WEAVING IN THE GOOD STUFF…
Good Monday morning! As I sat and did my daily reading this morning, zoning out from all my commitments for a couple of minutes, I felt restored after a somewhat full weekend. I must confess to feeling a little overwhelmed as we step into spring today. The year seems to be racing along and I am feeling like I am running to keep up!
I am off to Brisbane this week. We are commencing another new project (-so grateful for faithful clients returning with their new dwellings!) speaking at libraries, doing some interviews and speaking at the ‘Elevation INC.’ SPRING event. (Check out their cool promo – Elevation Spring event)…What fills your week? I find that purpose is my energizer. When I fill my week with the busyness of life I arrive at Friday evening feeling sapped. However when I start my Monday focused on my purpose and action this a little each day I arrive at Friday – perhaps physically weary – but, mentally excited about the possibilities.
Enjoy the week ahead. Purposely weave in the good stuff and get excited about the road ahead.
MY INSPIRATION for the ‘Elevation’ spring event!
CHOOSING YOUR FIRST PIECE OF ART…
Great artwork changes the vibe in a room. We started investing in artwork a couple of years back and I can’t express how much we enjoy each piece. It is quite remarkable how new artwork blends seamlessly with the existing creating a body of works that we truly enjoy.
Before we made that first investment it was hard to lock in what we loved. We had hoped to overtime collect artwork however felt a little uneducated to step into an independent gallery. We began our journey at the National art gallery. We walked around the gallery and took note of the artists that had a style that spoke to us, also looking for both colour and pattern. It became quite obvious that we had a soft spot for the abstract.
Driving past a couple of privately owned galleries we took down their details and started looking at artwork online from the comfort of our living room. Once we found an artist or two we liked we took the brave first step, walking into a local gallery. They were delightful, making the experience one of enjoyment.
My tips for beginning your journey: Look through magazines and books, galleries and pinterest to establish firstly the style you enjoy. Next start enquiring at your local art gallery, putting your name down to be notified for upcoming exhibitions is always a good way to stay in tune with what is available. Ask lots of questions!…We asked for full bio’s on all our preferred artists, we wanted to make sure we were bringing healthy artwork into our home. (We always ask the reason behind the title).
Now, just ENJOY the journey!
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WHAT ARE ECLECTIC & TRADITIONAL DESIGN STYLES?
Earlier this week I started the conversation about design styles. We talked about contemporary & modern in my previous blog now let’s chat about eclectic & traditional styles.
Eclectic: – The style of eclecticism is a borrowing of a variety of styles from different sources and the art of combining them in a harmonious way. The eclectic style is one of the hardest to pull off well. Looking on, many may be mistaken to think its just a whole lot of stuff thrown together, however when you look into it deeper you will find that even though it is, as first stated a combination of different styles from many varying sources, there is indeed a thread that beautifully binds each piece to the next. This combining glue could be in an emotion in which each item was purchased, a colour palette, or a body of works. This I confess is one of my favourite styles.
Traditional: – this style celebrates simple elegance, through the use of classic shapes. Evidence of the traditional style are showcased with carved mouldings, fine woodwork, graceful lines and sumptuous sofas, normally overstuffed with a combination of feather and down. Also present in a traditional setting are window coverings, elegant fabric selections and detailed curtains with or without pelmets.
Hope these simple compressed style outlines have given you a little heads up for your next project.
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CHECKING IN ON STYLES…
If you have engaged the services of an Interior Designer or started talking to friends about a new renovation or build, I am sure throughout your conversations you’ve heard them make mention of styles such as Contemporary, Modern, Eclectic and Traditional to name a few…Have you been left wondering what in the world they are talking about? Following I’m going to demystify the designer lingo…Yep, keeping it plain and simple. Today’s blog will cover contemporary & modern and then please tune into my next blog for details on eclectic & traditional styles. Happy reading!
Contemporary: – Means of the moment, present – living or existing at the same time as others. Contemporary spaces are always evolving with a collaboration of the new and old. Contemporary rooms are layered over time and whilst they might incorporate a vintage chair or traditional twist into the mix they are generally identified by their relationship to what is happening around them in the present day. Hence the phrase “Today’s contemporary is tomorrows vintage!”
Modern: – Mid- 20th Century, roughly 1933 – 1965 – Modern refers to architecture, furniture, art and design that broke with tradition, offering a contrast to the ornate décor of earlier periods. Main colour palette is within the Neutrals range, white walls and pops of colour through art and the occasional chair. The palette was kept neutral to highlight the love of art throughout this period. Modern design is characterized by low, long furniture and natural materials like linen & leather upholstery and teak wood.
CONTEMPORARY with a traditional twist.
THE FAMILY RUG TAKES ON A NEW ROLE…
Question: – What do you do with a rug you love that no longer works with your floor plan? Answer: – Get creative and transition it into a new object of enjoyment! Yes, this was a very real dilemma for us when we moved 6 months ago. We had purchased a beautiful playful rug for a bedroom and living space the boys shared at our previous property, however now that everyone has their own rooms and the adjoining spaces couldn’t accommodate the size of this rug we had to decide what would become of this family treasure. Do we sell it? Store it? Or Transition it?
We transitioned it! Determined to hold onto this rug we lovingly selected but not one for storing things I decided we would just need to get creative and transform this rug into a new object with purpose. We had been looking around for the perfect coffee table for our new abode, without much success until one night we put two and two together and came up with a design for a multi-purpose oversized ottoman that could fulfil our brief for a new coffee table as well as have all the warmth and colour of the rug we loved…and hey presto our rug was saved from the ‘for sale’ bin!
What do you have in your cupboard that could become your new ‘object of enjoyment’?
THE ART OF ADDING COMFORT…
The easiest way, and certainly the least expensive, to add a new dimension to a room is with soft furnishings. Soft furnishings (SF) can soften hard surfaces and make a room warmer. (During these cooler months adding these extra layers will also assist in removing any draught!)
Even if you’re renting you can still add that personal touch to your home through little pops of interchangeable colour and texture.
Generally, items that are cloth are soft furnishings – anything from curtains, chair covers and cushions to lamp shades, linens and throws…Even the humble tea towel can be classed as a soft furnishing element adding interest to your kitchen.
Following are some easy steps you can implement to start skipping down the path of comfort!
Shower curtains: – The plastic curtain is fabulous for keeping the water in however to add that little SF touch install a second cloth curtain (e.g. standard fabric curtain that you would install in your bedroom or living room) on the outside which will give an opulent finish as well as combat the hard surfaces with a shield of warmth.
Bedroom: – For bedrooms the good old faithful valance (Bed skirt) is on its way back! For something unique instead of heading to your local Myer or DJ’s drop into your upholsterer and have one custom made. A custom made valance (Either upholstered or loose cover) is a very contemporary look and beautifully compliments a modern/contemporary palette.
Budget tip: – If the budget is tight something small like new lampshades can also inject personality into a room. A bought or custom made lampshade will take your space to the next level of design. (Note: the shade should be slightly wider than the base and approx. two-thirds the height of the base) For a contemporary look change out your existing round shades for square, or rectangular.
Have a fabulous week!
SELECTING THE PERFECT FEATURE CUSHION…
Gathering a grouping of cushions for a lounge is one thing but looking out for the feature show -stopper is a big deal. Finding that ONE cushion that will make your heart sing each time you enter the room takes time …and lots of travel! (Well, that’s what I told my husband!)
Proudly leading the pack of cluster cushions on my French chaise lounge is a stunning little hand made tapestry cushion I purchased in Stow-on-the-Wold while travelling back to London from Cardiff on a trip with my Mum many many years ago. Every time I see this beautifully made fine work of art I am reminded of our time together and the laughs had.
More recently, while in London with our eldest son Isaiah we purchased a cushion from the Portobello markets that again holds such wonderful memories and moments of joy.
Try not to rush the finishing touches. Invest time into those pieces that set the tone for each space and become launching pads for the rest of the décor.
ADDING PERSONALITY THROUGH BLOOMS…
Flowers are my favourite pass time. When I am feeling like a little change around the home I start with a fresh season blend of beautiful blooms. A cluster of roses brings elegance to a table top, while an overflowing cascade of fine fern, mixed with peonies says eclectic.
Before you race out and invest in a larger item to fulfil your need for change why not purchase a blushing bunch of your favourite flowers and transform your table top into a vignette worthy of inspiration!
TABLES FOR ALL OCCASIONS…
Nothing displays hospitality more than a comfy chair and LOTS of small tables. Having that little resting place for your coffee mug or side plate makes entertaining a delight.
A good measure for whether you have sufficient tables is to invite your family into the living area for a pot of tea and a slice of cake. Prepare the afternoon tea and proceed to serve them while they are cosily seated on the lounge. This is the test I do every time we rearrange our living area (…which is quite frequently!)
Do you have a coffee table to rest your tray on? Once the cake is cut and served has each person got somewhere to rest their cup of tea and cake? Is there sufficient lighting? (Floor lamps or a pair of lamps on your side or end tables) Are the tables scattered in a way that allows each person easy reach to their goodies?
Before long, it becomes very clear as to what is needed. I love doing the above test because we all entertain differently, so what works for me might be too much of distraction for you and your style of hospitality – however by completing the challenge you can tweak your living area to accommodate your needs and once again enjoy entertaining with your friends and family.
A great combination, if size permits is a coffee table in front of the sofa (this could also be substituted for an oversized ottoman with a large tray on top) a pair of end or side tables either side of the main sofa to house a pair of lamps as well as room for a cup and plate – remembering to make sure the lamp shades cover all the workings of the lamp from the seated position (Note: the lamps need not be the same, however same finished height works well) And finally – my favourite – is a scattering of occasional tables. Occasional tables are the finishing touches to a space, kinda like that final layering of throws and cushions on a sofa or blankets and pillows on a bed. Occasional tables are normally a little higher than the coffee table and a little lower than the side tables.
Tables are indeed a little thing that makes a big difference!
HELPFUL TIPS: Coffee Tables approx. 450mmH - Occasional Tables – vary in height, creating layers to both the coffee table and side/end table - Side/End Tables approx. 650mm – 730mmH
CREATING UNIQUE in a consumer focused world.
It takes courage to step out and be you in a mass production – must have now – economy. Custom made items can take anything from 2 – 18 weeks to be manufactured and who has the time for this, right?
So, I thought I would have this debate for you. Yep it has to be done, because ‘unique’ is in reach for each of us, however it does take thought, patience and creativity – but I know this is a path worth venturing down and hanging out for.
Custom made need not mean it will cost more. Many times when I discuss having something custom made (CM) with my clients their first response is “do we have the budget for this?” The answer is yes. When we CM an item we have the exciting task of creating an object by selecting the materials used, colours chosen and the budget.
When we CM an item (make or do something to fit the needs or requirements of a particular person) it doesn’t have to be from scratch. Sometimes to make something unique you can take something off the shelf and add additional items to transform it into an object of desire for YOU. For example take a pair of prefab (ready-to-go) pine bookcases. Position them either side of the fireplace, or window. Then to allow them to look and feel unique to you and your needs you can attach them to the wall and further attach a continuous cornice from the side right the way around the top of them from wall to wall. In addition you could paint them in a colour that makes your room zing! – This is a smart and inexpensive way of taking something off the shelf and creating something practical and special for you and your family.
Gallery walls are bespoke creations. A gathering of personalised pictures and/or objects – collected over time, or from many sources. What I love most about this new, old way of displaying things we collect is it is a unique personal touch we can each capture and outwork…despite our budgets. It is a perfect way to CM your home. You could source from galleries, antique stores, grandma’s cupboards or holidays abroad.
Another fabulous way to add that personal touch to your home is by having your furniture upholstered in a fabric you love. Or again, if you have an existing piece of shop-bought seating and desire to give it a uniquely YOU touch you can add a trim along the bottom or have the seat cushion upholstered in a selected piece of fabric – purchased from a fabric house or perhaps a scarf or blanket brought back from a trip abroad!
Look through books, flick through the pages of the latest Vogue Living or invest a little time online and look for that little bit of unique that will inspire you within your own home.
ADDING THE ‘COSY’ FACTOR…
It is a chilly winters’ morning here in Melbourne. The fire is glowing in the background as I sit at my computer wrapped in a blanket…oh how I love this time of year!
It is in these cooler months our collection of blankets and throws come into their own. They add the cosy factor to any space – transforming a chilly night into a toasty, loving setting.
It is school holidays here in Melbourne as in most places throughout Australia. Our children are ready for a little down time and fun. Poppie flew in from Brisbane last night to share 10 days with us while my dear mum continues to work as we prepare for a big July here at the ‘bronniemasefau’ design studio.
As the kids planned for Poppie’s arrival there was excitement in the air, each announcing what they were going to do with poppy. One saying “let’s take poppy to the movies”, another “or maybe fishing on the pier” each appreciating the value we place on being wonderful caring hosts.
Cosy decorating is key in these cooler months. Casually positioning throws on the ends on your sofa arms and on your single chairs creates a warm, loved-in cosy layer of comfort welcoming to all. When you set your guest rooms, further add layers of blankets and cushions so your guests sleep through till the sun awakes them in the morn.
Enjoy adding that cosy layer to your home this week! HAPPY MONDAY!!
Technical tip: – A throw is a smaller blanket. They are normally about 130 x 200 (however can vary in size). The purpose of a throw blanket is to add warmth and cosiness. You would use a throw by draping it over a sofa or chair, or perhaps position it on the end of a bed; scenic throws have also been used as wall hangings. A blanket on the other hand is intended for use on a bed. It is used in addition to a comforter (Quilt) to add a soft texture and warmth. Generally blanket sizes are matched to that of sheets. Single, Double, Queen and king.
THE HUMBLE BEDROOM…
The humble bedroom has a big duty to play in our lives. It’s where we go to rest and restore our mind body and soul in a very personal way. The living room also assists in these duties, but we all know that a night without a peaceful sleep can make for a rather challenging day ahead!
I fondly remember my teen bedroom. I was constantly tweaking it, moving my trinkets and furniture around my small space. I remember having a much-loved hatbox and suitcase collection that I would style on top of my vintage wardrobe. Looking back now I can clearly see that within the comfort of my bedroom space the beginnings of who I am today began to take shape.
Not much has changed. It is within our bedroom space I bring in the most personal trinkets. I try out new items to see whether they will blend within our layered home. I confess to being influenced by movies like ‘The family stone’, ‘You’ve got mail’ and ‘Out of Africa’ adding personality and delight to our bedroom always.
I believe it is important we keep a tight rein on the build up of mess within this space. There is definitely a close link between health and wellbeing and sleep and cleanliness. When our bedroom is in order I sleep better.
So as we step into a new week I put out a challenge to each of us to take stock of our bedroom spaces. Find design inspiration in some books, magazines, design shows, movies, museums or a brisk walk through the park or on the beach and come back and inject a little flavour into your personal bedroom space today…I know you’ll sleep better for it!
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