Tag: decorating tips

Five Things to know about COLONIAL Style

It’s a well known fact that the British Empire covered about one quarter of the world and British colonies and trading posts reached their peak around the 19th century. Being so far away from their homes, understandably, the British enjoyed having a few comforts around them. They brought some of their traditional furniture pieces and accessories with them, so their style intermingled with the local styles and materials. When this traditional style intermingled with the local landscape, it evolved to adapt to the different climate and practicality of every day life. What emerged was a style that had the elegance of a bygone era, but with a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.
Fortunately, you don’t need to set up a trading post in a far flung place to create this look at home. All you need to do is this:

1.  TRUNKS AND FURNITURE THAT CAN COLLAPSE

colonial textures
Image Source

If you think flat pack furniture originated at IKEA, you can’t be further from the truth. Our well-travelled British forefathers had to force furniture into pretty tight spaces, so collapsible writing tables, liquor cabinets (I want one) and folding mahogany chairs could easily be shipped off in a steamer trunk to another exotic destination. Luckily, these items are readily available as reproduction pieces at most furniture stores, so create a Colonial flair by using stacked vintage leather suitcases as a coffee table and a rattan folding table as side table.

2.  LIGHTWEIGHT ECLECTIC FABRICS

colonial fabric print
Image Source

This style asks for fabrics with interesting patterns such as paisleys, ikats, botanical or animal prints that had (seemingly) been collected from around the globe. Keep it simple by using only a couple of colours, but in durable, natural fabrics such as cotton and linen. Lightweight curtains in a light fabric that allows light to filter through will perfect the look.

3.  BRING IN THE TROPICS

colonial accessories
Image Source

To me, the tropics mean natural textures such as rattan and bamboo, carved accessories (yes, even in the shape of a pineapple) and some leather accents. To keep things a little more formal (or British, if we may), stick to dark timbers like mahogany, or furniture with turned legs or detail, like a romantic, four poster bed. Pair this with fine china, crystal and a few maps to look as if you’ve been globe-trotting for most of your life. Browse around your local Salvo’s or weekend markets to expand your collection. Don’t forget a telescope!

4.  CEILING FANS

colonial ceiling fans
Image Source

I can only imagine how the balmy atmosphere would have affected the British in their new setting. The flick of a switch on an air-conditioner was beyond their reach, so ceiling fans were the only means of staying cool. These are not only extremely practical, but lends a romantic atmosphere to an interior.

5.  A JUNGLE FIT FOR TARZAN

colonial indoor plants
Image Source

Whenever I go on holiday, I’m usually fascinated by the local plants and flowers. This is exactly why the Brits started bringing local ferns, palms and other tropical plants into their homes. A well placed palm can create height next to your sofa and add that breezy element to your newfound Colonial style.

Cheerio ’til next time!

 

Please follow and like us:

How to create a Kitchen you will Enjoy Cooking in

To some people cooking is an arduous chore, to others, it is a passion. This mostly depends on things such as your disposition and your overall approach to this entire situation. While everyone can agree that like it or not, cooking is a useful skill to possess, a recent survey claims that 28 percent of all Americans can’t cook.
Unfortunately, this results in one of three ways A) having someone else cook for them, B) eating at restaurants or C) turning to junk food. Needless to say, the first one is impractical, the second is expensive and the less we say about the third option the better. Luckily, there is a way to trick yourself into enjoying the idea of cooking a bit more. We are of course talking about creating a highly stimulating kitchen that will encourage you to partake in such activities.

1.  MAKE YOUR WORK AREA

Image Source

The first thing you need to do in the kitchen is ensure that it is cooking-friendly. The last thing you want during the food preparation stage is to have to commute for more time than you actually spend preparing food. This being said, you need to make sure everything is at your hand. For starters, you need to have the access to all the cookware and utensils. In other words, make sure all your knives, spatulas and wooden spoons are within your reach in every moment.
Furthermore, have all the spices and ingredients you are about to use in a reachable spot. For this, some people prefer to use hanging containers, seeing how they can help you utilize the space on the wall and therefore use every inch of your kitchen properly. The most important item in your kitchen, however, is the trash bin. By not having one around, you might postpone throwing components and items you no longer need and therefore clutter your work area. In turn, this will make it both messier and less practical, which is definitely something you want to avoid.

2. COUNT ON NUMEROUS COOKS

Image Source

Some people prefer cooking in pairs, which is definitely something to take into consideration when designing the kitchen. First of all, it makes the entire process significantly easier, quicker and more fun. In fact, there are couples that consider this to be one of their favorite activity, the one that really brought them closer together. For this, you need to prepare and furnish your kitchen properly. This usually means getting two of everything.
Your countertop needs to be big enough for two and you need to have enough utensils and cookware for two people to use. More importantly, though, you may need to get more kitchen appliances. Of course, you won’t need two fridges, but what about two stoves? Well, first of all, such a thing would be quite expensive and second, it would require you to find a place for the second appliance as well. This problem, however, can be easily solved by getting additional cooktops instead.

3.  STIMULATING ENVIRONMENT

Image Source

Finally, shear practicality is not everything that matters in the kitchen and sometimes having the right visuals might have a significant impact on your cooking mood. For instance, there are some colors like yellow, orange and red that are known to increase one’s appetite. Using these colors in the design of your kitchen might act as an additional stimulant for an aspiring cook.
Furthermore, you might be tempted to add few stylish upgrades to your kitchen and therefore make it quite impressive for anyone who comes to visit. Some people do this with a cunning combination of metal and wooden elements in order to get the best of both worlds. Still, when designing a kitchen, you need to look past the appearance of a certain material and consider what kind of maintenance it requires, as well. We mentioned that the appearance of the kitchen may have an effect on your willingness to cook, but as you can see, it also changes your efficiency. By giving you an environment that is cook-friendly, more space for someone else to help you out or a place that inspires you with its design, you will get a completely unique cooking experience. This alone is a notion that is difficult to top.

Emma Joyce

Please follow and like us:

Ten Little Details that Bring a Room to Life

Have you ever caught yourself staring at a photo in an interior design magazine and admiring how amazing some rooms look? And have you tried decorating your own room in a similar manner? Was there something missing? You can do everything right, including the design style, colour palette and furnishing, but if you’ve missed all those little details that bring a room to life, you will never get an Architecture Digest-worthy space. Here’s your cheat-sheet for achieving that.

ARTWORK ON THE WALLS

Image Source

A room can’t be complete without art, but there is no uniform way or specific style to display art. Besides the usual paintings (abstract, impressionist, cubism, etc.), you can also go for alternative (and affordable) options, such as  kids’ artwork, framed wallpaper/fabric samples, silverware or keys in shadow boxes, framed old book pages, etc. Some of the best places to hang your art are above the sofa, over the mantel or on either side of the windows.

POWERFUL PHOTOGRAPHS

An art style of their own, photographs can drastically change a room’s appearance. Depending on your preference and the style of the room, you can use various family photos, or choose a specific theme (e.g. your favourite cities or windows, flowers, etc.) and use it for guidance.

GREENERY

Image Source

Want to bring a room to life? Then introduce life into it – it’s that simple. Greenery, branches and fresh flowers are an excellent means of adding dimensions to smaller places as well as enhancing larger ones. Consider strategically placing several larger plants (e.g. potted trees) or a group of smaller plants in different corners of a room.

A BOLD COLOUR

Adding a pop of colour to a room is one of the oldest tricks in the book, so why not use it? A neutral room can benefit from a brave colour choice introduced through various accessories (e.g. throw pillows, vases, tablecloths and other decorative elements).

MIRROR(S)

Mirrors don’t belong exclusively in bathrooms. If selected and placed well, they can be a style statement in any room. In small rooms especially, mirrors can reflect light and make the space feel larger and brighter. If you want to avoid that “bathroom-look” you can always go for custom mirrors that will enhance a particular design feature and serve as a signature piece.

BOOKS

Image Source

Of course, books are appreciated for much more than their aesthetic appeal as decorative elements, but we can’t deny that they sure make a positive impression when stacked on a coffee table or aligned on a bookshelf.

LAYERS

If you don’t want your room to look cold and soulless, you should include different textures. A knitted blanket, for example, is a nice addition to a leather sofa. And a cowhide rug will look amazing on a hardwood floor. Also consider a different kind of layering – layering the lighting.

LAMPS

Image Source

Speaking of layering the lighting solutions, lamps (table, floor and wall lamps) are a perfect way to add that extra layer that will introduce warmth and liveliness. Besides, if you choose an interesting design, you can kill two birds with one stone.

MEMORIES

Image Source

There is no better way to add life to a room than by including things from your own life. So, display your travel souvenirs, your grandma’s rocking chair and other personal items that carry a special meaning to you.

AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE 

Finally, be aware that interior design should be fun, so play with it for a while. For instance, you can hang empty frames instead of filling them with photos. Add a modern piece into a vintage room; design a reading nook in your bathroom…

These ten details will definitely bring your room closer to the ones you admire in design magazines and further from the empty, sterile, by-the-book look we often confuse with “proper design”.

Molly Milson

Please follow and like us:

What goes with Tan Leather?

So you’ve purchased your big ticket item – that tan leather 3 seater sofa you’ve had you eye on for months.  It’s standing front and centre in your living room, but somehow, it still doesn’t feel like home.  Not to worry, all you need is to add a few things that would soften the edges and make your sofa seem as if it’s been there since you moved in.  So what would go with tan leather?

TEXTURES

tan leather textures
Image Source

In design language, texture is “the sensations caused by the external surface of objects received through the sense of touch”.   Of course, texture also has the power to enhance a space, just by noticing it, without physically touching it.  In general, smooth textures such as silk, provide a sleeker look and rougher textures like sisal, give a more informal, relaxed look.  Tan leather can successfully be paired with rattan, denim or linen, to create visual interest and a wonderfully informal and inviting atmosphere.  Add a glass of wine and balance will be restored to your life (if you have less than 3 glasses…)

LIGHT, NATURAL HUES

tan leather black and white
Image Source

The earthy warmth of tan leather goes perfectly with white and a muted colour palette such as light taupe, greys and off white.  Darker slate grey and the classic combination of black and white will always be versatile and timeless.  For a more soothing space, keep the tones nature inspired in softer colours and combine it with rattan baskets and roughly knitted blankets.

A POP OF COLOUR

tan leather pop of colour
Image Source

Colour is a mood creator, can reduce negative behaviour and increase or decrease blood pressure (dangerous at my age…)  If you’re a lover of colour, tan leather should be your “go to” furniture piece – it practically goes with anything!  It pairs particularly well with blue (try denim) or green, but if you’re more into energetic, romantic moods, go for a spot of red 😉  For those not too confident with colour, try different patterns and textures in no more than two colours.  Once you’ve found your mojo, go crazy.  To make the job of mixing patterns and colours in cushions even easier, read our blog on this fool proof way by clicking on the link.

TIMBER ELEMENTS

tan leather and timber
Image Source

Nothing invokes more ambience than combining leather and timber.  All you need is a few logs on the fire and you’ve got me settled into your home for ever… (maybe just for the winter).  This combination is also a great start to an industrial look, especially if you add some exposed brick and black steel elements such as a side table or window frames.

Still feel you need a few pointers?  We offer an hour consultation that will quickly guide you in the right direction.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Please follow and like us:

Why you can’t go Wrong with White Bedlinen

I always get mesmerised by the number of beautifully patterned bedlinen available today.  There’s something for every style, taste and colour and it’s easy to just let go and buy a patterned duvet cover for each bedroom in your house!  Why then, am I trying to convince you to stick to heavenly white, when your heart shouts patterns, stripes and bold colours?

Let me state my case:

A LOOK THAT’S LESS CLUTTERED

Image Source

Your bed is the biggest piece of furniture in your room and takes up almost the entire space.  If this furniture piece is highly patterned and coloured, it will dominate the room.  There may be many reasons a person doesn’t get enough sleep in the bedroom; don’t let the wrong choice in bedlinen be one of them…

EASY TO ACCESSORISE AND UPDATE

Image Source

When shopping for bed linen and comparing white to boldly patterned options, the latter always seem like the more interesting choice.  I disagree!  White goes with anything and can be livened up with patterned European and scatter cushions.  Place a textured throw at the foot of your bed and your design will sing!  To upgrade the whole look of the space, just change the cushions.  This can be done seasonally, or whenever the mood requires a change.  It’s much cheaper purchasing playful scatter cushions and accessories, than an entire bed set to update your room.

EASY TO CLEAN

Image Source

I have two teenagers in the house that practicaly live in their beds.  They tend to eat, read and do homework in their bedrooms (Oh, and sleep – I almost forgot the most important one…)  On top of that, the dog also like to have a cuddle, so you can imagine that bleach plays a significant part in cleaning the bedlinen on a regular basis.  Luckily, white bedlinen can be cleaned within an inch of its’ life, so that crisp, clean look is usually only one wash away.

IT GOES WITH ANYTHING

Image Source

If you’re sharing a bed with a masculine significant other, I’m sure you’ve had a fair share of comments about floral prints and “too feminine” colours in the bedroom.  White will keep both of you happy, as it goes with anything, from floral European pillows, to roughly textured cushions and throws.  Not that any man would be too bothered with decorative cushions – mine only complains about there being too many…

So have I changed your mind?

Cheerio ’til next time!

Please follow and like us:

Which Floor Suits what Style of Kitchen?

As if selecting a new floor for your kitchen isn’t hard enough, you have to keep in mind the size of the tile, width of the floor plank, how it will withstand spills and marks, and the end result or mood you want to achieve.  Today, we’ll touch on the 3 most popular finishes and which style of kitchen would work best with them.

POLISHED CONCRETE

Polished Concrete

Polished concrete is the material of choice for many new homes and gives a contemporary feel to a space.  It’s a great accompaniment to industrial style kitchens, but the grey undertones could easily look too cold and uninviting for the area that’s meant to be the heart of the home.  Luckily, this can be remedied by bringing in rich tones to balance out the cool greys.  Timber cabinetry or even small touches of natural elements such as wooden spoons, cutting boards or timber stools can chase away the sterility of the cold hardness of a concrete floor.  To impart a more industrial edge, try an exposed brick wall to entirely steal the show!  Combine this with black taps and appliances and you have a winner.

TIMBER FLOORING

You’d think that pairing timber flooring with timber cabinets, would have the same cringe worthy effect as denim on denim (and even that’s back in fashion big time!)  The beauty of timber flooring is that you could go as sleek and modern, or as traditional as you like.  Timber flooring has a timeless elegance that would go with anything and can be moulded into any style that takes your fancy.  If you want to combine timber cabinets with your timber floor, make sure that the timber tones don’t clash.  If you prefer darker timber cabinets, use the darkest shade in your timber floor as contrast.  Another way to reach visual panache (sounds fancy, doesn’t it) is to combine your timber floor with white or black cabinets and a marble look benchtop.  This combination would suit the more classic styles like Modern Country, Hamptons or even a Beachy look perfectly.  Add a bowl of fruit and fresh flowers and your design is complete!

CERAMIC TILE

Tiled floors give you freedom in a sense that other flooring finishes could never achieve.  Options in shape, size, colour and patterns are limitless and because of it’s ability to mimic other surfaces such as concrete or timber, the visual effect they can create are endless. You can create any design tile you like.  If you’re all about drama, apply patterned or coloured tiles.  Just take special care with your splashback when you have a screamer of a floor.  Dim the splashback down with neutral or white patterned tiles, rather than adding another colour.  Alternatively, if you’re more of a traditional girl, there’s nothing wrong with the more understated tile varieties, which can also pack a punch if used correctly.

If this stage of your renovation is still doing your head in, you might need a visit to a tile or timber floor specialist with us!  You know where to find us 🙂

Cheerio ’til next time!

Please follow and like us:

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

Image Source

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

Image Source

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

Image Source

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

Image Source

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!

Please follow and like us:

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!

Please follow and like us:

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!

Please follow and like us:

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

2

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

Please follow and like us: