The end of my two year spending hiatus.

Dear Nice Wolf,

Don’t bother to read this post.  It’s not really your thing.  Mostly about interiors.  I’ll send you some pictures of building progress very soon.

Love,  Me.

Okay, readers.  Just between you and me, it’s possible that I’ve spent more on shopping in the last 6 weeks than I did in the whole two years prior to that.  There wasn’t a lot to tempt me in Brazil and anything of interest was exorbitantly priced.  So I’ve been patiently planning for two years and refining my interiors style.  We’re calling it “modern Australian with a touch of earthiness” or “surf and turf” for short.  Well now I’m home and we are on the countdown until House By The Water is ready for occupation.  We’ve had a run of birthdays and, yes, the mother father of all consumer events is just around the corner, so some rather lovely things have been purchased.  I’ve been buying only things that fit with the mood boards I’ve created for each room.  Here’s some highlights:

Living room:

Cray pots!

Cray pots.

West Australian cray pots.

The Nice Wolf sourced these locally for my birthday.  They are the real deal.  The man who made them thought it was such a waste to use them for lighting when they could be catching crayfish.  They have so much character and a lot of weight.  I plan to age them in the weather a bit, then hope they’ll bring a relaxed, natural vibe to our house.

Living area mood board.

Living area mood board

I got some sofa quotes, but I’m not entirely happy yet, so I think I’ll extend the search.  My dream was an Australian-made linen sofa, but practicalities (read: removable covers) lead me to look at the Lazy Time sofa.  Its fabric is mixed, with only a small percentage of linen and the sample fabric I chose in the show room is not quite right:

Sofa fabric mood board.

I’m luke warm on the sofa fabric.

Girl’s Room.

The First Little Pig turned 11 and, with  strong reader encouragement, we gave her a hanging chair:

Hanging chair.

Hanging chair, snaffled up at Empire Homewares in Freo. The shipping cost of these from the East was putting me off. Cushion by Kip and Co. from Frisky Deer Interiors + Cafe.

Tween room mood board.

Book worm heaven in a hanging chair.

Master Bedroom

After 20+ years on the same mattress and 15+ on a homemade, rickety bed, we are upgrading.  I’ve been researching beds for the past year and had my eye on several Australian-made options.  I like very plain, blond coloured timber, with the focus on a comfortable backrest for my breakfasts in bed!  My shortlist of beds did not include any beds stocked in Western Australia so I went in search of a bed that didn’t come with shipping costs.  What do you think of this one?

Iris Dune bed

Iris Dune bed from Snooze. Aussie made.

I love the way it appears to float off the floor.   I haven’t bought it yet.  I don’t want to peak too early with my purchases and have to deal with moving lots of  furniture when our floors are installed.  I did, however, buy some linen sheets to celebrate my first pay cheque for my new job.

So the master bedroom mood board has morphed to something like this:

Master bedroom mood board.

Curtains, rug, bedding, art, lighting, chair – all accounted for.

I’ve a few other items that cannot yet be revealed.  I’m finding it useful to shop with the mood boards in mind, helping me stick to the big picture and to make quick decisions.

At House By The Water this week, I’m actually locked out – not just for accounting purposes.  Of course, it’s cramping my photo-taking style.  The internal painting is in full swing, and thank goodness there is some tiling started.  The tiler is also working on our stacked stone cladding which seems to be a case of “don’t rush the artist”.  It’s certainly an art fitting all the pieces together while trying to balance out the different colours and shapes to give the illusion that it’s all random.

Stacked stone cladding.

Boral’s Country Ledgestone in Echo Ridge.


The modern Australian entrance.

An absence of news from our building site can only mean one of two things.

  1. Everyone is so busy working on our house that they have no time to write.
  2. There is no news.

I’m trying to remain patient.  The Nice Wolf has brought up the subject of contingency plans, you know somewhere to sleep when you don’t have a house, but I’m not entering into it yet.  Instead, I’m doing what I do best, admiring pictures – developing the vision for House By The Water.  Some might call it burying my head in the sand.

So with my room inspiration formula well established by now, I set out to select my Top 5 entries/hallways.  I’ve collected pictures of many beautiful home entries, but our entry should reflect our home style and finding “modern Australian with a touch of earthiness” soon narrowed down the contenders.  As I look at more and more beautiful homes it can get confusing at times, but I’m trying hard to stick to my self-imposed “brief”.


My idea of the perfect entrance.  Photo:  Made By Cohen.

A place to put your shoes on.

A place to sit to put your shoes on.  Photo:  Home Adore.


Coastal.  The fish is a bit much for me, but otherwise, yes please!  Photo:  Hare and Klein.

Almost worth changing the house plans for!  Coastal with no kitsch.  Photo:  Lucy Marstan, Architect.

Almost worth changing the house plans for! Coastal with no kitsch. Photo: Lucy Marstan, Architect.

Hmmm, yes, only 4.    Nevermind.  How hard can a hallway be?

Our entry and hall has a great design with a linen cupboard tucked away to the side and even some wall space to hang hats and bags that is out of sight as you enter the house.  Functionally, aside from being a passage way, it will be the shoes on/off space.  We are a shoes off family.  It comes from having lived in Canada.  Wear those snowy, muddy boots inside and you are going to get a thwack.  Once I got a taste for this, there was no turning back.  The reduction in grub (read floor cleaning) is huge when you are a family of 5.  Plus, we like to be barefoot.  It’s one of many reasons we are installing timber floors throughout our house.  Currently The Three Little Pigs sit on the floor to remove their shoes and shoes are every where.  So a bench for sitting is in order and most of the ground floor linen cupboard will be dedicated to shoes.

A wide entrance and a hidden nook for shoes and bags on hooks.

A wide entrance and a hidden nook for shoes and bags on hooks.

We have a beautiful antique buffet cabinet that we bought in Tasmania on our honeymoon.  It won’t fit in our new dining room with no walls, so I’m going to house it in our hall.  Accommodating that and a bench to sit on are my only prerequisites for this space.  We have a void space above our entrance that is calling for a long feature pendant.  If money was no object, I’d hang several oak pendants.  In reality, I’m planning to install some kind of traditional fishing basket or net here as pendant lighting.

My one chance at the "minimal" look, and I've blown it already.

My one chance at the “minimal” look, and I’ve blown it already.   (There will be art, but I can’t decide which pieces yet.)

Definitely a few extra styles sneaking in there.  Perhaps I should just add “a hint of coastal” to my brief.  “Modern Australian with a touch of earthiness and a hint of coastal” is getting a bit long winded.  How about “Aussie surf and turf”?

Have you given yourself a decorating “brief”?  Can you name your style?  Or is it just me watching too many home renovation shows?

Does your home entrance reflect the mood and style of the rest of your home?  

Got any secrets for avoiding a large pile of shoes and school bags beside your front door?



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.

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.

Mood boards for the kids’ rooms.

I’ve found a new toy.  Another fun way to waste spend hours on the internet.  It’s Polyvore. Polyvore is a digital mood board creating tool, suitable for use by those with no real talent for online graphics or design.  I’ve tried a few other free mood board programs before but either found them difficult (yes, no real talent), or severely limited by the products you can plonk onto your boards.  While Polyvore is American, it is loaded up with products from Ikea, Freedom, West Elm, etc….. all found in Australia.  You can even find some Australian-made items loaded up by “yours truly”.  Using the “cutting tool” you can clip images from other websites, or if you feel lazy, you can simply choose a similar item to the one you have in mind, for the purposes of the mood board.  They also have plenty of background images to mimic your choice of wall paint colour, floor boards, or even empty rooms.  You can add text, but I’m still working up to that.

Here are my first couple of mood boards:

HBTW open living

My first board – trying to get a feel for how the kitchen, dining and living rooms are going to work together. It’s open plan. These are not exact selections just a rough end goal, to help me avoid any incongruent decisions or purchases.

A2's bedroom

This room is for our little artist. She’ll be 9 when we move in. We already have the bed, chair, art and bunting. I’ll paint an existing bedside table.The rug is from Anthropologie, my favourite shop.

I decided to try and get more specific for my son’s room – using only what we already own or I know that we can buy in Australia.  I needed some inspiration first, to focus my plans, so I turned to my Pinterest files and picked my top 3 boyish bedrooms.  The 3rd little pig will be 5 when we move into House By The Water – so I’m trying to find a happy medium between babyish and dull.  Tricky.

Nautical without being too heavy on primary colours.

Nautical without being too heavy on primary colours.  I love this.  Source:  Country Living.

The tiniest bit of bright colour sneaking in - easily modified as tastes change.

The tiniest bit of bright colour sneaking in – easily modified as tastes change.  Source: unknown, but I’m guessing Australian!

Brown, greys and blues would be in keeping with the rest of the house.

Brown, greys and blues would be in keeping with the rest of the house.  Great desk.  Source: The House That A-M Built.

Here’s what I came up with using an existing bed, chair, boat and chest:

Room for J

I might need to learn to use Ebay for the lockers and do a bit of a makeover for the old chest we collected from a sidewalk.  This room might satisfy my love of “industrial style” home decoration, which so far I’ve restrained from in planning for other rooms.

If you get keen and try some of your own mood boards, share them with me on Polyvore.  If you like something I’ve used here, you can find it on my Polyvore boards and “like it” to use it on your own.  After just a short play on Polyvore, I already find this tool better suited to mood board creation than PowerPoint which I was using previously.  Have fun!