I have recently contributed to the Houzz Australia team in writing this Ideabook. These recipes for success will have your interior designer dishing up Scandi style in your living areas, just the way you like it.
We're expanding our Design Studio. You'll find external and internal materials & finishes, an up-to-date Interior Design library, all neatly filed for large and small scale projects. For coffee, we're a stones throw from one of the best cafes in Melbourne - Howard Street. We'd love to hear from you to discuss your project further. Please call to arrange an appointment.
I’ve always found the entrance of the home to be a place of inspiration. From an interior design perspective, it’s the most important place in the home. It sets the stage for your style and sends a distinctive message to your guests.
I often tell my clients that the entrance of their home should be inviting and invoke feelings of beauty, happiness and of course comfort. For guests, the entryway presents an opportunity to get to your tastes before they see the main living areas. It’s up to you to make it a space that inspires positive thoughts and practicing the art of Feng Shui is one of the best ways to do so.
To use Feng Shui in your entryway, first assess your space. What is in your entry way right now? Clutter? Rubbish? Dead plants? Start by eliminating the refuse and tidying up your space.
Next, look for ways to add harmony to your clean slate. Painting your front door a beautiful red or green colour is a great first step. Red represents prosperity and abundance and green represents nature and money. Both are highly respected in Feng Shui.
Another of my favourite ways to balance a home’s foyer is to add greenery. Plant healthy plants or flowers on either side of the front door to bring a hint of nature, but be cautious to not block the pathway.
Infuse the space with warm lighting. Bathe your décor and greenery with golden light to create a sense of warmth and welcoming as soon as you step foot in your home.
Let's not forget an all important floor mat. A colourful or neutral welcoming mat will encourage the person at the front to be at the ready for positive energy in your home. If you can, leave your shoes outside so unwanted energy (and dirt) isn’t brought into the home.
By making seemingly insignificant alterations to your entryway, you can change the energy of your home. As an interior designer, I strive to create this balance for each of my clients, and have used these methods to do so in the past. I hope they bring harmony to your home and inspire your creativity.
Photo credit goes to: mysweetsavannah.blogspot.com
Through a happy and unexpected turn of events, I arrived in the UK for the London Design Festival, 2015. This all came about by winning a competition sponsored by Warwick Fabrics. In a monumental week, I attended four trade shows in three days, a trade show party and whole swathe of events that form the best design event in the world.
So, one of the highlights was this - an opportunity to meet the highly regarded designer, academic and author, Isle Crawford. Described as Britain’s most influential woman within the design industry, Isle Crawford has crossed over many creative disciplines while staying true to her core beliefs.
Isle opens 100% Design, sharing her vast skyline of ideas. They are simple. When Isle designs, she starts with the human experience, prioritising well-being. By addressing changing times and values, her mission is to promote good, sensible design and its power to improve the way we work and live.
Isle takes current social academic research and translates through the ergonomics of her designs to humanise the experience. For example, a tablet is one object that most of us own. How do we sit when we hold this? We sit sideways or diagonally on chairs. How do we re-adjust our seating to adapt and be comfortable?
“For us, interior design is about so much more than choosing furniture, and it is our mission to change this perception. Good interior design is always more than the way things look (although that is certainly an important part of the toolkit). It is about making sure the human experience is prioritized when we build. It is about human happiness and well -being. It is about making life better. After all, inside buildings is where we live.”
Isle took us through the journeys of three recent projects, the 1st class airport lounge for Cathay Pacific. A range for Ikea with tactility and zero waste at the forefront and Isle’s new studio – made to be homely.
The whole mentality surrounding the design of airport lounges have changed for the better. Isle has broken down the clichés regarding food buffets, beverages, clinical bathrooms and seating. All senses have been considered carefully. Working closely with Cathay Pacific, Isle asked challenging questions. Why can’t food be made to order and nourishing? (It turns out that it doesn’t cost much more to provide this service.) Do people really want to drink alcohol before a long flight? Why not provide hydrating drink alternatives? Is there a place to rest and re-charge? What about a place to ‘plug-in’ comfortably?
“Historically the idea of feeling at home, of creating intimate space, was left to the individual. Architecture and design rarely paid much attention to it. Now this sensibility is moving into the public domain. Today we can and should be able to feel at home anywhere; in an airport lounge, a hotel, a bus, at work or in a bar. Designing spaces and buildings from the inside out is the future. We want our public space to feel more human, more habitable and the main challenge for the interior designer is to counteract the alienation and institutionalization that tends to go with the territory.”
At Q & A, Ms Crawford answered the ‘What next?’ question. “Building, by confronting the different typologies of a building and approaching in a different way”. Well said!
“A well-being designer is able to see things and see places - experiences that need change, then design with a cool head and warm heart – that is, combining reason with empathy”.
Hearing Isle's talk rang true in my heart, with full admiration. We are from the same tribe. Following a deep breath, I approached Isle and thanked her for being such an influential person, and humanising interior design, both professionally and holistically.
Photo credit goes to: (in order) studioisle.com, notey.com, austbt.com.au,
In a lifetime, on average we spend 10.3 years at work and 5 years sitting at a desk. The amount of screen time is on the rise and there's never been a more crucial time to create a more productive and happy office space.
1. Natural Elements
Open up those blinds and let in the natural light. Your internal clock will switch on instantly lifting the mood. If you're planning on renovating and don't have enough window light, install a skylight.
Open up those windows for some fresh air. If it's too cold, then consider an air purifier. Atomisers are designed for purifying the air, humidifying the air and increasing the negative ions in the air resulting in more oxygen flowing to the brain.
Just one plant per desk in an office can reduce CO2's by 50%, reduce noise by 5 decibels, increase creativity by 15% and reduce dry skin by 20%. If there's no floor space, then consider hanging a few plants from the ceiling. For inspiration, take a look at Mister Moss.
2. Ergonomic Furniture
Adjustable desks and chairs are crucial for productivity. The two chairs pictured above are not ideal for long term desk work. The best chairs designed for your own body shape, weight and movement is the Herman Miller Aeron Chair. Check your set up. Is your desk at the right height? Do you need two monitors? Is everything within reach?
3. Sand Timer
Heard about The Pomodoro Technique? Set the timer on a concentrated task for 25 minutes, take a break and repeat four times, then take a longer break. The technique is aimed at reducing interruptions and improving productivity. An elegant sand timer sitting on the desk is a better aesthetic than an everyday kitchen timer.
4. Pin Board
Pin ups help with brain functioning. A pin up area in your office can be a mind map of post it notes, a cork board or magnet board. Put up your favourite quotes, a memorable postcard, holiday inspiration and anything that makes you happy and focused on your goals. It's important to regularly change this images to keep the inspiration flowing.
Photo credit goes to: ultralinx.com
Janet Lee covers the important principles of designing small spaces. Janet's apartment is in one of the most amazing cities, Manhattan - yet the inspiration can be taken to any city in regards to the design principles and elements of colour, spacial planning, texture and light. There's no need for the 'boring white box' in tiny apartment living and being creative doesn't have to be expensive.Read more
Finding beautiful plants for your home can be fairly straight forward with a visit to your local quality nursery. Finding beautiful pot plant holders on the other hand, can be a challenge. My latest research sums up plant holders that are just as good as your plants.
1. Uashmama washable paper holders - washes and feels like leather but is paper.
2. Terrariums - one of my favourite 'centrepieces' when in between a trip to the florest.
3. Antique stands - I have an antique brass cigarette stand. Perfect for a maiden hair fern. Greenery looks fab when lifted off the ground.
4. Macrame - Know anyone who makes macrame? Crafty pot plant slant greenery to a new perspective, making a house a home.
Are you renovating or building a new bathroom? Are you stumped? Do you have 'information overload' syndrome!?! I've made a list of key requirements after being asked this popular question:
How do I create a bathroom space that is the WOW of the home?
Getting the bones right from the start is crucial. Once the materials and finishes are selected, plan the layout in tiles, borders, niches & recessed cabinets. Take into account the heating, lighting and plumbing as this is very imported at the early stages to save any double handling. Invest in a good tiler. It’s all about the detail. A good tiler will mitre join the tiles in a recess to avoid those icky metal trims.
Break the rules
My style is quite classic, with a mix of quirk. I am a big rule breaker. It’s the unthinkable thrown in, the risk taking that make my clients happy with the overall look. Perhaps break away from the usual, by putting an old tram rack on the wall to hold towels or a coat stand for towel hooks. Think outside the square (or rectangle?).
Bedsides the imperative task lighting, consider ambient lighting for relaxing. A beautiful pendant light or wall light can be a strong focal point – like a sculptural art piece. And don’t forget to add a dimmer to the switch!
Show off those beautiful towels, add colour, texture or tone. Display your favourite soaps & scents on a tray. Trays are my ‘go-to’ for keeping objects organised and looking effortlessly styled. If you have a shower curtain, make it a bold statement.
1. Indoor Plants
Biophilia is the ‘it’ term catching on in the world. It’s an interior design trend that in my opinion will go from strength to strength, thankfully. The term biophilia put simply means ‘love of life or living systems’. Humans have an innate or instinctive affinity with other living systems such as nature. As an increasing amount of us move into apartments, we tend to flock to the parks or create living systems in our inner sanctuary. I’m a big fan of indoor plants, not just for the sense of calmness they bring, but they also cleanse the air. I didn’t know until recently that air pollution levels indoors are almost always higher than outside levels, even in busy city centres! So keep up the greens, I say. I can’t go past the fiddle leaf fig, terrariums, Spanish air plants and a little newbie in my home – a little gem called the string of peas… Pea pods soooo cute that I could eat them!
2. Green Friendly House Paint
Choosing colours is up there with one of my favourite things to do and above all, custom mixing colours, concocting the perfect colour and finish for projects. I played with my own project this week end - sanding and finishing the outdoor setting ready for summer. Success! And I have the added assurance that the paints chosen have less than 0.7% VOC’s. (Volatile Organic Compounds)
3. Bamboo Bed Linen
Did you know that we spend a third of our lives in bed? A good night’s rest is worth the investment of good linen. Bamboo is a renewable plant and when broken down, it’s a natural and hypo allergenic fibre which naturally breathes. Bamboo linen feels like silk and keeps warmth in winter, yet cool in summer.
4. Kester Black Nail Polish
So the segway between nail polish and interior design is this: COLOUR! Not only does the local manufactured Kester Black have the most fabulous hues, they are kindred spirits in my philosophy. They are a vegan non-toxic polish to make you feel warm and fuzzy at just a glance.
5. Scented Soy Candles
Soy candles are made from natural soybeans. With soy based candles, we support our farmers. Soybeans are a renewable source and are non-toxic when they burn. Even when the candles aren’t burning, the smell lingers. When burnt fig and cassis melts, the smell is delightful.
Photo credit goes to: gardenista.com; porterspaints.com.au & kesterblack.com x
Going back a few weeks, I was on the Ask an Expert panel (with KBDI) at the Melbourne Home Show. We discussed the questions that keep renovators and builders stumped. (Pardon the pun) It was interesting to see that the same questions kept on popping up. Most people seem to know what style they like, especially in kitchens & bathrooms, yet scratch their heads at three main issues. So, the first question is:
What is the best way to make a bathroom look & feel more spacious?
Space Planning - If there is a hinged door, swap it over to a cavity slider as the extra space makes a BIG difference. Trade the shower curtain in for a glass screen and think about floating the cabinetry off the floor.
Colour - What colours do you prefer? Do you like depth in a hue or bright white? Obviously, the lighter the colour, the more light will reflect, making the room look more open. Darker colours absorb the light making the room cosy. The best colours to create optical space are the light whites (well, technically white isn’t a colour!) and pastels in the cool spectrum. If the bathroom is south facing, I recommend slightly warmer tones. Be careful not to make the bathroom look too white - like someone has tipped a can of white paint over the room! Contrast and interest is the key.
Light - Is there sufficient natural light from the windows? If not, is the potential to install a sky light? Imagine a glass ceiling / sky light set above a walk in rain shower... Consider recessed lighting and also decorative lighting; like one single clear glass pendant that reflects off the vanity mirror ... two birds - lighting AND a focal point solved!
Lines - Vertical lines play a trick on the eye and make the ceiling appear taller. Tiles look great when they run up the wall, or a tall framed mirror...
Mirrors - They are a gem for reflecting natural light and practical as storage cabinets. Try to incorporate a mirror as large as possible for the space.
Simplicity - Last but not least, keep it simple. Throw out or recycle the clutter and be free!!!
On a personal note, I like to introduce furniture into bathrooms to give the space more character. My bathroom has a little ceramic stool sitting in a nook next to the bathtub. It not only looks good, but is practical. Above the stool is a double hook to hang the daily garb... Happy space planning!
Photo credit goes to: Design Hunter via Pinterest x
Interior Design Trend 2015::2016
Re-construct addresses a trend of our desire to simplify. Our lives are fast paced, information overloaded with infinite choices which can be quite stressful. We live in a time where we available 24/7 with instant messaging, where we forego taking the time to think slower. An antidote to this can be by creating soothing & calming spaces that are quiet. A sense of order, clarity and control which counteracts the disorder and lack of control that many people feel in their lives at the moment. This is a new minimalism which is different to the older style. It’s about paring things back without stripping everything away. It’s more softer, feminine and more well-being this time around. This trend is being influenced by many architectural projects. Ie: Lourve in Abu Dhabi – 2015 … A new type of sanctuary with ethereal qualities of light.
· Colour – white is the foundation and grey marble / concrete. Cool crystaline minty greens, formaldehyde greeny blue, amethyst and lilac, ombre’s and diffused pastels.
· Materials & Textures – milky resins, poured quality of concrete that is pitted, scratched and has an industrial quality. Concrete is a macro trend as it is weighty, yet simple and can be relied upon. Futuristic coloured glass & green friendly plastic with a coolness. Transparency, halo’s emitting from products through reflection of light.
I've interpreted this trend into a moodboard, bringing out the ethereal qualities for a bedroom. The aim is to create a cloud-like oasis away from the everyday clutter.
Photo credits go to: simplyseductiveblogspot.com.au ; https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/sixthandmain ; https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/TheMakerage ;