I’m Back! Plus a Virtual Design Concept

Why, hello there!

Sorry if you were in the middle of munching on some cereal. Pretty sure the shock of seeing a new post from me now has that mouthful of Froot Loops all over your screen!

In all seriousness though, yes, it’s been a while and I’m so sorry for the impromptu absence. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me over the past few months.

If you follow me socially (on IG or FB) you may have seen that over the weekend I shared this post:

“When Melbourne went into hard lock-down four months back, it’s fair to say I wholly surrendered.

Going full hermit was never a conscious decision, but with projects on hold and motivation on pause, my blog and social channels just seemed to drift into an incidental silence (the only place I’ve remained active is in my Facebook Group).

At first I justified things by laying blame on home schooling and client renderings (which granted, were taking up most of my time), though as the weeks passed, and I still struggled to find the enthusiasm to share anything with the word, I knew it was more than that.

Lock-down had drawn me into a secluded little hole, and instead of reaching up, I burrowed down, deep.

I may have felt comfortable, but I certainly wasn’t happy.

Now that restrictions have finally eased here in Melbourne, it’s time for a change.

Time to find a solid foot hold, clasp a fistful of grit and raise myself up.

I can’t promise any of this means I’m about to become some kind of “proper” blogger or influencer (whatever that means anyway) but I’d like to try and be better, for myself and for you.

Thanks for the privilege of having you here with me.”

Apologies to those of you who have already read this. I wanted to share here too as blog followers don’t necessarily use social media.

I hope that doesn’t come across as overly dramatic. This year has been difficult for everyone, and I’m under no illusion there are countless people out there doing it much tougher than me. Still, please be aware that my words don’t allude to everything which has impacted our family over the past few months (I’ve never been one for overt public sharing), so feel free to go a little bit easy on me if you like. But also know that in the grand scheme of things I certainly understand I’m one of the lucky ones, and I am eternally grateful for that.

Although one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging is because there simply hasn’t been any new project progress, something I have made lots of progress on is client design work.

I don’t tend to share my client design work much (if at all), but it’s something I’d like to post about more often. Not only because over the past few months it’s become a huge part of my decorating life, though also because I know some of you really enjoy seeing it. Plus, this year I’ve worked hard on developing my knowledge and skills, and am proud of how far I’ve come.

To kick things off I thought I’d share this cute toddler’s bedroom which is one of my favourite designs ever (again, if you follow me socially you may have caught a snippet of this space already).

My client is expecting her second baby early next year so is moving her 18 month old son out of the current nursery and into a new bedroom.

The brief was super open and the room was essentially a blank canvas. The only requirements were to add white shutters to the window, to retain the cot from the nursery for now (with scope to move to a “big boy” bed in the near future), and to incorporate a cane dresser she already had.

Here’s how the room looked before…

Before

And here are the pieces my client wanted included…

Shutters

Cot

Bamboo Dresser

Yes, this is the same dresser I used in the girl’s bedroom at the flip house. My client purchased it when I offered it for sale on Marketplace. That’s how she found me!

And here’s my virtual design concept…

Boy' Bedroom Concept

Boy's Bedroom Virtual Design

It has an earthy vintage vibe, with a bit of an eclectic jungle edge.

Boy's Bedroom Virtual Design

Boy's Bedroom Virtual Concept

You can see the shutters, cot and dresser are all accurately represented. That’s something I love about creating these concepts – the challenge of getting things as true-to-life as possible!

I’ve worked with this client before so I knew her style and taste well enough to take a few risks, and she trusted me to nail things for her. Fortunately she absolutely LOVES it!

Being able to share navigable 3D models and 360 degree panoramas with clients is one of the great features of the software I use (for anyone interested, I use Home Designer by Chief Architect).

View Floor Plan in Chief Architect’s 360° Panorama Viewer.

 

View Floor Plan in Chief Architect’s 360° Panorama Viewer.

Virtual Room Design Before and After

I know it’s not the same as sharing one of my personal projects, however I figured it was better than nothing, and I hope you like it.

Given the easing of restrictions here in Melbourne I can finally start work on my parent’s suite extension again so will be back soon to share our progress moving forward.

Thank you so much for still being here.

 

Signature

If you’d like help with a room in your home, refer to my Design Services page for further information.

 

 

The Suite Extension DIY Kitchenette Progress

DIY Kaboodle Kitchen

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been a very bad blogger of late.

You’d think being stuck at home all day, every day, would open-up a world of spare hours, but I’ve actually found myself more time challenged than usual.

I know my seemingly relaxed approach to this blog might come across as indifference sometimes, though the truth is that I’m super passionate about my little slice of the web, and having shared nothing with you guys for the past few weeks has really been bugging me.

And it’s not even like I have nothing to share. On the contrary there’s been a bit going on, but like I said, finding time to blog amidst school holidays and remote learning and client work has been tricky, and, if I’m honest, my motivation levels haven’t exactly been peaking.

So it was refreshing to drag the camera out a few days ago, scour the fruit bowl for some pretty props, and take some nice pics of my parent’s new kitchenette, albeit unfinished.

 DIY Kaboodle Kitchenette

We started planning this kitchenette months ago. Some of you may remember my rough 3D renderings from February…

Kitchenette Design

Kitchenette Design

Although this was just a basic preliminary design, it’s pretty much exactly what we ended up going with – however we removed the roll-out dishwasher in favour of a pot drawer, and our wall cabinets don’t extend to the ceiling (which I did know was going to be the case anyway).

We chose to go through Kaboodle and have been really happy with everything. As with doing anything for the first time, some aspects of the planning phase and cabinetry install were a bit mind-bending and fiddly, though nothing was overly difficult, and it all came in at well under 2K.

Kaboodle Kitchen

Kaboodle DIY Kitchen

Cabinet Install

Kitchen Install DIY

Kaboodle Kitchen Install

Sorry about the quality of these progress pics. Most were snapped at dusk using my phone.

We knew we wanted simple shaker style cabinetry from the start so choosing the Alpine profile was a no brainer. We also decided to go with their Raw Board ‘Paint Your Own Doors’ finish so we could completely customise the colour, and can also easily re-paint in the future if we ever want a change.

Kitchenette

The colour is Oyster Linen by Dulux, which is actually quite a bit darker than it appears in my photos, and we used Dulux Aquanamel paint in Semi-Gloss for a hard-wearing finish.

Dulux Oyster Linen

Given the amount of natural light in the space it can easily take the level of depth, and the soft beige-green compliments the wire-brushed oak floors so well!

DIY Kaboodle Kitchenette

Deciding on the benchtop was less straightforward. I went back and forth between light or dark and thin or thick. After a few days we eventually settled on light and thin, then basically ordered the Calcutta Gloss, before changing our minds and switching to Mayonella.

DIY Kaboodle Kitchen Mayonella

So glad we did because it’s just right!

We bought the sink and mixer tap last year (because they were needed for the plumbing rough-in). They were both from Bunnings though unfortunately it looks like they no longer carry the tap in our particular finish (which is called Rose Gold however is actually more of a burnished antique brass). One of my brother-in-laws is a plumber so he installed the sink and tap last weekend.

And several months back we picked up this little retro style bar fridge (we got it from Catch for around $400 however it’s no longer listed there).

Bar Fridge

Isn’t it cute?

Clearly we still need to choose cabinet hardware and decide on a splashback.

Was originally thinking we’d go with warm brass handles though due to the intense colour of the mixer tap, I’m now wondering if simple black might work better to allow the tap to pop and provide some contrast. I’m also not opposed to something different, like off-white ceramic. Either way they will have a simple heritage feel, with knobs on the uppers and probably pulls on the lower doors and drawers. This kinda style…

Handles

For the splashback we’re planning on doing the entire wall (behind the impending shelves, and above the upper cabinets) and are almost certain about using pressed tin. Mum has loved pressed tin since forever though has never used it in her home, so this is finally her chance!

Pressed Tin

We haven’t narrowed down a particular design or colour yet, though it will be something somewhat subtle in a soft white.

Of course we also need to install the wall shelves. At this stage we haven’t thought too much about them, and I’m not too fussed because there are so many lovely options. Initially I liked the idea of floating live edge timber shelves. If we can find some nice timber at the right price this may be what we end up choosing.

In addition, I’d like to add some crown trim to the tops of the upper cabinets, and maybe even some kind of moulding to the bases too, just for that more tailored look. The following examples aren’t perfect, though along these lines…

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

So the bulk of the hard work is already done, we just need those finishing touches to bring everything together.

 

Signature

 

Catch up on all of the other suite extension posts HERE.

 

Kitchenette

 

DIY Shutters for the Suite Extension House

DIY Shutters

If you’re anything like me, then you probably consume quite a bit of design and decoration content online, either through social media, blogs or other websites. And, like me, in your time you may have come across the odd article or two about exterior shutters and their supposed “right and wrongs” (perhaps with a heated ensuing comment thread!).

Yes, apparently some people have strong opinions about some wood attached to the side of a house!

The bulk of the negativity is aimed at decorative shutters, especially those which don’t “fit” the window size so can’t even pretend to have some sort of function.

The secondary annoyance centers around their general appearance. The belief that they diminish, rather than enhance, the look of most houses nowadays because they tend to come across as fussy, old-fashioned, forced and erroneous.

I get it, and totally understand the arguments, but I’ve never been one for rules or trends.

When my parents painted their exterior brick a few months back, they needed to remove all of their original white louvered shutters – yes, the ones below which don’t “fit” the window size.

Painted Brick Before and After

At that stage we discussed the possibility of leaving them off entirely, though they were both adamant that they wanted them back. And, I must say, I liked the idea too.

As you can see, a large portion of their house is visible from the street, and although the new white brick was fresh and crisp, there was a LOT of it! Plus, my parents have always loved the charm of country style homes, so the somewhat sleek and modern look of having no shutters, whilst appealing to many people, simply wasn’t for them.

DIY Z Shutters

We toyed with the idea of re-using the original louvered shutters (which are currently popular again!) but decided something with a bit more substance and character would work better. Plus no-one was interested in stripping the paint off all the louvers – LOL! It would have been a massive job. Of course we still have the original shutters and will repurpose them for future projects.

After settling on a simple ‘Z’ design, my Dad built all of the shutters from cypress pickets. It’s a pretty straight-forward DIY (just cut, glue and screw – similar to the batten style shutters I built last year for the flip house). Each shutter cost $60 and there are ten in total.

Shutters

They are merely bolted directly to the brick. To retain and enhance the natural warmth of the timber we simply finished them with clear exterior oil.

DIY Cypress Shutters

Here’s a before and during (“during” because the house is still a work in progress) with and without shutters…

Before Shutters

After Shutters

And here’s before the brick was painted with the original shutters still in place…

DIY Shutters

Shutters After

For a while we were tossing up the idea of charcoal or duck-egg shutters, though I’m so glad we went with natural timber!

Like I said at the start of this post, they may not be for everyone though I absolutely love them!

DIY Cypress Shutters

If you noticed that my photos are all relatively tight-framed, this is why…

Progress

My Dad pulled down the old retaining wall a few weeks ago so this whole area is a big mess. Aside from building a new wall and having the driveway made, we still also need to finish the garage area and stairs which will all be clad in stone, and there will be a timber pergola going up on the balcony. It’s slowly getting there.

 

Signature

 

Catch up on all of the other suite extension posts HERE.

 

Before and After Shutters

 

 

 

DIY Pergola-Style Balcony Millwork

Firstly, thanks so much for all the love on the bathroom reveal post! You guys are just the best.

I know it seems like things have been sitting stagnant at my parent’s house for a while, though there’s actually been quite a bit of progress I can’t wait to share!

Something that happened a few weeks back was the addition of some DIY pergola-style millwork to the underside of the new balcony.

Pergola Millwork

If you follow me socially (through Instagram or Facebook) you may have seen a snippet of this project already.

From the start I knew the balcony was going to be a bit of a design challenge due to the unusual way it over-hangs the angled roof.

Balcony Before

I get that counter-levered structures can look cool and modern, though something about the stark blockiness of this never really sat right with me, and it just didn’t suit the style of my parent’s more traditional house either.

So, I had this slightly unconventional idea to attach some chunky decorative timber to provide a bit of relief from the boxy lines and add some extra charm and character…and it actually worked!

DIY Pergola Brackets

My dad built all of the elements from inexpensive treated pine, stained them a warm cedar tone, then bolted them up there!

It was pretty easy, very affordable, and looks so much better (well, according to me)!

Before

Pergola Millwork

I know some of you will prefer the more modern appearance of the before but, like I said, it just didn’t quite suit the feel we were going for here.

DIY Pergola Style Mllwork

I’ll be back super soon to share some more of the progress we’ve made.

Signature

 

Catch up on all of the other suite extension posts HERE.

 

Pergola DIY Before and After

 

The Suite Extension Bathroom Reveal!

It may have been a long time coming but the bathroom reveal is finally here!

Bathroom Reveal

Just to recap, and for anyone new to my blog, this bathroom is part of an upper level suite extension at my parent’s house. So, in a departure from my usual “make the most” style of decorating – where I tend to cosmetically refurbish dated, existing spaces – this room actually needed to be created from scratch. Yikes!

It was a slightly daunting and weird experience to forgo the need to upcycle and DIY pretty much everything, and instead look at using mostly brand new stuff (new stuff is mildly foreign to me)! But even in a new build, there’s still always room for some creative little projects, and of course, being budget savvy never goes out of style!

Although my parents trust me (way more than they probably should – LOL!), they both had some strong ideas about the design direction of this space and weren’t about to sit back and let me run wild with it – which is wise given their conservative taste. The resulting room is a transitional mix with timeless bones, an overall classic feel and some more unique ephemeral touches, which can be changed out from time-to-time. I hope you guys can appreciate what we were trying to achieve.

I’ve covered most of the bathroom progress in my previous posts, however will touch on some aspects as I share this reveal. For your convenience I’ve linked to all of the products and projects at the end of the post. And, as always, feel free to ask any questions if you’d like more info about anything in particular.

Bathroom Reveal

Bathroom Vanity

Bathroom Reveal

Turkish Towels

I say it every time, though for me there’s always some doubt when a room is in progress, so when things come together nicely in the end it’s such a good feeling!

Bathroom Vanity

The vanity was one of the more major ‘unknowns’ as we designed it ourselves (which is always a little dicey) and were limited in terms of the finishing materials we could choose.

The timber grain vinyl was a bit of a risk though it looks so good and adds just the right amount of warmth.

Bathroom Vanity Handles

To finish it off we added these simple, almost utilitarian, handles from Handle House which I just love! I was originally going to use black handles (and even tried some out) though they felt too jarring. I thought chrome would be lost against the timber grain vinyl, though their subtlety is just perfect!

Bathroom Make Up Vanity

We plan to place a free standing mirror on the make-up bench eventually but just haven’t found the right one yet.

Bathroom Vanity Stool

And my basic hacked Kmart stool is still going strong!

Kmart Stool Hack

Without a doubt the riskiest element was the landscape mural, which I custom designed.

Custom Landscape Wallpaper

Having never done anything quite like this before, I really had no idea how it was going to turn out. There are probably a few little things I might change if I was going to do it again (mainly relating to the contrast and tone of the print) but that’s just me being fussy. It’s really lovely as is, and gives the room such a unique vibe.

Wallpaper

It cost a total of around $280 to have it printed through a company called AJ Wallpaper, which, based on all of my research, is a great price. Wallpaper can be sooooo expensive!

Unfortunately the wide-angle photos don’t really do justice to the detail in the print so you need to use your imagination a little.

Over the vanity I love the way the trees seem to cradle the mirror.

Bathroom Reveal

As promised months ago, I’ll be back to share some free printable large-scale landscape images you can use to make your own wallpaper or art!

The shower niche is nice and simple with its pencil tile border, and Caesarstone shelves which match the vanity top.

Shower Niche

Vintage Shower Set

And I adore these static cling labels I found on eBay (I simply removed the stickers from some supermarket bottles and attached these instead).

Shampoo and Conditioner Bottles

Shower Niche Styling

Of course I found a bit of room for some of my blue-green glassware!

Bathroom Styling

Deciding on tiles was surprisingly simple. My parents knew they wanted classic white subways on the walls from the start, and choosing to pair them with a mottled charcoal herringbone on the floor just came easy.

Charcoal Herringbone Tile Floor

Shower Drain

It’s a great timeless combo which works beautifully to provide both freshness and depth.

Bathroom Reveal

It’s easy to get caught-up on the idea that every individual item in a room needs to make a statement. And, I must admit, when I first saw this very basic vanity basin, I was a little underwhelmed. But, I knew that in the context of the space as a whole, something simple like this would work well to ‘sit back’ as needed. And it’s just right.

Vanity Basin

Bathroom Vanity

Initially, I wanted a wide oblong mirror for this room, though we couldn’t find anything affordable. I contemplated DIY’ing something, but in the end it was just easy to use this round mirror from Kmart for now.

Vanity Mirror from Kmart

The faux brass finish was a little dull so we coated it with ‘Gold Leaf’ Rub ‘n’ Buff for a bit of extra oomph.

Custom Landscape Wallpaper

The sconce light is simply from eBay.

Sconce Light

It originally had an antique brass finish, which I thought might work, but in the end it was too much so we painted it black for simplicity.

And it works well to reference the classic towel hooks on the opposite wall.

Towel Hooks

Bathroom Makeover

It feels so strange sharing a room reveal without any before shots!

Bathroom Reveal

Vanity

Bathroom Reveal

Although it looks quite luxe and custom (if I do say so myself – LOL!), there’s actually nothing expensive about this bathroom. My parents did splurge a little (by our standards, anyway) on the tapware though it was still far from extravagant. For the most part the entire space is actually quite budget savvy. Hopefully it goes to show that with a bit of resourcefulness, patient shopping and thoughtful compromise you can achieve a champagne look on a beer budget!

Bathroom Vignette

Hope you like it!

PRODUCT & PROJECT LIST

Floor Tile – Conazzo Charcoal Brick Matt (300mm x 70mm) with Charred Ash Grout ($49 square meter)

Wall Tile – White Subway Gloss (200mm x 100mm) with Misty Grey Grout ($22 square meter)

Wallpaper – DIY Custom Designed Vintage Mural Printed by AJ Wallpaper ($280 total)

Shower Glass Panel – Custom Manufactured ($500 approx.)

Vanity – Custom Designed in Gislaved Sebastion Oak Vinyl with Frosty Carrina Caesarstone Top ($1,200 approx.)

Vanity Handles – Minyana Cabinet Handles from Handle House ($12 each)

Vanity Stool – Kmart Hack ($30)

Sconce Light – Round Sphere Wall Lamp from eBay ($55)

Shower Tapware – Phoenix Nostalgia Exposed Shower Set ($730)

Basin Tapware – Phoenix Nostalgia Basin Set ($420)

Basin – Caroma Luna Inset Basin ($130)

Shower Waste – Sunny Design Brass Waste ($12)

Mirror – Large Brass Look Mirror from Kmart ($30)

Towel Hooks – Adoored Black Deco Robe Hook from Bunnings ($8 each)

Towels – Linen Turkish Towels from Etsy ($12 each)

Soap Blocks – Savon De Marseille ($12 each)

Shampoo & Conditioner Labels – By Me from eBay ($3 each)

 

Note that the shower panel and vanity costs are labelled as approx. because they were general inclusions in the build contract so their prices weren’t individually specified.

 

Signature

 

Catch up on all of the other suite extension posts HERE.

 

Bathroom Vanity