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…
vday final

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?!
plant montage

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.
fluxmontagecollected montagepaperplanestoremontage
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.
design twins montage

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

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.

shelves1shelves8
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.

get the look entrance 2

INTERIOR DESIGN: INSPIRING CAFES

One of my very favourite things to do is while away time in a cafe. The best obviously have amazing coffee and mouthwatering food, but also without a doubt they have inspiring interiors. I have often wanted to replicate different aspects of a cafe’s design into my own home, from lighting to open shelving and tiled splash backs. Despite zero industry experience, my husband and I have spend way too much time day dreaming about opening our own cafe, solely so we could design the fit out (well ok having free flat whites for the rest of my life would also be ok). Here’s some of my favourite designs I’ve seen, what a dream it would be to travel around the world visiting them all!

One of my very favourites is Hally’s, a Californian inspired cafe in London. There’s so much I’d love in my own home from the white washed brick, to the floating wooden shelves and the dip dyed wooden chairs.
ahallys1hallys montage 1

Next is Portrait Haarlem in Amsterdamn, housed in renovated stables it’s a truly beautiful space. I love the use of layered neutral finishes and textures rather than bright colours.aPORTREIT-HAARLEM3haarlem montage

I’m not sure about the name of this Melbourne cafe- Barry’s, but I am sure I love the colour palette! If anyone knows where I can find some espresso cups like those I will owe you big time! They would look just perfect next to my new coffee machine.a ltvs-barrycafe-01a ltvs-barrycafe-13

What is it with random cafe names in Aussie? This one made me laugh, Hams and Bacon in Sydney has a gorgeous vine covered exterior and I love the yellow subway tiles!hams-and-bacon-1ham-and-bacon-2hamsandbacon 3

Here’s a few more bonus pics too good not to share…

Holy Belly Cafe in Paris, a combo of exposed brick and festoon lights will win every time. holybellycafe in paris

Restaurant Story in Helsinki, the 10 metre high ceiling is epic.restaurant story in helsinki

And finally on our worldwide cafe tour, Hueso in Mexico somehow makes bones beautiful, not an easy task.hueso mexico

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
CABINET BEFORE 2

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
cabinet paint strip collage

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.
cabinet complete frontcabinet after montagecabinet final in roomcabinet after in room frontcabinet after in room

BEFORE / AFTER
cabinet before after

BRINGING RETAIL TO LIFE

I’m loving a new concept in retail that is being seen around the globe, where entire houses and apartments are being created and then styled full of amazing finds with everything in the space from books and linen, to art and furniture for sale.

The Loft in Amsterdam is the brainchild of The Playing Circle. Let’s take a moment to just appreciate those windows. Wow.loft3loft5 I love the picture ledges, the stripped cushions, the parquet floors, the vintage leather armchairs…who am I kidding, I love everything in this space, I can’t fault it.loft4loft2This bedroom is almost to much to deal with, it’s so so stunning, the muted tones and mix of new and vintage furniture is inspiring.loft7

Closer to home one of my very favourite Australian blogs, The Design Files presents The Design Files Open House each year. This year they built an apartment within a huge warehouse space and filled it with a carefully curated collection of furniture and homewares, all available for sale.designfiles6designfiles1designfiles2designfiles5designfiles7designfiles8designfiles10

HOUSES I’VE STALKED LATELY

With Summer being a little lazy this year, I thought we could all use some distraction from what’s happening outside. Let’s instead focus inside, inside other peoples houses to be exact. Here’s a few stunners I’ve stumbled across via my favourite blogs recently…

I love this relaxed family home, with its combination of timber, concrete and pops of colour. I pretty much want to completely copy their exterior courtyard for my home. Click to see more here.
1.0house

It’s no surprise the couple who own this home are an architect and a designer! I love the natural light they have poured into the home through the use of skylights, and how amazing is that tap! To see more click here.
3.0house

Sometimes when I see a home I love on a blog or in a magazine, I then check out the architects website as it’s often a goldmine of equally stunning homes. Jardine Homes is one such pot at the end of a rainbow.
4.0house

You can view this next house tour here, but first let’s just stop for a moment and imagine lying by this pool….
vtibiza3…ahhh wasn’t that nice!

Right back to reality, rain, school holidays and a Christmas list to finish (well start actually).

CHRISTMAS WISH (AS OPPOSED TO REALITY) LIST

Is it just me who buys their own Christmas presents from their kids and then pretends to act surprised on Christmas morning?

My present from my thoughtful children this year is this beautiful Turkish Tribal Coin Necklace from Neon Gypsy. I’ve recently discovered their amazing store in Mount Maunganui, I love its boho rock vibe. They have a great online store too, so no one has to miss out! I couldn’t resist but play dress ups, I swear I’m going to take it off right now and wrap it up. Maybe.

necklace1necklace2necklace 3

If I decide my children want to be super generous this year, here’s a few other things I would love them to get me…

christmas wish list

The Horse Watch from Paperplane Store How stunning is this watch! It would look perfect stacked with my Lindi Kingi bracelets. I love the combination of silver and rose gold, and that nude leather is just beautiful.
Peony & Blush Suede Perfume from Jo Malone I was introduced to Jo Malone by one of my best friends who used to work there. I have several different fragrances from Jo Malone, and Peony & Blush Suede is the latest I’ve fallen in love with.
Hammock Hanging Chair from Citta Design I’m hoping a sunny day and quiet children come in a package with this Hammock Chair from Citta!
Diptyque Candle from Mecca Cosmetics Over 90 hours burning time with this Diptyque Candle, and then when it’s finished I love using the glass holder to house makeup brushes or as a small vase for summer blooms.
Rose Leather Sandals from Chaos & Harmony I have tried on these sandals and fell in love, alas I can’t afford them at the moment with my shopping ban firmly in place, Santa? Anyone?
Market Bag from Paperplane Store There are amazing ‘Little Big Markets’ here that alternate location between the Mount and Papamoa Beach, this bag would be perfect to fill up with all the treats I get each visit.
Polka Dot Journal from Paperplane Store Imagine the amazingly insightful yet witty things I could write in this journal?!

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

TWO JANES SHOPPING WISH LIST

Here’s a wee round up of what I would LOVE to be buying at the moment. But I can’t. I thought mortgages and children were bad enough at eating up my money previously destined to purchase designer digs. Well they ain’t got nothing on three little letters, three VERY expensive letters. IVF. We are currently busy saving for IVF but the mountain we need isn’t being built fast enough, so it’s time for drastic action. Two Janes will just have to live vicariously through others shopping fun, because for at least the next few months there can’t be ANY fancy new purchases, NONE, no amazingly crafted justification will cut it. Hopefully by saying this out loud it will help force me to stick to the rule. I will still post about fancy new things I can’t buy though, so never fear!

twojanes wishlist for home
From Bottom Left: Kara Rosenlund Print from Indie Home Collective | Wildfolk Candle from Paperplane | Our House in the City from Paperplane | Turned Wood Candlestick from Flux Boutique | Concrete Pots from Superette | Madam Stoltz Wire & Wood Basket from Superette

get in my closet
From Top Left: Spur Stud Earrings from Meadowlark | Dresden Jumpsuit from Juliette Hogan | Converse Dainty Whites from Stirling Sports | Stripe Tank Dress from Bassike | Cascade Gunmetal Sandal from Chaos & Harmony | Violet Frill Top from Twenty Seven Names | White Girlfriend Jeans from Glassons