CREATE A STYLISH STUDY AT YOUR HOME

Is it just me whose ‘home office’ is comprised of a draw in the kitchen filled with bills and paperwork, and a laptop proped on your knees on the couch? Now although not every home can dedicate an entire room to a study, every home can and should have one.

In fact personally I think if you are a parent, the best place for it is in one of the main living areas of the home. With how much technology is a part of our children’s schooling and as they get older, social lives, we need the study to be in an ‘easy to sneak a look over their shoulder’ spot.

In our home we have an open plan living/dining/kitchen area and very little usable wall space because of 4 large sets of sliding doors, but we do have just over a metre beside our lounge that I think would be perfect for a study area. You really don’t need a lot of room, in fact I’ve seen a great idea of re-purposing a cupboard space by taking off the door and inserting a built in desk and shelves above.

In my view it’s just as important for the space to be stylish as it is to be functional, the atheistic of our home is a little scandinavian and a little beachy, so I’m wanting our study to also have that vibe. Here’s some images from my pinterest page that have inspired me.

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Recreating the looks of some of these stunning spaces may be cheaper thank you think! Here’s a few options with various price points of my favourite looks.

This black, white and timber palette would be perfect for our home. The trestle desk is ideal for a small space and I love that they have used images that inspire pinned onto the wall behind the desk. final study look 1Desk Ikea Linnmon Desk from Living Concepts $109 Chair Replica Eames DSW Chair from Zuca $79 Lamp Guaride Table Lamp from Citta Design $229 Basket Black Wire Basket from Let Liv $35 Art Prints from Paper Plane Store from $15

This Scandi inspired space is kinda perfect in my eyes. I bet even paying bills would almost be a pleasure sitting at this desk! The trestle desk has really usable shelves below the legs, I’m always looking for extra storage solutions so I love that feature. Floating shelves are perfect in most areas of a home, and work so well here to keep clutter off the desk, personally I’d add the shelf brackets from Father Rabbit. The Wall Flip Clock from Let Liv has been on my most wanted list for a couple of years, I think it would look very at home on one of the shelves. I think this is my fav look!final study look 2 Desk Trestle Desk from Let Liv $360 Chair Replica Tolix Chair in Gunmetal from Cintesi $89 Clock Wall Flip Clock from Let Liv $280 Basket Fog Linen Desk Basket from Let Liv $36 Shelf Shelf Bracket from Father Rabbit $21 Light Hanging Miners Lamp from Let Liv $90 Accessories Dante Set of 2 Stacking Boxes from Country Road $31

This space is actually the home office of Superette Owner Rickie Dee, so no surprise it’s super stylish. I love the paired back palette combined with a pop of colour found in the chair.
final study look 3 Desk Trestle Desk from Freedom $399 Light Bell Basket Pendant from Freedom $149 Chair Replica Wishbone Chair from Zuca $235 Drawers Ikea Alex Drawers from Urban Sales $373 Plant Boskke Sky Planter from Superette $99 Calendar Stendig Calendar from The Paper Room $125

I had so much fun sourcing pieces for these study looks, the best shops I found for furniture were Freedom, Mocka, Let Liv and Ikea via various Trade Me stores, accessories from Paper Plane Store, Father Rabbit, Let Liv, Country Road, Citta Design, Superette and Collected and to complete your space I’d suggest you head along to my favourite very stationery store Kikki K.

NEW YORK STYLE THROUGH THE EYES OF TOMMY TON

Although I love seeing the amazing collections at New York Fashion Week, I’m actually much more interested in what’s happening outside. There is one person that can magically transport you to the fashion capital, amongst the hustle in the streets, feeling the breathtaking chill in the air and that’s Tommy Ton. Street style photographer Tommy Ton is the best in the business, his ability to capture candid moments rather than the traditional rigid head to toe fashion shots give his images a life of their own. He created one of the very first fashion blogs I ever followed- Jak & Jil, American Vogue even declared it to be ‘as much essential viewing during the collections as the shows’. Let’s not argue with Vogue.

Here are some of my favourites of his from New York Fashion Week
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Follow Jak & Jill or Style.com for the best street style from Tommy Ton.

THE NYFW COLLECTION OLIVIA POPE WOULD GO CRAZY FOR

It’s always exciting to look through the collections from New York Fashion Week, even if half of them aren’t wearable (I’m looking at you Kanye). One collection that I would certainly love to fill my closet with and I’m sure Olivia Pope would agree, is Victoria Beckham’s latest offering.

The sophisticated and feminine collection in a neutral palette of cream, taupe, black and navy has won rave reviews from the fashion elite and it’s easy to see why.

If your memory of Victoria Beckham is from the Spice Girl era or as some famous footballers wife, you may be shocked to know she is now a widely respected fashion designer in her own right. Her eponymous label even won Brand of the Year at the 2014 British Fashion Awards, over the likes of Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.

VB2Of her Fall 2015 Collection Victoria Beckham explained ‘it is not about one theme – but instead thinking about what women really want to wear and how they want their clothes to make them feel.’
‘Familiar shapes have been deconstructed and reworked. Volumes have been subverted, menswear elements re-engineered to fit the female form and twists, spirals, seams and asymmetry interplayed. Fabrics bounce and move, a swing is sculptural, and a more body conscious silhouette emerges…’

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Obviously I would need a serious lifestyle change from housework and toddler swimming classes to justify my new wardrobe, but can’t you just imagine Olivia rocking the hell out of those light ensembles while saving the world and drinking insanely expensive red wine, which incidentally she would never spill on those fancy whites, because well she’s Olivia Pope! (If you don’t watch my favourite show Scandal you will be very confused right now).

FIVE WINTER FASHION PIECES WORTH INVESTING IN

Winter is without a doubt the most stylish season. It’s when fabric, cut and construction shine in exquisite coats, lush knits and the softest leathers. I know with the stunning weather still gracing our days, it’s hard to to believe but the latest winter collections from the country’s best designers are dropping in store now. This is when I like to start planning the few investment pieces I buy each season, like most women I know, I can’t afford to purchase everything I’d like to (not even close!), I have to be very, very choosy. If designer prices are out of reach, consider waiting until around June when they start to go on sale, or search second hand shops and trade me to find your favourite brands at a fraction of full retail, as you are looking for pieces to last years, who cares if its a season or two old. To get your started, here’s five fashion pieces definitely worth the investment.

coat montageYour winter coat will arguably be the one item you wear the most over the cooler months. If you are wanting just one coat to work with every outfit you need to choose a neutral colour like black, dark blue, grey or camel. Choose a classic cut that won’t date in seasons to come, if you choose wisely you should be able to easily still be wearing this coat in five years. Brands that are renowned for their gorgeous coats include Juliette Hogan, Twenty Seven Names, Kate Sylvester, Workshop, Country Road and Witchery. A new coat is on my list to buy this season, here’s a couple of favourites I’ve seen so far…
coat final 27 names 2 Twenty Seven Names Pembroke Coat $750

coat final 27 names Twenty Seven Names Clairmont Coat $550

coat final witchery Witchery Wrap Blanket Coat $450

leather montageLeather Jackets have been a staple of any stylish wardrobe for many years now, and they aren’t going anywhere fast so it’s definitely worth the investment. From the most casual look- think jeans, a tee and converse to a night out in your favourite cocktail dress, a beautifully cut, soft leather jacket is the perfect way to complete your look. I got mine about five years ago from Moochi and it’s still in fantastic condition, in fact I think it’s still their most popular style.
leather jacket final moochiMoochi Piper Jacket $749

leather jacket final witchery Witchery Double Zip Biker $699

knit collageThe difference between a quality knit and a cheap knock off is extremely obvious within the first few wears. A quality knit will feel cosy, soft, stay pill free and keep its shape season after season. Choose a shade that best compliments your skin tone and eye colour, I normally choose greys, blues and greens as they compliment my eyes the most. Brands like Workshop, Juliette Hogan, Kate Sylvester, Witchery and Country Road always do stunning knits. My absolute favourite already is this stunning jersey from Juliette Hogan.
knit final jho 1Juliette Hogan Roll Neck Sweater $459

knit final country roadCountry Road Maxi Cardigan $199

bag montageI haven’t bought a new bag for 8 years and I think it’s time. Deadly Ponies is New Zealand’s best in my eyes, they strike the perfect balance of style, function and quality. Yes they are expensive, however if they last 8 years like mine current one has, the cost per wear is cheap as chips. I’m tossing up between getting another Deadly Ponies bag or one from Kate Of Arcadia. Katie Smith, the woman behind Kate of Arcadia happens be one of the original designers of Deadly Ponies. Other brands that I’ve heard fantastic things about are Saben, Mimco and even Kathryn Wilson has also bought out a great bag this season. If like me you are after just one bag to work everyday, just like a winter coat, choose a neutral shade that will go with every look in your wardrobe, colours like black, dark ink blue and camel would work well.
bag final dp 1 Deadly Ponies Mr Fill & Zip $750

bag final dp 2 Deadly Ponies Mr Fill & Zip $750

bag final loa 1 Kate of Arcadia Mickey $395

bag final koa 2 Kate of Arcadia Manx $525

boots montageThe perfect blend of comfort and style, the best boots will feel like your favourite Converse but give your outfit the needed edge. Last Winter I bought my first pair of Chaos and Harmony flat ankle boots and they were worth every cent. This season I can’t wait to see what they are going to do, other brands that always get it right are Beau Coops, Kathryn Wilson and if you are really wanting to invest a mortgage payment or two check out Anine Bing and Modern Vice.
boots final beau coops Beau Coops Beau5 Ankle Boot $389

kathrynwilson Kathryn Wilson Frankie Boot $379

boots final modern vice Modern Vice Jett Classic Ankle Boots $530

boots final bing 5 Anine Bing Boots $900

One final piece of advice, only invest in quality pieces that speak to your sense of individual style, forget ‘fashion’, forget ‘cool’ – your style is timeless and pieces you love will be worn season after season and make your investment worth every cent.

ONCE YOU GO BLACK…

Buyers remorse. It’s something I would normally associate with a hot wee dress that cost a mortgage payment and never saw the light of day outside my closet. But after my house renovation, buyers remorse is a much bigger cloud over my day. We only renovated last year, and already I desperately want to change some big ticket items. When I was researching for our renovation I had lusted after incredible black tap ware, but it wasn’t available in New Zealand so I had to settle for silver. Mere months after dancing around my fancy new kitchen, I now see that New Zealand has finally come to the party and does stock black tap ware, and I’m glaring at my silver tap sideways like it’s an impostor. I tried to console myself by thinking it would be stupidly expensive anyway and therefore would never have been an option, but alas it’s not. It’s totally reasonably priced. Damn it.

I torture myself looking at amazing kitchens and bathrooms with their fancy black tap ware hanging out all sleek and stylish, and so much cooler than my chrome, especially when mixed with lots of white, marble, concrete and timber. See what I mean…

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BE MY VALENTINE

What thoughts does Valentines Day conjure up for you? It seems to be quite a polerising day. Some just love it, a chance to spoil and be spoiled. Others see it as nothing more than a commercial ploy to make us buy more. Me? I simply think it’s the perfect day for me to buy something to treat myself and then explain my shopping to my husband in a way that makes him think I’m doing him a massive favour, spearing him from having to rack his brain about what to get me. Surely a win-win yes?

Here’s what I’m thinking of getting on behalf of my beloved…
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Starting bottom left:
All You Need Is Love print from Paperplane: I LOVE this print, instantly it makes me hum the Beatles classic hit (oh and think of that amazing scene from Love Actually!), the gold foil adds some glamour, you could either frame it in a plain black or white frame, or even use simple black washi tape.

Lindi Kingi Bracelets: I can’t get enough of Lindi Kingi’s designs, and this triple cream Howlite and gold bracelet is the perfect arm candy.

Lonely Lingerie: For you girls who don’t know, this is the beautiful lingerie line by the talented designers of Lonely Hearts. My pick is the Bonnie underwire bra and brief set, so damn pretty.

Adore from Collected: Adore is a beautiful hard-cover book filled with colourful interiors that would look gorgeous on any coffee table (and yes that’s important, I’m totally judging a book by its cover).

Fine Rings from Kirstin Ash: The best fine rings in the biz, there are so many gorgeous designs in her range, she has also recently bought out some knuckle rings that are on my wish list.

Lucky me, he totally nailed it this year don’t you think!

THE FIVE BEST INTERIOR PLANTS (& HOW NOT TO KILL THEM)

I’ve had a checkered past when it comes to plants. My mother can attest to having to rip out my entire vege patch and replant it more than once due to my inability to keep anything green alive. However I do have a strong love for interior plants, you may have noticed that in every room of my house, there are at least a couple. They are the perfect cost effective way to add colour and soul to a space, well not so cost effective if you have to replace them as regularly as me. I’ve managed to kill some from forgetting to water them, to others dying from being over watered – I didn’t even know that was possible?!
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In an attempt to improve my green thumb game, I’ve done a little research, hopefully this new found knowledge will ensure my plants live a long and happy life. Here’s my five favourites and a couple of pointers on how not to kill them…

cactus real finalCactus & Succulent
I love the huge variety of shape, colour and texture available in cacti and succulents. Another massive bonus (and vital given my past) is how super low maintenance they are! More so than you may imagine, you only need to water them every couple of weeks in spring and summer. Wet the top of the soil thoroughly, but be sure not to drown the plant and use room temperature water so the roots don’t get shocked. During the colder months you can water them even less, and let the soil dry out between watering. Keep in bright, but not direct sun light.

snake plant finalSnake Plant
Otherwise known as Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, Snake Plants are a succulent plant, which means the leaves retain lots of water. Snake plants will thrive in a sunny spot and need to be watered each couple of weeks in summer and less in winter. Wet the top of the soil thoroughly, but be careful not to over water as the roots could rot. Snake Plants height and narrowness mean they work well styled in most places around your home without taking up too much room.

fig leaf final Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
I love these trees! They are just stunning, it’s definitely the next on my list to get. Fiddle Leaf Figs prefer bright light, but not being directly in sunlight as it can burn its leaves. Due to its beautiful large leaves, it tends to gather dust so make sure it’s wiped off so it can ‘breath’. You need to water it when the top inch of the soil becomes dry, the easiest way to check this is to put your finger in the soil, you will soon know how often to water it within your homes unique environment.

areca palm finalAreca Palm
These beautiful palms are perfect when you want your home to have a coastal vibe. Areca palms do best with bright light and last longer with some direct sunlight. Like many palms, they are sensitive to overwatering, so let the soil dry out slightly between waterings.

philodendron finalPhilodendron
Hanging plants are the new black, they seem to be in every interior magazine. One of my favourites is the philodendron. Conveniently it is also very low maintenance, so it suits me perfectly. Philodendrons enjoy bright, indirect light the most and you only need to water it when the top inch of soil becomes dry.

string of pearls finalString of Pearls
So I know I said that I’d give you my top five indoor plants, but hey everyone loves something for free right!? And how cool is this plant, I love how unique and delicate the String of Pearl is. It looks perfect on a shelf so the pearls can cascade down, I have one in my kitchen and it’s a wee stunner. They like bright light, even sunlight and need watering every couple of weeks in summer and once a month in winter. Like other succulents, String of Pearl can get root rot if you overwater, so be careful.

Top Tips for Plant Care
1. Repot the plant after you buy it. Ideally pots should have drainage holes, but many these days don’t, meaning you have to be extra careful with watering levels.
2. Get schooled up on what level of light and water your plant likes best. Try creating an alert on your phone for watering times if you find it hard to remember.
3. Mix a small amount of fertiliser with water for watering over summer months.
4. Repot the plant if / when it gets too big for its current abode.
5. Play your plants late 90’s hip hop, they love it.

With the huge increase in popularity of indoor plants, naturally plant pots and holders are also popping up everywhere. Here’s a round up of my favourites from design stores Flux Boutiqe, Paperplane Store and Collected, but don’t forget to check the likes of The Warehouse and Kmart for even more budget friendly buys.
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The Design Twins are an Australian based brand I’m kind of obsessed with, it’s been a long distance, one sided affair thus far, but that’s all about to change, I’m super excited as of March they will be available from their first New Zealand stockist, Republic in Auckland.
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You could always try your hand at a little DIY, terracotta pots are only a few dollars from Mitre 10 and Bunnings, using painters tape and some test pots in your favourite shades you could turn them into your own stunning designer pots! Here’s a couple I did for my kitchen. diy pots final