Tag: hills district interior designer

We visit the newly designed Google Offices in Sydney

If you could imagine in your wildest dreams what your ultimate work environment should look like, what will it be? Also, let’s say you’re between the age of 20 and 30… That’s the average age of the employees at the Google offices in Sydney. We recently had the privilege of having a tour of the recently completed Google offices. In our wildest dreams we didn’t think that we would find the following there:

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There are more breakout spaces and fun areas than office space! Even when you first exit the elevators, it looks like you’re in a train carriage. The fun factor has started and you know you’re “in for a ride!”

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The colourful Google office is filled with laughter, people walking around chatting, playing games and having lunch. It almost feels like recess at a school yard. Every area has a different theme and all the offices, break out spaces and meeting rooms are individually designed up to the finest details.

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In the reception area there are scooters, hockey sticks and bicycles, to be used to entertain employees or guests while waiting for their “passes” to enter. We were still thinking whether we should play a game, but then our names were called and we started our tour.

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We were blown away by all the “employee entertainment”, where gaming is actually encouraged. There are many areas with permanent game areas and X-Boxes and top of the range games set up to enjoy. Can you believe it, even a mini movie theatre where you can watch movies in laid back recliner chairs. One can think: When do they work?? Interesting enough,  there are no official working hours. If you deliver, do your job, meet the deadlines, then you can work when you want to. Google also knows that if you have proper time for resting, reloading and bonding with your fellow employees, you will be much more productive the second you need to focus on your work again.

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There’s even a music room downstairs where employees can have jam sessions. All the games and music equipment are top quality, and supplied by Google. Great way to get rid of all your frustrations on a drum kit! There are many chill out corners too. There you can just read a book, or even sleep for a few hours if you’re tired. This is great when employees are working on a new project that needs them at the office for long hours. This is a well known “problem” for many companies in the IT-industry. Work hours are variable, inconsistent and unplanned. At Google you can rest and work at the office.

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They cater for everybody. Even batman and mermaids! There are also a designated area for kids of employees. If you need to bring your kid to work for a few hours or you’re working late and want them to visit, they are welcome to spend time in the games areas. There they can play with all the legos and electronics provided by Google.

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There are plenty of kitchen areas throughout all three floors. Every breakout area looks completely different. Best part of course, everything is for free! Coffee, breakfast, fruit and whatever lollies or cookies you can find in the drawers! No wonder the average employee gains 5kg in the first year. Although Google are very focused on providing healthy foods, most people over indulge when food are free!

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The meeting rooms all have themes. Most of them are designed by employees. They are mostly bright and busy. Perfect for the age and type of business Google is. Personally I will struggle to concentrate in these meeting rooms, especially the one with paint-splattered walls and Hazmat suits. Yes, there are work spaces too, but we were not allowed to take photos there due tot privacy regulations. Interestingly, most of the employees make use of standing desks.

Would you like such a working environment? How will you feel about the buzz, vibe and noise that are always around you? What do you have at your work place that you think is amazing? Being a successful global company, Google obviously has the financial backing and full time design teams to create these office designs. All the offices throughout the world have these funky and quirky themes.

I bet you will look at your office environment in a totally new way tomorrow! Don’t forget, if your office needs a quick facelift or a brand new design, we can also help you with that!

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

 

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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

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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

stick to style rustic romantic
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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!

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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!

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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!

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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

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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

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Lyndie’s Home Renovation: The Pool Progress

 

home renovation, digging pool

Everyone that lives in Cherrybrook, Northwest of Sydney, knows that soaring temperatures well into the 30’s occur quite frequently during summer time.  With the ocean a good 45 minutes drive away and running through the sprinkler not cutting it any more, we decided to take the big step of putting a 4m x 8m concrete pool into our small backyard.  If you missed my first blog about our pool installation, check this link out.

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The view from our kitchen is becoming increasingly disturbing at this stage.  I think we’re running out of space…

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We’re ready to get the framing up to start concreting.  Next week, I’ll show you how the concreting is coming along.  To see what we did to the interior of our home, have a look at 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.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Lyndie’s Home Renovation – THE BAR REVEAL

A home bar is something every grown up home should have. Grown ups like popping into each others homes’ for a drink, either to wind down after a busy day, but mostly to get away from their children 🙂  Of course, you don’t need the full Monty bar… a bar cart with a few essential items will certainly do the trick!  In our case, we chucked our formal lounge during our renovation, not because we love drinking that much, but because we tend to dine informally (and to accommodate our drinking friends 🙂   To follow our bar renovation and inspiration, follow these links:  Lyndie’s Bar Inspiration and Formal Dining Room Demolition.

Facebook first image bar reveal

 

Bar installation

Our vision for our bar is slowly coming into fruition. The height of the glass pendant lights are determined and the back and front counters are installed.

First drinks new bar

Luckily there’s time for a break after a hard days’ work!  The guys are getting very excited about having the first cold one to initiate the new bar!

Bar black panelling rustic timber top

At last, it’s finished!  It was great fun unpacking everything into the shelves.  Now we can pretend we’re having a night out on the town every night!

bar antique glass splashback

 

accent chair black and linen

 

rustic solid timber bar top

 

bar counter glass pendants

This new area makes entertaining a breeze.  We love how the formal lounge flows into the bar and then out to the new entertaining area with fireplace.  I see a few social gatherings happening this year!

Let us know if your home needs a make over.  A renovation can be very daunting, especially if you haven’t experienced it before.  We draw up plans for council approval, assist in layouts, as well as selection of all your finishes.  To see the changes we made to 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.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Lyndie’s Renovation – BAR INSPIRATION

When we decided to reconfigure the interior of our home to suit the way we lived, the conversation between my husband and I steered towards every man’s dream,  a cellar, or man cave.  In my mind’s eye I could already picture the ladies sitting around the dinner table (or most likely doing dishes) and the guys congregating in the underground cellar, getting worked up about rugby, army and politics.  Seeing that our formal dining area would become an unused space after building the extension, we decided that this would be the best spot for the new bar, rather than excavating into the ground.  This would ensure a great flow from the formal lounge into the bar and then out into the new extension with fireplace (which you will see in the following few weeks).

New bar before

Hard to believe that this area would soon house a bar, but it’s wonderful to work with such a blank canvas!

New bar cabinetry

As our bar area would have an open doorway from the kitchen, the two rooms needed to “talk” to each other, but we certainly didn’t want the bar to looking like an extension of a kitchen.  We used black polyurethane cabinetry in the kitchen and finished it with Caesar stone benchtops, so we needed to repeat these finishes in the bar for cohesion.  We also wanted open shelving to display a whiskey collection, a sink and tap for quick rinsing and a cabinet for the storage of  wine and glasses.  We also designed a bar counter with a cavity at the back, so that bar stools could be stored out of sight when not in use.

New bar inspiration

We definitely wanted to steer away from the traditional timber bar look with framed rugby jerseys against the wall, as this would not suit the style of our formal lounge room, which is connected to the bar.  By using black cabinetry, an immediate sense of drama and old worldliness was created, which was further enhanced by an antique mirror splashback and soft lighting that cast a glow on the whiskey display.  We decided to finish the bar counter in black panelling and a timber top, to suit a modern country style and to create an informal atmosphere in the area.   Glass pendant lights, which mimicked the shape of a wine glass, were installed above the bar counter.  The only thing missing, was a rustic timber slab for the top…

the-discovery

Funnily enough, it was on a search for an ever evasive winery during a recent holiday in Mollymook, South of Sydney, that  we came across a timber yard.  As luck would have it, they had the most exquisite timber slabs, just perfect for our new bar!   It only took a tractor and bent roof racks to get it back to Sydney, but it was well worth the effort!

Next week, I’ll show you the end result…

If you would like to follow the changes we made to other parts of our house, 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.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Lyndie’s Renovation – Formal Dining Room Demolition

Setting up home is all about learning how you like to live in it.  Seeing that we’ve been living in our home for the past 12 years, a few things dawned on us during this time.  Firstly, we realised that we’re not ones for formal dining arrangements and secondly, we “needed” (wanted) a home bar.  I gently persuaded my husband that an underground cellar would probably not be the way to go, as this would segregate the drinkers from the non-drinkers (who we still need to meet) too much.  We decided to ditch the formal dining room, as the new extension would house a large table for dining and social gatherings and we had a small dining table in the new kitchen for family dinners.  The former formal dining room would now be opened up with bi-fold doors and connect to the new extension and become our bar.  So this is what we did:

Dining room Renovation - Before

Dining room renovatoin - The Changes

Dining room renovation - bifold door frame

Dining room Renovation - levelling floor

dining room renovation - level floor

dining room renovation - gyprocking

Next week, I’ll show you the inspiration behind the bar design and what finishes we selected to make it fit in with the style of the kitchen and formal lounge area.

If you would like to follow our 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.

If your home bar needs an update or you’re wondering where to install one, give us a call for some instant inspiration 🙂  We could give you a full bar design, selection of finishes, or assist you with a quick update for your bar as well as a cocktail making course (only kidding).

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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