Four ways to fall back in love with your bedroom

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From childhood, the bedroom is considered a safe and comfortable space. It’s where you play with your favourite toys, have sleepovers with friends, and later in life stay up completing assignments. While it’s where you drift off to sleep, it’s also your personal haven.

These values should continue to resonate in adulthood – as you grow, so should the things you take comfort in. One of the best ways to maintain this sense of security and reenergise your space is to give your bedroom a makeover every so often.

1. Mattress

It would be amazing if we could just keep the same old mattress forever, but sadly that isn’t the case. They get old, they get worn out, and they stop supporting your body as well as they should. This can lead to stiff and sore muscles, back and neck problems and interrupted sleep patterns. Make sure you speak to a specialist like Sleepy’s when picking out a new mattress for your bedroom makeover so you get one that’s perfect for you.

2. Furniture

The choice of bedroom furniture can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding the right balance between form and function is key – a wardrobe isn’t any good to you if it’s beautiful but not big enough to fit all of your clothes. Matching suites are often a good idea as they allow you to give the room a theme with a minimum of fuss, and they provide everything you need.

3. Decor

Once your furniture is in place, it’s time to have fun with decorations. Find the things that speak to you as a person – this is your bedroom, why shouldn’t it reflect the things you like? Hang art on the walls, paint a wall in your favourite colour, or find some quirky décor pieces. Consider getting a positive mantra framed and put it on your dressing table. It’s your room – do it your way.

4. Curtains and Light

Light is a bit of a tricky thing to manage in the bedroom. You need there to be plenty of artificial light in the evenings and natural sunlight throughout the day, but you also don’t want too much light getting in on Saturday morning and ruining your sleep in. Consider some lamps at the bedside for evening light and a reasonably thick set of curtains or blinds for when you need to keep light out.

These are just a handful of tips you can use to give your bedroom the makeover it deserves.

Image from here.

4 Essentials for Your Home Office

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Setting up a home office doesn’t have to mean watching seventeen episodes of Grand Designs for inspiration. An office is an office, be it in a skyscraper or a repurposed bedroom in your home, which means that creating a functional, pleasant work environment is of vital importance. Here are just a few of the essentials to consider when putting your home office together.

1. Sound

Having music on in the background is a great way to boost concentration and maintain focus. There are a number of speakers you could choose for this but among the best are wireless speakers like the Sonos Play:3. These can be purchased from most audio-visual retailers like Todds Hi Fi and they can be wall- or ceiling-mounted if you need desk space. They are stylish enough to place on a table if you prefer and they don’t need cables of any kind. Most importantly, they sound amazing.

2. Tech

No office is complete without an assortment of IT items and peripherals. From reliable computers to printers, Wi-Fi routers to keep your cable management under control and tablet devices for when you need to hit the road, all will allow you to keep your office and your life running smoothly and efficiently. Bonus points for planning ahead and ensuring as many items as possible are compatible with each other!

3. Stationery

You’d be surprised how easy it is to run out of stationery, even at home. Pens and pencils, erasers and liquid paper, sharpeners, printer ink and even printer paper — make sure you have a reasonable supply of each on hand for top ups and refills. You don’t want to be caught short when you really need them. For an extra degree of professionalism, consider investing in a nice pen for yourself.

4. Storage

Of course, you’re going to need somewhere to keep all that excess stationary, and all of your business records besides. Make sure you have enough storage available to keep your hard copies secure. Invest in a safe if you plan to store cash or sensitive documents in the office. A filing cabinet, though hefty should you ever have to move, is invaluable for keeping important documents in pristine order.

These are just a few of the essentials you should be keeping in mind when putting your home office together. Make sure you don’t overstock, however — your workspace should always remain airy and well-lit to ensure a productive work day.

Image from here.

WIN a $500 Jason Agustina Furniture Gift Voucher!

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Brisbane-based furniture company Jason Agustina is all about providing exquisite design at a fraction of the cost. They partner with the most creative designers and manufacturers to source their furniture, ensuring not only exquisite design but excellent finish and quality that will last and last. And now they’re offering a $500 gift voucher for one lucky winner!!

ENTER HERE and check out our recent feature about this innovative new company!

The prettiest of plates, by GT Homewares

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I love crockery that isn’t perfect, rather plates and bowls that have an organic, pebble-like shape. And I think that’s the perfect way to describe the beautiful new tabletop collection by Glenn Tebble for his brand, GT Homewares.

It features satin glazed pieces in six shades including Ash, Earth, Grass, Onyx, Sky and Soil. The pieces are hand crafted by one of the world’s most established and highly regarded potteries, Bendigo Pottery. Established in the 1850’s during the gold rush, this Victorian treasure produces high quality pieces to stand the test of time.

Glenn worked as a ceramics teacher for more than 20 years, and now his pieces feature in some of the top restaurants in Australia such as Ezard, Aria and Muse. Glenn’s designs have also been featured on top TV cooking shows including My Kitchen Rules and Masterchef.

Even World class chef, Diego Munoz, is an avid fan of GT Homewares saying,

“Glenn’s plates are a great compliment to the food I present. I love the texture and the colours. The feel of them really enhance the whole dining experience.”

Renowned Australian chef Guy Grossi, also loves the design fluidity of GT Homewares:

“They are the perfect balance between earthiness and elegance. They fit the style of our Grill perfectly.”

Available to purchase online, Glenn Tebble’s pieces are a perfect combination of modern and timeless. Take a look…

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Images: Nicole Butler for Muse

How to use Nordic style to transform your bedroom

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The Nordic countries occupy a relatively small pocket of Northern Europe and the North Atlantic, but their iconic style influences all corners of the globe. Temple & Webster Stylist, Sarah Cousens shares her simple tips for creating the Nordic look in your bedroom.

The bedside breakdown

Beneficial to all number of decor schemes and spaces, the “accidental” (yet totally intentional) vignette can be complex to master.  Sarah opted for a sleek hexagonal tray on the side table. It acts as an anchor for the decorative items placed on top and forces you to cluster your objects. The result is that you create a tidy styling moment rather than a hot mess. Plus, if your items are on a tray they’re a lot easier to move around when you find yourself in need of extra space. Win/ win.

When more is more

Let’s talk about the bed. Sarah’s advice is to “layer minimalist patterns with neutrals to create a clean yet cozy look”. Here, she’s used upwards of 3 patterns, as well as a palette of white, grey, mint and bold blue. Why isn’t it over the top? Commonalities like consistent straight lines or a family of cool colours marry the different elements. Also a number of the patterns work more like subtle textures. Plump up those pillows and you’re good to go.

Style with shapes

“Geometric shapes give the space a clean feel,” Sarah says. Note the cork cone, marble effect prism, and of course, that generous round mirror. Gorgeous as they are, alone they can be too harsh. “Pair them with organic lines to soften the look and create a more bedroom-friendly feel,” Sarah adds. And right she is. The grain on the timber feature wall is the hero here, but the touch of greenery and the fluidity of the ceramic vessel have the same end game.

Shop the Nordic look at www.templeandwebster.com.au

Sarah’s top picks: 

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The magic that is One Tiny Tribe

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It’s hard not to feel a sense of pride when you see a small Australian business simply smashing it. So when I stumbled across One Tiny Tribe, I couldn’t help but fall in love with their simple, modern and fun-loving prints and the fact that they are absolutely killin’ it on Instagram.
Then, I discovered their ‘Messy Collection’ – totally adorable – and I decided I had to speak to the owner Branka to find out more about One Tiny Tribe‘s spectacular growth, as it claims its spot in the ‘best of’ Aussie homewares landscape. Take a read!
– What were you doing before OTT?
Before One Tiny Tribe I spent years crafting my skills in digital user experience and conversion optimisation. I’m a digital copywriter by trade and still do freelance digital strategy on the side, but One Tiny Tribe has definitely taken over most of my time.
– What made you start OTT?
When I went on maternity leave for the second time, I fell into the world of children’s interior design. I was both amazed at the vast array of amazing styles and products, but also shocked at the amount of poor quality products in this industry. What really made me take the jump was the incredible support of the hand-made community. I’ve always appreciated – and for a while now have been part of – start ups, so I decided to give it a go and kick off my own. I saw a niche in the market for well-designed and quality produced prints that have a down-to-earth, nature-y, adventurous, and inspirational theme, so I went for it.
– What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
This is going to sound cliche, but my favourite part is seeing my work in people’s homes. It’s truly mind-blowing. The market I’m in now is hugely over-populated and with the likes of big businesses such as Kmart and Typo blatantly ripping off the “little guys” it’s harder and harder to operate. So when I see that someone has chosen to put one of my prints in their home, office, or nursery, over all the other artwork they could have picked for that space – it’s the highest possible honour I can get.
– What has been the most exciting or rewarding part of the journey so far?
When I started One Tiny Tribe I was on maternity leave. I went back to working full-time 6 months after my daughter was born. I continued to work full-time, operate One Tiny Tribe, and juggle two small kids for 18 months – when I was finally able to leave my full-time job. So for now, the most rewarding part has been the ability to leave the job where I was working for someone else and to work for myself – on my own terms.
– Who else helps you with OTT – i.e. staff, contractors etc?
Right now it’s just me. My husband helps me package orders sometimes and I have the best developer in the world who helps with the website functioning when he’s available. But for the most part I’m the CEO, the canteen lady, the Ops manager, the customer service dudette, the social media curator, the marketing exec and the accountant (I especially suck at that last job – I’m severely underpaid ;) ).
– What’s in store for OTT in 2016 and beyond?
New products have been in the pipeline for a while, but at this stage it’s looking like they’ll have to get pushed back to the second half of the year. The extremely exciting part are the several collaborations One Tiny Tribe has coming up with some unbelievable people I’ve met over the last 12 months. Until I’m allowed to share more about that, however, it’s head down bum up for me to try to grow the business and really get One Tiny Tribe out to there as an up and coming Australian company.
Big, big thanks to Branka for sharing your story –  I’m very excited to see your collaborations roll out!

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Interview: Sydney’s The Wood Room

Sydney-based The Wood Room, is one of those businesses that was started because its founders experienced a gap in the market and found a real unsolved need in their lives.
 
At the time, Kate Nicholson and Simon Plowman, for all of their searching, just couldn’t find simple, quality, beautiful timber furniture for their Northern Beaches home that was big enough while maintaining the raw, natural look of the wood. So the couple joined forces to create their own solution, The Wood Room, which is quickly becoming the go-to brand for custom, minimalist, clean-lined timber furniture, with a signature ‘untreated’ finish.
It’s the type of furniture that is at once both ‘on-trend’ and ‘effortlessly timeless’. I’m personally a big fan of blonde-toned and Scandi-style furniture, so when I came across these pieces of furniture, I was instantly a fan! Take a read of my interview with this clever couple below…
 

What were you both doing before starting The Wood Room?

Kate: Before starting the Wood Room, I studied interior design whilst starting up an importing business, where I sourced beautiful and original homewares from around the world and sold them via my online website. Simon has always been involved in carpentry and construction.

Tell us about the decision to start your own company – what gave you the push to do so?

Whilst importing homewares was wonderful, the need and the desire to create my own product, was always in the back of my mind. I would draw designs of different furniture pieces, and say to Simon “I know we can make this!” Simon’s always had a passion for timber and construction, so it just felt like a natural progression.

How long did it take you from concept to get The Wood Room’s first piece created and available for sale?

With Simon’s joinery skills and my obsession with the colour and style I was looking for, it was almost instantaneous. We mastered our first beautifully constructed piece of furniture, in our garage at home. A 5 meter lime washed “Bentley” dining table, which sit in our home in Avalon.

Where do you get your inspiration from for your work?

We are continually inspired by simplicity and minimalism in design. Embracing the natural beauty of timber and using the fewest and barest essentials to maximum effect. The clean and simple shapes, in which timber can be constructed into form our furniture. The “less is more theory” has always applied in our designs.

What are both of your roles in the company?

We both have input into the design process and once a new concept has been developed, Simon then brings the design to life. Kate then finishes all the furniture in various wood washes, lacquers, oils and waxes, and uses a unique handcuffing process which creates a beautiful soft finish on the timber.

Who else do you work with to make The Wood Room a success?

We work closely with our timber supplier, who helps us sources both Australian and imported hardwoods. However apart for that, it’s just the two of us. We feel as though together, we make the perfect team, each bringing something unique to the business.

Tell us about some of your collaborations/projects with Sydney eateries?

We’ve been lucky enough to have worked with some of Sydney’s most beautiful and successful eateries. We worked closely with the lovely team at the Boathouse venues, on the design and fit out for the furniture to cater for their newest venue at Shelly Beach. The brief was to keep in line with their rustic coastal feel. And to develop pieces for both their indoor and outdoor spaces, that encapsulated the gorgeous surroundings and beachside charm.

And with the concept of an interactive dining experience, the client also required tables large enough to accommodate communal dining. For this, we created a 6meter long Bentley Table. Pale timbers and a minimal lime wash finish were chosen.

Our most recent project for the revamp of the iconic Newport Arms, saw over 150 pieces of our outdoor furniture. We worked closely with Merivale’s design team to create original, custom made pieces for the venue. A combination of American Oak and Blackbutt timber and powder coated steel were chosen as the materials.

What has been the most fulfilling or exciting moment in The Wood Room’s journey so far?

Mastering our “raw” finish on our timber furniture, has to be the highlight of our journey so far. We spent many long months experimenting and testing different formulas, and being told by expects everywhere that it was not possible to “finish” a timber without changing the colour and the look of it. Without giving up, we eventually came up with the perfect formula to create the most natural looking finish for our tables.

What is your big long term goal for The Wood Room?

Our long term goal, is to keep providing the highest quality furniture to both residential and commercial clients for a long time to come. To keep meeting with new (and repeat clients), to discuss their ideas and concepts for their perfect pieces of furniture. Furniture that is made with passion and furniture that will last a lifetime.

You can follow The Wood Room on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest.

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My new furniture love: Jason Agustina

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Brisbane-based furniture company Jason Agustina is changing the way that we buy furniture online. They’re offering a no-obligation furniture sample to trial from the comfort of your own home. Yes, you read that correctly! 

We all have moments when we fall in love with an item of furniture only to get it home and realise that it’s just not quite right. It can happen to the best of us – we’re out shopping and come across what looks to be the perfect piece of furniture or decor accessory. So out comes the credit card along with our haze of giddy excitement.

That is until you bring that ‘perfect’ piece of furniture home and find your hero piece just does not work! It looked great in the store but now it appears much too large for your space, or the colour isn’t quite right or it simply doesn’t fit with any other pieces within your room. You are left feeling utterly disappointed and upset with yourself for not taking note of the stores ‘no refunds’ policy which you now see printed on the receipt… grr!

That’s the problem that Jason Agustina is here to solve. The team offer the very unique opportunity to try their products at home before deciding whether you want to take the plunge and buy them. A totally convenient ‘try before you ‘buy’ option for us furniture-lovers.

Co-founder Jason Tan, who started the business in 2015, says:

It’s a winning situation for both our company are our valued customers! You can shop with confidence and have complete peace of mind. This service offers the reassurance of product quality and suitability. We understand the importance of being able to inspect a product and view it in situ. It is necessary to experience the colour, the scale and the placement to determine how the piece will compliment the rest of the interior.

We also offer expert advice on furniture selection, placement and styling so please feel free to speak to us about all of your furniture needs.

Take a look for yourself here!

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How to Decorate with Pendant Lights

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As soon as I moved into my own place, and before I even bought a kitchen table, I found myself handing my credit card over for a HUGE wicker bell shape pendant light. Call me crazy, but lighting to me is one of – if not the most – important elements of a home. Lighting impacts the mood – just think of the way we feel in sunny, bright summers compared to dark, gloomy winters.

Luckily in Australia, we have no shortage of gorgeous lighting options to choose from. It’s pretty amazing to know that a store that opened in Melbourne in 1967 is now a national company today with over 90 stores across the country and a thriving online store. I always love walking into a Beacon Lighting store because of the incredible displays and huge choice… which tends to end in total indecision by me because when I walk in knowing what I want, I normally end up seeing ten more different styles of lights that I love.

But for me, I’ve always been obsessed with pendant lighting. Pendant lights add a huge visual interest and personality to a space and they can be changed over time as trends or your own taste evolves. Some of my favourite ways to use them are running down a long corridor, a group of three above the kitchen bench or a huge wooden pendant light to add a statement piece to the living room.

Here are some of my favourite shots to give you some inspiration for adding the faithful and ever-stylish pendant light to your home…

Modern

A dish-style pendant light with copper accents is the ‘on trend’ style right now. This style works beautifully grouped over a long dining table and is a perfect modern pendant lighting look.

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Romantic

I love nothing more than a glass pendant light for a romantic aesthetic. Try one each side of the bed to turn your bedroom into a boudoir or group them in the corner of the room in a range of subtle colours.

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Scandinavian

You can’t go past grey concrete pendant lights to complement a white and blonde timber Scandic-style kitchen. This style of kitchen pendant lighting is raw, industrial and edgy!

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Natural

Finally, for a natural look, try bell shaped timber pendant lights – beautiful in hallways for a real statement-making entrance. These modern pendant lights also have a timeless, organic and relaxed aesthetic to them.

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See the WHOLE new range of Beacon Lighting’s pendant lights and take a look at my favourites on my Pinterest board.

House of Home’s Melbourne Pop Up

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House of Home – the HUGE Australia online store for furniture, homewares, building and renovating products – is coming to life THIS WEEKEND for an exclusive Pop Up event in Melbourne. From March 18 to 20, Melbourne is set to reinterpret how retailers and consumers engage and shop when House of Home takes over star designer Shaynna Blaze’s inner city design studio, Borough of Hawthorn, bringing the online store to life.

There’s a range of rooms specially curated including a bedroom, living room, dining room, home office, gallery and a Bazaar, inspired by Nordic minimalism, industrial eclectic and luxe loft with plenty of bursts of the latest on-trend colours and textures. House of Home co-founder and CEO Stephen Jones says the event is reshaping the way we shop for our homes.

“House of Home is an online marketplace that brings retailers and private sellers from Australia-wide to the one site, so consumers can shop for all brands in the one online destination.

“Our Pop Up store plans to take that concept a step further. People who visit the Pop Up and are inspired with what they see can essentially buy the item on-the-spot from our site and have it delivered to their home.”

“It’s like wandering into someone’s home you really love, and just being able to place your orders as you go. Seeing these products styled in a personal space versus on a shop floor – yet still enabling customers to be able to buy immediately – really takes retail to the next level.”

A fabulous chance to shop brands and collections including Hali Rugs, Canningvale, Pickawall, Simple Form and Norsu Interiors. Take a look at what you can expect below and visit House of Home’s website for all the event details!

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Creme Brulee – the delicious new edition from Circa Home

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I’ve got to say, I’m a total Circa Home convert. There are so many candle brands on the market, but this one is the only one I buy for my family and friends now. Why? The fragrances are DIVINE (I have a sweet tooth so there are plenty to suit me!), the branding and packaging are beautiful; and the jar and wooden base look gorgeous and are recyclable too.

So you can imagine my reaction when I heard that the team at Circa Home have JUST launched their latest edition… 1951 Crème Brûlée!! The rich vanilla bean custard and caramelised brown sugar is inspired by 1951 – an era of sublime, yet simple sophistication. Days where baking sweet biscuits and treats was more commonplace and a time when I can imagine life just felt that little bit slower.

Circa Home’s candles and melts really do evoke warm sentimental memories from the past and this new Crème Brûlée edition is a perfect fragrance to see us through the cooler autumn months with perhaps a few recollections of our grandmothers’ baking. I’m hoping that having this scent waft through my house may even help to soften my sweet tooth!

Although if you’re anything like me and are craving a real crème brûlée right now just thinking about it, I’ve found a beautiful recipe for Salted Butterscotch Crème Brûlée (images from this recipe also below)!

All Circa Home candles are handmade in Australia using natural soy wax, high quality fragrant oils and lead-free cotton wicks. And I love that the glass jars and packaging are 100% recyclable too.

Here are some notes for those fragrance aficionados out there…!

FRAGRANCE DESCRIPTION

TOP: Caramel, Vanilla

MIDDLE: Crème Brûlée, Vanilla Frosting

BASE: Tonka Bean, Brown Sugar

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Could technology make creating your dream home even easier?

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The smart home has well and truly arrived, with many of us already using technology to curate the aesthetic of our home. These days with technology, it really is easier to gather inspiration, curate and create every element of your home to your liking, from interior decorating to landscaping.

Read on for some of my favourite websites and apps that really make designing your dream home fun!

Interior Design

Pinterest really has changed the way we think about decorating and refining our homes, and it’s often the first place we go to look for inspiration for everything from interior decorating to colour palettes. Set up just like a mood board, you can browse through Pinterest and curate each board you create. It’s a great resource for ideas, as well as DIY processes.

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Finding a Home

You might say this is just about the most important element of all, and without a doubt it used to be the most stressful and complicated. Good news though, you can now compare new house plans, designs and leading builders from all around Australia online with iBuildNew. They have a digital display village, which allows you to go through an incredible amount of design options at the click of a button, and compare them side by side.

Best of all, iBuildNew is completely free, 100% independent and feature home designs from leading Australian builders, which means that you’ll always get the best fit, and the one that’s right for you.

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Setting Up Your Home

Whether it’s newly built, newly renovated or you’re simply moving in, you’ll have to think about a floor plan at some time. The days of rearranging furniture and trying out paint swatches on the walls are gone – that’s where floor plan apps step in. Not only do they save your back from moving that couch back for the third time, it’ll also save your wallet. With free options available for both Android and iOS, your smartphone is now the first thing to reach for when you’re putting together your new home. So depending on your persuasion, check out Floor Plan Creator for Android and Magic Plan for iOS.

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Interior Decorating

Many of you are probably familiar with Etsy; an amazing site for finding unique, handcrafted and vintage objects. It’s a global site where you can shop for handmade items, craft supplies, decorations and tchotchkes for your home. Instead of heading to the local trash and treasure or overpriced vintage store, you can now shop online for incredible goods from around the world.

With 1.5 million sellers from around the world, there’s an incredible amount of goods to choose from and you’ll be sure to find something to decorate your home.

What are your favourite sites and apps for your home?

Images from our Pinterest account.

Is it time to finally frame those memories?

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We all love taking photos. For most of us, every picture snapped on our cameras, phones and tablets represents a moment which we have felt the need to capture and keep safe forever. However, are our treasured memories really as treasured as they used to be?

Almost everyone is guilty of it. We take hundreds, in some cases thousands of photos every year but never really do anything with them. Instead, supposedly precious memories sit unseen on phone and camera microSD cards until we finally get round to uploading them to Facebook.

The Forgotten Importance of the Family Portrait

It never used to be like this, though. Once upon a time, every photo was a celebration. Film would be developed and friends and family would gather round eager to see the finished results. Shortly afterwards, our best pictures would then be blown up and framed.

Photographs if you like, used to be about creating our own art while at the same time celebrating and immortalizing our loved ones. Of course, for a while, it looked like digital photo frames were going to be the next big thing. However, these have quickly become little more than the garden gnomes of the tech industry. They’re power heavy, impractical and altogether impersonal. The simple truth is that photos deserve to be framed properly.

Better Protecting Your Precious Memories

However, getting into the habit of framing more of our photos isn’t just about finally showcasing our precious memories. A framed photograph turns what’s essentially an easy to accidentally delete or lose file on your phone or PC into a cherished piece of artwork.

We’ve all lost our phones, we’ve all suffered from irreparable computer failures and we’ve all been felt feeling awful about losing copies of photographs and pictures which were important to us.

A physical, framed picture changes this. You can’t accidentally delete or forget where you have hung your children’s first birthday photos. At the same time, by framing pictures, pictures are better physically preserved for the future.

Personalising & Glamorising Your Home & Work Place

All that said, framing photos isn’t just about better securing your favourite images. Rather, framed pictures and photographs are the no.1 way to finally make your personal space more about you and your loved ones.

Home and workplace walls ache to be enlivened with art. Yes, displaying photographs on desks and mantle pieces adds to a places atmosphere, but nothing quite makes a statement like a professionally framed hanging picture gallery. Your home, in particular, is your family’s base. In fact, in many respects, your home is just as much a part of your family as you are. In this case, it deserves to be animated and adorned with lovingly framed pictures and photographs of you and your loved ones.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

At the same time, framed pictures and photographs make brilliant gifts. From cherished pieces of family memorabilia to pride of place artwork which people can decorate their homes with, framed pictures and art prints are the epitome of thoughtfulness. Are you tired of presenting your mother or daughter in law with soap box after soap box each Christmas? If you feel like finally gifting something which they will really appreciate, why not present them with a framed family portrait or an artistic print of a certain special someone?

A Quick 101 In Picture Framing

Of course, picture framing is an art form in of itself. The right frame will complement a picture by making it stand out more. The wrong frame, on the other hand, will make your latest photograph or art piece stand out for all the wrong reasons.

The above being the case, it’s important to be discerning when shopping around for picture frames and in Australia we have two options. We can either measure the pictures which we want to display and shop for a suitable frame on the high street, or we can employ the services of a professional framer.

There is a third option, though. At places like Frameshop, people can upload photographs and artwork which they plan on displaying in their home and use Frameshop’s custom picture framing tool to select the right frame for the right picture every time.

The latter option takes away the worry of buying something which looks great in the store but looks positively atrocious once it’s actually up on the wall. In fact, designing your own frame provides all the same benefits of a professional picture framing service, just at a fraction of the cost.

How It Works

In practice it’s simple. Firstly you either upload your image or select the size of your existing photos. You can upload images just to preview the colours or you can have them printed too, which really makes the whole process so much easier! Then you decide on the frame you’d like, from raw timber to decorative and polished silver finishes, there is literally a huge selection. After this, you decide on what (if any) kind of mat border you want to have around your picture and you’re done!

Extra Benefits

However, what makes online framing really stand out is the ability to choose from a whole host of other extra options. Are you planning on displaying a particularly precious photo which has been passed down through generations? If so, at places like Frameshop you can add things like UV resistant glass into your finished picture frame. This way, you won’t have to worry about art or photographs being ruined over time by excessive ultraviolet light exposure.

The biggest benefit? Because you can upload your picture or photo after you have designed your frame, you never have to worry about picking the wrong frame for either your picture or your homes existing decorative style. Even better, after uploading your picture or photograph, you can choose to have it professionally printed on a variety of paper types.

Of course, you don’t have to choose the latter option. However, if you plan on displaying images and family photos which you need to get printed anyway, it makes sense to get them printed and sized professionally.

Are You Ready To Start Framing Your Photos Again?

If you are already sifting through digital archives of pictures looking for something worth framing, you’re making a brilliant decision. Everyone from always on the go mums to aspiring professional photographers will find a visual gem or two tucked away on an SD card somewhere.

Even better, when you do finally get around to printing and framing your personal pictures, you’ll be astounded at the difference they make to your home. However, if for whatever reason you’re not ready to start printing and framing just yet, make sure regardless to try and get into the habit of always backing up your photos. A framed family portrait will last for at least several generations if it’s cared for properly. Hardly anyone, though, will likely know or care where their current iPhone is in a few years’ time.

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Images from our Pinterest page here.

How to create a patio that is useable the whole year around

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If you can get your outdoor space right, it adds a whole extra living area to your home, not to mention boosting your property’s value. But how exactly can you make the most of the space and somewhere that you can enjoy in all seasons?

Build a deck cover

What better way to protect your outdoor space from the elements by enclosing it – whether through timber slats, automised louvres that can move depending on the time of day for optimum shade or sunlight, or a skylight system. Australian company Altec offers a huge, huge range of options!

Invest in quality flooring

I love nothing more than a polished concrete floor or recycled timber deck. Consider the overall aesthetic you’d like to create in your outdoor ‘room’, whether ‘beachy’, ‘tropical’, ‘sophisticated’ and so on, then match the flooring accordingly.

Pick comfortable furniture

Whatever you do, do not settle for cheap, plastic outdoor furniture. You’re better off investing in timber, metal or cane alternatives (padded in beautiful cushions of course!) that are more durable, not to mention nicer on the eye! You can have fun pushing the boundaries between indoor and outdoor furniture – here really are no rules and the comfier, the better!

Add a fireplace or fit pit

How special is it to sit around an outdoor fireplace or firepit in the cooler months? They add major ambience and a focal point to outdoor spaces and cut through the cold to create a winter-proof space.

Create a mini bar or kitchen

Finally, stop the trips to and from the kitchen by creating your very own mini kitchen outside. Whether that is a BBQ with bench-space or a ‘pop up’ bar, having this functionality will help create a space to entertain your friends all year around.
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Images from our Pinterest board ‘Outdoor Spaces’.

The debut collection by a French-born Sydneysider

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After 20 years of marketing, two sons and a stop at ISCD to study colour and design, French-born Valérie Moreno dived head first into a new career path: home decoration.

Bastille and Sons is her debut collection of contemporary designer brands and lifestyle accessories hand-picked in France. Every single original product is the combination of talented creative designers and the savoir-faire of highly skilled craftsmen.

Born in Toulouse, followed by 15 ‘amazing’ years in Paris before moving to Sydney with her family, Valérie returns to France regularly to seek out new products made in the pure artisanal tradition. She even features many young talented designers and their highly skilled craftsmen on her blog.

“Every brand has its own story – a designer, a region, an authentic savoir-faire. It was time to share my passion for unique contemporary French artisan homeware brands with fellow interior design lovers in Australia, through Bastille and Sons. We want to open a window on the French bubbly contemporary design scene: share the understated French chic without French Provincial clichés.”

My personal favourite piece? The gorgeous ‘Croisette’ armchair in pink velvet. Take a look…

Croisette_velvet_camel croisette_velvet_green_1024x1024 croisette_velvet_Green_profile_9aaaef00-2f3d-4d9e-ab11-8ec8a3c11880_1024x1024 Croisette pale green profile Croisette velvet pink Croisette yellow profil day bed ETI_0087 ETI_0261 ETI_0343 ETI_0533 ETI_0849 IMG_5733 Out &about Belle valerie thierry008 valerie thierry024 vintage crochetprintemps WTT_5863 WTT_5974 WTT_6001_square You can follow Bastille and Sons on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

Melbourne’s lady of letterpress opens classes for 2016!

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Saint Gertrude is marmalade-haired, machine-wrangling artist and teacher Amy Constable – one of Australia’s original new letterpress printers. Just a girl, and a printing press. Or five. From her light-filled space in Little Gold Studios in Brunswick, Melbourne, Amy has swiftly become the go-to person for top-notch printing.
Saint Gertrude offers artisanal letterpress printing, modern letterpress classes and an open-access studio program for letterpress enthusiasts. She regularly prints for a wide range of clients around Australia and has worked with brands such as Jardan, St. George and The School of Life and collaborated with artists such as Laura Blythman, Megan McKean, Gemma Patford and Georgia Perry. In 2015, Saint Gertrude was added to the illustrious line-up of teachers at Megan Morton’s The School.
In 2008, Amy rescued her first printing press from a chicken shed in Moe and lovingly restored it back to working order. Seven years and five presses later, Amy has a studio full of printing beasts and a vast letterpress offering.
“When I stumbled across the lost art of letterpress it hit me like a freight train. This. This is it. It struck me as just the most beautiful thing I’d seen in print and I had to do it. I was driven from there on, I couldn’t do anything else and I haven’t been able to do anything else,” says Amy.
“Long before I was born, letterpress printing was already becoming redundant. But when digital printing began to lose relevance to make way for email and Internet communication, a really specialty process like letterpress suddenly leap-frogged back into relevance because it’s beautiful and because it’s done by hand.”
Amy is one-half of the collaborative Ladies of Letters project with her studio mate, letterer Carla Hackett. Ladies of Letters creates hand-lettered, letterpress work and donate 10% of all sales to the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation. Ladies of Letters also holds the annual LOL Workshop where you can learn to letter and letterpress.
Clients and collaborators come to Saint Gertrude for fine printing, but they stay for Amy’s openness, enthusiasm and irreverence. And she always – always – has ink or grease on her somewhere. Usually on her face.
Fancy trying the art of letterpress yourself? Saint Gertrude’s 2016 program of classes have now opened. Check ’em here.
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Follow Saint Gertrude on Facebook and Instagram!

5 Things to Consider When Renovating Your Home

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Renovations can be stressful and time consuming, regardless of the scale, but the key to a positive experience is forethought and planning. Whether you need to accommodate a growing family or want to update the style of your home, we’ve covered the key considerations to keep in mind when doing your renovation research!

1. What is your budget?

As much as we would all like to have an unlimited budget, it is not a reality for most people. Before selecting materials or planning new designs, work out how much you can afford to spend. If you don’t have the money saved, work out what you can borrow and determine if it is wise to invest that money back into the home. This is particularly important if you are updating the home before selling.

2. Will you use a contractor or DIY?

Depending on the scale of your renovations, it might be possible to undertake some of the work yourself. Keep in mind, some work will need to be performed by licensed tradespeople – particularly electrical and plumbing work. Try asking friends or neighbours if they can recommend a reliable contractor but make sure to get multiple quotes from different companies before make your decision. When considering different options, think about factors such as cost, experience, and availability.

3. What about the exterior?

The exterior of your home is often forgotten during renovations. If you are renovating with the intention to sell, subtle changes can make a big difference to the overall appearance of your home. Street appeal can be enhanced with elements like a custom garage door that matches the style of the home – heritage designs or aluminium grille doors are popular options and you can get them from companies such as Steel-line. Consider incorporating decking or pergolas as well as these can make a big difference to your home.

4. Where can you cut costs?

Don’t spend money for the sake of spending. Renovations can be expensive and in cases, that money won’t be recouped when you sell the home so save where you can. For example, can you remove the floor coverings and utilise the floorboards? Can you use click-together laminate over the top of those old tiles? This could be done instead of removing old materials and laying new flooring, consequently reducing labour costs.

5. Can you live-In while the renovations are going on?

This is something many homeowners forget to factor into their budget. When renovations are happening in the kitchen or bathroom, these spaces may be out of action for several days. Over this time, you may be forced to buy dinners and lunches. If undergoing major renovations, you may even have to live elsewhere (like a hotel) for a while. Knowing about these inconveniences is important before you begin so the extra expenses can be worked into your budget.

Choosing to renovate your home is a big and stressful decision, but you can have a successful renovation if you consider these key factors. Have you renovated recently and got some recommendations? Tell us in the comments below!

Image from here.

BEFORE AND AFTER RENOVATION: Fibro bungalow transformed into family home

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We all love a before and after shoot so it’s with delight I present this mega-renovation by Michelle Walker, Director of Michelle Walker Architects.

Michelle recently took on the challenge of transforming her very own Manly Vale post-war fibro bungalow into a modern five bedroom family home. In her practice, Michelle works on contemporary architectural projects for her Sydney clients, particularly in heritage conservation areas, with projects including the Butterfly House in Paddington which was a finalist in the 2013 Dulux Colour Awards and a winner in the 2013 Best of Houzz awards and The Roseville Pavilion.

Michelle says it was exciting to transform her own home for a change, having the final say on every element of the design.

Backing onto bushland, the newly renovated home is inspired by the materials of Australian rural buildings and its natural setting, with a focus on outdoor spaces for the family to enjoy. 

The property has a northern aspect along its full length, filling it with natural light and sunshine. Michelle extended the already open and bright home by designing a new covered outdoor room spanning 25 square metres, complete with operable sliding and bifold aluminium louvred panels to block the western sun. Spotted gum decking flows from the outdoor room to the edge of the refurbished pool area which is separated by frameless glass pool fencing.

The external works also included a pool renovation and a new poolside entertaining area, paved in almond granite, with a covered outdoor barbeque space and 12 square metres of outdoor storage for surfboards, bikes, bins and pool toys and accessories.

Michelle updated the front of the house, with a new driveway and connected carport, providing undercover sheltered access to the house. A new front door and front porch, with a similar roof design to the outdoor room, completed the overhaul of the home.

Michelle has combined traditional and contemporary elements in the renovation, introducing a bold new external colour scheme. Colourbond’s ‘Monument’ was used as the main new house colour, contrasted with splashes of bright white and feature orange to mark the front door and chimney. The colours of the house highlight the palette of natural building materials including recycled sandstone, almond granite, natural timber, painted steel, corrugated Colourbond roofing and weatherboards.

This theme has been applied consistently throughout the entire house, inside and out, with Michelle using colour placement and composition to emphasise architectural character on all of her projects.

Consideration of bush fire zoning and harsh environmental conditions played an important role in Michelle’s decision to use particular materials. All external materials are non-flammable, including expressed Australian hardwoods (mostly spotted gum), fibre cement weatherboards and lining boards, sandstone blocks and pavers, almond granite and textured washed back concrete with blue metal aggregate. A new roof with the edge of the material exposed has also replaced the existing older tiled roof.

Internal renovations included a new kitchen, an additional children’s bedroom and a living room makeover including a new Jetmaster fireplace and surround, and new bookshelves. New large new sliding doors were also installed to create better connections with the garden, pool, views to the bush and the outdoor areas.

The kitchen was relocated to a new position within the house, replacing the existing family room. It now connects directly with the outdoor room and pool area, and provides views overlooking the pool, back yard and bush. The kitchen has a large, open plan that is functional and can accommodate a large family as well as guests. The space is designed as a single-line galley kitchen, furnished with two white aluminium tables from Australian company, Aero Designs. The tables interconnect and can be extended to seat eight, with one at bench height and the other at dining table height.

Materials and colours used externally have been continued throughout the kitchen with the addition of a new mirrored splashback behind the benchtop to open up the space and reflect the outdoor greenery and pool.

Now for the fun part – let’s take a look!

BEFORE

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AFTER

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Images supplied by Michelle Walker Architects.

West Elm collaborates with local designers

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The brilliant collaboration between global furnishings company West Elm and local Australian makers is back for 2016! I discovered some fab antipodean producers from the opening of Melbourne’s West Elm wayyy back in 2013 (check out my post!) like Vice and Velvet . 

Focused on building a sense of community in all of its stores, the Brooklyn-based home furnishings brand is all about shining the light on and supporting artisan makers and small-scale designers of home goods and accessories.

Each of West Elm’s six Australian stores are tasked with finding the very best of these creatives each month to showcase and sell their wares via a “shop-in-shop” pop-up stall in their local West Elm stores. Because, who doesn’t love a pop up?!

Take a look at this month’s makers, who will each feature in their respective local stores from Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 January:

Lyndon Findlay (Bondi Junction) is a self-taught carpenter and designer who fashions unique furniture pieces using reclaimed timber. By using reclaimed materials, such as abandoned furniture or quality hardwood floorboards from Victorian era homes, Findlay masterfully brings existing furniture back to life as part of his reuse ethos.

Erin Lightfoot (Brisbane) is an Australian print designer who uses colour and pattern to enhance objects and spaces. Her primary medium is porcelain which she uses to create functional canvasses for her print designs. She crafts handmade pieces which are sold in boutiques throughout Australia and the USA.

Twin Creative (Chadstone) is a Victoria-based jewellery and homewares label founded by digital designers Sue Croke and Kate Faulkner. Stepping away from the screen to create something tactile, Croke and Faulkner hand make their pieces in their Hawthorn studio.

Murphy Made Jewellery (Chapel St) is helmed by Kelly Ogden, who creates unique and distinctive pieces by hand, ensuring that no two items are the same. Nothing is mass produced, with each piece of jewellery designed with care and precision.

Hoarderculture (Chatswood) hand make concrete planters for “little green friends.”

K Gets Organised (Perth): is headed by Kelsie White, a graphic designer who creates paper goods and stationery. K Gets Organised is a system where stationery products can be used individually or interchangeably with other products to suit individual needs.

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Images from the brilliant makers’ Facebook pages.

Top 10 Christmas baking recipes!

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Let’s not beat around the bush: one of the BEST things about Christmas is the FOOD! I’ve tracked down some new takes on old classics along with some quirky and delicious recipes so you can enjoy your Christmas feasting even more this year! Take a look…

Snowy Chocolate Pinecones – RECIPE HERE!41e116831a445225902f0f336177ab33

Oreo Peppermint Bark – RECIPE HERE!Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 5.33.55 pm

Christmas Tree Brownies – RECIPE HERE!Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 5.35.12 pm

Snowflake Macarons – RECIPE HERE!IMG_9606-final

Baked Gingerbread Mini Donuts – RECIPE HERE!gingerbread-donuts-4

Candy Cane Mini Donuts – RECIPE HERE!christmas-candy-cane-cake-donuts-recipe-3

Egg Nog Popsicles – RECIPE HERE!egg-nog-pospsicle-recipe

Christmas White Chocolate Cranberry Layer Cake – RECIPE HERE!11217340773_b35fdba46c_c

Nougat with Pistachios and Dried Cranberries – RECIPE HERE!IMG_4089-2

Soft Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Sugared Cranberries – RECIPE HERE!11045238273_2eeb957f5a_b

See MORE delicious food inspiration on our Christmas Pinterest board!