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.

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

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
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
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
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
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.  
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


View as you walk through the front gate
View looking back towards street
Tangerine Outdoor cushion from Yellow Front Door. Hogsten outdoor chair from Ikea
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.
Granite pavers in charcoal 600x400mm 
Fleur Di Lis encaustic cement tiles in black and white 200x200mm
From left: Guzmania (a Bromeliad), Rhoeo Spathacea
Purple Cordyline
From left: Philodendron, Calathea
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.
Beautiful tiles with Pukeko bird and Pohutakawa tree - a gift from New Zealand
We love our letterbox from Milkcan