HOME RENO: GARAGE CONVERSION INSPIRATION

With our baby due in November, our children will soon outnumber the bedrooms in the house. Our oldest will be 16 then and very keen to have their own space, luckily we have a garage/granny flat that will be perfect, with a lot of imagination and hard work!

Although part of our garage (which is about 70 square metres) has already been turned into a granny flat, the part we want to renovate is still used as a garage, it has the most natural light and bags of potential.

I was so happy to hear my oldest loves the vibe of New York lofts and monochrome palettes. Definitely my genes running through her veins! We are wanting to leave the wooden beams along the ceiling exposed and painted white, add tongue and groove jib board to give the impression of wooden walls and create a loft bed. We will restore two large wooden framed windows that I love, and replace the garage door that opens to our courtyard with bifolding stackers. I’m really excited that I will be able to use a few of the items I have left over from my clothing boutique, like vintage industrial style light shades and a custom made iron freestanding clothing rack.

Here’s some spaces inspiring our renovation…
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Now lets see if we can transform our garage into something incredible that resembles these amazing spaces! Hopefully we end up with a little slice of New York style right here in the Bay, I’m excited to get it under way and show you the results!

(all images from my pinterest page where original sources can be found)

HOME RENO: LIVING ROOM, A WORK IN PROGRESS

Although the main extension to our house was completed last year, there is still so much on the to do list, it’s very much a work in progress. My interiors budget was eaten up by boring but necessary things, so our living and dining space are very, very…minimalist may be a polite way to say it, e.g. we have outdoor furniture in our dining space!

Not many of us have the ability to go on a Block-style shopping spree to furnish and decorate a space, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan it now, even though the end result may not become a reality for a while. By planning a space you eliminate the possibility of purchasing sometimes expensive items that don’t end up even working in the room and you have to either replace or live with it begrudgingly. A plan will also allow you to know when to jump on a second hand store treasure or pick up big ticket items when they are heavily discounted. Slowly but surely you will piecing together the puzzle of your dream room.

Our living room has great bones, the high white wooden beams on the ceiling my favourite feature, great natural light thanks to floor to ceiling windows and light wooden floors. We have a few items already, just the bare necessities; a comfy large couch to relax on, a soft rug for kiddies to play and a ridiculously large TV (all husbands think these are a necessity right?!). I’m really thankful we also got a custom made wall cabinet made by our kitchen supplier, designed to hide all the electrical wires, DVD’s and kids games. We designed it to be floating so it takes up no floor space, as our lounge isn’t a very generous size.
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blog lounge shelvesI love the look of custom made large shelves filled with books, magazines and collected treasures (also a great way to sneak some toy storage under the bottom shelf!). I’m not sure if I would like to go with white or a light oak finish yet.

lounge hanging chairPerhaps not the most practical thing with wee children, but I don’t care, I loooove hanging cane chairs, they are the perfect mix of scandi-boho-beachy looks that I love.

Lounge dreams coffee tableA round coffee table would balance the hard straight lines created by the existing furniture and be the safest style with children running around. I am in love with the round coffee tables Australian designer Mark Tuckey creates, just got to save my penny’s and get someone to start stocking his incredible range in New Zealand!

lounge finishing touchesEven more so than big ticket items, the finishing touches are what really give a space soul and personality. I love to add colour through plants and accessories and texture and interest through layered throws and cushions. Hopefully when our living area is finished it will feel warm, inviting and relaxing…when ever that will finally be!

All inspiration images are from my pinterest page where original sources can be found.

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.

FIVE THINGS EVERY ENTRANCE SHOULD HAVE

I absolutely love open plan living, the space our extension has given our living, dining and kitchen area, with four sets of large sliding doors wrapping around the space blurring the lines between indoors and out is fantastic, however there is one issue.

There is no front door. Not only do visitors get a little confused about where to go when they arrive (a future mission of mine to fix), but inside the space there is no clear ‘entrance’. Somewhere to drop your keys or check your lippy before you leave, somewhere that’s both practical and stylish. I’ve been looking forward to finally making our ‘entrance’, and I’m so pleased with how the space came together.

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Here’s my guide to the five things every entrance should have…

1. A Small Tray for keys, loose change – There are many beautiful small trays in most design stores, you can pick up something perfect for under $30. Mine is actually the bottom of a hurricane lamp, I loved the perforated design etched into the white metal.

2. Storage – I love cramming as much storage as possible in every room in the house. It is the only way to keep the clutter at bay. For us, I was finding several pairs of shoes waiting to be tripped over near the door each day, so these baskets from Freedom Furniture were the perfect way to hide them.

3. A Mirror – Allows you to have a final check you’re looking amazing (or at least have nothing in your teeth) before leaving the house. This Kmart Mirror was a steal at just $25!

4. Something Green – I like to add something living to every space, it adds colour and vibrancy. I’ve added a mix of succulents, Sansevieria trifasciata otherwise known as Mother-in-law’s Tongue and Pothos all varieties are very hardy (vital when I’m looking after them).

5. A Rug or Mat – this helps to define the space, especially important if it’s in a open plan or multi purpose space like ours. This is next on my list to purchase and I think a black and white striped mat is the way to go.shelves collage

Although in magazines I see homes with hooks for bags and coat racks styled with the colour matched, fashionable items look stunning in an entrance, in real life it’s more likely to be piled with not so fabulous coats, kids hats and old umbrellas – so I prefer to keep all that at the back entrance instead.

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HOME DIY: BEDSIDE TABLE MAKEOVER

I have so many ideas of what furniture I would love to find and restore for our home. The problem is I really have no idea how to do it, so I’ve been procrastinating and have yet to do anything! So I’m starting small, I found this old wooden bedside table at a garage sale for just $3. I figure if I completely stuff up, it’s not too much of a loss. I am hoping it transforms into a gorgeous and unique bedside table for our wee daughter Ava.
cabinet you will need

THE BEFORE
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THE PREP
The first task is to sand all the vanish off the cabinet, so I was left with a smooth even finish. Thank god for an electric sander! It was actually really fun to use. Using a hand sander to finish off all the little corners and edges wasn’t so fun. After you have finished sanding use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the majority of the dust, and then a final wipe with a cloth. Don’t skip doing this process thoroughly as the quality of your final product really depends on how good your preparation is.
cabinet after sanding

THE PROCESS
1. Primer
Paint the cabinet with the primer-sealer, let it dry completely, and then give the cabinet a light sand all over before repeating the process. I used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1.2.3, it dried in 30 minutes and I could recoat in one hour.
cabinet paint to use
cabinet sealer

2. Paint
Paint the cabinet with the semi-gloss water based enamel, just like with the primer I let it dry then gave it a light sand before giving the cabinet a second coat. I did notice that you could still see some brush strokes in the paint, this could have been improved by using a more expensive high quality paint brush. I’d definitely invest in better brushes next time.

3. Design
Ava’s got a huge obsession with bunny’s so I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate that. I really loved a bunny print I had seen on a pinterest image, and tried my best to replicate it onto the front of the cabinet door. To make it a little easier I first sketched the image on a piece of paper until I was happy with it, then cut it out and placed the template on the cabinet so I could trace around it lightly with a pencil and was left with a basic outline of the bunny, this made it a lot easier when painting it.cabinet bunny

I have a lot of left over paint test pots from other art projects in Ava’s room, so I played around with the colours I had until I was happy. This ensured the colours I painted the cabinet would blend well with her existing room. Paint test pots are inexpensive and can be bought from any Mitre 10 or Bunnings. I had initially wanted to create an aztec pattern but gave up thinking it would be too tricky, I instead chose to do different width stripes. Using painters tape to mark each stripe it was extremely easy, make sure you press well on the tape to ensure the paint doesn’t ‘bleed’ through under the tape.cabinet test pots
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THE RESULT
I am so happy with how it has ended up!! It looks so adorable in her room and the colours blend perfectly with her existing furniture.
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BEFORE / AFTER
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HOME RENO: MASTER BEDROOM

bed aaI have always dreamed of an epic walk-in-wardrobe, I actually squealed when I saw what Big built Carrie in Sex & the City, now that’s love. You can imagine my heartbreak when the scaled back version of our extension meant no walk-in-wardrobe and to twist the knife further, no ensuite. I admit I moped around like a deeply heart broken woman for days.

Once I got over my perfect example of a first world problem, I really enjoyed making the most out of the space we had. First we built a ‘headboard’ that ran the width of the room behind the bed. With such a basic square bedroom, we wanted to add some architectural interest and it’s the perfect spot to add art work and other special things.
bed2We placed a large mirror opposite sliding doors, that will eventually go out to a private tropical inspired courtyard (check back on me in a few years to see if we have completed that yet!), to make the most of the abundance of natural light. The mirror is one of my very favourite possessions, I bought it for a clothing boutique I owned many many years ago, from an amazing store called Haunt in Lyttelton (anyone know if it’s still around?). Incredibly it has made it through five house moves following me as I gypsied around the country. I just love the look of the festoon lights around it!
bed4bed16bed11bed5bed23bed3The room is quite small, so creating a feeling of spaciousness was paramount. Luckily the high raked ceilings give the illusion of the room being a lot bigger than what it really is. We managed to steal some space out of the dining room to give us a very generous wardrobe the full length and height of the room, allowing all our clothing and storage to be housed behind three huge 2.4 metre stacking sliding doors. This meant no need for extra furniture taking up valuable space within the bedroom itself. We also took our king size bed off the ‘feet’, so it sat lower to the ground, you would surprised what a big difference that made to the overall sense of space.bed40I love the bedroom we have created, it has a very relaxed vibe, my little escape from the world. I almost don’t even care about the walk-in-wardrobe and ensuite anymore (almost).bed21Linen Duvet: Nest
Cushions: Pony Rider
Bedside Tables: Citta Design via Paperplane
Festoon Lights: Flux Boutique
Leather Pouf: Let Liv
Hanging Basket: Ponsonby Plant Store
Light: Lighting Plus

RENOVATION: BATHROOM

After the kitchen, the bathroom renovation was definitely what excited me most! Any of you who have lived somewhere with a low pressure, dribbly shower would have dreamed of the bliss of a spa like experience each morning instead.

Our bathroom is tiny (you will see from the photos I couldn’t even get a proper shot of the whole space as it’s so poky!), and unfortunately we had no room to extend so we had to make the most of the existing space. I was a wee bit gutted we couldn’t have a separate shower and bath, but seriously – first world problems. We did swap the positions of the bath and vanity to allow a mirror to sit above the vanity, that helped the room be as functional as possible. I chose a timeless palette of white walls, grey/stone floor and black joinery, softened with wooden accents. As we are planning on being in this house possibly forever I needed to choose a look that wasn’t necessarily my favourite right now, but that wouldn’t date as we won’t be redoing it again.
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Size Matters
The major issue was how tiny the bathroom was, so creating illusion of space was paramount. With this in mind we tiled the walls floor to ceiling with 300 x 600 Easy White Gloss tiles. I was a bit overwhelmed with tile choice, however one of my favourite bloggers, Michelle Harford of The Design Chaser used these inexpensive tiles in her recent home build and it helped create a polished, timeless look, so I totally copied her. We chose a floating vanity which helps give extra space on the floor and added smart storage solutions to eliminate the clutter; from baskets under the vanity to a mirror covered cabinet. My favourite tip to help keep clutter at bay is to store all your shower needs out of sight (shampoo, conditioner, body wash etc) in a drainable plastic storage container. I just pop it on the window sill when needed, otherwise it is out of sight in the vanity draw.
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Flooring
I would have loved to have had polished concrete floors throughout our home, but settled on large concrete tiles in our bathroom and toilet. These 600 x 600 Textured Grey tiles were perfect.
bathroom floor tiles

Future Plans
I’m on the look out for a really stunning hanging plant to go over the end of the bath. I pretty much believe you can never have too many plants, they are such a beautiful and inexpensive way to add colour and soul to any space. I would also love to get one bright piece of art to put above the towel rail on the back wall. I’ve been looking for a while and haven’t found anything just right, so if anyone has a suggestion that would be fantastic!

Any Regrets?
In hindsight I would have loved to have a reclaimed timber vanity top, maybe if I ever get my dream ensuite I can put it in there instead!

Get The Look
Bathroom Reno Polyvore 1Clockwise from top left: Timber Hooks from Paperplane | Plants from Freedom | Kip&Co Freckles Bathrobe from Letliv | Wooden Pendant Light from Green With Envy | Baskets from Citta Design | Ashley&Co Candle and Handwash from Paperplane | Tolix Replica Stool from Cintesi

Renovation Suppliers List: Tiles – Bay Tiles, Paint – Resene Black White, Vanity – Michael Cesar, Basin – Roca Terra, Tapware – La Torre, Lighting – Green With Envy

CREATE YOUR OWN PHOTO WALL

Sometimes life gets busy, who am I kidding, life is always busy. It can often make me a little complacent and I forget to appreciate the most important things. I’ve recently created a photo wall in our dining area, I love that being surrounded by memories of special moments with those I love the most puts a smile on my face throughout the day, even if I’m in the middle of folding my third pile of washing. Here’s a guide to help you create one of your own…

create your own photo wall

1. Choose Photos
Choose 10-12 photos that remind you of special moments, I included ones from our wedding, our honeymoon in Greece and a family holiday in Bali. I also added a great print – Blacklist ‘Forever + Always’, from Paperplane. You could even add some of your children’s favourite art into the mix, it’s really just whatever makes you happy. Choose images that everyone in the family is happy with. I wish my mum had followed that rule, I remember rushing inside when bringing my now husband home to introduce him to the family and hiding all the super embarrassing photos on the wall. No one needed to be reminded of my spiral perm, monobrow and braces. No one.

2. Pimp Photos
There are so many free photo editing programmes these days, my favourite would have to be PicMonkey. It’s so easy to use and can really transform your images to rival professional pics.

3. Choose Frames
To help your photo wall look cohesive choose frames in the same colour, or colour palette. I chose black and natural wood which went with the atheistic of our home. If you are going to purchase all new frames, it’s worth finding a framing wholesaler as you will get a high end finish at a great price point. I used Harrison Framing Factory Shop in Mount Maunganui, their customer service and knowledge was outstanding. I bought 10 frames for just under $300.

4. Print Photos
It’s definitely worth getting your photos professionally printed when wanting large prints rather than using the self service machines. Because I had chosen some custom sized frames, having someone help make sure the photos fitted perfectly was fantastic.

5. Design Layout
I love photo walls that look balanced, but not too uniform. The easiest way I found was to lay them out on my lounge floor and have a little play until I was happy. Take a photo once you have chosen the best option.

photo wall on ground

6. Hang Photos
I learnt a new word from my husband ‘eyeometer'(I actually thought he had just made it up!), basically it means calculating sizes and shapes using only your eyes. Using an eyeometer we replicated the layout I had previously designed and photographed onto our wall. We used a spirit level to make sure each frame was straight. The staff at Harrison Frames had advised against using hanging strips (that was music to my ears as they are ridiculously expensive), and instead suggested sawtooth picture hangers. They also sold me little discs to place on the bottom corners of the frames so they sat level against the wall.

7. Enjoy Your New Photo Wall!

photo wall final

When going through all my photos I found it so hard to narrow it down to just ten, in fact I had about a hundred I loved! So I decided to get the framers to make a large plain white frame with no glass and basically used it like a pinboard covering it with photos. I love the end result and it has really brightened up our all white hallway.

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ROOM MAKEOVER: WEE AVA’S ROOM

With no rules or constraints, children’s rooms are easily the most fun to design. I’ve loved the process of changing our youngest girl’s nursery into a ‘big girl’ room. The room was already a stunning space with a gabled ceiling and sweet chandeliers, all we did was paint over the bright pink walls with my go-to Resene Black White and the window was replaced with double glazed joinery. When I was heavily pregnant with Ava, my version of nesting was creating art. Strangely I actually was pretty damn good at it, a fleeting talent that disappeared as quickly as Ava arrived. One of the pieces of art I made was a painting of a elephant that I’d seen on the wall of Auckland store Madder and Rouge. Not gonna lie, I’m kinda impressed at how well I did! Like the rest of our home, Ava’s room is white, white, white – so I used the colours from the painting to inspire the rest of the interior in her room.
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DIY GOODNESS
As well as the art, we actually made a lot of what is in this space. The bed is the top half of an old wooden bunk set my husband painted, the side rails are super handy as it keeps our wriggly two year old in bed as opposed to on the ground. The wee tent design I found online, I desperately wanted to get it but with a price tag of $260 AUS + shipping, we decided to have a go ourselves. Big high fives between me and my husband! TWO JANES AVAS ROOM 10

CHEAP THRILLS
So many things I wanted for this room were just too expensive, but after ALOT of searching/stalking I found some really great budget friendly versions of what I loved. The floating book shelves were just $25 from Bunnings. The little ply houses were a third of what I’d seen elsewhere at just $15 from Cotton On Kids. I decorated them with mini garlands I made out of free paint charts. The rag rug was a total steal at $9 from Bed, Bath and Beyond – I kid you not I spent well over half an hour in that store laying everyone of the large stack of mats on the ground to make sure I got the best. The women working in the store didn’t share my enthusiasm. I used several cute greeting cards and framed them for inexpensive art, several were from Paperplane my fav interiors store in the Mount (hot tip:this store is really amazing, with a great online store to match, definitely worth checking out).
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FAVOURITE DETAIL
Definitely the most special to me is the framed collage of photos of Ava and her Papa. He works overseas most of the year so she likes giving him a kiss each night before bed. Above that is a little angel gifted to us by my aunty Helen. She herself is as close to an angel on earth as you get, having spent over a decade working in South Africa, much of those working with those worst affected by HIV, including running an orphanage for small children and babies with HIV and Aids. She picked up this angel in Italy, while on a trip to Rome. She is a Catholic nun so it is a very special place for her, and to have an angel from there from her, is so special.
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LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
If you like the look of Ava’s Room, I have done a wee round up of a few key pieces from the space…

Avas Room Get the look 1. Citta Design Cushion from Paper Plane   2. Bashful Bunny from Pumpkin Patch   3. Rabbit Print from Paper Plane   4. Cabinet from Behome   5. Felt Ball Garland from Collected   6. Bloomingville Ply Houses from Perch   7. Framed card of Kuini by Ema Frost

SAVING FOR…
Something I would love to get is a marque letter light for above her bed, the best I’ve found are from Fromage La Rue for $149 AUS, they do deliver to NZ for an additional $35. Another cheaper option at $69 AUS, but without the vintage handmade look that I prefer is available from Little Letter Lights Co.

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RENOVATION: KITCHEN

As I write this post, I am sitting at my kitchen island with a coffee, the large doors out to the deck and garden beyond open wide and sun is streaming in, I can even hear the ocean! This was my dream for what I wanted in our new kitchen. Although I had definite thoughts on the atheistic, the way it felt to ‘live’ in the space was even more important.
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My favourite part of our kitchen is definitely the large island bench. It’s 3m long and 1.2m wide and I love every inch. Being able to have the kids sitting around it, chatting with me while I cook dinner, or having my girlfriends over for coffee and all be able to fit around the island easily is just magic. I guess that’s the way I consider it best to think when building or renovating, think about how you live, how you want to use a space that best suits your family’s life and then design around that.

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I would have loved a concrete island bench with a waterfall end, but it was a lot more expensive that I expected, stone was also out of our reach. I was really worried about the options available, but ended up finding a great acrylic product that looks like stone, is even more hard wearing and was in budget. Major high fives all round after that discovery!

With our house being quite small it was really important to blend the kitchen into the open plan space as seamlessly as possible, so the cabinetry has no handles and is matched to the same colour as the walls (Resene Black/White, not all whites are created equal and this is the BEST). We also tried to blur the lines of indoors and out by having large sliders going out to the deck, that can be pushed completely out of view. Beyond the kitchen we have a covered deck, that eventually (i.e. in our dreams) will house an outdoor kitchen, we’re hoping to continue the same cabinetry outside to create more illusion of space.
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I found so many amazing tile options and literally every single one I had my heart on were crazy expensive, like I’m talking a couple of grand crazy. We ended up going with a square subway tile with contrasting dark grout, all up less than $200!

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Although I love the minimal, white, scandi feel we have achieved, I was worried about the space looking too stark. If I have one regret its that we didn’t use timber for the floating shelf, just to add a bit of warmth. In fact I may see if that can be altered at some stage (at this point my husband will be rolling his eyes reading this, as I haven’t mentioned that to him!). I am kind of obsessed with plants right now, and already have several in the kitchen, and would be happy to fill it up even more. It was hard finding cool pots for them, so I did a little DIY and painted cheap $2 terracotta pots with teals, blues and yellow. So easy and the little pops of colour they add was just what the space needed. Other accessories like the art and bluetooth retro looking stereo have been picked up from Paperplane, my favourite design store in the Mount.

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We have industrial white pendants over the dining area, so I wanted quite a different look in the kitchen. The David Trubridge lights I chose give a warmth to the space and an interesting design focus. They also look amazing when lit up at night, bouncing light and shapes off the walls.

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I had been coveting basically everything from Icotraders for so long, and one magic day they had a 50% off sale for 24 hours. I totally did a happy dance in front of my laptop! I chose the Lyttelton Stools in black, I just love them and they are so surprisingly comfortable.

Overall I couldn’t want for more, the new kitchen has really turned into the soul of our home and actually makes me WANT to cook – how good is that!