Have you noticed a profusion of African inspired decor lately?
I know, it’s always been around but of late there seems to be a bit more of it and in all sorts of items. I don’t think we’re heading down the path of decorating a complete room in African style but more touches here and there. What do you think?
Perhaps it’s our climate and love of the outdoors that resonates so well with the African Safari Style which is then translated into our decor. There’s also a big push back to handmade items which any ethnic culture has valued for years. And African style is more simplistic which balances our love of technology and helps create a soothing, relaxing space.
Much of the strength of African Style emerges through texture. Natural fibres of Jute, sisal and seagrass are used for flooring while banana fibre and papyrus are used in woven baskets.
Rapee have recently released a range of cushions in bright colours and rich textures which would give an African lift to your room.
Lighting is warm and golden, utilizing rustic iron candelabra and wall sconces. Table lamps incorporate palm or pineapple motifs in their bases, whilst unique shades made from feathers or quills convey the safari ambiance.
Furniture features rich timbers with stylised accents or folding furniture which would be used on Safari.
These gorgeous pieces are based on the campaign furniture used on Safari and are available from one of our suppliers here in Australia.
Comfort is foremost in an African decor, with an overall effect of effortless luxury, a sense of adventure, but always relaxed and in harmony with nature.
Renovating a bathroom or kitchen? Chosen all your tiles? What a releif, you can now sit back and let the tiler do his thing. Wrong!
Once you’ve chosen your tiles the next thing you need to choose is the colour of the grout. Don’t leave it to the tiler as you will probably end up with white or grey. The grout needs to support the tiles not detract from them. No-one wants to make a feature of the grout! Unless you’re really making a statement like this image below.
When we renovated I had definite ideas about how the tiles would look once grouted. The large format tiles in the bathroom were rectified which means they have square edges. I wanted the walls to look seamless and the rectified tiles can be placed close together so choosing a white grout assisted with the overall look.
In the ensuite, we used natural stone tiles on the walls and floor so I chose a cream grout there to match the filling in the travertine.
The black marble mosaic splashback in the powder room needed a dark grout as anything lighter would make the space look too busy. I already had a wallpaper above the splashback and that was the main feature of the room. The splashback needed to enhance the wallpaper and save it from water splashes but didn’t need to be a feature in itself.
The kitchen was tricky. I was using white subway tiles. The kitchen has a nod to French provincial style without the fuss so I wanted the tiles to stand out but I didn’t want the industrial look like the kitchen below.
White grout would’ve blended with the tiles and dark grout would give that industrial look, sort of like a butcher’s shop. So I selected a pale grey grout. The cabinetry is grey and the bench top is also a grey – Stone Italiana KSoul. The grey grout sets off the whole kitchen perfectly.
So don’t think once you’ve chosen your tiles your decisions are over. Think about the overall look you’d like, take some time and choose the colour of your grout wisely. Like everything else, the options are endless but will make a big difference to your finished home.
All images can be found on my Pinterest boards.
If you would like assistance choosing tiles and grout for your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.
At the recent Decoration and Design trade event held here in Sydney, I was fortunate to attend Abigail Ahern‘s seminar, Decorating With Style.
As Abigail started speaking, I could immediately relate and agree with her design ethos. She explained that a good interior should have glamour, ecclectism and wit. That’s the way I design interiors for my clients. I love a bit of glamour but then most of my clients have families and they actually have to live in the home, so some ecclectism is great with found and collected pieces thrown into the mix. And of course, no interior, unless it’s Buckingham Palace perhaps, should be without a smattering of wit. It’s what gives a room personality.
She had two main rules which are good for those attempting to decorate their own homes – 1) Make it personal and 2) ditch rules, trends and forecasts. If you try to follow trends or submit to forecasts then you’ll never really be happy in your space because as soon as you get it all decked out, bang a new trend comes along and your place looks soooo yesterday! Whereas if you fill your home with things you love, be it colours, furniture, fabrics or homewares, you will always feel comfortable and so will your guests.
Abigail’s advice for working with small rooms was great too. Small rooms will always be small rooms just like dark rooms will always be dark rooms. Get over it and embrace it. Work with what you have and don’t try to make it something it will never be.
Abigail launched her new book here in Sydney. It’s not yet released overseas but you can put your name down at Amazon for one of the first copies.
If you would like assistance creating a home in which you and your family will feel comfortable, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.
Have you seen the new wallpaper range by Greg Natale?
I was fortunate enough to be invited to the launch of his range of wallpapers for Porter’s. I’ve always liked Greg’s work. The clean lines and bold use of colour is his signature along with geometric patterns. So it was really no surprise that his wallpaper is in a similar vein.
Chevron, horizontal stripes, pinstripes and diagonal stripes in bright bold colours abound.I particularly like how Greg himself has used the horizontal stripe paper but offset each roll to create something a little more funky.
The colour names are fun too – Burnt Mandarin, Miami Sour, Oxford and Mocassin. The wallpaper colours can be matched to Porter’s range of paints for the truly co-ordinated look.
If you would like assistance sourcing wallpaper for your home, contact us for an appointment.
I don’t believe so! I love a dedicated dining room especially in older homes.
Back in the mid 1980′s I bought my first home in an outer Brisbane suburb. It had a combined dining and lounge room and for a few years I had a pine round table with 4 rattan and metal cantilevered chairs as the dining table. Then one day, one of my colleagues at work asked out loud if anyone was interested in a Rosenstengel dining suite. He had been appointed Executor of a Monseigneur’s Estate and apparently there was a silky oak dining table and 6 chairs to offload. The asking price was $200. With all my income going in to my house repayments I said, “No”. Besides I didn’t want some old table and what was Rosenstengel anyway?
I was telling my Mum about it a few days later and she said, “Grab it.” She knew all about Ed Rosenstengel and his furniture making and knew it would be a great buy as well as owning a piece of Queensland history. So I purchased the table and it is still serving me to this day. Although right now it’s in storage as we renovate our home.
When I moved to the Gold Coast in the ’90′s I decided to have the dining suite refurbished. A furniture restorer cleaned down the table and applied a new coat of shellac which gave it a rich glow. I had the chairs reupholstered in a plain pink fabric to co-ordinate with the curtains and sofa.
When I moved back to Brisbane we renovated a little Workers Cottage on the northside and we created a formal dining room in the old sleep-out.
This time the upholstery on the chairs dictated what colour the walls would be.
When we moved to Sydney and bought our Californian Bungalow the dining suite suited the period of the house and the existing curtains.
However, after a few years, I was ready to ditch the curtains and I replaced them with gold silk and repainted the walls in the warm earthy tones of the time.
Now we are renovating, I have decided to keep the formal dining room. We’ve closed off two of the three doorways into the room and I’ve decided to be a little bit adventurous in choosing the paint colour.
I’m a firm believer that the formal lounge room is mainly used at night time so why not make it dramatic? But alas the existing upholstery will not suit the new look room. The question is, will I keep the suite and have it reupholstered, or is it time for a complete new dining suite?
Do you have a formal dining room or a dining suite with provenance?
Although in the Southern Hemisphere we are heading in to our warmer months, there’s nothing like a floor rug to inject colour and pattern into your living space.
They add warmth (both literally and physically), they define a space, provide sound dampening qualities and can hide imperfect flooring.
There are so many patterns and colours to choose from. All over patterns are great for under timber coffee tables while centre patterns work best under a glass coffee table or in an open space so the pattern can be admired.
I’m thrilled that the Sanderson range of rugs are now available here in Australia. They certainly have some great patterns and colours from which to choose. They are made from 100% wool and are inspired by the Sanderson fabric range and are certainly affordable ranging from $700 to $1400 depending on the size.
If you would like assistance choosing rugs and other decorator pieces for your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.
As I was driving through Cammeray on the weekend a new store caught my eye. Well it didn’t really catch it, more like screamed at it. You see, it was purple. Purple signage, purple seating and a wide purple band painted along the glass frontage. It was so attention grabbing, I had to stop and take a look.
It was a health food shop with a difference. Aboutlife Natural Marketplace is a cafe and grocery store selling lots of organic goodness. There are qualified naturopaths and nutritionists in store to answer your questions. Great concept and our friends in other parts of Sydney (Bondi and Rozelle) have been enjoying this marketplace for a while. The produce on the shelves looked good and the cafe food and organic coffee was downright mouthwatering but as a Colour Consultant I was asking myself, why purple?
I couldn’t find the answer other than it was eye catching. What bothers me is that purple seldom appears in nature and can appear to be artificial. Surely not the right message for a health food store? However, it does represent spirituality and wisdom so maybe that’s the side of purple the marketers are preying on. Or as Leatrice Eiseman writes in “Colors For Your Every Mood”, “People who like to consider themselves different from the common heard or unconventional often prefer purple.”
Are you a purple person? What do you think about an organic food store using the colour purple?
***Photos have been taken from Aboutlife’s Facebook Page, except for the last one which was taken by me.***
If you would like assistance choosing colours, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending the launch of the new fabric collections from Sanderson. Chris Warren from the UK was visiting Sydney to show off the new fabrics and wallpapers which were recently launched at Decorex.
The Domestic Textiles Showroom at Paddington was set with a beautiful tablecloth of the new Kew fabric with matching napkins (which we were able to take home!) and a gorgeous bunch of pink calla lillies.
The first collection was from Zoffany and was called Town and Country.
It was an interesting mix of sharp colours from the city blended with rustic textures of the country which can be used in both casual and formal rooms.
There were aged marbled woolens and velvets, printed silks and linens and textured wallpapers with subtle sheen giving the hint of glamour.
The second collection was the Sanderson Richmond Hill. With the Sanderson brand’s history spanning over 150 years, there are plenty of archives from which to draw.
Cottons and linens were mainly used as base cloths with Jacobean and French designs giving a painted look. Naturally flowers and nature abound but with a fresh take on the colouring.
Wallpaper mixes and matches to create a completely co-ordinated space.
Would you like new fabrics and wallpapers for your home? Contact us for an online or in-person consultation.
Whilst I have been working on my own home renovation, I’ve also been helping a number of clients to achieve their harmonious environment.
We had favourite armchairs reupholstered and placed them in our client’s new bedroom.
We also sourced an elegant bedroom chandelier and bedside lamps.
A client we have been working with for the past 12 months finally moved in to their brand new home.
After assisting with paint colours, floor board selections, generated ideas for the walk in wardrobes, bathroom vanity design, lighting options the clients are now ensconced in their home and look like they have always lived there.
The kitchen was designed by us with specifications of door finishes, colours, handles and benchtops.
We also sourced the fabrics for their window coverings and arranged making and installation.
Both clients are absolutely thrilled with their new homes, stamped with their own personalities.
If you would like assistance with colour and design for your new home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.
I mentioned recently that I’d been seeing the Ikat pattern everywhere.
It’s not the only pattern that I’ve been noticing, The other is the Suzani.
The Suzani pattern hails from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries. Like the Ikat it was lost during the time of the Soviet Occupation but since the collapse of the Union these handcrafts are seeing a resurgence.
The pattern originally is embroidered with chain, satin and buttonhole stitches and embellished with decorative thread laid on the fabric. The motifs in the designs depict the sun and moon, flowers, leaves, fruit and sometimes fish and birds.
I love the bright colours and organic shapes of the Suzani patterns we are seeing today. What about you? Do you like the pattern?
If you would like assistance adding Suzani to your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.