Wednesday 31 May 2017

7 Tips To Incorporate Modern Sophistication In Your Décor

Incorporating a look of modern sophistication into your home doesn’t have to entail a complete renovation. From paint colour to decorative accents, you can inject elements of sophisticated style into your home on a budget. But what exactly is modern sophistication?

The term can be fluid and differ in meaning; for some it’s a man with a fine suit and a neatly cropped beard, or the act of sipping champagne while listening to a vinyl on your stereo, or perhaps reading classic literature while sitting in the airport business class lounge. Modern sophisticated design does not have to be complex or complicated, it can be simple, sleek and just elegantly executed. Whatever your definition, today we have blog contributor Patrick sharing some clever ways to introduce modern sophistication into your home.

Invest in Yourself
The first tip is to invest in yourself and thereby in your home. Find pieces that are as unique as you are, because firstly, it is your home and you have to live in it and secondly because unique pieces tend to stand out more than the standard cookie cutter, run-of-the-mill décor accents and furniture. Also what you put in your home has to suit you, your personality and your lifestyle, just like finding the right clothes or shoes. Just because something is fashionable doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you. That being said, in this case unique does not mean eccentric, odd, bizarre or 'junk-like'. Remember we are talking about modern sophisticated design and style - things that look and feel high-end, luxe and stylish!

Starting from the bottom up, choosing flooring that is consistent with your overall design is the foundation of your re-design. Wooden flooring and tiled floors add sophistication to the overall appearance of your place, and are easy to keep clean. Wooden parquetry flooring adds to the feeling of luxe and floor tiles laid in a herringbone design creates a sophisticated modern look. For further advice on tiling, try the best tile shop in Melbourne

Couches, chairs, stools, benches, armchairs, it’s important to go for comfort and ergonomic support when selecting pieces that you will be using quite often. Making sure you choose pieces that are both comfortable, stylish and in line with the theme of your design is important. Having an array of mismatched chairs can look untidy and unsightly when trying to create a modern sophisticated and cohesive look so choose seating that compliments each other and the other furniture in your home.

If you opt for wooden or tiled floors, a rug can help fill the strange void that a bare tiled or wooden floor usually has. The right rug can lift an entire room, adding a sense of colour, comfort and style. If you have tiled floors, a plush rug like a beni ourain feels luxe, while for wooden floors, a natural jute or textured rug looks sophisticated and adds to the lived-in modern vibe.

Coffee, side and occasional tables have become a lot more fun and experimental these days and can be made from a range of source materials such as suitcases, chests, and books. Take your time to find something that you love, however remember to choose one that is different or rustic yet adds a sense of style.

Colour Palette
Wallpaper is making its own small comeback, but it's success relies heavily on the print chosen. It can lend a beautiful and sophisticated feeling to the bathroom, bedroom or study, though I would not recommend using it throughout the entire house. In choosing a colour pallette, softer colours such as greys, creams and a variety of whites always look elegant and tend to stand the trends of style.

Light fittings of various styles, shapes and sizes are now widely available and make a big difference to the overall feel and look of a room. The use of strategically placed lamps, wall mounted sconces, lanterns and hanging light pendants do well to enhance the overall style of a space. Choose pendants that reinforce the sophisticated look and add to the modern ambience. Scandinavian style light fixtures usually lend a luxe and modern look and feel to any room.

When designing an interior that is modern and sophisticated in style, it is important to find a good balance in the colour and design of the space, harmony in the placement of furnishings and décor accents and symmetry to create a warm, inviting and stylish ambience. Keep the overall look light, relaxed and elegant.

Use classic neutrals and a fresh yet simple colour palette with cohesive furniture and soft furnishings to create a sense of effortless sophistication. You can inject colour through the use of bold accent pieces and create visual interest by layering various plush and coarse textures. However, remember to minimise clutter to achieve the modern look and limit the amount of decorative pieces you add to the space.

If you have any questions regarding a particular design style, please let us know in the comments below.

Till next time... use our tips to inject a modern sophisticated vibe into your home!

About the Author
Patrick is currently studying a Master of English Studies at the University of Sydney. He has a long-held love of literature, incited by reading Tolkien's Lord of the Rings when he was in primary school. Patrick is also a fiction writer, looking to build a career as a novelist and screenwriter.

Tuesday 30 May 2017

14 Things To Consider When Renovating Or Building Your Dream Bathroom!

Are you redoing your bathroom? Renovating completely or attempting a DIY build? Or maybe just refreshing your bathroom with small changes and new accents? Bathrooms have certainly evolved from simple, utilitarian spaces into personal retreats and spa sanctuaries.

So you can imagine, there are quite a few things that you need to have on your renovation checklist so that you don't miss any of the fundamentals when it comes to designing a stylish bathroom.

From basics like waterproofing and tile choices to luxuries like underfoot heating and stylish mirrors, we've put together a checklist of 14 things to consider when renovating or building your dream bathroom space.

Floorplan/ Layout
Placement is extremely important in a bathroom - the tub, the shower, the WC and the vanity. If you are changing your current layout to make it more seamless, speak to a builder or a plumber. If the layout is the same, then it's time to plan the rest.

A bathroom is a wet area. To avoid leaks and excess moisture build-up that can lead to mold, mildew and rot, ensure that you waterproof your bathroom walls and floor.

Paint- ceiling/wall
Selecting waterproof paint is important for a bathroom and don't forget to install an exhaust vent.

Tiles are the most practical option for bathroom floors since the bathroom is a wet area. Think about matte tiles that are anti-skid than slippery glossy ones that may give off a cold vibe.
Consider installing underfloor heating in the bathroom if you are ripping out the flooring and redoing the layout.

Wall Tiles
Tiling is where you can really let your style choices pull the room together. You can choose to use the same tiles on the floor and as well as on the walls to create a cohesive look or create a feature wall with a different tile choice.
When it comes to tiles, there are a wide variety of styles, sizes, shapes and colours, which can all be combined to create interesting and unique patterns. Research your choices before you decide on a certain colour or pattern.
Design tip: Subway tiles are timeless and sqaure subway tiles especially are making huge style comeback in bathroom designs!

Mirror mirror on the wall!...
Mirrors are a functional necessity in any bathroom. But you can choose to make yours simple or a statement feature. There are amazing mirrors available that can create a beautiful look in your bathroom. However, don't forget to measure the space above your vanity before you pick one. Also have a think if you'd like to add backlighting to your mirror. Illuminated mirrors are great for applying makeup. So go round, go big or go double, frame it for a traditional feel or keep it unframed for a sleek minimalist look, the choice is yours.

A bathroom needs both functional and visually pleasing lighting. If your bathroom is low on natural sunlight, you can choose to have a mix from options such as decorative, task, ambient and accent lights. Ensure that your lighting is soft, not harsh or fluorescent.
Design tip: Lighting in the bathroom needs to be both well illuminating as well as flattering.

Shower and shower enclosure and shower nook
When designing, renovating or building a bathroom, it is always important to get the big ticket items like the shower screen, bathtub, tiling and plumbing right the first time round. Choosing the right shower screen is critical to the overall bathroom design. Unless you have an outdoor shower, a shower screen is an absolute must in an indoor wet area.
Functionally shower enclosures stop water from being splashed everywhere but it's so much more than just a practical consideration. Aesthetically, the right shower screen can create an inviting and relaxing space in your bathroom. Read our detailed article on Shower Screens For The Contemporary Bathroom to get more insight on how to pick the one thats right for your bathroom.
Design tip: Add a niche in the shower to store all your bath essentials.


A tub is a functional design feature but it is also emotive. It signifies relaxation, leisure, 'breathing space' and most importantly a feeling of luxury and indulgence in the midst of a hectic lifestyle. Depending on the tub you choose, you can create a sense of high impact drama or a refuge of serenity in the bathroom. When choosing a tub, consider the layout carefully and measure the space in your bathroom. Have a read of our article on How to Choose the Right Tub for your Bathroom before you pick one.

The vanity is the biggest piece of furniture in a bathroom and it is imperative that it is chosen wisely. Think about the style of furniture in your home when choosing a vanity and the top. You could choose to upcycle a vintage sideboard into a double vanity or a sleek Scandinavian one to maintain the overall design and theme of your home.
Think about the size of the vanity in relation to the space in your bathroom. The vanity is a work-surface to store cosmetics, soap, toothbrushes etc and needs to be durable enough to stand up to water. You could make the vanity a feature piece in your bathroom with a statement top like marble or stone or a beautiful piece of weathered timber. There are a number of surfaces available for vanities, however it all comes down to personal taste and budget.

Toilet suites have evolved in terms of style, shape, comfort and water efficiency. When choosing a suite, think about water efficiency star ratings, cleaning, easy installation, the style you prefer and what complements your overall bathroom design.
Types of toilet suites available are: 
~ Modern concealed toilets for smaller bathrooms where the cistern (or water tank) is hidden inside the wall cavity, ceiling or under the counter with only the toilet to be seen.
~ Easy to clean, a solid unit the wall faced toilet suites where it sits flush against the wall and there are no gaps between the toilet and the wall.
~ Traditional close coupled toilets where the pan and cistern are joined together so you cannot see the flush pipe. This type of toilet suite suits almost all types of bathrooms.
~ Connector toilet suites which are also quite traditional looking with the cistern joined to the pan by a plastic flush pipe and connector plate.These are easily installed but quite conservative in their style.

Depending on the space in your bathroom, storage for all your necessities and knick knacks will have to be considered. You need to have space to store makeup, lotions, razors, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, toilet paper, extra towels, extra cosmetics and bath and shower stuff. The easiest way to create storage is via the vanity. However if your vanity does not come with storage drawers, you might need to think outside the box. Wall shelves, decorative yet functional ladders and baskets under the sink also provide good storage in small bathrooms.

Shelves provide storage and are also decorative to keep a few small plants, magazines, scented candles and makeup on. Think about adding one or two shelves if you have the space to create an unique interior design.

Tapware is like jewellery for the bathroom. Tapware should complement the overall design and style of the space. Think sleek matte black, stylish brass, eclectic copper or trendy chrome. There are also a few coloured options that looks beautiful and unique! However, apart from design also think about the functionality and durability when choosing tapware. Consider the functionality of your taps- the type of sink or bath the tap will be used for and with. For example, freestanding baths will need a longer spout and if there is less space on the vanity you might need to fit the tap in the wall over the sink. 
Design Tip: Hold and feel the taps to ensure they are easy and comfortable to use.

Designing a good bathroom requires meticulous planning, good organisation skills and an eye for detail. Think about your daily routine and about the people who will be using this bathroom before you start planning the overall re-design. Make sure you have enough space to move around the bathroom without it feeling closed-in.

Also consider adding small luxuries that will go a long way like underfoot heating and heated towel bars which will be blissful in the winter months. Finally consider the cleaning and maintenance requirements to keep your dream bathroom looking and functioning like new!

Hopefully we've covered all the fundamentals required to design a fantastic 'dream' bathroom for you. If you'd like to know more about bathroom designs and renovations, leave us a comment and we'll get back to you soon.

Till next time... good luck with the bathroom reno!

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Elie's Winter Wonderland Toddler Bedroom Reveal

I'm so excited to finally share with you Elie’s toddler bedroom. I designed and styled this whimsical winter wonderland space for my almost 2 year old daughter Elie and it's finally done!

But before I can show you around, have you heard of The Poster Club? If you haven't, then I suggest you jump on to the Copenhagen based online store and have a look at their curated selection of Scandinavian-inspired posters and art prints both open and limited editions, handpicked from upcoming and established local and international artists.

When The Poster Club got in touch with me a month ago, I was delighted! I had been looking for a couple of soft prints for my daughter's toddler bedroom for a pretty winter wonderland theme. I wanted her room to be cosy, a little whimsical with soft layered colours of blush, white, cream, caramel and gold, warm twinkling fairy lights, velvety layers of textures and some playful artwork.

However, since I love moving art around my home and nothing ever stays on the same wall for longer than a few months, the prints had to be versatile enough to be used in any room. The collection of prints that The Poster Club has is amazing and the hardest part was choosing just a couple! In the end I opted for the popular Leaf Me print by Silke Bonde and the exquisite Exposed Poppy print by Ida Lærke.

The prints are absolutely perfect for Elie's bedroom. I just love how well the colours work with each other in this room. The exposed poppy print has the most delicate colours ranging from maroon to translucent pink hues that complement the soft rose blush coloured feature wall and the leaf me print with the soft grey abstract lines, mimic those of the wallpaper and the cot turned toddler bed. 

Elie absolutely adores her 'big girl' room and it warms my heart to see her play in there all the time! So without much further ado, here are some photos from Elie's toddler bedoom. 
Hope you enjoyed the photos from Elie's updated toddler bedroom. I had such an amazing time designing and styling it. If you'd like me to create a dream space for your little one too, please feel free to contact me via email here.

Till next time... check out The Poster Club!


A big thank you to The Poster Club for the beautiful prints. As always, all design choices, words, thoughts and opinions are all mine and genuine and I only ever work with brands that I love and I think you will too. 

And a big thank you to my dearest friend and talented photographer Sumaiya Qureshi for taking photographs of Elie's room and enduring Elie's tea making skills!

And a huge thank you to all of you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Alan Walsh - Art Deco meets Pop-Art!

Glamourous....fashionable.....playful...are all words that come to mind when you look at the beautiful prints by Alan Walsh, a Yorkshire artist now living in Sydney.

Growing up on the sidelines of Formula One, Alan's creativity is inspired by the glitterati at the racing circuits. His work is almost a tribute to the luxury brands and the beautiful women who wear them so well. Alan's illustrations are bold, colourful, glamourous and has a warholesque quality about them. You cannot help but be taken in by his prints whether it be for women, men or children.

Over the last few years he's worked with a number of prestigious brands such Mercedes Benz, London Fashion Week, Tag Heuer Watches, Tour De France, Grey Goose Vodka, Coca Cola, Neverfail Spring Water and The Royal Flying Doctors. Impressed yet? Well there's more!

I had the opportunity to interview Alan about how he got into design, his inspirations and his work and I was truly blown away by his talent, honesty and passion for creating art. 
[Alan Walsh in his studio]

Can you share with us your creative journey to where you are now?

From an early age I knew I’d work as a creative, it was all I wanted to do. After leaving school my career started as an Illustrator and Visualiser for various design agencies in England, U.S. and Australia. In my spare time I was working on some of my personal art and in 2010 I decided to challenge myself and showcase my first exhibition. The result exceeded anything than I could have ever imagined. This gave me the confidence to make the decision to leave the design world behind and focus solely on my art. Since then I haven't looked back with solo shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, London and also owning my own gallery in Sydney.
What has been the inspiration behind your bespoke designs?

Most of my inspiration stems from my childhood. My father worked in motorsport, designing race cars, so my eyes were opened to an extraordinary world from a very young age. I’d be popped in the back of a car or a motorhome with a colouring book and pens to keep me quiet while we travelled to and from circuits.

The racing was interesting but the thing that truly mesmerised me was off the track, the sheer glitz and glamour that arrives when the Formula One roadshow comes to town. It wasn't only the places we travelled to, I was also captivated by the luxury brands that would sponsor the sport - the huge designer watches the drivers would wear, the way certain woman around the circuit would dress, I loved this, and in the end I’d be drawing the subjects around me more than the racing cars. If you look at my collections these things still feature in my work today.

Print on the right: Paddington

How would you define your style and how has it evolved over the years?

My work is very clean. I like simple bold blocks of colour, clean line illustrations- Art Deco influenced illustrations mixed with the colourful world of Pop Art. In the last year or so I've experimented with just using the sketch elements of my designs on their own as black and white images and they've been pretty popular with people wanting to add a subtle touch of elegance to their wall rather than a large colourful piece.
[Bubbles During The Day]

Do you have a favourite collection or design?

“Glamorous at Night” would have to be my favourite. It was the piece that was wrapped around the Scavi & Ray Champagne bottle for London Fashion Week in 2015.
[Glamorous at Night]

What is a typical workday like for you?

At the moment I'm in a pretty settled routine. I get up at 5:45 am, meditate and then I'm in the studio by 6:30 am. I'm at my most creative in the morning. Currently I'm splitting my time between a new collection for myself and illustrating an advertising campaign for Coca Cola and the Royal Flying Doctors charity.
[Alan at work in his studio]

Can you describe the design process?

I work across different medias when producing my work. First starting with hand drawn sketches, sometimes I'll enlarge or add text using a Mac and then the final step is an old fashioned method of screen-printing which was made famous by one of my art idols Andy Warhol. I produce limited edition pieces with each one individually signed and numbered. Once I'm happy with the print, they are then stuck down to an archival foam board. All my work is hand framed in Sydney.

What are you working on at the moment?

A new Gentlemen’s Collection. Think sharp tailored suit's and hand made Italian shoes, classic European cars layered over bold blocks of bright colours. Art that men can connect with but also their wife or partner might buy them as a gift.
What according to you is the next big thing in interior design?

For me I hope it's Gentlemen’s artwork. I created the collection not only because the subject interests me but I’ve also noticed a gap in the market for men buying art.

A lot of the time men leave the home décor and decorating to women, but if you’re single guy and want a picture for your wall in a bachelor pad its quite easy to find beautiful illustrations or prints of woman, but not so much men or men’s interests.

The other selling point is a lot of women have asked me to do custom pieces for their husbands. What do you buy the man that has everything? A custom piece of art of their car, watch etc, so I’m hoping this is an area that can really grow over the next few months.

On the left: Cover of Beyond Magazine, UK

What advice can you give those seeking a career in art?

Don't let anyone (especially school teachers) tell you that you can't have a career in art. If you want something enough then with hard work and determination you can make it happen. It's not the easiest career path to carve out and there has been times when I’ve not known where my next meal is coming from but if you stay positive and believe in yourself - it feels bloody good when you come out the other side and people are buying your work.What 3 words describe your brand?

Elegant... Bold... Clean

Can you share 3 things people don’t know about you?

My Yorkshire pudding making skills are second to none...
When I'm drawing, I listen to classical music and burn lavender oil as it helps relax and work at a calm pace...
I only wear a certain brand of English socks, I love the patterns and it makes it very easy for my Mum at Christmas.
[Monaco Classic]

Which is your favourite room in your home and why?

We're currently in the process of moving and looking for a new home, which is easier said than done in the current market. I have just had lots of art framed ready to decorate my new lounge room when we have one. With a mix of vintage fashion illustrations & Slim Aarons photography, our home will have a very vintage European vibe.

Where do you see 'Alan Walsh' (the brand) in five years time? 

A few years ago I wrote down on a piece of paper 2 brands that I wanted to work with. One was Coca-Cola (which I'm fortunate to have ticked and continue to have a great working relationship across a number of their brands), the other one was Paul Smith an English Fashion Designer. I'd like to think within the next 5 years I can work with him.

Certainly the next 12 months though will see me publishing my first book and a series of 3 Sketch books, one for Men, one for Women and one for Children.

Print on the right: Clara sketch series

What's your favourite inspirational quote?

Every child is an Artist...The problem is how we remain an Artist once we grow up ~ Picasso

It has a personal meaning and it makes me smile.

At a personal cross roads several years ago and in a particular down moment I said to myself…"What made me really happy when I was a little boy without a care in the world?" The answer was drawing pictures.

It was then I made the decision to do my first exhibition. Even today I still lose myself for hours and get the happiness from art as I did when I was so young.

On the left: London Fashion Week AW 2015 champagne bottle for Scavi & Ray.

It is not surprising that Alan's work is fast becoming iconic, earning him front covers of art house magazines and having his work used for the coveted London Fashion Week merchandise! Be it the children's collection or the black and white minimalist sketches, the new gentlemen's collection or the iconic prints of the impeccably chic ladies at the races, these cool, playful and bold prints are sure to add a touch of glamour to your walls. Alan Walsh is a hot, emerging artist and if there was ever an artist whose work you should start collecting right away....this is it!

I'm definitely hoping to acquire one of his pieces and also looking forward to getting my hands on Alan's sketch books due to be published in the next year or so.

Till next time... follow Alan Walsh on Instagram or visit the website to buy his pieces!

A big thank you to Alan Walsh for taking time out of his busy schedule for the interview and to Jessie Staszkiewicz from Piccolo PR for organising it.

Monday 22 May 2017

A Step By Step Guide For A Complete Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is the heart of any home! It's the entertaining hub, the congregation centre, a place of solitude to sit and relax with a cup of tea and magazine or a place for the kids to work on their school homework. It is a place where the entire family gathers everyday for meals and where many amazing memories are made!

If your kitchen is old, outdated or just falling apart, chances are that it needs a complete overhaul. Remodelling of the complete kitchen requires making lots of important and imperative decisions. You have to decide on the budget, which kind of kitchen you want, what appliances should be bought, layout of the kitchen, cabinetry, surfaces, lighting, etc. It can all get a little overwhelming! So today, we have guest contributor Daisy, sharing a step by step guide to a complete kitchen remodel. 

Step 1: Information required for the remodelling
Remodelling of the kitchen requires some generic information:

~ The current size of the kitchen area
~ Current layout
~ Direction of the kitchen to maximise daylight and ventilation
~ Lifestyle requirements and how many members you have in your family
~ The budget allocated towards the build
~ Current condition of the kitchen

Once you have answers for these questions then you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Research, plan and gather inspiration
Research and planning are the first steps of completing any task. Plan your dream kitchen and gather inspiration from various sources. Think about what you are looking for, your lifestyle requirements, colours that you would like to see in your kitchen, the budget allocated towards the build, the amount of storage that you would like, maybe also a butler's pantry or a pull out cupboard and surfaces and splashbacks that you want.

Step 3: Hire a remodelling company
No doubt right now the market is full of DIY remodelling kits however having an expert eases the roadblocks. Hiring experts - a renovation or remodelling company to carry out the renovation of your kitchen is the smart way to go, especially if you need to change the entire layout of the kitchen which would mean changes to the plumbing and gas lines and electrical outlets. While choosing a company, it is essential to look for their certifications, licenses and their portfolio of previous work. 

Step 4: Designs for the kitchen
If you wish to design the kitchen by yourself then you can look online for ideas and inspiration otherwise your remodelling company can help you with the designs matching your lifestyle and budget and various aspects of the remodelling. Ask them for a design consult and sit down with the designer to measure and create your dream kitchen. Spatial planning, colour and material selection are three main factors which you must discuss with the experts.

Step 5: Decide the layout
You know the area, budget, design and condition of the kitchen hence you can decide on the layout that suits your lifestyle. If your dream kitchen can be planned in the current layout and area then it's great, if not then ask the remodelling company about the options and costs to change the layout of the complete kitchen to make it more efficient and seamless. This is the time to add in that butler's pantry that you have always wanted! Choose a design that will stand the test of time at least for the next ten years or will add to the value of your property if you were to sell your home.

Step 6: Choose appliances and execute the build
Decide on the appliances and finishes you want in your kitchen. If you have small children think about getting ovens with a safety glass and child lock. If you are a budding chef, you may want professional appliances or if you hardly cook at home, your needs will be different. Also think about the tapware, kitchen sinks and deep drawers for easy storage. You many want a stone or marble bench top or a concrete or timber counter depending on your style of kitchen. Discuss and choose appropriate lighting for your kitchen and think about the placement of the light pendants. Once you have decided on all the little details and have discussed the same with the design experts, your kitchen renovation is ready for execution. 

There are many kitchen-remodeling professionals available in the market, and you can ask for specific services and check their pricing policies and quotes before you make the final call. 

If you have any questions regarding kitchen renovations, let us know in the comments below and we'll try and answer them with the help of experts.

Till next time... good luck with your kitchen reno!

About the Author
Daisy Andrew is a knowledgeable and qualified blogger. who loves writing about Home Improvement, Pet, Food, Automotive, Business, Health and Lifestyle.
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