THREE BIRDS RENOVATIONS

When I first heard about these women, I thought to myself, I want to be just like them when I grow up! (Never mind the fact I’m already fully grown with almost three kids). I love that three busy Sydney mums who were already successfully ruling the corporate world decided to jump off the comfort of that corporate cliff and plunge into the unknown to create Three Birds Renovations. Now they are working together to buy and renovate homes in just 6/7 weeks before selling them and making a tidy profit. Hmmm yes dream job right there.
3birdsprofile

They are currently renovating their third house, after two incredible results. We all love a before and after right, so feast your eyes…

Reno one, aptly named the Hoarders House
3birds house one exterior3birds house 1 deck3birds house1 lounge3birdshouse1kitchen

Reno two, the Hamptons House
house2exteriorhouse2deckhouse2kitchenhouse2loungehouse2bathroom

Their style is inspirational, but attainable and they generously share their experience (right down to budgets and profit made) and design tips – who would believe these lights are from Bunnings?! 3 birds cheap lights
And this great idea for a laundry bench top, less than $100 also from Bunnings.cheap laundry bench

You can follow along their current reno on their new youtube channel, it’s must see viewing for me each Monday night, it’s so exciting watching their real time progress. It’s also brilliant to see three strong, talented women working hard together to create something amazing, their chemistry and humour is infectious and leaves you wanting to join their squad.

It takes a huge amount of bravery to follow your dreams, especially when you have already created a strong career in another field. I know many of my friends who are in their 30’s, having forged successful corporate careers and especially after becoming mothers are wanting something more. A job that will feed your soul as well as your bank balance. I’ve been going through the same process, with the knowledge that I will be going back to work next year and so have decided to take my own little leap. I am currently doing a Diploma in Interior Design, hoping to turn this passion of mine into a career. Watch this space! xx

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

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

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).

THE LITTLE THINGS – INTERIOR MAGAZINE GOODNESS

We all have those little things that put a smile on our face right – a new issue of your favourite magazine, getting a pedicure, eating your third piece of chocolate mud cake, an awesome old-school beat surprising you on the car radio (90s hip hop is my jam)….this is a celebration of those small moments that can brighten your day, here’s another hot little tip for you to add to your get happy arsenal.

It’s not exaggerating to say I am obsessed with Interior Design Magazines. I feel like Carrie from Sex & The City when she realised she had spent a house deposit on shoes. My two favourites are without a doubt Inside Out Magazine from Australia, and New Zealand’s own Homestyle Magazine. I actually squealed when Inside Out started publishing monthly recently. Here’s a wee look at some of my favourite looks from the current Inside Out November Issue…
Inside Out Nov Cover

This stunning 1930’s Californian Bungalow sits just minutes from Bondi Beach and has recently been renovated into a spacious four bedroom home. I love the abundance of natural light, large windows/doors and scandinavian inspired palette.

Inside Out Nov 1Inside Out Nov 2Inside Out Nov 3

Up next this newly renovated Melbourne home is all kinds of amazing. Just look at this dining room, my dream Wishbone chairs right there! Swooning over the white floors, but could never get my husband to ok that look in our own home. The high ceilings throughout are stunning and I love the black touches in the children’s room.
Inside Out Nov 4Inside Out Nov 5

Although the interior style of this Victorian Terrace in Melbournes’s Albert Park isn’t exactly to my taste, I love way they have bought the outdoors in through large windows overlooking greenery in their kitchen and bathroom. You can never have too much natural light.
Inside Out Nov 6Inside Out Nov 7

The November Issue of Inside Out is available through all bookstores now, it takes a couple of weeks to get the new issues here in New Zealand and sometimes when I just can’t wait that long I buy a digital version hot of the press from Zinio. Are there any other Interior Magazines you love that I just need to know about?

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.

collage 3

RENOVATION: KITCHEN INSPIRATION

I have been waiting for my dream kitchen for so many years – ripped out countless pages from interior magazines and stayed up late into the night getting happily lost in pinterest. Although we are renovating our entire home, the only extension to the space is for our new kitchen. Excited is a massive understatement!

KITCHEN3

I am so inspired by scandi kitchens and they fit the aesthetic of our home so well, with its white wooden raked beams, white walls and black joinery. I want to keep to a pallet of white, white, white – with touches of timber and concrete. I am drawn towards very minimal looking cabinetry, no handles and clean lines.

KITCHEN2

KITCHEN1

I want to blur the lines between indoors and out, creating a space perfect for the long, mild summers we enjoy in the Bay of Plenty. Our home is quite small so maximising indoor/outdoor flow will help give a feeling of spaciousness.

KITCHEN4

I have always loved open shelving in kitchens, filling them with eclectic finds, adding texture and interest. This should also help prevent an all white, minimal kitchen from feeling stark and clinical.

KITCHEN6

KITCHEN5

So typical of me, all the kitchens I have featured here are probably several times the budget I have at my fingertips. A big challenge for me is to recreate the feel of these spaces for a lot less. Wish me luck!

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