Friday, 30 May 2008

before + after: combined bedroom/nursery

Letters from Lincraft ($4 each. The "b" is a P turned upside down. I like lowercase better). The heart is from a vine in my garden. Actually, it's probably a weed...

I have carpet. I have wardrobes. I have painted walls. I have a place for the baby to sleep. And even a few pictures on the wall. I'm FINISHED this room. Well, finished for now, cause in case you haven't figured it out by now, I have serious DDD (decorating deficit disorder) and like to change my mind about things. And just change things...
Anyway, here is how it looked a few years ago after we'd moved a few windows around and before the French doors. It's rather hideous. I can't believe I put up with this for so long!

Um, not my finest decorating moment...

There are no words to describe this disaster. See the skinny grey carpet pieces? That's where the walls went - this room was divided into two when we bought it. We ripped it out immediately and took away the wood panelling and wallpaper. And then I wished the walls were still up because it would have looked sooo much better than this!

And here is how it looks now. I went very neutral - warm wood tones, beige and black and white, but the nursery end adds a little colour (I haven't changed the purple wall yet. I think I like it again) while still featuring those neutral shades. Of course it'll never stay this tidy and I'll have to add all the baby's stuff once it's born and is bombarded with stuffed toys and bits and pieces again, but for now I'm going to enjoy the tidiness!

My new wardrobes with doors AND handles on.

Close up of my side of bed. Missing from pic: phone, massive digital clock, remote, birthing book...

One day I'll replace this ancient TV with a smaller, stylish flatscreen.

Wedding, family and Zak photos are mixed with pretty illos and leftover wallpaper and fabric scraps cover a couple of canvases for a little black and white decor.

Looking towards the baby's end - there is a lot of space in-between, but I figured that would make great play space for Zak while I'm feeding! My chair was moved here again, but I think I'll put the rocking chair in once the baby arrives. It doesn't look as nice, but is much more practical!

I haven't changed anything this end. You can see close ups of this section here.

The baby's wardrobe - chock full of linen for both bubs and way too many little knitted cardigans!

View from the doorway (we don't actually have a door yet!) Should be interesting when the baby is trying to sleep and Zak decides he wants to play with it. Or pinch it or something...
Coming soon... a review of IKEA wardrobes in case you care! And most definitely a baby.
Have a great weekend

Thursday, 29 May 2008

bugger. bugger. bugger!

My awesome DIY record now has a big blemish

Can I blame baby brain for this? While putting the handles on my wardrobe doors I accidentally drilled a hole in the wrong spot. By a long shot! How I managed this, I'll never know, because I was sooo careful with my little pencil marks. I think, though, the stupid door had a speck of dust or something on it I mistook for a pencil mark and so drilled away. Luckily, it's at least underneath the handle (and not below or above it!), but still - BUGGER! Since taking this pic, I ironed over a tiny piece of melamine but now instead of a hole, there is a raised white bump! I thought I'd wait and see if Steve noticed. He did. Oops. So maybe I could fill it, sand it and try painting it bright white? But I just wonder if that will still be noticeable. Anyone got any other ideas? I'm all ears. Will post pics of whole room tomorrow. I don't recognise it from what it was!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

My new love for hats

I've had this hat for 3 years. This is the first time I've worn it! Here's why...

Yesterday I turned 31. For my birthday I got a hole in my head. In what is possibly best timing ever, I found out last week a little scab on the top of my head was a skin cancer. A plastic surgeon couldn't take it out until AUGUST so I begged my lovely doctor to do it ASAP before the baby arrived (which as we speak is still wriggling away inside me with a little over a week till due date!) cause I really didn't want to have to worry about that. I realise this tiny little basal cell carcinoma is probably the mildest form of cancer, but it is still the dreaded "C" word and hearing it had my imagination running wild, turning the little growth into a full-blown brain tumour. I even stressed! And cried! And obviously not posted on my blog, so now you know why...
I've always wanted to be a hat person - love them, but thought they looked terrible on me. Which is why I never wore one until Zak was born and I felt the need to be all responsible and set examples. Bit late though, so due to a little bald patch on my head, a stiched up hole and the fact that I NEVER want to be told I have any kind of cancer again, I'll be wearing hats everytime I'm out. Even in winter. And - warning, preachy post time - you should too. Cause even though it didn't hurt to have it removed (although it does a little now!) and I'm hardly on my death bed or anything, it could have been worse and it doesn't take much to protect the one part of your body that's most susceptible to the beaming-down sun. Not sure why I shared this, just being all nerdy and sun smart now! But look, I did take the pics in front of something related to my blog: my new wardrobes which are just monstrous. I love them - so much space. The doors are lying all over our bedroom floor cause they appear to be the most difficult part of the putting-together process. Stay tuned for pics of the room - complete! I can't wait!

I also like this one...

This one just needs hanging corks for true-blue Aussie style. Think it'll stay in the cupboard...

Onto to a cheerier topic and more pics of myself (how very narcissistic of me!), here are some photos of my ready-to-pop-belly. I have no idea what I'm having. Well, I know it'll be a baby (at least I hope it is!) but have no inkling of the sex. But I do have a theory: if you have babies close together with a gap of less than two years, chances are higher they'll be the same sex. So if my theory is correct, Zak will get a baby brother. I'm also one of those rare pregnant people who actually like hearing people's opinions on what they think I'm having, so please, have a guess - girl or boy? I'll be sure to let you know soon - next time I post a pic of myself, it'll be a cheesy family one!

Me and all the clothes I can't wear!


Found! The top of my dining table

Oh look! More brown furniture!

I'd completely forgotten what this piece of furniture looked like! Seriously. In the past few months it's been piled high with books, tools, toys - anything but things you might actually eat with aside from one tiny corner at the end where Zak could scoff his dinner. But I'm obviously getting close to birthing this baby cause I'm in serious cleaning mode. I usually hate it with a passion but am actually enjoying rearranging, cleaning and culling the contents of all kitchen cabinets, fridge, countertops and floor. Plus, I don't think I've shown what this part of the house looks like, so here is part of my hideous kitchen I can't wait to demolish and replace with a nice new modern one, and my very space-efficient dining table and benches. Gold for small spaces - the benches slide under the table so only takes up as much space as the tabletop takes up.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Zak's room (again!)

Zak's own art (so creative) and the wooden deer head he thinks is a dog from Hart & Heim, $29.95

I've lost count of the number of times I've posted Zak's room, but anyway... After the carpet got put in I couldn't handle the fact the wall colour didn't go with it. So stupid, I know - it was still a neutral! - but anyway I decided to repaint it white. Steve's eyes are still rolling around somewhere after rolling from his head after I told him what I planned to do. And then of course, I had to do a few new things. Nothing major, but here it is at the moment. This has to last at least six months when it will no doubt change again once Zak and the baby have to share a room!

From the doorway

The reading nook

Storage solutions. No, the flashcards don't stay put for long...

Reading nook and toy box

No more "Once upon a time". Besides the fact he could reach pretty much everything on the wall now and would pull it off, the colour didn't go so I changed it completely. A little barer, but... I might paint the Z turquoise.

Teeny tiny table and chairs. I bought a cheapie wardrobe and dressed it up a little with cotton wrapped around the doors and little pics and things pegged to it.

So, there we go. Wardrobes come tomorrow, but I have to work so won't get to start assembling them until the evening... I will be a happy girl once they're up and stocked full of clothes and I can start reclaiming the rest of my house from all the suitcases and boxes of clothes and endless coat hangers that are lying around everywhere!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

I'm still here.... and in one piece!

No baby yet, although my non-posting probably had a few of you wondering?! I'm ridiculously busy and have managed to hit the wall: have seriously slowed down now and am really feeling the pregnancy for the first time in nine months! I have three weeks left and unfort will be posting less regularly as I have so much to do and not much energy to do it with! All rooms are half done, but I'll post some pics when they're presentable. I went to IKEA yesterday and bought my wardrobes - they'll be delivered Tuesday. Yay! I have never, ever spent so little time in IKEA. It's one of those places you can spent all day in - something we used to do, quite sadly, as a family when I was younger. We'd go partly for furniture/storage etc but also for the awesome tempura they used to serve and the ball pit. Things haven't changed that much - I could still spend all day there but I wanted to beat the traffic (it's entirely possible I'm turning into an old man) so I was in and out within half an hour. This required wearing blinkers so I didn't get distracted by all the cool things. I did see a few "new" signs, but didn't even stop to check them out. Happily, they'd run out of part of my wardrobe accessory so I have to go back!
Anyway, I have Zak's room to show you (yes, it changed. again. I took advantage of the fact we took everything out for the carpet!) and my bedroom/nursery and if I get time, some changes to the living room and exterior. It's all happening here!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Decor8 hearts Australia

Pic from Cafe Press

The lovely Holly from my fave decorating blog Decor8 is turning Aussie! Well, she's certainly done her research and is writing about Australian design in various installments, starting with Aussie blogs. I was honoured to make the (very extensive!) list of talented fellow bloggers and will be visiting each and every one of the others very soon. You must check them all out too - and the comments as many more have been recommended there. It's so great to see Australia making its mark on the design world - I can't tell you how proud and excited I am every time I see Real Living or my site or an Aussie designer/photographer/stylist mentioned or featured around the web world. Especially when they make the sites I think are just tops and wouldn't expect to see them on (ie, Decor8!). And what's even better is the people I've met virtually as a result of all this blogging: each are creative, interesting and inspiring in their own way, so - cue the violins - thanks to all you!
Keep checking Decor8 - Holly has much more Aussie love to come!

happy mummy's day

No hate mail pls... but I'm getting one of these! From Leffler

Happy mother's day to all mums for yesterday. Hope you were all made to feel as special and as loved as I was! I got a very amusing "harry mum daaaaaaay" from Zak who actually said day for the first time while repeating Steve. Too cute! And in a bit of a twist to the old present-giving tradition, I, um, told Steve what I wanted (might as well get something I really want/need, right?) and will be ordering it very soon - yay! I asked for this beige cow hide for our living room (so really, it's a present for everyone!). I've become obsessed with them lately and while it's not the warmest, wooliest rug around, I think it'll look perfect in the spot and can easily be warmed up for baby bottoms with sheepskin rugs - a trip to Ikea is planned for tomorrow anyway to order wardrobes.
But best of all, I got a full night's sleep last night. Thanks Zakky!

Friday, 9 May 2008

my chair before + after

After: beigey velvet and Scandinavian-oil-stained wood

Ooooh you get three posts today. Am making up for my lack of posting these past few weeks! I finally finished my chair too. It would have taken just a few hours all up, but I managed to spread that over a few weeks! I of course changed my mind numerous times about what to do with this chair. I started to stain the wood dark, but it wasn't dark enough. So after seeing a similar chair in another magazine with blonde wood and a beige seat, I did a complete backflip and attempted to copy it. I'm loving this Scandinavian wood colour and style at the moment and am trying to introduce hits of it into my living room to lighten it up a bit. I also think it works quite well with really dark wood, which a lot of my furniture is.

How it looked before

Anyway, instead of pointing out everything wrong with my recovering (am sure you can notice for yourself!), for once I'm going to just be proud I got it looking this good. I had no idea where to start (it's not as easy as just stapling a bit of fabric on a dining chair seat, which is all I've done before!) so I just used the original upholstery as a guide. So, what do we think? Shall we place bets how long it'll be before I change it again???

Our bedroom: before + after

We have carpet! This is very exciting. Much more thrilling for my poor body which is relieved it's almost over. We spent the last few days emptying the equivalent of three rooms out into other areas of the house, priming the walls, painting the walls and camping on the floor (had to dismantle the bed to get it out the door). Two men put it in on Wedneday morning and here it is! (well, the other side of our room that I've never showed before because of its hideousness. The other end is the nursery).

Before: we lived with these walls for four and a half years. That's just sad, really!

After: plushy and warm carpet and white walls.

My painter (Steve) busy at work. Love his very professional uniform?!

After: the room seems so much brighter and bigger.

It was sooo nice waking up to a warm room - it's made a huge difference with thicker underlay and thick, plush carpet. Who knew? I swear though, for all the carpet samples in the world, it's never a true indication until it's completely laid! I thought it was lighter than it is, but I am still thrilled with it - only one tiny problem: I'm going to have to repaint my purple wall. I just can't handle the two colours clashing so much. I want to just go white and forget the colour, but Steve wants a "shade of brown" so I'm back to choosing paint colours and sample pots... Strangely, though, the thought of repainting hasn't even annoyed me once. I think it's because I know the room will look so much better! But my indecision and repainting is nothing compared to someone I know who paid a fortune to have her house exterior painted, only to call them back a few weeks later and have them repaint it again another colour. Hubby wasn't too pleased (although it does look brilliant!)

Now one would think I'd be really excited and get about putting everything back and styling up the room, but I'm so stiff and sore and there is soooo much crap to move again... You have to be neater when you put stuff back too; can't just dump it in the corner like I did when I took it out! So the next few days will be moving back in and trying to make it look decent. Now I just need to hit Ikea and grab our wardrobes and the room is done (oh, aside from the actual windows and ceiling... but can I tell you how much I don't care about those right now?) It's only taken four and a half years! It also means I can actually relax a little bit now - four weeks till bub gets here, so if it decides to come early, I won't completely freak that the room isn't ready!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Reader dilemma: study makeover

Am thinking these colours would work well in a study

A reader, Nicky, asked for some help coming up with a colour scheme for her study makeover. She has one feature wall in Dulux suede effect latte and was wondering what colours would look best with it? The furniture will be all white but she's wondering what other colour to add to make it pop. I automatically thought of this room from an old issue of Real Living - it's one of my faves. I think hits of turquoises and blues will really stand out against a neutral background.

Nicky's feature wall is the Latte - some lighter beige pieces would work well with turquoise, white and mustards.

Love these pinboards. You can buy this here or make yourself with some corkboard and a cross-stitch hoop. Pic from Little Pretty Studio

She could go a turquoise fabric pinboard (like above), aqua vases to hold pens and leave on display, maybe a fabric-covered lampshade in blues, oranges and mustards with light wood or white base and go for light-brown storage items like those found at Kikki-K and Ikea (mag holders, boxes etc) with a few boxes covered in pretty coloured paper or fabric to break up the beige. Anyone got any other ideas for her?

In other news, I HAVE CARPET! It got put in this morning and as soon as I can lift my aching body out of my chair, vacuum the rooms and take a picture, I'll show you what it looks like. Can't tell you how glad I am I'm neither a painter nor removalist. Have spent the past four days doing both jobs - not so much fun!

Friday, 2 May 2008

sneak peek: June issue

June 2008: featuring the non-model, real living stylist Alice Flynn

Naughty me - I've been neglectful of this blog this week. Sorry! But to make it up to you... here is the June cover. It's out Monday and it features Real Living's lovely stylist Alice on the cover in her gorgeous home. NO MODELS! So refreshing... Al and I used to work together until we both got pregnant at the same time, along with another stylist, and all three of us left our poor editor Deb within a few weeks of each other. She now freelances for us and is responsible for most of the pretty images you see in our mag. I thought my life was busy... Until I interviewed her for the feature: she managed to have a baby, get married, and knock down her house for a complete rebuild all within the space of a few months. Now her house is complete and we thought we'd give you a look at how experts renovate and decorate (she's a stylist, hubby is a builder - perfect match!). And back to poor Deb - she's on about hiring all men: both myself and our deputy, Natalie, are due to leave her again in a few weeks to pop out babies. Seeing as Nat took over my old job, my chair has been confiscated from the office - just in case!
So what else is in the issue? We show you gorgeous decorating ideas with letters, get warm and snuggly with faux fur, guide you through buying rugs and carpets and give you a house tour of Amy Butler's house. It's my fave issue yet, I think. I might say that every month, but they just keep better in my opinion! Love to hear your thoughts on it next week once you've read. And don't forget the website will change from Monday too with projects, ideas and answers to your decorating dilemmas.
And I haven't forgotten: Danielle and Anastacia - you both scored free issues for your help with the store-window project. Just email your address to On that topic - the lady beat us all to the post and had decorated before I got the chance to send her some ideas (erm possibly my fault for taking so long. Oops). But, she loved all our suggestions and is looking forward to redecorating in the near future, so stay tuned!
Have a good weekend. Hope to get some projects finished this weekend to share with you next week.