Sitting on the fence.

The kitchen at House By The Water has been getting a good work out. Cake for 70 people last weekend and curries for 20 people this weekend. It has been such a pleasure to spend time in the kitchen, chopping, baking, stirring, all the while overlooking the family action going on in the living room and keeping an eye out for the dolphins herding salmon in the canal.  The pinch-me moments continue.

Kitchen time takes from gardening time though, so the landscaping report is rather slim:

  • More dirt shifted.
  • 3 coastal banksias planted.
  • 3 holes chipped in brickwork for step lights.
  • And one day of tiling by the landscapers (sigh).

The Nice Wolf has been wrestling with stone pavers trying to create steps, which has of course involved the purchase of new tools, and is most certainly a labour of love.

While we are outside, new home builders, please tell me about these sticky-out things:

What is going on here?

What is going on here?

I thought they were weep holes.  Maybe they are.  Should they be trimmed?  They look a bit ridiculous.  I should put them on my 6 month maintenance list for the builders….

We are trying to stay focussed on working on the landscaping, though there are a zillion interior distractions.  (Save picture of lovely rug option until later.)  The front fence debate has been going on for quite some time. Railway sleepers versus rendered brick with decorative steel infills.  Railway sleepers are currently in the lead, but before we actually spend any money on it, I thought I’d take one last hypothetical look at both options:

Steel infills.

Steel infills.

Railway sleepers.

Railway sleepers.

*Credit to Trixee at EcoHome Style for the blog title idea.  (Trixee, post pics of your amazing gabion walls soon!)

That out of the way, who can resist dreaming about interiors?  There is so much that could be done at House By The Water, and if I’m honest, so little that needs to be done.  So for the sake of our finances, I’m trying to curb my interiors spending.  It’s rather fortunate that this current resolution was made AFTER the purchase of our new sofa:

Lazio Daybed.

Lazio Daybed from Weylandts.  Real living room.

but somewhat unfortunate that Armadillo and Co’s divine new rug range has been released after my self-imposed ban on interiors spending. Wouldn’t this rug look so good with our new sofa?  It would lighten and soften the room.

Living room mood board.

Future living room.

Aaah!  The butterfly chair, leather ottoman and a new coffee table would be nice too.

 

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Jardan Melbourne

Window shopping in Melbourne 

Yeah, I know my last post was about running out of money.  This was purely research.  Really.  I had 3 or 4 hours to spare and three suburbs to cover.  Special thanks to the stranger at Oakpark train station who loaned me his Myki public transport card so I didn’t have to wait for the Post Office to open at 9am to purchase a card.

Church Street, Richmond, was first on my list, to sit on, look at and touch Australian-made sofas that are available online but are not on show in Western Australia.  Jardan sofas woo me in every Australian interiors magazine.   The Jardan store is one that you feel you should have packed your pyjamas and moved right in.  It’s much more homely than the somewhat clinical photos I’d seen imply.  On top of their famous sofas, they have an eclectic collection of rugs (not all online) and some art I could have stood in front of all day if I had not been a woman on a mission.  It was good to sit on the sofas.  some are just too deep  for cups of tea and upright conversation and others are just right.  I identified some beautiful fabric should I select one of their products in the future.

Jardan sofa

Jardan sofa in “ink blue”. Proving once again that colour in the photo/on screen does not equal reality

Church Street is a sort of sofa shopping hub, amongst other homewares, furniture and interior decorating supplies.  Right across the road from Jardan is Voyager Interiors.  They had some completely dreamy sofas with removable covers, all the way from Italy.  I think they flew business class.  Anyway, I was interested in their Australian-made “Odense”, so after it passed the sit test I organised a quote and fabric samples.

Voyager Interiors sofa

Australian-made “Odense” by Voyager Interiors

I popped past Fitzroy to have a squizz  at Southwood Home who I have been admiring on Instagram for their Australian-made furniture for a long time.  Some of their bedside tables are contenders for a future place at House By The Water.  I gazed at their beautiful linen for longer than is normal then plodded down the footpath in search of a Mark Tuckey fix.  The decision to move into the Jardan show room or the Mark Tuckey showroom would be a close call, but on this occasion the doors were locked at Mark Tuckey so I’ll stick with my own home for the time being.

I met my sister for lunch at Weylandts’ Kitchen in Abbotsford.  This sister, previously referred to as The Sensible One, is building a new house soon but is usually too busy with work to loll about dreaming of future interiors.    To quote my sister, Weylandts was “like visiting a museum”!   (That was a compliment.)  It’s a huge warehouse showing off furniture and homewares from around the world but definitely with an African focus.  Weylandts is a South African company with an eye for style that I love.  Their collection is perfectly curated and original.  Giant tree roots hang from the ceiling!  Some products such as rugs, lighting and artefacts are competitively priced.  Looking at these photos again now makes me sigh….:

Meanwhile, what’s been happening at House By The Water?  The timber floors have started.  The Auswood brothers set off at a cracking pace two weeks ago, sanding and sealing our concrete floor then laying the beautiful, raw blackbutt timber from NSW.  So far the bottom floor timber is down and about half the top floor.  The tricky bits such as the stairs and our curved, suspended slab edge are yet to be done, but the end of concrete dust, sawdust and a furniture-less home is in sight.

Concrete sand and seal

Concrete sand and seal

Blackbutt everywhere.

Blackbutt everywhere.

Scullery getting homely.

Scullery getting homely.

Self levelling concrete.

Self levelling concrete.

Coming soon:

  • Will the fireplace saga ever end?
  • A trip to the tree farms.

 

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.

 

Second storey bricks

Our House By The Water has grown.  Three weeks of brickwork has seen the house go from single storey to double.  As photos have landed in my inbox each week, I’ve become increasingly excited.

Week One:

Thank you Mark from Best West Building.

Second story bricks.

Second storey bricks.

Week Two:

Harry, you are the best!Second storey bricks - week 2.

Week Three:

Thanks to new reader and future neighbour, Tracy.

Nearly done.

Nearly done.

Front facade.  The feature column will be bricked to 80 courses.

Front facade. The feature column will be bricked to 80 courses.

Most of the house is 63 courses high, double brick.  That’s a lot of bricks.  Work has come to a temporary halt.  The feature column on our front facade (that will eventually be clad in stack stone) is 80 courses high.  The brickies need an extra “lift” of scaffolding so that they may complete the taller sections of the brickwork.  The scaffolders are booked for next week.

In other news, following on from my “I love Linen” post, I won a little competition!   Ink and Spindle is a Melbourne based company that print gorgeous Australian-inspired prints on 100% linen, cotton and hemp.  You can buy their fabric or ready-made homewares using their existing prints, or you can choose one of their prints and customise it to your own colour way.  They have just introduced some new colours and celebrated with a competition.  My favourite colour combination proved popular and won me some fabric!  One 100% linen Silver Gum doona cover in Bluestone and River Salt on Oatmeal coming up!

My winning entry.

My winning entry.

Of course, then I had to play with mood boards for the master bedroom, to check that my current front runner for linen curtains (Pottery Barn) and the new fabric will work together.

I'm happy with the blues, woods and linen that are starting to form the back bone of my master bedroom grand scheme.

I’m happy with the blues, woods and linen that form the back bone of my master bedroom grand scheme.

I’ve had a heavy week on Polyvore, playing with mood boards.  It started with the question of linen versus leather  for sofas in our living room.  Leather is so practical and has my husband’s vote, but I love so many linen sofas.  This week a leather sofa that really appealed to me crossed my laptop screen, so I plugged it into Polyvore.  These decisions are always multifactorial, so I tested some of my favourite rugs and pieces of aboriginal art too.

Living room 1

Living room 1

Living room 2

Living room 2

Living room 3

Living room 3

Don’t tell, but I spent a whole Friday afternoon doing this!  It was blissful.

My conclusions are:

  • Artwork and floor rug should be considered together.  For example, patterned artwork and patterned rug is a bit too much.  Pick one star, then don’t upstage it.
  • Either leather or linen couch could work, but both together, hmmm..??

Which living room version do you like the best?  Why?  

Should linen couches and children occupy the same space?  

I’d love to find a really nice, Australian-made, linen sofa with removable/washable covers.  

Any tips?

Finally, to some money saving news, for a change!  Tracy alerted me to a potential rebate on stamp duty!  In Western Australia we pay a lot of money in tax/duty when we buy land.  Our “stamp duty” was in excess of $30K!  However, residential land is taxed at a slightly lower rate, so if you commence building within 5 years of land purchase you may be eligible for a rebate.  For us, it could be worth almost $3000.  That’s a sofa nice little bite off our mortgage.  Already I have secured a “Newly Constructed Residential  Exemption” from annual land tax, a separate bill of a couple of hundred dollars, by filling in a form and sending the department of finance proof that we’ve commenced construction.  As always, there is some fine print, but if you haven’t already investigated these potential savings, it could be worth your while.  Now, just to find our original stamp duty document….

I love linen.

Warning:  $$$$ alert.  Read ahead at the risk of your budget.

I have a weakness for linen.  The 100%, made-from-flax kind.  In fact, I’m at risk of dressing like my decor.  Or is it, decorating like I dress?  It’s in my wardrobe, it’s on my bed… table, cushions, oven rail.  I’ve always loved linen, but it was at odds with my dislike for ironing.  But now that the world is embracing the rough look, un-ironed, there is no holding me back.

I have big linen plans:

Sofa

Curtains for the master bedroom

Photos:  1.  Home Beautiful Magazine.  2.  Mark Tuckey.  3.  Eye Swoon.

Possibly for the living area too.

We are talking double height curtains here!

Photos:  1.  Collected Interiors (Perth).  2.  Vosgesparis.   3. Home DIT.  4.  British Properties.

And, for the beds.

Photos:  1.  Nancy Bird.  2.  i gigi.  3.  vtwonen.

Before I get too carried away by gorgeous pictures, let’s talk cost.  Here are some Australian suppliers of 100% linen products and a quick look at what two standard products cost:Cost chart - 100% linen

 

I shall be looking in the green section, but I’m also keeping tabs on the orange section for sale prices.  Andrea and Joen recently had 40-50% off linen bedding.  Of course, if you are not as adverse to sewing as I am, you might make your own.  Linen by the metre starts at about $25 and goes up quickly, especially if you’d like a nice print on it.  If you prefer linen bedding with a pattern, try Moochie Lou or Nancy Bird.  And if your budget doesn’t extend to 100% linen, Aura Home has bedding in linen-cotton blends.  Nearly as good!

Since the Nice Wolf is probably already gagging by the time he’s read this far into this post, I might as well keep going.  In for a penny, in for a pound!  (Or dollars, as the case may be.)

Curtain costs

I love the soft, romantic (see Nice Wolf, linen is in your favour) look of linen curtains in a master bedroom. We have 8 metres of full length windows in our bedroom.  Yep, 8 metres!  Two sets of windows, each about 4 metres wide.  They join at the corner.

Master bedroom plan.

Half the walls are windows!

Given the limited area to draw the curtains to, I’m planning to use light linen curtains (to minimise bulk) for mood and we’ll add blinds for light and temperature control and privacy.  Ready-made 100% curtains seem to be few and far between and really are only made for small windows.  On my last trip to Sydney, Pottery Barn’s linen curtains caught my eye:

Pottery barn curtain.

I’m not sure which colour this is, but I like it!

 According to curtain rules, you need 2 – 2.5 times your window width in material.  That equates to at least 12 of these curtain panels for our bedroom!  $888 not including the curtain hardware.  There is the issue of having to join the panels together but I reckon I could just about cope with that amount of sewing.  I looked at some fabric options for DIY, but I’d be hard pressed to find some that I like for under $1000.

Have I missed your favourite source of linen?  Do tell.

Or are you more of a flannelette kind of person?  Silk?  Cow hide? 

Have you made your own curtains or found some goodies ready to hang?  

Keep an eye out for plain linen curtains for me.  Blue, grey, black, natural and any where in between, are all possibilities.

Australian made.

Photo source:  Mark Tuckey.

Photo source: Mark Tuckey.

I’m patriotic all year round, but in honour of Australia Day, it’s time to dedicate a post to the talented artisans of Australia and some companies that proudly produce beautiful things in Australia.  There are plenty of reasons to chose Australian made products for my home but the clinchers that actually make me buy local are:

  • Australian style.
  • Made to last, quality.
  • Reduced environmental impact related to shipping.

It’s becoming harder to find Australian made products, particularly as companies like Freedom and King Furniture move their manufacturing overseas, but collaborating on this topic is only going to make it easier.  If I’ve missed your favourite Aussie-made goods for stylish homes, please add them in the comments.  I love recommendations.

Furniture

Mark Tuckey:

Mark Tuckey showroom.

Sofas, beds, chairs, tables, drawers, mirrors, etc.

OK, I could actually move right into a Mark Tuckey show room.  I love everything they make.  They make chunky furniture from “recycled timber and sustainably managed forestry sources”.  Like many companies on my list, don’t expect Ikea prices, but don’t expect your purchases to end up as landfill either.

Domayne:

Domayne furniture.

Sofas, beds, desks, dining sets, entertainment units, etc.

Domayne has a good range of Australian made furniture.  I’m eyeing off a king size bed from there.  For some fun, check out their new app which allows you to visualise how a particular item of furniture will look in your space.

Jardan:

Jardan furniture.

Sofas, beds, rugs, lighting. Source: Jardan.

Jardan make sofas to die for and prices to match.  Their furniture, designed and made in Melbourne, is classy.  Combine wood and linen and I go weak at the knees.  (No longer stocked in W.A. I believe, but available online.)

Others:

Bay Furniture  – West Australian custom made furniture including sofas, chairs and tables, using local wood.

Oz design – Some, but not all, furniture made in Australia.

Arthur G – Having recently oohed and aahed over my friend’s new Belair sofa in a gorgeous fabric she selected herself, I can vouch for its comfort and style.  Available in Perth.

Nomi – Scandanavian in style, but designed and made in Australia.  Tables, benches and chairs.  You can mix and match their parts to semi-customise your furniture.

Textiles.

Moochie Lou:

"Wattle" fabric by Moochie Lou.

“Wattle” fabric by Moochie Lou.

The design, fabric printing and production of Moochie Lou‘s bedding, cushions and tableware all happens in Australia.  My favourite print is the “wattle” but you might prefer W.A. inspired “Hamlin” or “Flow”.

Old Grey House:

Old grey house linen.

Tea towels, table linen, cushion covers.  Source:  Old Grey House.

I “helped” the 3 Little Pigs buy me some Old Grey House tea towels and a cushion cover for Christmas.  I love the gumnut inspired prints made in Western Australia.  A limited selection is available online, but I look forward to visiting local markets and stores for a greater range.

Ink and Spindle:

"Silver Gum" bedding by Ink and Spindle.

“Silver Gum” bedding by Ink and Spindle.

Completely gorgeous!  You can choose your own colourway, but I like this one best.  Ink and Spindle sell fabric and ready made items such as cushions, ottomans and bean bags.

Others:

Bonnie and Neil – Bold and beautiful cushions, tableware, decorative wooden tiles and small furnishings.  A bit on the pricey side.  Great splashes of colour, if you are that way inclined.

Cloth Fabric – Fabrics, lamp shades, cushions and ready-made curtains.

Homewares

Eucalypt home:

Ceramic loveliness by Eucalpyt Homewares.

Ceramic loveliness by Eucalpyt Homewares.

Floral or Eucalypt?  It’s hard to choose, but you know it’s gotta be blue.  You can buy Eucalypt Homewares in shops around Australia or at West Australian markets.

Others:

Samantha Robinson – Handmade porcelain vases, jugs, plates, bowls and teapots.

Lighting

Cocoflip:

Mr Cooper pendant by Cocoflip.

Mr Cooper pendant by Cocoflip.

I’d better not put yet another picture of my favourite pendant on the blog.  So here is Coco’s brother, Mr Cooper.  Cocoflip design furniture and lighting.  They have a limited selection but the quality is superb.

Who did that:

Pod Lux pendant by Who did that.

Pod Lux pendant by Who did that.

Tasmanian made flat-pack timber chandeliers (yes!) or leather pendants.  “Who did that” create lights that make a statement.

Inkster Maken:

Limestone pendant by Inkster Maken.

Limestone pendant by Inkster Maken.

Inkster Maken has a small range of lights made from South Australian limestone and hardwood.  Concrete looking at its best!

Others:

Barnlight Australia – Include a range of Australian made lights of industrial and country style.

Paint:

Bauwerk Colour:

South Fremantle house painted in Bauwerk Basalt and Bauwerk Slate.

South Fremantle house painted in Bauwerk Basalt and Bauwerk Slate.

The paint choices from Bauwerk Colour make me want to get out a brush.  You can order colour cards and paint online or visit their Fremantle warehouse.

Pop by my “Australian made” Pinterest folder for more Aussie goodness.

So fa, no good.

A sofa for appreciating the view.  Source:  Houzz.

A sofa for appreciating the view and conversation.  Source: Houzz.

While the builders are preparing to cavity fill our brick retaining walls with concrete, I’m doing important things like browsing sofas.

The current state of sofa affairs is not up to standard.

Exhibit A:

I've repositioned the seat cushions at least 3 times already today.

I’ve repositioned the seat cushions at least 3 times already today.

  • Ikea’s Ekeskog sofa bed.
  • 8 years old.
  • Very comfortable for television viewing as long as no one moves.
  • Can seat the whole family at once.
  • Performs well as a sofa bed, being sag free and able to accommodate bodies that are longer than 6 feet.
  • Removable, washable covers.
  • Ripped on the corners.
  • Categorically cannot keep the seat cushions in place.
  • Daggy/slouchy.

The greenie in me will not throw out sofas without a good reason, so here’s the plan:

Move Exhibit A to the second floor, out of sight.  It can see out its days in the upstairs living room that will be a multipurpose space: study, secondary television viewing area, kids’ hangout, spare bed when we have a full house.  If it lasts, it will be palmed off to the first lucky “Little Pig” to leave home and require share-house furnishings.  I will consider recovering it with off-the-shelf slip covers such as these made by Comfort Works:

Not bad for $460, but it wouldn’t solve the problem of the slipping seat cushions.  I’d staple those in place except for the need to remove them to use the bed.

 

Exhibit B:

Actually, having a looking-good day.

Actually, having a looking-good day.

  • Freedom 3 seaters (x2)
  • 10-15 years old.
  • Dignified survivor of 3 projectile vomiting babies.  (Okay, you probably didn’t need to know that.)
  • Good bones.
  • In some light you can see heat damage from spending years in storage/transit.
  • A bit of light wear on the arms.
  • Old fashioned shape.
  • Has a green tinge in some light.

Plan:

Use Exhibit B in the library.  These couches are too old-fashioned and small for the large space that will be our main living area but they’ll fit nicely in the smaller library.  I’ve been researching the cost of re-upholstering these sofas.  Without actually asking for quotes I estimate that each couch would cost approximately $700 in labour, plus material.  Roughly, a minimum of $1000 per sofa, more likely $1500 considering my love of 100% linen.  Too much.  I’m not into sewing, although I did buy a sewing machine years ago for the specific purpose of recovering a foam couch.  My skills are basic, but some of these simple sofa cover options are within the realms of possibility (if not for me, then certainly for my handy Mum):

(Pictures:  1.  The Design Files  2. Graham and Green  3. House of Turquoise  4. Alvhem Mäkleri  5.  RTL Woon Magazine.)

Finally, this leaves a vacancy in the main living room, open to the kitchen and dining room, for

Exhibit C:

Any of these will do.  (Picture sources: 1.  Houzz.  2 & 3.  Jardan.  4.  Domayne.

  • Modular, fabric sofa.
  • Australian-made (except for the first sofa).
  • Expected to last 20 years plus, with a warranty to prove it.
  • Not too slouchy so that you can converse with guests.
  • Not so modern that it goes out of fashion in the next 5 years.
  • Price unknown – $5000-10000.  (The Domayne sofa is just under $5000, but Jardan do not list their prices which is never a good sign.)

I really like the sofas with a “chaise longue” (the bit without the back rest) for their flexibility.  You could perch on the end to face the kitchen or turn around to admire the view or fireplace.  Or rest your feet on it at the end of the day.

Have I missed any Australian-made options that might fit my criteria?  Have you successfully breathed new life into an old sofa?  Got a sofa that you can’t bear, but it stays because you don’t want to add to landfill?