Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Outdoor Spaces - Choosing Practical and Beautiful Furniture

You may have read my blog about our front courtyard renovation back in October. We have finally completely finished it! It needed some furniture and outdoor cushions, and it took a while to find the perfect combination of looks, practicality and comfort (not to forget price too, of course!).


We went for both a dining setting and comfy sofa. It's not our main dining area, but a nice place to have a cup of coffee and read the paper, leaving the gate open to say hi to passing neighbours (we live on a very friendly street).

We chose a round Tolix dining table, as it's a small area, and matching Tolix stools for the kids. They're in galvanised steel so won't rust. Then we found some vibrant orange Fermob chairs on sale for the adults (aluminium, so again, won't rust).



The Elan sofa was a bit of a deal from Wintons Teak, as we got a second one for our back garden, and practically got them half price. They're in super practical black woven synthetic cane and outdoor fabric, but needed brightening up with some Yellow Front Door outdoor cushions.



For the cushions we chose a Trina Turk design "Jax" as felt the colours and the graphic, checkered pattern would go with the encaustic cement tiles (and our yellow front door!).

Once the front garden was complete, we felt we had to jazz up the back garden too as it was lacking functionality and a comfortable spot to sit and read or relax. So, I'm sorry trampoline, but you had to go! This opened up an area for lounging, so we put the second Elan sofa here, plus a couple of Ikea outdoor chairs.


For the cushions in the back garden we went for colourful Trina Turk ones again (I love her style) in "Arches in Bamboo" and "Peacock in Pool". We mixed them up with a few plain taupe ones to counter-balance the vibrancy of the others.



We also have a gazebo for dining, but always found it to be dark, dirty and oppressive. So we removed the ugly dark bamboo walls, and replaced them with vertical joint boards in fresh white, with a strip of perspex at the top which allows in the light also seals the area so it's now water-tight.

 


The problem with tarting up one thing is it makes the other areas look so shabby! So now we need to paint the dining table and buy new chairs and a stunning central pendant light to complete the look.

















To add some sparkle to your outdoor space, shop our Yellow Front Door outdoor cushions here yellowfrontdoor.com.au/outdoorcushionsonline/

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Sculpture by the Sea Sydney 2015

Due to a husband on crutches, I could only get to the Marks Park area of Sculpture by the Sea this year, but it's still a stunning part to visit - I love the openness of Marks Park, the views, and the way the sculptures interact with the environment around it.

It's on for another 10 days so make sure you get down there - preferably early morning during the week. And grab brekky afterwards at the brilliant pop-up cafe "The Grounds", perfect for a coffee and a bacon and egg brioche.




Yellow Front Door
Sculpture by the Sea


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Cushion Creativity



Cushions are undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to update your interior space, and also help to define a particular style or colour palette.

Here are some simple tips to follow when choosing cushions.

Number
Don't be stingy with the number of cushions - a sofa with lots of cushions will add visual interest and be much more inviting.

Colour
Cushions usually need to tie in with an existing room. Choose your cushion colours by looking to an existing rug, painting, wall colour or decorative piece. Start with neutrals like grey or beige, charcoal or white, and add a couple of other colours that work in with the scheme.

Black, white, grey and yellow scheme. Cushions by Sian Elin  
On the left, the pink in the cushion picks up on the pink in the painting. On the right, the blue goes with the candlesticks. Cushions by Imogen Heath
Pattern
Mix up the patterns - try a stripe, floral, geometric, animal print - and remember to add a few plain, unpatterned ones to to allow the eye to rest. Often cushions from the same designer go together and tell a story, without being too matchy-matchy.

Geometrics with florals. Cushions by Imogen Heath
Texture
For winter, I like to use wool, felt, leather or velvet cushions, in deep or warm colours to add cosiness and warmth. In summer I swap them for light, natural fabrics such as cotton or linen, usually in lighter, brighter colours.

Lambswool cushions by Gabrielle Vary
Mood
If you're after a more classic, sophisticated or formal look, go for rich fabrics like silk or velvet in jewel-like colours.

Jewel-like colours on silk, by Jonathan Adler
If it's a more casual, beach vibe you're after, look to linens or weaves in natural colours like white, tan, pale grey and straw.

Linen cushions for that relaxed feel
Placement 
Choose cushions in a variety of shapes and sizes, placing smaller or lumbar cushions in front of larger square ones. Make sure the insert is approximately 5cm larger than the cover for a fuller look.

Cushions by Lorna Syson
Refresh Often
Trends and styles change often, so keep your cushions updated to stay current and prevent the room looking dated.

Cushions by Sian Elin
Lastly, go with what you love and will make you smile upon entering the room.

Shop a variety of cushions online at Yellow Front Door





Thursday, 1 October 2015

Our Garden Renovation

Back in July, my husband and I decided to embark on a renovation of our front garden - you know that little courtyard you walk through when approaching the front door. It's now finished, and I'd like to share with you the process, our choices, and some before and after pics.
Our house is a typical Bondi semi-detached house, built in 1940, and the garden is a modest 5 x 4m space. Given it's era, we had to carefully choose products and plants that remain true to the character of the house while still appealing to my preference for clean, contemporary lines. We live here with our two young children, aged 5 and 7, so it had to be practical, hard-wearing, and stain resistant. The renovation was long overdue (we'd been in the house over four years...and I think the garden was last done in 1977...). 
So out with the buckled 1970s bricks and the stained 1990s terracotta tiles. We knocked down a half wall that separated the courtyard from the verandah, and also ripped up the wide garden bed and climbers that were the bane of my existence - nothing thrives there due to the south aspect. 
Knocking the wall down was the best thing we did - it really opened up the area, made it feel more spacious, and also made it more usable. We laid charcoal granite pavers and teamed them with encaustic cement tiles. We put back a narrow garden bed to break up the line between the stone pavers and the white fence, and chose hardy easy-care tropical plants.  
BEFORE
Verandah before - ugly orange terracotta tiles
Courtyard before - 1970s bricks, very uneven
Wall between to verandah and courtyard made the area feel small, dark and oppressive
The wall came tumbling down! It has really opened up the space and made a MASSIVE difference to the feng sui
AFTER

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View as you walk through the front gate
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View looking back towards street
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Tangerine Outdoor cushion from Yellow Front Door. Hogsten outdoor chair from Ikea
MATERIALS
After much research, we chose charcoal granite pavers for the courtyard in 600x400mm $90 sqm. The dark colour is extremely practical and hides any dirt, marks or stains, and the larger size is pleasing aesthetically while also making the space appear larger. For the verandah we chose black and white encaustic cement tiles, 200x200mm, in a pattern called Fleur Di Lis $120 sqm. They're a modern take on traditional tessellated tiles, and are much less fiddly to lay.
We got both the pavers and tiles from Teranova in Bronte, who were helpful and well priced.
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Granite pavers in charcoal 600x400mm 
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Fleur Di Lis encaustic cement tiles in black and white 200x200mm
PLANTS
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From left: Guzmania (a Bromeliad), Rhoeo Spathacea
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Purple Cordyline
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From left: Philodendron, Calathea
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From left: Cordyline, Bamboo Palm, Cordyline Purple Prince
Thanks to AJL Gardens for doing a brilliant job with all the construction/paving work and plants - they were very precise when laying the pavers and tiles, and their attention to detail really shows.
FINISHING TOUCHES
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Beautiful tiles with Pukeko bird and Pohutakawa tree - a gift from New Zealand
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We love our letterbox from Milkcan

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Stunning New Range of Outdoor Cushions

Summer is just around the corner, and at Yellow Front Door, we're excited to announce our new range of outdoor cushions. The best thing about this range is that we sourced the fabrics and made the cushions, so they are our own Yellow Front Door brand.

Firstly, and probably most importantly, we chose the fabric. It needed to be strong and designed to withstand the harsh Australian sun, rain and humidity. After a lot of research, we chose Sunbrella fabric for it's high performance and superior quality. Sunbrella fabric is made from solution dyed acrylic, which means that the colour pigments are added in the early stages of manufacturing when the acrylic is in it's liquid form, before it's turned into yarn. Therefore, that the colour permeates right through the fabric, so it won't fade. The fabric is resistant to UV, water and mould, and is breathable and very easy to keep clean.  

Now to the colours and styles - we looked for colours that were lacking in our existing range (yellow fro example) but we were also mindful of choosing colours that would complement each other and our existing range, making it easy to mix and match. Sizes are a fairly standard and popular 45cm x 45cm - the perfect size for the outdoor sofa, chair or bench seat.

The four new outdoor cushions are Dandelion (a sunny yellow), Turquoise (bold turquoise), Turquoise Chevron (a textured turquoise and cream in a chevron pattern), and Tangerine (a vibrant orange/melon).

If you're looking to buy outdoor cushions online in Australia, look no further than Yellow Front Door for an exciting, quality range that will last many seasons.

Dandelion Outdoor Cushion Cover

Turquoise Outdoor Cushion Cover
Coral Stripe and Tangerine Outdoor Cushion Covers



Monday, 20 July 2015

What Exactly is Merino Wool?

At Yellow Front Door, we’re pretty specific about the wool cushions and throws we source - they need to be 100% pure, and made from merino wool or soft lambswool. Wool is a wonderful, warm, soft, renewable resource. It’s insulating, water-repellent, very durable, and perfect to snuggle up to in winter.
So how does merino wool differ from other types of wool? Merino is a breed of sheep known for their superior wool. They're widely regarded as having the highest quality and softest wool, finely crimped, and the most comfortable against the skin. This is down to thousands of years of evolution and careful breeding.
Merino sheep originated in Spain, merino being a Spanish word, and prior to the 18th century the export of merino sheep was a crime carrying the death penalty. Since then, merino sheep have been exported to various countries around the world, particularly other parts of Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Now the wool from any merino sheep around the world can be classified as merino wool, and Australia produces around 80% of the world’s merino wool.
Merino sheep are highly adaptable and good at foraging. They’re very tough and strong animals. But not all merino sheep produce wool suitable for textiles, it depends on the strain of the breed. For example, merino sheep bred for meat do not have wool fine enough for textiles. There are different grades of wool and merino sheep produce wool that’s less than 24 microns in diameter. The lower the microns, the finer, softer and more expensive the wool.
At Yellow Front Door, two of our throws are made from merino wool. Rainbow Check Merino Wool Throw features rainbow stripes criss-crossing against a grey background. Rainbow Spot Merino Wool Throw has fun, colourful spots against a grey background, with the reverse in brighter colours. These throws are designed and made in Yorkshire, UK, and their colours resemble a Yorkshire sweet called Yorkshire Mixture. 
Rainbow Check Throw

Rainbow Spot Throw
Lambswool is another soft wool, made from the first shearing of the lamb at around 7 months of age. It’s technically 50mm or shorter, and is very soft and elastic, suitable for high-quality textiles. We've sourced some beautiful lambswool throws and cushions from the UK. Sunset Lambswool Throw is made by UK designer Gabrielle Vary, and uses a variety of greys blended from pale grey to charcoal to create the effect of a landscape at sunset. Citric Acid and Summer Time lambswool cushion covers are fresh, vibrant, and a contemporary take on traditional knitted patterns. Vary is inspired by nature and childhood memories, and all her pieces are knitted using the finest lambswool sourced from a luxury British wool spinner in Yorkshire.
Sunset Throw

Citric Acid Cushion
Sally Nencini is another UK designer specialising in wool products. We stock her Birdie, Big Tree, Cross Stitch Flowers and Tapestry cushion covers. She is influenced by her love of vintage toys, and many of her designs are knitted in her home studio in South East London.
Birdie Cushion

Cross Stitch Flowers and Tapestry cushions
Check out the full range of wool throws and cushions online at Yellow Front Door Treat and yourself to a warmer, cosier winter.

Yellow Front Door Outdoor Cushion Photoshoot

Check out photos from our outdoor cushion photoshoot with interior designer Sarah Barton-Hills at Balmoral Beach wharf. The wharf was the perfect rustic background to show off the colourful cushions. Sarah has a great eye for coordinating colours and styles, and was pretty handy with the camera too.
See our full range of outdoor cushions online at http://www.yellowfrontdoor.com.au






Making New From Old - Artist Joanne Mulcahy Zubani

Local Bondi artist Jo Mulcahy Zubani has an unique and eco-friendly style - finding panels from white goods and other discarded objects on the street and turning them into incredibly interesting and beautiful artworks. Some of her pieces are landscapes, others are still life or abstract, and some are colourful while others more muted. 
I love the way she turns a rust spot into a tree below and transports you to an wintry evening in a park.

Below are pieces from her exhibition at the Bondi Pavilion.
Check out her website http://www.jmzart.com
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http://www.yellowfrontdoor.com.au for more wall art online 

Weekend Away at Pittwater, Sydney

If you need a weekend away from the hectic lifestyle in Sydney, head up to the beautiful Pittwater area - the scenery and beaches are gorgeous, food and shopping is great, and it's only an hour away! Read about our weekend away below:
We stayed in a wonderful boathouse, right on the water, aptly named The Boathouse on the Waterfront, at Careel Bay, which you can book through Stayz. It features a double bedroom, single bedroom, bathroom, fully equipped kitchen, simple but comfortable decor, a gas fireplace, and best of all, a deck and it's own jetty jutting into the water.
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We hired kayaks the first day from Careel Bay Wharf which was great fun, and explored the local area checking out all the divine boats and houses.
That afternoon we had lunch at Clareville Kiosk, a lovely little restaurant with one hat from the Sydney Good Food Guide. The food was great, service very friendly, and we sat next to the open window looking onto a delightful frangipani tree. Great beach for a dip in the water after lunch too. Check out the sublime pork belly and panna cotta below.
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That night we stayed in our little boathouse, relaxing in the chaises on the deck, reading, eating cheese and drinking wine.
The next day we couldn't resist lunch at The Boathouse Palm Beach - if you haven't been there you must go. It's got the most amazing location, on a old pier right over the water on the Pittwater side of Palm Beach. The decor is to-die-for with lots of lobster pots, rustic furniture and fruit and flowers spilling everywhere. The food's pretty good too - I had an awesome burger.
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Then of course we had to stop in the shop Bow Wow in Palm Beach, and I bought some lovely clothes, while my friend bought an amazing painting from local 24 year old artist Daniel Stephen, similar to the one below.
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A visit to the area is not complete without a stop in at the wonderful Mark Tuckey store - I can dream!
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If you're in need of a re-charge away from busy "life" I highly recommend a weekend in Pittwater!