Thursday, 19 October 2017

Three Budget Outdoor DIY Projects To Do Before Christmas

Christmas is just 9 weeks away...9 short weeks! Where has the tine gone eh? In Australia, Christmas is celebrated smack bang in the middle of summer. And summer in Australia means spending more time outside thanks to fantastic warm weather, daylight savings, backyard barbecues, alfresco entertaining and family gatherings. So why not give yourself a present this Christmas with a couple of DIY projects that is cost effective and adds dimension, and functionality to your outdoor space. (And you don't need to wait till Christmas Day to enjoy it!)

Today, Jason Hodges, landscape expert and Adbri Masonry brand ambassador, shares three super easy DIY functional projects under $3,000 that you can do in time for the festive season. “There are lots of great and simple projects that can be done in the backyard that will compliment the home and spruce up the outdoors, ready for summer. It’s a great way to get the whole family involved and enjoy our beautiful climate,” says landscape expert and Adbri Masonry brand ambassador, Jason Hodges.

The Outdoor Shower
Embrace nature and create a tranquil space in your backyard with an outdoor shower. For those who don’t have the space for a pool, an outdoor shower is a great alternative to cooling off during those scorching Aussie heatwaves. It is important to consider the plumbing points, screening for privacy and a sustainable water management system. Opt for Adbri’s Ecotrihex Permeable Pavers that are specially designed to allow water to permeate through the surface into the layers below where water can be harvested or redirected. Surface water runoff is minimised and the need for additional surface drainage is reduced.
BBQ Grilling Station
The Aussie love affair with the great outdoors means we can create an outdoor kitchen and grilling station that is both enjoyable and practical. Creating the perfect base for a BBQ bench top is made easy with Adbri’s AB Courtyard Blocks. They provide a genuine DIY solution to creating functional, individualised outdoor kitchens for any backyard. “The beauty of these blocks is that they don’t require glue or mortar to keep them in place, which means you aren’t stuck to one location. If you want to move your BBQ in the future, you can easily do so.” says Jason Hodges.
Built-in Furniture
Extend your entertaining possibilities and invest in built-in furniture that will add structure, dimension and aesthetics to the backyard while maximising your space and allowing you to comfortably entertain more people this summer. You can easily construct custom, freestanding walls that double as seats using the Adbri AB Courtyard Blocks. The DIY walling system allows you to build directly atop of existing paved or flat concrete surfaces. The great thing about using the AB Courtyard Blocks is that they can withstand harsh weather conditions, ensuring longevity and functionality.
These are three backyard projects will be a gift that you can continue to enjoy for years to come. So get a jump on them and get your backyard summer ready for that amazing Christmas lunch with friends and family!

Till next time... get your DIY game face on!

xox
Rani

About Adbri Masonry
Adbri Masonry is Australia’s leading masonry manufacturer supplying quality concrete bricks, blocks, pavers, retaining walls, erosion control products, architectural masonry solutions and reconstituted stone veneers throughout Australia’s East Coast, South Australia and Tasmania.

About Adbri Ambassador Jason Hodges
Jason Hodges is Australia’s well-loved celebrity landscaper, most notably seen on the Channel Seven lifestyle TV show Better Homes & Gardens. Jason is also a brand ambassador for Australia’s leading masonry manufacturer, Adbri Masonry. Jason is a four-time Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS) Gold medallist.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

8 Beautiful Hotel Bathrooms To Inspire You!

Are you looking to freshen up your bathroom? Are you planning a total redesign? To inspire you, today's guest contributor Carmela has rounded up 8 stunning hotel and home-rental bathrooms from around the world, focusing on tiling, this year’s colour trends, and different style bathtubs and finishes. From the perfect way to use grout tiling, through to deep set-floor-tubs, here are our top 8 picks.

Dark Grout Tiles
Dark and contrasting grout tiling is one of this year’s hottest trends. White tiles, with black or charcoal grout, have been appearing all over Instagram, Pinterest and in the trendiest bars and restaurants. If you’re looking for the perfect grout-tile-inspiration, look no further than the Ludlow Hotel in New York. The bathrooms in the hotel feature beautifully grout-tiled walls alongside white bathroom features that have slim gold trimmings. One of the great things about dark grout is that you can get away with cleaning your bathroom less often, as dirt is not as noticeable. So why not embrace your “inner lazy self”, and embrace the trend?

Rough Stone
The bathrooms at the Gora Kadan Hotel in Hakone, Japan, are full of inspiration for simple bathroom designs that create a lot of Zen. One of the bathrooms in the hotel features a stunning, open-air bath tub that is made from rough, dark gray stone. Why not renovate your bathroom at home with a lick of fresh white paint and faux rough stone touches to create a spa like experience. Keep the accessories simple -- less is more. 

Deep Floor Tub
Have you considered fitting in a deep-soak-tub in your bathroom? Take your inspiration from ‘I Love Amsterdam Suite’ in Amsterdam’s Conservatorium hotel. The hotel is a 19th-century building, and the bathroom comes complete with original dark wooden beams, slanted ceilings and light sandstone-colored walls and floor. The center-piece of the bathroom is a stunning deep soak tub that is set into the floor. 

The Color Brown Is ‘In’
Most people would turn their back on the idea of a ‘brown bathroom’, but we’ve found something that might change your mind. The VIK Millahue hotel in Chile showcases the successful use of the colour brown in a bathroom. The hotel, which is set in a vineyard, features an incredible brown bathroom, with a 6ft beech-wood bath tub that’s shaped like a canoe. The bath has been attached to both sides of the bathroom and hovers above the floor. It’s been paired with musky-brown tiled walls and dark-brown finishes. Who would have thought a brown bathroom could look so enticing? 

Round Tubs
Round bathtubs are always a good choice as they make a bathroom look gentle and welcoming. The bathrooms at the Ponta dos Ganchos resort in Brazil feature stunning round tubs, in which you could spend hours unwinding. The tranquil bathtub is paired with paneled walls and flooring. It features an incredible floor to ceiling window, with views of the ocean. 

Marble Work
Adding a touch of marble to your bathroom is the perfect way to make it look glamorous, modern and sleek. Some of the bathrooms at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas feature chic, black marble walls and cream marble counters. Meanwhile, the hotel’s other bathrooms feature floor to ceiling white marble. 

Freestanding Tubs
Freestanding tubs always look amazing in bathrooms and they are a great way to make a big change, without having to redo the whole bathroom. Why not consider a vintage, freestanding tub like the bath in this Scottish castle? Some of the property’s bathrooms feature free-standing tubs, with beautifully painted designs on the outer edges. Meanwhile, the property’s other bathrooms also offer up their own source of inspiration. They feature original, Edwardian features, with rough stone walls and baths surrounded by rough brick work.

How To Use Pink
Pink bathrooms are a hot trend for 2017/18. The bathrooms in the Henrietta Hotel in London are the perfect example of how to use pink in a fresh, modern way. The bathrooms feature an art deco design, with simple light-pink tiling, painted walls and features. In the world of interior design, pink and green is known as one of the hottest color combinations, so why not add some light pink touches to your white bathroom, and combine it with tons of gorgeous, green indoor houseplants? 

So there you have it, 8 beautiful hotel bathrooms to inspire you. That 'levitating' wooden canoe tub is stunning or can you imagine yourself soaking in a beautiful round bathtub! Which one is your favourite? 

Till next time... is it time to start planning your bathroom reno?


About the Author
Carmela Rodriguez is a journalist from London who swapped the rainy UK for the sunshine in Medellin, Colombia. She is currently a content writer for travel start-up AllTheRooms.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Experience the Exotic, the Unexpected and the Iconic at Street Kitchen!

Located in bustling Burnley, a suburb close to the Melbourne CBD, Street Kitchen, a new flavour destination, showcases food from the world’s street markets amidst a colourful and spirited design. Bold yellows and blacks sit alongside graphic light boxes, bus shelter-inspired booths and hand-painted columns. Behind the effervescent restaurant design, is bespoke interior design house- Studio Y.

I had a chat with the talented design team to find out more about this exciting new eatery, the design journey, challenges and wins.

What was the client brief? 
To create a hotspot to suit both day and night time that would appeal to corporate clientele as well as tradies and locals.

What was the overall vision for the restaurant?
Create an interpretation of the city landscape through gutsy colour and graphics while showcasing food from the world’s street markets.

What was your main inspiration for the design?
Inspired by the maps and energy of some of the world’s largest cities, Street Kitchen is an interpretation of the city from morning till evening.

Can you take us through the creative process?
Street Kitchen was really fun during the creative phase. The client already had a brand identity in place which was that their menu displayed street food from different countreis around the world – America, Vietnam, Mexico etc. We therefore wanted to design an interior which wasn’t specific to any culture but represented the bustling excitement of cities and streets around the world. This is where the dark palette came from with intersecting lines. We took the sort of image of a bird’s eye view of city streets at night and reinterpreted them for the ceiling, tiling pattern etc. then overlayed that with light box images and street art which represent the open canvas of cities which is home to advertising, street art, paste up posters etc.

What design related challenges did you face?
We had a very interesting and challenging floor plan. It starts off long and skinny and then spreads out and then right in the middle you have a large column disrupting the flow. We tackled this by placing the morning trade coffee counter in the front and wrapping it around the corner. This makes the lunch time and night trade counter follow the length of the shop. The result is a sort of ‘chameleon’ work space which caters to their changing trade throughout the day.

If you had to describe the aesthetics and design of Street Kitchen in 3 words, what would they be?
Graphic, flow, transitioning.
What is your favourite part of the design?
The hand-painted columns created by a local artist.

What is your favourite inspirational design quote?
“I call architecture frozen music” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Bold design choices, energetic colours and international favours, Street Kitchen is the new hotspot in Melbourne offering authentic mouth-watering morsels from all over the world. I'm dying to go and check out this bespoke restaurant and experience the range of delectable street food that Street Kitchen has to offer. 

Till next time... if you're in Burnley, stop for an international flavour journey at Street Kitchen!

IMAGES PROVIDED BY STUDIO Y

Monday, 9 October 2017

Velce - Celebrating Movement Centric Design!

I first came across Velce at the Decor & Design Show that took place in Melbourne a few months ago, where the Velce Active Stool was one of the VIVID (Vibrant Visions in Design) finalists. It was a minimalist yet aesthetic design with a very simple concept that promoted greater health benefits for the human body. I was hooked!

Ricardo and Anna are the dynamic husband-wife duo who are also the co-founders of Velce, and they are on a journey to recreate experiences that support the body, mind and movement. They are designing meaningful furniture and accessories to celebrate and encourage physical movement through their mutual love of movement-centric designs. Their motto - 'we want our human-made world that is designed by us to also be designed for us’!

Needless to say I was excited to learn more about the brand, the clever designs and more importantly the people behind it. I caught up with them on how they met, why they began the company and what they hope to achieve in the future.
What has been the inspiration behind Velce and how did it all come about?
We are interested in why our human-made physical world that is designed by us, so often doesn't seem to be designed for us. We believe that the most amazing piece of design is the human body and that the human body deserves thoughtful pieces designed to serve the human condition.

Soon after we started dating we realised that we serendipitously had a very similar concept for a business and three years ago we decided to start working to bring the idea to life, a concept we now call Velce.How would you define your style and how has it evolved over the years?
We believe there is meaning in and feelings created by everything – from a candle holder to the dimensions and shape of a corridor. Over the years this belief has become stronger and stronger and it informs our style. We love simple design with a strong dose of meaning.

Can you tell us a little bit about where you live?
We moved to Sydney and specifically Randwick about four years ago. We chose Randwick because it's near all the places we visit the most - the beach, Centennial Park, the city, and these days the industrial areas and The Royal National Park. We know not everybody gets to choose where they live so we feel very grateful that we do and think that this choice says a lot about us and our personalities and interests. Sydney is a wonderful place in that it has the city bustle balanced by the amazing natural environment.

Do you have a favourite collection or design?
We love Japanese design, particularly what they do using wood. In Velce’s collection we really like Iwona Kosicka’s indoor swing. Not only is it beautiful but rocking has so many positive health benefits including being very calming.What is a typical workday like for you?
There isn't much typical so I will describe yesterday, Tuesday. In the morning we ran the Centennial perimeter followed by some woodwork and doing some planning and emailing which continued into the night between a few meals and snacks.
What are you working on at the moment?
Finding more ways to share Velce with more people

What according to you is the next big thing in interior design?
Design that cultivates wellbeing by studying and acknowledging what we as humans and as a community of humans really need to be happy and healthy.
What advice can you give those seeking a career in product design?
Design to create harmony, respecting and honouring people and the environment. 

What 3 words describe your brand?
Wellbeing through movement. 
Which is your favourite room in your home and why?
The sunroom which is also our workshop and studio, because it's where most of our time on Velce is spent and has big windows that look out to trees and lets in lots of light and sun.

Where do you see Velce in five years time?

We would like movement-centric design to become a concept that more people are familiar with and are using to guide them in their everyday lives.
What's your favourite inspirational quote?
We love quotes, so one is going to be hard but our favourite quote for Velce is 'Nothing happens until something moves' - Albert Einstein.
Anna and Ricardo both believe in the importance of standing or even better walking at least 10 minutes each hour, as ultimately even an ergonomic chair or regular exercise won’t compensate the effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time.

Through their simple yet extremely aesthetic designs like that of the Velce active stool, the Iwona Kosicka’s indoor swing or the Velce wooden racquets, they encourage us to find forms of movement that we enjoy like something as innately simple like rocking back and forth and can incorporate into our daily routines.

Till next time... we were born to move, so keep on moving!

IMAGES PROVIDED BY VELCE 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

House Envy: A Gothic Love Story!

Lianne and Wouter the new owners of this amazing neo-Renaissance and Gothic style building fell in love with this former girls school as soon as they saw it. A stunning staircase, inlaid windows, long hallways with granite flooring, high ceilings and sunny rooms. When they bought it there was no toilet, sewage or electricity. But there was light. Beautiful natural sunlight streaming in through the large windows drenching every room. By knocking down one of the walls they created an open kitchen adjacent to a sunny conservatory with a narrow balcony and the rest as they say is history!

Let's take a stroll through this majestic building, have a look at the impeccably styled spaces and see if you too get a serious case of house envy!
How fabulous is this home! The minimalist yet stylish design, the layers of tactile textures, the beautiful wooden floor, the tall original doors and that shaggy rug are all stunning. And I think I have a bit of a crush on those monochrome eskimo cushions on the sofa in the living room. Do you too?

Till next time... have a lovely day!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Put The Spring Back Into The Lawn!

Spring is an exciting time for gardening with the growth of new foliage and blooming flowers. It is also the perfect time to up the ante on curb appeal if you are looking to put your property on the market. The first thing a buyer will notice is the plush lawn in the front yard and the last thing he will remember is the beautiful and well kept backyard. Therefore, it is the perfect time to show your waking lawn a bit of TLC and spruce it up. Today on the blog, Joel Hawkins from Australia’s garden expert, Victa, offers his top tips to take care of the lawn and put the spring back into the garden.

Clear Debris
Start by clearing the lawn of any fallen leaves and branches. It is best to do this when conditions are dry as moisture will make leaves and debris stick to the lawn. While a good ol’ rake will do the job, a leaf blower or vacuum will speed up the process. “Make sure the lawn is clean from anything that’s too large for the leaf blower or vacuum to handle, such as larger branches and sticks,” says Joel Hawkins, Victa Category Manager, Lawn and Garden Products. 

Tackle Weeds
It’s best to get rid of weeds while they’re young and their roots are still weak; at this stage they can be removed by hand. Once weeds have taken hold they have to be dug up, leaving unsightly, grass-free patches in the lawn. A light application of weed killer is a good idea to prevent further sprouting, but be careful not to overdo it as this can burn the grass.

Aerate the Lawn
Give the grass a boost in spring by aerating the lawn. This will promote new root growth as air, water and nutrients can circulate freely. As a result, the plant roots will be strengthened and will grow more vigorous and dense, helping the lawn withstand the warmer temperatures to come. “Aerating can be done using a garden fork. Dig the fork 10cm into the soil and gently move it back and forth. For larger lawns, save time by hiring an aerating machine from a local hardware store or machinery hire centre,” says Joel. Avoid aerating during high heat as this will dry the soil and stress the lawn.

Mow the Lawn
It is advisable to cut the grass regularly with a mower that has sharp blades to keep the lawn looking healthy. Joel recommends mowing the lawn at least once a fortnight. “Infrequent mowing can cause a lawn to become stalky and less attractive,” says Joel. “Use a line trimmer for garden borders and hard to reach places.” Look out for any problem areas, such as bare spots where new lawn needs to be planted or high-traffic areas where fertiliser can be used to improve the grass.

Fertilise
Apply fertiliser to the lawn to break winter dormancy and give the lawn a helping hand. A slow-release fertiliser will help the grass grow stronger and healthier in preparation for stressful summer conditions. Know which fertiliser will work best with the lawn and soil type. Visit a local garden centre to choose from many different fertilisers including organic, chemical, granular or liquid.

Garden Tools at the Ready
Gardening equipment and power tools should be maintained to function at their best for easy and fuss-free gardening. Joel suggests sharpening the lawn mower blades to ensure a clean cut and to help the grass recover after every mow. Replace the mower oil to keep the engine running smoothly and to extend the life of the machine. Check the cutting line of the trimmer. Over time the line will weaken, causing it to break easily. Joel recommends visiting a Victa Gold Dealer for expert lawn care advice and all lawn mower servicing needs. 
Top tips indeed from the Australia's leading experts in garden and lawn care on how to spruce up the lawn and bring it back to life so that you can enjoy those long summer days outdoors!

Till next time... put the spring back into your lawn!

IMAGES VIA VICTA 

Monday, 2 October 2017

How To Layer With Lights to Create An Extraordinary Interior!

Lighting is an important element in interior design and even more so when trying to create an ambience of warmth and mood in your home.

Any and every interior stylist, designer or style guru will tell you the secret to a perfectly styled, unforgettably lush look is layering! Similarly in lighting design, it's all about creating layers... layers of different types of lights in the same room that work well together but are versatile enough to create different moods!Confused? Let's break it down.

There are three main types of lighting - Ambient, Accent and Task. And appreciating the fundamental differences between these different types of lighting will help you better understand how to layer them in your home.

Ambient
Ambient lighting is the general stock standard common type of 'background lighting' that we have in any room of our home - recessed lights, ceiling-mounted fixtures or standard wall-mounted lights. In simple terms... these lights help us see clearly, conduct basic chores and walk around safely without bumping into things.

Accent
Accent lighting is the more aesthetic, decorative type used to draw your attention and create visual interest and drama. And although, strictly speaking, accent lights don't need to be functional, they can be. One example is a mid-century modern chandelier over the dining table or beautiful concrete hanging lights over your bedside tables.

Task
Lastly, task lighting is mainly those used for work purposes like a set of focused lights over the kitchen counter and around the bathroom mirror, led light strips inside cabinets and cupboards and reading lamps on study tables.

Design Tip #1
Rather than having just one light source in the room, the trick is to balance good design and lighting quality and layer the three different types of lights to create a functional, versatile and beautiful interior space!

Design Tip #2
Start with the fundamentals (i.e. ambient lights) and then choose your functional task lights. Lastly, set the mood with accent lighting. Don't be afraid to mix and match or to choose multipurpose lights, like an accent light with a task feature (e.g. a beautiful floor lamp lamp with an extending arm), to create a pretty yet functional reading nook.

Design Tip #3
Install dimmer switches for all your accent lights and also ensure separate light switches for every light so that you can control each layer individually. This will help you set different lighting moods depending on the occasion.

Layering with lights in the right balance and scale can turn ordinary rooms into extraordinary spaces. Even subtle changes to the lighting in your home can make a huge difference to your interior design! When buying light fixtures for your home or renovation project, have a look at the range of interior lights at Urban Lighting. They have a unique collection of ambient, accent and task lights that won't disappoint and an advisory service that will help you pick the best for your home! I especially love their stylish yet minimalistic Scandinavian wall lights!
Till next time... layer with lights to create an extraordinary interior!


This post was created in collaboration with Urban Lighting. As always, all thoughts and opinions are all mine and genuine and I only ever work with brands that I love and I think you will too.

The Month That Was... September!

September has just flown by! Can you believe there are only a couple of months to go before Christmas? Absolutely unbelievable!

To celebrate September, here's a snapshot of a few of my favourite moments from my Instagram account.
Till next time... Welcome October!
xox
Rani

Sunday, 1 October 2017

How to Make the Most of this Season's Colours!

We have been discussing upcoming interior trends all of last month and with the warmer weather fast approaching, now is definitely the time to go through your home to refresh your d├ęcor. As a rule, it's good to get these decorating jobs out of the way so you can be at the beach relaxing during the day and come home to a beautifully styled home. So let's get started!

Freshen up your bedroom with a trendy colour palette
You will be pleased to know that the soft reds and pinks that were favoured earlier in the year are still very much on trend. However, as you can see from these top bedding styles mauve and purple tones are the most popular colours for the new season. And the good news is, you can blend the two easily to create something quite special!

If you were feeling brave and you've painted your walls in a soft neutral blush or an edgy pink shade, earlier in the year, all you need to do to bring your bedroom up to date is to get some new bedding in rich jewel tones of purple or soft mauve. Provided you pick the right hue, the combination of the two look absolutely fantastic! These colours are very relaxing and they add a touch of luxe to any room. However, be careful not to overdo things. If you do feel that the overall effect is overpowering, tone it down with off-white or cream cushions and pillows and other soft furnishings in a complementary colour palette.

Soft lighting and grey tones for your living room
For your living room, soft yet fresh dappled colours are still very much the trend. The Scandinavian minimalist look is starting to fade and give way to creams, sophisticated light, almost silvery grey tones and cornflower blues. Soft mood lighting is also back in vogue. This style of lighting helps to create a relaxing space that is cosy without being chintzy.

For the walls, frameless panels are being gradually replaced by traditional framed prints and narrow brushed silver or brass frames are proving the most popular.

Create a productive home office 
For a home office, the colour palette is still very fresh and clean. Crisp white walls and wooden floors are still a timeless option for studios and home offices However, this summer, you will be able to soften things up by opting to use light grey or blue paint instead of just white. A sunny workspace with heaps of natural light is definitely a preference over dark spaces, however clever use of window coverings will allow you to block out the glare of the sun when you need to. This in-depth article explains how to improve your window dressing and create more shade should you need to do so. Consider adding a couple of air purifying low maintenance plants like the Boston fern or snake plants in the home office to add a touch of greenery and also create a positive frame of mind.

Update your outdoor spaces 
If you have not done so for a while, now is a good time to update your outdoor space as well. After all, you're going to be spending most of your time outside over the summer months entertaining friends and family. This year, the colour palette is light and bright. A stone or beige set of furniture, with light cushions, would look good in most homes. It is a look that will give your outdoor space a more luxurious, yet relaxed and inviting look and feel. 

To recap, soft blush pinks, jewel tones of purple and mauve, sophisticated creams, light blues, silvery greys, luxe brass and bright white and natural beige are the highlights of the new season.

So there you have it, the colour palette for the rest of 2017 and how you can make the most of it in your home.

Till next time... immerse yourself and make the most of this season's colours!

xox
Rani

This post was written in collaboration with JD Williams. As always all thoughts and opinions are all mine and genuine and I only ever work with brands that I love or think could benefit my readers.
async defer data-pin-hover="true" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-round="true" data-pin-save="false" src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js">