Make It Sparkle

Hey everyone.

How is it October and a month into Spring already?! That means we moved into our new home almost 9 months ago- Crazy! I remember unpacking box, after box and making a conscious decision to Spring clean regularly, ensuring the house is kept looking fresh, clutter free and manageable. I feel much calmer when our surroundings are tidy, so it is crucial for me to maintain organisation and household chores (especially) when working from home, to ensure my mind is clear and focused. My second family over at Homebuyers Centre WA have asked me to chat about my favourite spring cleaning products/ cannot-live-without-items, organisation tips and some simple ways to get your home feeling fabulous for less… Yes, less- because we have even managed to get our hands on some exclusive discounts from 10 awesome brands that I love and use in my own home- you can view them all at the bottom of this post.

Maintenance is key.

I’d be fibbing if I told you our home is perfectly curated and magazine worthy everyday. It’s certainly not- but it is kept fairly tidy and we all try to pack away/clean up after ourselves throughout the day. Getting into the mentality of, “it literally takes two seconds,” stops clutter building up and chores feel way more manageable because they’re not made into mammoth tasks. When it comes to larger cleans (like spring cleaning) I break down the duties into specific areas and tackle them over a few different weekends. This means I still get to enjoy the majority of my weekend with family and I only have to dig out the cleaning products targeting the related areas I’m working on. The same principle applies for landscaping and exterior!! When I notice a little weed sprouting or some dry leaf litter floating around, I’ll make sure they’re pulled out/picked up promptly so that the chore doesn’t manifest over time.

Organise and simplify.

One key aspect that helps me maintain a clean home is having everyone know where possessions belong. This is especially helpful for children who are primary school age and above. Knowing where their toys, clothes and belongings are, eliminates a tornado of mess when they are trying to locate something specific. Clearly label storage tubs and group together similar items- eg cars, lego, technology, crafts… then the same with clothing- shorts, pants, tees, long sleeve. You can also rotate your seasonal clothes by packing away bulky, winter garments that you won’t wear throughout summer. I relocate ours and put them in the wardrobe of our spare bedroom, but if you’re limited on space you could try vacuum bagging some items and temporarily storing them in your linen cupboard. This frees up a lot of space in our main wardrobes and the whole area feels less cluttered.

Bedside Tables- Satara Living, Wardrobe System- Ikea PAX

The Cull.

Go from room- to-room and ruthlessly recycle, donate or appropriately throw away any possessions that are no longer being used/eaten/worn/played with. Don’t stop at your wardrobes either, consider culling old makeup, skincare products and expired medications in your vanities (Children’s panadol, nurofen and spare sunscreen tubes are notorious for expiring in my household.) Also take a look at your current bath/hand/face towels and consider donating any spares to your local women’s refuge or animal shelter. Same goes for linen, bedding and cushions. You might be overdue for new pillow inserts, fresh sheets or a summer quilt so bag it up and donate anything you no longer require. Then (if required) you can replenish and treat yourself using the discount code provided further down #winning

Storage.

This category could easily fall underneath the ‘organise’ umbrella, but I think ‘storage’ deserves it’s own mention as well. Often we focus on elaborate storage systems and custom-built units to impressively store belongings, forgetting that nifty hacks can also make the world of difference to de-clutter your home. One handy idea that I utilise in our home, is that we each have a bamboo basket which contains our day-to-day hygiene/beauty regime products- this is particularly convenient if your bathroom vanity has doors instead of drawers. You can easily take the items in and out (all at once,) which leaves your cupboards organised and your bench space tidy. They’re super affordable and are also stackable which is another awesome space saving pro!!

Bespoke joinery is beautiful, but this option is simply not obtainable for everyone. Thankfully, there are so many furniture pieces with great storage solutions on the market. In my opinion, Ikea is the retail leader when shopping for affordable and readily available storage units like wardrobes, drawers, entertainment units, bookcases and wall storage cabinets. My favourite systems to consider are the BESTÅ, PAX, KOPPANG, ALEX and EKET. There are hundreds of online hacks around to personalise these ranges but they have also just released new colour/material/profile options for some of the BESTÅ systems and they look NEAT!!! See below.

Buffets, console tables and blanket boxes are also lovely furniture options, if you want additional hidden storage. By placing a blanket box or storage ottoman at the foot of your bed, it can enhance the overall room aesthetic, as well as provide a convenient storage option in your bedroom. Utilise it to fold away a clean set of bed linen and towels in, so they are easily accessible when wanting a fresh towel or swapping over sheets on washing day. Here are 3 on-trend styles, currently available (and ready to ship) from Adairs.

|| 1. Norway Snow Boucle || 2. Burleigh Natural || 3. Francis Sand Velvet  ||

Enhance the ambience.

Create an atmosphere that relaxes you. No doubt after a good spring clean, your home will be smelling fresh but here are a few more ways to enhance tranquility in your surroundings.

  • Draw back your curtains.
  • Open your windows and let some fresh air in.
  • Use natural cleaning agents with aromatic scents, especially on your surfaces and floors.
  • Light a new candle or burn an incense stick.
  • Flip over a few reeds of your fragrance diffuser.
  • Buy yourself a bouquet of fresh flowers or gather some foliage from your garden.
  • Turn on some of your favourite tunes.
  • Cleanse and charge your crystals if required.
  • Put a wrapped bar of soap or a fresh fragrance sachet in your chest of drawers.
  • Water and fertilise your indoor plants.
  • Frame a new family portrait.

All of these small suggestions will help your home feel more inviting, more homely and more enjoyable.

My top home maintenance and spring cleaning products.

I have rounded up my favourite 12 products that help me maintain and keep our home looking tidy throughout the year. None of them are sponsored, so you can expect an honest review based on my personal use and their performance. A few stores have offered my community a discount, but this is purely because myself and Homebuyers Centre WA have reached out to the brand and obtained a discount code based off my love for their products. Enjoy!

  1. ECOVACS DEEBOT OZMO T8 AIVI Robot Vacuum– I cannot live without this little creature! It vacuums and mops (although I primarily use it for vacuuming,) has a nifty mapping function, carpet detection and so many other great functions. It has been the best investment/purchase I have made this year. ||Click Here||
  2. Bissell SpotClean Carpet Cleaner- In all honesty I thought this machine would blow my mind. It’s good but I wouldn’t say incredible… It still cements itself as a ‘must-have’ because I believe if our furniture were a bit older and more worn, I would see better results. What I can recommend being amazing, is the next Bissell product. ||Click Here||
  3. Bissell Tough Stain Pre-Cleaner– THIS little bottle of magic, is amazing! It mentions being a Pre-cleaner, but on the marks I have treated, this solution completely cleaned them off my sofas without having to use the (above) machine itself. Super convenient to have on hand for any unexpected stains that appear. ||Click Here||
  4. Koh Microfibre Cloths (4 Pack)– These microfibre cloths are great quality and they get the job done! The white polishing cloth (for mirrors and glass) is excellent and it’s the only product that leaves my glass streak-free. ||Click Here||
  5. Koala Eco Natural Multi-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner– I first received this solution as a handover gift from HBC when we received our keys and now I’m absolutely hooked. The fragrance is divine, it’s both biodegradable and eco-friendly, plus the formula is completely plant-based. 20% off storewide when using OHEIGHTOHNINE at the checkout. ||Click Here||
  6. Bondi Wash Non-Toxic Floor Wash- This floor wash smells amazing (loveee the citrus fragrance,) and it doesn’t leave your floor sticky or with a filmy residue. It is highly concentrated so the bottle goes a long way it’s safe to use on all floor types- hardwood, engineered timber, vinyl, hybrid, tiles, laminate etc… 20% off storewide when using OHEIGHTOHNINE at the checkout. ||Click Here||
  7. Chux Magic Eraser Spot Cleaner– These little gems are really handy for spot cleaning scuffs off walls and skirting boards. Try a small, isolated wall area first because it works/dries differently on certain paint finishes. They’re magic though- just like the name implies! ||Click Here||
  8. Philips Fabric Shaver– This is a recent purchase of mine but holy moly… I’m already addicted and am amazed at how my upholstery and clothes have been transformed!! ||Click Here||
  9. BÄSTIS Lint Roller– Yessss, the sticky lint roller is essential if you own a pet or simply want to keep fabrics dust/fibre/lint/hair-free. I use mine mostly on the sofas, headboards, ottomans and our clothing because it collects our dog’s fur that the vacuum can sometimes miss. ||Click Here||
  10. Selley’s Rapid Mould Killer– Okay so this product is definitely not natural and it’s quite strong, BUT it’s the only product I am satisfied with for effectively cleaning showers and grout. It’s not so much needed in our current home (because everything is new) but in my previous homes it has worked an absolute treat so I have continued to use it here as well!! || Click Here ||
  11. Koh Spray Mop– To be honest I think the actual mop itself is pretty on par with other brands, howeverrrr, the pads are what seals the deal for me. The green one is particularly good because it has some sort of interwoven, rubbery material among the rest of the fabric. I have no idea what it is called (lol,) but there is a noticeable grip and it definitely cleans my floor better than pads that just glide over the surface… Oh and the bundle is currently 55% off for anyone interested. || Click Here ||
  12. Bamboo Stackable Basket– I mentioned these above in my little vanity life hack, but they can be used anywhere in the home to organise items and save space in your pantry, study, laundry cupboards, nursery etc… 15% off storewide when using OHEIGHTOHNINE at the checkout.|| Click Here ||

Exclusive offers.

Whether you’re about to start an intense clean, or need to replenish a few items- the below 10 stores have you covered for all your cleaning, interior and organisation needs. Scroll through to see what discounts are on offer and enter OHEIGHTOHNINE at the checkout of each store for the full month of October. Valid until 31st October 2021, 23:59 AEST.

Discount code: OHEIGHTOHNINE

PRETTY LITTLE DESIGNS

15% off storewide- including sale items || Shop Now ||

KOALA ECO

20% off storewide ** excluding bundles and subscriptions. || Shop Now ||

LOOM TOWELS

10% off storewide ** excluding sets. || Shop Now ||

HOUSE OF WELLINGTON

15% off storewide || Shop Now ||

BONDI WASH

20% off Bondi Wash products ** excludes subscription boxes and cannot be used with any other discount code. || Shop Now ||

THE COVER COLLECTIVE

25% off storewide ** excluding sale and bundles, laundry and cushions. || Shop Now ||

LITTLE LABEL CO

10% off storewide **excluding new arrivals. || Shop Now ||

LOOM TOWELS

10% off storewide ** excluding sets. || Shop Now ||

WHITE BEACH CO

15% off storewide || Shop Now ||

MISS APRIL TOWELS

15% off storewide || Shop Now ||

I feel like this topic and post could go on forever because there are so many great hacks around to help you maintain a clean, functional home. Just remember, it’s okay to let things get out of hand a little at times (life gets busy) but if you’re feeling overwhelmed with some of the cluttered areas in your home, a good spring clean always boosts my mood and mind once complete… so it’s worth a try right?! If you have any ‘must have’ products or tips that your really love, feel free to comment below and share them with me and other readers.

Have a lovely October everyone!!

T x

Ps: How big is my little man now? Fully reaching his own wall hooks, like a grown teenager *sniff*

Homebuyers Centre WA has kindly sponsored this blog entry, based on my experience as their decorator and our own building journey. All thoughts, design work, styling and written content are my own.

Winter Home Decorating Ideas

Hey everyone.

I’m currently writing this post with a hot water bottle covering my lap, wearing about 4 layers of clothing. Coincidently the topic of my blog entry today is ‘Winter home decor,’ and sharing my favourite ways to make your home feel instantly cosier. I was recently asked by Homebuyers Centre to explain how texture, ambience and colour can effect the overall warmth and feel of a space. Home decorating can become expensive if you re-style seasonally but rest assured, the pieces I am going to show you are staples you will love getting out year-after-year, during the cooler months. I’ll be sharing some really handy styling tips along with some of my favourite products so you can easily shop the look. Then over on my IGTV you can watch how I have restyled the ‘Capri’ master bedroom making simple and affordable decor changes to demonstrate all of the above. This could be my favourite post yet, I hope you enjoy it too!

Layering

This is a styling essential! I use layers all the time to create comfy, cosy beds. By adding an extra blanket or throw to your bedding, you instantly create a more inviting place to rest. Additional layers= additional warmth… just like my clothing right now! How do I keep the bed looking cohesive with 3 (or sometimes even 4) layers? I break each layer down and make sure it relates back to another accent in it’s surroundings. Eg Euros match the quilt cover, 1 set of standard pillowcases match the sheets, the other set of standard pillowcases match the coverlet, then the addition throw or blanket ties back with a particular cushion, artwork or feature colour within the room.

Layering also applies to any lounging areas you use regularly. In winter, most people prefer to stay indoors to escape the miserable weather, so styling your sofas, reading nooks or occasional chairs with a deliciously soft throw or tactile cushion will add extra comfort and visual delight. Here are some of my favourite throws at the moment. It’s quite clear I’m absolutely loving earthy, buttery, warm tones right now!!

Shop the Look

|| 1. || 2. || 3. || 4. || 5. || 6. || 7. || 8. || 9. ||

Full inserts

Plump inserts in quilts and cushions are another great way to add extra warmth in your home. Feather or wool filled quilts have a beautiful full, fluffy appearance and often look much cosier than thinner, flat inserts. The down or wool products will incur a higher price tag because they’re a natural fibre, however, there are some great polyester ‘high loft’ quilts around that look perfectly lavish for winter. Adairs is a great store to shop for inserts, because they accomodate for both luxury and more affordable budgets.

Feather filled is my ‘insert preference’ for scatter cushions and standard sizes can be purchased at various retailers like H+M, Spotlight, Potterybarn, Adairs and Ikea. FF inserts don’t permanently loose their shape (because you can fluff them back up) and they are more mouldable than polyester/dacron filled cushions. This means you can achieve a slouchy relaxed looking cushion, or a more tailored ‘chop.’

Texture

Texture is a really important design element to consider when decorating a space, especially in the cooler months. Texture emphasises warmth and creates a point of interest. Too much texture can appear busy to the eye, whereas not enough will leave the area feeling cold and flat. Even though texture is defined more-so as the tactile quality of a surface, it can absolutely be ‘felt’ through an image- without physically touching the surface itself. This is important to note if you are styling a property to sell, or operate a home inspo account on social media because you want your audience/buyers to feel visually invited into a homely setting.

Soft, plush materials are great for winter styling, so think shags, sheepskin, velvet, faux fur, boucle, chunky knits, woollen and woven textiles. As a general design guideline, I try to place the textured elements away from each other, so the overall space feels balanced and cohesive. Some of my favourite textured finds are below.

Shop the Look

|| 1. Cushion || 2. Vase || 3. Stem || 4.Rug ||

Ambience

The use of lighting within your home can drastically increase the cosiness of your surroundings. Most homes have some form of downlight to all main areas but by decorating with an opulent feature lamp or floor lamp and using the dim light from this source, you can emphasise the ambience in a particular area. Dimmable lamps are great and so are designs with an oversized opal bulb as the main light source. Don’t forget to ask for a warm or natural globe, rather than a stark/cool globe. Below are some table lamps that have caught my eye over the past few months.

Shop the Look

|| 1. || 2. || 3. || 4. || 5. || 6. || 7. || 8. || 9. ||

Candles also create a beautiful, romantic ambience when lit and there are some incredible products on the market, which double as styling decor. Gone are the days where candles only came in a jar or bowl. Within the past couple of years (and hugely trending now) are candle styles with projection and ribbing, ball and soft shape curves, femme and unique vessel designs, PLUS a wide range of coloured wax choices. There’s honestly a candle (and scent) for everyone’s liking- Check out Norsu for an extensive range.

PIC CREDIT: NORSU INTERIORS

Colour

Colour can emphasise whether a space feels warm or cold, especially in Winter. Overcast skies and the lack of sunlight will automatically make your home feel darker and duller, but the introduction of warmer tones (and texture) will help make your home feel pleasantly snug. If you gravitate naturally towards cooler tones like blues, greens, greys etc, and don’t want to change out your decor to a warmer colour, try adding an element of warmth alongside (or layered with) the cooler palette. Creamy neutrals like linen/sand, beige, ivory, caramel, fawn, taupe or tan will work beautifully alongside blues, greens or greys and keep the space feeling cosy. Colour can be dispersed through the styling of artwork, cushions, vases, vessels or candles, throws, rugs, upholstery, bedding, feature paint or even wallpaper. Foliage and florals are another area you can experiment with colour and there are plenty of faux cream/brown toned stems available to purchase, as well as dried or preserved arrangements. This doesn’t mean you need to swap out your greenery, in exchange for the above. It simply suggests you can use it as a point of difference or feature, especially if it helps tie in other blocks of colour around the room.

Some other ‘Winter Warming’ points worth mentioning:

  • Shop for some new plush bathroom towels and invest in a couple of matching bath mats.
  • I’ve heard great things about outdoor fire pits and how it is a lovely social and family bonding way to spend cooler evenings.
  • If you’re in need of a new area/ floor rug, try shopping for a loop pile wool rug or something with a bit of texture. This will not only be soft under foot in winter, but versatile throughout summer as well.
  • Take a look at flannelette sheets if you’re wanting a toasty night sleep. ‘Cotton flannelette’ is amazing at retaining body heat and although the cotton fibres are soft and fluffy, they’re also very breathable. See below for my round up of top flannelette sheets.
  • Changing out artwork can be affordable if you shop around for posters or printable designs.
  • Make sure your indoor plants are still getting enough natural sunlight. I know a few of mine are looking a little worse for wear. Oopsie!

Shop the Look

|| 1. || 2. || 3. || 4. || 5. ||

Well that’s it for me today!! If you’ve enjoyed these tips and product round-ups, there are plenty more to browse through below. Another big shout out to Homebuyers Centre WA for kindly sponsoring this post and allowing me to share all this valuable information with you. As always, all design work, styling, ideas and written content are my own. Hit me up in the comments section if there is a styling topic you’d like me to cover next.

Have a fab evening everyone,

T x

WE’RE IN!!!

My first entry for 2021! We have officially moved into our new home and are currently in Covid lockdown for the next 5 days!! What better way to get ontop of organising and unpacking?! Our construction journey went really smoothly and Homebuyers Centre did an outstanding job of sticking to the handover date and providing us with keys the week before Christmas. We had organised for our aggregate to be poured later that week but Paul and I made the decision to postpone it until the new year because it was too hot (and risky) to lay the driveway in 40deg heat. All of that seems a distant memory now that we have been settling into our new home for just over 2 weeks.

With the construction of our new home complete, it’s time to inject some of our own personality into the place with small additions to enhance the overall look and feel of the interior. Since neither of us are handy in the slightest, I organised quotes during the build that allowed us to budget and schedule trades in once key handover took place. In this post I’ll touch base on the areas we have tackled since receiving the keys and how they have created such a visual difference already.

Cabinetry and storage

When working with my design manager on the layout and floorplan of our home, we designed certain areas with bespoke cabinetry in mind. For example, I knew I wanted a custom built office space so we pushed the window down the wall a bit to allow enough depth for cupboards and a desk etc. We also included two nib walls, dividing the study and key drop which allows me (structurally) to have a floating console with drawers between the two walls. This also helps define the two rooms, even though they are flowing on from each other. Then in the games room we pushed the sliding door down again, to allow enough depth for built in storage. I worked on some design sketches throughout the build and took them to my trusty cabinet maker Anthony from Midtown Project. He does all the custom cabinetry for my private clients and he is excellent at what he does. Our study comes off the entry so we had a beautiful 6.3m span of cabinetry built into this area with full height storage cupboards, a two person work zone with two banks of drawers, two curved-edge shelves and a key drop floating unit installed. This study fit out will be used every single day since I work from home, so I can’t wait to enjoy my spacious new workplace.

In the games room we had 4 full height cupboards, two floating shelves and a benchtop installed. This area has already been used SOO much in the two weeks we have lived here and it is home to all of Chet’s lego, cars, craft, toys, games, school work etc. Best investment ever in my eyes! The Archive handles are from Kethy Australia and have been stained (by the cabinet maker) to match Polytec Prime Oak which is slightly darker and less saturated than the original colouring. I made the decision to use smaller storage tubs because they are easier and lighter for Chet to lift in and out by himself. The 10L storage tubs below are from Bunnings and four of these fit perfectly on each shelf. The front opening tubs are kitchen organisers from Kmart. Two of them fit perfectly next to each other on one shelf and are great if you don’t want to take the whole box out. Now I just need to arrange some of those neat, little labels to go on each tub!

Ikea PAX wardrobe

In our contract we had a provisional sum allowance for a custom built wardrobe but when we looked into the Ikea PAX we were happy with the reviews and preferred to put those funds towards other upgrades at Prestart. I designed a simple wardrobe system to fit our space using Ikea’s ‘Pax Planner.’ It consists of 4 half hanging and 1 full hanging area. 10 drawers, 3 larger/deeper drawers and 8 open shelves. Both Paul and I are tall, so this design works for us but it might not be practical for shorter people because the top rail is sitting really high. In our favour, we have enough hanging height now to add a shoe shelf on each side. We organised the installation through Ikea and someone came out on a SUNDAY (super convenient) and built the whole thing/secured it to the walls for $200.00. In comparison to the provisional sum allowance and the total cost of the PAX we saved $3,000 and so far we’re really impressed.

Carpentry

We had Rob from Perth Bespoke Carpentry install VJ panels to our master and guest bedroom feature walls. We used a groove profile on some of our kitchen cabinetry, so I wanted to continue the repetition of line through to the bedrooms as well. There are new, trending styles of lining boards and cladding on the market, but I lived with VJ panels in my last house for over 5 years and never got bored of it so I felt that this was a safe and classic choice for the new home also. Rob was able to cut the sheets perfectly to size, allowing for the GPO points then he got stuck into the skirting boards. The profile we used is a 92mm half splayed skirting board, painted in Aquanamel Lexicon Quarter with a semi gloss finish. The quality and workmanship of the skirting board installation is absolutely beautiful and this small addition has completely transformed our new home.

Bathroom Extras

In our Prestart meeting we removed some of the bathroom accessories like towel rails, to have these installed at a later date. The reason I did this is because our guest bathroom is quite narrow and I preferred to have a few towel hooks installed at a height of my choice, after handover. By having the hooks up higher it made the space feel more usable at waist/hip level. Below are some my favourite towel/robe hooks on the market- Feel free to shop the look.

|| 1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6 || 7 || 8 ||

Wallpaper

During the build Chet and I started looking into feature wall options for his new bedroom. I was deciding between a feature paint colour or a wallpaper, but Chet was quick to ask for wallpaper. There is something so fun about a great wallpaper in a child’s bedroom, so I was in absolute agreeance. My next task was to find a traditional (not self adhesive) wallpaper that is age appropriate now, but also versatile enough for him to grow with throughout his primary and high school years. I narrowed the selection down to 6 wallpapers from Scandinavian Wallpaper, then got Chet to select his favourite. He actually chose the most perfect wallpaper- Not my #1 but better than the one I had in mind and it suits him to a tee. It’s busy and bold but it also has a sense of softness too (just like his personality- WILD but sensitive.) The lovely ladies (Lollo and Diane) at Scandinavian wallpaper helped me out hugely with customisation of the pattern size/scale etc, then I ordered enough to wrap two walls of Chet’s bedroom. Once it arrived Matthew from MWD Interiors installed the wallpaper to perfection, like he always does. I use both Scandinavian Wallpaper and MWD interiors for feature wallpaper in the Homebuyers Centre display homes so I know that they’re both quality suppliers/trades.

Feature wall painting

We had a painter come out to patch, fill, gap and paint the new VJ panels. I chose a beautiful muted eucalyptus tone from Wattyl called Westerley for the guest bedroom feature, and in our master bedroom we used the same as all of the other internal walls. We are also going to engage Robin to paint the limestone retaining blocks we have on our boundary (below the fence) once our landscaping brickwork is complete. If you’re keen to read up and view some inspirational rooms painted in my favourite subdued green tones, stay tuned in the coming weeks. Or sign up to receive my newsletter when it goes live (it’s next on my ‘to write’ list.)

Upholstery

I know furniture and upholstery can overlap into styling but I thought it was worth mentioning here too. Especially when custom pieces can enhance the overall look and cohesion of your home drastically. We had both of our main lounges upholstered to fit the space because the living and theatre room are both quite long. We also had some ottomans upholstered to fit under cabinetry or coffee tables, in fabrics that will compliment the artwork and colour palette we are wanting to achieve. To weigh up the pros and cons of bespoke upholstery, here are a few pointers to compare.

Pros-
  • Usually locally made.
  • Extended or lifetime warranties depending on the brand.
  • Thousands of fabric or leather options.
  • Ability to shorten, lengthen, deepen, make narrower, fit to a specific measurement.
  • Choice of leg designs.
  • More choice of filling- foam, dacron, feather, a mixture of two etc..
  • Choice of stitching- piped, flanged, standard, twin needle.
  • Usually the seat and back cushions are able to be taken off/washed, instead of being sewn onto the frame (depending on the sofa design you choose.)
Cons-
  • Incurs a lead time.
  • Price usually reflects a quality product.
  • If selecting a different fabric than the displayed model, you might not be able to see an image or demo of how your chosen design will look ahead of purchasing.
  • If selecting a different filling than the displayed model, you might not be able to test out the comfort of how your chosen design will feel ahead of purchasing.
  • Some companies might not ship interstate, or will incur a premium freight charge.
  • Make sure you check access for any (one piece) extra long sofas or headboards. Narrow hallways or low ceilings might prevent the product from easily being delivered in one piece.
  • If you live in an apartment check the lift clearance before ordering something that won’t fit.

Aggregate

We subtracted the driveway and alfresco off of our contract to organise this after handover. My client’s family own Total Concrete so we engaged them to do both our front and back aggregate. We went with a bold choice for the driveway and front path, using a black exposed mix. We absolutely adore the finished product and it works really well with our facade being majority white, grey and timber. Out the back we used a white mix with grey and greenish stones throughout and I love that it doesn’t throw any cream or beige tones. They’re both Limecrete mixes- Black Pepper (dark,) Travertine (light,) poured by Total Concrete.

Next on our list

At the moment I’m not overly worried about ‘finishing our home’ or styling each room. These little additions are helping add our own personality and style to the beautiful shell it already was and it’s great to see my visions slowly taking shape. On the top of my interior shopping list are feature lighting and rugs, but this week is all about the exterior with our landscaping commencing (pending Covid lockdown restrictions.) Our reclaimed bricks were delivered last week and the concrete footings were poured for the front and back planter boxes, as well as the letterbox. You can read about our landscaping plans below along with some other entries focusing on our building process with Homebuyers Centre.

Make It Sparkle

Hey everyone. How is it October and a month into Spring already?! That means we moved into our new home almost 9 months ago- Crazy! I remember unpacking box, after box and making a conscious decision to Spring clean regularly, ensuring the house is kept looking fresh, clutter free and manageable. I feel much calmer… Continue reading →

Homebuyers Centre WA Turns 30!

I mean it’s a milestone and an accomplishment within itself- 30 years of making first homes happen, and building over 30,000 of them in that time frame!! I feel like I’ve become part of the family at Homebuyers Centre WA – trusting them to build two of my own homes, and also decorating their Display… Continue reading →

Winter Home Decorating Ideas

Hey everyone. I’m currently writing this post with a hot water bottle covering my lap, wearing about 4 layers of clothing. Coincidently the topic of my blog entry today is ‘Winter home decor,’ and sharing my favourite ways to make your home feel instantly cosier. I was recently asked by Homebuyers Centre to explain how… Continue reading →

If you have any questions regarding the additions I’ve mentioned here in this entry, please feel free to comment below and I’ll reply with an answer. Have a lovely week ahead and for everyone in Western Australia, stay safe and positive!

Tarina x

Homebuyers Centre WA has kindly sponsored this blog entry, based on my experience as their decorator and our own building journey. All thoughts, design work, styling and written content are my own.

Where to spend and save money during pre-start

linebreak

With loads of people taking advantage of the new home builder government grants, I thought I would share some tips on where to spend money during PreStart. We completed our Pre Start about 6 weeks ago with Homebuyers Centre and I know first hand how overwhelming (but exciting) this part of the building journey can be. So relax and take a breathe, I have a few insightful and informative tips that might help ease the pressure, or highlight an area you haven’t thought about yet.

Electrical and Cabling

The most obvious area to budget for is the cable and electrical plan. Most people will add several more GPO points and change locations of the current ones to suit their day to day life. For additional points- think about:

  • Where you charge your mobile phone frequently, outside of the bedroom.
  • In the broom or linen cupboard for a cordless vacuum.
  • On the island bench.
  • In the corner of the living room for a floor lamp or your Christmas tree lights.
  • Where you sit and use your laptop outside of the study area, to easily recharge it (eg dining table or next to the couch.)
  • Either side of a bed in each room.
  • An extra one in the garage for high pressure cleaning, gym equipment, power tools or to easily vacuum the car.
  • If you don’t have a microwave box in your kitchen cabinetry, one in the pantry is handy.
  • In any long hallways so the vacuum cord reaches into the bedrooms.
  • We added a double GPO in the alfresco at 6c, for possible speakers or bar fridge.
  • An additional one in the study if you have more than one computer. We have built in cabinetry spanning 5 meters in our study so I added another GPO for our second computer, then a hidden one in the cabinetry for my printer, scanner and camera battery charger.
Add an extra GPO in the corner of your living area for a floor lamp or Christmas tree lights.linebreak

Another handy tip is to move the fridge GPO higher to sit behind the overheads above (if you have any.) This way the fridge sits further back in the recess and doesn’t stick out as much- Check how long your fridge cord is before committing to the higher location though.

On your cabling plan you will need to budget for additional costs to have your TVs wall mounted and conduits provided. This will create a channel in the wall to run (hide) the cables, cords and wires from the TV to the data points and GPO below.

An easy upgrade decision for me was to change our ducted aircon zoning pad to a MyAir smart system. It’s user friendly, easy to navigate and will be perfect for our family! You can see these management control pads at all the Homebuyers Centre display homes and it was one of the first upgrades we confirmed in our PreStart! You can read up about them here.

linebreak

Lighting

Most people will also add additional downlights to their plan. From memory Paul and I only added 2 down lights- one in the walk in shower and an additional one in a long hallway. However we did put 3 fan base plugs in the roof where we intend on having feature lighting. Fan base plugs are essentially just a power source for future pendants to minimise cords running through the roof. This was super handy because I haven’t chosen our feature lighting yet and didn’t want the added pressure of choosing an exact location for installation before the furniture goes in. More than one pendant can be connected to each fan base so we got one put in the ceiling above our dining room, master and kitchen. This info might only be relevant to single storey homes though- double storey might be different if the roof space is not easily accessible on the ground floor.

Another lighting area to think of before finalising your electrical plan, is to decide whether you want any internal wall lights. This needs to be put on your plan with a specified height because it cannot easily be done afterwards, unless it is located on a cavity wall. So if you are planning on having wall lights in your ensuite or master bedroom- PreStart is the time to add it in.

linebreak

Storage

It’s a vital area to think about when building a family home and the chances are your wardrobe fitouts will be fairly basic unless you have included a custom design in your contract variations. In our master bedroom we chose to completely remove the rail and shelf to have something customised after handover. You can either get this done through a cabinet maker/ wardrobe specialist, or have a crack at designing one yourself using the Ikea PAX system (which is also fairly customisable.) Below is an example I have started designing on the Ikea website and it is a fraction of the price a custom one would cost. This whole setup amounts to only $1560.00, whereas a custom made one would be roughly triple the price.

linebreak

To improve function and maximise storage in your cabinetry designs, some areas to consider upgrading are:

Add in overheads in the kitchen, fridge recess, laundry and scullery if they’re not already included in your build. If your cooktop is below overheads, the overheads will meet up to a range hood. However, if you want the overheads to run the full width, you’ll need to upgrade and get a pull out rangehood.

Drawers are so handy and can be upgraded from standard doors throughout your home. Drawers create more accessible space in your cabinetry and minimises having to stack high piles of kitchenware like pots, pans and tupperware. They can also be added in the centre of your ensuite or bathroom vanity, however to avoid substantial costs, your vanity ideally needs to be long enough so that the drawers avoid the basin plumbing. Drawers can be customised around the plumbing, however this usually incurs a large cost because of the labour and materials involved.

linebreak

A microwave box is really handy to have somewhere in your kitchen design, if you have the space. For a flat upgrade price Homebuyers Centre can include a box surround (matching your laminate selection,) factor in a GPO and add a pot drawer below. Having a microwave box will maximise bench and pantry space in your new kitchen and your PreStart consultant can guide you on it’s ideal location.

Window Coverings

Lastly, before this post get’s too long, an expense that most people are often shocked by is custom window coverings. It’s an area to definitely budget for if you want to upgrade your selections to quality products like sheer curtains and plantation shutters. We opted to remove all the window coverings included in our contract at PreStart so I can organise them after hand over. It’s hard to predict how much to set aside for window coverings of a full home because it completely depends on how large the windows are, how many, fabric and product selections etc.. but they can easily amount to 10K (plus) if you’re including sheers in majority of the rooms. In saying this, some banks/ home loan lenders require the home to be turnkey ready which means the property is ‘move in ready’ with flooring, window coverings etc (so removing is not an option.) If this is the case, I would suggest getting roller blinds as a blockout, then after handover you can invest in some beautiful sheer curtains in addition to the covering you already have.

linebreak

So in a nutshell here are a few key points that I personally think are worth upgrading at PreStart, oppose to doing yourself after handover.

Upgrade:

  • Electrical- additional GPOs, downlights and fan base outlets.
  • Cabling- conduits and tv mounts.
  • Flooring- quality carpet and underlay.
  • Functional storage options in cabinetry designs- drawers, microwave box, overheads.
  • Tapware.
  • Tiling.

Things you can do yourself, after handover or in the future:

  • Window Coverings.
  • Wardrobe Fitouts.
  • Change internal passage and privacy handles.
  • Internal door profiles.
  • Alfresco flooring.
  • Internal painting.
linebreak

As always, if you have any questions please comment below or send me an email. I hope this post is useful to anyone beginning their new home journey. Good luck and enjoy the ride! T x

Homebuyers Centre WA has kindly sponsored this blog entry, based on my experience as their decorator and our own building journey. All thoughts, design work, styling and written content are my own.

Pre-Construction Journey

linebreak5M7B0900linebreakHey everyone!!!

I thought I would start documenting our new home and the building process so far because it has been an absolute whirlwind, but in such a great way. With all the grants currently available for new home builders, my hope is that others might find this post useful or insightful (especially in regards to pre construction.) Firstly, I just want to clarify that none of our home or selections are sponsored/commissioned. When I mention brands, suppliers, trades and consultants below in this entry- it purely comes from a place of gratitude. I’ll start from the beginning and back date a bit, so I can shed some light on the timeline and how everything has progressed smoothly through the pre construction stage.

We put down a deposit on a titled block of land in January and settled on that in Feb (meaning we had formal approval from the bank and all the paperwork was signed.) The block isn’t overly big but we liked that it is in a private estate, close to where Chet goes to school, that there are local shops established and a large park being built one street away. The fact that it was already titled was appealing too, because we knew there would be no council hold ups once we found a builder/ home design. We started looking at display homes gathering ideas of what we liked and disliked, in regards to layout, finishes, inclusions etc… All we really knew is that our frontage was 15m and we didn’t want to spend a mammoth amount either. We just wanted a comfortable, classic home that looks great, without the boutique price tag.

To avoid disappointment, one of the best things you can do when visiting a display home is ask the sales rep for an ‘As Displayed Price.’ This will give you an idea of what the builder’s base price is in comparison to what they have upgraded in the display home. Some of the display homes we looked at, had upgrades of over $200K more than the base price, so in reality an average family would never be able to achieve the look being shown.  

linebreakFacadelinebreakAfter searching for weeks and weeks we signed up to build with Homebuyers Centre and started customising the floor plan to suit our wants and needs. We felt comfortable and have confidence in the HBC team because I built my last home through them 10 years ago and only sold it only 6 months ago. I had no issues with the property… and that says a lot about their precision because at the time WA was in a huge construction boom. I also am the interior decorator for HBC so I know the brand really well and have always been astounded by the site managers attention to detail. I know I can trust them to build us another home we’ll love.

Our sales rep Jess was an absolute superstar- she was friendly, efficient, helpful and so patient with our requests. We decided we wanted a single story build with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a larger garage (acting as a store room,) key drop, study area, theatre, living, dining, games room/ activity, kitchen, laundry, large alfresco etc… Jess liaised with the drafting team who did an amazing job making changes and we are beyond happy with the working drawings. When we settled on the floorplan, elevations and overall design we signed the Preliminary Works Contract and Contract Plans, then our broker started the home loan process. linebreakceilinglinebreakRegardless of who you sign up to build with, some upgrades you might want to consider adding into your PWC if they are not already included are:

  • Raised, recessed, raked or skillion ceilings
  • Internal painting
  • Full height tiling
  • Aggregate 
  • Extra cabinetry or wardrobe fitouts
  • Oversized island bench (Stone should already be included these days.)
  • Ducted reverse cycle air con
  • Solar Panels
  • Stone benchtops to wet areas (laundry, bathroom, ensuite.)

linebreakWe didn’t have to pay any extra for the bottom three points because they were already included as a promotion, as well as 30c ceilings. One thing I took out of the contract was window coverings. I can get this done when we move in and get a feel for the space. Before removing your own to receive a credit on your contract, take into consideration that window coverings are definitely not cheap- especially if you want quality sheer curtains or plantation shutters.linebreaks32Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 8.28.07 amlinebreakLots of smaller upgrades like handles, undermount sinks, extra GPO points, additional down lights etc will generally be done at Prestart. I can’t speak on behalf of all builders but you can ask your sales rep if you are allowed to put a provisional sum in your contract to go towards Prestart. This means it will be financed in your home loan.

To be honest, the finance part took slightly longer than I thought it would (understandably) because we applied for a home loan with a major bank in April which was during a global pandemic. In saying that, our broker (Peak Finance) made the whole process really straightforward. They communicated directly with the bank and builder on our behalf and kept us in the loop the whole time.

In hindsight, it was a blessing to have a little more time up our sleeve! While waiting for formal approval, we needed to start the selection phase which meant visiting the tile supplier (Crosby Tiles) and flooring supplier (Trevors,) both in Osborne Park. Ebony and Antoni from Crosby Tiles were innnnncredible! They were so, so patient and accommodating- Who would have thought doing my own interior selections would be 100 times harder than doing my clients? Nonetheless, I finally decided on tiles that are simple and classic. I know I’ll love them for a long time and that they won’t date badly either.

Then onto flooring- We chose a textured loop, wool carpet in a mid grey colour for the theatre and bedrooms. I did like the light coloured carpet in my last home but it was not practical for a young family with inside pets. For the rest of the home, we chose luxury vinyl plank flooring in a washed blackbutt tone. I also visited the Polytec and Hafele showroom to look at colours of hardware and laminates. I went there purely to view larger samples of the laminates to get a better grasp on the grain in a larger format. Another helpful tool was navigating around the Polytec website and looking at the ‘projects and gallery’ links.linebreakProcessed with VSCO with hb2 presetlinebreakNow that our flooring and tile selection forms were complete, we were ready for Prestart!! Homebuyers sent us a link to our own personal portal where we could choose some of our selections online ahead of the meeting. I thought that was great because it gave Paul and I a chance to discuss upgrades and pricing together, rather than in front of another person. We pre-filled a fair bit and then met with Althea on Thursday this week for the scheduled prestart meeting- what an absolute saint this woman is! Things we upgraded were tapware, cabinetry handles, mixers, sinks, internal doors and door handles, extra GPO points, extra lighting, changed some doors to drawers in the kitchen, a third TV Data Point, wall mounted all our tv’s and a few other things specifically related to our floorplan.

My go-to light (warm) grey internal paint colour is Taubmans Barely Beige 1/4 strength and a nice light (cooler) grey is Solver Cape Horn in full or 1/2 strength. Internal doors, door frames and ceilings are always painted in Wattyl White.

linebreakCockburn2Pictured above is Solver Cape Horn Full StrengthlinebreakI feel like a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders now that prestart is complete, our building permit has been approved and all the paperwork is signed. Our site manager Mike is an absolute legend- I’ve worked alongside him on a display home in Southern River and he’s already expressed his excitement about the project. We can’t wait to watch the construction phase of our new home take shape over the coming months. Bring on the slab. YAY!

I won’t really be posting our selections online until the end but for anyone who is new to building and wanting some inspiration- I have put a few basic ‘concepts’ together below. *Please note* Many of these might not be classified as ‘builders standard’ ranges- they’re purely an array of selections I have accumulated as possibilities for our home or displays. Remember ‘the look’ can always be achieved for less as long as the colours and tones stay cohesive. If you have any questions about our building process so far please feel free to comment here or contact me directly.

Have a fab week!

T x

linebreaks1linebreak Finger tile (feature)- Haifu White Gloss Mosaic- Crosby Tiles

Grey tile (pressed edge floor tile)- Jakarta White- Crosby Tiles

White matt tile- (pressed edge wall tile)- Matt White 201x403mm- Crosby Tiles

Stone benchtop- Pure White- Caesarstone

Cupboard 1- Polar White Matt- Polytec

Cupboard 2- Natural Oak Matt- (also available in other textures)- Polytec

Carpet- Foss ‘Dorset’- Cavalier Bremworth

Top feature paint- Deep Sleep- Wattyl 

Bottom feature paint- Westerly- Wattyl 

My personal preference in hardware/tapware for this scheme would be either stainless, nickel or chrome. The pressed edge can be changed out to something similar in a rectified tile, however I wanted to show something budget friendly that still looks beautiful. The whites featured above are on the cooler, brighter side.linebreaks3linebreakTerrazzo look tile (feature floor tile)- Stacatto Mist- Crosby Tiles

White subway- 300x100mm- Crosby Tiles

Stone bench tops- Cloudburst Concrete- Caesarstone

Cupboard 1- Bespoke Woodmatt- Polytec

Cupboard 2- Polar White Matt- Polytec

Carpet- Green square ‘740 Winter Solstice’- Godfrey Hirst

Warm Grey tile (outdoor/indoor)- Prime Stone Silver- Tile Boutique

The 400x80mm Stacatto tile would look really lovely laid in a herringbone pattern on the floor as a feature. There are square and rectangle formats available too, but it is rectified so you will need to consult your builder first to see if these can be laid. The greys featured above have a warm undertone so brushed brass hardware/ tapware would work really well with these selections.linebreaks4linebreakFloor tile (feature)- Oxford Black 200x200mm- Crosby Tiles

Grey wall tile (pressed edge)- Jakarta White- Crosby Tiles

Stone bench tops- Intense White- Caesarstone

Cupboard 1- Prime oak woodmatt- Polytec

Cupboard 2- Black woodmatt- Polytec

Basins- Ivory concrete- Nood Co

Carpet- Salisbury ‘Monument’- Feltex

This concept has a more contrasting palette with an urban design. The feature tile would create an impact on either the floor or shower wall if using black cabinetry to tie in a vast area of dark tiling. Brushed gunmetal or matt black tapware/ hardware would look great against the lighter grey walls.linebreaks2linebreakMini herringbone (feature)- White Edge Mosaic-  Crosby Tiles

Floor tile- Portofino White Rectified 300x600mm- Crosby Tiles

Stone bench tops- Snow- Caesarstone

Cupboard 1- Classic White Matt- Polytec

Cupboard 2- Casentino Beech Woodmatt- Polytec

Handles- Recessed Leather Pulls ‘Classic Grey’- Made Measure

Carpet- Foss ‘High Cross’- Cavalier Bremworth

All of the white selections in this scheme are on the creamier side which will work beautifully with a warmer palette. Rose gold or brass tapware/hardware would be my personal preference to keep a cohesive tone throughout the home.linebreak

Aura Boy’s Room

6linebreakWelcome back!!

Today I’m thrilled to show you some more images of this vibrant boy’s room I created for Homebuyers Centre in their new Aura Display Home, located at 68 Muriel Court, Cockburn Central. I absolutely adore this room and thoroughly enjoyed designing, then bringing it to life. In this entry, you can read a little more about the process as I explain some of my design choices and product selections. You can also easily recreate this look at home with the linked ‘Shop the Look’ section below. linebreakpalette2linebreakMy starting point for this space was the ‘Fractile’ wallpaper mural. It was the foundation of my design and the room’s colour palette is drawn from the earthy green, ochre and sand tones featured in the wallpaper. When I found it on Scandinavian Wallpaper and Decor’s website, I immediately asked Lollo (nicely of course) to customise the measurements for me. Once we confirmed and made the order, I began choosing artwork and linen to compliment the space and work back with the mural.

For the main bedding I chose the Ivy Vintage Wash Quilt from Adairs and paired it back with a simple white/linen pinstripe sheet combo. I then used a variety of different size cushions, with mixed textures and earthy tones to position on the bed. The texture helps create a warm, cosy feel and the chosen colours give the room harmony because they are cohesive throughout the space with other elements, like the art and decor.linebreak1linebreak

Aside from ‘colour’ the other two main elements of design I focused on were the emphasis on line and shape.

The use of a rough, illustrated line is repeated throughout areas of the room like the wallpaper, rug, sheets and artwork. I then also used a circle/ round shape multiple times, for example in the rug, cushions, ottoman, wall hooks etc. By emphasising these elements through repetition, it ensures the room is balanced and not visually overwhelming.

I hope you all like this room as much as I do! Please feel free to shop the look below, or if you’re located in Perth you can check out the Aura Display Home in person- details here.

Much Love, T ♡

linebreak34linebreakstllinebreakshopthelook|| 1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6|| 7 || 8 || 9 || 10 || 11 || 12 ||linebreakstl2linebreakshopthelook|| 1 || 2 || 3 || 4|| 5 || 6 || 7 ||linebreak

Paint- Solver ‘Cape Horn’

Carpet- Trevors Carpets ‘Conandale Colour 930- Grey Drift’

Sheers- The Blinds Gallery ‘Warwick Corfu Moonlight’

Please Note- If something is linked to the main store (rather than the direct product) it means they are out of stock online but it’s always worth calling your local store to double check their stock levels. The headboard can be custom made through me. The side stool and the ottoman were sourced through a furniture supplier so unfortunately I don’t have links for those two items, sorry.linebreak5All images are the property of Tarina Lyell T/A Oh Eight Oh Nine and must not be used or published in any way without written consent.linebreak