How to Reinvent the Side Table

Room Service Interiors.

This dressing table once belonged to the client’s grandmother, and has been reinvented as a bedside table.

By reinventing side tables you can add the unexpected and put your own personal stamp on a room.  Forget about matching pairs, think beyond boring and ordinary.  Really all you need is a flat surface next to your sofa, armchair or bed that is about 600mm off the floor- correct?  Would a milk pail (milk gone, turned upside down!), a rustic wooden chest, or a trunk that was left to you by your Great Aunt Edith, do the trick?  Have a go as these ideas will all add interest and an unexpected touch to your room. Plus it will make it individually yours – no store bought things here!  Add your own interesting combination of lamps, drinks, books and you will not only bring new life to an older piece and your room, but you will preserve your chosen ‘table’ at the same time.

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A small table reinvented as a bedside table, carries on the nautical theme of a child’s bedroom.

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A cane chest reinvented as a bedside table, adds texture, provides a landing surface for accessories, and has much needed storage within.

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A vintage table painted and then topped with a mirror to spruce it up, adds glamour and texture as well as surface reflection.

So get creative with side tables – go around your house and see what could be reused to add character and interest to your scheme.  You will not only add your own personal style, but also the unexpected.  (And your house will not look like any one else’s!   Perfect.)

For help with reinventing side tables feel free to get in touch with Room Service Interiors.

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Making Plans

Hallo everyone, sorry it has taken me so long to get back to writing, though there are still lots of subjects/posts to share so here we go!

Today’s post was inspired by a chat on the beach with a lady who was planning to build a new beach house and have it done by Christmas this year.  She was serious.  Assuming she had plans already under way it was disconcerting to find out she hadn’t even had the concept plans drawn up yet by an architect.  Hmmm.  Yes it still would be possible if she was planning on a kit set, pre fabricated type of building.  However she wasn’t.

Digital process : PixSolution

Getting plans done for a house takes time – it is a little like slow cooking, for a project to be successful and completed on time it needs to have had careful thought and preparation about needs and wants.  Make a basic plan with your wishes and then cut it back budget wise to fit your project.  It will take careful consideration and several visits to your architect to get it right, and it does take time, not to mention money.

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Herbst Architects New Zealand

After that there is the challenge of getting the plans through council, which is never an easy or quick process.  During the time spent working with architect and council you should also be looking at styles, finding out about builders, project managers, or any interior designers you want to work with. Collect together  or make a scrapbook of pages of interiors/exteriors of houses that you like in order to convey to everyone who will be involved with your project what you want and like.  It is a really useful tool for yourself to narrow down what you like.

BeachHouse

House plans are the most important part of building, so  you need to consider the location, lifestyle, family size, environment and budget as well as spatial, future requirements, building materials, aesthetics and local and government laws. Little details can be added later once the house layout has been done. Get yourself a professional and recommended architect who has the knowledge and expertise to outline those things you want.  Once you have the plans in place the details of style, colours, etc can be done. Pinterest and Houzz are useful places to search for ideas.

 

So, be prepared to be patient and keep pushing ahead.  Be sure to include everything you will need now and in the years to come in .  You’re the project driver but be realistic about your time line.   Trying to reach an unrealistic deadline will make for a stressful lead up to Christmas this year for all involved. (And a big disapointment when you are camping on a building site!)  So start the planning now for Christmas 2015 is being more realistic about the outcome. With time, lots of thought in your favourite swing chair, looking at your fabulous beach view, your plans will come to fruition and your holiday home  project will be a success.

 

If you would like help with your holiday home, we’d be delighted if you contact us.

Some interesting and related links:

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/query/planning

http://colourvintage.com/2014/02/03/howtochoosetherighthouseplan/

http://buildingacoastalhome.com/2014/01/23/plans-and-approval/

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!

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

Aging Gracefully

Apologies for not posting last week- have been taking my own advice and cleaning out the garage!  While a lot went to recycling, charity, it got me thinking about why I keep old stuff like rustic boxes from my Grandpa’s work shed.  I take these pieces in and out of my own rooms to refresh them and add textural interest and layers. I love them for these reasons and because they have a history unique to me.  As we’ve talked about before, there is a beauty and sole in old things that is often overlooked in interior design.  Do you get too hung up on having it all absolutely perfect and making sure you have the exact colour and furniture arrangement?  Is it making you into an aged beauty more quickly than you would like?  Well, have a look at these pictures of an old French Farm house- can you see the beauty in revealing the history of these walls?  Better than all over pristine white paint is it not?

Stripped Back to its bare bones, this bedroom, exudes simple uncluttered aged beauty.  It still has lots of interest & layers of softness and comfort, despite being not so perfect and old.

Inside an old house you can even mix some modern pieces to create friction and even more interest as seen above.  Note the absence of perfectly painted walls.  Though they do have them in the hallway, but the floors are kept to the original and the antique simplicity of the furniture keep the whole theme going.

If you do not have old walls, but think that you may want to add a little old layers to make seem like you are aging gracefully there are many wallpapers around that will help you do the trick these days, and of course there are always paint effects.  Have a look at the Zoffany range at Textilia Fabrics, or the Andrew Martin range at Unique Fabrics. Also look at our wallpaper pinterest board.  Perhaps instead of using new wood overlay flooring, think about using recycled boards from demolition yards.  It instantly adds the age old patina you are looking for.  Added to that you are recycling 🙂

In New Zealand we could do this with some of old villas could we not?  Peel the layers back to reveal what lies underneath – gorgeous Kauri floors, scrimmed walls, old wallpaper.  There is a lot to be said for aging gracefully don’t you think?  Please feel free to comment, especially if you are a Villa owner!  

For help in letting your interior design age gracefully, please contact us.

Go for Gold – new trend

A trend we have been noticing recently is the use of Gold in interior design.  After many years of chrome and stainless fittings there is a return to brass and gold.  It is probably because the neutral colour of the moment is Grey, which can seem a little cold and unwelcoming so a Glint of Gold just warms things up.  It also looks fabulous with a classic black and white colour scheme, adding a bit of vibe. There is no need to go around changing all the hardware in your home to gold or brass, but just introduce a few touches here and there to get going.  Here are some images from  to explain what we mean:-

The above gold Etch Pendants are designed by Tom Dixon.  Look so dramatic against the Black background.

The Gold mosaic wall tiles add a touch of glitz and glamour to an otherwise industrial-styled Cafe.  Love the textural play with the sheepskin rug on the stools too.

Above you can see the use of a gold metallic table adds warmth to this grey scheme and works really well with the green chairs (which also have gold upholstery nails). And finally the kitchen below, courtesy of Greige Design, shows how beautiful brass handles look amazing on Grey cabinetry in a classically styled kitchen.

So Go for Gold and add those Gorgeous Glints to your rooms. If you would like help adding a touch of gold to your interior design scheme, contact us.

Related Articles:

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