and you realise you have infestation problems… well I have no idea what you should do! Run away to the closest hotel and hibernate for a year.

 4. FINANCIAL DECISION

Renovation projects can start from $10,000 and end up to be up to $500,000 or more. Every family knows their own budget. Don’t forget that there are many costs before you even write the first cheque to your builder. You will need a drafter to draw plans for Council. (This is a few thousand dollars, depending on the size of your renovation) You might need an engineer to assist with structural issues. (Another few hundred or thousand dollars). You need to pay a certifier or council to submit your plans and get it approved. (Mmmm… another few hundred dollars) Sometimes you need to demolish existing structures, also at an additional cost. There are always a few hidden or unprepared expenses too. Your builder can suddenly report to you that there are asbestos in your walls or roof. (Another few thousand dollars to have this removed by a specialised team). Okay, I wasn’t intending to scare you, just to warn you that you should always add another 20% to your budget for unforeseen expenses. If you don’t need it in the end, you can have beautiful new furniture and an awesome house warming party!

budget for renovation project should i renovate now or later

Remember that you can ask your mortgage broker to assist you to apply for additional finance or to refinance your home. Some people play it safe and first save all the money for their renovation. This is the ideal situation, but sometimes this means that you never get to the stage where you can commit to your renovation.

Happy renovating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

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