Becoming an interior design ‘guru’

 (while drinking coffee)

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We are living in an information age. The internet has revolutionised the way in which we live and subsequently the ways in which we learn. With so much information readily available there is nothing to stop us from becoming the leading experts in any field we desire. Whether it be butter-churning or Shetland pony grooming (Unfortunately this is not the platform for such things).

So in the spirit of being information-saturated we have put together 12 DIY steps to help put you on the path to becoming an interior design guru (or at the very least slightly more design-savvy).

1. Take advantage of the information at your fingertips. In essence, read, read, read and read some more. Here are some of our favourite reads but there is tons of literature out there: Elle Decor: http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/ and Home and Design: http://www.homeanddesign.com/

2. Keeping contemporary is key: this is largely about knowing when vintage is modern (and acceptable) and when vintage is old (and unfashionable).

3. Familiarise yourself with the lingo. Find an old notebook and create a Design Dictionary . Fill it with with words like, Armoire, CMT and Eclectic.
Here is a useful site to get you started, http://thedesigntabloid.com/decor-dictionary

4. Get an eye for detail. This may be something you have naturally (lucky) otherwise train yourself. When you are walking outdoors or sitting in a coffee shop, look around you and take in even the most minute details. Ask yourself, what makes a particular environment unique? What makes it classic, quirky or minimalist (this is usually signified by a lack of detail).

5. Practice. Practice, Practice. Re-design your children’s bedrooms or your office space. Play with tones, textures and prints. Be bold or go bare but always be brave.

6. Keep a scrapbook of patterns, prints, colours, textures, ideas and notes. This will help keep your inspired and give you a point of reference.

7. Speak to other people who are into interior design (friends, family, really anyone). Share ideas and exchange information. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

8. Remember that there are never bad ideas or bad designs but a general appreciation of your work can be a rough guideline.

9. Go with your gut, and if this doesn’t work out then go with someone else’s (maybe someone from who wears a name-tag and knows the difference between rosy pink and pinky rose).

10. Always look for more resource like this one, http://www.sheknows.com/home-and-gardening/articles/1005235/interior-design-experts-reveal-their-favorite-tips, for more tips on how to become design-savvy.

11. Use all the resources you have at hand to make it happened. A great resource is the internet but also speak to those in the interior design field. This includes people who work at retail shops, selling tiles, carpets, paint etc. They are professionals in areas of interior design and can be a great resource.

12. Remember to always stay stylish (or at least try).

*Please note: All of the following can be done while drinking coffee and wielding a fresh bagel.

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New year, new designs

Often, if not always, New year is welcomed in with a heap of enthusiastic, or rather not-so-enthusiastic, resolutions. These dreaded undertakings, which we feel so inclined to make after a few glasses of bubbly and a hearty rendition of Auld Lang Syne, are always the soon-to-be regretted commitments to which we are completely and undeniably uncommitted.

As January falls away and February quickly approaches. The resolve which we held onto so firmly only a month ago slowly crumbles. And the urge to do nothing takes hold.  Once again it seems we are destined to end up spending our free time on the couch watching day-time T.V.

So before the novelty of this year’s New Year’s resolutions wear off, we wanted to put together a few ways for you to re-invent your 2014 kitchen. So you can finally fulfil your promise to ‘do something with that space’ and put a big tick on that 2014 to-do-list.

The ‘something’ for that space

Our ‘somethings’ were inspired by House Beautiful, tips for 10 Kitchen Details That Wow and 14 Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

Mirrors and Mosaic. Space and light are a must for your 2014 kitchen. Use mirrors to create the illusion of space. While mosaic tiles create patterns of light and colour.

Use mirrors and mosaics to create space and light in the kitchen

Use mirrors and mosaics to create space and light in the kitchen

Use mirrors and mosaics to create space and light in the kitchen

Detail, detail, detail. Don’t let the idea of a ‘functional space’ stop you from creating personal details that are quirky and original.

Use details such as old biscuit tins to give your kitchen a quirky character

Use details such as old biscuit tins to give your kitchen a quirky character

Get textured. Use wood, concrete/stone, glass and tile to reinvent your kitchen.

Use textures in your kitchen to create interest and character

Use textures in your kitchen to create interest and character

– Colours and Patterns. Go warm or go cool but be sure to use a range of tones to create a quality of depth. Pop-colours are a must.

Subtle colours with a paisley pattern offer a soft sophistication to any kitchen

Subtle colours with a paisley pattern offer a soft sophistication to any kitchen

Get Artsy. Use statement pieces to create a sense of grandeur. They can be bought from that obscure little gallery on the corner or made by the kids at school.

Pottery is a great addition to any kitchen

Pottery is a great addition to any kitchen

Retro reverence. Black and white checks? Yes, please.

You can never go wrong with a vintage/retro twist.

You can never go wrong with a vintage/retro twist.

Get innovative. Use old records as table mats

Get innovative. Use old records as table mats

If predictions are anything to go by, and we think they are, then interior design in 2014 is all about the personal. Involve the family in the re-invention of your kitchen, go arty with some mosaic or go professional with a silver finish and black and white tile. The choices are endless and entirely yours.But be sure to give your kitchen its much deserved attention this year.

DIY Nail Art

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You need:
A hammer
A pencil and ruler
Nails
A board (not chipboard – fairly sturdy wood)
Colourful twine/string
An awesome place to hang the final product

Start by marking out the points where each nail needs to go on the board. I chose to create the word ‘art’ but you can pretty much string up any design, word, picture, shape, (whatever floats your boat), (you get the point), that you would like to.
After plotting your design on the board, begin hammering in each nail. It can become a tad noisy after a while but the final product will be worth the headachey-loud-noise. With each nail secured and upright, you can begin the threading process. It’s pretty simple really, tie a knot around a nail on one end of your design and simply twist the twine around the nails to create a woven look. Try keep the thread even so as to keep it looking neat and evenly covered. Try keep it a colour palette of sorts, it’ll make the final product look just that more professional and somewhat less crafty. Once all the nails have had some twine twisted around them tie a final knot to secure the string.

Yay! And that, folks, is how to create a simple (and creative) piece of artwork for your home.

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DIY: Fairylights

Clap if you believe in fairylights! Or cost effective beautiful décor for that matter. I’ve recently discovered that fairylights are a vital and utterly versatile element to own as part of one’s collection of vital-versatile-décor-elements. Fairylights can be used in a child’s bedroom to create a dim and comforting atmosphere, no monsters under the bed kinda feel. Those same fairylights can then be wound around some greenery in the evening for an out door cocktail party, or draped on a tree for the festive season, or wrapped in sheer material and laid along a table to create a table centre piece. Numerous strings can be hung together, in a room or on a veranda to create a curtain-like feel. They create the most spectacular atmosphere and cost next to nothing, well I’ll speak for mine in this case.

And if you’re bored with the plain white ones, they’re perfectly easy to spruce using household items. I spruced my set with layered cupcake holders that were also rather inexpensive. Simply slice a tiny slit in the middle of the colder and slide it on to the light. Layer them, cut them into various shapes, use various colours or textures, and when you’re satisfied with your set of spruced up lights, string them up or drape them. Ceilings, headboards, curtain rails and dressing tables make for lovely bedroom spots for them but they can just as easily be used in the bathroom or garden, as well as for entertainment décor purposes.

A little spring time sparkle for you, enjoy!

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DIY: Fabric Chandelier

Got a spare hoola hoop and some fabric lying around, asking to be used for reasons other than hip shaking and hip hiding? Yes? Yay! Time to make a fabric chandelier! Why? Because they make for lovely party decorations, bedroom decorations and garden features.

Gather up your bits and bobs; bits being fabric glue and bobs being a hoola hoop and any fabric and ribbon that you have lying around. Perhaps not any fabric; but fabric that isn’t being used, or that you need an excuse to cut up. Yes, that includes the hideous bedspread in the guest room that you’ve been meaning to get rid of since the in laws left. Match up your ribbons and fabric strips so that they tone into a colour scheme of sorts. Say warmer reds and oranges, cooler blues and greens or neutral beiges and creams.I chose maroon and shades of pinks for mine because I will be using mine for an event coloured by a similar palette.

First I cut the fabric up into strips of similar widths and lengths. You can be as precise as you see fit in this process – I went for a bit of variety as I’m a fan of texture and see the imprecision as adding an element of character. Personal taste, that. With fabric in hand, wrap the tip around the hoop and glue in place, in  any order you choose. Leave the material to dry and then add on a ribbon/piece of string/wire to the chandelier – for hanging purposes, yes? Yes. Yay!

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DIY: Furniture White-wash

Firnityre Whitewash Do It Yourself

By Dale Anne Scogings

You’ve just finished painting you bathroom and you have half a tin of white paint left. As you start cursing for not calculating correctly you spot that old piece of pine furniture that some long lost relative or ex-lover-spouse person built, varnished and gave to you because varnished-pine used to be cool. So what does one do with left over paint and outdated pine furniture? One white-washes it. That’s what one does.

You’ll need some paint thinners, a paint brush, some sandpaper (or an electric sander), some white paint (or any other colour for that matter) and one piece of dated furniture. Armed with these tools you can begin your process of freshening up your ‘unfresh’ furniture.

How? First you need to wipe down the pine surface, using a slightly damp cloth. Next up, you need to roll up your sleeves, don your dungarees, blast some music and get in touch with your inner carpenter. It’s sanding time. Using the sandpaper you need to remove all of the old varnish. Yay for a clean varnish-free-paint-wanting surface!

The fun part comes next. It’s Picasso time! Dilute your paint with the paint thinners and get painting. I usually go by the half-half ratio, but it’s totally up to you. For a darker wash use less thinners and for a lighter wash, use more thinners – simple. The same goes for the number of coats you do, yes? One coat might seem dark at the time of painting, but give it a few minutes and the wood would (say wood again) soak it right up. Going with my half-half ratio, I did about three coats of paint to get my rocking chair looking spiffy again.

Standard Fixing Clips For Kitchen Sinks

Here are diagrams showing how to use the more common fixing clips that come with kitchen sinks:

Under counter mount kitchen sink installation profile

Fitting a kitchen sink under the counter top

Inset mount kitchen sink installation profile

Side drawing for top mount kitchen sink fitting clips

Inset mount kitchen sink installation profile 2

Fixing Clips For An Inset Mounted Kitchen Sink

How To Install An Inset Kitchen Sink

Installing an inset kitchen sink

An inset sink is the kind that sits on top of the counter. These normally have integrated draining areas like the one pictured.

You will need:

  1. Fixing clips
  2. Sealing tape
  3. Fret saw
  4. Screwdriver

And this is what you do with the tools:

  1. Place the sink upside down on the counter in the position where it is to be installed, and trace the outline of the sink on the counter top with a pencil
  2. Draw another line 10 mm inside the first line. Cut a hole in the counter top following this second, inner, line
  3. Adhere the seal tape around the underside of the edge of the sink, being careful to lay it smoothly (without ridges)
  4. Place the clips on the sink in their horizontal position
  5. These anchor clips are designed for use with counter tops 30-40 mm thick. If your counter top is thinner, insert wooden wedges between the counter top and the braces so as to secure them
  6. After placing a clip at each corner of the sink (or 4 at opposing sides in the case of a single round bowl), place the rest evenly spaced around the perimeter of the sink
  7. Tighten the screws of the clips with a hand screwdriver to secure the sink in place

Pick Your Perfect Kitchen Sink

Inset, Undermount, Big, Small, Polished, Brushed Kitchen Sinks

With such a wide range of kitchen appliances and decorative items on offer these days, homeowners can create a variety of different looks in their kitchen. Sinks alone come in a variety of shapes and styles.

When considering how many sinks you need, what shape and size they need to be and which type of material to go for, you need to look at the rest of your kitchen. Three major elements in a kitchen are the cabinets, countertops and sink. Attention must be paid to the size and visual aspect of these elements. Once you have given this some thought, you can begin to think about the other details, like size and material. With numerous options of material, from stainless steel to brass or copper, you can have very different looks and feels.

The next step is to decide on the number of sinks you will have in your kitchen. To make this decision, you need to think about what you will use your sink for and how often. Although dishwashers relieve us of the task of cleaning piles of dirty dishes, there are still some pots and pans that might be too big or awkward to fit. Some homeowners might prefer to have one large, single sink in which they can clean large crockery or a double sink, where one is large and the other a lot smaller. Others might choose to have a two sinks of equal size, and soak dishes in one side while cleaning up or using the other sink for something else. One sink can also be used for preparing fruits or vegetables

Some kitchens have two sinks in entirely different places of the kitchen. These can be used simply for washing hands or entertainment purposes, or as salad washing station. Having two separate sinks create two areas for chopping up and preparing food. These days, sinks come with cutting boards, draining stations and drop in compartments, which also contribute to making the whole cooking and cleaning experience that much easier.

An abundance of options in your kitchen can create unique, interesting looks and can also provide you with something that suits your lifestyle. By putting extra thought and care into these decisions, you will be able to create a kitchen where you can feel comfortable and where you will feel proud to entertain guests.
To begin thinking about what would most suit your kitchen, take a look at these kitchen sinks.