Monday, April 30, 2012

Stylish styling ideas...bookshelves (lots of ideas!)

Well I had a busy weekend and only posted a quick bookshelf vignette for you, but I promised to make up for it! So here you have lots of beautiful styling ideas, all ready to inspire you to makeover your shelving.

This is one of my favourite bookshelves (despite the complete lack of books to be seen). The height and large scale of the shelves lend themselves so beautifully to large decorative objects, while the bold kelly green floats, chocolate ceramics and basketware work beautifully with the relaxed coastal feel of the room.

Designed by Lisa Romerein. Found at Coastal Living.

The black painted shelves here are perfect for highlighting beautiful neutral objects in shades of white, cream, tan and gold. These pieces on a white shelf would be lost, but with a dark backdrop they look stunning.

Designed by Lauren Gambrel. Featured in Lonny Mag (Jul/Aug 2011).

This is a very pretty arrangement for open wall shelves. It only features a few books which is perfect for a formal living space, or just a great way to bring a bit of interest to a bare wall. I love the little terranium as well!
Designed by Anne Turner Carroll. Found at Fabulously Yours blog.

Colour coding your books is an easy way to add some style, but always depends on how you like to find your books. For me, it's the colour of the cover that I remember most easily, so I don't have an issue with them arranged by colour. I also love the little mirror hung on a ribbon here.
Designed by Habitually Chic.

This built-in shelf by Stephen Gambrel doesn't have colour coded books, but the accessories are the same tone and shapes, which still creates that consistent 'designed' feel. The pale blue backdrop is pretty as well.
Designed by Stephen Gambrel.

Here's another dark bookshelf where the floor to ceiling display creates a stunning feature wall in this eclectic living room. And when you're hanging art of bookshelves, who says it has to be symmetrical?

Designer Tracey Garret Design. Found at House and Home.

Do you see any inspiration here? I know I would love to have an enormous shelving space like these, but for now I will have to be happy with my little bookcase!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A stylish styling idea...bookshelf

A couple of weeks ago I stripped down my Mum's enormous built-in bookshelves and spent the afternoon putting everything back. The shelves are white, and have a lot of books, but I incorporated lots of extra accessories in timber, natural earthy ceramic tones and shades of blue and green. The rest of the family thought I was crazy but I think it looks so much better now!

So to inspire you to reinvent your bookshelves this week I have a little inspiration for you...

I love the casual elegance of this arrangement and the family photos! So many designers tell you not to put family photos out but there are beautiful ways to display them like below. Notice the books are roughly colour grouped as well, while the dark shelves make the lighter objects stand out.

Designed by Kelly Klein. Via Habitually Chic.
Pretty isn't it? Don't worry...I will expand on this topic on the weekend! (I've had a busy week).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Feature! 'Their Design Ethos' with Monaco Interiors

I wanted to start a new feature to share some of the fabulous bloggers I have been getting to know. I always love to see how others design their homes and what inspires them.

For the very first feature I want you all to meet the very lovely Sarah from Monaco Interiors.

Sarah hails from New England in the US but has lived in Montana, Los Angeles, London and Florida. She says in her profile that as a child, she was constantly rearranging her room, driving her mother crazy (this is something I can definately relate to!).

Sarah has been so kind to answer a few questions I threw at her so join in the conversation below, and please go and say hello at her gorgeous blog!


Thank you so much for asking me to participate in your new series, I am so excited as the Australian blogging community is so vibrant and my very first follower was Elizabeth Raptis from Ivy & Piper!! 

My Design Ethos in three words is tough one but here goes: Modern, Vintage and Natural - I definitely like to incorporate modern touches while using vintage accessories or furniture and like to include natural materials if possible.

Inspiration from blogs, Pinterest, designers, magazines and stores.


Target has some gorgeous new modern, graphic curtains in deep blue and cream; a good wicker chair I can spray paint and I'm always looking for a fabulous sisal rug, though I think I'm dreaming because I have two teenage stepsons and a cat, so I sometimes think, what is the point of getting something new??


My favorite room has to be the bedroom because it is turquoise and orange, a favorite color combination. I also painted two side tables a gorgeous pale blue and put Urban Walls up myself one Sunday so it looks like wallpaper behind the bed. I did get a new white lamp for the space and added a couple of Annechovie prints and natural lampshade. 

I have several designers whose spaces I would love to hire to design my home, but, this  by Donna Elle which was on the cover of Boston Home magazine recently blew me away - I am in love with this design.  My aesthetic seems to be changing as I get older and see more of what I don't like. I really love the white background with pops of color and natural touches...this is the home I would be thrilled to live in. 

Designed by Donna Elle. Photo by Nat Rea for Boston Home magazine.

Sarah has a gorgeous blog so make sure you visit. Personally, I love Sarah's bold ikat pillows and pretty vignette, and that coffee table in her designer inspiration - stunning!

Thanks for dropping by Sarah!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fashionable Feature: A new dress for winter

I picked up a lovely pink and purple floral dress on eBay recently. I have quite a fondness for bold florals, especially with 1950s silhouettes! Normally these summery colours work better for the warmer months but I plan to wear it right through the year with some wintery additions...

I probably won't buy all these pieces but I certainly wouldn't mind owning them!
- Jacket:        Forever New
- Beret:          Etsy Seller chicksale
- Bag:            Portmans
- Boots:         eBay
- Bracelet:     Banana Republic
- Earrings:     Etsy Seller punkybunny300

I have to admit I'm definately eyeing off those boots though!

Friday, April 20, 2012

What I'm working on...A modern living room

I'm currently working on designing a display home aimed at young families and first home buyers. I am going for a contemporary look with a retro twist, incorporating urban colours and still relating back to our relaxed North Queensland lifestyle.

I wanted to incorporate a limited palette of colours through the house and have settled on neutrals with splashes of coral, aqua and kelly green.

The living room incorporates budget furniture buys with coral and aqua accents, and I have stuck with generally lighter toned furniture to contrast with the dark wide plank vinyl flooring. I'm still adding accessories and artwork of course!

What do you think? Would this appeal to you? Or more importantly, to some young first home buyers you know?

Don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a gorgeous cushion from Aqua Door Designs!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Block and Using Traditional Rugs

Well I managed to miss the second and third episodes of 'The Block' but I did check the website to see the finished rooms. Two of the couples had to design a space around a patchwork rug in traditional Persian rug colours; reds, oranges and mustard yellows.

I got the impression from the website afterwards the couples didn't really like the rugs. That said, they both did a pretty good job on their rooms considering the limited budget and time.

Designed by Larry and Jessie on 'The Block'.

Designed by Brad and Lara, competing in 'The Block'.
Now, repeat after me! Traditional rugs don't have to be in traditional rooms. There are lots of ways to reinterpret the style into something creative, beautiful and different...

Designed by Alissa Parker. Featured on Design*Sponge.
Designing with one of these beautiful traditional rugs is no different to using a patterned contemporary rug. If it has a complicated pattern and bold colours, let it be the star of the room. It is art for the floor.

Designer: Jonathan Skow and Trina Turk. Featured in Elle Decor.
Use the colours you can see in the rug to create your colour scheme, and it doesn't have to be red! Look at the subtler patterns within the rug...the corals, aquas, greys, blues and greens. By using these colours, and lots of neutrals, the rug won't be overpowering.

Designed by Tommy Smythe. Found at Rooms Bloom.
Don't feel like you need traditional pieces either. This space has mostly contemporary furniture pieces; simple lines, lucite. 

Designed by Gabriel Hendifar. Found at Elements of Style.

Designed by Sarah Richardson.
 And finally, these rugs don't have to be adult only! Buy a secondhand one, or a cheaper imitation and they become perfect for children's spaces. Why? The complicated pattern hides a multitude of sins, and the bold colours can be lovely in a kid's space when used properly like Erin's nursery below.
Designed by Erin from Design Crisis.
After all that, I don't own a Persian rug in my home but I might be considering one now! What about you?


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Block - Industrial Midcentury Style

Well Australia's favourite renovating show, The Block, started again the other night and trended on Twitter immediately! It is one of those addictive television shows due to the ability to not only watch others renovate, but see how they react in a stressful situation (and I'm sure most of us sit there and think we could have done better!).

For the first epidsode, two couples had to decorate a white room in 24 hours including paint, floorcovering, shopping and styling. Both were young couples and both designed a room which had strong midcentury influences and a touch of an industrial or urban look.

The first room, created by 'Brad and Courtney', was a midcentury dining room with light grey walls...

Photos from Ninemsn Homes.
Let's play 'what would you do?'...

The things I liked...
  • The wall colour is great and dark floors are stunning!
  • That fantastic poster - I love oversized posters, especially with this style of furniture.
  • The hide rug is a nice trendy choice that it's a bit different.
  • The choice of dining chairs and table - love the table in particular. But how did they afford all these pieces with only $5,000?
  • It's also great to see something other than a bedroom in these challenges!
The things I didn't...
  • The placement of the armchair doesn't work for me, and it isn't really a dining room piece. Why not a sideboard instead?
  • As the judges said, I don't like the idea of putting thumbtacks into such a beautiful expensive poster (but I'm not entirely opposed to it either, maybe if it was sandwiched between glass with gold screws instead?).
  • Not enough art! This is a fairly simple room in terms of furniture so I would have included an enormous gallery wall or some other bold art choices (maybe wallpaper?).
All in all though, I think this couple have still got a great style and could have created something fantastic with a bit more time!

Now, the next room was a bedroom by 'Dani and Dan' which also had a decided midcentury and urban influence, with...light grey walls again!

Photos from Ninemsn Homes.
The things I liked...
  • Although it looks so similar to the other room I still love the choice of wall colour and flooring. This couple had a nicer fireplace to work with too!
  • The colours! This couple has a great eye for colours and have pulled together an eclectic mix of different colours very successfully.
  • The art is fantastic and really makes the room.
The things I didn't...
  • This is being picky considering the time they had - but I would have liked to see a different piece of art, rather than two pieces by the same artist. That's a more personal thing though!
  • I am not a fan of curtains that don't hang to the floor, and also not too keen on hanging curtain rods on the window frame. Imagine how tall those ceilings would feel with floor to ceiling curtains!
  • The scale of the armchair. As much as I love wishbone chairs I think that corner needs something more substantial. An egg chair would have been amazing, but I'm sure their budget wouldn't have allowed for that!
All up, I do like both rooms and think it's a shame both couples aren't going through. I wonder if they are making couples with similar design styles compete against each other, so there's more variety in the finished homes?

What do you think of the rooms above? Would you do anything differently?

By the way, don't forget to enter our gorgeous giveaway of a cushion from Aqua Door Designs!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Best of Etsy and a cushion giveaway!

Well I mentioned I might include a few more regular features on this little blog and one that I was most keen to do was a highlight of some favourite Etsy stores.

I am always recommending Etsy products to clients, particularly for the amazing array of cushions, and affordable art options. I thought it would be fun to introduce you to some of the stores that have caught my eye, and let you get to know the face behind the store a little better.

Today, we get to meet the very lovely Angela from Aqua Door Designs, an Etsy seller based in Brisbane, Australia!

Aqua Door Designs is one of my favourite cushion stores. Not only are the cushions beautifully made, the designs are on trend and the colours are gorgeous! Now, let's find our a little more about Angela...

I am a Brisbane based mother of 3 kids, and also work part-time in finance. Aqua Door Designs started in 2011 and is my creative outlet and my passion. Aqua Door Designs was born out of my love of colour and pattern and my desire to create unique products by hand. I love every step of the process - from drawing designs to screen-printing by hand. I am forever thinking of ideas for designs, colour schemes and other homeware ideas.

We painted our house last year and I wanted a bright and bold colour for our door, similar to the houses I used to walk past in London when I lived there. I chose aqua, and then came the idea of "Aqua Door Designs", as I screen-print in my home based studio

Anywhere and everywhere .... art, architecture, magazines, books, home wares, clothes. My visual diary is bursting at the seams.

YES I remember it well. My first sale was to a customer based in the USA, via my Etsy shop. I was so excited I rang my husband, my mum and emailed my best girlfriends. I guess you could say I got a little carried away.... I was very excited!

I have so many ideas for Aqua Door Designs, it's more a matter of trying to prioritise to get them done. I've been experimenting with other home ware ideas including wall-art and lamp shades to compliment the cushion designs. I would love for Aqua Door Designs to be my full-time 'job' aside from being a mum. While I would love for Aqua Door to expand, my desire is to continue to make handmade and unique wares, so mass production is not on my radar.

I actually used that lovely ironwork trellis design in a job for a client last year...

 Aren't those pillows gorgeous? Don't you wish you had one? Well....Angela has very kindly offered up one of her popular hot pink trellis designs for a My Design Ethos reader (from anywhere in the world)!

There are lots of ways you can get extra entries including tweeting and visiting Aqua Door Designs on Facebook and the Etsy store. You can enter via the Rafflecopter counter below - just click on 'Read More' and you will see the widget with all your entry options!


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