Winter Hues

It has been so chilly here lately.  The garden lies dormant and all the outside colours are quiet and muted, waiting for the loud cacophony of spring.  I love the monochrome neutral palette of browns and greys, always finding inspiration for interior schemes in the subtlety of nature.

How To Select The Right White Paint

One of the most common questions I'm asked as an interior designer is "which white paint should I use"?  It sounds simple... how hard can it be?  You select white, white or white right?  Wrong!  Choosing the correct shade for your walls is probably the single most important decorating decision you will make.  Not only will it set the tone for the entire scheme, but will effect every other component of the interior (and your mood!).

Here's How To Select The RIGHT White Paint:

STEP 1: CHOOSE A TONAL FAMILY

There are hundreds of different shades of white on the market so you need to narrow the field.  Broadly speaking, whites fall into three main categories; pure whites, warm whites and cool whites.  When you look at a colour chart you will likely be instinctively drawn to either cool or warm tones.  On the whole, warmer tones work best in more traditional interiors while cooler tones suit a more modern space.  The pure whites are great for trim (architraves, skirting, doors etc) and will make the wall colour pop.  A word of warning: warm tones with a strong yellow base will look a bit dated and throw cream when in direct sunlight while cool shades with a strong grey base can end up looking clinical and cold.

STEP 2: LOOK AT THE SHADES IN SITU

Once you have figured out which tonal family suits you prefer, start picking out particular shades you like.  I always recommend that clients paint large pieces of cardboard (1m x 1m) with a test pot rather than painting directly onto the wall - that way you can easily pick them up and carry them to different parts of the house to test different lighting situations (make sure you paint two or three coats and also paint a strip of the trim colour the same width as your skirting).  Testing the colours in your home is a critical step as different lighting conditions will have a tremendous impact upon the look of the paint.  What looks great in once house will not necessarily work in another.  If you are choosing colours for a new home not yet built, order large brush-out samples from the paint manufacturer (large A4 colour chips) and look at them in similar lighting conditions.  It is always amazing how different a shade looks in a big piece!

STEP 3: CREATE A COLOUR BOARD OF ALL FINISHES

Many clients come to me completely overwhelmed by the prospect of making decisions on the colour of paint and hard finishes.  The best approach I have come up with over the years is to select everything at once.  Choose carpet, tiles, timber colours, laminates and other key items at the same time as you choose the paint.  Never choose anything independently.  That way you can change things as required once you see them all laid out together - believe me it's far easier to alter a paint colour (of which there are endless options) rather than change a carpet colour you love!

MY CURRENT FAVOURITE WHITE COLOUR SCHEMES

For fresh, contemporary spaces try Dulux Whisper White (walls) + Dulux Lexicon Quarter (trim)

For traditional spaces try Dulux White Duck Quarter (walls) + Dulux Natural White (trim)




Decorating Tip: Half Height Plantation Shutters

I love the overall look of Plantation Shutters but find that they can sometimes obstruct a beautiful view and natural light.  One of my favourite tricks is to use half height shutters, particularly in rooms where full light block-out is not a priority.  The half height shutter still provides privacy but leaves the top section of the window free of window covering, allowing light to pour in at all times of the day.  It is a great solution for bathrooms, window seats, dining rooms and living areas and always makes a room feel spacious and more connected to the outdoors.

A half height plantation shutter is ideal above a window seat where you still want to allow plenty of natural light into the room.

A half height plantation shutter is ideal above a window seat where you still want to allow plenty of natural light into the room.

A half height plantation shutter is a perfect addition above a bath

A half height plantation shutter is a perfect addition above a bath

Half height plantation shutters allow the best of both worlds in terms of giving a classic look, while still allowing precious natural light to flood in.

Half height plantation shutters allow the best of both worlds in terms of giving a classic look, while still allowing precious natural light to flood in.


Stylists Who Inspire Me: Hans Blomquist

I am heavily influenced by Swedish style, loving their impeccable take on interiors (apparently I have more than a little Northern European in me which might explain it!).  Recently I came across the work of Swedish Stylist Hans Blomquist and I was overcome by his talent and the beauty of the spaces he creates.  He plays with both light and dark interiors, often contrasting moody walls with bright whites or vice versa.  His sense of proportion is spot on, his compositions faultless.  His images have depth and personality that literally burst off the page. There is much to learn from such a master of the trade.

Image: Hans Blomquist

Image: Hans Blomquist

Image: Hans Blomquist

Image: Hans Blomquist

Image: Hans Blomquist

Image: Hans Blomquist

Image: Hans Blomquist

Image: Hans Blomquist

Image: Hans Blomquist

Image: Hans Blomquist

Built-In Window Seat & Study Cabinetry

We recently designed some beautiful white painted built-in cabinetry for some clients in Mosman.  The house is a handsome Federation home with very traditional detailing so the brief was to maximise storage while maintaining the architectural integrity of the space.  We decided to take advantage of a stunning bay window to create a window seat complete with storage drawers below.  We added a cupboard and bookshelves beside the fireplace and a desk with overhead cabinetry capable of accommodating two work spaces.  The result is a beautiful, library-like space with ample storage for a growing family.  

Built-in Window Seat

Built-in Window Seat

Built-in Window Seat, Bookshelf & Cupboard

Built-in Window Seat, Bookshelf & Cupboard

Built-in Study Desk, Bookshelf & Cupboard

Built-in Study Desk, Bookshelf & Cupboard

Designer Pin Boards

I'm a big fan of using pin boards in kids rooms and work spaces but it can be tricky to find a really contemporary solution that looks stylish in its own right before being covered with bits and bobs.  I LOVE the pin boards created by Al & Em. Their range comes in 8 colours (my favourite is grey) and can be custom made to size.  They also have a cute collection of rabbits and dinasours and fairies, just perfect for adding some whimsy to children's spaces. 

Designer Pin Boards from Al & Em

Designer Pin Boards from Al & Em

Designer Pin Boards from Al & Em 

Designer Pin Boards from Al & Em 

100% Natural Beauty

Along with flat feet and a ridiculously high forehead, my parents managed to throw a long list of allergies into the melting pot of my genetic makeup.  My skin reacts to almost everything I attempt to put on it and I get migraines from any artificial scent (life as a teenager was character building to say the least!).  So you can imagine my glee at discovering the Luk Beauti Food range of makeup made from 100% naturally derived ingredients.  The products are full of skin-healthy foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins and are free from synthetic dyes, fragrances and preservatives.  Not only do they perform brilliantly, but they taste and smell amazing!  Their merchandising is pretty stunning too which appeals to the stylist in me :)

Luk Beauti Food Lip Nourish in Orange & Juniper 

Luk Beauti Food Lip Nourish in Orange & Juniper 

Luk Beauti Food Lip Nourish Range

Luk Beauti Food Lip Nourish Range

Funky Bar Stools - 3 of the Best in Blue

One of the easiest ways to update a tired kitchen is to add some cool and colourful bar stools.  Here are 3 of my current favourites that add instant design cred with their beautiful lines and great colours:

Gubi 3F Bar Stool from Surrounding

Gubi 3F Bar Stool from Surrounding

Nerd Bar Stool from Living Edge

Nerd Bar Stool from Living Edge

Alodia Bar Stool from Cult 

Alodia Bar Stool from Cult 

Coastal Bedroom Scheme

I really loved the fresh simplicity of this coastal bedroom scheme I recently put together for some clients.  The combination of soft blues and brushed silver really lifted the space, turning a very nondescript room into a beautiful, tranquil oasis.  My favourite piece is the silver leaf chest from Bloomingdales.

Coastal Bedroom Scheme

Coastal Bedroom Scheme

Classic Paint Colour Scheme

We were fortunate enough to be engaged to prepare a paint colour scheme for a beautiful old home on Sydney's North Shore.  The brief was to update the existing dated caramel and black colour scheme while still keeping an elegant, classic feel.  We chose a combination Dulux Pipe Clay, Mt Eden and Natural White, repainting the windows and detailing in white to make the home less formidable.  

Dulux Pipe Clay, Dulux Mt Eden, Dulux Natural White

Dulux Pipe Clay, Dulux Mt Eden, Dulux Natural White

Dulux Pipe Clay, Dulux Mt Eden, Dulux Natural White

Dulux Pipe Clay, Dulux Mt Eden, Dulux Natural White