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/

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All change- Redesign and Redecorate

In life things do not always stay the same for long.  Nothing is permanent – the seasons, our lives, our families and so too our homes will all change.  When we create rooms, we make them for the moment we are in.  Then we have to re-configure a room as we do not seem to use it any more or it’s use changes.  Reinventing, and moving things around to suit is important.  You need to remain flexible and open to new ideas and ways of using what you have got to make it all work for you again, while keeping the space welcoming and warm.  The other bonus is that it keeps things fresh, edgy and up-to-date.  It also a cocooning thing to do as the weather changes for winter in New Zealand.  (The opposite effect for spring and summer.  It is called a “spring clean” for a reason!)

A contrast in style,scale & height with furniture. Via http://apieceoftoastblog.com/

A contrast in style,scale & height with furniture. Via http://apieceoftoastblog.com/

This all may sound like Buddhist Friday talk, but a lot of an Interior Designer’s work is simply this.  Changing things around as things change in people’s lives. And it is not all about going out and buying everything shiny and new. Not many of us can afford to do that, and frankly a lot of these rooms will be characterless with no soul. So, have a look around your space, make a plan with possibilities, and then move things around.  Try a couple of chairs in a different room. Do they give a contrast in scale in height that was missing before? Move the sofas into another room.  Do they look better there?

These chairs add a contrast in scale and height in the room. Also add smooth with rough table.  Via Greige Design.

These chairs add a contrast in scale and height in the room. Also add smooth with rough table. Via Greige Design.

Ring the changes with a detail on a curtain panel, reinvent your side tables, put an extra desk in an unexpected place as a makeshift study.  Make the hallway an interesting space with wallpaper and hang those family photos that are in a box in a cupboard somewhere.  Maybe you could do something exciting with a dinner set that is lurking around at the back of the garage in a box.

Get those dinner plates on the wall.  Hang 'em any way.  Via http://denofopulence.tumblr.com/

Get those dinner plates on the wall. Hang ’em any way. Via http://denofopulence.tumblr.com/

Empty those boxes and hang 'em up to make the hallway an interesting space.

Empty those boxes and hang ’em up to make the hallway an interesting space. http://www.roomserviceinteriors.co.nz/

Use an old chest as a coffee table, recover a couple of chairs, use some fabric that pulls it all together with colour, pattern and style in cushions.  Have a look at those table arrangements – tablecapes – re-arrange and re- do them. Re-fresh, re-new, re-jig, re colour.

And some people call it redecorating and redesigning.

Winter Tablescape Idea via http://stinemos.blogspot.co.nz/

Winter Tablescape Idea via http://stinemos.blogspot.co.nz/

Textural contrast on a table top. Add candles and shiny glass to terracotta pots.  Via Molitli Interiers.

Textural contrast on a table top. Add candles and shiny glass to terracotta pots. Via Molitli Interiers.

If you would like help with redecorating or re-jigging your interiors due to changes in your life, do not hesitate to contact us.

Have a simply wonderful Christmas

Christmas is a Time to rest, relax, and think family, friends, beach, and sun.  So keep things simple and get yourself prepared for resting and relaxing in our sunshine down under.  Here are a few easy decoration ideas that are eco and wallet friendly.

The first one is really great if you have too many books and are short on space:

This next one is a great way of recycling used candle tea lights.  Such a great idea & I do like to use a hammer!  Courtesy of Me and Alice Blog spot.

One of my favourite colours is pink. So, loved the idea of using it for Christmas Decorations as seen below.  Note the presents wrapped in wallpaper & the addition of simple chairs made out of branches, and a tree still with its roots wrapped in a bundle:

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via Countrystyle Photographer Lisa Cohen

There is also a super simple idea of adding pine branches to a bucket and a few lit candles in a wooden container of moss.  So simple, and no fuss.  Perfect.

We are all going on a summer holiday here in New Zealand, so this will be out last post until late January.  Thank you for following- it is appreciated & don’t forget to like us on Facebook. We have lots of new interior design ideas for 2014 so keep following.  In the meantime, have a safe and happy holiday season.  Angela  xx

Related links:

http://essenziale-hd.com/2013/12/19/9-diy-christmas-ideas-of-decorating-with-burlap/

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

Keep Calm on the Inside

Finding Calm in an increasingly hectic world has become a challenge.  With the constant invasion of technology, life carries on at a frantic pace.  Life is so often the ‘full noise’ and turned up so loud it is not a surprise that many of us will seek sanctuary in a soft neutral colour scheme.  We are bombarded all day long so why would we want to come home to a colour calamity that screams ‘full on’?

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We want colours that are calm, soothing, soft and subtle like in the above photo, courtesy of Woonmagazine. This can be anything from Greyed off whites, a whole range of creams and an infinite variety of oatmeals, greys, taupes and browns.  These colours are borrowed from nature, so think about our sandy beaches, silver fish grey skies, weathered grey woods and foliage such as Manuka, Corokia and Astelia plants. Cliff faces, pumice and rocks can also provide colour inspiration – nature has so much to offer to a colour scheme doesn’t it?

To be calm you will need to be ‘cocooned’ so think about darker, smudgy colours. (I’m not thinking Black and White here – too cliché and overused).  Darker colours will come toward you and are somehow a lot more nurturing than stark whites and hard blacks.  B & W are too ‘edgey’ and uninteresting to impart calm in your life. Try out Moody Mellow colours that are softened off.  A good example is the photo above – love that picture window and how it brings the outdoors in along with a textural play.  The muddied-off-pinks and mushroom-browns below are another great example how a naturally neutral interior can be calm and welcoming at the same time.

It is also wise to remember when doing a calm, soft scheme that is important for you to layer with textural touches too.  Place rough with smooth, shiny with matte. (The first photo is a good example of this) Texture is so often overlooked in a calm, tranquil interior scheme and is the most important layer to add the depth, character and soul to your interior. Below, not a lot of colour is used, but touching use of texture makes for an interesting play on grey.

Again let nature be your inspiration.  Anything left outside will weather off in the wind, sun, rain and salt air to a perfect neutral – cedar, zinc, driftwood. When adding texture  think rough logs, with smooth velvets, shells, plants and sisal matting; Soft mohair and linens too.  Below are more examples of how to work with calm colours in your bedroom and home office. What you will also find working within  limited colour palettes such as these, is that they will create continuity and flow to your home and therefore the illusion of space.  All good things don’t you think?  So, Bring the outdoor colours inside, to Keep Calm on the Inside.

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If you would like help creating a soothing, calm colour scheme for your home we’d love to hear from you.

Related Articles:

The above inspiring photos are from Woonmagazine.

https://roomserviceinteriors.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/the-missing-link/

https://roomserviceinteriors.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/neutral-colour-schemes/

Working Style in a Home Office Space

Want to work from home but not sure where to put your new office?  It does not need a lot of space – a corner, an wardrobe or cupboard, or even an empty Rumpus space will do.  It is the perfect excuse to clear out a wardrobe and get rid of all that stuff in there that you have been hanging onto for the last 20 years.  (I’m not joking) .  With wireless in most houses these days anywhere is possible.  What is good, (but maybe not possible) is to be able to close the door on it at the end of the day, as you don’t want to be looking at work while you are relaxing/playing so would not recommend it in your bedroom, lounge or family room areas.

MeandAliceHome Office2013-02-26

via meandalice.blogspot.co.nz

Have you got a table, chair and a couple of statement lamps to get you started?  Good, get out the tape measure to see where they will fit.  Next have a big clean out as the key to having a successful small office space will be storage.  Think about using jars, boxes, buckets, filing, shelving.  Could you hang things from a peg board or write ideas on a black board on the wall behind the desk?  Filing cabinets take up a lot of space, and are ugly, so think carefully about not using them.  I found things ended up in there never to be seen again – it became File 13.  With the www. these days you do not need all that paper and sampling.  Trust me.

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Corner office at Hutton House

Also think about how you work, what you require for storage, and what surface areas you will use.  Do you need a craft table for gluing, cutting, pasting?  Or could you get away with a folding table that you have alongside you for over flow when working on a project, but then is stored away/folded down the rest of the time? Be prepared to get in help such as electrician for lighting and wiring, and telecomunications guru to set up your wireless, computer, and printer.   A handy bloke with the correct drill bit can make your favourite cupboard/armoire into your new work space if he drills a few holes in the back to put all the wires through.  As you can see from the pictures below, it does not take much to get you working in style.

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Cool, masculine, vintage workspace
via desiretoinspire.net.

If you don’t think you can put it all in a cupboard, think again!

Then have a look at the inspiring ideas and home office spaces on our pinterest board.  If you would like help creating an inspirational office space for yourself click here to contact us .

For more ideas and inspiration have a look at these Related Articles, Design-Vox is well worth a look:

http://www.desiretoinspire.net/blog/2012/6/8/phillip-k-erickson-at-it-again.html

http://design-vox.com/?s=home+office

http://design-vox.com/2011/07/18/handsome-playful-workspaces/