Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Inspirations for a New Home

Photos by Patric Johansson for Plaza Interior

Photos by Patric Johansson for Residence

When I got back yesterday from my weekend away, I managed a quick visit to my brother and his wife's new house. They brought it a couple of weeks ago and they received the keys this weekend.
When I arrived, the whole family was there to celebrate the purchase and to have a look around (well what do you expect from a family of architects and designers?) It is an awesome house with fantastic views over the city. It needs plenty of work, however my brother and his wife wanted a project and they certainly have one.
They may let me feature some of their house on the blog, however, for the meantime here are some cool inspirational interiors that I think they would like - they already have the white Eames dining chairs so they're off to a stylish start...
Photographs by Patric Johansson.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I am escaping this weekend and heading out of town with some good friends. So to get in the mood, here is a sweet guest house in Los Feliz designed by LA based designer, Alexandra Angle. She has combined Scandinavian pieces with a fresh Californian aesthetic.
Have a good weekend all.
Photographs via Remodelista.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stylish Swedish Apartment

Here is another cool Scandinavian apartment - what I especially like about this one is the interesting colour of the kitchen. It is a muted mint-green-grey and it works fantastically with the rest of the interiors. I think it is great when people are willing to make interesting choices and make it work so well.
Photographs by Petra Bindel for Elle Interior Sweden via 79 Ideas

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mother's Day from Minty & Co.

The cult classic Smith's Rosebud Salve and Minted Rose Lip Balm- a perfect little gift for your Mum.

The exquiste poetry book A Once Courageous Heart by Kylie Johnson.

Beautiful pages from the book...

Don't forget that it is Mother's Day on Sunday 13th of May - which, at the speed that this year has been going by, will be here before you know it.
Here are two great gift ideas from Minty & Co for your lovely Mums. They would love the gorgeous Smith's Rosebud Salve or the Smith's Minted Rose Lip Balm (my favourite). I was introduced to the Rosebud Perfume Company when a friend gifted me the Minted Rose Lip Balm from his trip to the USA. The Rosebud Salve is the flagship product from Rosebud Perfume Company (still a family owned business) and is a true beauty classic. It has been around since 1895.
Also available from Minty & Co is the exquiste book, Once a Courageous Heart by Kylie Johnson.  This book is a collection of poetry bound in a rich dark brown cloth and printed on beautiful cream paper. The text is in brown and blue and features original illustrations. It is truly a unique book.
Minty & Co will giftwrap these Mother Day's gifts for you - shop at Minty & Co here.
Photographs via Minty & Co.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fabric Head-Board

Last week I was looking at fabric head-boards for a client of mine. We have a fantastic patterned fabric that we like and if we go ahead with this option, we would keep the head-board style simple so to let the fabric shine.
I'm liking this bedroom with its own unique fabric head-board - the room has an overall grand style yet is still simple. Love the colours too.
Photograph by Petra Bindel for Elle.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Contribution Post: La Boca Loca by Christine Martin

Today we have a Contribution Post! Welcome to Christine Martin, who recently travelled to Wellington and visited the cool Mexican eatery in Miramar, La Boca Loca.
Martin is a traveller, who has experienced living in many countries so she has a good understanding of global inspired spaces. Read and enjoy the following interview to learn more about the design of La Boca Loca.
We'll also learn more about Martin soon!

Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, has a lot of things going for it. Culture. Arts. Breathtaking natural scenery. And then, there’s the culinary scene. Downtown has several selections of fine restaurants. However, drive a few minutes and you’re in Miramar, the suburban home of Weta Digital, effects magic making company that worked on great films such as Lord of the Rings, King Kong, District 9 and Lovely Bones. Here, you will also find La Boca Loca, a fantastic Mexican restaurant with a fresh style.

Coming up on its first year since opening, LBL has become a favorite among Miramar locals and folks driving in from other areas of Wellington. The layout is divided into a more casual side where an open kitchen delights customers as they sit on colorful,custom-made Octo stools and a more “formal” dining side with an assortment of seating areas: booths, chairs, and high stools at the bar. Additionally, there is a small back patio which, on a sunny day, is perfect for having guacamole and a margarita.

I not only had the opportunity to visit LBL (3 times in one week, the food is THAT good), I had the chance to interview owner, Lucas Putnam, about the space’s interior design.

1. What was your inspiration for creating LBL?

I grew up eating great Mexican food in California. There isn’t much of it in New Zealand so I wanted to share the experience with my new home. I started out cooking a lot of it on my own and the recipes of Rick Bayless of the Frontera Grill in Chicago were the stepping stone to the food we now create at La Boca Loca. Also, I work with a lot of expats from the USA at Weta Digital. Every time someone new would start they would ask, “where can I get good Mexican food”? I got kind of tired of hearing the question, so I thought I would just answer it myself.

2. What did you consider when coming up with the interior design?

We wanted to create a warm and lively atmosphere that wasn’t completely covered in the kitsch of Mexican artifacts. We sourced a few books from the library about Mexican kitchens and Mexican architecture. The mix of traditional and modern styles was one of our main influences. We tried to keep it simple and comfortable with clean lines, natural wood, bright colours and funky lighting. I think we have achieved that ethos. We also wanted to transport people out of the suburb of Miramar, not just with the food but with the feel of the place.

3. Did you have assistance with the design? If so, who?

My partner, Marianne, of course; we did a fair amount of traveling and a fair amount of research to come up with the layout and style. Also, Tanya Shearer-Gilbert. She came up with a lot of the design for us; especially the colours and the lighting, which I think really stand out.

4. How would you describe the style/vibe of LBL?

It’s comfortable and comforting, kind of like something your would find in Santa Barbara or parts of Oakland and Berkeley, California. We mix a casual atmosphere with an attention to great food and great service that you don’t get very often. It’s hard work, and expensive to keep up but it is worth it when you see how much people enjoy the food and the high level of service. It’s still fast and affordable food, but it’s not a fast food restaurant, nor is it simple Mexican cuisine. It’s regional, seasonal, mostly organic and free range, sustainable, extensive and made by hand every day. The style is a bit eclectic, but not too cluttered. We have a lot of natural wood, mostly recycled and bright colours splashed around. It creates that warmth that makes me think of Mexico and California. We’ve got an open kitchen so it’s an immersive experience, you see the chefs at work right when you step in the door. You smell the food, you feel the heat from the kitchen. Again, it’s what makes me think Mexico.

5. What do you think is the greatest influence in creating mood in your space?

It’s definitely the colours, the natural wood, and the lighting. Tanya found some great second hand lighting that has that rustic/modern mix to it and she also created some great light shades out of colourful Mexican blankets. We went with fairly bold colour choices, orange, yellow, bright blue. It’s not typical for this area and it stands out. It transports you.

6. Where did you find the accessories?

Some we found second hand, recycled, some we had made, some we bought online and some we sourced on travels to the states.
We also didn’t decorate everything right away. We did kind of ran out of money, so this wasn’t just a stylistic choice, it was necessity. It forced us to grow into the space we had created and I think it is a great way to go, especially for me since it is my first restaurant. It was such an intense fit out, with a lot of construction involved, it became a brand new space by the time we finished it, so we essentially moved into a new home and had to start decorating it. Which was great, we had a blank canvas. We got some great stuff brought over to us from Mexico by our chef, Christopher Martinez, and his wife, Monica. We have been sprinkling them around the place as well. A few great photos came from them too which we blew up large and framed for decoration. This was complimented by Mexican movie posters sourced from the USA. We’ve got a few funky art pieces by some local artist friends and a few great posters that were done by a few friends as well. On one trip to Napa (my home town) we stopped in at Rancho Gordo to talk beans and get supplies, they had just sourced some fantastic hand made ollas (pans) from Mexico. I bought one, filled it with chilies and hot sauces and wrapped it in bubble wrap and carried it with me onto the plane. Marianne and I have done a fair amount of that kind of sourcing; packing those bags to come home is an art form in itself.

7. If a song represented the space of LBL, what would it be?

Chris, (advising chef), will probably kill me for this but I think Bongo Bong by Manu Chao. It’s a really fun song. Like much of Manu Chao’s music, it mixes styles, backgrounds, and influences and makes me want to dance; it also makes me smile because it’s a song about a cheeky monkey.

Interview and photographs used with permission by Christine Martin.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pale Timber

Here is some Scandi styling by Lotta Agaton with pale timber as the focus. I think the timber looks great in the kitchen (image 3) with the marble splashback - this gives contrast, adds some warmth next to the cool and the different grains working together.
Photographs by Petra Bindel, Styled by Lotta Agaton.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Green Chevron

Here is a great bathroom with its eye catching chevron patterned tiles. The only thing I worry about when I see a basin on just a bench top is where is the storage? Rather essential, don't you think?
Photograph by David Tsay, styled by Emily Henderson.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cool and Fashionable Office

 Refinery 29's warm and inviting reception area

Informal meeting area

Meeting area

Open office desks with pinboards to pin up inspirations and images

Meeting area with whiteboards walls
This is one cool office and it belongs to popular fashion website, Refinery29. Created for a team of 70 people, the office has a professional office layout which is soften with warm and relaxed touches. By using details like rugs, stylish yet comfortable furniture, plants, feature lighting, write-able walls and pinboards, it allows the office to lose the stiff corporate feel that many offices can have and creates an environment open to creativity. This design really suits the fashion focus company that Refinery29 is. Read more about it here.
Photographs by Ingalls Photography via Design Sponge.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Inspiration Profile - Kim Johnson & Jo Walker

Welcome to our latest Inspiration Profile - we have the lovely (and very busy) ladies, Kim Johnson and Jo Walker. One lives in Australia, the other in Canada and it was their shared passion of interior design that brought them together. They are still to meet face to face, yet they work together and are the creators of the successful Desire to Inspire.

The Desire to Inspire team - Jo Walker and Kim Johnson

Jo Walker

Kim Johnson

Name: Jo Walker and Kim Johnson
What do you do:
Jo: Too much! I work for a government homeless health outreach team to pay the bills and salve my conscious. I am a blogger, interior designer and soon to be e-retailer in my other life.
Kim: By day I work for the Canadian federal government as a supervisor of a web development team. By night I am an interior design and fashion blogger (Kim also produces Closet Rivalry with her sister, Jen). 
Where do you live:
Jo: Ipswich, Australia
Kim: Ottawa, Canada
What are you working on:
Jo: My blog Desire to Inspire, my next painting, restoring several pieces of industrial furniture and my new online store Faded Empire, opening soon.
Kim: The day job and blogging keeps me super busy, but I am working on a huge personal project. I am in the process of working with an architect to get some plans going on a new house (we’ll be tearing down our existing house and rebuilding).

Home of Jo Walker

Jo's office - where she makes Desire to Inspire happen.

Who/what inspires me:
Jo: Australian stylist Megan Morton, interior designer Greg Natale, architect Scott Weston and my blog partner Kim Johnson. Creativity, originality, larrikinism and not taking things too seriously.
Kim: All of the super-talented photographers (ie. Katarina Malmström Brown, Paul Raeside, Graham Atkins-Hughes, stylists (ie. Lili Diallo, Selina Lake, Twig Hutchinson), designers (Kelly Wearstler, Vicente Wolf, Uxus Design, Roman and Williams) architects (NORM, Messana O'Rouke, Fearon Hay) and our readers whose work and spaces we have featured over the past 5 years always inspire me. All of the design books and shelter magazines I read are also huge sources of inspiration for me.
I work best:
Jo: very early morning. I like to see the dawn. And when I'm under pressure. Nothing like leaving things to the last minute. My best work at university was created the night before the design presentation.
Kim: Mornings, with a second cup of coffee.
What I do when I’m stuck for inspiration:
Jo: restore furniture, paint, surf the net and take my mind off whatever I should/need to be doing. Escape is the best creative tonic.
Kim: One of 3 things – scour my favourite interior design blog, flip through the hundreds and hundreds of shelter mags or books I have stashed, or go shopping
The best advice I have been given is:
Jo: Life is too short … just do it. Did I just write that after saying that I do my best work by procrastinating until the last minute ;)
Kim: Don’t follow trends – follow your heart!
My latest discovery is:
Jo: Kashmiri hand embroidered rugs. They’ll be in my e-store soon. We’re working on using them for upholstery on our furniture as well.
Kim: It’s a toss-up between the amazing sound from my new Tivoli radio (gotta have tunes in the kitchen) and the incredible comfort level of my new Green Light District lounge chair.
Kim's home - soon to be pulled down to make way for a new and bigger home.

Kim's kitchen/office - where she makes Desire to Inspire happen.
Books that I get inspiration from:
Jo: Retro interior design books. I have dozens and dozens. If it is loud, gaudy, shagpile, orange or plaid I lap it up.
Kim: A Girl’s Guide to Decorating by Abigail Ahern, Black & White (and a bit in between) by Celerie Kemble,
Details by Lili Diallo, Modern Vintage Style by Emily Chalmers, Simply Scandinavian by Sara Norrman, Pale & Interesting by Atlanta Bartlett & Dave Coote.
Magazines that inspire me:
Jo: Inside Out, Livingetc, Elle Decoration (English), Nuevo Estilo (Spanish)
Kim: Canadian House & Home, Style At Home, Elle Decoration, Living Etc., Dwell
Blogs that I enjoy:
My favourite room at home is:
Jo: My bedroom. I find the black walls so soothing and serene and the colour makes everything look so good.
Kim: My office/kitchen/dining room. My dining table is in the middle of my kitchen (my house is very small and has no separate dining room) and because the office (a really badly executed addition at the back of my house) is not at all insulated, I am relegated to one end of the dining table to do my blogging/web surfing. I quite like it. It’s in the center of the house, I’m close to the fridge and the space is open to the living room so I can watch TV at the same time. I can check on dinner in the oven without moving anything but one arm!
My office is:
Jo: Wherever my computer is.
Kim: (see above). When we build our new house there will be (or at least there better be) a large, open office space for my husband and I with lots of light and space, with hopefully room for bookcases, and a separate table and chairs to spread out work/read/etc.
What am I looking forward to:
Jo: My new online store opening soon. And my next 50 years.
Kim: Building this new house I keep mentioning. Living in a 925 sq ft house with my husband and 7 cats and with the 2 of us being far from minimalists, it’s getting to be too much of a nuisance to not have adequate space. And our house is just filled with things that are not up to par – windows that we have to cover in plastic in the winter to save on heating costs, exterior doors that don’t seal properly, a basement that leaks every time it rains even slightly….I could go on and on…..
I have to also mention that there is one other thing…after 5.5 years or so of knowing my blog partner and dear friend Jo, I am REALLY looking forward to finally meeting her face to face one day.
Want to find out more about out Desire to Inspire? Read their blog here, find their Facebook page here or follow them on Twitter here.
Images from Faded Empire - opening soon.
All photographs used with permission by Jo Walker and Kim Johnson from Desire to Inspire.