Wednesday 30 April 2014


It's no secret that I'm a 'cushion-aholic'. There's no better way to inject some colour and pattern into your home, the brighter and bolder the better (in my opinion). One of my interior idols, Anna Spiro, mixes colour and pattern better than anyone, and always uses an array of gorgeous cushions in her designs...

I've put together a selection of beautiful cushions that will help you achieve this look...

1. Big Save | 2. Cush & Nooks | 3. Tea Pea | 4. MintSix | 5. Evie Kemp - Superette
6. Big Save | 7. Mister Mister | 8 & 9. Feather the Nest

Tuesday 29 April 2014

DIY Holiday Projects

To all you parents out there... how are things going these school holidays? We're into week two, and if you're starting to run out of things to do with your little people, I've put together a few simple DIY projects you might want to try. I featured this first one on my Facebook and Twitter pages and it was very well received. Some white paper, paint, and a potato creates the cutest wrapping paper, and I know the kids will love helping with this.

This little sock bunny is so adorable. It might be a bit tricky for the kids, but they will love the finished result, none the less. One baby sock per bunny, it's a great way to use those teeny socks that they've grown out of.

I love these little animal art blocks. They've used wooden blocks here, but you could also use a little canvas. A base coat of colour, print outs of your favourite animal, and a top coat of mod podge is all it takes.

I painted a lot of stones in my childhood - made entire families in fact! Another cute idea is to paint your own set of rock dominoes.

Last, but not least, the best place for gorgeous free downloadable creations is Eat Drink Chic. One of my faves is this paper popsicle memory game. This is one the bigger kids could help make, and the littlies will love to play.

Happy creating!

Monday 28 April 2014

Finishing Touches

I am absolutely head over heels with today's home tour! It's the most excited I've been about a house for a while - so gorgeous! Located in the hills of Los Angeles, when owners Jed Lind and Jessica de Ruiter moved into this house there was a lot that was already there, including custom cabinets and built-in furniture. But it was all their finishing touches that have brought the home to life.

It impresses right from the front door, which features the couple's favourite chevron design in various shades of Douglas fir. At first glance it appears quite a simple entrance, but the layers of texture are quite stunning.

Designed in 1953, the original owner of this home was an artist. His plywood wall unit still remains, although Jed and Jessica have made it theirs by adding shelves, and lower cabinets for their daughter's games. It's a nice way to house the TV without it becoming the feature of the room, which so often is the case.

Step up a level to the sunny living room with the original built-in sofa and end tables.

The Carrara marble bench tops are just breathtaking. The end waterfall doubles as a casual dining spot and a way to separate the kitchen and dining area.

The marble continues up the wall as a splash back, and open shelves house the family's beautiful tableware. Drawers below hide away the pots and pans.

Jed and Jessica built the wall unit and daybed in their son's playroom, which ties in beautifully with the built-in furniture found throughout the house. With lots of drawers and shelving it's such a practical kid's space, and it looks fantastic too.

Another fabulous and practical space is the office which doubles as a guest room. A Murphy bed is discreetly hidden in the wall when not in use, and when needed you just need to move the two chairs and table.

Marble and brass, along with wood and linen, help to create a simple, luxurious bedroom. It's this gorgeous use of texture that makes this home so special.

The marble carries on into the bathroom where a heavy slab of travertine sits beautifully with the golden hues around it.

A bedouin rug that the couple got on their honeymoon in Egypt helps to soften the white cinder block.

The windows have been left bare to make the most of the spectacular views, both out onto the Moroccan-inspired deck, and to the hills beyond.

The tiles are divine, and the chairs are such an interesting shape, but sit quietly so as not to compete with the graphic pattern.

Jed and Jessica planted boxwoods and creeping fig by the pool to add texture and, again, to soften the brickwork. So, what do you think? Are you as inspired and infatuated as me?!

photography by Matthew Williams

Friday 25 April 2014

Caravan - Retro | Bold | New | Old

I'm really happy to introduce you to one of our newest friends, Caravan - you may have seen their ad on the side panel. It's always exciting to discover new online shops to fossick in, and you're going to love the carefully selected range of products that Caravan has to offer.

Founded by sisters, Jo and Sharon, they created Caravan to share their love of great design and their eclectic style. Jo has over 20 years experience in the design industry, and even as a child she had a gift for creativity - painting, making treasures and then selling them from her craft stall based in her fort. Although Sharon wasn't blessed with the same creative streak, she is a formidable business and project manager, extremely practical and has a passion for great service. Sounds like a pretty good partnership to me.

With the help of Jo's great eye, Caravan has a selection of gorgeous vintage finds, which Jo cleverly styles and photographs for the shop.

As well as vintage treasures, you'll love the selection of new products. It was really important to Sharon and Jo to provide an easy and pleasurable shopping experience, from browsing right through to the checkout, and then to receiving your beautifully wrapped product. Jo's husband, Dave, is the web-building expert and he's made sure that the checkout process is as simple and user-friendly as possible, and with a flat rate shipping price you'll know what to expect before you check out.

Caravan has also given Jo an outlet for her creative skills. A self-confessed "course addict", she's now a master at many things - bookbinding, pottery, felting, screen printing and sewing, among others. She and Sharon have produced some Caravan originals - items that you won't find anywhere else, such as their owl cushions and fox cups.

They plan to introduce more original pieces to their range, so to keep up to date with all the news, create an account with Caravan, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Thursday 24 April 2014

Paros Agnanti Hotel

Interior design really is my world - I eat, sleep, dream, and love it! I take in every place I go, and at a recent hotel stay I couldn't help but think how differently I would've designed the room. Had it been a room at the Paros Agnanti Hotel in Athens, Greece it would've been a whole different story - nothing but inspiration and joy!

This 45m² suite, consisting of a double room with a patio, balconies, garden, and a private pool/spa, was a project by A31 Architecture. The gorgeous white plastered exterior sits quietly allowing the incredible view to take centre stage.

Inside grey coloured cement mortar has been used for the flooring, and the custom built-in furniture almost seems to float giving a sense of lightness and serenity.

The bed is especially beautiful with a beam of light around the base and a striking glass wall behind featuring a women's face and the hotel's logo. Behind this glass wall is the shower cabinet with a beautiful timber floor.

Behind the shower the wood panelling is echoed in a platform below simple yet elegant twin basins. These are made from white next generation concrete. I just love the "complexity of the simplicity" (to quote an artist I once heard speak).

Those views and that pool - sigh! What an incredibly beautiful place, don't you agree?!


Wednesday 23 April 2014

YouShop | part two

You may remember my first post about YouShop, a service by New Zealand Post. It allows you to set up a free account on their website and provides you with a shipping address in the US and the UK. It means you can purchase items you previously couldn't because of their lack of international shipping. By having an international YouShop address, your products will be shipped to the YouShop warehouse in that country, and New Zealand Post will handle the shipping to New Zealand.

My first YouShop order was a Kate Spade purse to hold my business cards. I'd been looking for something for this purpose and hadn't found quite what I wanted. Kate Spade are based in New York and don't ship to New Zealand, so I used my US address. Even better, Kate Spade offer free shipping in the US, so there was no extra cost to ship my purse to Oregon.

I received an email from YouShop New Zealand Post, once my parcel reached their US warehouse, with the cost of the shipping to New Zealand. If you want to have an idea of what this will be before you purchase, check out the YouShop pricing on their website. I simply logged into my YouShop account and paid for the shipping online.

I was kept up to date with the progress throughout the whole process. An email arrived to confirm payment, and another once the parcel was on it's way to me. When my purse arrived in Auckland I was informed that it was clearing customs, and once it had, another email informed me that the expected delivery time would be 1-3 days. It was comforting to have that regular contact and know what was happening, and I was really happy with the overall shipping time of three weeks from purchase to delivery.

I love my purse, it's perfect for holding all my cards, and slips nicely into my well-worn, much loved Clare Vivier clutch. I definitely recommend you all to set up your own YouShop account, and I know I'll be using mine again.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

A Designer's Home Renovation

I hope you all had a fabulous Easter weekend and a well deserved break. Mine was very productive, with some long overdue work done on zhushing up our twins' bedroom (more on that later). I also got the chance to catch up on some of my favourite magazines and blogs - all in the name of research! I loved this article on Domino about the Virginia home of designer, Lauren Liess, and her family. They made some fantastic changes to the original 1970's home, I love the light, airy feel it has coupled with lots of warm tones and textures.

Lauren had layered rugs in the living area very effectively. A large seagrass mat anchors the living area (and remember when it comes to rugs, size DOES matter), and a smaller vintage rug connects the two sofas and adds some gorgeous subtle pattern to the neutral colour palette.

A Lucite coffee table allows the rug to shine, and the incredible chandelier is another stand-out piece.

A wall was removed from the kitchen and a large island was added. Lauren chose to remove the large overhead cabinets in favour of open shelving to display their everyday tableware.

I love this collection of paintings over the kitchen sink, largely because it's so unexpected. It's things like this that add personality and life to a home.

In the breakfast room the window on the right was added to create a sense of symmetry and bring more light into the space.

The dining room, on the other hand, was the darkest room in the house, but because they couldn't change that, Lauren embraced it instead. She added a cedar ceiling which now gives the room an intimate, cosy feel.

This is one of my favourite photos, I love the little area under the stairs. The ironworker who custom made the stair railing left it out in the rain to get a vintage, tarnished look. It's beautiful with the wood and white.

This cosy loft serves as the library, media room, and Lauren's evening work room. Enveloped in books, they sit on shelves made from Ikea butcher-block countertops.

Lauren's favourite piece in the house is their brass bed that her husband found on the side of the road. Which just goes to show, that someone's trash really is someone else's treasure.

photos by Brittany Ambridge

Consistent with the colour palette of black, white and warm caramels, the bathroom features a vintage dresser as the vanity. Wood is great in bathrooms for bringing in some warmth and texture.

To see more photos make sure you pop over to Domino.

Monday 21 April 2014

The Adore Book

Of all the online interior magazines, it's no secret that Adore is my absolute favourite. It's always bursting with colour, pattern and inspiration, not to mention an abundance of beautiful homes. So when founder, creator and editor, Loni Parker, announced last year that she was going to be putting together an Adore book I was one of the first to pre-order my copy. A year later it's finished and looking even better than I hoped. I'm very excited to be able to give you a sneak peek...

A beautiful hardcover coffee table book, Adore is filled with colourful interiors. The book is divided into 10 chapters according to room type, with plenty of inspiration and eye candy to get your inner designer adorning. Adore breaks down why a room works and offers styling tips and colour theory facts you can file away for future DIY projects.

There's even a chapter on creative walls and entertaining to help you get the most out of your space. At the end of each chapter, a panel of homeowners and interior designers share their helpful hints and words of wisdom on a whole gamut of decorating topics.

I asked Loni her thoughts on the book, and this is what she said... "The Adore book has been in the making for about a year now, having started crowdfunding for the book in February last year and finally releasing it in late April, it's definitely been a long labour of love! I've filled the book with colourful interiors from all across the globe, that I personally adore and hopefully readers will love them too. Some photographs have never been seen before – commissioned especially for the book whilst others have been sourced from various sources from all over the world, including some that have been featured in Adore Home magazine's past editions. I really wanted to create a beautiful coffee table book that would sit proudly in anyone's home and be a go to book of inspiration and lots and lots of beautiful images."

I can't wait to receive my copy at the end of this month, and it will definitely take pride of place on my coffee table, once I've devoured the contents. If you want your own copy of this gorgeous book pop over to the Adore online shop, and enjoy!
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