Archive for January, 2011

G’day mate! Let’s celebrate Australia Day

January 26, 2011

OK, sorry for the unoriginal and tiresome headline, but Aussies are known for their warm, welcoming and ultra-cheery nature, and it seems this even extends to their home decor.

Today is Australia Day, so in celebration I want to show you this gorgeous single-storey Seventies house in Sydney, which mixes cool retro patterns and shapes with modern design features.

Australia Day decor | Australian decorating ideas | Room Envy

The leisurely lounge with a laidback style

It’s so easy to go overboard with retro furniture – the rule is, keep it simple and buy top quality. It’s clear owners Andrea and Ben Miller have stuck to that rule, mixing simple modern artwork and accessories with a few key pieces, such as the geometric rug and the low armchairs. I can imagine sinking into one of these chairs and watching the amazing Australian sun rise and fall.

Australia Day decor | Australian decorating ideas | Room Envy

Knock on wood

Wood and stone are the two main materials that are used throughout the house, and here you can see just how surprisingly warm and stylish these materials can be – even for a bathroom. I am struck by just how many shades of wood there are. The gilt-framed mirror is a lovely glam touch, too.

Australia Day decor | Australian decorating ideas | Room Envy

Turn up the heat with hot pink

All this wood and stone could look dull if it weren’t for the large windows that go around the house. But hot pink adds even more brightness, and what’s more reminds me that when you have a lot of neutral, such as stone and wood panelling, anything can work. A mixture of textures in this room makes it super-cosy too.

See the rest of this house for more Australian decorating ideas

Best Bathrooms 2010 – And the winner is…

January 24, 2011

I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t want a lovely bathroom to relax in. But one man’s relaxation is another man’s torture, so choosing the best bathroom of 2010 is tricky.

However, the winner is this be-a-uuuu-tiful nautical bathroom.

Best bathroom 2010 | Nautical bathroom | Family bathroom | Room Envy

We are sailing to serenity

Even if it’s not totally your bag, the seaside accents are done just right, not too much to make you feel seasick.

This room is not blessed with an easy design. It’s a long, narrow room with an awkward eave, but instead of trying to ignore the shape and make the bath the focus of the room – as is usual – the eave, decorated with a sail effect blind, becomes the focus, and a place to chill. I LOVE it!

Chunky, roughed up shelves provide excellent storage. Two sinks mean no fighting over the bathroom in the morning – brilliant!

Simple touches like the decorative ship and fish tank are fun yet sophisticated.

Even though this bathroom looks super-cool, it’s still a family bathroom. So often a family bathroom means a plethora of rubber ducks, novelty soap and a whole load of Sponge Bob Square Pants paraphernalia. But in this bathroom kids’ toys are stored away and the steps are made from the same wood as the shelves, so as not to stand out.

Now, that’s got me thinking about the best chilren’s rooms of 2010…

Best Wet Room 2010 – And the winner is…

January 20, 2011

This modern beauty of a wet room.

To be honest, the neutral colour scheme isn’t totally me, but the design is perfect. I can see that this was probably a titchy toilet and a iddy-biddy bathroom that’s been cleverly converted into a wet room.

Best wet room | Wet room designs | What is a wet room | Room Envy

A walk in wet room with a shower big enough to share

But, hey, let’s talk about what on earth a wet room IS? When did the trend for wet rooms start? Who came up with the wet room idea?

A wet room is a waterproofed or ‘tanked’ room that houses a shower and maybe a sink or bath too. The whole room becomes the shower – cool, huh?

But where does the water go? I hear you ask. Well, the floor is lowered a little so there’s no flooding or overspill – brilliant!

What’s the point of a wet room? Oooh, there are loads of great reasons for a wet room: saving space; a stylish alternative to knocking through a little toilet and small bathroom; creating an en-suite bathroom in a small bedroom; turning a downstairs toilet/utility room into something more useful; great for an attic conversion…I could go on, but you get the picture.

Who invented the wet room? To be honest, I have no idea, but I reckon the Romans had something to do with it, they’re good like that.

Best Garden Designs 2010 – And the winner is…

January 19, 2011

Hey man! Chill out in this striking roof garden. A Studio 54-style backdrop, free-wheelin’ ferns (they just GROW!!), weather-worn decking, a 1950s white wicker chair, silver plant pots and windmills. It shouldn’t work, but it so does!

Best garden design | Contemporay garden | Modern roof garden | Room Envy

A secret garden of delight

Call me an old hippy, but I think some kind of greenery in your home is essential to your wellbeing. But with so many of us in flats a garden is unlikely. A garden design as clever as this one could work anywhere: a proper garden, roof terrace, balcony, a conservatory, or even as an indoor garden in the corner of room that has a lot of light.

And if you’re not green-fingered, don’t worry (I have black-fingers of death!), throw a few ferns in a pot or a spider plant, and watch them do their thing – they’re so low maintenance.

Best Utility Room 2010 – And the winner is…

January 18, 2011

I’m quite happy to admit that I am no domestic goddess, but I’m no slob either. If I have to do chores I want my surroundings to be beautiful and easy to keep clean and tidy, which is why this deeee-vine ultility room gets my vote for best utility room of 2010.

Best Utility room of 2010 | Utility room decorating ideas | Room Envy

Ooh, where are my Marigolds, I feel a spring clean coming on!

The bright yellow cabinet just SINGS against the teal blue wall. And check out the laundrette sign – a lovely fun touch – and this could work as a zoned-out corner in any kitchen, whether it matches the style or not.

The vintage hanging laundry rack along with the steal peg bucket and flowers tone down the ultra-modern-ness of the washing machine and other accessories. Plus, black won’t show water marks or splashes.

One other thing I love about this room is that you can’t enter without wearing a pair of fabulous heels, a slick of lippy or some kind of brilliant hairdo. A truly glam space.

Friday’s Fetish: Shiver Me Timbers!

January 14, 2011

If anyone knows how to go loco over eco-chico, it’s TV presenter and designer Oliver Heath.

I’ve been swooning over his house, as seen in Livingetc, which started off as an ugly, 1960s box, but has been turned into a beautiful earth-friendly home thanks to tons of reclaimed timber, lovelorn furniture and accessories from all over the globe.

Oliver Heath house | Decorating ideas with reclaimed timber | Open-plan room with timber walls | Room Envy

World of timber

Say the words: larch wood cladding, and you don’t think ‘ooh beautiful,’ no. But take Oliver’s open-plan lounge. The larch wood cladding on the walls – from the trees at Kew Garden that blew down in the October 1987 storms – creates a stunning feature wall, gives the room warmth and openness and, as Oliver says, ‘brings the outside in’.

Team with oak flooring quirky accessories that nod to folk-styling and you have a large family space that’s cosy without being clostrophobic.

Oliver Heath house | Reclaimed timber bed |Decorating ideas with reclaimed timber | Room Envy

All aboard!

Loving the larch! Forgive me, Mr Heath, but I want to run up and  jump onto this bed – it looks so comfy and solid.

More reclaimed wood forms a canopy, which is softened with the  chi-chi chandeliers and ultra-tactile cushions.

Oliver Heath house | Decorating ideas with reclaimed timber | Room Envy

Hmm, what to do with wallpaper samples...

This might be Oliver’s kid’s room but the idea of jazzing up plain shelves with wallpaper samples is brilliant. Whether it’s children’s toys or grown-up trinkets these shelves could work pretty much anywhere.

I’m not about to chop down any trees, but I love the idea of rescuing timber and giving it a stylish home. But it’s not just the reclaimed wood and second-hand furniture in Oliver’s house that I’m going gaga for, it’s the mixture of accessories from all over the world that add to the eco credentials of this eclectic family home and inspire me to be a bit more global in my decorating.

Best Hallway 2010 – And the winner is…

January 13, 2011

“Hello. Welcome home!” Is what this vibrant and functional hallway would say if it could talk, which is why it’s my FAVE hallway of 2010.

Green hallway | Hallway office | Hallway decorating ideas | Room Envy

We're green with envy over this gorgeous hallway

Hallways are meant to be welcoming and inviting; they’re the first ‘room’ we experience when we come home and the last we visit as we leave our cherrished abodes. But more often than not hallways are neglected areas that are dumping grounds for shoes, coats, keys and post we’re avoiding.

Take a (green) leaf out of this example and be clever with your clutter and your space. I LOVE the verdant green teamed with a variety of natural wood tones and textures – ultra-tactile.

A major plus point for this hallway is the office cabinet. Who’d have thought a mini office area could work in a hallway? Especially one that features a bright green office cabinet. But marrying green accessories (the flowers, vase and objects on the wooden shelves) and homemade labels on the cabinet tie up the style nicely.

Best Living Room 2010 – And the winner is…

January 12, 2011

This glamorous living room gets our vote as the lounge of the year – hands down! We imagine slinking in, a glass of champers in hand and watching a classic Bond film.

Luxury living room in the style of a boutique hotel

Come on in, lounge lover

If there was a year where we turned to shaking martinis and mixing mojitos in our living rooms, then 2010 was it. Suddenly our living rooms resembled chic boutique hotel lobbys and entertaining at home was IN.

In a struggling economy luxury becomes even more inspirational, and so in 2010 decorating, fashion and beauty trends luxe was where it was at.

Of course, canny deco queens like us maxed up opulent style on a shoestring. The trick? Rich colours such as hot pink, punchy lime and rich amethyst dotted around, just like in this room. Metallic tones and big statement pieces, such as this starburst mirror, the scrolled armchair in a devoré-type fabric and statement wallpaper.

And finally, want a quick tip to make home entertaining a little more sophis? The flat screen TV against a matching dark wall gives this area of the room a home-cinema feel. Pass the popcorn, pet.

2010 Room Awards – woo!

January 11, 2011

2010 was a great year for home decorating and DIY. Like you, we loved the return of classic retro prints, high-tech printed wallpaper and new ways to be eco friendly and chic.

To kick-start the 2010 Room Awards we’re starting with the Best Kitchen of 2010, which is this brilliant family kitchen.

Best kitchen of 2010 | Kitchen awards for 2010 | Family kitchen-diner | Room Envy

The perfect kitchen-diner; it's a kitchen and a diner!

Why it wins? Aside from the big chalkboard – great for shopping lists and a drawing space for kids – small kitchen-diners that give the allusion of space can be tricky.

Often kitchen-diners can look like the furniture of a giant has been squeezed into the kitchen of someone from Lilliput; and the overall look can be cluttered and uncomfortable – you can’t image making a cup of tea, let alone a family meal. Or a poorly designed kitchen-diner can give the impression that the designer has rifled though the space-saving section of Lakeland and bought all the stock.

But look at the beauty of this kitchen-diner: the pastel colours – a nod to cute retro styling, and clean, functional furniture. You just know that when the kids’ have gone to bed the adults crack open a few bottles of vino, light some candles and have a delicious meal, and perhaps a adult game of Catchphrase on the chalkboard. Can we come to dinner please?

Do you love this? Tell us what was your fave kitchen of 2010?

Friday’s Fetish: Breaking the rules!

January 7, 2011

If like me, you’re already fed up with new year resolutions and good intentions, then a little chic rule breaking is in order…

I can’t be bothered to detox – I don’t like the headaches – and forget all that clearing out the clutter, this year, I’m embracing it! You see, chucking out the rulebook and going against the grain is liberating. Which is why I HAVE to share with you these little gems of inspiration I saw in the January edition of Livingetc.

Bedroom with bright pinks, oranges and yellow | Bedroom decorating ideas | Room Envy

Never clash bright colours? No-way!

Bring on the brights! Sunshine shades of yellow, orange and fuchsia sings when used in blocks – not patterned – and is calmed with pale grey flooring, the odd black accent and natural wood and stone accessories.

Kitchen-diner with blue walls | Blue and green kitchen-diner | Kitchen decorating ideas | Room Envy

Brilliant blue and gorgeous green

Hmm, blue and green should never be seen, goes the maxim, but check out this picture! Drama, style and the perfect mix of contemporary traditional accessories make this dining room so inviting – anyone for a cuppa?

Lounge with dark grey paint and bold Toile-print wallpaper | Living room with workspace | Room Envy

Line drawing

Who says a fireplace defines a room? It doesn’t have to be the focal point – so passé! And zoning doesn’t have to be ordered either. I love the way this room is broken up with an off-centre charcoal grey – to define a work zone – and a totally contrasting bold Toile print for relaxing.

And what’s more, all this rule breaking is soooo on-trend for S/S 2011: bright blues and greens on eyes were all over the catwalk and clashing colour-block patterns and designs were also a major feature of all the big runway shows.