Home trends 2015

I’m going for longevity with my material and decorating choices in House By The Water.  However, despite my best efforts to stay true to this, I am not immune to trends.  My preoccupation with beautiful homes on Pinterest and tempting homewares on Instagram and my penchant for watching the likes of “The Block” and “Reno Rumble”, means that I can be a sucker for trends.  Sometimes I get sensible and reign myself in, but sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between fad and enduring style.    Take for example, the style of these sofas that I’m coveting.

They are definitely on trend.  I guess they could be described as Scandinavian style, but I think they look good in Australian “earthy” homes.  I’m seeing them everywhere.  I like them for their height off the floor, allowing the floor space to look larger, and for their simplicity.  But have I been brainwashed?  Am I better off with a more solid design, that is more conducive to slouchy, feet-up moments?

Anyway, I digress.  So far on this blog, I’ve tried not to offend too many readers.  It is with some trepidation that I introduce this topic, but after a recent conversation with one of my readers about an “unnamed material” being used for pendant lighting and the possibility that such “unnamed material” may be a passing fad, I couldn’t resist.  You have all been so lovely, commenting when you see something you like on this blog, but I think you are a little shy when it comes to saying “yuck”.  (Aunty Kate, you may be the exception!)  But readers, I feel I know you well enough now, that you can hit me with the truth.  Tell me what decorating trends you love, those you hate, and especially those beautiful things that you think stand the test of time.

I’ve got some pictures to show you of some current top trends.  Some I like, some I don’t.  Then there is a survey I prepared.  It’s just for fun.  It’s anonymous.  I’ll collate the results later and let you know how much we are like sheep!

  1. Copper

    Sources:  Kitchen, Pots.

  2. Plywood

    Sources:  Book shelves, kitchen.

  3. Human skulls

    Sources:  Bedding, wall art, planters.

  4. Shibori prints

    Sources:  Tea towels, cushions, bed cover.

  5. Animal heads

    Sources: 1.  Country Living, 2.  Domino,  3.  Fran Parente.

  6. Geometric patterns

    Sources:  Black vases, Armadillo Rug, Kitchen.

  7. Chunky knits

    Sources:  Bed cover, Throws, Jacqui Fink art.

  8. Marsala

    Sources:  Sofa (unverified), wall paint.

  9. Fiddle leaf figs

    Vogue Living

    Photo:  Eve Wilson for Vogue Living

  10. Pineapple decor

    Sources:  Clock, Print, Wall Sconce, Chair.

Click “HERE” to access the survey.

Got a home decor trend that you love to hate?  Feel free to get it off your chest by leaving a comment!  I promise not to be offended.  Homes would be boring if we all liked the same things!

What about a trend that you just can’t resist even though you know it’ll soon be “so last year”?

(Feature photo by Eve Wilson for The Design Files.)

 

 

 

4 decades of houses

I’m indulging in a moment of sentimentality because, well, it’s a conspicuous month.  A certain birthday.  I’ve been reminiscing about the 21 houses I’ve lived in, being amused at the decorating fashions that have been recycled over the years and hypothesising about the influences of my history on my current choices for House By The Water.

1974-1980

My first House By The Water.

1980

The A-frame rental.

Memories of itchy chicken-pox as I lay under the pitched roof.

Memories of itchy chicken-pox as I lay under the pitched roof.

1980 – 1984

The humble Australian weatherboard house.

Weatherboard house interior.

Wood lined walls may be perennially popular, but what about lace curtains?  Who cares?  The inhabitants were happy.

On the eve of my 7th (?) birthday, once I’d gone to sleep, my parents moved me into my very own bedroom.  I pretended to remain asleep, but really I was peeking at the newly pine-lined room (thank you Dad), complete with custom made soft furnishings (thank you Mum).  Their renovations had been top-secret until that moment.

1985-1993

Farmhouse.

Was it 2 hours before or 2 hours after settlement of this house that Dad started wielding the sledge hammer?  This old farmhouse needed some work.  My room was pink and black (ergh!) with a barre and gigantic mirror for ballet practice, but my favourite spot was on a wooden platform up a tree where I would write my journal.  Slowly Mum and Dad beautified this country house and large garden.

The garden, with its mountain view, was the perfect place to return to for our good ol’ fashioned country wedding several years later.

Our wedding - with my husband's parents.

Our wedding (in the year 2000) – with my husband’s parents.

1992

Double story English brick houses.

On student exchange to England, I had the privilege of calling 4 different English houses my home.  All were double story and each had a great sense of cosiness.  For the first (and only) time, I experienced the luxury of a bedroom basin.  I thought it was decadence to have my own basin for teeth cleaning.  The grand home above was extra special with a beautiful outlook over a massive garden and a hidden veggie patch keeping my hosts in stock with fruit for evening crumbles.  Yum.

1994-1997

Melbourne – student digs of various descriptions.

So long as a tram rolled passed the door, there were no holes in the floor and the price was right, then we were happy tenants.  Even so, I managed to secure a cute old semi-detached house (not pictured) to share with friends – you know, the kind of house that is one room wide.  It was in Melbourne that the Nice Wolf and I had our first home together.  We rented an apartment in Carlton with a great city view.  Yes, it was best appreciated with the lights off!  But, ooh, what I could do, if only I could get my hands on that apartment now!

1998

Bendigo character house.

Some lovely heritage details in the historic city of Bendigo.

Some lovely heritage details in the historic city of Bendigo.  My room had wooden floors, a fireplace and stained glass windows.

1999-2002

The Indian Ocean.  Mandurah brick and tile.

Two full-time incomes for the first time and freed from Melbourne rental prices, we decided there was only one place to be.  By the beach.   These houses are typical of Mandurah, but with amazing views.  We swam in the ocean most afternoons after work, and watched a pod of dolphins take their daily trip North.  When we moved from the first house to a second house in the same block, we loaded our white goods onto a trolley and wheeled them down the street.  The second house was built by a builder to be his holiday/retirement home.  We rented just one level.  The workmanship was fantastic.  Without a doubt the best feature was the upstairs, outdoor spa, just right for serving cocktails as the sun set.

2003-2006

Renovators’ delight.

This house was our first purchase.  A 1970’s brick and tile do-er-upper.  We spent 3 years renovating on weekends – rendering the outside, restoring the roof, installing recycled wood floors, completely gutting the kitchen and 2 bathrooms.  The Nice Wolf is pretty handy and put in a new kitchen. We did most of the work ourselves and a lot of it the hard way.  It was a good project to “cut our teeth on”.  My favourite place was the back yard.

2006-2009

Canadian townhouse.

This was a beautiful townhouse in a beautiful area, walking distance from Lake Ontario.  Wood floors, high ceilings and a wood-look, gas fire place for wintery nights.

2010-2011

The Queenslander.

The source of much inspiration.  Plantation shutters, wood floors, white kitchen.  Our first pool.

2011-present

City high-rise monstrosities with views.  China, South-Korea, Brazil.

2015….

House By The Water…..never move again.

 

Gallery

Colour therapy and paint

Interior painting is included in our house contract.  We won’t need to select paints for a while, but it’s a relaxing way to spend time while I am waiting for construction to start.  In particular I want to get the double-height living room right because repainting it will involve scaffolding, an exercise I hope to avoid for many years.
Although I find rich, moody colours so tempting, the overall look we are going for with HBTW is light and natural.  My plan is to use just one colour for most walls in the house.  Here’s my shortlist:

Snow White, Feather dawn, Soft Apparition, Crystal Ball, Scribbly gum, Paper White.
I know it is absolutely necessary to test these on site because the colours online, in photos, in someone else’s room, in different light, etc, all look different.  Take Scribbly Gum as an example.  Based on the swatch above, it looks beige to me, rather than a light grey that I’m aiming for.  But check out how it looks in this bedroom:

Scribbly gum paint.  Source:   MS Mega Home Lottery.

Scribbly gum paint. Source: MS Mega Home Lottery.

More grey, don’t you think?
One of my blog readers, who just moved into her Webb & Brown-Neaves home, painted boards with her sample pots of paint, so she could move them from room to room, and see how the paints looked in different spaces.  Clever.
I am contemplating a different colour for two areas of the house.  The first is the fireplace/chimney wall:

I played around on Polyvore with some different colour options:

I do like the striking black, but I’m pretty sure my husband will say no.  And, when I envision one dark coloured column in the whole open living area (kitchen, dining and living room), it seems isolated and wrong.  My current preference is the grey, darker than the other walls, but not shouting for attention.  On the other hand, here are a couple of spaces that I love, that manage to have a “feature wall” without it over-featuring:

Photo sources:  1.  Lisa Petrole via Houzz, 2.  Archnew.
Oh, the indecision!
The second area in contention for a variation in colour is the library.  Originally, I assumed we’d stick to white/slightly grey, but my husband has other ideas and I could be persuaded.  I’m going to save that discussion for another time.  In the mean time, if you are craving colour, take a look at a few of my favourite places on the web for brave and wonderful use of colour:

(You can buy paint from them too if you are feeling adventurous.)

Playing with colours.

Living area V3
Oops!  Got a little trigger happy with the “publish” button on Polyvore today.  Bonus blog post!  This is a work-in-progress.  But go ahead, give me your feedback.  Like or no-like?  A tiny touch of Pantone’s 2014 Colour of the Year has snuck in.  (Another oops.)  More on that later, when I actually mean to post.
While you are here, don’t forget to check out the comments from the last post.  They are worth a post in their own right.  I love my blog readers.  Saving me some leg work. Happy weekend!

Making an entrance.

Source:  HomeDSGN.

I’ll take one of those, please.  Designed by Tim Steward Architects.  Source: HomeDSGN.

We’ve been playing around with ideas for the front entrance and yard.  We needed to make a decision about the floor surface for the patio.  To cut a long story short, we’ve decided on timber decking.  It will match the interior flooring when the front door is open, and will tie in with the deck at the rear of the house.  I showed this stunning picture to my live-in handy man as a model for the patio decking.  Always ambitious, he’s already planning not only the jetty-style path, but the water on either side too.  We’ll see….

You might think it is a little early to worry about the front yard, but with site works commencing in the near future, we wanted to think about how we would deal with the small slope (about 70 cm over 10 metres) from the house to the verge.  So out came the colouring pencils and graph paper.

The front yard plan.

The front yard plan, with plenty of scope for change later.  

I struggled to think how this was going to work in 3D but this is what I’ve surmised:  The driveway will slope from the garage down to the verge.  We will flatten the front yard by dropping the ground level in front of the house and increasing it towards the fence line.  This way we can avoid complicated plans and approvals required for retaining walls over 50cm high and can add interest to landscape in front of the house by including a step down from the patio to the path, maybe even some water.

Looking out from the front of the house, it should look a bit like the next photo, except where the decking is – think of a vegetable garden in raised beds.

Via Pinterest.  Original source unknown.

Via Pinterest. Original source unknown.

Finally, I returned to one of my recurring dilemmas, the front fence.  I eliminated some of my favourite ideas by putting them on the mood board, only to discover they didn’t compliment the house facade at all.  Now, I’m planning a more subtle fence – hidden behind the trees.  At last, I have a mood board for the front facade and front yard that I’m very pleased with.

Front facade and yard.

Front facade and yard.

You can find the colour and material details of this mood board on the Colour Selections page.  If you want more inspiration for your own front yard, check out my ever-expanding Pinterest files:  Outdoor, Front fence, Front yard, PlantsVeggie patch and Driveway.

I can’t wait to get my garden gloves on.

The kitchen bench.

Attention has been drawn to the kitchen bench.  It needs to be big!  My uncle, very experienced at sitting around kitchen benches, says so.  He likes to sit and watch the cook(s), getting his fingers dangerously close to the knives, in order to sneak a little taste.  He reckons that my Mum and Dad’s kitchen bench is the perfect size, and given that it has recently been the scene of Christmas dinner preparations for 21 people, he could be right.  So I sent my Mum to measure.  3.2 m x .85 m.

Mum and Dad's kitchen bench - the gold standard in benches.

Mum and Dad’s kitchen bench – the gold standard in benches.

Here is another beautiful kitchen bench, in a beautiful home:

What do you think?  I think that it would be more useful if the space underneath the bench was cupboards, but I’m impressed by the bench’s capacity to seat a family of 5.  I wonder how long it is?  At our last abode, there was bench seating for 3, so I ate my breakfast standing up for a year.  That’s enough.

Here is another one of my favourite kitchen benches:

And here, sadly, is my current kitchen bench:

I promise never to make macaroni cheese again if I have a big kitchen bench.

I promise never to make macaroni cheese again if I can have a big kitchen bench.

If you love your kitchen bench, please measure it up and post a comment.

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