Girly glamour and glitz.

“Mum, you need to passion up a bit,” said The Second Little Pig sometime ago, referring to my lack of lipstick and ordinary attire.  She would totally disapprove of the natural, relaxed look that I’m aiming for with House By The Water, if I let her have a say.  We don’t know where she’s got it from, but somehow The Second Little Pig (from hereon referred to as P2) has a kind of pizzazz, a crazy style sense that can only be pulled off by someone with an unusual amount of energy and lack of inhibition.  So for P2’s bedroom we need luxury and sparkles, glamour and glitz, but most of all lots of mirrors! Here’s our common ground:

Restoration Hardware has great kids' room inspiration.

Restoration Hardware has great kids’ room inspiration.

Bold.  Photo source: Macys.

Bold. Photo source: Macys.

I wanted to commit to colours because we had a little furniture makeover planned.  She wants pink, black, purple and white.  3 out of 4 is fair, don’t you think?

Mood board for The Second Little Pig's bedroom.

Mood board for The Second Little Pig’s bedroom.

I decided it was time to start warming up my DIY muscles.  (They are going to need to be in top shape once the keys to HBTW are ours.)  We braved a trip or two (Doesn’t it always take more than one trip to the hardware store?) to the local equivalent of Bunnings or Home Depot, in search of a greyish-pink paint and other supplies.

Et voila!

Before (left) and after.  Styled by P2.

Before (left) and after. Styled by P2.

Cute.  P2 spent several days styling and restyling her new dresser and hutch and self-filmed a little “How to style shelves” movie.  Maybe we’ve been watching a little too much home-improvement TV. P2 has drawn up a bedroom layout plan, to scale with some help.  We have plans to make a fancy head board – light grey velvet(?), some sort of drapey thing to hang over the bed and probably a faux chandelier.  Aussie readers, do let me know if you spot a reasonably priced dress-model thingy (I’ve forgotten the proper name again) for hanging jewels, handbags and scarfs on, like the one shown on our mood board.

Aunty Kate’s House

Sunset over the city.

Sunset over the city.

Aunty Kate,  do not read any further!

My sister is the biggest sap I know.  If she reads nice things about her home – the first home she owned together with her partner, and their first family home – she’s going to cry.

As I’ve said before, Kate has great style.  She has an eye for beautiful old stuff and stylish new stuff, and a weakness for buying it.  She has the patience and talent to reupholster a chair, paint some art, sew a beautiful quilt and give new life to old furniture.  She is also brutally honest, so she keeps me on the straight and narrow with my styling ideas for House By The Water.

Aunty Kate’s apartment in Breakfast Point, in Sydney, is on the market, so it’s a good excuse for us to take a sticky beak.



The perfect place for wine and cheese!   Adirondack chairs from Ocean Country Furniture.   Pots from Bunnings.

Living area

Rug from Pottery Barn.

Rug and cushions from Pottery Barn.  Moroccan leather pouffe from Table Tonic.  DIY reupholstered arm chair and paintings by Kate.  Framed photos by her partner.

Aunty Kate said "If she saw another real estate picture of limes or lemons, she'd scream."  So she go pomegranates instead.

Shutter love.

Aunty Kate said “If I see another real estate picture of limes or lemons, I’ll scream.” So she bought pomegranates instead.  Since working for Sydney Markets (and being a judge of “miscellaneous vegetables” at the Royal Sydney Show!), my sister knows her pomegranates from her persimmons!  There is always a bunch of fresh and fancy flowers in her home.

The shutters throughout this apartment are partly responsible for convincing me we need shutters in our new home.  They look so good, the light control is great and they are tough!  Note the sliding shutters.

Breakfast Point living area.

Entertainment unit made from Tasmanian blackwood, by Oz Design.  Wall paint is Dulux Sisal (but be warned Real Estate photography has a tendency to oversaturate the colours.) And the flower-in-vase  painting is by my mother-in-law.

Custom cabinetry.

Custom cabinetry.

My nieces’ room.

Photos exclusive to HBTW!  And by my special request.  I love this room.  It always looks gorgeous and has morphed over time; originally a guest room, then home to one little girl, then two!  It’s a showroom of many of Aunty Kate’s talents.

Girls room.

Room for two little rabbits. Painting by Kate.  Wall colour Taubmans Blue Waltz.

Ahh…  I’m getting sentimental now.  That cot is up to baby number 5!  My 3 kids slept, sang and cried in there, then Aunty Kate’s two little girls.

Toddler bed.

Hello Charlotte! Bunting, mobile and quilt all handmade by Kate.

Community space

Old fashioned cricket field - the scene of my son's first birthday.

Old fashioned cricket field and pavillion- the scene of my son’s first birthday, hosted by Aunty Kate.

Fancy a pied-a-terre in Sydney, or a few more angles of Aunty Kate’s home?  Pop over to to see more.

Tween room.

The First Little Pig is about to turn 10.  There are days when my stuffed-toy-loving daughter still seems like a little girl and, gradually more often,  there are days when she seems all grown up.  She’s certainly old enough to have her own opinion on most things, including her own room.  I’ve been trying some gentle persuasion using my favourite pictures of bedrooms, many of which my daughter has categorically dismissed.  And, in turn, she has collected some pictures that I’m not too fond of.    We’ve managed to find just enough common ground:

Purple bricks.  Girls bedroom.

Source: Originally on Vertbaudet. (No longer available.)

OK, so we are not painting a wall purple, but if we had a brick wall with daggy bricks, I’d go for it.  My daughter’s favourite colours are blue, white and purple.  She is attracted to drawers, shelving and boxes – probably a good thing given her genetic predisposition to hoarding.  (Nothing to do with me.)

Girl's bedroom.

Source:  Original source not found.

Hands up all 10 year old girls who’d like a four poster bed?  What about a hanging chair?  I understand the attraction, but nope, that’s not happening either.

Red bedroom.

Source: Originally on Pottery Barn, no longer available.

I like the more adult colours here.  Still fun and feminine, but fresh too.  Originally I was drawn to this picture by the red and pink tapestry above the bed.  We bought two similar tapestries in India a few years, one for each of our girls.


Source:  Daily Dream Decor.  (Unverified.)

The hanging chair is definitely popular.  I have no idea whether our ceiling could cope, but my daughter is happy with any kind of space dedicated to book reading – so I am planning a book-nook of the more traditional kind.  I like the light colour pallet used in this picture, with a bit of red to avoid it looking too young.  We already have a few things in this colour pallet.

A whimsical room.  Still dreamy but definitely not babyish.  I love this one in every way, though my daughter is not keen on the quilt.

This week’s “Top 5” inspiration pictures are such a hotch potch.  The internet is overflowing with gorgeous baby and toddler rooms and there is plenty of inspiration for adults too.  But where are all the pictures of rooms for the inbeTween years?   Are photographers too scared to enter?  I see my kid’s rooms as a chance to let loose a bit.  To inject some fun and personality.

So here is my mood board (take 1) for my daughter’s room, approved (without any particularly great enthusiasm) by my daughter:

First little pig's moodboard.

Based on furniture and decor we already have.

My mother-in-law painted Van Gogh’s “Almond Blossoms” to celebrate the birth of our first daughter.  In real life, it’s beautiful and is the only “must have” in the room.  Something’s not right with this mood board, but I can’t put my finger on it.  Any suggestions?  I tried adding some bold yellow.  My daughter screwed up her nose and I admit that it’s not right for her.

Adding yellow to the mood.

With yellow?

Of course it can be work in progress and I’m sure it will evolve.  We will be using an old wooden bed that belonged to my Aunt before it belonged to me.  I think it needs a lick of paint.  White?  We’ll also make use of an old wooden bookshelf, bedside table and storage bench – all ripe for the painting.  It’s just a matter of picking a colour.

Edit:  Following your suggestions and photos, the First Little Pig and I prepared this mood board together.  I think it’s much better.  She’ll probably put her very bright coloured donna cover on at first, while we search for “the” perfect bed cover.

Hanging chair bedroom.

Bedroom mood board – Take Three.