Friday, October 10, 2014

Art for your floor as well as your soul!

When designing spaces for my clients, I was once asked what is the first item I select. 
I always choose the rug first and it's a process not to be rushed!
If this special piece hasn't presented itself to me yet, I manifest my clear vision and soon enough it turns up.
A rug anchors a space and is a foundation to be built upon.
With so many choices out there it can be a lengthy exercise just editing the options.

Rima, my lovely client in Santa Monica, was very clear on her vision for her bedroom. She wanted a grounding sanctuary that embraced a bohemian sprit but one that was uniquely her own.
  When asked what colours she saw in her space Rima always returned to the same ones; deep pinkie reds and browns.
I saw these colours too plus a hint of navy!

So I began the editing process and presented her with 4 options.

I wonder which one she'll select?
Tom, my gracious rug supplier, certainly helped by making the process easier. There is nothing better than seeing the rug in your space.
I consider any beautiful hand crafted rug, like these stunning examples, a piece of art.
Just like artwork, a rug has the power to deeply resonate with us and take us to that desired place, within our special space.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Hero's Journey

Last week a very dear friend Patricia and her two children stayed with us for a few nights.
Patricia is one of those friends that never ceases to inspire & challenge me in a way I could only imagine a good life coach would do for their client.
Last week she taught me about The Hero's Journey
Have you guys heard of it?
I encourage you to read more about Joseph Campbell's ideas if you are either or all of the following;
1) feeling stuck in any part of your life

2) having trouble identifying your purpose

3) striving for more bliss
Our Ash

In a nut shell the Hero's Journey is the storyline behind many brilliant fables, novels and movies including George Lucas' Star Wars. Essentially there is a hero that is feeling lost, they have a dragon to slay (their fear) once they slay this dragon they find their true purpose....and the net result is blisssssss!
The link above explains it far better!

The whole Hero's Journey concept totally resonated with me and has helped me identify the current hero's journey I am on; the one where I have three young amazing children who are growing up so fast and who have so much to teach me.

Admittedly I ignored the call of this hero's journey for quite some time as I attended to the 'juggling a business and young family' journey back in Sydney. The call for me to be an even more hands on Mum was always there and getting stronger and stronger.
It wasn't until Cali that I had the courage to go on this journey. Recently completing a 6 week summer break with the kids, all at home, I fell like I have finally worked through much of this journey....slayed my dragon so to speak and come out the other end with more purpose, clarity and certainly more bliss. It just feels good when you are doing what you are meant to be doing.
I believe our life is full of Hero's Journey's. Some are short & some are long. And some are certainly harder than others. My next Hero's Journey is staring me right in the face....Arghhh! But maybe I'll share that when I've completed it!
Santa Monica Trader Joe's
I had the urge to share this with you when I was doing the grocery shopping at Trader Joes this morning. Feeling blissful and content, I wanted to share what I found a simple and helpful concept.
So in the words of Disney's Frozen (which I am now all too familiar with) 'LET IT GO'......
Clip of kids singing Let It Go! 
  and answer the call of your next Hero's's there and it won't go away until you complete it!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Space Healing Series: 11 Spruson Street - Part Three


PART THREE: The Wrap Up!

 You have arrived at the end of my Space Healing series on Spruson Street so if you have not read PART ONE or PART TWO it's best to catch up before continuing.  


WHAT I CALL SPACE HEALING - Finding your authentic home

(Cont)......Whilst we would love to embark on a larger renovation at some point we are now in no rush. I am so glad we took the approach we did, choosing a smaller remodel and decorating our home to its heart's desire taught me more about healing a space and working with the essence of a home rather than simply creating a newer bigger one. I have always been of the opinion that coming into a home with preconceptions of certain styles and layouts is counterintuitive. Homes have their own story, their own heart and I believe it is our job to heal our home as best we can with whatever means we have.

You won't find your home in a magazine or a designer alone. To find your authentic & sensory home you need to use your intuition to truly understand how your space can support you and combine this with what your space has to offer. This is the starting point and this is the healing approach I term 'Space Healing'.  The hat I wear as an interior designer only gets worn well after the essence and purpose, (the 'why'), of the home is clear to me and my client. It is the interior designer that knows how to convert the 'why' into 'what' but it's the Space Healer that uncovers the 'why'.

Finally our new sisal stair runner with brass stair rods.


Now there's my authentic home! This is actually how we style our entry sideboard featuring my Dad's vintage Meccano & family photos which I treasure.
This angle of our entry vestibule accurately portrays the proportions of the space where the others give a slightly false impression. Finding the right wall lights to fill the space either side was my priority. Without their elongated neck I would of had that niggling feeling something needed to sit next to the sideboard. You can't see it here but every sideboard in our home was cut into the skirting boards so they sat flush to the wall. When you have small spaces this makes a big difference.
 Hugh playing with my faux tortoise shell. Sideboard styling with Tamara Maynes gold sprinkled horse shoe.
My Mums friend gave us just enough ruby crystal knobs to fit every door. I bought this vintage privacy lock from American eBay for the powder room.


OUR REMODEL – The Reward

We recently moved to Los Angeles for my husband's work and we were thrilled to rent our home easily. It was so rewarding to show people through our home who so positively responded to its uniqueness. Finally 11 Spruson Street was desirable in a way that drew people to it.
One of the last areas I felt I needed to heal before leaving for LA was the front façade of our home. It's small cottage appearance no longer appropriate. We had a new timber gate made along with a hand wrought arbor and letterbox. My vision however won't be complete until the canopy of roses we recently planted welcomes you in.

I hope it's as beautiful as the vision I have in my head. 
The font pathway of our home with the new timber gate, letterbox and arbor
and our magnificent crape myrtle tree.

The beginnings of our new timber entry gate & letterbox.
Life is a little uncertain for us right now which is super exciting. We are absolutely loving living here in California and I have recently won a greencard in the lottery. Whilst the thought of not returning to Spruson Street pangs me, I do feel the space healing I have completed will hold our home in good stead for any new potential owner.

To our knowledge our home does not have a name and interestingly we don't have plans to name it. For some reason it doesn't feel right for us to name it.....I think we'll leave this to the next owners. 

But if we return sometime soon the first priority will be painting the exterior. These pictures don't really show how desperately it needs a fresh coat & colour upgrade. I am thinking Dulux European White, apparently this is the exterior paint colour of Balmoral's Bathers Pavilion. 

Who did that? Bathers Pavilion at Balmoral.

OUR REMODEL – How others felt in our home

I invited two people outside our family who have spent a lot of time in our home to write a few words. It was so interesting to read about their experience of the space. I was so impressed with the sentiments of our darling live-in Au-pair Catherine. I was going to write a whole section on how I used colour in our home but Caff has touched on it here like a pro!

A big thanks to Soph and Caff for these beautiful words and for being such a special part of our lives. After all, no amount of pretty fabric or furniture can substitute for the energy another human brings to your home.


 Written by our great friend Sophie Taggart

 “To walk into Bron, Jas, Hugh, Ash and Darci’s home always felt good. I mention them all, because it was a home where everyone had a space and where everyone was fulfilled with their own Interests. It was a home for everyone who lived there.

Nothing was ever out of sort in the way my home seems to be with little children. Everything had a spot, everyone knew where their favourite things were and everyone was content. To walk into their space gave you a feeling of being uplifted and deeply peaceful.

The style, colours, unique pieces of furniture, lamps and collected ornaments seemed to wrap you up with inspiration. To be in ANY room, was inspiring, stimulating and calming all at once.

It was fun, playful and easy to be there, whether for five minutes or hours, unannounced or invited. The home was always stunning, always 'done', so really, it was like walking into an indulgent boutique hotel, you know, that feeling of awe and just being there is nurturing to your soul. Just to clarify, it was never 'done' so you felt you couldn't touch, there would be dolls and puzzles and little people to step over to get from the front door to the kitchen, but that just added to the realness of this loved and lived in (drop dead gorgeous) home. This was like stepping into a luxurious Boutique family hotel that just felt GOOD all over to be there.”
Edie, Max & Toby Taggart, (Soph's kids), with our kids. 

Written by our Liverpool Au-pair, Caff O’Connor

 “Bron has been very successful in applying colour in her home to lend both a sense of energy and relaxation. Each space creates a desired mood.

The lounge space I find to be most fascinating as there is an array of colour and pattern which work well together to entice a range of emotion. The use of Yellow I found to be uplifting and energising, while Orange brings excitement and enthusiasm, as do her three adorable children. Feature walls add life and interest, while Blue conveys a sense of calmness and compliments refreshing green tones, allowing for maximum comfort in this space. With natural light almost always exposed and views of the wonderful garden and pool area, I felt this space to be extremely tranquil.

Each space has been carefully designed, from the eye catching entrance to the impressive 'Playroom' area, a place which encourages her children to express themselves and use their own imaginations. In particular, I love my space. Here I have a feature wall with a travel theme. This I find very personal and a place I like to spend time.

The home Bron has created is both warm and chic. It was an absolute joy to share this stunning home with the Ballantines. Happy home, happy family, gorgeous space.”
Caff, our much loved au-pair who stayed with our family for 10 months. This was her room!

OUR REMODEL – How we felt in our home

Prior to leaving Spruson Street we were invited to dinner at our neighbours, Lyn and Peter Cosgrove. It was a farewell dinner for us all as Lyn and Peter were off to Kirribilli House to undertake the esteemed role of Governor-General of Australia. That night Lyn and Peter told us that they have lived in 26 homes (don't quote me) during their married life. Peter shared with us that one of the best things about living in their 26th home on Spruson Street was hearing the joyful play of our three children. We were always so conscious of the noise our children made and this was so incredibly heart-warming to hear and encapsulates our sentiments too. With its enchanted garden and pool area, Spruson Street is a truly family & friend focused home and memories spent outdoors with the people we love are the predominate ones that remain. 


Memories - Kids being kids

Our kids playroom (sadly the only photo I could find of this room) 





Memories - Kids celebrations

Flower shop for Ashley's birthday party.

 Beautiful friend Letitica helping with the flower arranging.

Hugh's 7th birthday pool party. Celebrating Darci's christening.

Memories - Entertaining friends 

 Getting ready to let of some steam for our USA farewell party! 

Live music, paella & friends.
 I think I was announcing our move to the US here, a few under my belt maybe!?!
Beautiful friends, Sahara with fellow space healer Mina.


OUR REMODEL – How I felt in our home

And then there are a few memories that linger just for me....

Memories - My dancing lace curtains 

Our lace curtains gave me endless joy and framed beautiful views from every window.
Summer breeze.
Experience it with me here!

  It's better than TV don't you think!?!


 Memories - My restful place

One of my favourite things was seeing the dappled light from the Chinese Elm on my sheets.
One day I hope to put a dormer window in my bedroom to capture the North Sydney skyline. 


Memories - My creative space

And then there was my creative place, my soft furnishings shed just for me.

I think I will look back on the special time we spent in this home as the colourful years. I recently asked a few of my older friends, including my Mum, what the best years of their life was. All three of them said the homemaking years I am living right now....I can appreciate why.

Kids all half each others age here, 6, 3, 18mths, Nov 2012
I am turning 40 soonish and it's such an interesting time in my life. Our youngest, Darci, just turned 3 and it marks a milestone for us as a family and me personally as a mother. Professionally as a designer I also feel a big change coming. Over the years I have acknowledged feeling somewhat disempowered to do my job as an interior designer effectively. In my ideal world I would live in my clients home for a few days so I could help them determine their 'why' and then help them select the most suitable team to turn that 'why' into 'what'. I guess I would be the intuitive medium between them and their home....


I just wanted to take a moment to review some of the techniques I use to create supportive spaces that feel as good as they look in the hope that you can employee them too.

'Why' over 'what'

In general I am never consumed with 'what' I use in a space, it's always 'why' I am using it. If I was concerned with the 'what' I would have bought a very different artwork for our kitchen dining area. 'Why' makes it feel great, where as 'what' may make it look great, (at least from a certain angle!). There is a big difference! As a consumer we need to be so mindful of trends and interior pornography where we never see the why or more truthfully, where there is no why! This is a trap that often leads to disconnected spaces.
I recently watched the documentary 'I Am' by Tom Shadyac. I highly recommend it. Tom, a famous Hollywood director, was on a spiritual quest. During the documentary he sells all of his various mansions for a very humble home. There was one line in the film that I can't shake, he comments that some people, highly developed spiritual thinkers in particular, would consider having more than you need a mental illness. WOW, it got me thinking, do I need that sculpture, that vase, all those cushions....
I Am
....but just because they are ornamental doesn't mean they are not needed. Tom found his authentic home in a less is more way, but we are all different and have different needs and life is an ever evolving journey. For me these items heal my space which in turn heals me. They genuinely contribute to my wellbeing, connecting me to the balanced considered space which provides immense joy and security. It's the fact that these things are considered and considered uniquely for me and my home that possibly keeps me from the mental institution.
 I have never considered my online offering, Complete Pad, as just another online shop. It's purpose, even from it's conception in 2000, was to catalogue all the items I saw potential in. Items with potential to heal someones space. Complete Pad is not invested in selling the latest and greatest designer trends. The purpose of Complete Pad is to help you complete your home by making the process of converting your 'why' into 'what' more accessible, affordable and ideally, accurate! The new vision I have for Complete Pad will offer even more, but that I'll save for another time!

Where to start

Shy away from preconceived ideas and notions of what you like. Before you start with an 'inspiration board' determine how you want your home to feel. Ask the question that I ask my clients, 'what do you want people to feel when they walk though your door', use this in conjunction with your homes infinite potential and go from there.
If none of this 'space healing' comes naturally to you maybe you could create a 'mood board' instead of an 'inspiration board' with images that depict the feelings you want to create. My advice here is to limit yourself to one interior picture only. One is enough and two is too many, it will cloud the vision and your understanding of the 'why' . Include images of nature, colour perhaps or even quotes.
Observe your space and become very familiar with the dull spots that need attention. Experiment with solutions; does it need light; will a mirror help; how will the shape & size of this mirror impact the room; what style of mirror will contribute to my intended feeling, and so on. Then when you have some clear direction start sourcing the 'what'. Here an 'inspiration board' may be of use but only if based on interiors and products that contribute to healing the space and not ones you simply like.
I guarantee it will be a very different board if done in reverse!

Determining priorities

Most of us don't live in skilfully created architectural homes where the interior architecture is so powerful it becomes ornamentation. If you are a Pinterest user you may agree that so many of the interior images we are drawn too are ones with stunning high or raked ceilings, arched or bay windows, grand open spaces. Rarely can we complete with that! When I 'like' something on my Pinterest page I try to disassociate the architecture from the decorating so to be very clear on what I am actually inspired by.
Our girls room is the nicest proportioned room in our house by far. It is large, it has 3 dormer windows, an amazing high raked ceiling and stunning views of the North Sydney skyline and palm trees. Its light filled architectural bones make it feel amazing regardless of the furniture I use. My space healing techniques are less concerned with these spaces, they have already been healed by my architect collaborator and are ready for a talented decorators touch. And here lies within another point; I am forever warning my clients of the trap of over spending during the renovation stage
and not leaving money in the kitty for decorating. Whilst good architectural spaces are innately healed it’s not enough; you have to find the middle ground between architecture &'s the icing on the cake that we remember and the reason why Jas and I decided to wait for our family room bay window!

   Our girl's bedroom with yellow pinwheel Armadillo rug.
Not much space healing needed with such beautiful interior architecture.

Balancing a space

 Personally I avoid associating myself to any one style. It depreciates what I believe in. Whilst my portfolio offers a variety of styles there are some common threads in my work which I guess may lend to a signature of sorts. One such common thread is balancing the space; this is where I pay particular attention to ensuring the material, auditory, energetic & light vibration of any one part of the room is counteracted (balanced) by the other. I did this in our galley kitchen at Spruson Street by adding the curtain and floor runner and numerous other places within our home. This is almost impossible to show in a picture as its success is determined by the peripheral experience of the space, where when balanced, subconsciously makes the space feel comfortable and one your are in control of. I really struggle styling my interiors for detailed pictures and very much appreciate the work of good magazine stylists when I try. My natural inclination is to shoot wide to capture it all. My eye is so keenly trained to consider the peripheral vignettes rather than the direct ones so I can balance my spaces and heal them.

My paragraph about defining the purpose of the space which I spoke about in part one is also key to balancing a space and directly impacts the energetic vibration. Working with the light vibrations of a room is another one. Many would disagree with what I am about to say here but if your room is dim work with that. By all means paint it white but don't be deluded by the hope it will brighten your won't! And well as for the auditory vibrations, that's pretty self explanatory. I'll never forget that first week in our home where I had no rugs, no curtains just a whole lot of terracotta tile and black granite where the sound bounced around like a ping-pong ball. It was unbearable to be in the space with company yet alone washing the dishes.

Shape, Colour, Texture

Purity of form, blended texture and contrasting colours are other technique I always apply to my work to make them a sensory experience. I try to keep my spaces fresh & relatively pure so they are easily understood and I achieve this in the shapes I use and the way I employ white or black to sharpen (freshen) my spaces. Complimentary textures are also a big one for me and equally as  impacting than colour. Whilst I could live without colour I could never live without texture. Once more, this is nearly impossible to demonstrate in a picture but I believe I best achieved this in Spruson Street with the use of our cotton lace curtains. If my curtains were a polyester voile fabric for example the space would not feel (or look) as good. The light in the room, the way the breeze moves through the fabric, the way the curtains hang would all be significantly compromised; in a photograph however possibly undetectable.

So many parallels can be drawn from fashion with interiors, the rules are vastly the same. Think of texture this way; would you prefer to have limitless options with the materials you ware or limitless colours? Which would you choose if you could only choose one? Black every day but the choice of linen, silk, cotton...? Or Polyester every day but in any colour you dreamt of? There is no right or wrong answer, it's all just personal choice at the end of the day. But for me as a space healer and as a designer, if I didn't have texture to manipulate and work with I would be striped of one of my most valuable tools. I could write a book on texture, I'm very passionate about it, again another reason I named my company 'Touch'. Achieving the desired texture on my kitchen cupboards was another invested area I took great pride in getting right. I tried numerous techniques before I decided on the very subtle hand painted silver crossed hatch that illuminates my space in a rather magical way. I make a particular point here of texture not because I don't value colour, (clearly I love colour), it's just that texture is so very hard to show in a picture and often overlooked.
I always try to inject organic shapes into my spaces. Cowhides are a favourite as are circular shapes.

'Healed' over 'Designed'

Whilst the recipe list for creating my spaces may be complicated I strive for the end result to look as natural and effortless as possible. I do strive to make my spaces powerful, inspirational and impressive but I don't strive for my spaces to look 'designed', rather I strive for them to feel 'healed' and more so, 'lived in'. A good before and after photo can often show this. In Spruson Street I think it's our modest family room that feels the best and I am grateful to say that the before and after photos do come close to capturing the way the room felt. I would have never predicted the room I associated as being the worst in the house would be the room I would end up being the happiest in. 


It is not my intention to paint a picture of an idyllic family life spent here in our home because the truth is nothing is ever perfect. People say all the time how they ‘found the perfect house’….well it’s probably more than likely it was the best house they could find, afford or in other cases, design! The key is to make the most of what we have and feather our nest with what is available; weather that be the calling of our own homes true potential, inspiration that unexpectedly falls our way, or more critically, a growing understanding for how a space can support us.

 Our kids gorgeous artwork worked anywhere in this colourful space.
When it comes to your home my parting advice would be that you never become complacent with your space; find time to be observant, experiment with it and enjoy the feeling of even the smallest improvement. Consider it like entering your freshly cleaned space, a considered space is equally as uplifting & rewarding.
 Thank you so much for allowing me to take you through my Space Healing process. I started this blog in January 2012 for exactly this purpose. As we enter a new age where science is increasingly crediting the value of our intuition I feel the time is perfect to share my intimate processes. I am not much of a reader but I am sure there are many authors out there with a similar conversation and if you know of any please share. It's an important conversation and one I am very passionate about. It's been a joy to heal Spruson Street and I deeply appreciate the opportunity our home has given me to showcase the very essence of what I call Space Healing and the rewarding outcome. I hope there were some helpful insights here and if there were I would love to hear from you.

PS: As an ongoing commitment to my Space Healing work, each month one FREE Space Healing consultation will be blocked out in my online booking calendar. This first in, first served offering will be advertised through our Newsletter, Instagram and Facebook page. Be sure to sign up if you are someone seeking Space Healing. These consultations can be conducted onsite within Los Angeles or via Skype elsewhere. Read more about my Space Healing service here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Space Healing Series: 11 Spruson Street - Part Two

PART TWO: Healing the 80's addition of our home 

Before we jump right in, have you read PART ONE? If not it's best to catch up here before continuing.


OUR REMODEL – You won’t find your home, it will find you! 

(Cont.)......Even though the front part of the house had obvious challenges it was the back part of the house that initially made me turn it down. The proportions were all wrong with two small pavilions, a family room and a kitchen come dining room. It seemed unlikely that a family of five could comfortably operate there. I remember walking through it that very first time and spotting the western wall right at the end of the dining table. I thought to myself, surely that can't be it....but it was and then I walked out.

The old saying ‘you won’t find your home, it will find you’ rings true, it was my destiny to own and heal this home.

Real Estate BEFORE shot. It's a bit average!

 It was like winning lotto when I found this dining suite on eBay. Instant improvement!

The AFTER shot of our kitchen. A much happier space!

 Bohemian style textiles.


OUR REMODEL – Making spaces the best they can be

Many tricks to the trade were employed to make the back part of the home function and become a space we loved. Probably the most significant improvement was adding 9 white cotton lace curtains to soften the space and frame the windows. Without these curtains the space was incredibly jarring, especially the family room junction that led into kitchen. The other key ingredient would be the right artwork for that problem western wall in the dining area. I became fixated on finding a piece that would transcend the space beyond its physical walls whilst also balancing the blue pool opposite. Thirdly, covering as much of the terracotta floor with a natural area rug appearing more like a wall to wall floor covering was critical to increasing the visual space and providing a stable base palette where I could layer my furnishings to create a truly liveable and warm setting.

You know I don't actually like this artwork as a stand alone piece but
I ADORE it in this spot. It completely heals the space and makes it feel bigger, brighter and balanced.

Gorgeous Irish au-pair Kym holding up the curtains.
Kids and curtains can mix! We taught our kids to look after our space which they embrace most of the time.

I was so excited to see if my inclination of using a semitransparent cotton lace would soften that nasty junction as well as I had hoped. The natural fine cotton gauze of the lace is incredibly beautiful and a lovely juxtaposition with the terracotta tiles. Once my curtains were up I lived with them closed for a while just to experience their beauty. Ordinarily they remain open and are more decorative but absolutely functional if you get my gist.

The confusing junction looking through two glass windows now healed.
Large area rug. And of course our artwork that energetically guides me into the room & makes me not want to leave.

Our kitchen feels alive with lots of plants and modern day macramé.


OUR REMODEL – Making a small space work

When it came to selecting family room furniture I was faced with the challenging proportions of the room width which didn't allow for two settees or a coffee table. Essentially the room was the thoroughfare to the kitchen so I was mindful of good circulation without compromising the location of the TV or a comfy settee. Knowing that larger pieces within a smaller room mostly creates an illusion of additional space I went with an extra deep white cane settee, covered it with kid friendly upholstery and piled it with an oversized bolster and custom cushions.  
Before shot.
Our family room. My favourite space.
Interesting to notice how the styles of the before and after shots here are quite similar with cane lounge and artwork.
Darci grabs a table from the nest.
We truly love hanging out here.

 Getting the scatter cushion combo right was more like a science than an art. I very carefully considered the size of each and the way they would be layered to ensure they visually balanced the space. I wanted them all to have a natural casual appeal that only linens and quality cottons accomplish. Each cushion was detailed with a mix of toggles, frayed fringes, tassels and cords to create a bespoke collection that would wow you as you turned the corridor. The bolster cushion and settee upholstery used a hardy kid proof faux suede which I could machine wash effectively. Finding the right fabrics involved considered thought & relentless searching. There were many edits before finding the right scheme. Playing with cushion sizes was also a big part of pulling off the eclectic mix to ensure patterns & colours were well represented. Initially I found it difficult to steer away from the classic palette of blue & white. I could have designed 100's of workable blue & white schemes but I am so glad I persisted with finding a more colourful option.

Can you see the lamp shade in the background? Luckily one of the only mistakes I made; a beautiful shade but the print was too small for what the room needed.
   Swatches and the original creamy wall colour (which I found so hard to live with).
Despite using lots of blue in our scheme it was the pops of yellow & orange injected later that tied it all together.
Read more about my cushion journey here!
Achieving a co-ordinated array of colour and pattern was my intent.
My favourites are the two round yellow rose cushions made from a vintage oilcloth I bought off Etsy.
Etsy was such a wonderful resource for finding vintage pieces.
 Whilst I did want a hint of bohemian I didn't want it to have the clashing / dashing appeal of Boho.
I wanted it have a more vintage sentiment that was very restful.

Runner at base of step.

The floor runner I used at the base of the step here is an important piece to the room. From the perspective looking towards the cubby house, when I remove this runner, suddenly the room shrinks in size, (it was my space healing party trick performed on many guests). Essentially the runner visually connects the family room as part of the terrace vestibule and gives the room the extra length it so desperately needs. Layering a space to positively influence its size is one of the greatest design principles (tricks) us designers use. Its impact never ceases to amaze me. I guess it's the same theory in fashion!


OUR REMODEL – Discovering a home’s unique style

As we became more intimately acquainted it was clear that a 70's vintage feel with a hint of bohemian was the perfect style for the backend to compliment the poolside location and terracotta tiles. Adding bright and cheerful colours for my three young children to enjoy and remember fondly was also my priority. I am a big believer that all homes have their own special flower, one that looks so much better than any other flower within its walls. For our Cremorne home it was white lilies, but just sightly opened ones, and for our Neutral Bay home it is most certainly roses. We planted roses outside, I used roses on five of the textiles inside and I filled vases with fresh roses on a weekly basis. Recently we planted a gorgeous Lamarque climbing rose for our new entry gate and arbor at the front of the house.

Our Bohemian shell pendants.

 Roses on the lace curtains.

Having a pool wasn't a requirement for us but a huge bonus and brings me endless enjoyment to look at it each day.
Having it so close to the home was also an advantage I wouldn't have appreciated until experiencing.

Roses in the garden.


OUR REMODEL – Prepare to change focus

It was interesting to observe how my priorities changed after the first few months of living in our home. Initially I was convinced we had to use our budget on building a bay window for the family room settee to slot into making the room wider, but as I began to decorate and witness how we used the space this desire subsided. New priorities started creeping in.

 Dreaming of a beautiful big bay window right here with two pocket side windows overlooking the pool and garden.
Picture of my Eva Hannah original before I had it reframed. What a difference a frame makes! Read more about this gorgeous painting here!

Never second guess where you'll find inspiration....Barbie's Dream House had the ideal bay window design.
 I'll have to find another spot for the clothesline when we get the bay window!
 But for now this works for just find for us!


OUR REMODEL – There is always a solution

Entering from our garage multiple times a day the view that greeted me when I opened our back door became my priority. My focus shifted to fixing what appeared to be a dead end wall, the wall that lead from the terrace vestibule into the hallway. I hated the way the house appeared to stop right at this point without any directional queues suggesting there were other spaces to explore. It felt mean and unsettling. I started experimenting with layering the space, adding the hanging macramé planter, back lighting it and most significantly selecting a wall paper that literally had a directional queue in its design guiding you into the hallway. I was surprised and relived to see how well this solution resolved my problem.

Renato hanging our paper. What a gem he is!

Our TV nook with a 5th & final feature wallpaper. Floating angled shelves installed.
And my beautiful macramé hanging planter which I blogged about here!

 I found this video that I want to share. It shows our space in progress. Notice the wallpaper sample on the sideboard. It did take a big dose of courage to use such a bold pattern and a few weeks spent walking past it to see how it grew on us. Notice too the old skirting boards or half rounds I should say, they are hardly skirting boards!


OUR REMODEL – Creating illusions

The other bone of contention that started creeping in was the hobbit like doorway which led out to the terrace. It felt incredibly low and appeared even lower from the stepped up family room. I couldn't actually believe I was about to tell my husband I needed more curtains to resolve this dilemma. But it had to be done so I began to play with all types of drape designs to give the illusion of height and added some stunning turquoise beaded tiebacks that I carefully positioned higher than normal. I think this is my favourite detail of the home. It frames a beautiful vignette from the back door and one as you walk down the hallway.

I love the softness created by the puddling curtains as they hit the floor.

Our turquoise beaded tiebacks - a worthy splurge.
Other curtains had a turquoise coloured rosette holdback.

Backlighting the space to create extra dimension. Belgium linen striped fabric from Designs Of The Times.


OUR REMODEL – Up-cycling

One of the first changes I made to our home was a simple kitchen makeover that included painting the existing cupboards with a soft metallic silver and subtle crosshatch brush stroke. I also added new handles and some shell chandeliers which shaded the three existing bench top down lights. I was so thrilled with how the chandeliers worked and blogged about it here. Many of the furnishings in our home were up-cycled from places like eBay and thrift shops; the dining setting and buffet, vintage white cane cupboard, bar stools, macramé planter and antique entry sideboard to name a few. Even the lace curtains were made up of 36 discontinued Scottish madras lace panels I bought off American eBay. I think my favourite up-cycled purchase was my Chippendale outdoor setting which I also blogged about here! But by far the most useful is the white cane cupboard that houses all our day to day stuff!

 An impromptu visit from Soph & Edie on Ashley's 2nd birthday not long after we moved in with furniture from our Cremorne home.
 Kids eating while I experimented with swatches of silver paint on the cupboard doors behind.
Painted kitchen cupboards, new handles & a Dash & Albert outdoor runner.
I ended up using Porters BU-2 PL-4 which has been amazingly hardwearing offering a beautiful lustre & soft silver that blended with the Porters Milk wall colour used throughout the home.
Vintage cane cupboard bought from a second hand antique shop near Long Jetty NSW. I actually saw it in their facebook page and bought it unseen. Gotta love facebook!

I love my $5 shade I got from a thrift shop. Just enough 'cottage' to make the space cosy.


Even on a rainy day this was a beautiful space to be in.
It took a while to find this curtain tieback for the kitchen balcony and I'm glad I waited as this one is just perfect!

This first vignette that greeted you upon entering the dining pavilion looked straight down the galley kitchen. It was cold & unappealing. Adding a floor runner and a final curtain completely balanced the
space and gave it the much needed warmth often so hard to inject into a kitchen. The second vista that caught your eye was the two large windows on the back wall. I found the empty column between these windows a real challenge. With nothing on the wall between the windows the room felt two dimensional because of its lacking depth. Adding the clock was the perfect solution. I hand painted its body in a soft blue wash so it was subtle enough whilst still catching your eye. And the chiming noise became a familiar sound we grew to loved.

  Tamara Maynes yellow tassels along with the wall clock I bought from America really finish off the room. But for me it's the many plants that make the room sing!

I got the handles from  Malcom St James  
Better picture showing the silver cupboards...excuse the mess!

My barstools ready to go off to the upholsterer. It's all in the detail.
Specifying no pattern match was crucial to ensure they all came back unique, something I very much wanted.

OUR REMODEL – My poolside pavilion of lace

I also had the good fortune of packing a few special Stuart Membery furniture pieces into a client's container that I was importing from overseas. The stunning round Tangiers table is a treasured piece and was key to completing my vision along with the styling of the garden and pool area. Three verdigrises’ herb troughs on the kitchen balcony, striped deck chairs and a special hanging vintage planter on the porch were just some of the garden delights that connected our interior to the magic of the outside. We also lifted six sandstone pavers to increase the size of the garden bed in the corner of the pool to make a tranquil fernery. This corner was my direct line of sight from my kitchen sink so I wanted to make a beautiful vignette here.  Before long my pavilion of lace, framed by the pool, palms, frangipani and ferns was complete and any lack of space that was initially such a concern soon forgotten.

Our extended garden bed to accommodate our fernery with a round table I found at Vinnie's.
Verdigrises’ oversized Goblet Pots are finally in!

We scored these oversized maraya spheres from the set of Gatsby which we ended up moving closer together to frame the Chippendale dining setting. Troughs ready to make a herb garden on the kitchen balcony.

Carefully considered outdoor pieces to connect inside to out. Chairs from Angelucci.


Tangiers table love by Stuart Membery

My vintage shell chandelier.  A shell encrusted trinket box found at Rozelle markets.

Due to the very low eves on our home you never got a vast sense of the sky (unless lying down) but they sure do keep out the rain! Ideally I'd like to rectify this with a future remodel, maybe a small conservatory! Dream, dream dream!
Our extended garden bed for our ferns.

Strung bare bulb lights & our terrace dining setting.

OUR REMODEL – An interwoven & considered scheme

I could go on all day about other critical elements that healed our home; the free form cowhide, the impact of the many large lamps, the oversized carved mirror, the colourful artwork above the settee, all the plants, (I think I counted 17 indoor plants in this part of the home at one point) but hopefully the photos paint that story. I have photographed my home almost exactly how we lived in it because my intent is not to show just pretty pictures but rather to showcase how a home works as a symbiotic relationship of interwoven spaces. No smoke and mirrors here, no manipulation of furniture or props (okay maybe a vase or two, or entry buffet arrangement!). It amazes me how easily we live in this home despite its lacking family room size. I put its success down to the fact that it is extremely comfortable and everything had a place making daily life effortless and relatively mess free, my only gripe being the cushions don't fluff themselves! 


Carved Islander inspired mirror which just fit! My round striped carved old tea cheat ottoman found at Coco Republic is another favourite piece. I often sit here to eat breakfast.

 This plant was heaven and had the perfect colours. All my lamp shades were custom made for the space.


Outdoor pots to fill empty corners. Custom soft furnishings to complete the look. Fabric from Quadrille.
I'm going to post my wrap up tomorrow if you don't mind. In part three I will talk about what Space Healing actually means to me and outline specific techniques you can employ. I promise it will be worth coming back for so I do hope you will join me for the conclusion of my three part series on Space Healing our home.