Tag Archives: decor

Hotter… colder… cold… hotter… hot!

Outside, the wind is howling, and the rain is lashing the window in violent gusts. Inside, I can hear the faint roar of logs burning, and I can feel a rosy warmth at my back. (And there the romance novel stops thank goodness!)

Each time I’ve arrived home today it’s been off with the jacket and hat and scarf, and on with… oh! Nothing! No more that big comfy, chunky cardy that’s only fit for home. Because, my friends…

…We have warm! We have an efficient wood burner where once there was…

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Ouch! Thankfully this stage was momentary, but I admit it was a little tough on my organised self. This room is the centre of our house in a literal sense, as well as a living sense. We walk through the lounge to go between the kitchen/dining area, and the bedroom/bathroom area. There is no avoiding it – even when it looks like it should be a no-go zone.

Anyway, back to where we started. Since we did away with that awful mosaic tiling back in 2011, our fireplace has looked like this:

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It gave us much, in the way of ambience and rustic style and a whole lot of love. But efficiency was lacking greatly. Sitting in the armchair right next to it was never close enough… there were many times when it probably looked like I was perched half on top of it in a bid to get some warm air! And I’ll be honest, it didn’t always look this glamorous – mostly it was all about poking it with a half burnt stick every few minutes to keep a little flame flickering. No way would it still be going after I popped out to pick up another bottle of cream, or drop kids at kindy.

And with rumours of law changes around allowing open fires… we knew we finally needed to do something about getting a more efficient source of heat.

Of course we looked into a heat pump. If you don’t have one, you’re well and truly in the minority, and absolutely missing out on being able to say gushing things about how “convenient” they are, and “so cheap!” and “oh I could never do without one”. So there must be something in them.

I lost track of how many quotes came in (they somehow all seemed to quote almost exactly the same model, and at exactly the same price?!) before we almost, almost said yes, we’ll do this. We’ll do it for the resale value, and the convenience (which are one and the same are they not?!).

But… what I really, so desperately wanted was not just for our living area to be toasty warm, but our WHOLE HOUSE! Would that really be too much to ask?!

Sadly though, no amount of pleading with these heat pump guys got them anywhere near saying yes, ok, we can place it here… or here… and it’ll be pretty effective in heating your whole house. They’re a one room only option.

Of course, there was another option to the tune of around $8000 – a fully ducted system delivering quality heat to every room we wanted at the flick of a switch. Ideal – except for the price.

And the other thing… we are a little attached to the romantic notion of a wood burner. And we knew if we had a heat pump as well, the fire would just never get lit. We’d tell ourselves it would, but of course it would just be… too hard… and completely pointless. Plus I’m suspicious of that “currently on hold” ban on open fireplaces sneaking it’s way into law without so much as a “hey I’m back!”, which would leave us with a useless hole in the wall.

So after all this indecision I was finally convinced by coming across a forum that discussed heat transfer kits and how they really are effective when used in conjunction with an efficient wood burner. Annnnnnd… with an April/May special on a 3 room heat transfer kit bought with any new Metro fireplace (which turned out to be the only brand of insert that would fit our current opening) it was looking like the better option all round. Sitting in the middle pricewise, but achieving my goal of a warm and dry house (not just a room!), and the bonus of no ongoing costs (we’ve never had a problem getting free firewood), it was a done deal. Decision made!

So, it was onto scrubbing up that fireplace to get ready for it’s fancy new insert! We have always intended to do something about the marker scrawls all over the brick (drawn as a guide for the mosaic pattern), as well as the mantel and hearth. None of the three were in great condition, but we’d got used to them… and knew it was going to be a messy job, so avoided it accordingly!

But the time had come… to set up an adult size play fort a sealed dust enclosure, and get to work.

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Despite our great precautions, this red brick dust has a mind of it’s own and did manage to find it’s way out, but a little deep breathing, a stress relieving cup of tea, and a whole lot of vacuuming, wiping, and mopping, and we were back to relative normal. And Andre had a good long shower!

And once the dust settled and the nerves calmed, we could see the plan to remove the marking all over the brick was rather successful! But it seemed the brick was a little less attached to the wall than we assumed, because of some chunks of mortar having broken off and weasled their way in between the wall and the surround over time.

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However, what was going to be a straightforward job of chipping that away and refixing the top half of the surround to the wall ended with dismantling the entire surround and a good portion of the firebricks inside.

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Meaning… no fire at all until the new one was installed. I did have a little moment of sadness that we would never sit in front of our open fire again, but was glad I had “wasted” the entire previous evening reading a trashy novel right in front of the crackling flames!

Life Lesson #1: do nothing more often – you won’t regret it!

It all got put back together safely a few days later, and we could stand back and see how that brick was looking. My first reaction was “oh! it’s so orange!”. And actually I’m still thinking it’s rather orange… the grinding took off not just the drawn on pattern, but a layer of red stain/paint/mortar/something-or-other. And while I’m not a big fan of red (don’t ask me how it got to be the somewhat overriding colour in our lounge?!) I’m even less so of orange. Especially when it suddenly clashes with our rug.

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Sealing it with the same two part Peter Fell mix we used on our concrete floor helped tone down the brightness a little…

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…And I made an executive decision to leave thinking about it until the new fire was put in, then live with it for a while and make a decision over time. Because what we do with the brick, is dependent on what we do with both the hearth, and the mantelpiece.

The mantelpiece had its front edge planed off a while back on a whim. A whim along the lines of “I wonder what kind of timber is under here?” We may replace this entirely with something non-combustible, so we can remove the heat deflector from off the top of the fire.

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And the hearth is a little disastrous looking right now too – rough ground concrete which doesn’t play nicely with the brick, surrounded by some battered timber edging. Not sure what we’ll do about this one. It’ll take some sitting in front of the fire contemplating no doubt!

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Anyway, we had the insert installation booked for one day last week (which meant about two weeks between enjoying our last open fire, and getting the new one in), and I was more than a little excited as the day approached. I was that annoying person that rings to check in the morning – “What time did you say you were coming?” Afternoon it was. Afternoon came, and was passing… and by 3.30pm I was thinking this doesn’t bode well for lighting our fire tonight. So one more phone call which eventually came back with the message that the installer had no record of our job on his schedule. Oh I could have howled! And just to rub it in, everything had been delivered the day prior, and we had to pretend like it was ok that we were making do with a picture on a box.

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I knew, with the recent weather we’ve been having that that could have meant another two weeks delay before we could be scheduled in again. But the installer must have felt sorry for us and offered to come over and get it done in the middle of the only long weekend we get between April and October! Even though it was raining and slippery up there on the roof. Thanks Colin, thanks ever so much!

After a tedious afternoon of conditioning the fire by lighting two sheets of paper on the hour, every hour, for eight hours according to the instructions of the user manual (and the first time I’ve seen Andre read one, let alone pay any heed to it…?!) we finally got to light it for real the following day. A fire for the Queen’s birthday – how about that?!

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And the next day I woke to a fire going (thanks Andre!), and came home to a fire going, and came home to a fire going again… oh this is the life!

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And now, I’m off to sit with a trashy novel in front of the fire.

Life Lesson #2: Pay attention to Life Lesson #1 – you won’t regret it!

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Pin of the day: My modern style

B&W + Wood deco

Peace. Calm. Serenity. Definitely not words that go with my current house.

Our style of colour explosion works well at the moment but I can see myself tending towards the monochrome and timber look when we all grow up a little!

Think giant, black, steel-framed windows and lots of architectural shapes within shapes, softened with timber furniture and comfy cushions and throws. All in a refined palette of black, white, grey and timber. And with a stunning view of a rugged landscape or moody seascape.

Oh yes I can dream…!

Pin of the day: A starry night

Everlasting Star (glow in the dark) - Engel. - BijzonderMOOI* Dutch design onlineBack with a pin of the day after many months of neglecting it!

This one got me for a number of reasons. The first one being that amazing navy wall. I’m seeing dark walls everywhere right now and I love them! The star garland is perfect against it, and reminds me a little of the washi tape skyline I did in the kids room a while back.

Also, how amazing is that wall hung cabinet, and so fun to push the bed right up next to it. It almost makes me want to move back into a single bed so I can have me some treasures and hide them safely next to me while I sleep!

Not so keen on the technology right next to the bed. Or to be honest, at all in a kids world (other than letting them borrow mum and dad’s under supervision). What do you think? Are you all for kids embracing technology from a young age or do you opt for good old fashioned fun every time? I’m hoping to find the middle road…

Image from my Kids Room Pinterest board.

 

Shopping fun at Tea Pea

In a world of endless options and a whole lot of sameness in a zillion online shops I do tend to get just a bit excited about little boutique stores who have something really unique, yet still keep their prices reasonable.

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Tea Pea is one such store. I’ve done much browsing of their goodies over the years since I discovered them – back when Master W turned my world into a whimsical one of kid-sized treasures. Although so many of Tea Pea’s whimsical kid-sized treasures would be just fine in an adult world too. I would be well tempted by all this cuteness even without kids in the house. There is definitely nothing wrong with a bambi light in the master bedroom!

My picks, clockwise from top left:
The parade cushion – I’ve been coveting this since Master W was born, wondering if one day I would have a wee girl. Yes! Now I can add it to the shopping cart…
Cloud coathangers – the best kind of clouds!
Wire mag holder – I’m just trying to decide which colours and where to use them…
Bambi light – sweetness and light!
Wire baskets – as per the mag holder… I want them all, every colour, everywhere!

It’s no wonder I’m a bit in love with Tea Pea’s product range… it seems Mr & Mrs Tea Pea have a bit in common with Mr & Mrs Duck Egg Blue.  Adorable small children, and a mid-century house currently under renovation. These two things add up to an entire world… Do go and have a look at some pictures of their house – I love their style!

And their logo… I just wish I was the designer – mmm!

Note: Tea Pea don’t know me from a bar of soap… I just love their style and product range and couldn’t help sharing!

Inspired colour

I’ve been working on a little (or not so little actually) mid-century inspired project. And it got me all excited about the colour chaos of the period.

Back in my design student days, my favourite project of the entire four years was entitled “Zeitgeist”, which means “spirit of the time”. The assignment was to create ads for a chosen product in three different design decades. I did shoes in the 30s, 40s, and 50s.

Here is a little excerpt from the accompanying essay on Fifties Binge culture:

“The friction between the two vastly different cultures (*Casual American pop and NZ’s staunch God Save the Queen ideals) caused an explosion in the fifties of what is now known as binge.

This over-the-top culture embraced the new middle class affluence, caused by a booming economy, and introduced it to mass consumerism.

Relative to the period, the fifties brought huge technological advances. New, completely synthetic materials were developed, and alongside them, the ability to dye the material in a whole range of ‘new’ colours.”

This binge culture was the beginning of what is generally termed “mid-century modern”.

I love it.

In a world of such extravagant use of colour it can be a little hard to pick out a few that might work in a contemporary mid-century inspired interior. I had some fun giving it a go.

First up: Decadent Design. Starting with a cool hue of baby blue, add in rich layers of navy and dark magenta, and the obligatory wood tone in uber dark.

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Number two: Coastal Charm. Natural timber is a big deal, with lots of white and light, accented by a moody sea blue and some zesty lime green. 0611_MidCenturyColour2

Third on the list: Nearly Neutral. Grey, and a bit more grey, then some rich wood and golden brown to liven things up. 0611_MidCenturyColour3

Last but far from least: Pretty Pastel. Starting with a base of grey keeps this one from getting a little crazy, but as long as you get the balance right, you can add as many colours as you like. I’ll do flamingo pink, duck egg blue (of course) and lemon. Mmm mmm!0611_MidCenturyColour4

I think the last one is my favourite (I love a bit of colour) but I’d just as happily grab any of these and run with them, depending on the location and furnishings I was working with.

Interiors images via Pinterest.

Warning: I may not stop at one post on this. I had too much fun!

Pin of the day: Oversized pom-poms

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It must be the approach of autumn here in the southern hemisphere… I’m getting all warm and fuzzy about cosy bedrooms. These oversize pom-poms take a fairly simple and even plain bedroom decor and make it a touch quirky and fun – I like!

On Pinterest via Design Mom.

One thing off the list

Well I can cross one thing off the list for the little ones’ bedroom. As mentioned when I posted this moodboard I’ve had my eye on a rag-style rug. They finally came into stock at Freedom and I picked it up last week.

It’s great! Having not seen it “in person” I was prepared to be disappointed, but was more than happy to pick it up and bring it home.

Master W helped to roll it out and is now intrigued by the great long tube it came rolled around!

Here’s some shots taken last Friday when he was well enough out of the way that I could tidy his bedroom and have it stay that way for the duration of a few photos:

It’s not strictly a rag rug, but I believe it is made from offcuts of leather so it is a wee bit environmentally friendly too which is a nice bonus. At $129 and around 1500x2000mm it’s also a great bargain. While it’s not exactly a plush shag rug and does feel a little “rough” underfoot, it’s just nice to have something with a little more give than wooden floors, and even just the look of it has warmed the room already! I love the colours and know that it will wear well and last through multiple room updates as the colours are gender neutral, or balanced I suppose, and there is enough variation to not limit anything else that might take my fancy!

Like a yellow dresser… stay tuned for that!

I’ve also purchased another similarly constructed rug for the play area in the living room… it came folded so I’m waiting for the creases to mellow out before I get some pictures for you.

Anyone else warming up with new rugs (it’s chilly here) or perhaps rolling them up for a few months if you’re currently in the warmer hemisphere?