Friday, 29 May 2015

Living Small

You know how much I love nooks and tiny spaces! Well, I posted this pic (below) on Facebook recently - it's such a great use of space, dropping the bench top down into a seat to create a tiny dining area. Someone commented on the perspective of the photograph and where it was taken from, so I thought you may be interested to see the whole apartment...

The Swedish are so clever at living comfortably in small homes. The key is to utilise the space wisely, like adding a loft bedroom above the living room (this is where the first photo would've been taken). Down lighting has been added underneath the loft, and they've even included a little bookcase that can be accessed from the loft.

A small wall separates the living room from the kitchen - by not enclosing it completely helps to make the kitchen feel more spacious.

Beautiful big windows, lots of natural light, and the Scandi white interior adds to the feeling of space and airiness. The Wishbone chairs are another smart choice - a more solid chair would take up more visual space.

The bathroom areas are tiny but still stylish. A tiny shelf, a ladder, and a basket all provide storage solutions.

The entrance is actually pretty roomy. The coat hooks and mirror are handy for coming and goings, but I would definitely add a rug and a little console to create a lovely welcome.

It makes you realise how lucky we are with the size of our homes here in New Zealand. But if you do have a small home I hope you've taken some inspiration from this one. Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Creating a Home

My favourite part about working as an interior designer is watching a room come to life. Architects and builders create the house, or the structure (and a fine job they often do!), but it's what you put inside that turns it from a house to a home. Here are some tips that are guaranteed to warm up your space...

Start at the beginning. The entrance is the first part of your home that you and your guests see. Make a great first impression by creating a warm and welcoming entrance. It's bound to make you happy every time you arrive home.

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Surround yourself with things you love. Do you have a love of vintage mirrors, or a collection of treasured vases? Group them together to make an interesting display.

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Of course, that goes for any of your beloved items. Having them on display in your home helps to tell a story about who you are.


Artwork is one of the easiest ways to put your mark on a space. "Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder"... it is very personal and often the hardest thing to choose for someone else. If it moves you in someway, and brings you joy, you should definitely have it in your home.

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Another easy way to bring life to your home is to add plants and flowers. Flowers are an instant hit of colour and beauty, and plants can be a more permanent part of your decor - from a large indoor tree in the corner of your living room to a small potted succulent on your bookshelf.

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Anything that has history will add depth and soul to your space. Reupholster your grandmother's antique sofa in a contemporary fabric, or repurpose your father's childhood drawers to use as bathroom vanity. Obviously a piece from your own family will have special meaning, but you can also scour the second hand shops to create this look. I love mixing older pieces with contemporary ones.

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Once you have your key furniture pieces, layer them with rugs, cushions, and throws to bring warmth and comfort. This is an great way to create a cosy and inviting home.

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Books, candles and photographs are the perfect items to create meaningful vignettes, and the books and photos give more clues as to who lives here. Candles, especially scented ones, create ambience and add warmth to a room.


Lighting is very important in a home. Make sure you have a variety of sources - bright task lighting is important in a kitchen and bathroom, but I often only use lamp light in living areas. Add dimmers to your main lights, and have floor and table lamps throughout your home so that you can adjust the light to suit the occasion.


These are all things that you can do yourself, but if you would like any help turning your house into a home, you need only ask!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Loft Living | Get the Look

Although some may find the thought of having to furnish and decorate a huge open space with a wall of industrial windows daunting, I would be like a kid in a candy shop! Fashion blogger, Jayne Min, also embraced the challenge in her Los Angeles loft apartment, and I absolutely love what she has achieved. A clean palette and sleek furniture is softened with cushions, throws, and colourful accents.

One of my favourite tools for working in an open plan space is to use rugs to help zone different areas. Jayne has done this beautifully (although a slightly bigger dining room rug would look even better). The woven seagrass rug works well in the living room allowing the cushions and accessories to shine, while in the dining room the rug is the hero.

Jayne likes her home to be clean, but not too precious. She wants it to be bright and easy, cozy and homely, with no fuss or excess pieces. I think she's done a stellar job, she has just the right amount of colour, texture, pattern and fun!

via My Domaine

If you love Jayne's living room as much as me, I have put together the "look" using Bibby + Brady suppliers. All of these items can be ordered through Dael and I, and if there is anything else you're looking for that you'd like help sourcing, please get in touch with us.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Coastal Mood Board | Saben

Happy Monday to you all, here's to another fabulous week! I recently put together a mood board that reflects our coastal lifestyle here in New Zealand, and the relaxed-chic style we, at Bibby + Brady, love so much. Our inspiration was a selection of gorgeous Saben handbags in soft sky blue, warm caramel, and glamorous gold - Yasmin, Charlotte & Tilly's Big Sis...

What's your favourite colour palette? Look all around you for inspiration, and use it as a leaping off point for decorating your home. Pop over here for some more tips.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Fabric + Furniture Sourcing | Bibby + Brady

A huge part of my and Dael's job as interior stylists is helping clients to choose paint colours, fabric and furniture for their homes and work places. Sometimes a client simply wants us to help them select the right paint colour for their living room walls, or choose a fabric for their bedroom curtains.

We are more than happy to help you put together a colour palette that will work in your home, and we also offer a curtain, blind and cushion making service. With an extensive range of fabrics available to us, there will definitely be something that is just perfect for you. Don't feel you have to live in Hawke's Bay either to use our curtain and blind making service... If you do, we can measure up and install for you, but we've also had curtains and blinds made and shipped to clients outside of Hawke's Bay with great success.

Of course, furniture and accessories are so important in creating an amazing space, so it's lucky that we have an amazing range of suppliers that can help. Just let us know what you're looking for and you can relax while we do all the sourcing for you.

Whether it's a full interior design service you need, or just a roman blind made, we can help, and we promise to only offer you beautiful and stylish options!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

My Kitchen | The Reveal

To all of you who have been following my kitchen reno... thank you so much for your patience. It's been over a month since my last progress post, but it got to the point where it was so close that I just had to wait until it was finished (or 99% finished) before I showed you. Here is a reminder of where we've come from, or read all about the full kitchen renovation in these previous posts.

I can't tell you how ecstatic we are with our finished kitchen! Not only does it look amazing and just how we wanted it, but it is so functional, with so much more storage, and it's a joy to work in! A huge thank you to Rick and his team - Ben and Shane - from Sunshine Joinery. Rick listened to everything we asked for and worked closely with us to create our perfect kitchen. The guys were all a pleasure to have in our home, and their workmanship was faultless.

I wanted the kitchen to fit seamlessly into our house, which is a 1940's bungalow. We took a classic look and gave it a contemporary spin by using panelled, soft-close, handleless cabinetry. The lack of handles gives it a clean, contemporary feel, while the panelling ties in with the era of our home.

You'll remember how I deliberated over the tile choice for our splash back... well, we love our final choice - the Cube Collection from Tile Space, supplied by Napier Ceramic Tiles. I wanted the tiles to contrast the stone marble-look bench top while also complimenting it. I also love the geometric pattern juxtaposed with the vertical panelling in the cabinets. The bench top we chose is an engineered stone called Smart Quartz by Granite Pacifica, colour Mont Blanc, installed by John and his team at Pinnacle Stone.

The wooden shelf is one of our favourite details. Rick made it from our old mantle pieces, so there is history and a story to tell there. The led down lights underneath add additional task lighting to that corner.

One of the things I was certain I wanted was cupboards that went right to the ceiling. They didn't in our old kitchen, and the tops of them were a serious dust collector. It also uses every available space for storage which was important to me. The very top shelves house those things that we don't use all the time, but are still necessary.

The two places we needed handles were on the pull out pantry, and the bi-fold cupboards into another pantry. I'm crazy in love with our brass handles from Schoolhouse Electric. The lines are clean and simple and echo the handles on the fridge/freezer and oven, but the under side is rounded to mould to your fingers - gorgeous! The beautiful Skandi tea towel is from Izzy & Jean.

I was also adamant I was going to have a black stone sink to contrast all the white. It is awesome and big enough to fit a roasting pan! I chose a beautiful Paini matt black tap supplied by Plumbing World in Napier.

One of the few things to finish is to fit a piece of the stone bench top behind the sink and under the window sill - that's happening this week. Plus I'm searching for the perfect piece of art for the wall between the kitchen and dining room windows (will keep you posted on that).

Also, we have some white roller blinds previously used on our kitchen and dining room windows, but because of all the white, I want to have some roman blinds made up in a beautiful fabric - I'm thinking blue and white ikat, similar to the ones we put in this client's dining room.

The pendant lights above the breakfast bar are another fave of mine. They're a Bibby + Brady special from a favourite supplier of ours, so any enquiries can come to me :) Because it's quite a small kitchen, the glass shades don't take up much visual space, and they don't block the view to the tiles and wooden shelf behind. I've pinched some bulbs from our bedroom, but I plan to add some yummy filament bulbs soon.

Our floors are another big win for us. We love the effect of the different boards, and the brass strips that separate them. Barry from Bay Floor Sanding did an amazing job sanding and polishing them, and our awesome builder, Glynn Pritchard - GCP Construction Ltd - had the task of laying the horizontal rimu boards and routering (is that a word?) the brass strips in.

Rather than having bar stools at the breakfast bar, we opted for more cupboards and an open shelf - perfect for adding some colour and pattern.

We still have a little bit to finish off in the dining room. Sunshine Joinery are going to make us a built-in corner bench seat. This will be a fantastic spot to get comfy and admire the kitchen :) It will also bring more storage under the seats. Our American oak dining room table is absolutely gorgeous and made for us by Francois of Le Workshop, and the Italian dining chairs were a brilliant TradeMe find. Opposite the table Glynn has built us a European laundry, and Sunshine Joinery are also making us a set of bi-fold doors for here. When all of that is finished I'll bring you a separate dining room reveal blog post.

I also have to give thanks to the rest of our amazing team - Davyd Auckram the electrician, John Riggs the plumber, Morris the plasterer, and Mark & Pete (my hubby & father-n-law) the painters. This renovation has been a testament to how you need a really great team around you, and plenty of time to project manage it all. This is something Dael & I, at Bibby + Brady, specialise in, so if you would like us to design and project manage your renovations, we'd love to work with you.
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