Thursday, 29 March 2012

Bathroom Trend

A new trend seems to be emerging in bathroom design. Many designs I'm coming across now are featuring fireplaces (yes I know I'm really on the fireplace bandwagon at the moment!).

Bathrooms have long been a place of relaxation and indulgence. You have a fireplace in your living room for warmth and to create a relaxing, cozy atmosphere, so why not your bathroom too? Of course in history bathroom fireplaces were to provide warmth. These days our houses are generally well and efficiently heated, so a fireplace in a bathroom really is considered a luxury.

I still can't decide which type of fireplace is best suited for a bathroom location. Wall mounted fireplaces are great, as they are in your direct line of vision as you lay back in the bath unwinding and watching the flickering light. On the other hand, I'm not sure if having a fireplace at head height, whilst being submerged in hot water would result in you feeling as though you're being lowered into a volcano!

The more traditional style, floor fireplaces are just as beautiful, though work best when set opposite the bath so you can view them at more of a distance. 

Needless to say, in this day and age, gas or electric fireplaces are really the only way to go in bathrooms. Lugging a pile of wood into the bathroom before fiddling about with kindling, fire starters and matches, is probably taking away from the relaxing mind set you are trying to obtain.

(As a quick side note - I am so in love with the beautiful tile chosen for the wall surrounding the fire in the first photo. It works so beautifully in the bathroom).

An indulgence it may be, but I think they are definitely worth the investment for anyone that likes to spend some time soaking the day away in the tub!

Friday, 23 March 2012


Now that the equinox has passed, our days will be getting shorter and cooler. Living on the coast in NSW means we aren't exposed to the cold, harsh Winter many other parts of the world have to endure, but I'm still not a huge fan of Winter. I'd take a warm, sunny beach over a snow covered mountain any day! Out of fairness to the snow lovers, I'll be honest and admit, I've only ever been to the snow twice. Once on a school trip, where the teachers handed out garbage bags for us to slide on "to experience the snow" and the other time with friends. On this trip I actually had a pair of skis but they didn't get a lot of use as I literally took one step outside our cabin and fell flat on my behind! That pretty much set the trend for the remainder of that day, until I was so cold, wet and bruised that I retreated early to the nice bar with a blazing fire. Which brings me to this post (I know it was quite a digression to get here)....fireplaces.

I LOVE fireplaces. Of course they are fabulous sources of heat, come in various types, shapes & sizes and are more often than not a focal point in a room, but most importantly, they create atmosphere. Atmosphere is why you now see many fireplaces that actually emit very little heat, but are pleasing to look at.

If you have a new build home and feel that it lacks some of the features older homes have, try putting in a fireplace (even if it's an electric one). You'll be amazed at what it will do to bring some life to your home.

Contemporary fireplaces are normally mounted on a wall, up off the floor. They either have no surround or sleek, clean lines for their surround.

Traditional or classic fireplaces have a decorative surround and mantel. I currently have a contemporary fireplace but really prefer a more classic or traditional style.....I guess that will have to wait for our next house!

And then there are those that are anything but ordinary! These designs are by French company Arkiane.

Hopefully these fireplace images have helped all my southern hemisphere readers get into a warm, snug, wintery mood.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Project - Fisherman's Cottage

One of my latest projects involved helping the owners of a run down 1930's fisherman's cottage transform it into a lovely, light and bright home. As it is located just a short stroll to the waterfront, we wanted to nod to it's bay location by bringing in some turquoise and aqua tones.

The most amazing thing about this particular project, is that the renovation was completed with just $12,000! This was possible through lots of hard work by the owners themselves and reusing many pieces of furniture they already owned.

The first photo below shows the dining area looking back into the loungeroom. The door into the second bedroom was located just to the left of the fireplace. This door was closed up and moved onto the adjacent wall opening straight into the living room. The old fireplace was also removed, allowing us to create a proper dining area.

Dining Before

Dining After

Below are photos of the kitchen. The old kitchen was actually in very good condition, albeit a bit old and tired. Because the kitchen carcasses and doors were in good condition we decided so simply paint them white and change the hardware. The stove was quite new, as was the range, so they did not need to be replaced. A beautiful green/aqua colour was chosen for the island cabinets to make a feature of the island. This colour was repeated on a feature wall in the living room.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

Close up of the glass tile used as the splashback. The glass tile references water with its watery blue/grey/green tones and little bits of sparkle.

Below are the before and after images of the living room. The 'after' image shows the biggest budgeted item in the project, the new floor, which was installed throughout the cottage...that carpet just had to go!

As you can see from the 'before' photo, this room was in dire need of an update. The pole in the middle of the room was (thankfully) moved and the stained glass window had a date with the recycle yard!

Living Room Before

Living Room After
I just love this cottage now, it has such a better feel to it than it did before. The last job on the list is to renovate the facade of the cottage, when that has been completed I will post some images of that too!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Downsizing Trend

Over the last year I've been reading more and more about people deciding to downsize their homes. This trend was previously reserved for the empty nesters who realised there was little point in keeping their very large family homes once the children had flown the nest. These days though, the trend seems to be among families and even young couples who appear to be making more of a lifestyle choice.

There have also been many celebrities making the decision to sell their enormous mansions and downsize to something more "sensible". Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi recently sold their 15,000 square foot mansion and replaced it with a 4,000 square foot home in Malibu. Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott sold their home and downsized to a more modest 2,300 square foot home. Jennifer Aniston also downsized from a 10,000 to 1,760 square feet home.

Of course in each of these examples, they are hardly selling 15 bedroom mansions and moving into a studio apartment, but at the same time, many have revealed that they simply decided the houses were just too big for them. Tori Spelling was quoted as saying she wanted a more cosy home where the family are closer together and not spread out throughout a large home.

For regular people, a smaller home means less cleaning, lower heating and cooling costs, less maintenance and an opportunity to use your decorating budget to obtain a very high end finish, as large houses are renowned for absorbing enormous amounts of cash when redecorating! Of course, downsizing also gives people the opportunity to upgrade the location of their home.  Below are some images of fabulous smaller rooms. I've also included a photo of Tori & Dean's previous home, I love the bright colours in their living room.

Tori, Dean and their two children in their old living room.

Candice Olson

Good design is so important to make smaller living rooms work really well.


Banquettes (which are in-built bench seats) are a great way to seat a lot of people in a small dining space.


Whenever you are downsizing to less space there will always be the issue of storage. All you really need to do is be creative and use any nook you have available to it's full advantage, as they have done above.

So whether this will be a passing trend or not, it does raise the question - does a smaller house in a better location, with higher end finishes, make downsizing worth it?

Friday, 2 March 2012

Ombre Effect

The ombre trend has been increasing in the Northern Hemisphere, both in fashion and interior accents. I'm hoping to see more of it here in Australia, as I love it!

Ombre is a dip dyeing technique that results in beautiful blended colour. Of course this effect is most popular on fabrics but can also be used on painted furniture and as you'll see below as beautiful light fixtures.

This stunning pendant was actually a DIY project on the Martha Stewart website, though I was unable to find the exact article to link to.

I love the colours used in this artwork. This was made using paint chips, I would imagine this person holds patience as a virtue!

This pretty quilt cover and shower curtain were available through Anthropologie. I especially love the greens and blues mixed in the shower curtain. These muted colour combinations would look so lovely in a nursery, it's a shame shower curtains are so short...

The above two images show how great drawers look painted in slightly different tones of the same colour palette. I also love the paint dipped effect on the chair under the desk in the first picture, this just adds another layer to the scheme.

Normally the ombre effect is used with the lightest colour at the top, gradually getting darker. I love that these curtains have been used in the opposite way and then the colour replicated at ground level in the chairs.

As with any trend in interiors, cushions are a simple, easy & cost effective way to incorporate ombres into your home.

In my opinion ombres are certainly more visually appealing than tie-dying so hopefully they will stay on-trend for a while longer.