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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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.
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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…

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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.

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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!

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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!

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)