Nothing completes a room like a rug, it seems to bring all the furniture together & make it feel whole somehow. The rule of thumb with rugs is, the larger the better. Clients are always surprised when I suggest really large rugs when we’ve just done new floors, but that’s because the larger the rug, the larger the room will feel. You see when we clock a space we read where things stop & start, our eye very subtly picks up on perimeters. And nothing screams, I didn’t quite get this right like a rug that’s too small. Kind of like a hemline that’s just a bit too short, ruins the whole dress. Anyway, open plan living spaces call for large rugs, sit the furniture mostly on, but just off (see image above, and more of this project here) & go as large as you can.
For a while now I’ve been shopping online more & more, anything from groceries to kids stuff. Whilst it started when I had a little one & couldn’t get out of the house, it has now developed into a fully-fledged habit. So I thought I’d post some of my favourite stores for finishing off the house. After all, our homes needs quite a lot of layers to create interest & excitement after the tradespeople have left!
Mr Kitly: For all the smaller & more obscure arty finds from beautiful ceramics to exquisite Japanese metalware. A must visit. One of the triangular brass paperweights from Masanori Oji + Futagami is currently adorning my mantel.
Safari Living: Ten years on & still going strong thanks to Felicity Rulikowski’s pitch perfect eye. Stable brands include Marimekko, Missoni, Muuto, Donna Wilson & Design House Stockholm amongst others. Practically everything you need to finish off the house.
The Minimalist: To quote from the source: “unique, limited edition and designer made product from around the globe. The Minimalist isn’t about buying less but buying better. “
Third Drawer Down: Full to the brim with everything quirky for the kids & the not quite grown up kid in all of us. Personal favourites are the Worry Beads by Fredericks & Mae and the garlands, pinatas & paper decorations by New York favourites CONFETTISYSTEM
Top 3 by Design: Simply the best (read smartest, most functional & beautiful looking) design pieces for the home you can buy. Instead of trawling through the options, Top 3 has done the editing for you. Essential!
Dunlin Home: A beautiful edited collection of furniture, lighting & pieces for the home that feel rustic but well made which is often rare nowadays. A particular stand out is their lighting from Original BTC, check out the Stanley copper & brass pendants. Amazing!
Etsy: A post on the best online stores can’t leave out Etsy, the worlds best site for buying handmade, vintage, art & crafts & just plain quirky. Be warned though, time limits for surfing should apply. It’s addictive. I have some favorite shops I follow, check out 1001 Vintage for great ceramics & mid century modern, African House for Juju hats & the like and finally Beat Up Creations for altered vintage plates which I love right now.
One of the most important things to try & get right is having a comfortable bed that also looks good when you fluff the doona up & throw the pillows back on in one fell swoop as you rush out the door to work. My failsafe way to make your bed look gorgeous with minimal fuss is first to invest in tumbled linen that doesnt need ironing. Don’t worry about having a set of sleeping pillows & a set of dress pillows, buy good quality linen pillow cases that you can sleep on & will look gorgeous too. Try Altamira or Aura by Tracie Ellis for some of my favourites. For king size beds you do have to get king pillows otherwise you have that weird gap in between. Lay these down. On top of that, throw on a pair of 650x650mm European pillows, over the Euros do a pair of 500x500mm pillows in contrasting pattern or texture then finish with a 600×300 connecting pillow in front. For queen beds, standard size pillows are fine & substitute the 500′s for 450′s instead. Make sure you use some colour, texture or pattern that connects them all together. And you’re done.
Top picture from Elle Decor June 2012.
A few Before & After shots…
It’s been a massive couple of weeks deciding to paint the apartment which involved packing up half the house, moving over the parents place whilst the painters moved in & getting on site at 7am each morning to check on their progress. The decision to ‘go dark’ had been stewing around in my head for a while before we made the leap to get it all done in record time. And so began the search for the perfect colour. And that’s the thing, when it comes to really dark colours, that we don’t work with anywhere near as much as light colours, all the ‘rules’ really do apply. Colour is so strongly affected by light, & specifically the light in your pad, you must, I repeat must paint a big section on your wall & live with it for a few days. This is not for the faint hearted. Being as confident as I normally am with these things I trusted the multiple brush outs I’d done myself & went with the first colour I thought was right. Well it looked really different on the wall. So much so I had a few nervous moments during the week, hoping I could trust myself it would all turn out alright. It was a big risk but without big risk there is no pay off. The colour changes dramatically throughout the day, goes from moody, to brooding, to contemplative. It has taken a few days to adjust but I absolutely love it. I really do. So here’s a few things to look out for;
1. Go for murky colours with a neutral lean towards grey, trust me they will appear much stronger in colour tone than you think
2. Paint a big section or do multiple brush-outs & sit with it to digest how you will feel with the colour
3. Dark coloured walls need strong pops of colour in accessories & lights otherwise it’s drab & lifeless, so you’ll need to add a few new highlights
4. You’ll need to adjust your lighting, I’ve had to add more lamps
5. Use an experienced painter who is confident with the dark colour as this kind of job needs to be in sure hands. I used Hue Painting & Decorating
In the end I went with a Taubmans colour called Sheffield Grey & Frigate in the baby’s room. We used E -Colour zero VOC paint without all the nasties in it, which we had delivered to our door. It was a little more expensive for a 10L can but covers so well you need less than from the standard paint brands. So much so I have paint left over. Anyone? The painters really loved working with it said it went on like a dream. There was a little paint smell but not that much, we moved back in the next day after it was finished & slept happily. So happy with our moody hue. Are you in a daring mood…?
Anyone who was worked on a photoshoot before knows that styling a house to be magazine ready requires a huge amount of work. So I thought this post could be an interesting behind the scenes look at what actually goes on to pull together a house ready for the camera. Apart from the obvious cleaning & tidying, we shop or loan a swag of accessories to finish off our spaces. Mostly this is because we all live in a nearly finished interior (if we are lucky). In fact many live in a not quite started yet interior but that’s a whole other topic. So on a recent shoot we gathered the troops & traipsed around some suitable haunts for old vintage looking clocks, interesting bowls, canisters, flowers, candles, objects & even some carved pigs. We organised the book shelves, colour blocking & stacking, turfing the crappy stuff so the good things could breathe, filled the place with flowers and styled every surface down to cutting oranges & arranging herbs in jars. When we finished the clients were so thrilled they thought this must be someone else’s house, theirs didn’t look this good. Tantalized that they could make it theirs they bought the lot. And this got me thinking, if we’ve got all the basics sorted why don’t we know how to finish off our most treasured private spaces to reflect who we are.
Well we lack confidence & we don’t know how. Yes styling takes skill, it’s about artful placement, grouping things that share beautiful colour or tone & choosing objects & things that resonate with you. So go on, get your house in order! Here’s some before & after shots to give you some inspiration.
Here goes before:
This is my last post on little Kyneton gems for a while. If you’ve never made the trip before, take a day & head down to Piper St, there is so much creative stuff going on. Great little cafes like “inner biscuit” & a lovely old style gastro pub The Royal George are well worth a pit stop. Artist John Lloyd has a shop there, you’ll often find him painting out the back in his studio. Make sure you also pop into Prunella (recent post).
My last Kyneton find: Kabinett. It’s a vintage shop which has any number of great things in it. The difference is that often country stores hold a whole lot of promises but once inside there’s a bit of a mish-mash. Not here, and I’ve got to say, this isn’t the case for any of the shops in this strip. They’re very well curated & run by passionate people who are all creatives at heart & doing great stuff. Quite a few pieces like the deer head & the green cabinet from the country house project we did came from this store. Well worth a look.
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