Friday, March 30, 2012

Some snippets of what I have been doing...

I have so many projects happening at the moment but unfortunately I haven't got any finished to show you! (I do have a moodboard coming up on Monday though, so make you come and see).

Instead I thought I would give you a few sneak peeks at what is happening around my place...

I've been playing at some actual painting (instead of all the house painting I normally do). I haven't done any art for a very long time but there are some bare walls in my house so I decided to have a go! It's still a work in progress so we will see how it turns out.

I found the perfect skirting for the living room (140x19 Colonial  profile from Bootles, in case you were wondering). Just need to cut, prime and paint now! Even unpainted the difference it makes is amazing.

And a little vignette on my kitchen shelves at the moment. I love the look of black and cream!

What have you been doing this week?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Feeling inspired by Dorothy Draper

I had to laugh when I saw this quote from Dorothy Draper. I completely know the feeling. There are far too many ideas in my head, and styles that I love, to possibly cram them all into my own home!

For those of you that haven't heard of Dorothy Draper, she is generally considered the first interior designer. She was famous (and still is) for her bold use of colour and incredible pattern mixing.

Dorothy is an inspiration to designers around the world and I particularly admire her use of black and white chequered floors, bright floral chintz and delicious bold stripes.

Here are a few of my favourite interiors by Dorothy Draper...

Designed by Dorothy Draper. Found at Lilu Interiors blog.

Designed by Dorothy Draper. Found at Tutu Style blog.

Designed by Dorothy Draper. Found at Tutu Style blog.

Designed by Dorothy Draper. Found at p-l-a-i-d blog.

Designed by Dorothy Draper. Found at Tutu Style blog.

Designed by Dorothy Draper. Found at Tutu Style blog.

Do you feel inspired by any of her work?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chinoiserie Inspired Dresser Makeover

When I spotted this dresser at a secondhand store a couple of weeks ago my eyes lit up. I was actually looking for a dining table to turn into a large desk for our future office but then I spotted this!

Why this piece? The lines! It's so hard to find unusual pieces in North Queensland, and upon closer inspection...look at that beautiful brass hardware as well! After my foray into decorating with brass with that little tray, I decided I could squeeze a little more into my house. But I didn't want more timber. I have lots of timber in the house already (apart from the floors) and wanted to bring some brighter colours into the space. So, paint it was! I settled on blue, a grey-blue I pulled from some of my art around the house, and this is what I ended up with...

The first step was to remove the handles. I found each was attached with two small screws, but was also nailed in with tiny brass nails on each corner. After removing the screws, I used a very thin screwdriver and a hammer to gently lift each corner...

...and lift each corner up, working my way around the plaque.

I thought I would try and clean the brass before I resorted to spraypaint so I threw all the screws, nails and hardware into the sink with my old vinegar and salt trick. After much soaking and scrubbing, the handles only improved slightly. Ironically, the brass ring around my plug is now spotless and sparkling!

In the meantime, I gave the whole cabinet a light sand with my detail sander with a fine grit paper. I was lucky as this piece didn't have a high gloss varnish so it probably didn't even really need to be sanded.

I washed down the whole cabinet with warm water to remove the dust and grime. Then it was time to prime! I bought a new, good quality brush for this job because I knew I wanted a very smooth gloss finish. For the primer, I used a three in one primer-sealer-undercoat and applied it sparingly and slowly to create as smooth a base as I could. I used painters tape around the edges of the drawers because I always find if you paint the sides the drawers are more likely to stick.

With the constant rain we've had here I let it dry overnight before applying my first top coat. I chose to use a Dulux Oil-based Enamel for this project. As anyone who has painted anything with me would know, I tend to get covered in paint from head to foot, so generally prefer water-based products. However, I wanted a very durable finish and a smooth glossy look so an oil based enamel will last longer, and it is always easier to create a good finish.

After the first coat I had this, and started to get very excited about the colour!

I actually decided to leave the base unpainted. Because I wanted a smooth finish I didn't think a brush would work well around all those edges and curves. I decided to try a brass coloured spraypaint instead.

While the top coat was drying, I spraypainted the handles and screws gold since my experiment with polishing didn't work!

I left the oil paint a full 24 hours to dry, before sanding it very lightly and applying a second coat. Although it didn't really need a second coat for coverage, it does give it far more durability.

I then taped the edges so I could spraypaint the legs. Rather than wrapping the whole dresser in drop sheets to spraypaint, I just held a piece of card along the top of the tape as I sprayed to prevent any overspray getting on the freshly painted surface.

The next step was to re-attach the handles. I had to be gentle with the screws and nails so I didn't scratch the paint. I actually used a small piece of folded fabric between the nail head and hammer to stop it scratching as I hammered them in.

A second coat of spray paint on the base and i was all finished! Although I did consider leaving it in the entry...

I think I'm actually going to turn it into a sideboard for the TV in the living room. For that to happen I'll be adding a shelf to the top so stay tuned!

What do you think? I'm still tossing up whether to distress the edges to make it look more like the Chinoiserie style lacquered furniture but I'm pretty happy so far!

I'm sharing my dresser with 'Polly wants a crafter', 'Positively Splendid' and...
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Feature Home: A Classic Beauty in Victoria

Two weeks ago I posted a feature home that was an incredible contemporary house in Victoria. This time, we have another Victorian home but with a very different style.

Beautiful, isn't it? I'm developing quite a fondness for traditional red brick cottages at the moment so this caught my eye straight away.

Looking along the verandah some features that immediately catch my eye include the tongue and groove ceiling and that incredible floor!

One of the reasons this home captured my attention was the beautiful contrast between the dark, low-sheen floors and the creamy white walls. It is one of my favourite combinations and makes even a simple room seem glamorous and sophisticated.

But, who would be looking at the floor with that incredible glass window above? I also love the contrast the contemporary abstract provides against the traditional architecture.

 Simple furniture but don't you love that high, high skirting and beautiful arched nook?

More neutrals in the bedroom but it feels comfortable and luxurious thanks to the use of timber, dark tones and soft textiles. Beautiful windows too, although personally I would love to see some simple white curtains framing the window and bed. Do you agree?

A more contemporary space here with an interesting contrast between the traditional features and the modern, almost Asian style bed.

I think it's a shame those white shelves aren't built-in to match the cupboard on the right - it would give the room a more seamless look.

A simple white contemporary kitchen, yet it doesn't feel out of place in the traditional due to the timber benchtops.

Looking back toward the dining room. I think this space would be incredible for entertaining thanks to all those beautiful windows. Here's a photo for those who don't like split system air-conditioners; keeping the walls neutral and creating eye-catching features elsewhere, means you don't even notice it.

A simple contemporary bathroom that will work with any style thanks to an all-white finish. I like the natural touch added by the baskets under the vanity.

House for sale in Victoria. Listing can be viewed here.

Are there any features I've missed that you loved? Anything that doesn't appeal to you personally?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday Moodboard: Contemporary Neutral Living Room

Thursday Moodboard doesn't sound quite as catchy as a Monday Moodboard, does it? Unfortunately, I was running a bit late this week! Oh well...

I've been working on some new moodboards and thought I would share the latest. The room? A living space. The design brief? Contemporary, understated, neutral, classic.

And here's what I created...

A green-based putty wall colour is the perfect contrast to a rich camel leather sofa. Neutral furniture in clean, classic lines provide an easy, soothing backdrop while earthy blues and greens are brought into the space using artwork and pillows. A little bit of glamour is created with some chrome lamps, and metallic vase.

Sources - Furniture
- Round side table: Bone Side Table from West Elm

Sources - Accessories
- Art Prints: Etsy Seller printsbykim

My apologies to my local readers, but this board was for those from the USA (although you can still order some of the smaller accessories internationally).

What do you think?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The magic of paint...the living room & office!

This week I have been a lot of painting, furniture painting and abstract painting (more on the last two later!). For now, I wanted to share the progress we have in the office (which is really one of the front bedrooms) and the living room I posted about here.

Shield your eyes from this wardrobe...

We have just painted the doors for now until we decide what we want to do with the wardrobes. I haven't worried about adding skirting yet either - the goal was to get this room functional for now!

The paint colour here is Taubman's Smiley White (mixed in 'Tradex', a trade paint). It is a bright, cool white with a bit of a bluey-purple undertone. I'm not entirely convinced this is an accurate colour mix by Bunnings, but there is nothing wrong with the colour for now, and it works well with the Dulux Tranquil Retreat in the living room outside.

We also made some progress on the living room...

I am really excited about this colour! After deliberating on options the other week, I decided to stick with the blue-grey tones we have used throughout the house.

After tossing up whether to go lighter than the kitchen/living space (Tranquil Retreat) I painted out a few samples and loved the blue undertones of Dulux Accord.

You can see the pumpkin yellow peeking out along the's waiting to be covered by tall glossy white skirting. Can't wait!


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