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Affordable & Adorable

I know most people spend $20,000 – $50,000 renovating their kitchen – but this story proves it can be done so much cheaper…My good friend, interiors photographer Anastasia Kariofyllidis and her husband Jason bought an old 1950s house and renovated the kitchen gorgeously but cheaply themselves. They started by gutting it completely to get rid of the asbestos. The floors were taken back to the original floorboards and the walls to the original cement. The plan was to plaster and then paint the walls – but they fell in love with the grey of the raw walls and sealed them with a clear sealer instead.

Then – and this is where the major saving was achieved – they furnished the room with free-standing pieces, all found on-sale – which of course is miles cheaper than commissioning custom built-in cabinetry – they even bought a commercial stainless steel sink as a free-standing piece – and Anastasia’s mum whipped up a linen cloth curtain in lieu of a cupboard door. Pressed metal panels (painted grey by Jason) were used as a splashback (don’t know if this was much cheaper but lends a cool industrial edge to the scheme)

And the really amazing part about it is how much this gorgeous kitchen cost. Excluding appliances, it came in at an astounding $3400!

Though this style won’t lend itself to all homes, if you have an older home with plenty of character and a large enough kitchen, it’ll work fabulously.

Photos by AK


Country Manor

Just wanted to share some photos of this lovely country property we recently shot for Country Collections – the full story is in this month’s issue (along with a story on Rachel Ashwell’s new B&B, it has these cool deep dirty blue walls – much cooler than her usual pretty whitewashed style)…the bunting and vintage patchwork cushions (above) are from Moose and Bird (Melinda’s based on the Sunshine Coast and has a gorgeous blog for those, who like me, love a great vintage find and appreciate things made by hand – which reminds me, I stumbled across a very cool, sort of retro sewing lounge right here in Brisbane. Piece Together is situated upstairs in the Woolloongabba antiques precinct – it is adorable and you can learn to sew a cushion or just join a ‘Stitch ‘n’ Bitch’ session – I’m so doing it!).

Photos by the gorgeous Anastasia K 

White Washed Floors

This is a gorgeous house we just shot for a mag – so fresh and citrusy! Just wanted to share the floors with you – they’re Blackbutt painted with Porter’s Wood Wash in white, which gives a beautiful, soft, aged and limed finish.

Amazingly, the owner, Sonya, swears they’re really easy to maintain – she simply sweeps daily and then mops with a solution of boiling water and meths once a week. I’ve always loved the look but was sure they’d be hard to keep clean but according to the lovely Sonya, they’re easier than regular timber floors (my daughter, cat and I all have dark hair, whereas Sonya is blonde, so not completely convinced but as Sonya says, regular dust definitely shows up less on lighter surfaces).

Actually, this triggers a memory of a rental apartment we lived in, it was brand, spanking new with mid-taupe (almost milk chocolate) coloured tiles and I thought they would be so easy to keep clean – they were horrible! Every mark showed up (the reflective surface of tiles don’t help though).

Have a gorgeous Thursday. T

Window dressing

I was just looking at this gorgeous image (top) from stylist Atlanta Bartlett’s website (I think “The Relaxed Home” was one of the first decorating books I bought) – and I love how the curtains puddle on the floor – however, not hugely practical when sweeping or mopping! I’m also a huge fan of roman blinds, so classic  – and unlined sheer white curtains, when you don’t need the privacy but just want to diffuse the light or hide a view (both images from Silent Gliss) – anyway, if you’re contemplating which window treatments to use, here are a few thoughts…


Though they were considered dated at one stage, curtains have recently made a huge comeback – this is partly due to the ever-increasing range of gorgeous fabrics available. From hand dyed organic hemp to synthetics created by the latest technology – the choice is enormous.

I still prefer the natural fibres – linen/cotton blends for a relaxed style – and copious metres of pure silk pooling onto the floor for opulence. The downside in using natural fibres is they will eventually disintegrate in the sun – so protect them well with a good lining.

Curtains are perfect in the bedroom, as they not only create a lush, cocooning ambience, but they also provide the best window coverage and are capable of blocking out all external light (very important in summer with our lack of daylight saving!).


We often think of wooden shutters as very French – but in actual fact, shutters have a long history of use in Queensland homes. Originally they were used externally on verandas but now are more commonly used internally.

Fresh, white shutters look just superb – especially against a deeper wall colour – and they can be manipulated to provide excellent shade whilst still allowing cross breezes through and the view in (the bigger the blade the better the view).

The downside to shutters is they can be expensive – blinds may be a more affordable option.

Rollers and Romans

In a contemporary home with clean lines, roller blinds work well as the tracks can be matched to the wall or architrave colour, or even recessed into the wall or ceiling cavity, so as the window treatment is as unobtrusive as possible.

The fabrics available range from translucent to block-out – so you can choose the appropriate amount of privacy and light required. Rollers are not suitable for bedrooms, (unless layered with a curtain), as slithers of light always come through.

Romans particularly suit a more traditional home and look fabulously elegant but relaxed in linen or cotton. All blinds should be custom made for a clean fit.

Sneak Peak – Bayside home

We covered well-known blogger, Simone Georgette’s home for this month’s issue of Home Beautiful – what a fabulous lifestyle Simone has – a gorgeous home right on the bay, which she shares with her equally gorgeous husband and daughter – and next to the spacious, light-drenched main house is a matching A-frame garage, the top of which has been converted into a stunning work studio – it’s all beachy vintage with a little bit of Scandi (and a lot of happy) thrown in. How wonderful to make your lifestyle your passion and income. This is a photo of Simone standing outside her studio, which is filled with rolls and bolts of the bright, beautiful fabrics her and her business partner Jody sell through their on-line store, Fabric Traders (designer fabric at really amazing prices).

Photos by John Downs. (The full story and more gorgeous images in this month’s issue of Home Beautiful). 

Historic Home

I just styled this gorgeous historic home for Country Collections magazine – it’s a beautiful old sandstone building, which is unusual for Brisbane, and is big and rambling with high ceilings, antique chandeliers and wide verandas. The lovely family who own it now are going to slowly re-decorate – how fabulous would that be?! What a beautiful home to work with. The Laura Ashley wallpaper was going to go but now the new owner has grown fond of it so will keep at least one wall – look out for the full story coming up in Country Collections. Have a gorgeous day – sunny and 30 in Brisbane – and I’m off to buy flowers for tomorrow’s shoot – which reminds me, if you have a home that you think might be suitable for a magazine shoot – let me know (doesn’t have to be this grand! Can even just be a lovely little reno but does need to be well-loved with lots of personality), I’m always scouting and would love to hear from you! – please email:

Photography by John Downs. Cushions (on veranda) from Just Plain Gorgeous. 

Deep Buttoning

I’m in love with deep-buttoning at the moment – there’s just something so decadently divine in adding such an exquisite detail to furniture and furnishings.

Though you may be hard pressed finding many deep-buttoned pieces through the more contemporary furniture outlets, there are the occasional finds, such as an updated Chesterfield or the lovely squishy “Remy” sofa from Town and Country Style ( Alternatively, seek out local designers with a more traditional bent, such as Alan Bullivant from White ( who manufacturers the truly lovely “Grace” sofa.

If you have an old chair or ottoman you want to have re-upholstered, think about adding some deep-buttons. I recently had a large, but very plain square ottoman re-upholstered and asked them to add some piping and deep-buttoning – the result was amazing. What was once a boxy, contemporary piece is now an elegant Parisian-style ottoman (we also replaced the original steel feet with turned timber – and the existing blue faux-suede fabric with finely striped red and cream silk).

Fine stripes and patterns with a small repeat work really well with deep- buttoning – however, thicker stripes and larger patterns will not. If in doubt, stick to plain fabrics, which will show off the detailing beautifully.

When you add a deep-buttoned piece to a room, it instantly takes on a classic-meets-contemporary, timeless appeal. The trick is not to overdo it; a deep-buttoned bedhead upholstered in a beautiful fabric becomes the centrepiece when the other furniture is played down – however, if many items are screaming for attention, the look just becomes fussy.

Talking about upholstered bedheads, Denise Kennedy from Curtain Elegance ( was kind enough to show me the ‘cheats’ way to create a buttoned bedhead (the true method, which results in an elegant pleated effect is a real art form and takes years to master). You simply drill holes into a piece of MDF before gluing on the foam and wrapping it in the fabric. You then use a large darning needle to sew on the buttons, threading through the pre-drilled holes.

Petit Trianon

Just realised how much I love this fabric – and have probably over-used it in my house! It’s been around for a few years and I still love it – just goes to show, sometimes it’s worth splashing out on an expensive designer fabric – it’s like splashing out on a piece of designer clothing that you’ll wear for years, well worth it in the long run – and like teaming a designer ballerina skirt with a Bond’s singlet – it makes your other pieces look more expensive by association!

These are all different colourways of Mokum’s ‘Petit Trianon’ – the Chartreuse I used as a tablecloth for my daughter’s thirteenth birthday party on the weekend, very decadent I know but it looked so gorgeous set with vintage china; the Night cushion was made up for my sister’s bedroom; and the Coral cushions were made up for my book but I now use them in my living room – I was told Mokum flew it’s fabric designers to France to visit Marie Antoinette’s palace as the inspiration behind this collection – this particular design is a modern take on a French Baroque wall ornamentation – the design is embroidered on a linen base cloth.

Before & After – Vintage Chair

These are my favourite chairs, I found them at a local garage sale for only $300 each – a few people were shocked that I’d paid that much at a garage sale – but they were the real deal, so trust me, it was a bargain. I had one of them professionally re-covered for my book (by Parry & William’s Upholsterers – they’re the best, been around for a long time). Played it safe fabric-wise with a gorgeous thick linen from Mokum (‘Mica’ in Cigar) – and now I’m ready to have the other one re-covered – and I want to be a little more daring – I want to do a pattern but because of the deep buttoning detail, will have to choose a small patterned fabric – I’m liking this one from Schumacher, ‘Chiang Mai Dragon’ in Mocha…let you know how it goes!

Photos of vintage chair by Anastasia K – from our book, ‘New Vintage’

Instant DIY cabinetry

This is a clever idea carried out by a friend’s husband. He bought an Ikea cabinet and attached it to the wall and then adding some framing (individual pieces of pine, cut to size and then glued straight onto the Ikea cabinet) – an instant timber and white floating cabinet at half the would-be cost. He originally saw something similar on Remodelista,, which is where I sourced this photo of the white painted frames (originally from Yatzer) – what is it about white on white? Just looking at this picture makes me feel calmer. Have a gorgeous week, Tx

Cabinetry photo by Anastasia K.