Tag Archives: white

Pin of the day: Modern farmhouse kitchen


Whoaaaa!!! Modern, classic, midcentury – this kitchen has it all going on! My dream kitchen has a big ol’ farmhouse table in it like this one, but I’ve never been a real country kitchen type. Love how this one puts it together with both timeless white and my favourite design era with the pendant and chairs. Oh and the floor? Is that concrete?! Concrete floors in the kitchen are the very best – I should know!

PS. I missed this post on Monday… worth the few extra days though right?!

A little light makeover

Following on from last weeks bedroom reveal-of-sorts I thought I’d cover how we went about replacing our wall lights.

While shuffling things around in our bedroom was definitely talked about (mainly to accommodate a larger wardrobe) we ended up sticking with the current layout, because we didn’t want to turn a fairly simple reno into something major involving moving electrical stuff and patching big holes.

So, that meant utilising the current wiring and dimmer switches for some new look lighting over our bed. Cue a sad face when I knew I wouldn’t be following the trend for plug in pendants wound artfully around a bracket on the wall. But I consoled myself with knowing that is likely just a short term trend, and that my “statement making cord”-free wall lights were probably safer with kids around anyway.

That was the easy bit. I spent months keeping an eye out for a pair of good looking mid century wall lights. It seems fixed lighting was something of a novelty then, because there wasn’t much to be found.

But eventually I came across these ones on Trade Me.


They’re by Beamalite, made in 1963, and were advertised as needing some restorative love. Fine, we can do that! We can do that with some glossy white and gold!0814_1889 0814_1894 0814_1898 0814_1914Over two or three days I painstakingly masked off each part and sprayed happily. Gold was a whole new experience for me and while it admittedly made me nervous, it was a fun kind of nervous!

Until I undid my “last” round of masking. Ooooh not good. Despite using proper painters tape (which I’ve not bothered with before) I had parts of the gold come off. It’s the worst to get to the end of a project and get yourself pumped for the big reveal, only to find you have to start almost from scratch again. There was feet stamping, and maybe tears.

But I got over that, and went for round two. A little wiser maybe… So I tried taping first to get a smoother edge to my mask, then layering the foil over the top and taping it down. (You can get a glimpse of this in the back light, far right.)

My trigger finger was a little lighter this time, and I left loads of time for drying. So the result was much, much better, although not perfect. There were some jagged edges of bleeding paint that still made me cross. But not cross enough to deal with it. I was over this project and considering other options…

But Andre assured me those little imperfections were not going to be noticeable to anyone else, so I handed them over to him to get them installed.
0814_1952 This is where things should have ended happily ever after right?

Alas, no. I’m going to summarise this quickly for you because it still hurts. We ended up with a hole in the wall (just days after we’d finished painting it) where Andre had plastered over the hole left by the previous fitting. Which meant more plastering, sanding and painting. Yes it was just a hole a few centimetres across, but at that point in the whole scheme of things the thought of just getting the plaster back out was enough to make us give up for another couple of days!0814_1965


So onto the other light. It was successfully installed in minutes. But then I get another shout – “the light is melting!” Sure enough the paint was starting to run, as it was warmed up by the bulb.

We quickly turned it off, and left the whole sorry mess in a huff!

Turns out that all we needed was a couple of smaller, lower wattage bulbs, and a few more days drying time. No more melting lights!


So that’s how we came to have “new” lights that match the character of our scuffed up floors. (That is my excuse for everything that turns out a little imperfect in our house!)

Really, they’re not so bad. They’ve just lost a little of their shine, and have some dull patches where they were handled during the melty paint stage.

Time heals, and I’m back to thinking they look pretty awesome actually! Agreed?!

Small spaces: Textures in Antwerp

This image had me doing a double-take when I spotted it on Pinterest this week, because at first glance it resembles the little flat we lived in in London! Not that ours was nearly as modern and tidy, but the layout and the white and neutral tones are a very close match.

One difference is that we had a dividing wall between the kitchen and the dining/living area that made it more poky and a lot less amazing than this apartment in Antwerp.

Nevertheless, it makes me long for the simple life of living small in a big city! I remember the only baking I ever did was a packet mix brownie that came with it’s own foiled cardboard baking tin! And it actually tasted pretty good!

While I couldn’t resist adding some personal touches if I lived here, I do like the pared back colour palette, and the textures in the brick wall and the plywood cabinetry. And the sofa.

Happy hump day!

That grown-up feeling

If you’ve been a faithful reader (I thank you from the bottom of my heart!) for some time you’ll know we love colour in this house, but we have yet to actually paint anything in something braver than whites or greys (exterior).

Oh but I forget… our door!


Nevermind that I’m really not besotted with that result and am considering something more… neutral.

But forget that for now. Because I’m mulling over something a little more dramatic for our master bedroom…

We’re not quite done out the back yet, but while one project is trucking along nicely I always have another one or two doing the rounds in my brain, and Andre especially likes to jump around from working on this to that and back again. So as much as I wish we could just pick an area and deal to it properly before moving on, it just doesn’t work out that way.

That’s the long way to say we’ve started on some master bedroom improvements and of course I can’t wait to make some more progress and share it with you.

If you want the bite sized bits and pieces of what we’re up to (like having some fun with steel tube while thinking of a pergola over our deck) you’re best off following along over at Instagram (@duckeggblueblog).

For now though, just feast your eyes on this grown-up goodness (all images below from my Pinterest bedroom board or click the picture for it’s original link)…

the design files

Dark (and Surprisingly Soothing) Bedroom Walls

Dark (and Surprisingly Soothing) Bedroom Walls


interior by jean liu

Do you get that moody-cosy-romantic-retreat kind of feeling? Or do you think it’s all rubbish and we should stick with light and crispy white for this pretty well sunless bedroom of ours?




Red, white & blue

In a far off land called the U S of A…
They’re celebrating Independence Day!

Oh my Dad will be so proud of me for that little ditty! But moving right along…

In honour of my readers from the land of the independents I’m all about red, white and blue today. And personally, I’m grateful for this little home of ours that we can stamp (and are stamping) with our very own brand of independence. Hooray for the mortgage!

Here’s what I found on a wander around the house with my red, white and blue glasses on… surprisingly much:0704_Red-white-blue

– Stars and stripes of a slightly kiwi variety… WE – independent but united… how clever am I with this theme?!
– Our lounge maps. Totally missed the celebrating country but the colour theme got a bit murky if I included it… sorry Americans!
– My bedside notebooks for recording the good, the bad and the ugly of the kids lives (yes, only two kids but I’m already prepared with two notebooks each)
– The recent city scape and sweet quilt in the kids bedroom
– An inherited retro fan and some tin soldiers
– Just two of Andre’s red, white and blue check shirt collection (they rarely make it onto hangers in the wardrobe)
– Our gorgeous and vibrant Persian floor rug

Many years ago when I was 12ish, I was super lucky enough to spend the fourth of July at Disneyland. In California. To this day I have never been part of a more packed crowd of celebrating people, and I still remember the awesome feeling. Thanks America, have a great day!


Fresh and light

Some unpainted trim in various areas of our house has been a thorn in my side for a long while… so I had Nick (who painted our exterior) take a look and quote me on it.

The first quote came as a bit of a shock (up near a third of the total exterior cost), and although I tried to swallow quietly he could totally see it all over my face. So being the kindhearted man he is he went to have a chat with his mates at Resene. Lo and behold, a paint product that can take on old varnish without waiting for stripper. For Nick it meant a whole lot less time and mess involved, and for me… the quote got halved! We absolutely have a deal!

I knew it would be awkward with kids around, but day one (mid-December 2012) had tools down by 9am and Nick calling it quits. Oh dear…

The following day I packed us all up, left a note for Nick and got out for the day. I tried to do that as much as possible for the next couple of weeks. Yes it was a nuisance, but it was definitely worth it. The alternative was to attack it ourselves over the next ten years. No thank you – we have plenty else to get on with.

Starting at the front entrance, freshness and light was our Christmas present to ourselves:


Spinning around from there, we had some “never got painted” laundry doors and trim:


Round the corner, the bathroom got the same treatment – all varnished timber covered in fresh, gloss white… including the toilet cistern.


Back to the lounge, the beaten up door got some serious attention and a fresh coat of paint to finish:


And Miss E’s current abode also got a makeover:



As well, those especially annoying bits of trim in the kitchen that never did get a top coat… did!

There are always little jobs like that which never make it to the top of the priority list. I don’t hate painting… but this one was fiddly and I knew it would be time consuming and just plain annoying to work around ourselves while still using the hallway, bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. So it’s a relief to bring in the experts and just get it done. It’s about sanity.

Thanks again Nick.

It’s pink!

Some time ago, we planted a cherry tree and I’ve been watching with increasing nervousness that we killed it during planting… Most of the cherry trees around now are laden with blossoms, and ours has been teasing me with no more than a few buds for the last few weeks.

But this week it’s decided to show its true colours – pink! I think they may be the pink kind that turn to white but will keep an eye on that. We thought it was white when we bought it so I was a little surprised at the pink but could grow to like it once our house is painted. Right now the pink and peach combo just doesn’t inspire me. Pink and a pale grey however, could be one fine combination don’t you think?

Here are a few snaps of the beautiful blossoms:


It’s a whitewash!

First we purchased an old mid century lounge suite off Trade Me and reupholstered it in white vinyl (seen here)… then we bought some Eames replica chairs (mentioned here) in white.

We have a toddler that doesn’t sit still despite listening to 22 months of “Just sit still while you’re eating!” so white is probably not the most sensible choice and we did have a few people (older, wiser… with now grown up children) mutter under their breath “White? Really? Have you thought about the fingerprints?”

But having had the lounge suite for probably a year now, and the dining chairs for a good six months plus, I’m still smiling (and not with a grimace underneath like my sister in law with 4 children under 5)!

A while back I borrowed an interesting looking sponge off my mother-in-law to try it out it’s potential on the lounge suite. It was one she’d bought at a Home Show or such-like, it was completely unbranded and she couldn’t remember the name of the stand or anything. Short story is, it worked and I’ve been semi keeping an eye out for one since.

Lo and behold, in a chase around Storage Box (the little one is going through a “run away!” stage) I spotted this:

Which says “Why is Whitewash so effective? Whitewash sponge is made from fibres, 10,000 times finer than a human hair. This creates millions of surfaces to pick up dirt, grime and stains, which makes the Whitewash sponge more effective than using traditional sponges.”

At $2.99 I thought it was well worth a try to see if it was the same one my mother-in-law had bought.

I broke it out tonight (the things I do in procrastination over installing insulation…) because in the dusk light the white was looking rather creamy grubby.

First up was the lounge suite, which unfortunately I was so into cleaning I didn’t get any photos for you, but let me tell you, this is the sponge, and the armchairs were even grubbier than I thought!

Here’s a step by step look at how I cleaned up the dining chairs though:

First some helpful “look at that mark!” photos…

This one actually looked suspiciously like a pen mark:

I even dared to line up the high chair for a clean with the magic sponge:

Here is the sponge mid clean, looking a little grubby:

And here is the sponge, and a rag (to wipe down after cleaning with the sponge, as per instructions) once finished… yick!:

It was actually a lot filthier than it looks in this photo, and wayyyy filthier after cleaning the lounge suite, but it just rinses right out and is ready for use again. The cloth will need to go in the wash!

And here are my shining white chairs all lined up for an after photo:

So, the Whitewash sponge is one product that looks like a gimmick, but is not. And at less than $3 there’s really no question – it’s a bargain. It’s also super environmentally friendly as no cleaning products are required – just dampen the sponge with water. And child-friendly to top it all off as no nasty residues are left behind. Miss Browne… something for you perhaps?

White, white or white?

Some time ago I sat down with the colour swatches and picked out some whites. It’s a wee bit insane how many options there actually are for white… even more so when you pick out some “different” ones, only to paint them out and see that really, there’s not all that much difference. A little bit disheartening, especially when I assumed this would be one of the most fulfilling decisions for me (really?!) in the whole renovation process.

Why are we being boring and sticking to white you might be thinking? Because the lightness of the afternoon sun streaming into the lounge and “glowing” off the walls was one of the things that really struck me when we first came through at the open home. (Did that sound a bit convincing?) While the exact tone of current white is a little too green (especially at night) for me, I do want to stick with the white to keep that “goodness and light” feeling. Secondly, I tend to change my mind (we’ve been here a year and things in my mind have started to take on a whole new look than they did at the first draft…) so a blank canvas is not a bad thing. I just prefer to change out the accessories and artwork on a whim than bother with a repaint.

So, you may as well take a look at the swatches, and to make it easy I’ve pointed out the Resene Half Rice Cake which is the warm white we’ll be rolling onto these walls very soon! Trimmed with White (yes, there is a real honest to goodness White white!) skirtings, architraves, window frames etc

On the other half of the same board is a full rice cake, which is just a bit too strong and would likely go a bit dark when natural light is low (grey days like today) or non-existent (evenings). So Half it is (now I can’t say I don’t do things by halves…).

By the way, I found it useful to paint on boards so I could move them around the room and see how the colour looked in different lights. Clever huh?!