Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wall Sconce Obssession Part 2

Urban Archeology

Lamps Plus

Urban Archeology

Lamps Plus

Lamps Plus
As you know, I love a good wall sconce.  Here is a selection of my latest favourites.  Lighting is a critical element of any good design and wall sconces are often overlooked, however they are a wonderful way to add interest and depth to an interior scheme.  In particular, the drum shade wall scones can add colour and are easily interchangeable.  These types of lights would be perfect for a bedroom, where the shade can co-ordinate with the bed linen and window treatments.  If you have an industrial scheme, the Urban Archeology wall sconces are just the thing to provide extra light whilst keeping with your scheme.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Perfect Pinks

Clockwise from top left:  Magalie Mirror, Stray Dog Designs; Lala Bird Invitation, Alannah Rose Invitations; Ogee Cushion Magenta, Kristy Lee Interiors; Fuchsia Peonies Print, Lovely Sweet William; Camelia Bud Vase, Kate Spade; Pink Rattan Ottoman, Kristy Lee Interiors; Sarah Lamp, Stray Dog Designs; Ikat Chairs, Ceylonetcie@sbcglobalnet; Persika Vase, Ikea; Latte Bowls, Anthropologie

Channel your inner girly girl and inject a little playful pink into your scheme.  Whether you aim for subtly with a dusty light pink or scream it with a red hot fuchsia, there is a pink to suit your mood.  Pink is a strong colour, so unless you want to feel like you've come home to Barbie's boudoir, use it as an accent colour.  It's so versatile and can been teamed with just about any colour.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Greg Natale Glamour

Neutral colours combine well with pop of colour picked up from
the artwork.  The rug is the star of the room, drawing the eye and adding
pattern and interest.
The wall sconces are divine and combined with the mirror,
 they make this vignette fabulous.  The shade of grey on the
wall is a perfect contrast and compliment for the gold  and white.

An unexpected industrial light fitting works well in the space,
again modernising a traditional scheme.  It works due to the colour
choice and the lines of the fitting, mimicking the line of the countertop.

The dining chairs are pieces of artwork.  I love the
intricate, almost lace like look of the back.  The geometric
theme is picked up in the rug, the backsplash and in the
overhead cupboards, giving the space a flow and connection.

Another masterpiece rug that defines the space so well.
I adore these chairs.

Sophisticated style.  The charcoal wall makes the artwork
stand out so well.

Contrast at its best.  The rug is just divine and it's
the small details such as the fringing that add

The lemon and grey colour scheme make this
traditional style very modern.

Chevron floor, gorgeous custom carpet, crystal drawer pulls
and a lemon studded stool equals perfection.

The perfect tone of red has been used with this grey and
charcoal scheme.  The artwork is the focus of the room,
with the accent pillows and stool providing perfect
punches of colour and highlight.

All images are of the Twomey country house
via Greg Natale

Those of you who know me well know how much I adore this designer.  Greg Natale epitomises my design style.  I would go as far as to call him the David Collins of Australia.  Their styles are similar in that they are both not afraid to be luxurious and unashamedly glamorous.  In a design world where many are striving to keep up with the latest trends, these two designers are doing their own thing.  That's not to say that Greg is not a contemporary designer, in fact he cleverly incorporates modern elements in his traditional designs.  The result is an interior that will not date over the years. 

What I love about the Twomey house is the use of colour, pattern and contrast.  Although the only bright colours used are yellow and red, the strong use of charcoal and grey is a confident colour choice and I applaud the home owners for taking the risk.  A lot of people think that if you are going to have a neutral scheme, then it has to be light colours, but in this example, the dark colours are still neutral, allowing the accent colours and patterns to shine.  Pattern is a key element of Greg's designs as they draw the eye and create a mood for his rooms.  Designer Rugs picked up on his talent and asked him to create a range for them.  Greg has recently been crowned The Designer of the Year by Belle Magazine and Coco Republic and has been shortlisted for Designer of the Year - People Choice Awards for Inside Magazine IDEA Awards.  I'm looking forward to watching this very talented designer and seeing what he comes up with next.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Divine Drawings - Inslee Haynes

The reminds me of my pretty neice and her youthful style.
It is simply called Evening.

I have purchased this one for my sister (Striped Skirt).
It captures her beautifully.

This drawing is called 65 Degrees. 
I like that you can't see her face.

This drawing is called Two Designers and I had a little chuckle
thinking of Kylie and myself as this stylish duo, running our own busy
design business!

This calendar is simply spectacular. 
I would love one in my study for daily inspiration.

I'm in love.  I'm aware that I can go on about things, blabbing that they are awesome, yadda yadda yadda, but seriously, this artist has my heart.  Her ethereal drawings are simple, incredibly stylish and they just capture a mood.  Based in New York, Inslee draws inspiration from the sophisticated women in the fashion capital.  Christmas is just around the corner and these would make the perfect gift - I'm snapping some up for friends and for my sister.  If you want something extra special, you can commission Inslee for a custom illustration.  Visit to check it out for yourself.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cheap and Chic

From Top Left: Yellow, Red and Blue by Wassily Kadinsky, Allposters; Linden pendant chandelier, Beacon Lighting; Ivonne wooden hurricane lantern, Dusk; Replica Phillipe Stark mademoiselle chair, Matt Blatt; Tradig bowl, Ikea; Beaufort and Postcard cushions, Freedom; Wingback Lorne button back chair, Early Settler; Varlikt vase, Ikea

I was at a lunch recently and was asked where my favourite place to shop for interiors was and the first question I shot back was, "Is the budget unlimited?".  The truth behind the matter is that we are not all mulit-millionaires with unlimited bugets.  The reality is that we only have a certain amout of funds to spend on making our interiors look a million dollars.  So how do you create a champagne look on a beer budget?  Lucky for you, I'm an expert on this! 

The most important thing to do is to take your cues from the items that you like, but can't spend the money on.  Look at the colours, lines and design style of the expensive items and replicate this with your budget items.  Be warned, you may have to comprimise on quality.  Usually an expensive price tag correlates to hand made, custom designed, quality materials and exculsivity so when you are buying the cheaper version, you will get machine made, mass marketed and lower quality materials.  Personally, I'm ok with this as I like to change up my interiors and the fact that I have not spent a fortune on decorating means that this is easy to do.  It also means that I'm not precious about things when my kids inadvertantly break something.

A trick that a lot of designers use when working with a low budget is to buy something generic and to customise it to suit their scheme, thus achieving a custom look without the price tag.  An example of this may be buying ready to hang curtains and adding a band of beautiful material to the bottom.  You still get the look of the expensive material, at a fraction of the cost of getting the whole curtains custom made in this fabric.

I'm really good at treasure hunting and if you want those bargains, you will have to be too.  This means riffling through those sale bins.  I can see a lot of you turning up your noses, thinking that sale bins are not for you, but even the top designers in this world have done this at one time or another.  It's amazing what you can find.  You will have to have imagination and foresight as these items are not conveniently displayed with a whole scheme set out for you but that's where the fun is.  I recently bought two light fixtures for my boys rooms from Laura Ashley.  They were discounted from $120 to $20 each as they are an indigo blue colour and I imagine they are old stock, from a time when that colour was in season for a lounge room, but they were perfect for a kids room.

Another budget decorating trick is to repurpose what you already have.  It's amazing what a can of paint can achieve.  If you are sick of your walnut brown entertaining unit, instead of throwing it away and looking for a new one, just give it a new lease of life with some paint.

My last tip for you concerns artwork.  I feel that artwork can make or break an interior scheme.  It can be pricey so if you need some artwork on a budget, then consider getting prints and framing them.  If you are feeling creative, why not pick up a cheap blank canvas and some paints and create something for yourself?  If you don't feel like channeling your inner Picasso, then consider framing anything you love from a beautiful fabric to stunning stationery, treasured items or the obvious, a fabulous photo.

However you choose to find your bargains, remember to have fun and be true to yourself and what you like.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bathroom Renovation Tales

Bathroom Mood Board

Our bathroom needs renovating but we face a common problem that many homeowners with a non functioning bathroom (let's just call it broken) face.  What kind of renovation do you do?  There are two major things to consider when approaching a renovation of any kind, but particularly when looking at key rooms in your house such as the bathroom or the kitchen ,and they are budget and use.

We are looking at moving from our house in the next year or two and therefore the amount we spend on any renovation has to be clearly analysed in terms of return on our dollar.  We also have to consider they type of house we have which is a 3 bedroom, family suburban home and therefore the type of bathroom required for such a house.  Finally, we have to consider potential buyers of our house.  Whilst I was keen (ok, chomping at the bit, is a bit more like it) to use some of my design skills and create this fantastic spa like haven with marble like tiles and sparkling mosaics in brilliant colours, it was actually the builder who popped my dream bubble and brought me back to reality.

He took one look at my tile selection and stated the obvious which was that although my selection was very nice, it was too specific and may polarise and alienate potential buyers if they did not like the tile.  I will always listen to someone's input and I must admit, he had a bloody good point.  Although my ego was asking, "how could anyone not like my style?", my head was telling me that not everyone has taste (yes, my ego was answering too) and everyone is different. It's a lot easier to repaint a wall and change accessories than it is to rip up tiles and lay new ones.  Keeping this is mind, it's wise to choose neutral tones for wall and floor tiles and use other elements to bring in the glamour or personality you want if you are looking at renovating with resale in mind.  I'll save my "super" bathroom for the house that I plan on staying in for a while.

So here is my mood board for the bathroom at the moment.  I'm going to keep the floor tiles a neutral latte colour and the wall tiles in white and use wallpaper and wall sconces to bring in my wow.  I have these fantastic white wooden Moroccan style mirrors that were the inspiration for the room and they will contrast well with the wallpaper and the vanity.

I'll keep you updated on how it goes and if my builder has anymore gems of advice for me to share with you!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Royal Hawaiian Style

The grand entrance of The Royal Hawaiian,
also fondly referred to as Pink Palace of the Pacific.
Part of the recently renovated lobby of the hotel
and possibly my favourite place in Waikiki. 
This open air walkway faces the hotels lush tropical gardens. 

Royal Ocean Front Suite.  The pink towels have been replaced by
crisp white ones, but the pink and platinum pineapple wallpaper
ensures the pink theme remains entrenched in this hotel.
Image via

Stunning Moroccan infused design and decoration in the lobby.

Another view of that marvellous roof. 
I'm glad I got a photo with some people in it so you can see
the proportion of the enormous magnificent chandelier.

The impeccable styling continues outdoors.

The perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or two.

I can just see Marilyn Monroe here.

Azure seafood restaurant at The Royal Hawaiian
Twenty years ago, I visited Hawaii with my parents and the most enduring memory of that trip was having breakfast at The Royal Hawaiian.  Returning with my Mum and sister recently, my mother had a quiet tear, welling up with nostalgic memories when we arrived.  How could a hotel evoke such feeling?  Well, this is no run of the mill, cookie cutter hotel for a start.

Opening in 1927 at the cost of $4 million, the Royal Hawaiian was immediately the chosen playground for the rich and famous.  At a time when the island was only accessible via boat, guests would pack heavy and reside at the resort for many weeks.  Over time, the hotel continued to attract high profile guests including the Rockerfellers, The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, Dean Martin and Shirley Temple.  A scandal at the time, the hotel created a non-alcoholic drink for the child star and named it after her.

Built in a Spanish Moorish style, popular in the late 1920's, the hotel's most significant feature is it's salmon colour stucco facade resulting in its fond nickname, The Pink Palace.  The hotel truly is an icon of Waikiki, and as the area became bombarded with modernist development in the 1980's, The Royal Hawaiian proudly stood as a design and architecture monument to a golden era of Hawaii tourism.

In 2010, the hotel was renovated by a design team including interior designers, Philpotts & Associates and WCIT Architects.  Philpots' outstanding work on The Royal Hawaiian resulted in the firm receiving the prestigious Best of Show award from the IIDA* at the Honour Awards & Pioneers in Design Celebration.  The design team have skillfully maintained the 1920's glamour of the hotel and managed to update the layout and furnishings without forsaking any of its distinctive design style. 

Bright pink and platinum pineapple wallpaper lines the walls of each headboard to re-envitalize the rooms yet maintain the tradition of the hotel.  The lobby was expanded so it opened up to face the hotel's lush tropical lawn.  Taking inspiration from the private estates in Oahu, the design team incorporated local Koa wood, exotic hardwoods and a global influenced mix of furnishings to create an ultimate luxury experience.  The public areas clearly have a Moroccan design influence infused with Asian and Hawaiian Colonial style.

The seafood restaurant at the hotel, Azure, was designed by Los Angeles designer Terry Henriksen of Henriksen Design Associates.  The restaurant is pure glamour with its white, yellow and black Hollywood regency style, taking its cue from the hotel's rich celebrity history.  The restaurant design cleverly ties in with the hotel scheme with details such as the Moroccan lanterns and Middle Eastern motifs.

The rich and famous now take their tropical holidays on their own private islands, or secluded mansions with tightly held addresses, but you can still visit the The Royal Hawaiian for a true taste of old Hollywood glamour and a superb interior design job.

*International Interior Design Association

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lounge Room Update

Our new kid friendly sofa. 
It will be upholstered in a Warwick fabric, Keylargo Slate, which is a dark grey/blue tone

Freedom Drum coffee table.  Another kid friendly choice.
All the bumps and dents from the kids toys will just add the to rustic look of this coffee table.
Our lounge room is long overdue for a revamp.  These are some of the key items that I have ordered for the room.  I'm considering something like the rug shown below from Ada & Darcy and a ceramic drum stool as a side table.  This beautiful drum stool will pick up the colours of the artwork on my walls and my blue and grey hued cushions. 

Ada & Darcy rug
Unfortunately not only is this picture small,
but the rug is also too small for my room, however I would like something similar

Gore Dean ceramic drum stool
This one is from the US, but I have seen them at Gift Fairs here.

I can't wait to see how it all comes together.  I will post before and after pics for you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A quick dash with Elizabeth Bauer

All images are via
Elizabeth Bauer

In the continuing story of my New York design journey, I have to mention Elizabeth Bauer.  We were on our last day in the city that never sleeps, trying to find a deli for my mother so she could buy some nuts (it's a long story you don't want to hear - why would you want nuts when you can have Magnolia Cupcakes?) when we stumbled across Elizabeth Bauer's divine little store.  In our frantic search for a healthy snack, I would have completely missed it, if it were not for the vibrant colours and eye catching designs calling out to me from that little slice of heaven, her retail store.  It was the visual attraction and the fact that I had slowed the pace down as a Jonathan Adler store is a few doors down.  Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, on Greenwich Avenue, make sure you stop in for a look when you are there.

The shop just makes you feel good.  The gorgeous colours, patterned fabrics, varied surfaces and exotic glamorous vibe of the store means that you will want to stay and potter for a while.  Unfortunately, on this trip, all I could afford was a quick dash, but this is one place that I will definitely revisit on my next trip.  Last year, Traditional Home magazine labeled Elizabeth Bauer as one of 20 Young Designers to Watch and I suggest you take a good long look.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Focus on Fiona Barrat

Chelsea Apartment
Chelsea Apartment

Chelsea Townhouse

Chelsea Townhouse

Chelsea Townhouse

All images are via Fiona Barrat Interiors

This talented British designer has a flair for using grey to create luxurious and inviting interior schemes.  A former protegee of Kelly Hoppen, Fiona is now carving out her own niche in the design world, establishing Fiona Barrat Interiors in 2006.  Fiona has a subdued style which focuses on using soft, tactile fabrics combined with stunning stone and mirrored finishes and warming wood features.  Her neutral palates are often highlighted by the restrained use of one accent colour or item.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Missoni Home Delights

Image via

Sophie floor lamp & shade
Image via

Jarris Cushion
Image via

Lobos Cushion
Image via

Montgomery Throw
Image via

The iconic Italian designer house has very successfully translated their design style to homewares.  The bold colour and designs are exciting, warm and thoroughly modern and hipp.  My birthday is in February and if anyone is looking for a present for me, look no further!