lounge progress

It was a long weekend here (cheers, Liz) hence the delayed post but it did mean we had an extra day to finish painting the lounge. Phew!

The Man and I actually nixed the light grey paint colour outlined in this post and went back to my original idea of black walls (‘Domino’ by Dulux to be exact). Working about as dark a colour as you can get in such a large room meant for painstaking cutting in, proof of which is my sore neck today.

You can see a strip of white poking out at the top of the skirting boards, that’s the primer coat. We decided to prime the walls for a few reasons: we wanted to seal in any wallpaper glue residue, to provide an even base (we had to re-plaster quite a lot so it was looking like a patchwork quilt) and to cover the message wall from our 30th. Remember we were planning to go for light grey so we used white primer, if we’d known we were going to go black we would have used a dark-tint primer (thankfully two coats of cutting in were sufficient but we needed three coats of rolling).

On the advice of an interior architect friend we’ve also decided to switch up the pool table and dining table (to give more clearance room for playing pool) so this room will now be lounge/dining instead of lounge/games. (Here is the floorplan to refresh your memory.)

The room is very large but we wanted the spaces to feel intimate, so the dark walls will help to cosy things up. The other big reason I was keen on black walls is to disguise our TV so I’m really happy how that’s going to work out.

Excuse the shoddy photo, by the way. We’ve removed the wall lights and there’s only a single ceiling light in here so it feels gloomy (and hard to photograph) no matter what wall colour at the moment.

This room has come a long way! The next step will be ripping out the carpet and installing new flooring. We’re not 100% set yet but we’re considering timber-look vinyl planks, floating hardwoods or floating laminate floorboards. Have you used any of these floors? I’d love your opinions on installation and the finished product.

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lounge moodboard

As promised, here is the visual take on the lounge floorplan that I shared last week.

We’ve gone for Dulux ‘White Duck ‘ for the walls, a lovely soft warm grey that will complement the feature stone wall. It’s the same colour we used in our former office but this time we’ll be using it at full- instead of quarter-strength.

I love our existing Freedom sofa (so big and comfy!) but I suspect it may look a little lost against the similarly-toned stone wall. Still, I’m finding myself craving calming interiors so perhaps I’ll end up loving the neutral look? Failing that, both of us are smitten with the teal sofa (also Freedom).

More critical is the entertainment unit. I really dislike the el-cheapo flatpack beast of a thing we currently have. The Man and I have agreed to get rid of the vast majority of our CDs and DVDs (we’ve already gone digital but haven’t dealt with the physical copies yet) so this will give us much more flexibility in terms of finding a more compact and attractive unit.

To be honest I haven’t given much thought to the colours in this room, let alone the accessories. Once we’ve finished all surfaces (walls, trim, floors) we’ll set up our existing furniture and feature artwork and let the room evolve from there.

Moodboard: Shelving unit | Reading chair | Pendant light | Sofa | Media unit | Armchair | Coffee table | Rug

Lounge floor plan

We’re going to be painting the lounge this weekend (yay?) so I’ve been thinking about how the finished room is going to work. (Here is what it looked like before and in progress.)

As you can seen in the floorplan, it’s a very big, long room with doors through to the dining room, living room and front yard. There are so many options with a versatile space like this, but it still posed a few challenges.

Lounge floor plan

We’ve decided to divide it into three zones: lounge/TV zone at one end, games zone at the other and a mini library zone in between.

I initially wanted our huge painting to hang above the pool table so it could be a striking feature visible from the dining room and entryway, but in truth it’s such a bold and colourful piece it’s actually really hard to decorate around. Instead, we’ve decided to give it its own wall across from the library area.

The other dilemma was the arrangement of the lounge area. In such a big room, you would think we’d have no trouble arranging the furniture in any number of successful layouts. But we were dealing with a beautiful stone wall that we didn’t want to put any holes in to mount the TV, another entire wall being a glass sliding door and owning a very large sofa and entertainment unit. Couple that with my desire to maximise the seating (we entertain a lot) and have it work for both conversation and TV watching and it was surprisingly tricky.

The solution? A new, smaller entertainment unit (eventually), a swivelling TV wall mount and slimline armchairs.

Most of the furniture you see in the layout we don’t actually own, but it helps to have a grand plan to work towards.

So that’s the practical side of things, I’ll bring the pretty next week with a visual look at the plans for this room!

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before-lounge-04

While I’ve been beavering away at the office and kitchen updates, The Man and a couple of friends worked on the lounge. Specifically, tackling this intimidating amount of wallpaper.

wallpaper removal

Some bits were flaking off even dry so we thought it would be much easier than the kitchen. Sadly it wasn’t quite that simple, but once you got into the swing of it it was manageable.

wallpaper removal

First we removed all the wall lights and outlets and covered the wires with plastic to protect them from the water and steam. We also removed any hooks and nails.

I had researched wallpaper steamers and they cost a bomb to hire. Not so bad if you only have a small area that you can do in a day, but we have an entire house. We were keen on this baby but it didn’t ship to our area. Happily though, The Man scored a second-hand one on eBay for $80!

wallpaper removal

It’s really easy to use; it’s basically like a giant kettle with a hose connected to a flat plate. We started off using less steam and more scraping, but with a bit of patience, the steam works like a charm if you take your time.

wallpaper removal

wallpaper removal

We also uncovered some unexpected scenes, like this spiders’ hangout between the wall and the loose wallpaper.

wallpaper removal

See if you can spot the four spiders in the photo!

wallpaper removal

The steamer works with water only (no chemicals or other additives) which is great. Although like the kitchen, we’ll give it a wash and scrape with a bucket of wallpaper glue remover solution to remove the glue residue.

Then there is the usual prep work to be done on the walls to ready them for painting, which will be the next step.

wallpaper removal

This is such an epic room – 10×3 metres – so it was a big job and we’re very relieved to have it done.

installing venetian blinds

This is definitely not a spectacular before & after. It’s more one of those projects that no one will even notice is done but us since it falls under ‘repair’ rather than ‘redecorate’.

The ‘before’ scene was rather embarrassing when guests came over and we’d have to battle with the venetian blinds in the living room and at best they would look like this:

installing venetian blinds

installing venetian blinds

Some of the strings had come loose so we could neither open nor close them properly. The aluminium blinds had definitely seen better days.

I spotted some timber-look venetians $100 off at Spotlight and immediately raced home with them (by which I mean, staggered to the car juggling the ridiculously heavy blinds and a recent Target spree, trying not to swipe the late-night shoppers slapstick-style – oh, and did I mention the lifts were out of order?).

installing venetian blinds

Once we got them home, we realised that because the slats are a lot wider (50mm instead of 25mm) the top bracket wasn’t going to fit nicely in the window frame recess, so we made the decision to rip out the quarter-round so it would sit flush.

installing venetian blinds

Of course, that left us with gaping holes where the quarter-round was, not to mention all the little nail holes and a big chunk out of the plasterwork from trying to jimmy out the timber.

After the initial sanding it looked like this, complete with the previous owner’s blue paint peeking through:

installing venetian blinds

There was then copious amounts of puttying, sanding and painting. During the process, I was thinking ‘sheesh, didn’t I just do this a couple of years ago, I can’t believe I’m painting this again’. Then I realised that we had been here for five years. So yes, the entire window frame was treated to a freshen up.

I was concerned about the puttied-up corners between the wall and the timber forming cracks over time, so we finished off the join with caulking to give it a bit of flex.

We also caulked around all the window edges, because whenever it rains we have to do this:

installing venetian blinds

Yup, water would just run right in the leaky windows. Ideally, our strata would actually take care of the exterior woodwork like they’re supposed to. But failing that, we did what we could inside and did our own interior sealing.

If you’re doing this yourself, make sure you get a paintable caulk (I used white since we had some awful gaps to cover where the perished seal was but if you have a neater finish you can opt for clear since you don’t have to be so neat). There’s some regular silicone in our kitchen and it’s impossible to paint over so the finish is all patchy.

installing venetian blinds

I told you it wasn’t dramatic. But in person the timber blinds look so much nicer than the el cheapo aluminium ones. The square finish looks much neater and more contemporary than the quarter-round, plus a fresh coat of paint always helps. I also took the opportunity to wash the sheer curtains (the bottoms were filthy from dragging along the ground). They shrunk a bit which is actually great because they now perfectly skim the floor.

installing venetian blinds

I’m mainly just glad that they’re replaced so that the neighbours don’t have their nightly viewing of The Ryan & Alicia Show through our naked windows.

installing venetian blinds

It looked like a really simple project, but as usual our perfectionist tendencies made it take a lot longer than expected.

Have you ever had a seemingly simple task turn into a time-consuming project?

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vintage jars

I went to a couple of my favourite antique shops recently – oh my, how I have missed it!

Granted, I was actually shopping for props for a photo shoot, but it was still lovely to browse the gorgeous vintage wares.

Naturally, I found all kinds of other things apart from the props I was supposed to be looking for. I was very restrained and only brought one of my finds home with me: this unusual bottle with a marble stopper. It is embossed with ‘J.D. Murphy Crystalworks Wellington’. Since my maiden name is Murphy I had to have it!

My friend brought over the amber jar with flowers when we had her over for dinner (so thoughtful!). I love how the flowers pick up the yellow and oranges of the print behind it.

vintage jars

Do you have any fun decor items with your name or initials on it?

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autumn sideboard

I picked up these gorgeous branches from Poppies Flowers for my recent pie buffet photo shoot (more photos of that coming soon). One of the bonuses of doing shoots like these is keeping the flowers (and food!). With the leftover pie well and truly taken care of, I turned my attention to the florals (using that term loosely in this case of course).

I love how the rusty red berries set off against the very neutral (for me) setting. Then I realised it reminded me a bit of something…

autumn cushions

My Marimekko cushion! What a funny coincidence.

I don’t normally do a lot of seasonal decorating (people who do: you must tell me where you store everything the rest of the year!) but I think this is the perfect low-key and no-clutter display for what is the final week of Autumn (Fall) here.

Do you switch up your decor according to seasons or a you more of a perennial decorator?

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bar cart

I have wanted a bar cart for the longest time. I was picturing a gorgeous rounded art deco or mid-century piece, but – even if the budget stretched to an antique – we simply would have nowhere to put it.

My brother-in-law’s partner is a keen painter and when we were admiring the latest piece in her studio recently I spotted the cute Ikea Råskog cart she used for her art supplies.

Not long after, I spotted it on the Ikea website for a steal ($49 down from $79) and immediately raced down to snap one up.

bar cart

It makes a great bar cart for a small space. The middle shelf is adjustable so we could fit the tall bottles on the bottom shelf and glasses on the middle shelf.

We certainly don’t need hard liquor on hand on a daily basis (we’re mainly wine/beer drinkers) but it has freed up almost an entire cupboard in the kitchen. And you know how excited I get about additional storage space!

I’m also happy that the original mid-century anodised ice bucket that I inherited from my late great-auntie now has a suitable place to be displayed out in the open instead of shoved at the back of a cupboard.

I would still love an antique bar cart one day, but I didn’t hesitate about buying this for the same purpose as it’s such as versatile piece I know we’ll always find a use for it. We’ve already discussed an artists’ trolley and a bar cart, but how about a mobile craft station, bedside table, bathroom storage, cleaning supplies storage or perhaps its advertised use: extra kitchen storage?

Til then, I think I can feel a cocktail party coming on…

What do you think about bar carts? Do you have one?

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This post is sponsored by Target.

cloche centrepiece

I’d recently been suffering a case of the decorating blahs.

There are only so many times you can rearrange the same ol’ pieces after all, so I’m delighted to be working with Target to freshen up my decor for the new season.

cloche centrepiece close-up

It was time to send the hurricane lamp to the bench for a break and bring in a new player for the dining table centrepiece.

I’d been wanting to try out a cloche for ages, but they were always too boring, or too formal or too expensive, so I was pleased to find this quirky one with a metal base. At the moment it is housing a stunning faux giant peony from Lotus Flowers but I can imagine it will be a really versatile piece that I’ll be able to change up with the seasons and holidays.

Flowers are the ultimate decorating accessory, of course, so I paired it with some supermarket tulips for a really fresh, happy centrepiece.

frame vignette

I picked up this sweet artwork by Peach Patrol a few weeks ago at a market and it had been sitting waiting for the perfect frame. I’ve bought frames like these from Target before and I keep coming back to them as the double mat gives it a way higher-end look than the nine bucks they cost!

laundry shelves

laundry shelves close-up

I then turned my attention to the laundry. I am terrible at keeping indoor plants alive so it makes sense for me to go faux. There was a great selection but I ultimately decided on this cracked glaze potted succulent. I think it’s rather charming!

I also spotted this cute gardening tool kit (green! in a tin!) and knew it would be the perfect practical accessory for the laundry shelving, which is adjacent to the door into the courtyard. (Sorry, I can’t find the link online but check your local store.)

So there you have it! A mini freshen up of our downstairs was just the thing to get me out of my decorating funk.

How about you? What have you been tweaking at home lately?

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Target Home Sale wishlist

Today is an exciting day!

This marks my first sponsored post, which means I’ll be able to bring you bigger and better content and other awesome things like giveaways for YOU!

Can I get a WOOT WOOT?

Now, high-fiving aside, let’s get down to business. I love shopping for home decor at Target so I was delighted when they asked me to share my picks from their Massive Home Sale.

MY WISHLIST

It was hard narrowing it down but here are my picks for decorating and storage:

1. Artificial succulent in white glazed pot – The perfect way to add some greenery for brown thumbs like me.

2. 3-drawer white entertainment unit – Such a good-looking and practical piece that won’t break the bank (no, really, you won’t believe the price!).

3. Kenwood kmix toaster – Cutest toaster ever? I say yes. Check out the rainbow of colour options.

4. Wiltshire wooden pepper mill – The timeless, classic shape is made contemporary in white.

5. Woven placemats – The natural material and ‘abstract’ woven pattern will allow you to mix’n’match your colourful tableware.

6. Citronella candle in glazed pot – A citronella candle that you’ll actually want to put on your outdoor table.

7. Rattan photo frame – This casual, textural frame is simply made for your favourite beach holiday snap.

8. Potted artificial orchid – A potted white orchid has been on my wishlist for literally years. The beautiful blooms and sculptural form will look at home in any style of home.

9. 46-litre white storage container – You would think a plain white plastic storage box (not clear, not with garish bright handles) would be easy to find but I have been searching forever. My search is over – huzzah!

10. Green collapsible storage cube – The perfect little toy cube for your little one’s cubbyhole bookcase. Best of all, if your needs change you can simply fold it up until you next need it.

11. Chenille jacquard blue & green cushion – My favourite colour combo at the moment – can you tell?

12. Stripe weave chenille throw rug – Personally, I’m hanging onto the last days of summer, but let’s be honest: it will start to chill soon so get ready with a fresh throw rug.

13. Bamboo waste paper bin – You say waste paper bin, I say storage for umbrellas or toys.

14. White glass electronic bathroom scale – Finally, a bathroom scale to suit your white minimalist bathroom.

15. 4-piece towel pack green – If your towels have seen better days (I know mine have), freshen up with a fluffy new set.

So many kitchen appliances, home decor, wall art, tableware and bedding items are discounted as part of the Massive Home Sale, which ends on 20th March. If you can’t get to your local store by then, did you know they now have an online store? Music to my ears.

GIVEAWAY

Target have kindly offered a $40 voucher to one of my readers. To enter, simply leave a comment saying what is on your home wish list.

Entries close Thursday 21st March at midnight (Australian Central Daylight Time). The winner will be selected at random and announced next Friday 22nd March. (Sorry, open to Australian residents only.)

Enter now, good luck!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks to all who entered!

This post was sponsored by Target. Opinions are my own.

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

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