Design + Decor Inspiration from LA via Melbourne.

We have just been inspired by listening to the designer seminars at Design + Decor in Melbourne late last week.  Also realised how much we had missed doing posts to help inspire you & that in doing so it inspired us – the best reason of all to post!

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Kari Whitman used portholes and a mix of lighting to liven up a kitchen and living space. The portholes allow light to filter in to the space behind the wall. She bought them for $25 from a salvage yard. Clever & Green!

Most of the presentations reinforced the thinking that no house or job for an interior designer is ever the same.  The work of an interior designer should not look the same from client to client, house to house. An interior design should not have a signature style – the style of a house is dictated by the client.  Design should not be a copy cookie-cut that is pasted onto each client’s house.   The job of an interior designer is to help & guide clients to create what they want.  It is a collaboration between the designer, crafts people and client.  It is the mix of old and new and art in a room.

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Kari Whitman cleverly mixes up vintage furniture with shiny new side table and art.

In the words of Kari Whitman it is about adding ‘Wisdom” to a room, mixing up old and new and also making it pet and eco friendly.  Kari Whitman is an interior designer to the stars in Hollywood and she will search the client’s existing inventory before buying a single piece of furniture. She cleverly mixes older or fun pieces in to create an interesting vibe and wow factor in a room.

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In this powder room by Kari Whitman the vanity has been given vintage knobs & vintage lights were used to add visual contrast to the stunning tiles.

By using and recreating an existing or old piece in a room you are not creating landfill.  The piece should always have good lines and be able to contribute something to the room in terms of scale and style.  It is turning trash into treasure.  By using pet & family friendly materials and fabrics throughout a house people are able to relax and enjoy their space without fear of it being trashed by our four legged friends.  So think about being practical and friendly to our pets and the environment – its another inspiring way of reinventing your space.

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Kari Whitman has created a beautiful dining room with a vintage chandelier, interesting art & ceiling & gorgeous colour. Note the spaghetti bolognaise friendly covers on the dining chairs!

If you would like help reinventing some of your furniture please feel free to contact us.

Related links:

http://kariwhitmaninteriors.com/about-kari/

This link below has an interview with Kari at Design + Decor Melbourne, from DesignonLine Blog.

https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/56182971/

Rooms within a Room

Have you too much space in a living room?  Often spaces can be too big, as big as a barn,and the spaces just don’t seem to be intimate, warm and welcoming. This may seem surprising, but it is as common a problem as too little space and is actually a little more tricky to make work.  Take some interest in the big public spaces around you – hotel lobbies and bistros – to get ideas. Notice how the different spaces work and how they have been linked together to make a cohesive whole.  Is it tied together with colour, similar furniture styles?  Is the flooring different? Note the layouts – you will see each has smaller zones for relaxing, dining, or conversation areas within the greater space.  It still functions as a seamless, personal attractive whole, and your large living room can be similarly zoned.

Furniture arranged in zones keep this room interesting.

Furniture arranged in different areas fill this room & allow for various activities. Held together with similar colours in wall & floor coverings. Via Damask & Dentelle.

To create a spacious feel, unify the room with colour, texture and light, to create harmony within the different areas.  Texture is the best way to add personality and keep things welcoming.  Using the same texture across the different zones and spaces will provide the glue that pulls the whole thing together.

Several seating areas have been created using different pieces.  Again held together with colour and pattern.

Several seating areas have been created using different pieces in this fabulous room. All held together with colour and pattern.

Keep furniture arrangements simple and easy to reconfigure for gatherings in different ways.  Buy more versatile pieces that can be used in different ways. Having a focal point – a large one such as a chimney surround or  a rustic armoire for example will brings warmth, texture and personal interest into a room and will anchor down the different areas/zones.

The fireplace anchors this room as it is the focal point.

The fireplace anchors this room as it is the focal point. Colours are repeated throughout, tying together the different areas.  Interior created by Cindy Rinfret

Get the bigger pieces such as sofas off the wall (have said this before) and then place a desk or even smaller chairs behind a sofa with a table in between  so that you immediately create another area.Thinking creatively about furnishings and re-inventing pieces will make the room even more interesting.

By keeping the chairs and tables simple and not too heavy looking-be sure you can see underneath them as this creates the illusion of space- they can be easily moved around to suit visitor numbers as and when required.

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Note how the colours and tones are similar throughout. Textural interest and lighting help to anchor the scheme as does the contrast in scale and height of the furniture.

Built in seating is a good way to add interest and another zone to a room.

Built in seating is a good way to add interest and another seating zone in a room.

If you would like help with your large room layout please contact us.

Look and follow our Pinterest board for inspiration. (warning Pinterest is highly addictive!)

We also visited Sarsfield Brooke furniture showroom today, with lots of new furniture to get creative with.  Available through Interior Designers nationwide.

Related Links:

http://www.atlantahomesmag.com/

http://stinemos.blogspot.co.nz/

http://rinfretltd.blogspot.co.nz/

http://www.damasketdentelle.com/en/

Seasonal Change for Autumn

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” – George Eliot

Seems like Autumn has started to arrive this week with southerly winds and rain blowing up the country.  It is a little sad that summer maybe on the run, but by keeping things a little warmer on the inside  you will feel nurtured and cocooned.  Bring in a few accessories and welcome being a little more snug and happy about the cooler weather approaching.  A bowl of gourds/pumpkins one way to comment that autumn is here, along with some beautifully coloured autumn leaves – all the colour inspiration you need.

Autumn/harvest colours are warm – reds, burgundies,oranges, rusts and yellows.  Rarely do you see the fresh blues and greens of summer in Autumn.  Add spicy touches of colours to your space with throws, pillows and natural accessories.

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Change cushion colours to cosy things up

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Re-staging the neutral backdrop you may have in the room with tactile delights helps you to snuggle in. Layer & layer again wool throws, lushly textured pillows, a basket of pine cones, fire wood and a plush area rug.

Inspiring Idea to welcome Autumn

Oh and don’t forget the candles and fireside lamps to help cosy things up even more.  Lamps and candles add another layer of contrast and depth to a room’s lighting scheme and help to create a warm friendly ambience to cuddle down in.  Only thing missing could be the bottle of warm coloured Pinot Noir?!

Related Articles:

http://www.thedesignchaser.com/2014/03/autumn-new-things-moodboard.html

http://justdecorate.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/3-things-you-should-do-to-get-your-home-ready-for-the-next-season/

http://abigailahern.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/fall-decorating/

How to buy a Quality Sofa Part IV : Guarantees

Today’s post is the last in the series on “How to buy a  Quality Sofa”  so if you have missed the first 3 posts go back and have a read.  You are spending some hard earned dollars here, so it is worth it!To recap it should have: A heavy frame + heavy elephant foam cushions+ car tyre webbing = good quality sofa.  i.e you cannot kick it around with your foot.  A good quality sofa will need a couple of man mountains to lift it.  If you are a weakling and can lift it on your own, please walk away!

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Linens ex Warwick Fabrics

Finally ask does your chosen piece of furniture have a Guarantee? Has the piece got a 10 year guarantee on the frame and foam?  A workmanship guarantee of 5 years?

Quality manufacturers will stand by their product.  Buying locally is safer for this very reason. (New Zealand Made in our case).  It is more eco-friendly as you are not shipping across the world, you know what is going into the product and you have local guarantees.  You are also providing local jobs and local income.  This is good for all of us isn’t it?

New sofas and chairs need to be worn in a little just like a car.  Think of them as your new favourite pair of designer jeans. Specialist designer furniture gets more comfortable with age, conforming to your body and becoming uniquely yours.  Yes, it does cost more, but buying quality, from a local manufacturer  but you are buying an antique of the future, a modern heirloom, not landfill.  You will be able to have it recovered in years to come. Think of how often you sit in your sofa, and for how many years you will have it, and the price doesn’t work out too badly does it?

View our website for more details of what to look out on a piece of furniture: http://www.roomserviceinteriors.co.nz/Our-Furniture.html

If you would like help selecting a new piece of furniture or interior design click here to contact us .  

Related articles:

http://cocoandcashmere.me/2013/11/18/cozy-rustic-chic-design/

How to buy a Quality Sofa II: Foams

On Wednesday night we had the pleasure of talking to the Stage 2 class at the Nanette Cameron School of Interior Design which  has been the inspiration for this 4 part post on what makes a quality piece of furniture. First off it is the frame which we talked about in our last post. However Foams are equally important for supporting your body through their structure and how they shape a piece of furniture.  Then finally Cushions are the true source of comfort in a piece of furniture and the foam that goes in them is very important.

 

Be wary of a sofa that is super soft and squishy.  If it is soft on Day One  it will be positively saggy & offer no support by Day 365.  Your knees will be up around your ears when you sit down!  Equally be wary of a sofa that is way too firm.  Hard foam is not dense, and it is the density you pay for in a foam. Poor quality furniture has very little upholstery padding and the foams are cheap, cheap, cheap, light and offer no support. Look for lots of padding across the back and arms.  Look underneath the cushions.  You should not feel any sharp edges, staples, or the wood that lies beneath.  The piping and stitching should all be straight and not crooked.  Park your bottom on the seat.  Can you feel the front rail underneath your thighs? Can you feel any part of the frame beneath the foam? No?  Good, this could be the sofa for you then as it means lots of padding has been used and the seat foam is of decent quality.

 

Look for the use of Elephant foam, it is the heaviest, densest and most resilient.  It will give you years of firmness and stability which is good in a cushion. Memory foam and Luxura foam are used quite a lot but we wouldn’t recommend it to provide you with years of service.  Memory foam is lovely and soft and squishy for your sofa, but has no structure.  It was developed fas a topping foam for mattresses, and really should not be used in furniture.

Some manufacturers make a foam sandwich with their cushions.  But think about it – If you have a cushion that is 100mm thick you will get good structure by using all Elephant foam.  However, if you then make a ‘sandwich’ with Memory or Luxura foam (using 50mm of it for comfort) you will be taking away 50mm of structure and good support for your dear self in years to come.  So, it is a compromise.

 

In our next post we will talk about the cushioning on your sofa, and how elephant foam is used there along with feathers and other goodies.  Please come back to continue reading.

If you would like help selecting a comfortable, quality piece of furniture, we’d love to hear from you!

How to buy a Quality Sofa 1- The Frame

Most people struggle to know what is a good quality piece of furniture these days and what isn’t. Because you can’t actually see what you are getting and what lies beneath that gorgeous shape and fabric. A lot of quality has disappeared off the market due to cheap and nasty imports and quality local manufacturers have had their margins so squeezed they have been unable to survive.

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Warning! If you pay a few $1000 hard earned dollars for a matching 3 piece lounge suite from a chain store on a Saturday morning, you can almost guarantee that it will not stand the test of time. Most of them are poorly made and are just ugly- extremely bulky and have no style what so ever.These pieces are, sadly lacking and are landfill and will not provide you years of good comfortable cushioning for your derriere.

(Refer our earlier blog-https://roomserviceinteriors.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/mitchy-matchy-breaking-up/ )

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When looking for a new piece of furniture, you need to be prepared to invest some time, effort and yes,  money!  A lot of people replace their car before their sofa and spend more on their wardrobe annually, so invest because it is something that you will have for a while.  You must also love, love, love it. And your new sofa needs to be something you are truly comfortable in and for me nothing too hard edged, sleek, or funky as it is going to be around for a while so you don’t want it to look out of date next year!

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The first thing to do with a sofa or chair is to give it a little nudge with your leg.  If it moves easily, then walk away.  No, I’m not joking. A light sofa/chair is a rubbish one.  It has probably got a balsa wood frame which will break and bend under the slightest bit of duress.  Next pick it up in one corner.  If it flexes and creaks like an old house there is not a strong frame in there.  Walk away!  Also knock three times along the side of the arms.  Does it sound like a drum?  It probably has cardboard in the arms and not solid wood.  Walk away again!

So what how do you know what is quality?

THE FRAME

The frame construction is a vital key to lasting strength & durability so:

  • Internally the frames should be made of export quality eco friendly Pinus Radiata,or Beech, box sectioned to add strength. These woods are very heavy.  We make houses out of them!  It should have inserted spreader rails (front to back) to provide optimal strength.  For added  solidity all joints should be corner blocked, glued & high pressure stapled.
  • The frame sides are all routed to remove hard edges to avoid the possibility of the foam & webbing being damaged and cut.
  • The outside backs & arms are fully lined with polyester & hesssian.
  • Depending on the furniture design, Pirelli-type webbing (like split car tyres) should be used.  Not just tape.  Super heavy duty tread is the way to go.  The webbing should run both ways on the frame. Front to Back, Side to Side like a basket weave.  No gaps in the corners that you can sink down in.
  • Alternatively tension sprung seats & zigzag sprung backs are used for the seats & backs of the frames.

So, heavy frame + heavy cushion foam + car tyre webbing = good quality sofa. i.e. you cannot kick it around with your foot.  A good quality sofa will need a couple of burly blokes to lift it.  If you a weakling and can lift if on your own, please walk away!

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For more ideas and inspiration have a look at these Related Articles:

http://abigailahern.wordpress.com/?s=sofas+furniture&submit=Search

http://www.interiors.co.nz/Article.aspx?id=234

Downsizing? Empty Nester?

We have had several clients recently who are downsizing from their family home to a smaller place as they are empty nesters or want something smaller for their retirement.  During this process (that is what it is!) try not to be sentimental, as it is a move fraught with some tough decision making.  You can save your all your memories but not all your stuff.  However, it can be very liberating as you have probably been living with stuff that you haven’t used for years.   You’ll be asking : ” What should come with us? What should we keep?”  Start early, and sort your belongings a little at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed and take only the items that fit your lifestyle at the moment.  e.g  If you don’t entertain any more, don’t bring all those serving platters and dinner sets to your new home.

Next start thinking about the following: What do I really, really love? What could I live without? Be sure you have only what you love and need. (Prioritise) Then cut the priority list in Half. (Its a bit like you are packing a bag to take away on holiday – you don’t need it all.)  Other good questions to ask are: When was the last time I used this?  If you’ve not used it in the last year it is definitely on the disposables list.

You could get some interior design advice to help with this big move.  Designers have a good eye for how space works, and will have great ideas on how to reuse your existing pieces.  They will also have innovative storage solutions and ways to keep it simple, but interesting.  However you can go through each room in your current home and decide what you want to take.  Contrary to what many of you will think, you should take less pieces but bigger sized ones.  Smaller pieces will make the new place seem cluttered.  You will feel like you are living in a milk carton.  Bigger pieces are always grander.

Choose the big pieces that you want to take wisely.  Are they practical/beautiful?  Could they be put to a different use? Draw on a floor plan of your new home where you think the big pieces could go.  Measure them to make sure they fit and make plan of action of what goes where.  This is particularly useful on moving day when everyone will be asking you a trillion questions. Then, you can fill in the spaces with a few smaller things.

http://leitmotiv-interiorismo.blogspot.co.nz/

You’ll need to downsize the want list too!  Think outside the square and be open to new ideas and suggestions.  (Interior Designers love helping here!)  What you had in your last place may not work, or be too big for your new home. You can’t have everything and you will use your smaller space differently than where you are now.  You will not need two dishwashers.  You will not have room for a walk in pantry. ( A lot of kitchen storage has gone to drawers these days.)  You will have to make rooms do double duty so everyone has their own play space e.g the spare bedroom can double up as a study, or music room. You can see from the pictures that although the space is clean and fresh, great storage ideas have been used eg drawers under the bed, and the way that texture with the use of different woods has helped create interest without it being overwhelming.  Clear, crisp paint finishes and the absence of clutter have helped to make it an easy space to live in.

Below the kitchen space is divided from the main room with the use of a bar made of wood.  Again, nothing big and bold to block up the flow of the space.  Being able to see through helps to create the feeling of space.  The texture of the wood adds interest and note none of it is matched up as this in itself adds interest and makes the room look like it has evolved.

Once you’ve decided what pieces you are taking, then start one room at a time, sorting one cupboard at a time.  Make a Rubbish-pile, Charity/Donation-pile, Family-pile, and an I-want-to-keep-pile.  So it doesn’t seem so overwhelming, set the timer for an hour and go for it.  You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve!  If you don’t know where to start and you are in downsizing, please contact us.  We’d love to help!

Have a look at our previous posts for inspiration and also look at the following links:

https://roomserviceinteriors.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/small-dark/

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/6006100/list/Your-Total-Home-Organizing-and-Decluttering-Guide

http://www.atlantahomesmag.com/article/trading-spaces