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22 February 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

9 Decorating Mistakes Even Design Lovers MakeImage Source: The Makerista

 

Switching up your decor can make a surprisingly huge difference in the way you feel at home, but beware of common decorating traps. Before you tackle these bold design updates, be mindful not to do these 9 things:

       1.Don’t Forget About Lighting

Don't Forget About LightingImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Even the most beautiful of rooms can be thwarted by bad lighting. The most welcoming spaces are filled with soft layers of flattering lighting at various heights (a chandelier, floor lamp, desktop lamp, etc.), not just one harsh light source. If the space has little natural light, use mirrors to brighten it up by reflecting what natural light there is around the room.

    2. Don’t Hang Pictures at the Wrong Height

Don't Hang Pictures at the Wrong HeightImage Source: Honestly WTF

You’ve found the perfect picture, paired it with the perfect frame, and now it’s time to hang it at the perfect height. The centre of the image should be at eye height, around 144cm — lower than most people expect. If you’re putting up a gallery wall, you not only need to be thoughtful with the height of the image but also the layout. Take care to mock up where each picture will go before you start putting nails in the wall.

       3. Don’t Have Tons of Throw Pillows

Don't Have Tons of Throw PillowsImage Source: Sarah Hearts

They’re affordable, easy to swap out, and a great way to transform the look of a room; however, it’s easy to get carried away with them, picking up one or two every time you’re shopping until you have no space on your sofa left to actually sit. If throw pillows are deflated and flat, or more tired than trendy, it’s time to toss them. As a rule of thumb, only buy a new pillow if you’re willing to part with an old.

      4. Don’t Blindly Follow Trends

Don't Blindly Follow TrendsImage Source: The Makerista

Of course, you want your interior design to be up-to-date, and it’s great to keep an eye on the 2016 trends — but beware of incorporating every trend into your home. Rose quartz and serenity might be the colours of the year, but that doesn’t mean you need to repaint all your walls. Just as with fashion, certain trends work better for certain people, so adopt and adapt as best suits your home and needs. If the season’s dark and moody hues are too much for your space, paint a single accent wall and incorporate edgy leopard in an occasional chair that can easily be swapped out as tastes change.

 5. Don’t Go Overboard With Decorative Painting

Don't Go Overboard With Decorative Painting
Image Source: StyleMutt

With a bucket of paint, you can do many a wonderful thing to a wall. You can also do many a horrible thing. Stencils, brushes, and the like have their place, but be careful not to gild the lily. In other words, keep decorative paint elements simple. That mural or stenciled design should enhance the room, not dominate it. And leave the sponge painting in the ’80s. Period.

    6. Don’t Hang Onto Pieces That No Longer Serve You

Don't Hang Onto Pieces That No Longer Serve YouImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

It can be hard to get rid of belongings that have sentimental value or that you shelled out big bucks for, even if they’ve outgrown their purpose. If you don’t, however, they’ll begin to overwhelm your home until its more cluttered than cute. Be honest with yourself and sort out the pieces you can really use, and get rid of the rest.

7. Don’t Push Furniture Against the Walls

Don't Push Furniture Against the WallsImage Source: The Decor Fix

Pro designers cringe when they see living room furniture pushed flush against a wall. Not only does it create awkward, empty space in the middle of the room, but it creates a formal, unwelcoming vibe. Make better use of the the space and warm up the room’s vibe by arranging furniture within the room instead of against it. Trust us, no one will mind seeing the back of your sofa.

8. Don’t Ignore Practical Needs

Don't Ignore Practical NeedsImage Source: Inspired by Charm

Get realistic about your family’s needs and budget, and design accordingly. While you may be lusting after the glam mirrored Hollywood regency coffee table, your young children mean you must forgo it for a soft, upholstered ottoman. Blowing your room budget on a single item is equally as devastating to your design. A truly great space is one that functions well for you.

  9. Don’t Design Without a Plan

Don't Design Without a PlanImage Source: Sarah Hearts

Every space has its own distinct style and purpose, and it’s important to figure out what that is before you begin to decorate. Even eclectic-style rooms have a cohesive design theme that holds them together. Without any overarching purpose or theme, a room quickly becomes chaotic and adrift. You don’t need to know exactly where each piece of decor will go, but you should have a general idea of what you want.

 

 

 

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15 February 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

15 Easy Ways to Make an Old Home Look Like NewImage Source: Inspired by Charm

This past weekend, my husband and I moved from the 94-year-old home we’ve been renting in the Berkeley Hills to a 58-year-old home around the corner. I have always had a soft spot for old homes — the architecture, the charm, the doorknobs! — but they definitely come with their quirks. Love ’em or hate ’em — if you’re living in an old house, you know there are some issues to contend with. Read on to find a list of 15 (relatively) quick fixes to make your old home feel new again.

Paint the Cabinets

Paint the Cabinets
Image Source: A Beautiful Mess

This is a big project, I won’t lie. I painted my cabinets once despite being spectacularly DIY averse. But that monotonous oak was killing me, so I persevered. And it is so worth it! A few cans of paint (and many hours of your life) will completely transform your kitchen — in fact, your whole home.

Paint a Tile Backsplash

Paint a Tile Backsplash
Image Source: One Kings Lane

Boring white tile backsplash? No matter — geometric patterns are hot this year, and you can make your own in a weekend!

Give Your Pantry a Makeover

Give Your Pantry a MakeoverImage Source: Polished Habitat

What with layers of paint and warping wood, old house pantries can definitely be lacking, so give yours a makeover! Make it the happiest place in the house.

Paint a Brick Fireplace

Paint a Brick FireplaceImage Source: Inspired by Charm

If your brick surround is an eyesore, not to worry — just paint it.

Cover a Popcorn Ceiling With Wood Planks

Cover a Popcorn Ceiling With Wood PlanksImage Source: Domino

Is this a major project? Yes. But then everything related to the ubiquitous popcorn ceiling seems to be. This is a doable DIY if you plan ahead. And the outcome is gorgeous!

Replace Ugly Doorknobs With Vintage Versions

Replace Ugly Doorknobs With Vintage Versions
Image Source: House Tweaking

This is an easy fix, but buying reproduction doorknobs can get pricey fast. To keep the budget down, shop local salvage yards or source an eclectic collection on Etsy.

Paint Kitchen and Bath Hardware

Paint Kitchen and Bath HardwareImage Source: Brittany Makes

Old kitchen and bath hardware can look pretty tired, and it’s no wonder, what with all the heavy lifting they do for us every day. But with a little sanding, primer, and paint, you can give them a new life. Check out this tutorial on how to spray-paint hardware for some inspiration!

Paint the Floor

Paint the Floor
Image Source: Little Green Notebook

Check out this great tutorial on how to paint a tile floor. Let your creativity run free with multiple colours and a repeating pattern.

Paint a Wood Fireplace

Paint a Wood FireplaceImage Source: The Makerista

Does your old house have a room (or rooms) full of wood siding? Can there be too much of a good thing? Sometimes a focal point is all that’s needed to draw the eye.

Dress Up a Cinder Block Wall With Chalk Paint

Dress Up a Cinder Block Wall With Chalk PaintImage Source: Sarah Hearts

Are you cursed with a dated cinder block patio wall? Do this now! Cutest solution ever, although definitely opt for paint over chalk to make sure your hard work lasts and lasts.

Paint Your Trim

Paint Your TrimImage Source: The Makerista

Old homes often have intricate architectural details — show them off by painting them a dramatic contrasting colour.

Container Garden in Place of Landscaping

Container Garden in Place of LandscapingImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

If your landscaping looks as old as your house but new landscaping is not in the budget, try a container garden instead. Add a few at a time (just remember to water them from time to time), and soon your garden will be looking cheerful.

Spray-Paint ’80s Brass Light Fixtures

Spray-Paint '80s Brass Light FixturesImage Source: Brittany Ambridge for Domino

Sometimes a can of spray paint and an afternoon is all it takes to update an old light fixture.

Tile Over Your Countertop

Tile Over Your CountertopImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Dated tile? Yucky grout? Tile over it! Click here for the DIY.

Paint Your Stone Patio Tiles With Pops of Colour

Paint Your Stone Patio Tiles With Pops of ColourImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Leave it to the bloggers at A Beautiful Mess to make even an ugly concrete patio look adorable.

 

 

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08 February 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

The Perfect Plant For Every Room in Your HomeImage Source: Armelle Habib

When it comes to the upsides of green thumbs, many of us are well-versed. Plants can be air-purifying, calming, insect-repellingsleep-inducing, or lighten up a space. Bringing parts of the outdoors in though, can often present challenges — where are the plants going to go? Will they suit the room? What if I’m already short on space? What about the temperature?

To save you spiralling into an endless Google search for answers, we’re breaking down the best indoor plants for every room, right here. With some handy styling tips, too, so now, there’s really no excuse not to go green.

This is an edited extract from Plant Society by Jason Chongue, published by Hardie Grant Books ($29.99) and available in stores nationally.

Living Room

Living RoomImage Source: Armelle Habib

The living room is the perfect place to go wild and use multiple plant types when styling. Use plants both individually and in groupings to get different effects. Tall, tree-like plants, like the rubber plant and dinner-plate ficus, are great specimen plants if you want to add drama into your room. You can also mix plain-leafed plants with more textured types.

Some good living room plants include:


Bedroom

BedroomImage Source: Armelle Habib

We spend a large portion of our lives in our bedroom, but it is often the last place we consider when introducing plants into our homes. Your bedside table is perfect for a compact plant that will help aerate the air while you sleep. Textural plants like devil’s ivy, philodendron and monstera make a nice addition to your bedroom and are a great thing to look at when you first wake up.

Some good bedroom plants include:

  • Arrowhead plant (Syngonium)
  • Begonia
  • Devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Fruit salad plant (Monstera deliciosa)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)
  • Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)
  • Wax plant (Hoya)


Dining Room

Dining RoomImage Source: Armelle Habib

There is nothing more special than having guests sit around your dinner table when it’s adorned with some delicate plants. The best plants for your dining room are plants that will remain small and compact. There are several well suited species with a range of colours and forms.

Some good dining room plants include:

Bathroom

Image Source: Armelle Habib

The bathroom is the perfect location for growing plants that love humidity. If you’re short on space, try hanging devil’s ivy or pitcher plants from shelves or the ceiling. Plants like peace lilies, queen of hearts and arrowhead plant are great for creating small groupings of plants placed next to your shower or beside your vanity.

Some good bathroom plants include:

  • Arrowhead plant (Syngonium)
  • Devil’s ivy (Epipremnumaureum)
  • Peace lily (Spathihyllum)
  • Pitcher plant (Nepenthes)
  • Queen of hearts (Homalomena)
  • Tassel fern (Huperzia)
  • Zebra plant (Aphelandra)

Office / Desk

Office / DeskImage Source: Armelle Habib

Compact plants are perfect for decorating your desk at home or at the office. There is often limited natural light at work and air circulation is poor. Try using some hardier table plants such as the Zanzibar gem, cast-iron plant or peace lily.

Some good office plants include:

  • Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)
  • Fruit salad plant (Monstera deliciosa)
  • Peace lily (Spathihyllum)
  • Zanzibar gem (Zamioculcas).

Meeting, Hallway and Reception Areas

Meeting, Hallway and Reception AreasImage Source: Armelle Habib

Plants make for a nice welcome when placed in hallways in your home and in reception spaces. They are comforting and create a calming first impression. These spaces are often used heavily and have limited natural lighting so try using plants like the cast-iron plant, rubber plant or umbrella tree.

Some good hallway or meeting room plants include:

  • Bird of paradise (Strelitzia nicolai)
  • Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)
  • Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia)
  • Lady palm (Rhapis)
  • Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)

 

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30 January 2018
By portermathewsblog


This Is What an Organised Linen Closet Should Look Like

Image Source: Target

The linen closet: if you are lucky enough to have one, you’ve likely asked yourself the question, “So what goes in here, anyway?”

In most homes, it’s the junk drawer of closets, but if stocked correctly, your hall closet can be a sanctuary and a one-stop shop all in one. At least, that’s what the founders of The Home Edit are determined to show us with their latest project. Professional organisers Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin are teaming up with Target to reveal simple, stylish ways to make over the typical linen closet using affordable finds from the retailer.

So, what should every linen closet have? And what needs to get tossed for good? Read on for their expert recommendations.
What should every linen closet have?

What should every linen closet have?

Image Source: Target

Although most of your storage potential depends on the size of your space, a bare-bones closet should have the following, according to Clea and Joanna:

  1. Extra sets of sheets
  2. Extra towels
  3. Toiletry items, especially toilet paper rolls
  4. Bins and labels to easily sort and identify each category

Everything else — from extra pillows, blankets, and spare toothbrushes to hair straighteners and phone chargers for guests — are optional.

And as for those must-have bins?

It’s all about picking items that are practical and fit the dimensions of your space. “If your shelves have extra height, you want to choose something stackable,” they said. “If your shelves or drawers are extra deep, pick a bin with depth. Once you determine what makes the most sense, then make a selection that matches your aesthetic. Some people prefer natural materials to clear plastic, or opaque to transparent.” Bottom line? “The style of the bin should always come second to the function.”

What should every linen closet not have?

What should every linen closet <i>not</i> have?
Image Source: Target

There’s such a thing as too many bath towels, the two pros told POPSUGAR. “People often avoid editing items out before organizing the contents,” they revealed. “Purging duplicates, damaged items, or items you no longer use will ensure you have room for your necessities without overstocking.”

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25 January 2018
By portermathewsblog


via houzz.com.au

Welcome to our new series, ‘3 Things I Wish My Clients Knew’, where we’ll be asking a range of experts in the design world to reveal three things they wish every client understood, whether it’s answers to questions they’re commonly asked, practical considerations that would speed up the design and installation process, or knowledge gaps they’d love us to fill… plus a useful golden nugget for you to store away in your memory bank.

We kick off with interior designer Stephanie O’Donohue from smarterBATHROOMS+, who talks us through the things she wishes every client knew before starting a new bathroom.

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1. Minimalism is (almost) never cheap

‘Clean, sleek lines’ is what my clients ask for – think single sheets of material, no joins, no handles and no grout lines. The most common misconception I come across is that this is a cheap look to achieve. People are fooled by the apparent simplicity of the aesthetic. But to achieve a truly beautiful, minimalist look the detail in the build needs to be precise.

Some of the simplest-looking spaces I have worked on have been the most expensive, due to the immense detail and meticulous planning required.

 

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Specifying no cabinetry handles often means expensive opening mechanisms or hand-cut joinery. No joins in stone means buying oversized slabs and having an expert stonemason on hand to book-match the ends perfectly. And no grout lines means either huge, expensive tiles that take two tilers to lay (which doubles the labour cost) or porcelain sheets that can only be cut and installed by a stonemason – onto a wall that most likely has to be straightened instead of just packed.

 

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2. Don’t DIY your tiling – ever

It’s just not worth it. Planning the tiling and tiling itself are both art forms. I have seen far too many new bathrooms that only look good when you’re not wearing your glasses. Once you see a crooked tile or uneven grouting it cannot be unseen.

A tiler who plans the space, tile by tile, to ensure the placement of cuts and grout lines will be perfect is worth their weight in gold. You may be tempted to tackle a job that seems straightforward, but don’t do it. Especially if you have contrasting grout.

 

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A good tiler will work more quickly than you could ever hope to, and they will be able to correctly use epoxy grout, giving you a superior and longer-lasting finish than you’d achieve yourself with a regular cement-based grout. They will also be able to disguise an uneven wall or an unsightly edge to a degree.

The tiles and grout are your first defence against water damage. Inferior tiling puts your whole room and subfloor at risk. Step away from the tiles and call an expert. 


53. Tight budget? Stuck for a design idea? Go big!

This is one of my favourite tricks. Sometimes you can’t afford the Rolls Royce of every element in your space. But if you can distract from your more economical, practical design decisions with a wow feature, you can save yourself thousands in upgrading everything unnecessarily.

Oversized handles, for example, can add a touch of drama and interest to an otherwise plain bathroom. Have you got a high bathroom ceiling? Find the biggest pendant light your electrician can lift and fill the bathroom with an object so demanding of attention that it develops a personality of its own. You’ll find it gives your bathroom a real designer edge and detracts from the cheaper elements in the space.

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You could also distract the eye with repetition, where you take one design idea and use it several times over in a space. Do you love penny round tiles? Pick a round basin, rounded tapware, a round mirror and towels with a circular pattern. Repetition of a theme will give the space a cohesive, thought-out feel where every design decision is deliberate.

It will also help you shop better as you won’t fall into the trap of picking 10 things you love and finding none of them work together.

 

7 The one thing I always get asked is…
‘How long does a bathroom renovation take?’ Many people are surprised when they hear that a quality bathroom renovation takes about four weeks. Renovation shows are not reality!

Many people don’t have a spare bathroom they can use while the renovation takes place. If that’s the case for you, plan ahead. Hire a portable toilet or shower from a reputable builder, join a nearby gym (there are often free trials you can take advantage of), or consider renting elsewhere for a month while the job is done.None of these are ideal, but if you’re going to build a bathroom to last 20-30 years, that month of inconvenience will quickly be forgotten when you step inside your gorgeous new space.

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My golden nugget…

Unless it’s a colour other than chrome, a tap is a tap. Something basic will be fine, so don’t spend your hard-earned cash there. Funnel your money into custom cabinetry instead. Having a smart drawer that fits your lipstick collection perfectly, in a colour you love and with a concealed bin, will be worth so much more than the bragging rights for Italian taps.

 

 

 

 

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16 January 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

7 Ways to Stop Hating Your Small KitchenImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

 

So what if size isn’t on your kitchen’s side? You know the old “fake it ’til you make it” saying? Well, it applies to kitchen design, too! So, if your cook space’s dimensions have got you down, try these easy, foolproof tricks to make your kitchen feel and look bigger than it actually is.


1. 
Install a Vertical Backsplash

Install a Vertical BacksplashImage Source: Annie Schlechter for Domino

Want to visually increase your room’s dimensions? Simply turn subway tile on its head. Laying out the tiles vertically (rather than horizontally) draws the eye upward, making a kitchen ceiling appear taller than it actually is.

2. Open the Room Up With Open Shelving

Open the Room Up With Open ShelvingImage Source: Jeremy Liebman for Domino

Too many upper cabinets can make a tiny kitchen look top-heavy. Try removing a few and replace them with open shelving instead. Not only will your kitchen instantly open up, but you can show off prized cookware and accessories, too.

3. Lengthen With a Runner

Lengthen With a Runner
Image Source: House*Tweaking

For a quick and inexpensive way to make a kitchen look longer, simply add a graphic runner. Occasionally changing out the runner will give your kitchen a new look with little effort.

4. Save Space With Stools

Save Space With StoolsImage Source: domino

No room for a spacious kitchen table and chairs? Choose a narrow dining table with stools or benches that can tuck under the table. This set-up allows for better traffic flow while avoiding over-crowding your kitchen.

5. Get Your Shine On

Get Your Shine OnImage Source: domino

Even if you are shine-inclined, subtly reflective materials can help a kitchen feels larger by bouncing around natural light. Our faves: lacquered cabinets and reflective backsplash tiles.

 

6. Work With What You Have

Work With What You HaveImage Source: domino

Studio living can be tricky, especially since your living and sleeping quarters are limited to one room. This kitchen makes the most of the space with open shelving, a gallery wall, and even a TV! With clever arranging, you can cook and have your cable too!

 

7. Think Up

Think UpImage Source: hoto by Ditte Isager. Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 2010.

Short on space? Think up! Pot racks are a great way to free up limited cabinet and counter space. If you’re on a budget, consider this affordable option.

 

 

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20 November 2017
By portermathewsblog


If there’s one thing that gets a bad rap in design, it’s the studio apartment. Often a rental with very little in the way of space, studios must do it all without room to spare. While it is a tall order, we found a place that does it just right. Tucked away in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, this studio is just as relaxing as it is energising. Keeping rental restrictions and their client Jamie’s laid-back style in mind, designers Lindsay Boswell and Ali Levin of LABLstudio created an urban oasis filled with ideas that anyone would sacrifice square metres for.Mixing earthy and glamorous touches, this “hidden gem” evolved into a room suitable for sleeping, living, and entertaining. Getting creative with the space, Boswell and Levin incorporated unexpected pops of colour using removable wallpaper and made sure every piece served a variety of purposes. The result proves that size isn’t everything! Keep reading for a full studio tour and Lindsay and Ali’s favourite tricks for decking out a small space.

Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio

POPSUGAR Home: How do you create a space for both living and entertaining, especially in a studio? LABLstudio: In studio apartments, it's really important to make sure that you carve out distinct areas for sleeping, living, and entertaining, even if they're all in the same room. Whenever possible we like to make sure there is a proper living area (i.e., a sofa, side table, coffee table), as well as a place where you can sit, eat, or work. Sometimes this means sacrificing some of the "bedroom" to make for a larger "living and entertaining" area.  Photo by  Matthew Williams via LABLstudio

POPSUGAR Home: How do you create a space for both living and entertaining, especially in a studio?

LABLstudio: In studio apartments, it’s really important to make sure that you carve out distinct areas for sleeping, living, and entertaining, even if they’re all in the same room. Whenever possible we like to make sure there is a proper living area (i.e., a sofa, side table, coffee table), as well as a place where you can sit, eat, or work. Sometimes this means sacrificing some of the “bedroom” to make for a larger “living and entertaining” area.

Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
PS: How do you make a studio livable without looking cluttered? LS: Make sure that all of your main pieces serve multiple purposes. For example, the console that we placed between the windows doubles as a place where two people can comfortably dine, a place where Jamie can sit with her laptop, and a place where she can put her makeup on in the morning.  Photo by  Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
PS: How do you make a studio livable without looking cluttered?


LS
: Make sure that all of your main pieces serve multiple purposes. For example, the console that we placed between the windows doubles as a place where two people can comfortably dine, a place where Jamie can sit with her laptop, and a place where she can put her makeup on in the morning.

Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
Similar to the living space, the bathroom uses pops of colour to reflect the apartment's earthy, glam vibe. For a personal touch, the designers even switched out the vanity knobs.  Photo by  Matthew Williams via LABLstudio

Similar to the living space, the bathroom uses pops of colour to reflect the apartment’s earthy, glam vibe. For a personal touch, the designers even switched out the vanity knobs.

Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio

PS: We love the wall art. How did you do that? It is from your Femme and Gem collection? LS: The one wall (next to the bed) is wallpapered in our "Gemma" print (in Sapphire) from our "Femme and Gem" collection. It's removable, and you can hang it yourself! For the other walls, we hand painted watercolour pinstripes to add personality and to tie everything together. Photo by  Matthew Williams via LABLstudio

PS: We love the wall art. How did you do that? It is from your Femme and Gem collection?

LS: The one wall (next to the bed) is wallpapered in our “Gemma” print (in Sapphire) from our “Femme and Gem” collection. It’s removable, and you can hang it yourself! For the other walls, we hand painted watercolour pinstripes to add personality and to tie everything together.

Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
The entryway is proof rental lighting doesn't have to be boring. For an industrial touch, you can find a similar light fixture here.  Photo by  Matthew Williams via LABLstudio

The entryway is proof rental lighting doesn’t have to be boring. For an industrial touch, you can find a similar light fixture here.

Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio

LS: The goal was to give Jamie a cool place to call home — a space that was relaxing yet energizing and a space that reflected her personality. We tried to make the apartment feel as large as possible and use fun and unexpected pops of magenta and purple throughout.  Photo by  Matthew Williams via LABLstudio LS: The goal was to give Jamie a cool place to call home — a space that was relaxing yet energizing and a space that reflected her personality. We tried to make the apartment feel as large as possible and use fun and unexpected pops of magenta and purple throughout.

Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
LS: In this apartment, we opted to place the bed in the corner and mount a shelf on the wall rather than a bedside table. This allowed for a larger living and entertaining space. If you make the bed the priority, the apartment ends up feeling like a bedroom rather than a real place where you can hang out with friends and entertain. Photo by  Matthew Williams via LABLstudio LS: In this apartment, we opted to place the bed in the corner and mount a shelf on the wall rather than a bedside table. This allowed for a larger living and entertaining space. If you make the bed the priority, the apartment ends up feeling like a bedroom rather than a real place where you can hang out with friends and entertain.
Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
To maximise space, Ali and Lindsay choose side and coffee tables that double as stools for additional seating. To add personality, they hung a magenta juju (African feather headdress) above the sofa. Photo by  Matthew Williams via LABLstudio

To maximise space, Ali and Lindsay choose side and coffee tables that double as stools for additional seating. To add personality, they hung a magenta juju (African feather headdress) above the sofa.

Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
PS: Any tips for renters looking to add a personal touch? LS: Do not be afraid to paint your walls or hang some wallpaper! So many people who rent end up leaving their walls bright white. If you keep all of your walls this colour, your place will look like a rental and not like a home. There are so many removable wallpaper options out there to personalise your space. Get your hands dirty and paint or hang the paper yourself — make a day of it, invite a friend or two over to help, and open a bottle of wine! Photo by  Matthew Williams via LABLstudio

PS: Any tips for renters looking to add a personal touch?

LS: Do not be afraid to paint your walls or hang some wallpaper! So many people who rent end up leaving their walls bright white. If you keep all of your walls this colour, your place will look like a rental and not like a home. There are so many removable wallpaper options out there to personalise your space. Get your hands dirty and paint or hang the paper yourself — make a day of it, invite a friend or two over to help, and open a bottle of wine!

Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
PS: What is one piece of advice you could give city dwellers? LS: Living in a big city can be hectic and overwhelming at times, and it’s important to make your apartment feel like a real home, especially if you rent. Good design doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money or take up a lot of your time. These days, there are a lot of affordable design options out there. Photo by  Matthew Williams via LABLstudio

PS: What is one piece of advice you could give city dwellers?

LS: Living in a big city can be hectic and overwhelming at times, and it’s important to make your apartment feel like a real home, especially if you rent. Good design doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money or take up a lot of your time. These days, there are a lot of affordable design options out there.

Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
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20 November 2017
By portermathewsblog


Lucy Feagins via domain.com.au

Who: Milliner Carla Murley, her husband Troy, and their young children Ruby and Oscar

Where: Beaumaris, Victoria

What: Sympathetically updated mid-century home

The Beaumaris home of the Murleys encapsulates many of the best attributes of mid-century design.The Beaumaris home of the Murleys encapsulates many of the best attributes of mid-century design. Photo: Eve Wilson

The Beaumaris home of Carla Murley, her husband Troy, and their children Ruby and Oscar perfectly exemplifies the hallmarks of classic late 1950s Australian architecture. It’s a relaxed, robust home, honest in its materiality, with a strong connection to the outdoors.

The Murley family moved here in November 2013. At the time, it was a small 1950s house on a corner block, slightly run down but full of potential. “The bones of this little mid-century house were perfect. The existing house only needed minimal updating to bring it up to scratch,” Carla Murley says.

The original house was built in 1958 using a “small homes service” plan published in The Age and modified slightly by a local builder.

Milliner Carla Murley and her young kids Ruby and Oscar.Milliner Carla Murley and her young kids Ruby and Oscar. Photo: Eve Wilson

In the early 1960s, it was extended to include a studio for the original owner, who was a graphic designer. “It was the owner’s studio that sold the house to us, the brick floor sealed the deal,” Murley says.

The couple was keen to preserve the mid-century character of the house, while adding a few extra rooms to accommodate their young family.

A year after moving in, they extended either end of the existing house, creating a central courtyard. This gave them an extra bedroom and bathroom, and a home studio for Carla Murley’s millinery business, Murley & Co.

The home perfectly exemplifies the hallmarks of classic late 1950s Australian architecture.The home perfectly exemplifies the hallmarks of classic late 1950s Australian architecture. Photo: Eve Wilson

Having created a courtyard visible from almost every room, landscaping became a top priority for the Murleys once the renovations were complete. Luckily, the family inherited a treasure trove of mid-century plants from a local development site.

“I rang the developer initially and asked if he had any plans to keep the many mature agave americanas on his development block, which was just up the road from us – some were over 50 years old!” Murley recalls. “He just laughed at me and said, ‘take what you want’.” The couple spent three weekends removing and replanting the lot.

Furnished with an eclectic mix of mid-century treasures and vintage finds in every room, there’s a lot to love about this bright and breezy, relaxed family home.

The couple added a few extra rooms to accommodate their young family.The couple added a few extra rooms to accommodate their young family. Photo: Eve Wilson

With its original red brick floor, optimal orientation for sunlight and airflow, and strong connection to the garden, it’s a home that perfectly encapsulates so many of the best attributes of mid-century design, thoughtfully updated for contemporary family living.

The Design Files guide to brick

Wait long enough and every design trend comes around for a second (and third, and fourth) moment in the spotlight. Now, the humble brick is having a renaissance.

  • Bricks are a robust, low-maintenance material that requires no sealing or finishing for most applications.
  • Anywhere you might typically consider tiles, bricks are an option.
  • Bricks retain heat in winter and keep the house cool in summer.
  • If you’re not sure about the colour of a brick wall, consider painting it a neutral colour (we’re loving white painted brick). Be sure to prime bricks before painting.
  • Mortar can have a big impact on the look. A safe option is a colour as close as possible to the bricks (mortar can be colour-matched).
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