Thursday, January 22, 2015

cottage renovation...the living room (part 1)

With the bedrooms freshly painted and restored, if not totally finished, it was time to tackle the 
living room.  This transformation is going to amaze you, it still amazes me!  We have gone from dirty and unloved to fresh and cosy.  Love it!!  See the before and after progress below.

Like many old cottages ours was divided into tiny little rooms, teeny living room with a weird hatch through to the kitchen area, accessed via a door in the passage in the corner of both rooms.  Weird, and hard to live in.  There was also a doors from the entrance area into the main bedroom, who knows why as there is another in the passage.

It all seemed so simple: knock down the wall between the living and kitchen, close up the extra door to the bedroom, lots and lots of fresh paint.
In reality it was a lot of hard work.  This little house was filthy and I really do mean decades of dirt and neglect that just don't show up on the before photographs.  Those curtains were just dusty, sun eaten rags, and the crackes between the cornices and the ceiling and walls just don't show up.
Before painting each wall required lots of filling, and the cornices took more tubes of Gap Filler than you can imagine.  That dirty mint paint just wouldn't say goodbye, lots of coats of paint.

We got a chippy to take down the wall, $500 very well spent!  But the edges and ceiling had to be sealed and plastered.  We still haven't quite finished this off, there are still a few gaps to be fixed and it needs to be primed and painted.   Look how dirty the paint is below!!

And looking back from the kitchen through the hatch.  All that yellow pine panelling - YUCK!

How amazing is the space with the wall gone!!  You can see I have started painting the pine a lovely fresh white, more on that later.

Still a lot to do, lots more white paint required, but a huge improvement already.  The windows in the kitchen area are flooded with north light, with the wall gone the living room is twice as light and warmer than it ever was before.  You can just see the gorgeous old Aga range in the kitchen, can't wait until the rest of the kitchen, and especially those tile, is white and bright too. 

I will be posting more of the living room soon.  See the girls shared bedroom here, super sweet and done on a very tight budget!  

Monday, January 19, 2015

plans for the new year

I can't stop thinking about this amazing video of Kara Rosenlund putting together vignettes.  Doing her vignette styling course is high on my wishlist for this year.  Even if you can't get to one its worth watching Kara's blog to be inspired by her amazing photography, below is just a taster of how good she is.

Her own home is a huge inspiration to me as we continue to tackle the renovation of our little cottage.
Next time we visit there is lots to do: 

  • finish painting the living room and kitchen (a big job given how dilapidated the house is and how much prep these rooms still need).
  • make cushions for the new dining bench seat
  • make coat rack
  • hang and hem curtains in the bedroom and living room (a monster undertaking that I will share with you soon)
  • paint some abstract art for the mantle (and try style it like I am Kara Rosenlund)
  • decide whether to retile or paint the kitchen backsplash, I am a little afraid of taking the tiles off
  • fix the outdoor laundry, starting with fixing the leaky roof it will need a new ceiling, and new cement floor and an enormous clean
  • paint the exterior black and add white trim to the windows
  • covert an old apple crate (found in the shed) to a herb garden
  • finish the bedside lamps, think exposed bulbs and yellow cord
  • make a copper pipe wall mounted lamp for the living room
I need a break just thinking about it.  I am looking forward to being at the other end of the to do list and sharing the finished product with you all. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

refreshing spaces for the new year project at a time

Right now I am totally inspired by this home below, beautifully styled by Pamela Makin (photos by Sharyn Cairns).  Oversize groups of plants and decorative elements with lots of different textures,  everything so big and bold, the end result so clean and strong.

It makes me want to give my space a shake up again.  Last year was all about adding texture to our home, moving things around, rethinking furniture we have had for years and adding a few new pieces (very few the budget has been tight).  It's never really going to be finished, and that's ok.  A home should be a progression just as life is.  

This year will be more of the same, refreshing spaces rather than redoing them.  So thought I would share my favourite projects from last year, as well as my top tips on how to give your space a refresh.

Top favourite change at home from 2014- the fireplace
Without a doubt the fireplace, built by my amazing husband takes out top spot.  It has totally changed our living space, finally making good sense of how the space works.  Lots and lots of planning went into this one, you can follow the whole process from here to the finished product below. Worth every penny and used every night from winter into spring.

Second favourite change from 2014 - the new couch
Again an agony of decision making went into this one, many hours visiting showrooms and sitting on sofas, measuring and drawing.  Love the final choice though.
Third favourite refresh from 2014 - adding succulents
Loving succulents around the home, and they seem to be ending up everywhere right now!!  These are a few of my favourite places they were used last year.  See how I updated my coffee table with succulents here, and the second photo is on my dining room table, very inspired by the images at the top of this post.

Top tips for refreshing your space in 2015
Start with one room, the one that will make the biggest difference
Choose the one room which will make the most difference to you if you pretty it up, the room where your efforts will be most rewarded.  The best way to keep motivated is to be able to see your past successes.

Start with a tidy, you need a fresh slate
Once you have decided which room you are going to tackle, pack away everything that has been left lying out, especially those dumping grounds where things accumulate (at the moment its the corner of my desk).  If things are not being put away because they don't have a home you need to plan extra storage and that might be a perfect first project. 

Choose inspiration and study the details
Pinterest is my favourite place to start these days.  Look back at pins you love, and search out new ones.  Look for similarities between the images you like, the details, fabrics and finishes that keep coming up.  Try and use these in your home.

Break down your tasks into achievable projects
Instead of one large daunting task, make a list and divide the project up into smaller decisions and more manageable projects.

Smaller and less costly, you may need a few new bits and pieces but not many
  • a few new cushions to add new colour and texture
  • a restyle of shelves and display areas, perhaps a few new decorative items
  • adding new or different lamps
  • a new vase and some flowers
Larger and more costly
  • new furniture and rugs
  • reframe or add new art work
  • refresh paint scheme
  • adding structural features or cabinetry
If you have no idea where to begin consider booking time with an interior designer to help you come up with a new scheme, and to help you choose what should stay and what should go.
Check out our lovely contributor Emma from Nest Designs services here.

Don't be put off because you can't do it all at once.
Every addition is a step towards the finished whole, few of us have the luxury of enough budget to change everything up at once.  Don't be daunted, decide where you are going and chip away at is as time and budget allows.

Shop in your own home
Walk around your home, poke around your cupboards, see what you can use to get that look you want without spending a cent.

Don't be afraid to move things around
This is often my biggest stumbling block.  I want to change things up but there is a lot of inertia against changing things, even little things.  Sometimes, I start by taking everything off the area I am trying to restyle, just to force myself to start again.  
All right, now its your turn, choose that first project, start pining some inspiration, and get started on making a change.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

christmas wishlist 2014...presents I want to give

Lovely things to give to those you treasure this festive season.  I only ever give gifts I would love to receive myself (like the tray from H&M), or love myself (like the Community cookbook which is the best present I received all year).  Everything is under $50, hope this makes your shopping easier!

Brass tray from H&M (see the rest of the H&M styling on Stylizmo), Community cook book from Arthur Street Kitchen, citrus and cedar candle, silver cushion from West Elm, MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Australian inspired Christmas...setting the table

Love this series of photos showing how the table setting progresses.  
See the detail of how to create the plate settings here, and construct and decorate the canopy here.
And all together now...The finished product just for fun, see the full post here.

Now that wasn't too hard...

Friday, December 5, 2014

australian inspired christmas christmas eucalyptus canopy

This is absolutely my favourite table setting ever!  It is so pretty to sit beneath, the light shimmering on the ornaments, the leaves smell fresh and eucalyptus minty, the hints of gold and humour with the Aussie animal decor (spot the pythons in the leaves).  
You can create your own Christmas canopy at home very easily.  Building and decorating the canopy took me about an hour and a half to do, not long for the gorgeous end effect.  This is worth giving a try!!!

You will need:

  • 4 bamboo poles (from local garden centre) cut to table size
  • string to tie canopy to ceiling hooks
  • 4 removable ceiling hooks (from local hardware store)
  • scissors
  • florist wire, I used silver because it disappears into the final arrangement
  • 3 bunches of eucalyptus leaves
  • 30 - 36 Christmas ornaments (mine are Vintermys from Ikea)

Step 1 - hang the bamboo structure
Cut the poles to roughly match the table dimensions.
Stick removable ceiling hook above each corner of the table.
Suspend bamboo from ceiling hook with string.  I positioned mine about 30cm above head height of a person seated so that the canopy decor won't hang into guests faces.

Step 2 - Attach the eucalyptus branches
Take individual eucalyptus branches and tie them to the bamboo pole with silver wire.
Arrange the branches so that they are partially supported by the bamboo but still hang down creating a soft feather effect.
I found it easier to suspend the poles first so that I could see the arrangement developing.

Step 3 - Add Christmas ornaments
I added ornaments as I was going along to get a sense of how I wanted it to look (see above)
Make sure to add ornaments in groups of 3 or 5 and hang them at different lengths so that the overall effect is loose and not over organised.

Colour choices
I wanted to create an Australian style Christmas, inspired by our Aussie animals, eucalyptus and the golden sunshine.  So I have chosen soft gold colours that are beautifully set off by the grey-green eucalyptus leaves.  It really feels like the sunshine dappling through bushland on a sunny day.  Its a lovely change from more traditional Christmas colours, much more suited to the summer celebrations of the southern hemisphere.

I picked up the gold again in the polka dot ribbons and sequins on the place settings, and of course my gold Aussie animals.  See the full diy for the place setting here.

Hope this inspires you to do something special and unexpected at your home this year.
See the full table setting post here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Australian inspired Christmas...eucalyptus and golden sunshine

This Christmas I have been inspired by all things Aussie: eucalyptus, the golden sunshine of our summer Christmas season, and the native animals.  Don't get me wrong, I love a traditional Christmas too but in reality an Australian Christmas just isn't about a snowy woodland.  Its all about swimming, backyard cricket, sunshine, and prawns on the barbie.  
So this year my decor is all gold and eucalyptus, like the sunlight in the bush, with a few of our cute and feisty native animals thrown in.  

Just love how our black walls show off this display!
I spray painted a pack of Australian animals gold to decorate the plates.  They are so cute and have already been carried off by Miss J!

I suspended eucalyptus branches and Christmas decorations from an over head canopy, it creates a wonderful bushland like feel.  The eucalytus scent is heavenly, and the gold decorations catch the light and shimmer prettily.  The canopy was easy to do, I will show you how in a diy in a few days.

Across the center of the table I laid smaller branches of eucalyptus, adding a few candles and votives for extra light, and a few hidden animals.  I wrapped the left over ribbon and sequins loosely around the candles for extra shimmer.

I am just loving how this table looks and feels and I can't wait to share it with friends and family on Christmas day.  I have done lots of tutorials so that you can get this look to: how to do the plates, building the canopy, and decorating the table.  Pop back soon to see them all and have a fabulous festive season at your home.