Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Recycled Country Kitchen Shelves

Maybe time just seems to get faster and faster. I cannot believe a month has flown by since my last post and I have so much to tell you about designing or recycling your kitchen.

Recycled Country Kitchen Shelves

When it comes to kitchen storage I have been encouraging clients to think of using old country style kitchen shelves as features in their kitchens. 

You may have one stored in your garage or know someone that may be throwing one out to make way for a new modern kitchen. 

When you find one, it's worth checking with your joinery that they are structurally sound and additional support can be built into the wall, then apply a quick sanding and a new coat of paint. 

They can add a unique level of charm and detail to your kitchen along with that extra storage space!

Here goes a few images to inspire. Enjoy....
I just love these open shelves with the VJ panels behind and the stone bench top table below. A great two piece to anchor any kitchen and give some shelves to display your finest china.

I am all for the humble tea cup or mug to come back on show. There has been too may years gone by where they have only seen the inside of cupboards!
Have you ever displayed your best china? 
With the right pattern, colour combination and a little bit of styling you will be surprised the effect it can have to brighten up a kitchen wall. 
My apologies for not being able to credit the origin of these photos. 
If you are the owner one of these images please let me know and I will add your details to the image.

Keep an eye out in those car boot fairs, second hand stores and in your garage.

Have fun.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Country Kitchen Design Ideas :: KItchen Sinks

Wow it's been another busy month. I have three great projects on site, a country kitchen refurbishment, a new build circular house and an organic coffee cafe. 

Over the last month I have collected loads of great kitchen ideas and I think it is about time they made their way from my hard drive back onto the web, so here goes the first batch. Enjoy....

Country Kitchen Sinks

There is such a wide selection of sinks to choose from these days but a style of sink that find it's self quite a home in any country style kitchen is a Farmhouse, Butler or Belfast sink.
Most of these type of sinks are made form fireclay ceramic and although not as robust as stainless steel they add that element of character to any country style kitchen.
Brick bond rectangle wall tiles look great above these sinks.
As do open shelving.
My humble apologies for not being able to credit the origin of these photos. If you are the owner one of these images please let me know and I will add your details to the image.

Have fun shopping for your perfect kitchen.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Xavier Rudd's Home :: Natural Finishes, Recycled Materials and Sustainable Design

It's been such a busy time for me over the last month and I apologise for my lack of updates and posts. 

I have been working on varied selection of projects from an organic coffee cafe (on site as we speak), a sustainable new country kitchen refurbishment to an new build circular organic home. I am so excited about all these projects and will be posting more details over the coming weeks. 

Until then, a project that I have been using as a point of reference for the use of natural finishes and recycled timber is Xavier Rudd's home designed by Zen Architects in Melbourne.

What interests me with this house is the mix of soft natural finishes, sustainable and eco friendly architecture and capability to store excess electricity.

This home features straw bale walls with a hand rendered plaster finish, timber construction, reclaimed timber for stairs, rails and seating and polished concrete floor giving that natural and earthy feel. 
Love the reclaimed taps, Moroccan style wall tiles and stone wash hand basin.
What a creative outdoor shower concept!

all images by Phillip Stubbs

Also, unlike grid-connected power systems this home has an off-the-grid (stand alone) power system to store excess electricity produced during the day into batteries which supply the house at night or when its is overcast. 

It would be great to be off grid in the future but while we still work in close proximity to cities we will have to do with a grid connected system instead.

Have fun.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Natural Wall Finishes :: Tadelakt Lime Plaster

I am currently looking for a natural wall finish that I can use on a curved wall in a shower recess. Mosaics or small tiles would be one solution but I am looking for a more natural and traditional product that looks similar to polished plaster. 

One material that I am investigating at the moment is Tadelakt. 
images via

If you have ever been to Morocco you may have noticed the shiny plastered walls of palaces, hammams and bathrooms. These walls have been made with a traditional application of applying a lime plaster to the wall then polishing the wall by hand with a stone and finishing with an olive oil soap mixture for its final appearance and water resistance. This method gives you both a lovely natural appearance and a waterproof finish. 

Just think that this traditional finish goes way back to the days when glass and plastic showers were not available!
images via 
Polishing the wall with a glass bead.
image via 

images via
images via
image via
images via
images via
It's a unique finish but the process is labour intensive and time consuming which may result in a higher price tag then just tiling a wall. Like any feature finish if this is the look that you after then it's worth the investment.

Also to note in Australia you may still need to waterproof your wet area before applying this plaster finish.

Have fun.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Recycled Candle Centre Pieces, Coat Hooks and Book Ends

Now here are a few original recycling ideas by artisan designer Terina Smith.

These pieces have been rescued from landfill or farmers paddocks then cleaned, polished and given a new lease of life. 
I love these coat hooks made from recycled locks 

These candle centre pieces, book ends and coat & hat racks have been created from 100 year old electricity cross beams and old insulators found in the Scenic Rim region. 

Recycled candle centre pieces
Recycled coat & hat racks
Recycled bookends.
All images courtesy of Terina Smith
Can you imagine that these pieces would have been passed by bullock trains and horse & cart, seen the advent of motor vehicles and dirt tracks turn into bitumen roads and been around to see the telegraph replaced by telephones and now optical fibre cabling. 

What an amazing piece of history in a recycled object. 

If anyone would like to buy these feel free to drop me an email here.

Have fun.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Why I blog and decor8 Blogging Your Way

When I started my blog a couple of years ago I was scared of writing, hopeless with spelling and feeling a little bit shy but with limited online knowledge and the support of a dear friend Michelle from Paper Tree Designs, I wrote my first post. The years have flown by and until recently I had not stopped to ask myself why I blog until I started Holly Becker'sgging Your Way e-course.
It's been an amazing course and I will be honest and say that it's been hard for me to find the time around my work and other commitments but I am so glad I kept going. I may have missed the odd homework assignment, sorry Holly, but wow what an interesting course. 
It has made me step outside of my comfort zone, given me loads of advice and made me rethink and change a few key things in my life and my blog. It has also taught me the importance to be yourself, live your dreams and passions and blog from the heart.
So, back to the big question.....why do I blog?
I am a greeny at heart but also an Interior Designer which can be seen as polar opposites. I love great design but also feel it is important to raise awareness that there are sustainable alternatives to the mass produced furniture, kitchens and bathrooms we see all too often in our high street stores.
In the past my blog has concentrated on my client's projects and great design ideas that I have wanted to share. However, I also have my own home and it's ever increasing "to do list" of ideas to reduce its running costs whilst still having a beautiful home and until now I have never shared these more personal aspirations on my blog. 

Due to the cost of buying a new home (one that we would inevitably redesign) and the challenge of finding a home that has strong passive design principles (a rare breed of house) we are thinking about raising and extending our humble postwar home in Brisbane. My husband is a project manager in the building industry and given a design or some drawings, he can get things built very quickly. One would think we would be the perfect couple to renovate, decorate and own the perfect  home but like most people it all comes down to money and time. Maybe now is the time to step up and do it ourselves?
So thanks to Holly's course I am adding a new dimension to my blog and looking forward to sharing with you our future home, all our sustainable initiatives and our design decisions that we make along the way. 
Hopefully in the few years our journey will inspire others to avoid the mass produced and resource intensive and seek alternative solutions and products for a more sustainable but still beautiful home.
So, a huge thanks to Holly and her team at BWY for change is on the way in my life, my home and on my blog...
Have a great week.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Recycled Timber Wallpaper

I was looking for some recycled timber wall images when I stumbled across these by designer Piet Hein Eek.
all images via designer Piet Hein Eek

No kidding, these are actually wallpapers!  Having worked with recycled timber quite a bit it I understand how hard it is to achieve this look and still have a smooth practical wall. This is a fantastic option to achieve this look in a wallpaper!

If you are still after the recycled look but with a smooth practical surface another option is to strip the timber and apply a new surface.

I used recycled timber for a feature wall in a store named Three Little Girls &  A Boy Named Ted (link to the story and photos of the project). I have also added a couple of before and afters below.

The recycled timber was sourced from an old Queenslander style house in Brisbane. In its original form it had a lovely look to it but in this case it was a bit too damaged and gnarled to have delicate clothes hung next to the surface. So instead of keeping the raw look, the timber was then striped clean, painted with a natural paint and finished with a wax top coat. 
The early stages: From recycled timber complete with nails and weathered surface to new feature finish after being painted and waxed.
The final look kept the quality and age of the recycled timber but with a beautiful texture and smooth feel to it.
If this look's like too much work you can purchase the wallpapers in Australia from Safari Living.

Have fun.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Open Kitchen Shelves Ideas

I am currently working on a new kitchen design and thought I would share with you a few images I am using for inspiration. 

For this project I am thinking of using open shelving for a natural modern style but with a country influence...
image from here
Floor to ceiling storage is great if you have all those heirlooms pieces that are still packed in storage boxes!
image from photographer Daniel Farmer
image from Style Files
A thick solid timber edge helps to make a feature of the shelving and give a natural look to the kitchen. 
Heidi Lender's San Francisco kitchen, image via Design to Inspire
For that extra country look why not decant some of your most popular ingredients into glass jars, label and display on open shelves for a splash of colour and of course an easy reach...

Have fun.