Easter, but not really …

When Kim from Figs & Feta magazine contacted me recently about doing an article about ME I was gobsmacked. Our homes have been in a few magazines before, but those features focus on our home and style, not me!

I asked Kim why she wanted little old me in her beautiful magazine. She said she admires the way I have built a community of beautiful friends through IG, she likes how I share my DIY’s and encourage everyone to give it a go and she appreciates the fact I keep it real.

I had a little think about it and I realised I DO have an amazing Insta tribe of gorgeous, supportive and caring friends (so grateful), the only reason I share my DIY’s, shopping finds and styling ideas is to show you that you CAN do it and yes, I do like to share my giant piles of washing, my dirty floors and my epic fails just to ‘keep it real’.

So, the article was born, you can find it here.

Kim asked me to take a few photos of my house decorated for Easter for the article. I photographed the images in January and I wasn’t quite ready for 100’s of bunnies to invade my home so soon after Christmas, so I went with more of a Spring vibe with a hint of Easter. I chose a different colour palette than I usually do and I really love the way the photos came out. I wanted to share some of the ones that didn’t make it to the magazine here with you. I hope you like them too.

What kind of photoshoot would it be at my house if one of the animals didn’t make an appearance?

And of course the original photobomber – Orly!

I hope you liked my pics as much as I loved taking them. The best part about a home photoshoot is getting to eat and enjoy the props afterwards. Those mangoes and macarons were delicious, and the flowers brought a smile to my face everyday for well over a week!

Hx

White Dinner set – Shop here
Yellow gingham tablecloth and floral napkins – homemade by me!
Cutlery – Shop here
Black bunnies – Shop here
Hop Hop Hop bunting – Sold Out, from Pottery Barn Kids.
Flowers – Always from my favourite florist – That Pretty Market
Frog – Shop here
Rattan Jugs – Sold out – Similar here
Boxwood Topiaries – Shop here

If I’ve missed anything, you can usually find me on IG here.

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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.

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The Winter Room – before & after

Who would choose to have a pink fireplace with a black and blue granite hearth and mantle? I’ll tell you who …. me!

Not really, but we bought a house and the previous owners made that choice and we were stuck with it until we came up with a plan to turn it into something special.

One of my Inspiration pics – The Tarnished Jewel blog

I’d been trawling Pinterest (again) and I really wanted an exposed brick fireplace with a beautiful white timber surround and mantle.

We wondered what was under the pink render on our fireplace so we did some research, we found it would probably be bricks or concrete blocks. We thought we had nothing to lose and got the jack hammer out.

We had to address the problem of it being too high anyway, so we got started.
The old fireplace was very high, which would usually be fine, but we wanted to hang our TV above the fireplace and it needed to come down to a better level. We ended up removing 3 rows of bricks.

My husband slowly and carefully started chipping away at the pink concrete coating and found we had beautiful bricks underneath. I did a little happy dance and it only took about an hour to remove the majority of the pink and the rows of bricks.

Our next question was what was under the black and blue stone hearth. There was no saving it so we got the sledge hammer out and smashed it up. To our absolute delight, there was bricks underneath that too.

It looked better already and we had the perfect canvas to achieve the look I wanted.

I spent a day or two with a blunt chisel and a wire brush and cleaned the bricks up, not too much though, I wanted them to have some history and look a little aged.

I made a whitewash with some white Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and water and brushed it lightly over the bricks wiping away any excess with a rag. I concentrated on the mortar to lighten it up. I’m really happy with the overall effect I achieved.
I also filled any obvious holes in the bricks with Mortafil and painted the inside with Pot Belly Black paint. I sealed the bricks with Lithofin Stain-Stop to stop the dust and prevent them from getting any stains from coal or marshmallows.

Now for the tricky part, the surround and mantle.
I’m really lucky my husband is a builder and is good at this stuff, but to be honest, as long as you are pretty handy and know your way around a power tool, you could do this. It takes a little planning as there are so many components, but you can make your surround and mantle as plain or as fancy as you wish.

We (when I say we, I mean my husband) started with the frame work. I wanted the sides to project out a little further than the middle so they look like a big chunky timber pillar.

We bought most of the supplies from Bunnings and a couple of the fancier mouldings from a local timber supplier (Paradise Timbers at Helensvale for my local readers).

The frame work didn’t take long. As you can see we used small bits of leftover timber across the top. We knew they’d be covered by the moulding so it was fine to use them. This is why it’s important to have a clear plan and detailed drawings from the beginning (so my husband says).

The first moulding is on below, some of it will be visible at the end, some of it is used to pack out other pieces. The corners are mitred. You can just see some of my drawings on the wood to help guide my hubby.

More of the moulding has been put on below, now you can see why we needed to pack out the top fancy moulding so it would sit nicely with the one below. It’s a bit like a puzzle, every piece you add affects another piece.

We added shiplap above and to the sides of the fireplace surround. We did it for two reasons, firstly I loved the look, but secondly so we had room to bring all the electrical wires through to the back of the TV without having cords running everywhere.

We battened out the wall then got the electrician in to do all the wiring. As you can see he needed to make a few holes which were easily fixed, but I thought I’d share a little tip if this happens to you. When you cut little holes in your wall like this, keep the bits of plasterboard to put back in for the repair. It’s much easier than trying to cut a new piece the exact same size.

The shiplap isn’t hard to install (according to hubby), it just clicks into each other. It would have been a lot easier if we just used a edge strip to go over the corner, but I wanted it mitred, so that took a little longer but I think it was worth the extra effort.

You can also see a glimpse of the round pillar that we squared off here. I’ll tell you more about that later.

You can see the mitred shiplap edges here.

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All done and ready for paint.

It was time consuming with all the different mouldings, mitred cuts, corners, angles and layers. It took some patience but we got there in the end.

I took my time filling all the nail holes and blemishes with Spakfilla and sanding it smooth. This part is important to achieve a good base for painting. Sometimes there will be nails sticking out that haven’t gone in all the way, we use a Nail Punch and hammer them in.

Due to our room layout, we had to hang the TV above the fireplace. I know some people think it is a crime to hang a TV above a beautiful fireplace, but it didn’t make sense to put it anywhere else in this room.

My short list of colours.

I painted the shiplap around the TV a gorgeous shade of green for a couple of reason. Firstly, because having a big black TV on a white wall is really harsh and the deeper colour softens the TV. Secondly because I really wanted to define the fireplace mantle and the green really makes it pop. And lastly, and most importantly, because I fell in love with a gorgeous floral that I chose for the window coverings, I pulled the green from the colour palette of the fabric.
We used Dulux Olive Leaf (the 3rd one down) it’s a beautiful green, it looks quite different depending on the lighting conditions. Oh, and don’t panic when you start painting, it looks much darker when it is wet as you can see below. We did one coat of undercoat and 2 coats of colour.

I love the green shiplap, even if I fractured my tibia, dislocated my knee and damaged some soft tissue in my knee when I was doing it! Yes, I’m serious, I stepped off the edge of the work platform (like a ladder) while I was painting at 10pm on a Thursday night. Doesn’t everyone paint at that time of night when their husband is watching football, ha!

Next I painted the fireplace surround and mantle in Porters Paint Aquasatin in Popcorn. We undercoated it first and I gave it a light sand between coats. I chose the water based enamel because it is washable, meaning it can be easily wiped down with a damp sponge which is perfect around a smokey fireplace. We did 2 coats of the Aquasatin.

After everything is painted we like to go around the edges of everything with No More Gaps , places like the little gap between the fireplace and skirting boards and the gap at the top between the shiplap and ceiling, you can see where I mean on the picture above. It gives you a straight line and really clean finish.

So that’s the fireplace, but we did so much more in this space.
Remember the pillar I mentioned above, you can see it in the photo below. It is a classic 1990’s feature and was very trendy back then, not so much now. Unfortunately many of these pillars are structural so it is a big mission to remove them and involves putting a beam in and a great amount of mess.

Also, while you are looking at this picture, take note of the benchseat … the pink cushion, the high gloss 2 pack paint and the concave feature line around the top. I’ll get to that later.

Back to the pillars, we decided to square ours off and add some mouldings.
It wasn’t hard and it makes such a big difference!

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The first step was to box in the round pillar, we used fibre cement board, it’s tougher than gyprock and is easy to paint. You don’t need to mitre the edges of the board because it will be covered with mouldings.

We used 2 mouldings on the pillars, one for the edge that was mitered, and one to add a little bit of detail. We used the same detailed moulding on the fireplace and I like to tie things together by using the same elements.

You can see a little peek at the dining room above, we have started this room and I cant wait to share it with you!

The pillar was given the same finish as the fireplace surround … punch the stray nails in, Spakfilla, sanding, undercoat and 2 coats of paint.

Which brings me to the bench seating that we also attacked with paint and mouldings.
The house originally had indoor gardens, we can tell because the inside is fibreglass and waterproofed and there is drainage. At some point the previous owner has converted them to bench seats, much better idea, except the cushions were covered in the same pink fabric as the putrid pink curtains.

The other issue was that they were painted in 2 pack and had a routered  line around the entire seat. I’m not a fan of the high gloss finish and I wanted to add moulding to the seats. A 2 pack finish is a paint system which involves acrylic paint for the colour and hardener resin, which results in a very tough and shiny surface.
We used a combination of 2 electric sanders to strip back the paint to a surface that we could paint. I’m not going to lie, it was a yukky job with super fine dust everywhere, and yes Mum … I wore a mask!

Then we rolled our fingers in 80 grit sandpaper and sanded the routered line. We had to get this part sanded all the way back to the custom wood because we wanted to fill this line. We used builders bog to fill it and then sanded it flat.

Then my husband did 7,483 (pretty sure he was exaggerating) saw cuts and used the nail gun to apply all the mouldings in a square pattern around the benchseats.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of this process as I had my leg in a full leg brace and I was shuffling around on my bottom trying to work. The above photo was taken before we filled the routered feature line, this is when we were working out the design, but you get the idea.
I have a few more of these benchseats to do in the front entry, so if you want more detailed photos, yell out and I can take them with the next one.

We used Dulux Precision Maximum Strength Adhesion Primer as our primer.
Then finished with 2 coats of the Aquasatin Popcorn paint.

We took the benchseat to our upholsterer to be recovered in something …. less pink. I chose a dark beige large scale check pattern and had it piped both top and bottom of the box cushion. You can see the before and after in the photos below.

Lastly, the whole room got a coat of paint to freshen everything up before we the fun part begins … dressing the room!
The previous owner had repainted not long before we moved in but there was holes that needed patching and a few marks from moving furniture and it didn’t take long to give it one quick coat. We kept the same colour the previous owner chose as it’s fairly neutral and once you change one room, it snowballs into doing the rest of the house, especially when it’s so open and the rooms all flow together.
The colour is Wattyl First Kiss 1/4 strength.

The last major change we made was new blinds and curtains. I personally think this has made the biggest difference in this room. The pink curtains were so drab and they reflected a weird pink hue around the entire space. I actually thought the carpet in this room was pink before I pulled the curtains down. It’s not, it’s a dark beige!

I wonder if the fireplace was actually pink?

I chose roman blinds in a beautiful William Morris fabric and pinch pleat curtains in a beautiful pale linen colour.
You can see more pics and read all about them here.

The rest was all about the furniture and styling.
We ditched the big bulky brown couch, as comfy as it is, it really isn’t pretty. I also removed the big rug from the floor, now the carpet doesn’t look pink it’s not bad. It is wool carpet and it is absolutely perfect. I think this was the ‘good room’ with the last owners and it barely got used, she told me they had never used the fireplace!
I repurposed the rest of the furniture from this room and started again.

I bought the little cabinet from Facebook Marketplace and gave it a quick makeover using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I’m sorry I can’t share the colour, I mixed it myself from a few small sample pots I had. If you want to try and recreate it, I used – Florence, English Yellow, Oxford Navy, Paris Grey and Pure White, but it’s probably easier to just buy the Duck Egg Blue which is quite similar.

I also bought the barley twist lamp from Facebook Marketplace.

The fireplace tools, wood buckets and screen are from Early Settler. I love the little birds, they add a pretty little detail when the fire isn’t on and they also look amazing when the fire is on.

Our beloved Ikea Stocksund sofa and armchairs are perfect in here, unfortunately they don’t have this fabric anymore, I live in hope that they’ll bring it back or release a new one that is equally as fabulous.  The blue stripe works beautifully with the floral blinds and they pick up on the sweet little blue flowers throughout the pattern.

I’m currently hunting the perfect cushions for this space, I’d like to pull some more colour from that glorious blind fabric, maybe some green and terracotta.

I couldn’t resist popping a sheepskin rug in front of the fire, a little nod to the era the house.
We also bought the Ikea Ektorp white armchair you can see to the right in the photo below, but it’s already been moved to another room, that tends to happen around here, ha!

I love this room, it’s warm, cosy and inviting. It feels homely and nothing is precious. All the sofas have removable, machine washable covers which makes it stress free for the kids and pets. It’s a real family room and we all love spending time in here.

Phew, I think I’ve covered everything, feel free to ask any questions, I’m always happy to share.

Happy Styling!

Hayley x

 

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