Christmas at the Little house

Christmas looks a little different at our house this year. We have a new home with a fireplace + mantle (a stylists dream), my style seems to be evolving (all by itself) and I’m using a darker + moodier (still colourful) palette than I ever thought I would!

I can’t wait to share it with you as part of the #itsacolorfullifetour hosted by the most colourful, creative and stylish Jennifer from Dimples and Tangles + Jewel from Jeweled Interiors. 

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If you have come from DIY Decor Mom … WELCOME!

As most of you know, we are slowly renovating our new forever home and while half the house is still stuck in the 1990’s, I focused on the areas that we have started updating, so today I want to share our living and dining room with you, including my Christmas tree and mantle decor.

I feel like my tree needs an introduction, like one of those choir singing, spotlight shining with red velvet curtains opening type introductions. That’s how much I love my tree this year!

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I love tartan and plaid at Christmas (or anytime), so when I saw these decorations it was love at first site and I decided to create a tree to compliment them.

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I pulled the colours from this bauble and ran with it …. red, white and blue with some gold sparkle.

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Of course I had to finish it with tartan wrapping paper and pretty satin bows.

 I haven’t had a mantle to decorate for a few years, I was so excited to have one this year, especially after our fireplace makeover, and it didn’t disappoint.

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I decided to do a big asymmetrical garland and bring in the colours from the tree. Christmas is in summer in Australia so I chose flowers that bloom during our Christmas like magnolias and blue astrantias.

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It compliments my tree beautifully and I absolutely adore it.

Side note; I get asked at least once a day what I used and how I’ve secured my garland. I used a base garland, one of those flexible ones where you can bend the wired foliage, and secured it to my mantle with three 3M plastic hooks. Then I layered it with a couple more garlands which I kept in place by bending some of the wired foliage around it in a few spots. Lastly, I poked multiple picks and flowers into it to make it lush and full. It really is much easier than it looks!

Since I went all out with the garland I had no room left for stocking holders, but what’s a fireplace without stockings right? I made this stocking hanger from 2 very simple stocking holders and a curtain rod I had laying around. It was super easy, very affordable and I think it looks great!

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I also made the stockings with remnants of fabric and satin ribbon trim. I downloaded a pattern online and changed it slightly to create a longer and skinnier stocking. I lined them with pretty florals and ginghams, then trimmed them with satin ribbon which I left long at the ends to tie into a bow.

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 The whole living room came together beautifully and I’m really happy with it.

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These little Nutcrackers are probably my favourite Christmas decorations this year, they are so sweet and in the perfect shades of blue and white.

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Everything gets a ribbon bow at Christmas time!

 The dining room adjoins the living room so I kept a similar colour palette with red, white and blue.

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Buckley, my beautiful reindeer, is the centre of attention with his gorgeous gold antlers and floral display.

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My plate stack is not too high this year, as I said earlier, Christmas in Australia is in summer and it’s usually hot and humid. We usually don’t feel like eating a huge meal and often end up having seafood and salad.

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I had to use the baby blue gingham chargers because I am totally in love with them, and the sweet little red truck plates add the touch of Christmas I needed. The red dinner plate is a great connection to pull the colours together.

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I love the large scale gingham chargers on the smaller scale gingham tablecloth, the rattan placemats break them up enough so that you don’t go cross eyed.

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I restrained myself with the foliage on the table this year, there is enough going on with Buckley, the apple wreaths on my cabinet and the living room decor. I’ve also learnt to leave a little room on the table for extra drinks!

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This is probably one of my simpler Christmas tables, but I love the combination of patterns and colours, what do you think?

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Around the corner from the dining room I’ve created a little forest with sparkly trees and my dream home …

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I want my builder husband to build me this perfect pink house to live in.

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Actually I wouldn’t mind living in a forest of sparkly Christmas trees either!

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I’m also a sucker for a pretty bell, this one is the perfect blue. I painted this mirror with paint I mixed myself and coincidentally the bell is nearly exactly the same shade.

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Okay, that’s about all I’ve done so far. I’m still working on my pink tree and cocktail station, yes I said pink tree, I don’t mean pink decorations, I mean PINK TREE, stay tuned for that one!

Now, pop over to BD Interior Design and continue on the #itsacolorfullifetour. Everyone has gone to so much effort and I’ve been so inspired by how creative everyone is!

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
Instagram It’s A Colorful Life Party!
Post your Christmas decor in your feed this week with #ItsAColorfulLifeTour for a chance to be featured in IG Stories by IACL Tour bloggers!
Hayley x

PS. Skipper says hi!

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Entry makeover – part one

I’m sure indoor gardens with black rocks, black elephant statues, grass tree plants and green lighting were very fashionable once upon a time … maybe some people still like it, each to their own, it’s just not for me.

BEFORE

It’s the first thing you used to see when you walk through the front doors.
Our front doors are truly beautiful and one of my favourite things about this house, the black rock garden was detracting from the gorgeous french doors and giving the wrong first impression for our home.

AFTER

The entry is quite a large space, it’s open with high ceilings and beautifully bright natural light, but it is also an awkward space and has doors everywhere. I love entries and foyers with seating, somewhere to put on your shoes or sit and wait for the postman with your online shopping. The ‘black rock garden’ was the perfect spot to create a huge day bed and it was easier than you think.

Structurally I didn’t need to make any changes, most of the updates to this space have been aesthetic changes with lighting, fabric, paint and decor.

The frame work was already in place, it just needed some updating. I applied the same process that I did to the bench seats in the living and dining room here.
Removing the high gloss 2 pac paint finish and adding the moulding updates it to a more classic style that fits with the look I’m trying to achieve as we renovate our home.

The day bed seat and cushions were one of the most important choices I made in this space. Although I contemplated different colours, I decided to keep this area predominantly blue and white, it always look fresh, calm & inviting and I wanted to include lots of glossy green plants in blue and white pots.
I played with a few different fabric ideas for the seat cushion, I really wanted to use a fabulous blue and white pattern but I was mindful of the angular shape of the cushion and all the mirrors in this space, I decided it was going to look too busy and ended up choosing a plain fabric for the seat.
It’s a beautiful fabric crafted by a traditional silk mill, it has a delicious nubby texture like a natural fibre, but it is actually a high performance polyester that will withstand my kids and pets.

Handcraft Moonstone from Materialised

Since I chose a plain fabric for the seat, I went to town with the throw cushions and selected a stunning collection of blue and white cushions from Florence Broadhurst Fabric.

Florence Broadhurst is an Australian icon in wallpaper and fabric design. Her library consists of around 500 designs and lucky for us, Florence Broadhurst Fabrics are making a handful of them available to purchase, including some of her most well know classics. The designer fabrics are available by the metre in three different base fabrics with a cotton, velvet or brushed cotton feel.

I love the way the mix of textures, patterns and shades of blue all work together harmoniously.

Cushions by Florence Broadhurst Fabrics

I also changed the downlights to something a little more interesting. Finding a stylish light that works on the curved underside of the staircase was quite a mission, but I think the brass spotlight adds some warmth and a hint of vintage charm.

Seattle Wall light by Emac & Lawton

We will replace the floors eventually, that’s stage two of the entry makeover which will also include the staircase treads, I can’t wait for that! For now, I’ve added a natural jute rug to add some interest to the floors and break up the large expanse of empty space. It was really affordable and looks great.

The only other change we made in this area was to add sheer curtains on the huge glass sliding doors. The white sheer fabric gives the entire area a dreamy white glow that I just adore.

Tahiti Snow Sheers from Blinds Online

I am thrilled with this little makeover, it has made such a huge difference to this space and I love welcoming guests to our home now without having to explain ‘what on earth‘ the mess under the stairs was.

It’s also a favourite spot for our fur babies to sit and watch the world go by, or wait for us to get home. I’m pretty sure they think it was just put there for them.

Stay tuned for my office makeover next, followed by my master bedroom before Christmas.

Happy Styling!

Hayley x

SOURCES

Seat cushion fabric – Handcraft Moonstone from Materialised.
Blue and White cushions – all Florence Broadhurst Fabric.
Floor rug – Tessellated Star rug, sold out, this one is similar at Catch.com.au.
Sheer curtains – Tahiti Snow from Blinds Online.
Lighting – Seattle Wall Light in Brass from Emac & Lawton.
Tray – Heathcote Parquetry Tray from Madras Link.
Flowers and Vase – Silk Flora.
Throw – Linen House Australia, discontinued, similar from here.

Troy has a brother!

Who remembers Troy?
He came to live with us last year and he has been the most hard working and reliable member of our household. He works without complaining 24/7, he is quiet and he looks good.
Troy is our washing machine.

We love Troy so much that this year we enthusiastically welcomed his twin brother to come and live with us too. He’s not an identical twin, but you can tell they are brothers.
He’s a heat pump clothes dryer.

A new dryer was a priority for our new house. I remember trying to get washing dry last winter without a dryer, lets just say the kids might have worn odd socks and damp sweaters to school on more than one occasion!
We are a family of five, we create lots of washing and choosing the right dryer was a big decision.

We chose the Electrolux 8kg Heat Pump Dryer from Betta Home Living and it has been a life saver!

So, why a heat pump clothes dryer?

ENERGY EFFICIENCY
This dryer has an energy star rating of 7. Most traditional dryers have a star rating of 1-3. The more energy efficient your appliance, the less it will cost you on energy bills. A heat pump dryer will save you around 50% of your energy costs, this can equal quite a big saving dependant on how often you use your dryer.
Of course heat pump dryers are a bigger investment in the beginning, it really is a decision of whether you want to save on the initial cost or have reduced energy bills for years to come.
Here’s a great link to the government Energy Rating website that explains it all.

HUGE 8kg CAPACITY
Size does matter when you have a big family. The large 8kg stainless steel drum is big enough to dry a full load of washing. The large door also makes it easy to load and unload, and it is fully reversible which allow you to customise your dryer to fit your space. 

GENTLE ON CLOTHES
This dryer uses less heat than a traditional dryer which means it is gentle on your clothes. It has multiple drying programs including cotton, delicate, mixed load, silk, sports, wool, bedding and more. Yes, it is safe to use with your most delicate silks, pure wools and treasured family friends! The Electrolux Delicate Care technology ensures every garment is dried at the appropriate temperature, it also measures the humidity and temperature to protect your garments from over-drying and shrinkage.
Full disclosure – this also means you can’t blame the dryer for shrinking your jeans next time you try to squeeze into them … or is that just me?

SHHH…….
There is enough noise in our house! With three kids, a cat and a dog there is constant noise, the last thing I wanted was another obtrusive sound to add to the mix. The inverter technology is quiet enough for me to use the dryer any time of day or night. It’s so quiet Skipper chooses to sleep in the laundry … on the fresh washing, of course!

BLUE!
Practicality comes first, especially in the laundry, but if I can chose a fabulous device in my favourite colour, then why not! This is a good looking dryer and it looks amazing paired with the Electrolux Ultimate Care Washer or the Electrolux 9kg with Ultramix Technology.

So, that’s why … that’s why we chose the Electrolux 8kg Heat Pump Dryer.

What shall we cal him? Roy? Eli? Any suggestions?

Mine is from Betta Home Living, they are fabulous to deal with, very informative and super helpful. You can find a store here or shop online here.

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

Dining Room – before & after

Hello lovely friends!

Firstly, before I show you what we did in the dining room, which really wasn’t much at all, I want to answer a question a few of you asked after my ‘winter room’ reveal. Lots of you were surprised that my sofa is from ikea and that I buy things from Facebook marketplace. I had lots of comments from you guys wondering how I ‘make it look fancy’ and why my house doesn’t look like a flea market when so many of my pieces are second hand or from budget friendly stores.

I definitely believe there are places you can save money and places where you need to spend a little more, but that doesn’t mean that it has to cost a fortune, you’ve just got to be smart and know where to spend and where to splurge.

I have young kids and pets, we don’t have adults only zones and our home is pretty relaxed, I don’t like to spend a lot of money of sofas because I know they are going to get jumped on, have food spilt on them and who knows what else! I look for an affordable option with covers that can be removed and machine washed.

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Where do I splurge?
I’m happy to spend money on quality house fixtures like taps, hardware, lighting and custom made window treatments. These are things that you don’t want to get wrong. They form the foundation for all the layers of furniture and home decor. If you get them wrong nothing will flow harmoniously.

Lets talk about window treatments today as that is what has made a huge impact in my dining room make-over.

My dining room has grey tinted glass and lots of it, the grey glass reflects a dark hue throughout the dining room. I wanted to use white sheers to change that to a bright, white light radiating in the room.

There is 2 glass doors and one window in this space, they are all different heights and widths, I’ll tell you more about this later, but their varying sizes made it impossible to get a cohesive look without having them custom made.

This is where you splurge.
When I say splurge it doesn’t actually mean you need to spend a lot of money. There are ways to get custom made, professionally finished curtains, crafted from quality materials at a fraction of the price you would pay an Interior Decorator. It just means you need to measure them and hang them yourself.
I talked about choosing your window treatments here and installing them here.
It really is very easy, promise!

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Back to my dining room sheer curtains, you’d think choosing would be pretty easy, right?

I went to Blinds Online to order my sheer curtains and discovered there were quite a few to choose from. I decided to order samples just to make sure I got exactly what I wanted. You can order up to 10 samples free of charge!

I have a little trick that I use to help me choose my sheer curtain fabric. I sticky tape all my samples to the window where the curtains are going and observe them in different lighting. It’s the best way to see how your curtain fabric will look in the room and against the window.

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I chose TAHITI VOILE SNOW with a Pinch Pleat head and centre parting panels.

There wasn’t much to do in the dining room. It is in an open living area with the ‘winter room’, the two rooms are separated by one of the bench seats that we did while we were doing that living space. The living space is ‘sunken’, 2 steps lower than the dining room. I love how cosy it feels in there.

The only real change we made to the room was to refresh the paint, add pendant lights and curtains.

We patched all the holes in ceiling and the walls, my husband started out in the building industry as a plasterer, it’s very handy! Then we gave everything a fresh coat of paint.

I chose two oversized rattan pendants, they have a beautiful aged patina and even though I thought they were going to be too big when they arrived, once we got them up they looked perfect.

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The real hero in this room is the new curtains, they’ve made a huge impact and they make the room so bright and light. They way they dance in the breeze is dreamy, it’s like something from a beautiful movie. It’s worth putting sheer curtains in your house just to get your movie moment.

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 There are three windows/sliding doors in this area, two are in the actual dining room and one is on the adjoining wall. They can all be seen at the same time from multiple views, but they are different heights which is not pleasing to the eye and disrupts the harmony. Both the sliding doors also lead out to a central courtyard area which I am planning on making into a seating area, so I thought it was important to make them feel cohesive.

I decided to hang them all at the height of the highest door which was just under the cornice, and to be honest I probably would have chosen to hang them there regardless because the added height makes the windows feel larger.

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It’s important to measure all your windows, don’t just assume they are all the same height. I thought my ceiling to floor measurements was the same throughout this area, but there’s a 15mm difference from one side of the room to the other. This is very common, especially in older homes, so check your measurements.

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I chose the same curtain rods I used in the living room, firstly for continuity and secondly because I like being able to pull the curtains completely to one side or the other of the rod without a centre support interrupting them. The rod system is simple and unobtrusive which lets the curtains steal all the attention.

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As for the furniture in this space, there’s a mixture of old and new. I’ve had the chairs for about 10 years, they are a classic French Provincial design, they’ve been moved to and from 4 houses, they’ve been tipped over by kids, they’ve been broken and repaired … but I still love them.

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I bought the table 3 houses ago, again it’s a timeless design, very simple in a warm timber with a parquetry top. It’s a long table at 270cm, almost impossible to find tablecloths, but I like that I can fit 4 chairs each side. I love a beautiful carver chair at the end of a table, but sometimes I don’t want to block the view down the table to what’s at the other end. This is one of those times …

I bought the huge cabinet especially for this room. I wanted somewhere special to display all my collected and sentimental china and all the shelves and glass doors in this cabinet was perfect. The cabinet gives me the ability to add personality to an otherwise very simple room.

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Eventually we will remove the carpet from this room and do either timber or stone floors. I personally don’t like carpet in dining rooms, especially when you have kids, they are feral creatures and spaghetti bolognese doesn’t mix well with wool carpet! The floors are always the last thing we do in a house, we’ve learnt from experience that flooring can get damaged during a renovation and it’s best to leave it till last unless you need to do it due to a change in floor plan.

Thats about it in this space, lets have a quick look at the before and after to see what a huge difference a few small changes can make.

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Before we moved in.
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During, progress.
AFTER!
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Before we moved in and AFTER
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Before we moved in.
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AFTER

As always, I’m happy to answer questions, e-mail me or find me on IG anytime.

What do you think?

Happy Decorating!

Hayley x