Using mirrors to make your little space BIG

ImageWhat’s the fastest and cheapest way to double your little apartment space?  With mirrors!  Just like magic, this mirror creates twice the light from the nearby lamp, twice the decoration of the beautiful lavender in a fresh white jug, and doubles the amount of space visible.  The white furniture and surrounds helps to keep the whole space light and open.

The opposite wall continues the bright white and lavender theme, bringing a little piece of country to an inner-Melbourne sanctuary.

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Luxury decor for a luxurious Sydney weekend

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I’m in Sydney this weekend around Mosman and North Sydney. As well as finding some incredible views, I happened upon some great interior inspiration in a Sydney Thai street food restaurant. There are luxe gold walls mixed with dark wood, chandeliers and cushions and light shades that pop with colour.
Absolutely brilliant for enjoying a Sunday moscato, thank you Sydney!

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The Thinking Chair

The Thinking Chair

Every apartment needs a good, oversized, comfy chair. Somewhere to read, think, write, blog, or sit oracle-like while you offer your friends advice over a glass of wine. Especially on rainy Tuesday nights like tonight. This chair has a good … Continue reading

A cup of tea – a universal luxury

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Essentials should be beautiful as well as functional in any home.  In fact it’s even more important to make them part of the charm when space is at a premium and there isn’t much room for superfluous objects.

Therefore, a beautiful teapot is one of my apartment essentials – for decoration, for entertaining, and to give myself a little bit of luxury every day.

I recently visited friends in Holywell, UK and I was lucky enough to be served a cup of tea and the paper every morning.  It was made even more special by the fact that it was in a Jack Russell cup, which really said everything about the couple I stayed with and how much their pets Jessie, Dulcie, Jamaica and Jack Russell Spottie are part of the family.  That cup of tea was one of the most special parts of the day when I took 10 minutes to relax and contemplate.

Here are some of my favourite tea time experiences that I’ve come across (both mine and others):

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A tea set from the Silk Market in Beijing, China – part of the fun is the tiny tea cups to share and re-fill often over conversations with friends

ImageA beautiful green and herbal tea floral arrangement at High Tea, Hotel Windsor Melbourne

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Japanese inspiration at a cafe in Sydney

The reader’s corner

ImageOne thing I can’t ever seem to stop collecting is books!  I LOVE them.  I love the characters, I love turning the pages of a new book, I love getting absorbed in a story and entering a whole new world.  However my books take up quite a bit of space for a little place.

So I found this perfect desk, which folds itself away to become this beautiful display cabinet – fantastic for BIG readers in little spaces.  In the desk I can file all my boring reading (bills, study, work and other life admin), and in the glass-doored shelves I’ve been displaying all my favourite go-to books, memories and keepsakes from special places.

Play with your books to create more display space and interesting levels. Some can be upright, others can be flat and form a platform for all manner of treasures – a blue porcelain horse from my great grandmother, a monkey from Bali and little statues from China.

Mix and match colours and styles to infuse a little life into your space!

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Putting it up – Medicine Cupboard

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Making the most of what little space you have in an apartment is crucial.

In my last post I showed you how I fixed up this medicine cupboard, and I decided to put it up in my bathroom.

One thing I have found about a lot of modern apartment bathrooms is a lack of closed shelf space.  When I moved into my apartment, there were open shelves which is a great space saver (no need for room for a door to swing open), but not so fantastic for privacy.

So I put up my medicine cupboard in my bathroom above the towel rail.  It’s given me space to put things away that are still within easy reach of a morning, and more space to keep a few essentials on my open shelving without too much clutter.

DIY, done!

Fixing it up – medicine cupboard

Gen Y does DIY!!!  This is a really simple fix it job that I did in a few hours over my weekend…

I found this old pine cupboard, which was actually a really good size for a very little bathroom. Then I found a cool vintage tin poster which I inserted into the middle like this:

ImageIt still wasn’t quite right for my place, so I embarked on my very first (mini) DIY project:

  • Get a Screwdriver – Unfortunately not the cocktail variety, these little things come in very handy for taking doors off cupboards.  Pick one up from your Dad, brother, mate, partner, or a local hardware shop!
  • Parts and pieces – Now that everything is in parts and pieces, sand them back (pretty roughly).  It doesn’t need to be perfect, just a bit roughed up so the paint will stick (and look smooth).
  • Undercoating – I love painting, especially things this small as you see a result so quickly.  The undercoat needs to be painted with the grain which means the way the wood would stand if it were still a tree.  Don’t make it too thick as it can get uneven, but don’t worry, you can always sand them back once the paint is dry.
  • Topcoats  – I let my undercoat dry overnight, however with topcoats you don’t need to get bored watching paint dry!  I did three, and with only an hour needed between coats of paint (check with your local handyman how long to leave yours), I knocked this over in a day.  Antique white was the right colour for me, but these days there are more paints than imaginable that have all sorts of textures and effects.  So it’s very easy to give BIG personality to reflect your style.
  • Putting the pieces together – it’s a bit like a puzzle but much easier!  Use that screwdriver again to put back in the screws, find a new handle that you like (I went with a simple black one), and there you have it, a new storage cupboard for your little space!

I’ll be completing my weekend DIY in tomorrow’s post on putting it up!

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London colour inspiration

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Some people say London is a bit grey.  But I think Londoners just get it.  They put colour wherever they can and they live a BIG life in little spaces.  I recently stayed with a lovely friend in her place in Notting Hill above a pizza shop.  I entered through a tiny little door and up a teeny stairwell and found my way up to a gorgeous BIG loftspace, beautifully decked out with couches, flowers in vases, and bookshelves with favourite books and collectibles.  Who would have thought I’d have found something so beautiful in such an obscure location?

Above are some of the flowers I found outside a London apartment window.  See the pictures for more colour inspiration in the form of flowers and bunting in and around London, which could be used inside or outside.  Also check out my previous post on bringing outside, inside!

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Framing it right

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I’ve always been told that when you do something, do it well.  And that definitely applies when displaying your things in small apartments.  Space comes at a premium so it’s important that each area tells a story, and tells it beautifully.

So fill your space with things you love!  This is a poster I found in an antique market in Beijing, playing charades to overcome language barriers, bargain and swap stories with a shop assistant in the middle of a Chinese market place.  It travelled all the way around China in a cardboard tube before taking up residence in said cardboard tube at the bottom of my wardrobe back in Melbourne.

Although it cost me very little, this poster has shared BIG adventures with me so it was destined for much greater things than being stashed away in the dark.

It’s not hard to bang a nail into a wall and hang up a picture, but theres a big difference when it’s done well, so here are my top tips:

  • Measure up your wall.  Pick a space where there is enough room to stand back and appreciate your artwork, but not so much space that your picture will get lost.  Smaller pictures can work in a larger spaces if you group them together.
  • Understand your colour scheme. What are the colours and features you want to draw out?  Picking out a backing colour that drew out the beading in this Shanghai lady’s clutch bag, as well as highlighting her dress and some of the Chinese characters helped to bring this poster to life.
  • Pick the right frame. The frame needs to suit the picture and your apartment.  I picked French provincial to go with the very French colonial feel of my picture.
  • Get help. This is a feature in my apartment so it needed to be done well and it was important to get advice.  There are fantastic framing shops who can help you pick out the right colours to make your picture stand out.  It’s worth every cent!
  • Keep your area simple. When your picture or a painting is a feature, keep the area around it simple.  In a little space, too much clutter is sometimes your enemy!

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