My Design Tips

winter whites .. the warmth of white interiors

Deirdre Brennan - Wednesday, June 10, 2015
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Winter is officially here, the ski season has commenced and we have had our first fall of snow ... much to the relief of all.

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I may have said this before but ... white does work in winter. We have all heard the expression in the fashion world ... winter whites !! Well the same can be applied to the world of interiors.

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There is nothing quite as warming as white on white with the accent being on texture, line and self pattern. Mixing shades of white and cream adds a richness to the palette.

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A white scheme is enhanced by incorporating neutrals such as sisal rugs, hints of gold or other metallics and timber furniture and flooring.

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Bedrooms allow you to build upon a predominantly white/cream scheme with layers of bedlinen as we move from Summer to Winter. Don't feel the need to add colour for warmth.  There is nothing quite as cosy as cream mohair blankets, a cream silk eiderdown, cream velvet or quilted scatter cushions or a rich cream flannel bedhead.

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The elegance of white is transseasonal !!
images: gabriel flores, this is glamorous


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the new neutral interior ... how to create this look

Deirdre Brennan - Tuesday, August 19, 2014
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The new neutral is really just a combination of black and white, grey and timber ... think Scandinavian and pared back design.

It is natural, organic and calming.

The perfect backdrop for vibrant colour, should you desire it.



To achieve this look, your first stop should be Ikea for wall hung storage in all shapes and sizes.  This helps create a sense of space and clean lines. 

For 'modern classic' timber and painted furniture, visit Thonet.  Bentwood always works and you can customise your colours.

The choice in pendant lighting is endless however Huset will give you an overview of the different styles.  Once you have decided on your look ... and budget, you can start shopping.

Koskela is all about thoughtful design ... rugs, fabric and homewares, followed by lunch at Kitchen by Mike, under the same roof.





  

my tips for a cosy southern highlands winter

Deirdre Brennan - Monday, June 23, 2014
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Winter in the Southern Highlands .. an easy 90 minutes south west of Sydney (out of peak hour) ... is my favourite time of year.  More akin to a northern hemisphere winter and every bit as enjoyable, once you have geared up for it.  I have to admit that I did freeze during my first couple of winters.  

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The first step is to invest in good quality blankets ..  and I don't think you can go past  beautiful Waverley blankets.  They are always coming up with a new collection and the latest colours to feature rather than hide under a bedspread.

My very favourite thing to do when returning home to the Highlands after a trip to Sydney is to make sure that the wood basket is full to overflowing .. even if it means many trips to the wood pile .. quite a pleasurable task.  You never know what you will discover in the garden along the way .. so much can change from week to week.  This week it was the snowdrops ... 


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Of course a stylish wood basket is a must.  Dirty Janes is a your first stop for a traditional basket or Cloth and General for a more contemporary version.  Koskela in Sydney would offer something creative.

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It goes without saying that an inviting ambience is essential and this is all about cosy furnishings, the right fabrics and of course an open fire.  Don't be afraid of a little glamour ... a chandelier is never out of place.

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And I will end on a practical note .. always have curtains made with a bumph lining (layers of flannelette will do the job).  This will guarantee that the winter chills are kept firmly at bay.

There is nothing like a true winter in our beautiful Southern Highlands. 



5 favourite upholstered furniture pieces ... and finding interesting homes for them

Deirdre Brennan - Friday, March 15, 2013

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1.  the footstool ... the perfect addition to any seating group but extremely practical in a bathroom ... as big as will fit the space without cluttering it.

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2.  this buttoned armchair works well anywhere ... lovely in the bedroom or as a pair in a quiet corner of a sitting room or study.  I do love the idea of a pair of these (or one plus ottoman) in the corner of a large country kitchen ... for that quick cup of tea.

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3.  a buttoned chesterfield or even chaise is the ultimate ... anywhere, anytime.  Looks fabulous in anything from an exquisite velvet to a vintage linen.

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4.  the rolled back armchair is a classic design that can be positioned in a classic or contemporary setting, depending on fabric ... I love the slightly higher version around a dining table.

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5.  these squishy daybeds as a pair, are perfect for that covered verandah with view of the garden ... just curl up with a book and throw rug.

 

 

5 ways with cane this summer

Deirdre Brennan - Saturday, January 19, 2013

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1.  White cane is a beautiful contrast in any tropical garden setting.  What could be smarter than navy and white cushions. I imagine frangipani or hibiscus for that splash of exotic colour. 

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2.  Wide verandahs lend themselves to both casual lounge and dining settings depending on your style of entertaining.  This reminds me very much of the house my mother grew up in Brisbane, where the verandahs were used extensively as an escape from the summer heat. The groupings of both white and natural cane work so well with the painted white timberwork and cane blinds. Blue and white cushions and chinoiserie lamp bases create an air of elegance. 

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3.  Natural lacquered cane contrasts with all white lattice and painted furniture.  Bowls of shells with navy and white chinoiserie and fabrics complete the picture. This colour palette is a signature look for Stuart Membery and also rather 'Hamptons'.

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4.  Explore your options with cane ... this drinks trolley is a fabulous addition to any entertainment area in summer.  Wonderful storage as well as display for your prettiest glasses, decanters, bowls of lemons and limes and silver ice bucket.

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5.  All white with accents of sea foam green ... simply stunning. Collections of shells and coral for warmth. Elegantly framed coral prints, bronze lamp and mirror frame add a certain formality... so chic !!  The versatility of cane....  

 

images: stuart membery

10 tips for creating a black and white interior !!

Deirdre Brennan - Wednesday, May 02, 2012

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image: likainen parketti

There is nothing as smart as black and white !! And you don't need another colour at all if you are clever with texture and pattern.  How inviting is the grey woollen blanket above, not to mention the rustic trunk .... the juxtaposition of the contemporary slick white walls with lots of texture, pattern and vintage !!

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Again, a simple white interior contrasted with the warmth and texture of the linen sofa and timber table.  Interestingly, it is the definite contrast of the black shade, television and other smaller pieces that create the statement. 

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images:jakob nylund

This is an example of pure white on white with not a lot of black ...... however you don't need a lot to make the statement. 

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image: apartmentsilike

In contrast, the black in this interior is strong and bold and looks fabulous !!

The combination of the very definite black and white stripes with the softer lines of the sofa and armchair works beautifully. The detailed window architrave and rustic side tables soften the linear effect of the rug. 

So be bold ..... go forth and embrace black and white for its simplicity, its inherent style and its flexibility.

Some black and white suggestions ......

almost black walls with white ceiling, doors, windows, skirting and architraves, floors pale bleached timber

white walls, ceiling and trims with black gloss timber floor

bathrooms with white wall tiles, predominantly white tiled floor with small black tile in check pattern, black vanity as a contrast with white bath and basin

all white kitchens with a very thick black benchtop ... particularly good with black timber floor or even grey bleached timber 

staircases in white with black handrail and tread only

charcoal to black painted exterior for timber houses or sheds with white trim on windows, doors and shutters

black and white photographs framed in black on a white wall or framed in white on a black wall

a soft black fringed throw rug on a bed made with crisp white bedlinen and doona

thick black bath towels hanging or folded in an all white bathroom

a large vase full of fully blown pink roses in any black and white interior .... 

 

 

 

grain sack fabrics both rustic and elegant

Deirdre Brennan - Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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I first stumbled across these fabrics at the iconic Peppergreen antique emporium in the Southern Highlands.....sadly no longer.  Shelves and even bolts of this vintage linen, cotton and flax grain sack fabric. I think what draws me to it is the subtlety in colour variation.  All very neutral, really only varying in texture from the soft scrubbed finish to a much coarser, almost hessianlike fabric.

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The faded imprint of the logo or manufacturer only adds to the appeal....almost like works of art.

 Also falling into this category of fabrics I feel are the gorgeous antique european mangle cloths.  These are a softer colour palette and finer texture....fabulous for tablecloths and serviettes. I love the subtle stripe to the edge.....always faded red or navy.   

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images: homelife

Being so neutral these fabrics combine well with pattern.....however with their subtle shades of cream, putty or taupe are at their most elegant when incorporated into a cream or white interior.   Have fun with scatter cushions and interesting trimming....and think about loose covers !!

The most exciting part is searching for these fabrics at your favourite antique market.....

 

 

Holiday Browsing for Design Inspiration

Deirdre Brennan - Tuesday, December 06, 2011

 Koskela     91 Campbell street Surry Hills......The Country Trader    197 Young Street Waterloo......ici et la    7 Nickson Street Surry Hills......davidmetnicole    382 Cleveland Street Surry Hills......Doug Up On Bourke    901 Bourke Street Waterloo......Ondene    12 Transvaal Avenue Double Bay......Orient House    45 Bridge Street Glebe

January is a fabulous time to be in Sydney ....usually the weather has settled, the Festival of Sydney is in full swing and ....we have more time!! Take a day to have a fossick around and gain some inspiration for the new year.

Remember......Plan your route so as not to miss any of the above, take notepad and pen and/or digital device and enjoy stopping for coffee/lunch..... to discuss/jot down what you have seen, must have, will be going back to get, going home to measure up for. 

Find the latest coffee shops you have read about, enroute.  I just might have to share a few of my favourites before xmas.! Have fun. 

 

 


 

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