Blog Archives

Posts from June 2013

How to make decorating decisions you won’t regret…

June 27th, 2013

Last week I shared the 1st step in my decorating process, this week I show how this moodboard inspiration is translated into selections & finishes...


After research and moodboarding you should have a good idea of the general style & feel you want the space to have - for us its 'luxe, moody, sophisticated with an eastern global twist'. It could be warm, cosy & traditional, scandinavian cool, global eclectic, or minimal neutral as a few other examples. This, along with your practical needs will be your guide when it comes to making your selections.

Collect swatches/samples of your selections as you go, include all finishes - carpets, floorboards, tiles, cabinetry, bench top samples, paint colour chips, wallpaper samples & curtain/upholstery fabrics.

Lay your samples out and this will be the scheme for your room or home, make sure all the finishes in each room work together and also think about surfaces in adjoining rooms - e.g. your bathroom tile should look great against your hallway flooring.

To help show how we went from moodboard to selections - this is the scheme for our upstairs lounge and the inspiration behind each selection;

  • Flooring (upstairs lounge/hallway) - blackbutt timber - apart from bringing a beautiful natural warmth to the space, practically, it works as I hate vacuuming so the less carpet the better!
  • Flooring (balcony) - tiled in a charcoal stone look tile - the dark colour makes it low maintenace for outside and ties in with the charcoal colour theme.
  • Kitchenette/bar cabinetry - black woodgrain thermolaminate (Black Natura thermo from polytec) - In keeping with the luxe 'hotel bar' feel.
  • Benchtop - white composite stone - hardwearing and is a perfect simple surface to tie our black cabinetry & geo tiled splashback together.
  • Splashback - 'urban diamond' tile Jatana Interiors - Inspired by the trend in cool bars and cafes toward patterned tiles we decided to be daring and go with a gorgeous geometric diamond patterned tile - the colours are neutral greys and the pattern is a classic diamond so its 'out there' without being too scary.
  • Walls - Dulux Natural White - a soft white that matches with the other surfaces. It will maximise the light spacious feel and allow our artwork & furniture to 'sing'.
  • Soft furnishings/upholstery - will tie into the overall colour scheme on the moodboard, dark charcoals, deep orange and a hit of chartreuse green. Remember to take your swatches & samples with you when you go to look for each new element, in our case we chose our tiles first and took the tile samples with us to help choose carpets and cabinetry colours.

For me this is the MOST important and helpful step in the process, especially as these are the most costly/permanent elements in a room. Take the time to layout your scheme to make sure you are happy with it before you lock in your selections and you will avoid any moments of horror realising your beautifully laid floor tiles look awful against your custom built kitchen cabinetry!

Natalie x

How to plan your dream space…

June 20th, 2013

Well, the selections are finally locked in for our house which is such a relief! I was recently chatting with Catherine, a lovely tribe member also in the middle of a house build who was telling me about her struggle with the stress of making the 'right choices' for her house selections. Over the next few weeks I thought I might share the process and tools I use to plan and decorate a space in the hope you might take away some ideas for your next build, renovation or room refresh!


Above - the moodboard for our upstairs lounge & kitchenette... We wanted to have some fun in this space - a very cool and grown up space for entertaining friends. Taking inspiration from luxe hotel lounges and bars - dark cabinetry, an eastern global influence, wood tones, charcoal greys, warm orange and a pop of chartreuse green.

Use sites like Pinterest & interior blogs to source images that portray the feeling and look you want to achieve in the space. Pinterest is great as you can pin any images you love to a board over time and then refine and choose your favourites for your final moodboard - see my upstairs lounge pinterest board here.

When hunting for inspiration, think outside the box - on holidays take photos of beautiful spaces in your hotel, or that amazing amazing restroom in the hip restaurant you had to book 3 months in advance. (For us, the key inspiration for our upstairs lounge was a luxe lobby bar in an Auckland hotel we stayed at a few years ago)

You can then use a free software program like Picasa to collate these images into a mood board - if computers aren't your thing, you can make your mood board by cutting out magazine pics to create a physical collage.

I am a very visual person so the mood board comes with me when making selections or shopping for decorative elements. It should help you stay focused to your original vision and stick to a consistent style with your decorative choices.

Happy pinning!

Natalie x

Desert Winds and Glorious Havelis

June 13th, 2013

We have just returned from an amazing whirlwind trip to India and here I share my travel notes and photos...

It would be impossible to sum up the experience of India in one blog post, but I will try to share a little of what it means to me. India is a confronting and intimidating place, as Ben found out on this, his first visit. It was only through travelling with him this time that I realised how my previous 4 visits had toughened me to this wild and wonderful place. It is a place of high contrast, so much beauty, liveliness and soul, devotion to religion, colours, energy and hustle yet at the same time you see poverty beyond belief, suffering, the harsh reality of people out there doing what they do each day literally just to survive all in the the heat, the dirt, the smells and the chaos.

I love India despite and perhaps partly because of its harshness, I guess the darkness makes those beautiful moments of light shine so much brighter - this is the view of my beloved India through my rose tinted glasses...

The streets are a feast of vibrant rhythms…
Road side grocery stores, produce layed out on faded printed cotton sheets, under the shade of vibrant umbrellas
Old wooden carts piled sky high with coconuts, lychees and mangoes
Sparkling saris in hot pink, marigold and aquamarine stand out against a backdrop of hot gravel and dust
Street food stands with huge copper pots filled with sweet, sticky deep fried treats
Ancient doors with layer upon layer of peeling paint in chalky pinks, corals and persimmon.
The muted pink light of dusk, everyone's favourite time of the day - cricket matches, picnics on the grass, children's laughter
A place with endless possibilities waiting to be explored…

The Top Easy & Tasty Veggies To Plant Now

June 7th, 2013

Im penning these words from wonderful (and hot) India! Im here to soak in some inspiration and visit some lovely suppliers to develop the new summer collection, its going so well and I can't wait to share it with you later in the year! (I also have a mini collection of pieces going into store in the next month, of course you will be the first to know when it lands so stay tuned for that!)

In the meantime I have left you in safe hands with Maya who is sharing more veggie garden inspiration, don't forget to check out her blog and follow her on Facebook to keep up with her gorgeous house tours and renovating adventures!

Word & Images - Maya Anderson


I hate taking out wilted, wasted lettuce leaves from the fridge, with home grown lettuce you can pick the outer leaves as you need them for a quick sandwich or salad, you don’t need to pick the whole plant. You’ll also save money, I frequently see cos lettuce for $20 a kg at the grocer, meanwhile a punnet of eight cos lettuce plants will cost $2.25 from Bunnings and give you leaves for months. Cos, romaine and juicy butterleaf are my favourite lettuces – they’re crisp, yummy and lovely in sandwiches and salads. Lettuce doesn’t need much sun, either – I’ve had success planting it in shade. And for those who have a balcony or a courtyard garden, you can grow lettuce very easily in pots.

Silverbeet is another must-grow. It’s one of those things that I never even ate until I started growing it – now it works its way into my meals every week. It’s really easy to grow, hardy and a good source of vitamins A, C and K and iron. I frequently make spinach and ricotta pie using silverbeet and spinach from the garden, and the leaves are great chucked into the end of a hearty winter vegetable stew. You can grow silverbeet in sun and shade.

Thumbs as black as night? You can grow kale, a hardy member of the cabbage family that will grow almost anywhere with little love. And it’s a wonderfully healthy leafy green – rich in iron, beta-carotene, fibre, folate, magnesium, and vitamins A, K, B1 and B2. Chop it up and add it into stews. I also love adding it into a silverbeet, mushroom and pork barley risotto

I love having fresh spinach in the yard. Try English and baby spinach, Warrigal spinach is great too – can be hard to find but if you find some, grab a punnet. It’s a native variety, grows like a weed and is delicious in homemade spinach and ricotta pie or in a grilled sandwich with some melted goat cheese and avocado. One thing you need to do with Warrigal is blanch the leaves in boiling water for three minutes before you eat it because it contains oxates that are toxic in large quantities. They don’t tell you that on the label! Spinach loves sun but will also grow in spots that get very little.

Broccoli is great for winter – not so much in the hot weather, as the heads will flower (which is very pretty, mind you, and the bees will love it, but not so tasty). I like broccolini and mini broccoli varieties because they grow so quickly. It’s quite happy being grown in shade.

Who knew garlic was the easiest thing in the world to grow? Just stick the largest cloves in the ground with the pointy tip about 6cm below the surface of the soil. In about eight months it will have grown into a nice new bunch and in the meantime it would have helped deter aphids and other bugs from the rest of your veggies, keeping them strong. I planted cloves all around my veggie garden and have been fairly lucky with bugs.

Maya Anderson is a freelance journalist and the blogger behind House Nerd, where she shares gorgeous homes, shops, before and after stories and her DIY renovating adventures.

You can also find & follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.