Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: A Girls Guide to Decorating by Abigail Ahern

Another month, another book review and I must say this one would have to be my favourite, to date. You might remember my interview with Abigail Ahern published a few weeks ago, such a cool chick! Well I have recently finished reading one of her books so thought I would do a follow up review. Normally it might take me a few weeks to get through a book, with the rest of life being so busy at the moment it takes me a bit longer, however this book.......finished within 3 days.....LOVE IT!!
It is such a fantastic source for any girl decorating their own place. There are so many decorating hints and tips included and Abigail shares a lot of tricks of the trade with every reader to give them the edge when decorating. Abigail seems to really love the darker more bold colours when she styles so a lot of the pages are covered with dark rooms and pops of colour. You can see that from the cover above.
The door handles in this photo are so creative and something I myself would never have thought of. Such a great way to add a pop of colour in an otherwise really elegant and sophisticated room.
As you can see she also loves wallpaper! The wallpaper bookshelves above give a room such a sophisticated feel. I love the homes that she has sourced and included in her book. They are so creative and fun. I tend to lean more towards the light and airy kind of rooms with a pop of colour, this is simply another option to choose.
So many DIY pages that help teach out how to do those little jobs all by yourself. She gives you a step by step run down on how to do so many things around the home.
Abigail also gives you a room analysis on so many of the rooms included in the book. She runs through each section of the room to explain why each item has been used and explain its need to be there. A really good way for a novice decorator to understand a little more about the decorating process.
So as I said, this is, to date, my favourite interiors book. I have another one of her books ready to read and review so can't wait to get stuck into that one. I don't want to overload my lovely readers with too many book reviews so I will make sure I give you a good break in between. I also have another interview with one of Australia's top interior designers so looking forward to sharing that one with you all too.

If you have any other books that you would like a review before you head out and pick it up please comment below and I will be sure to source it for you. Hope you're all enjoying your week.


(images: provided by Abigail Ahern)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Creative Storage Idea

I have spent a bit of time working on my little girls nursery lately, nothing too fancy as we are getting ready to sell but just a few bits and pieces. Unfortunately we have not been blessed with much storage in our home or her bedroom with no wardrobe,  so it has been up to me to become a little more creative about ways to store all of her little belongings. They might not be very big but she has got so much stuff! A little spoilt I think!

So instead of scrunching up her gorgeous dresses and putting them in the chest of drawers I came up with a new way of storing them that also adds a little bit of decoration to the room and shows off the gorgeous clothes.  What do you think.....
I have quite a bit of spare wall space as her room is pretty big so I decided to use it. We were given these gorgeous little owl hooks for the wall, owls are kind of my theme, that I decided were the perfect size. I hung them on the wall with a simply picture hook.
 Them grabbed some string, tied loops in the top to go over the hooks, as you can see above, and tied the other end to the top of the coat hanger, as you can see below.
And done! She has so many beautiful little dresses that just look amazing on the wall. She has a few more but I am in desperate need of some more coat hangers so have made up a few extra bits of string that are the right length. The colours really pop out of the wall.
Such a fun little easy project that only took me 5 minutes. Very happy with how they look on her wall and so each to grab when she needs to wear one of them. You could hang anything in this way, if you have some little jackets or tops that you want to display. Or even create one for your own room, there are so many different ways to make this work, I may just hang up some of my tops like this in my room, like I said.....very little storage in our home ;).


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Week 2 on The Block: Bathroom and Terrace Reveal

Another week down on The Block Fans vs Faves and this week was the reveal of the Bathroom and Terrace. Included in this reveal was also the laundry that the contestants chose to put inside a cupboard to save on space. I would normally not like this idea but the fact that they have a terrace right next door makes it all possible.  So here is my weekly love it and leave it post for the latest room reveal.

Brad and Dale....WINNERS!
Love it.....I love a lot about this room, the tile choice, the re purposed wood panels, the concrete walls, the decor colours. They did a fantastic job with this one.
Leave it.....Now I like vertical gardens but hanging plants...not my favourite. If they had have included the vertical garden attached to the concrete wall it would have looked fantastic. Maybe next time.

Chantelle and Steve
Love it.....The artwork on the brick wall outside looks fantastic and I absolutely love the exposed brick walls.
Leave it.....The wrought iron chairs with the mosaic table. It seems to work okay with their style but I think they could have chosen something a little better and more high class.

Kyal and Kara
Love it.....The honeycomb tiles are great. I love that they have used lighter grout, it really gives them a pop.
Leave it.....It looks like they have forgotten about the terrace a little bit, obviously run out of time, so it's a bit boring.

Alisa and Lysandra
Love it....The Terrace looks fantastic. What you can't see is the roof has amazing stencil work so the Asian style they have run with on the terrace is definitely my love for the week.
Leave it.....I do really like the pendant light they have chosen to include above the sink however I would have chosen something a little brighter so that it stands out from the walls a little more.

What would you love and leave with the bathroom and terraces from The Block? Hope you're enjoying the show as much as me!


(images: source)

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Block Fans vs Faves Week 1: Guest Rooms

For those of you living in Australia if you have not been watching The Block Fans vs Faves you are missing out!! It is on almost every night and is just the best show on television.

For those of you who don't know about this show it is a reality show where the contestants are given the massive task of creating four brand new apartments. The building they have been working in is an old cinema based in Melbourne, Victoria and all they have been given is the four exterior brick walls and a few beams on the inside, otherwise that's it! Each week they are required to present at least one room, which means deciding on the size of the room, the placement of the walls, the ceiling height and of course what goes in it. I'm telling you....if you haven't been watching you are missing out! They are all basically amateur designers and decorators but what they come up with is so amazing and inspirational I just had to share.

Each week there is a winner that gets a cash prize to go towards the rest of their apartments.  The first week the contestants were tasked on creating a guest bedroom, and the winners were the twin girls Alisa and Lysandra, this is there room.

Their room is just amazing and they are definitely the winners in my opinion. So to further share my opinion each week when I feature these rooms I will share with you my Love It and Leave It parts of the rooms. So in Alisa and Lysandra's room I

Love It..........the wood panel wall is just amazing and such a fantastic feature
Leave It.........whilst I love the study nook and think it is such a fantastic use of space, the wardrobe is just a tiny bit too small. I know it's a guest room so the storage does not necessarily need to be big but I would have made the study nook landing twice the size so that the wardrobe had effectively two wardrobes next to each other.  

Brad and Dale's Room

Love It.......The artwork is amazing and the colours are awesome.
Leave It......The basic bed decor. The artwork provides so much colour and can really give you so many options however they chose the more bland colours from the artwork for the cushions, I would have used one of the brighter colours to create a real pop of colour. And also tried to incorporate the style of the artwork into the cushions as well. Maybe something like this:

Chantelle and Steve's Room

 Love It......I love the window furnishing in this room, so creative and fun. Vintage prints and styling are really on trend at the moment.
Leave It......the cowhide rug. There are so many rooms that cowhide works in, this one I would say is not one of them.

Kyal and Kara's Room

Love It.......The bedside pendant lights. The contestants made them as part of a challenge and of course they won the challenge. The use of the raw wood is fantastic and I love the way they have continued to use the raw wood in the rest of the room.
Leave It.....The artwork. One of the pieces of artwork would have been more than enough in this room, however the second piece makes the room overdone. I would have also been inclined to take away the artwork above the bed and let the pendants be the feature on that wall.

Each week the contestants present a different room so I can't wait to show you the rooms each week, well for the next nine weeks anyway.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Interview with Abigail Ahern

Happy Thursday everyone! Only 1 more day to go before the weekend......YAY!! And even better, its Valentines Day tomorrow. I hope you all have a fabulous day tomorrow and your loved ones spoil you rotten.

I know I posted an interview not too long ago but I have fallen in love with my next designer/author and have been hanging out to share her amazing work with you. The designer I'm talking about is Abigail Ahern. Abigail is such an amazing designer and author and I was lucky enough to get in contact with her to ask her a few questions. So please read on to check out my questions and her amazing answers. She even provided me with some fantastic photos of her work for you all to have a look at.

Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere - travel, walking my dogs, flicking through magazines, watching a movie - literally everywhere!

What has been one of your proudest projects so far?
My store by far. Not that it's really a project, but out of everything I've done, the store is and always will be number one. Curating and designing a collection of products that then flies around the world is pretty darn cool!

Your books are just amazing, what was the most memorable part of writing them?
Thank you! I love writing. Luckily my publishers wanted it writte in my yabbery style so I have memories of spending long hours at my desk in the summer with the garden doors wide open, writing from the heart about stuff I am well and truly passionate about. I also got to visit some amazing spaces in NYC, Paris and London so they truly inspired me.

What was the most recent purchase for your home?
A chandelier for my studio. it's a supersized one which I just love.

What would be one of your best hints and tips for a novice designer?
I think to buy only what you love and not what is in or out, hot or not. Follow your heart and you can't go wrong.

What can we expect next from Abigail Ahern?
A paint range launching in Spring, a furniture range for later in the year, and an expanded Design School with dates around the globe. I think if I can do all of that I'll be a happy girl.

What a busy lady but she sounds like so much fun! As promised a few photos of her amazing work for you.

(All photographs provided by Abigail Ahern,

I actually have just finished reading one of her books so a review will be coming your way shortly.

Enjoy Valentine's Day ladies and have a fabulous weekend.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Monthly Styling Tip: Shelves

Happy Tuesday Lovelies! It’s been hot here in Melbourne so I have spent my days relaxing at home with my air conditioning blasting! Tried to stay busy but it became very difficult when my stupid power decided that it was overworked and underpaid and went on strike! We waited for a little bit but darted out of the house to a family members home that was not only powered but their air conditioner was better than ours… that was a bonus! Luckily the heat wave has given us a break for a few days before it decides to hit us again.

Sorry rambling……a friend asked me recently about styling shelves and how to use them for their intended purpose while still keeping them pretty and uncluttered. Sounds difficult right! The bookshelves in my home tend to become a form or storage where anything that doesn't currently have its own place ends up. I see them every day, screw up my nose and decide it’s a job for another day. That day is still yet to arrive! However I thought I would share some hints and tips about styling your shelves, using them for their purpose and keeping them pretty at the same time.
Firstly when tackling your shelving situation it’s always a good to start with a blank canvas…….get everything off the shelves! I bet you forgot how big your shelves were! At this stage in the process it’s always a good idea to work out what you really need to keep and what you haven’t touched in years that should be either donated or thrown in the rubbish. De-cluttering at its finest!

Now that you have your blank canvas there are a number of things you can do, you can jump right in and start putting the items you kept back in, or you can decorate it a little bit first. I absolutely love the look of a shelving unit which some wallpaper or paint that jazzes up the back of the unit, it adds that little bit of extra flare and just makes it look pretty!
You can even create some accents out of your books by covering them with fancy paper as well. I have a few books covered in fabric that I style with that look absolutely fantastic! A simple little DIY project makes the world of different. I might even share how I covered my books with you in an upcoming post. Simple but looks amazing in the end.
Now that your bookshelves are ready to go you can begin the fun part……styling! Now obviously one of the first things you should put back are your books……there you go, bookshelf being used for its intended purpose. I find that books all stacked vertically are boring to look at, so because we want to make our shelves look pretty try stacking your books both vertically and horizontally. When you place some of your books horizontally they almost create another ledge to work with, place a small d├ęcor piece, it doesn’t matter what it is, on top of your stack of books.
Placing objects vertically gives more height to your shelves, creates the illusion of more space and makes the unit look taller. It also helps draw your eye up to the top of your object which helps bounce your eye between different items. You don’t want someone to look at your fantastically styled shelves and focus on one point, all of your hard work will just go to waste.
Another thing I love to do when styling my books, is I love to keep them in colour groups and sometimes create a bit of a rainbow effect.
Once all of your books are back on show you can then start to mix in alternate items, place a group of smaller objects next to the books, preferably in off numbers, groups of 3 or groups of 5. Don’t be afraid to layer as well, try adding some pictures in frames or prints at the back of the shelves and layer with a few smaller pieces in front of the frame. Make sure not to cover the whole picture and not just to place items in the centre of the shelves, that begins to look a little pedestrian and you will notice that people are not as interested in what you have on display. Make sure to use objects that are all different heights to keep the eye moving. When you are doing this however remember that bigger accessories stand out more and have a bigger impact than smaller ones. They also take up more space which is helpful if you don’t have a lot of things to decorate with, or if you aren’t too keen on dusting your shelves every day!

A few more tips for you to keep you thinking when styling your shelving. A bit of greenery freshens up the look of anything and everything around it, even if it’s fake, so throw in some greenery. Make sure that you have lots of colour. The eye moves when there are many different varying objects, but the eye also is attracted to colour so make sure you include several splashes throughout your shelving. Also make sure not to over clutter your shelves, you have just de-cluttered so let’s not get carried away when styling, keep it simple and minimal.
Once you’re at the end of your styling make sure you step back and assess the final product. Sometimes I find that there is just something a little bit off, it could be an item in the wrong place, the colours of my book spines not working together or even too much negative space. Taking photos of your work is always a great way to work out what needs to be changed etc. Make sure you take a photo each time you move something around, that way you can look back at your catalogue of photos and see which one looked best. Sometimes it is also a good idea to walk away for a little while, maybe go and cook dinner, read a book or simply just have a styling break for half an hour and then come back with fresh eyes. You may see something that you missed before and all of a sudden….perfection! 
I love seeing other peoples styled shelves so please share! It might even motivate me to tackle my own.