Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lounge room inspiration and the official 'TO DO' list!

So I've had 2 weeks now to get my planning done. I've created a style tray, played around with floor plans and gone shopping for the things I need to complete the study / guest room project. Now I need to start thinking about the actual hands on stuff to tackle the project. This is where I wish I could channel Faux Fuchsia who is excellent at actioning projects. She once painted every stick of furniture in her home white in one day. Yes, one day!

And as I mentioned in the last post my Spring Cure just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I've decided to do a quick living room update. Here's my inspiration:

Marimekko Kaiku Fabric - image from Scandinavian Design Centre

Isn't it a peaceful scene? It reminds me so much of my time in Finland. In fact I sought out this fabric in Finland from the Marimekko outlet but unfortunately due to the exchange rate at the time it was more expensive to buy it there than from an American online retailer!

I love the cushions in this photo. The fabric is from Australian company Ink and Spindle who make high quality printed fabrics on organic cotton. I found their website through The Wall Sticker Company who make the large scale birch wall sticker in that picture. Apparently they collaborate on designs. I thought the cushions would go great with the wall hanging and would also match my couch (which looks so similar to the one in the picture that I think it may even be the same!). I've procured myself the fabric so now all I have to do is make the cushions. Simple really if I had ANY sewing skills! Oh well this is a learning experience after all...

I also want to procure this coffee table for the lounge room. It would match our other oak furniture well (and we don't currently have a coffee table!)

Offi 'Scando' coffee table in Oak - Image from Apartment Therapy

I like that I could keep magazines in the bend!

Anyways enough of the pretty, fun stuff! Back to the real work that needs to start soon!

Because I'm a list maker by nature here's my list of things to do which I hope I will be regularly checking things off!

  • Prep study and guest room for painting (sanding, filling gaps etc)
  • Paint walls and trims (white)
  • Clean louvres thoroughly
  • Hang new panel curtains in study
  • Paint vintage bedside tables white and update hardware
  • Move book cases into study and attempt to group books in a way that doesn't make the room look like an old book exchange - perhaps group by type and then colour?
  • Fit new cushions to Ikea Poang chair and footstool
  • Hang wall art (vintage tram scroll)
Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Spring Cure just keeps getting bigger and bigger...

Why? Because I keep finding inspiring pictures of homes all over the internet! This one literally just posted on Apartment Therapy has taken my fancy:

Now I'm inspired to paint my old 'mellow-yellow' pine dining room table white!

Add it to the every growing list of things to do... :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Time to cull...

So it's week 3 of the cure so it's time to 'clear the path'. For me this means a big declutter of my study area. I did this a little while ago when I was on a massive decluttering bender but it's definitely time to do it again. The clutter is creeping back in!

Decluttering is seriously underrated. A good cull of unused/unloved stuff literally feels like a weight is lifted on your shoulders. The result is instantly gratifying - more space!

A 'cull' (as I like to call it) is not necessarily easy to perform though. It can be quite confronting and raise a whole range of emotions. For me personally I was confronted by my own poor choices and financial wastefulness. Interestingly though the more I dealt with the emotions that surfaced the more sure I felt that I won't be repeating these mistakes. And I'm pleased to say that so far I haven't!

It can also be very hard to part with items that no longer add to your life but you feel you are sentimentally attached to.

The Apartment Therapy Eight Step Home Cure book suggests that you designate an area of your house to be an 'Outbox' which is a "halfway house for your clutter, where things go while their fate is being decided". Here are the Apartment Therapy rules for the Outbox:
  1. Anything can go in the Outbox
  2. The Outbox is allowed to be messy
  3. Everything must stay in the outbox for at least one week
  4. After that you have several choices:
  • Take anything back out
  • Leave anything you're undecided about for one more week
  • Dispose of the rest by moving it to the garbage, recycling bin or a giveaway pile
I think this is a very useful tool but as someone who often talks herself out of getting rid of some things I do think it can be helpful to get things you're certain you don't need out of the house very quickly!

Here are some other tips for decluttering (as discussed in the now famous Vogue Forum decluttering thread!)
  • For things you've convinced yourself you 'might need one day' - put the items in a box and seal it. If you genuinely need something remove it from the box. If after a designated time period (a month perhaps?) you haven't required anything from the box then dispose of the box immediately (e.g. donate to charity)
  • For drawers that constantly fill up - take everything out of the drawer. As you need something replace it into the drawer. Things you haven't replaced after a designated time period dispose of immediately.
  • Ask a friend to help. It's good to have the advice of someone who is neutral to the situation (i.e. doesn't have the same sentimental attachments)
  • If you're going to sell something on a forum or eBay then list the item without delay! Don't let it sit around the house only to find itself back in 'regular circulation'. Also, have a backup plan for things that don't sell - are you going to offer them to friends or family? Donate them to charity? I must admit this is a trap I have fallen into a few times!
  • There's the age old decluttering mantra 'If in doubt, throw it out!'
  • Faux Fuchsia has 3 great decluttering questions she asks herself in relation to clothes and more:
Do I love this?
Does this flatter me?
Is this the image I want to project?

Need some reading material to further inspire you?

Makeunder My Life blog. The philosophy of this blogger is that life can be improved through "addition by subtraction" In her words: "...every Friday I get rid of something that I don’t need, use, or love anymore (I call this my “end of the week exfoliation“). I do this because I would like to have nice possessions, but I don’t have the money to afford lots of nice things. By getting rid of the items I don’t covet anymore, my ratio of nice to not-nice stuff increases, and I end up closer to my goal." Interesting huh?

Check out Miss Minimalist's blog, especially her post on spring decluttering

Book It's All Too Much! by Peter Walsh who has become somewhat of a legend since Oprah discovered him and added him to her bevy of gurus. It's a pretty interesting, quick read and there are plenty of strategies. The resounding message from the book (which I agree with) is don't buy storage solutions - get rid of the excess stuff you're trying to find a storage solution for!

Still no progress?

If you're still struggling getting started tackling the clutter then watch yourself some Hoarders. It's genuinely scary stuff. Nothing makes me want to declutter more than the thought I could end up in that kind of mess!

Got any tips? Comment below and share them!

Happy decluttering!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Target bargains

I mentioned the other day that I'd been enjoying some reasonably priced purchases from Target. Here's my latest acquisition which I think was exceptionally good value - a Modern Living Photo Gallery (8 frames in a pack, various sizes) for $34! That's about $4 a frame!

Here's the picture from their catalogue which I think ends soon.

Just be aware I did have to get down on the floor of Target and unpack multiple boxes (checking for flaws) before I got one that was perfect. You've been warned!

And what do you know there are others busily snapping up bargains at Target too! Check out Vintage Modern Home!

Now RUN! :)

Making a Floor Plan

If you're following the official Apartment Therapy cure clock it's week 2 now which means if you're doing a one room remedy it's time to design a floor plan.

I've mentioned before I am seriously challenged when it comes to graphics software. I was thinking how am I going to possibly do this!? I decided I'd do a quick Google search and find what floor planning tools were available online and then possibly resort to using Google Sketchup (which is still probably beyond me!)

Fortunately I stumbled upon
Floorplanner which might just be the best thing ever. It's dead easy and easy to share! I can see myself tinkering with this for hours much like a child moves furniture around in a dollhouse!

Here's an ultra quick 2D mockup I did of my study using Floorplanner.

Oh and if you're wondering what those weird yellowy-white flowery things are they're pendant lights (Norm style ones!) This was the only kind of pendant I could select. In reality I have Foto from Ikea pendants. I loved that this had some popular furniture styles built into it!

Want to move it all around and visualise it in 3D? Click Here to visit my floorplan online! Here's a sneak peak:

It's a work in progress and I'll definitely be working on it. I actually guessed the room size as being 5m x 3m. I was close at 4.6 x 3m. It'd be good to put accurate measurements in for the room size, space the windows out correctly and measure up the Ikea Billy bookshelves.

How do you make your floor plan? I'd love to find out what other tools are out there!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Useful ONLINE tools for the Cure

Today I had a very busy day at work. I'm quite exhausted. I had plans around emptying the study and doing some basic preparations like wall-washing for painting on the weekend but I don't think I'm up for any of that physical work. So I'll turn my attentions to some of these online tools I have found that are helping me plan the big cure!

Here are some tools I have found that are useful. I hope you find them useful too!

  • Sproost Style Quiz which I found from reading the blog The Zhush. This quiz requires you to look at a series of photos of interiors and rate them according to how much you like them. It then narrows down your style to a description which can help if you direct your research for inspiring images. According to this quiz I'm 80% Modern Elegance and 20% Nantucket style. I'm from Australia so I don't really know what Nantucket style means so it's something for me to research and I'm going to follow the blog.
There was some serious eye-candy on the blog and now I'm going to share some of it with you before we move on!

All images via Sproost blog

  • Another quiz can be found at Homegoods StyleScope which Belinda Graham blogged about on The Happy Home. This quiz is written by Deborah Needleman who was the editor for Domino magazine which sadly I never got the chance to buy in Australia (however I do now own the book which I think is fabulous). Today I did the quiz and was "Modern Elegant" but I have done the quiz before and got "Earthy Modern"!
Here's a picture of Deborah's living room which is really quite beautiful. Her style is apparently Bohemian Classic.

Image via The Happy Home Blog via NY Mag
  • ImageSpark I am totally challenged when it comes to Photoshop or any other graphics software. I am pretty handy with computers but I honestly am lost when it comes to all the little tools and buttons you need to press to edit graphics. That's why I like ImageSpark so much. I can make up a little moodboard with no effort at all. I downloaded the plugin for FireFox so I can just right click and add images to my library and then rearrange them to make a moodboard. Try it!
  • This has nothing to do with the cure but what the heck I'll mention it anyway. Picnik is the easiest, cutest graphics program whatsit I've EVER used. I use it to resize and correct images because as stated earlier, I'm useless with other graphics programs.
  • This Colour Palette Generator is really useful to pull colours from an image you like. It's mainly used for web design but I printed out the results and used it as swatches when buying home wares to match my Marimekko Kaiku fabric which I'm making into a large scale wall hanging. I'm sure there are others like this out there but this does the trick quite nicely!
I've heard about some iPhone apps - I'm off to check them out just for fun!

Well they're the online tools I've found helpful! Do you have any to share? Please do! :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Today (and briefly yesterday) I went shopping for homewares. I checked out Target (Australia), Ikea, Howards Storage World and Freedom.

Ikea and Freedom are probably my favourite for homewares but can I say that Target has really surprised me lately! Recently I picked up an over-the-bath caddy for about $30 (AUD people...) It was made of bamboo and matches my bathroom perfectly. I also bought a new bathmat in a lovely teal blue colour for about $20. I was really impressed.

This weekend I focused mainly on the Cure project - the study and guest bedroom. I had the most success in Ikea where I purchased a new cushion for our Poang chair and foot stool. It was a hand-me-down from relatives and is currently black leather which doesn't suit the light, airy feel of our house. The one we bought is very simple and white:

Image from Ikea Australian website

Since it's so light I plan on being very liberal with a can of scotch guard!

At Ikea I also selected some new panel curtains for the study. We currently have a combination of these and plain, dark grey panels. We are thinking of changing to either the Amorf or some plain white woven panels which we saw that don't appear to be on the Ikea website! With the bamboo detail the Amorf are not quite as plain as the alternative but I do worry about dust catching on the bamboo.

I'm trying to avoid patterns/contrast because I tired of the last combination really quickly. Also they did scream 'Ikea'. We will have to purchase 6 panels to cover our 3 sets of louvres so it's not a decision I'm entering into lightly! I'll wait until the room is properly painted.

Any thoughts about the panel curtains?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Guest Bedroom Style Tray

This morning I again scoured Google and Flickr for inspiring guest bedroom images. I'm trying to largely work with things I own to cut down on costs. I already have the following:
  • Ikea Hemnes bed frame in white
  • 2 x vintage Queen Anne leg bedside tables with drawer
  • Queen Anne chest of drawers
  • Plenty of bedlinen to choose from
So what I really have to do is just remix some of those things. I plan on updating the furniture with some new drawer pulls (why oh why does Anthropologie cost SO MUCH to ship to Australia!) and paint it gloss white. I have also toyed with painting it a bright fun colour but I can't commit to bright at this stage! Maybe when I see the room start to take better shape.

I find this picture very inspiring as it captures the mood of what I want: neutral, white, crisp, clean with just one colourful feature.

Image from Flickr click for original

I've made another moodboard (again using Image Spark which is good for those who are graphically-challenged). Click here to see it!

I'm going to spend this afternoon flicking through design books and my large collection of Real Living magazines for further inspiration and I'm going to catch up on the blogs of the other Curer's who I am following!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Making a style tray

This morning I've been working on my style tray or mood board for the study. It's actually been quite a consuming project as I select photos and then refine my selections to try and capture the essence of what I want to achieve. It's definitely a work in progress and so far I've only compiled images from the web - I still have some design books and magazines to consult.

I jumped onto Image Spark to help me make a moodboard (which I'm still working on). Here's what I've gathered so far.

These are two of my favourite images:

I like neutral colour palettes and clean lines and vintage schoolhouse elements to add some interest. I do want to try and keep the room feeling a bit more feminine though with some pops of colour (turquoise or duck egg blue perhaps) here and there. Hopefully I can meld these elements together!

I already have some basics - birch coloured Billy bookshelves, a white Ikea desk and a little Magis chest of drawers for stationary etc. One decorative element I'm keen to include is my vintage tram scroll which is of sentimental value to me because it was a gift from my Dad who salvaged it many years ago and it also lists destinations around the area in which I live.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Apartment Therapy Spring Cure 2010!

I am a long time reader of Apartment Therapy and a huge fan. When I first bought the Home Cure book I was so excited for the time when I could participate in a cure. I set out with the best of intentions but unfortunately I didn't get too far.

We began major renovations in our house which meant it was unliveable for a couple of months. A positive step towards the home we wanted but not an environment conducive to decorating.

The next fall cure rolled around and again I was excited. I jumped on the forum announced to everyone what I was planning to do but I was really already overwhelmed by the work we had to do following renovation so again, I couldn't make much of a dent.

This year I have no excuse. I've started this blog to journal my progress and hopefully if I get a few readers I'll also be accountable and have to finish projects I start! I hope that this is a step towards spending my spare time at home more purposefully. By that I mean getting more things done around the house and turning my home into the sanctuary it could be if I just spent the time.

And without further ado here are my before and after photos of my study and guest room which are the rooms I hope to have revamped by the end of the cure!

I don't like this leather poang chair but I would like some other kind of chair here to relax on. The view is through to a spare bedroom which we recently obtained a bed for. The whole room needs to be painted.

View of my desk etc. Yes I know it's a huge mess. I need to really declutter this area and give it some personality. I have bookshelves I need to put around the desk.

The guest bedroom. Part of the wall in this room was replaced during the renovation hence the 2 tone effect. Room needs to have the bar fridge removed, painted, furnished nicely and the bed dressed.