This is a story about a major renovation of my family's own dream home. Follow me in my search for the perfect home sourcing finishes and fixtures, altering floorplans and dealing with trades people. Fingers crossed it's going to be fun!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Ro Sham Beaux!

In my search for the perfect pendant, I recently came across an incredibly talented lady making the most beautiful lighting out of glass beads, shells, twine and gold paint. She is Ann Yancy Rogers and her business goes by the name of Ro Sham Beaux . Have a look at these beautiful pieces.

The Malibu

The Adelaide

The Carmen

They're made using red coral, white rock, recycled coke bottles, blue quartz, mirror quartz and can be made in any colour really. A selection of new options keep coming through.

If you'd like to get your hands on one of these gorgeous pieces, send me an email!


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Wow have I been busy.

I have decisions to make every day on our project. What's the detail on the ensuite cabinetry, the shower mixer can't be reached on that wall, I don't want that ceiling flat...
But my main thought when I lie awake at night is what light fitting will I put there, how many do I need, and where exactly will I put it? I've got a little money to spend each week over and above what we have agreed on for the build, and with that I am selecting the jewellery for the house. Being an Interior Designer it's beyond important to me to include special details. 

Thinking back to the house's original crystal chandeliers, I had been deliberating just WHERE to put them? There are 2, should I keep them together, split them up? I've decided to lend the dining table some bling and hang them both over that. They should brighten up that leg of the room quite well!

Working on from the brass and sparkly idea, I wanted to pull the open plan space that also includes the kitchen and small sitting area into a more casual, tropical, british colonial feel. Doesn't that sound impossible?! Ha!

I wanted to keep pendants off the kitchen island bench so a) they don't compete with the chandeliers, and b) to keep the space feeling open. I've opted for 2 wall lights to sit either side of the rangehood, like this...


 This is the one I've chosen, from Restoration Hardware.

And to hang over the small sitting area by the fireplace is something that needs to pack quite a punch. You'll see it as soon as you walk through the front door looking through the foyer. It needs to reflect the overall vibe of the house, and also tie in with the rustic wall lights and sparkly crystal chandeliers.

It's perfect! It's open and airy. It's beachy. It has a touch of brass, and a touch of steel to blend with the other fixtures. Oh, and it's STUNNING. It is called the Palm Beach Chandelier. Right up my alley.

Can you tell I don't like downlights? 

Sunday, 23 June 2013


To keep the reno within budget I have had to cut down on all the extras and special details I want (you'd think I'd asked for gold plated walls). It's a shame but I'm treating it as a challenge to design and decorate with some smarts about me. Unfortunately the dream range cooker had to immediately go. Read about it here. But I managed to score myself a gorgeous Viking direct from the wholesaler for $6700 less than the Lacanche. It's a rarely seen brand in Australia but I know in the States you either choose a Viking or a Wolf. The Viking has open burners and a tray under the hob so all the mess that spills over onto the cooktop just lands on the tray underneath. Just pull out the tray, replace the foil and voila a clean stove! Another great feature is the oven. It's a 90cm range but the oven is massive! Biggest than anything I've seen by far.

I love the depth of it too. At 70cm it's a proper commercial size and feels so solid and tough.

The very kind guy at Anolon Imports also showed my friend and I this beauty. A 1.8m La Cornue, royalty in the cooks world. Hence we took photos. It was stunning! But really - who has room for a 1.8m stove?

So now with the slight change in style of the stove, I've been thinking how the kitchen design will work into that. Cue many nights falling asleep thinking of splashback materials, open shelves, rangehood designs....My brain just won't stop. I came across this picture on Pinterest.
c/o Veranda Interiors (duh)
I was drawn to the open shelving around the rangehood. I'd already planned to do that. But the lighting I was impressed with. What a quirky feature and a great way to show off the ceiling height. So that's a big tick. I will probably add another wall light over the sink. I also like the brick pattern tile but wait, our house is MADE of brick. Why tile when you can expose?

c/o Desire to Inspire blog

I love the rustic look of this. It's such a gorgeous kitchen. Of course, our brick would look more like this with a white washed effect.

c/o Apartment Therapy blog

What do you think? Am I travelling in a good direction here? It's hard doing a design job for yourself!

Saturday, 22 June 2013


Holy moly times flies! This month past we've been waiting for the builder to finish squeezing as much as they could out of the budget. We signed off a few weeks ago, Demolition began this week and it has taken them 3 days for the house to look like this.

The guys looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves destroying my house. I am so bloody excited to begin to see it all taking shape. Being a renovation a lot of our plans were to change the spaces by opening the house up so I am getting an immediate sense of how it will be, and it's fantastic!


Friday, 12 April 2013

Lady Business

Waiting waiting waiting...

I'm twiddling my thumbs needing something to do. All the plans I'm 100% happy with so now comes the time to get waaay ahead of myself and I start to not just find inspirational images for our rooms, but begin to collect and collate all the little quirky, whimsical details I love.

Yesterday I was roaming the net on . I can't tell you how much I could spend in there. A seriously awesome shop. I came across this:

and I thought to myself, wouldn't that be cute with a woman's silhouette also stuck on the powder room door? You know, when you're giving long winded directions to the loo and you need a daggy toilet sign? Reminds me of Grandma's house (Sorry Grandma). Turns out Scout House has, or had, the lady too. But this silhouette thing is a bit of a trend now. And I'm not sure I want that. They also still look a tad too toilety. Like they could be at a bar or restaurant. So with this in mind I continued on my search and found these small vintage china plates on Etsy...

Purchase promptly made. Aren't they sweet? They look kind of bashful with their eyes up like that. Sort of a "Forgive me, I have to do some lady business.." She'll be waiting for a while!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

My Mini Mes

I've been posting lots of boring black and white stuff lately haven't I? So for those that are less interested in drawings, and more interested in pretty pictures this is for you.

My kids are almost as obsessed as me about this decorating thing. Whenever we're having snuggles and I'm on the computer (naughty multi tasking Mummy) the little one in particular wants to see pictures of 'her room'. So we'll jump onto Pinterest where I've made them each a board and they've chosen images they love or I've added some things I think might work. Miss 5 last year started off wanting a mermaid room. I was a bit hesitant about that. The last thing I wanted in her room was a giant clam shell bedhead. So we casually breezed over that idea and she all of a sudden spotted this image.

It's a Florence Broadhurst paper and it is especially beautiful in this colour. I'm so bloody proud of her that she's chosen something so classy. Most of the kid stuff on offer is either incredibly tacky or super contemporary and rainbow coloured. As much as the Australian rainbow version of Scandinavian design is cute in a kids room, my girls are real girls, and they make a real mess.
So that's the walls sorted. Some of the other images she's pinned...

She liked the setup here with space around her, to feel she's in her important office.

She loved the colour of this, it is her favourite colour. She also really wants a dressing table, rather than a desk, that she can have all her jewellery and makeup out on display. Please note her dressing table would never look this tidy!

So the little one, Miss 3 has surprised me also. I've shown her tons of pretty girly coloured rooms and continue to suggest others because I'm sure she'll change her mind, but this is her pick.

Weird huh? This is the kid I've picked as being the tomboy, the rock chick, the outgoing one. But this is completely serene. Having said that this is the house of wallpaper and she's adamant she's having this

It's by a company called Little Hands who do absolutely gorgeous murals. There are some others I would have preferred she picked...

And her favourite little chair we found would be cute with that...

What do you think of my Mini Mes and their style?!

Plans To Go

Well well well...Things are moving, finally! I've not posted for a while. I have been busy stressing over how to reduce our builder's estimate for our build. All that stressing hasn't led to much problem solving unfortunately. It's not easy forgoing all these details that are so important to me! But we sat down with our builder on Saturday and nutted out exactly how much things are going to cost and where we can make do with something a little less 'Laura'. I was rather scared we'd have to lose my awesome (very excited) laundry/mudroom, or reduce the ensuite into the massive walk in robe to save on some valuable square meterage. You see, I'd much rather forsake the size of these spaces that the quality. We have a high benchmark to follow with all the original joinery. The original doors are super thick, solid cedar. The cabinets are all solid timber (probably cedar again) and handpainted. If you add a flimsy aluminium framed wardrobe to that in a new bedroom it's going to look like a poorly done renovation. Not the look I'm after. We probably would have had to lose some metres if Hubby hadn't found some more $$. (silent scream!) 

So it turns out we need to find a cheaper roof tile, window maker, reduce the fully ducted air-con, which to be honest we use maybe 7 days of the year here in Melbourne anyway. Oh, and we dropped the cellar. It would have been lovely, but well, that's 25k saved and we can add it easily later if we really miss it. Oh, and now the tender has gone out to the trades so they'll have to reduce their quotes. Thanks trades in advance!

I guess you want to see the plans then?

This is the ground floor plan. All the existing walls are dark. Our views to the bay are to the South West (left) and this is the elevation the house design was originally orientated towards. As it is on a corner, and we didn't want our visitors parking out the front of the view, we've reorientated the house to the north (up). This will stop us using the back door to enter the house, as now we will have a new entry near the parking area. The garage is off to the right there linked by the laundry/mudroom. The cellar was going to be behind the fireplace in the family, accessed from the dining room. It can be done later if need be. We have extended out for the lounge and also a little for the rumpus (you can see the existing dotted line) and laundry.

I love the kids' rumpus being close to us in the kitchen/family room, and that they can run directly outside without messing up any other space. I'm so looking forward to having somewhere for all their 'stuff' to go.
I love how the main kitchen sink is set off to the side so all the messy dishes can be left and not be in your face. So important in an open plan space.
And I'm really looking forward to a beautiful lounge with views that can be relatively child free and I dreaming?!

The original upstairs consisted of  just the study, bed 2 and a terrace. Upstairs we have added the whole master suite, and restored the terrace to be a terrace again. It was boxed in with a flat roof in the 60's, along with a terrible addition of a small bed 3 and bathroom on the opposite end. That will be demolished and the easterly wall pushed out 1 metre to allow for a better sized bed 3 and kids bath. All the existing windows are being replaced to pretty up the northerly elevation as that is our new 'front of house'.
I'm looking forward to having all our bedrooms away from the living areas. Currently we all sleep & live downstairs. Good luck getting a sleep in on Mothers' Day! Also that there is no play room upstairs means it will be a quiet wing, just what I need! Hopefully all the toys don't travel upstairs from the rumpus.

This is the new facade. We've done what we can to make the front door look appealing. The rest will have to be done with some careful planting and landscaping.

This is the elevation that faces the view. I'm looking forward to sitting on that verandah with a glass (jug) of Pimms watching the boats and kite surfers.

Our builder says we'll be starting in 6 lets say 8 weeks. I am so incredibly excited. x

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Marvellous Marble

Ok. So this might be getting ahead of myself here, but I went to have a look at some marble today. I was surfing the web about 2 months ago wondering what benchtop to specify in the kitchen. I have designed a big island bench, with a lovely enormous & fat butcher block at one end for all the hard work and school lunch making etc. No point dragging out a chopping board every time I say. Let's just have a permanent one with, and this is the 'pièce de résistance', a hole down to the compost bin to just wipe it all away!

a rough plan of the kitchen by the Amazing Alex Vega

The rest of the island, and also another wall where the main sink will be, will be a stone of some description. I had been looking around and love all the carrara marble around but I think it's too grey and cold for my home. I'm usually drawn to oranges, greens and reds.

Back to the web surfing, as I was...I came across an arabescato pano marble at Baltic Stone, in Dandenong. I was immediately frozen. It had the most beautiful mix of the grey veining similar to a light carrara, a very white base colour and lots of gold threads through it. It was exactly what I thought I would never find. A warmer version of carrara. I contacted them to see if a) it was still available b) if they usually have that colour in stock and c) if I could hold it there for a year until I need it! Turns out they won't get it in again, so if I wanted it I needed to move fast. Discussions with my husband proved futile. I was NOT to be depositing on a kitchen benchtop when we hadn't even signed the building contract, or got a quote... words like sensible or logical come to mind. So I've been putting off going to see it for a while now. But I keep thinking about it, I just know it's the one. So I dragged my poor 5 year old there today for some moral support. Surely if SHE liked it I had reason enough to reserve it?

You want to see it close up don't you?

And in detail

Ooh isn't it heartwarming? Lo and behold Miss 5 liked it. Whether she was just trying to please Mummy I do not care. Now 3 lovely slabs have my name stickered on them til the end of next week. Hopefully by then we will have a quote at least and I will have enough ammo to convince that far too sensible husband of mine to deposit on them. Exciting!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Bringing Back the Budget

The past couple of days I've been surfing the net for our interior door furniture. I want to really get this right and find a good solid, and attractive knob, set let's go with set. There's not really a polite way of saying that! I have already specified our hardware, but after discovering the cost of $275 a set I'm looking for something at least half price! I have quickly found Australia doesn't do the finish I want. Surprise, surprise Laura wants something more. When we moved in all the doors had builders' standard plated shiny brass levers. But I found this picture...and I'm sold.

It's a satin brass, and it's unlacquered - which is still stupidly uncommon here. Leaving it unlacquered will allow it to patina. Beautiful. I also really like the soft shape of the knob and the sharp lines of backplate. It looks like it would sit nicely in your hand. (get that mind out of the gutter) That's because it's custom isn't it, which means it would cost a bomb. So to find a satin brass finish here? Well, I might be in luck because a UK company called Frank Allart & Co do this finish and they have suppliers in Melbourne! I'll just have to settle for one of their standard shapes to keep the costs down.

The other thing I've been deliberating about is our open plan space at the back and the doors that open out onto our outdoor BBQ area. We have a 6m space for this span of doors. For some reason I have a thing against bifold doors. I don't know why, maybe because there's so many cheap & nasty ones out there. I've seen a few 5cm gaps in my time. So I was planning on doing BIG modern sliding doors, 2 maybe 3 panels. They seem more secure to me.

Courtesy of Centor

But I just keep thinking all our other windows are lovely long elegant shapes with transom fanlights above, would a wall of giant doors look out of place? In 10 years would it look like a dated renovation? I'm slowly eating my words about those bifold doors now. I think the proportions of them would suit the house better. They're absolutely not as trendy. But it's not about that. This house has to last the test of time. At least there are some super systems out now that are fantastic. Ideally a few sets of french doors would look best, but to get the flow outside I want the whole wall opened up.

Bifolds Courtesy of Pinterest

Hmmm. The sliding doors might be given the boot me thinks.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Finally Getting Somewhere...

Sunday was a fab day! I had spent most of the weekend hand detailing joinery for the entire house and I was quite pleased with myself. I finished it all and posted it off to our lovely CAD guy. I stress lovely as he puts up with my constant changes.

The kids' bathroom. Do you like the armoire style cupboard? 2 girls need lots of storage!

But then this morning I received an email that some walls hadn't been measured correctly in the original drawings (which were done 3 years ago by someone else) and the engineer needed to rejig the plans so walls were sitting on supporting walls etc. Which prompted me to get out my measuring tape. "I wonder if this is going to make much difference?" I was wondering. Well yes, turns out 1 wall in the kitchen is 850mm out!! How I have not noticed this before is beyond me. I must have been away with the fairies. So all that lovely kitchen joinery with the proportions just so....well it has to be done again doesn't it!

I stopped measuring after that. I don't want to find any more problems :-(

On a brighter note, a lovely friend of mine visits Paris yearly and recently sent me some photos of a new concept store there called Merci thinking I might like it. Thanks T!

I love the space they have!

Beautiful porcelain pendants

More gorgeous candelabras, and look at those rustic dining chairs. Right up my alley.

And a pretty pink place setting with an oversized crystal chandelier to finish it off. We should use more colour here in Australia. This is gorgeous!

So who's coming to Paris with me?! x

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Joinery Details

I'm currently working on all the joinery in the house. Every single piece needs to be drawn and detailed which is a mammoth job. Especially when I'm so pedantic over the details! I much prefer to draw freehand so I'm in the process of getting it all down on paper and then handing it over to our very patient Architectural Designer to CAD it up. I'm so glad he's doing that part - my head would explode otherwise!

I've just finished the kitchen (I think) so next onto laundry, bath, powder rooms, ensuite, wardrobes x 3, cellar.....overwhelming, yes? Well look, if I wanted standard profiles and finishes, it would be a piece of cake. Call me a snob, but these details make a home. A nice 20mm frame visible around each kitchen cabinet or drawer makes a kitchen feel robust, and handmade. A sweet, simple corbel integrated into the bottom of overhead cabinets feels more built in rather than just stuck up there on the wall.

by Muse Interiors

My most favourite detail ever is adding a fake plinth or feet to the face of the kick boards. It's so clever! It gives the illusion of a completely handmade, and much much more expensive kitchen. Like this.

image from

Oh, and while we're at it, here's a pic of the range I've chosen. A Lacanche Saulieu. Isn't it hot?? We'll either order this matt black finish or stainless steel finish with the brass trims.

Love it! I'm off to try and get some more sleep. These plans have been running through my dreams! x

Saturday, 2 February 2013


Pinterest has been a life saver for me this past year. I've been a Pinterest zombie once the kids are in bed at night. My poor husband! Thanks to my addiction I've managed to collect thousands of pics which is proving so useful when I'm designing, think all the little details in the kitchen cabinetry. I now have a clear vision of what I want, and I keep finding ways to tweak & improve the plans, much to the dismay of the builder currently quoting for us! 

Here are some of the key images I'm salivating over...(all from my Pinterest here)

One of the main reasons we are renovating is to address the entrance to our house. It was built on a corner with its main facade and front door facing the views, but there's no parking or garage anywhere near there. We're moving the entrance to the side of the house and the skill lies in making the side now look like the front facade. This involves unifying and beautifying all the windows and accenting the front door somehow where it will take the place of a window. This is a simple and sweet way to do it!

This has our family stamped all over it. We are not tidy people, and this room feels to have the right amount of clutter and lived in feel. I love the sofa colour and texture, and the warm colour scheme throughout.

I've just changed our engineering design to allow for a pitched ceiling in the master bed. I keep being drawn to these images so had to do it! Ours will have a collar tie near the top, which means it will have a little flat bit, and then pitch down. We'll clad it in shiplap of course!

We have been holidaying in Port Douglas for the last 3 years and the gardens at the Sheraton Mirage were sublime. Unfortunately most of it wouldn't survive down here in Melbs, but there are tricks! I also figured the tropical feel would gel with the brass accents I'll use.

The British Colonial or 'Glam Beach House' vibe with a touch of brass.

Artwork by Kolene Spicher. Love a bit of whimsy.

Kitchen by Jim Howard. There's such a trend for white shaker kitchens with cararra or calacatta marble at the moment. I love the look, but think it's too cold for our house. I want to use something still pale but warmer on the benchtops. We will have the back wall of our kitchen white, and the island I want to be stained timber like this. A walnut colour so it looks aged and like a piece of furniture. We will mimic the panelling in our hallway and somewhere I want to use shiplap....hmmm.