New house ideas

No surprises that I’ve been pinning like mad since December when we signed the contract for our new home.

Like the announcement, I wanted to keep everything hush-hush until it was all 100% sorted. But I just realised my epic pinboard was still set to ‘private’ – oops!

Well and truly time to remedy that so you can peek inside my brain to see how my ideas for the new house are forming. Make yourself a coffee and go over and browse my inspiration so far on Pinterest. Go on, I’ll wait.


Back? Good! Tell me, what did you think?

In some ways it’s quite a departure from my normal design tendencies. There is a lot of white and other light wall colours (mostly very pale grey) instead of being drawn to my usual bold palette.

Certainly it’s partly due to age – we were in our early twenties when we bought our first home so it was a fun, colourful house for a young couple, whereas I feel like this is our ‘grown up’ house.

I think also at the time I had a boring job and wanted a stimulating environment at home. Six years on, I have more than enough stimulation in my day so I now find myself craving calmness and simplicity. (Self-diagnosing psychology through Pinterest – who would have thought!)

Some things definitely haven’t changed though. Overall my style is still a mix of old meets new, with a heavy mid-century influence, graphic patterns, industrial touches and pops of colour.

Either way, you can definitely see clear themes emerging, which is what’s so great about the process of creating moodboards.

My goal with this house is to have it all flow and work together, instead of the dog’s breakfast of a colour palette we had in the townhouse. Consistent flooring and a whole house colour palette is at the top of the list.

That said, I do have the irrepressible urge to paint a couple of the rooms in really bold shades, but I’m leaning towards neutrals rather than brights (greys or even black). I still want it to be playful and colourful (couldn’t live without that!) but more as accents rather than competing everywhere for attention.


I do have a very clear vision for our home, but I am going to take my time and let it evolve bit-by-bit.

This is the first time I’ve planned a whole house scheme at once. Have you ever done this or do you take more of a take-each-room-as-it-comes approach?

And how has your style or approach evolved over the years?


working bee in progress

This is what our living room currently looks like.

It’s acting as HQ for all of our renovating gear so we don’t have to run out to the garage every ten minutes for tools and supplies.

working bee in progress

We’re making good progress on the kitchen and office and have made a start on the lounge. I took the photo of our master lists earlier in the week so I’ve since had the satisfaction of crossing off a bunch more tasks.

The Man is off at a work thing all this weekend so I’ll be cranking up some tunes (we figured out how to use the house’s built-in speakers which is pretty sweet!) to help me get through more painting.

It’s utter chaos but I’m loving every minute.


Since I may be without internet for some time (eek!) I’ve scheduled for you a roundup of before and afters of our first home.















before-and-after-bathroom-2 before-and-after-bathroom-1



You can also see the progress shots over on the house tour, but it’s fun to see the side-by-sides from 2008 compared to 2014. Basically, nothing has been left untouched except the floors. We are so excited to take on an even bigger challenge with the new house!

My blogging will be patchy over the next couple of weeks as we wait patiently impatiently for our internet connection and while I find the time to put down the wallpaper stripper long enough to edit some photos.

I will be posting updates and photos over on Twitter and Instagram so follow along to get the latest.

Atypical Type A final townhouse tour

Before I started packing, I went around the house for a final photo shoot. I don’t really believe that a home is ever ‘finished’, but since we’re moving out this is the most finished it will ever be.

Get your scrolling finger ready because it’s a long one.

Lounge & dining

Atypical Type A final townhouse tour           Atypical Type A final townhouse tour Atypical Type A final townhouse tour Atypical Type A final townhouse tour

Atypical Type A final townhouse tour


Atypical Type A final townhouse tour

Atypical Type A final townhouse tour Atypical Type A final townhouse tour


Atypical Type A final townhouse tour

Stairwell & landing

Atypical Type A final townhouse tour

Atypical Type A final townhouse tour


Atypical Type A final townhouse tour   Atypical Type A final townhouse tour

(I had already taken down some art in here to patch the holes before we move; the walls are not normally this bare.)


Atypical Type A final townhouse tour

Atypical Type A final townhouse tour

Atypical Type A final townhouse tour


Atypical Type A final townhouse tour

Atypical Type A final townhouse tour      Atypical Type A final townhouse tour

It’s definitely still a modest house but we are so happy with how far it’s come. Even as we move on to bigger and better things it will always hold a special place as our first home. *Sniff sniff* …damn onions.

Ahem, so make sure you check out the progress photos to see how it evolved to this stage.

By the time you read this I’ll hopefully be heading off to collect the keys to the new house! I say hopefully though because it hasn’t quite been smooth sailing with settlement.

I’ll be posting latest updates on Twitter and Instagram so I’ll see you over there!

house before

I’ve had this post waiting in the wings for a while.

I took some photos at the new house when we met the agent there to sign some paperwork a few weeks ago. I didn’t want to publish anything until finance and whatnot was 100% sorted, which it now is.

I would not have posted them at all if the home was still occupied, but it’s a deceased estate which has been vacant for some time. The furniture is still there but it has been largely cleared of personal effects.


house before

The house is late 50s and is very typical of the area. However it does have a few surprises compared to the majority of seemingly similar homes, because it was built for the builder’s own family as their dream home.

It has only had the one owner for over five decades and, despite the dated decor, has clearly been a well-loved family home. We can’t wait to give it some TLC of our own!

house before

It’s only five minutes from our current home but it feels a world away as it’s tucked in a quiet suburban street instead of being in a big unit block on a semi-industrial main road.

Entry & hall

house before

The entrance is quite generously proportioned and I’m actually quite fond of the chandelier. The view from the front door looks straight into the laundry which is a bit awkward so we may block off that doorway and create more of a focal point.

house before

The three bedrooms are all off a single hallway. It’s not wide enough for any furniture but I’m picturing a gallery wall.

Bedroom 1

house before

The master bedroom I’d say has roughly the same proportions as our current bedroom, which we’ve found to be a good size for us.

house before

It doesn’t have any built-ins though (none of the bedrooms do), so that’s on the to-do list.

Bedroom 2

house before

The second and third bedrooms are decent (certainly bigger than our current second bedroom) but not big. They both have lovely big windows and natural light. Just imagine how light and bright they are going to feel without all the wallpaper!

This room will be a study for The Man, including storage for his work supplies and books as well as his guitar. We have actually arranged to buy some furniture from the vendor, including this desk and dresser.

Bedroom 3

house before

The third bedroom, which overlooks the garden, will act as a guest room.

Main bathroom

house before

If you weren’t already impressed with the variety of the wallpaper in the first four rooms, check out the bathroom.

Yep, it’s ladies’ faces. Watching you in the shower.

house before

…and the toilet.


house before

The laundry, like the rest of the house, needs a freshen up but this will be low on our priority list. There is a full-size linen closet on the other side of the room which will be very handy as there is no hall cupboard.


house before

One of the main things that sold us on this house was the floorplan, which has the kitchen ideally (for us) situated between the two living areas. The very long-term plan is to install a brand new kitchen, knocking out the wall on the left to make it open-plan with the living room.

house before

In the meantime I’m planning to paint the tiles and laminate (and remove the wallpaper of course) to modernise and brighten the room. And generally just bask in having triple the storage space of our current kitchen.

Dining room

house before

Off the kitchen, at the front of the house, is a formal dining room. For the time being it will be our only dining area as we only have one table.

There are those glorious big windows again.


house before

Through the brick archway is the formal lounge. It’s actually a double room so there are loads of possibilities. It definitely won’t be set up with two seating areas though.

house before

This is the room we will be tackling first since, unlike the rest of the house which has neutral flooring, this has carpet that really needs to go. We believe the sub-floor is timber floorboards so if that’s correct we plan to polish those.

Living room

house before

Adjacent to that is another living space. We actually have not a single piece of furniture to put in this room currently. At some stage I will paint the brick and panelling to create a bright casual meals/living area but it’s something that will evolve slowly.

house before

This house would have been quite the party place back in the day, featuring a built-in bar and speaker system. Much to the dismay of The Man’s friends, this will not be staying… at least not until after our 30th party this autumn. 

Powder room

house before

This photo is proof of not much except that I need a wider angle lens.

The toilet & basin is nicely located off the living room, near the patio, so it will be handy for guests.


house before

Next to that is a stairwell leading up to my favourite feature of the house…

house before

The attic!

house before

These two rooms will form my dream studio, with oodles of space for my business as well as crafting and other projects.

The Man is actually just as excited about this room as I am… because it means all my ‘stuff’ will be contained instead of spread out all over the house.


house before

I mentioned that this house had a few surprises, well here is another one. North American readers may find this quite underwhelming as basements appear to be commonplace, but here anything beyond one floor is a bit la-di-da.

Especially when it involves a wine cellar big enough to host a dinner party.

house before

Oh and here is the reason why I don’t feel the slightest wifely guilt at ripping out the bar upstairs. Because there is still another one.


house before

The patio is really spacious and the pergola is structurally is good nick. We’ll remove the green shadecloth and paint the timber but this is a while off.

house before

As much as I love a blank slate indoors, the opposite is true for the outdoors. I have improved a bit over the last six years of home ownership but I am still very much a novice gardener, so established = good / decisions = bad.

No doubt we will do a bit of landscaping in future but for the time being we will just try not to kill the previous owner’s clearly beloved lawn and fruit trees.


Phew! Well that’s our new home, what do you think? I hope you enjoyed the tour.


There is clearly A LOT to do. As in, no wall, floor or fixture will be safe from a makeover. But everything is in good condition and it’s totally liveable so there’s no rush.

Okay, maybe not, because I have SO MANY IDEAS I’m itching to do. 

Either way, we can’t wait to get in there and start making it ours.

If you have any questions about the layout or our renovation plans, feel free to ask in the comments!

High/low design

It started with a Facebook conversation I started the other day about a potential sponsor offering me a $165 cushion. I had declined it on the basis that it was not a good fit for this blog since I am all about affordable decorating.

A quick straw poll revealed that most of you would typically spend about the same as I would on a cushion, but industry pros Jen and Fiona raised the big question of quality, conditions and craftsmanship.

I don’t usually get too ‘deep’ here but for some reason I feel like I want to dive into this particular can of worms (now there’s a mental image for you).

I want to make one thing clear from the outset: this is not about how businesses choose to price their products. I have no doubt that the manufacturer in question priced their goods appropriately given the quality of material and labour involved. I am a producer of high-end goods myself through my invitation business and – even though it’s sometimes uncomfortable – I know my prices are exactly where they need to be.

Design-wise, we can’t compare these kinds of handcrafted items with their mass-produced counterparts. Yet for us as consumers, they need to be compared because they are both competing for our dollars. We all have finite resources so of course we are weighing up the product that costs the same as a takeaway baguette with the one that costs more than my entire weekly grocery budget.

I would love to buy proper designer furniture to compensate its creator. I would love to know I’m putting food on the table of an independent designer. I would love to know my money is supporting sustainable and ethical business practices.

And then there’s the reality. I can’t afford to drop a month’s mortgage payment on an armchair. The pesky budget has me bypass the handmade for the machine made. A higher price is no guarantee of ethical production (and vice versa).

High/low design
Mid-century chair (roadside find), hand-me-down Kartell side tables, Freedom sofa, Etsy cushions, Target lantern and faux flowers, handblown Eamonn Vereker glass bowl. In background: antique oak table with replica Eames chairs.

So what’s a design-loving, budget-conscious (possibly over-thinking) girl to do?

Buy handmade/independent

It’s harder to do this on a budget but it can be done. Keep an eye out for newer designers or those who produce goods that are not so labour-intensive or that use simpler materials (not that that is the sole factor in price, but it’s a good starting point). And of course there’s Etsy, which caters for every price range.

Buy second-hand designer

If you love designer furniture but feel squeamish about knock-offs, consider second-hand. I’m lucky enough to have inherited my parents’ original Kartell tables and Planet lamp, but eagle eyes can find affordable originals (or at least authentic smaller brand names) on Gumtree or Craigslist.

Buy vintage

Most of our furniture is vintage (or even antique), partly for aesthetic reasons but also because the craftsmanship is far superior to the majority of comparably-priced modern buys. We have picked up some beautifully made pieces for a fraction of the cost of quality new furniture.

Invest in the right pieces

You will need to invest in some quality pieces even – or perhaps especially - if you are on a budget. I say especially because it will be even more important to ensure your purchases last so you don’t have to constantly replace them. These are the items that need to be kind to your body (mattresses, couches, desk chairs) or make an impact in a room (area rug, entertainment unit, feature artwork). Look for quality items that give you the most bang for your buck and will stand the test of time.

Buy what you love

Go easy on the impulse purchases – yes, I’m talking about the all those innocent $20 purchases, they add up. Instead, give yourself a 30 day delay on purchases; if you still keep coming back to it, go ahead and buy it. It’s not about deprivation, it’s about quality vs quantity and making sure your hard earned cash goes to something worthwhile that you will enjoy for years to come.

Do a trade

I have a jeweller friend who regularly trades her pieces with other designers in her community. You don’t have to be a professional – perhaps you have a crafty friend who would sew you a set of curtains or knit you one of her beautiful scarves in exchange for some lawnmowing or babysitting.

High/low design


I admit, I am equal parts lazy and naive when it comes to ethical production (I know, I know), so I won’t comment too much on that complex topic. Mine is not an extreme standpoint, rather an uneasy balance between cost vs quality, ethical vs unknown.

It’s a continual challenge but the above approach is what helps me strike as good a balance as I can for me right now.

There is no easy answer (and it will be different for every person) but first we need to be aware of the questions.

How about you: Do you largely buy independent/ethical/designer or is budget a more crucial criteria for you? If, like me, you find yourself in the middle, how do you find a balance?

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Sponsored by Fresh Flowers.

orchid in bathroom

While my tastes have changed and and trends have come and gone there is one item that has been on my home wish list for years.

No, it’s not a piece of artwork or designer furniture.

It’s a potted orchid. Specifically a slender white phalenopsis in a small white pot.

So when the folks from Fresh Flowers asked if I had any preferences for my product review, you can guess what my immediate response was!

orchid in bathroom

I had it in mind for the bathroom – especially now that the makeover is complete – and it looks even better than I imagined. I think it’s going to like the soft daylight and humidity in there.

Although it’s almost too nice for the bathroom. It would look great in any number of spots around the house so I think it might give it a change of scenery every now and then.

white bouquet

They were also kind enough to send me this stunning bouquet (with more orchids – I’m in heaven!). I’m not normally a gerbera person but as part of a white and green arrangement they look very elegant, don’t you think?

I wish you could be here to get the full impact – they make the house smell amazing.

white bouquet

I loved that they arrived in the beautiful natural textured wrapping – it makes it look so much more special than the usual garish cellophane.

It’s such an impressive bouquet, imagine how lucky your loved one would feel if they received this?

You can order online at Fresh Flowers for Australia-wide delivery.



You may have noticed him featured in our bathroom makeover, but I made this little paint-dipped pot for a feature over on Polka Dot Bride.

Check out the full tutorial!

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This month’s review is one I’ve been looking forward to since I’m a Decor8 fan from way back and have ‘met’ Holly through doing one of her online courses. I love her colourful style and warm personality and was curious to see how this would translate to a book. Here are my thoughts on Decorate by Holly Becker & Joanna Copestick.

My impressions

Within the first couple of pages I could tell that this was going to be a meaty decorating book, with a ton of information not just pretty pictures. The opening chapter ‘Space Matters’ deals with basics that are often overlooked on visual sources like blogs and Pinterest, including working with what you have, using or creating a focal point, maximising light, dividing spaces and floor & wall treatments.

The second chapter is all about Setting Your Style. The reader is guided through various styles (simple, natural, modern, flea market, colourful, floral and eclectic) with explanations on the hallmark signs of each. Holly is well-known for her 3-dimensional moodboards so it’s no surprise that she also explains how to create one to narrow down your style and create a vision for a room. I particularly liked the advice to ‘Be your own client’ and sit down and ask yourself (and partner/family) questions regarding the function of the space, budget and how you want the room to feel.

If you have a particular renovating project on the horizon, you’ll love the ‘Room by Room’ chapter, in which you’ll be walked through tips for layouts, planning, storage, furniture and fixtures for each room in your home.

Appropriately enough, the closing chapter’s aim is to develop our ‘Attention to Detail’. It goes through all kinds of finishing touches from rugs and lighting to pillows and mirrors, with special focus on displaying collections and flowers.


This is not some pretty cupcake that’s all icing – this is a real meat & potatoes kind of decorating book (in fact it took me a lot longer to read than expected!). These days, there’s no shortage of inspiration available online, so when I’m reading a decorating book I’m looking for juicy tips and advice. In Decorate, these come in various forms such as lists, case studies and floorplans, all interspersed with quotes from your favourite designers, bloggers and artists.

Better yet, it’s not just about tips to make your home look good, it’s about making it a functional space that works for the needs of your family (and you know I’m all about that). Every time they included tips about saving up for large pieces, using/creating heirlooms and letting your home evolve over time I was nodding away. I also appreciated that there were a lot of smaller houses/apartments and advice pertaining to making the most of small spaces.

Of course, all this information is illustrated by homes beautifully photographed by Debi Treloar. The houses covered a range of different styles, but they were all very appealing and fairly achievable. Even if your style isn’t specifically covered or if you have a modest budget, the photos and text are presented in a way that you’ll still find ideas that you can relate back to your own home.

Decorate didn’t read in the same way as the Decor8 blog (presumably partly due to there being a co-author Joanna Copestick and also the more formal nature of a book) but I didn’t even realise this until after I’d finished reading so it was not an issue for me at all. Regardless, there was plenty of personality coming through the homes, interviews with home owners and expert quotes.

I can see this becoming my go-to book whenever I’m redecorating a room or am stuck in a rut.

Buy this book if you:

  • Are trying to find your decorating style.
  • Know your style but are looking for tips to make it work within your space.
  • Are looking for a mix of information and inspiration.
  • Are new to decorating and aren’t sure where to start.
  • Love down-to-earth, relaxed and eclectic homes.
  • Have the basics down but need help pulling everything together.

This book may not be for you if you:

  • Are looking for pure inspiration.
  • Have a very contemporary, traditional or minimalist aesthetic.

Buy the book here!

Have you read Decorate? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Post contains affiliate links.


Here’s a roundup of all the bathroom posts from this month:

August is… Bathroom Month

Moodboard: Bathroom update inspiration

Bathroom before photos

Bathroom progress

Bathroom update reality

Even though I was working on it fairly solidly throughout the month (I spent many nights prepping and painting after working a 10-12 hour day) the project took way longer than expected. More on that – and a proper set of before & after photos – coming as soon as I’ve completed the finishing touches.

In the meantime, September’s theme will be spring cleaning – so make sure you hit me up with your housekeeping questions.


The July Book Nook was Young House Love by Sherry & John Petersik. Were you as inspired to get stuck into some cheap and easy projects like I was?


What projects were you working on this month? Any bathroom renovators like me?


A collection of pretty meets practical ideas to inspire a happier home

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