Vive le Outdoors!

outdoor rooms.jpg

In New Zealand we have a climate that allows us to enjoy outdoor living for much of the year. As we move into Spring its time to think about reclaiming our outdoor spaces and preparing them for sun-filled days and warm evenings that last well into late Autumn.

My approach when designing an outdoor room is dependent on the relationship to the home and whether or not the indoors and outdoors connect seamlessly. The architecture, purpose and lifestyle of the client all inform how the space is designed and furnished.

Outdoor rooms become important components of our homes so its worth the investment of good quality furniture that will last. Good outdoor furniture is expensive, so it needs to pass the “test of time” criteria. Leading designers in Europe and the USA are responsible for much of the top imported outdoor furniture available here. Our own furniture designers are stepping up with new ranges being released to the market this year that are raising the bar.

Outdoor furniture comes in as many configurations as the interior models. Sofas, arm chairs, low tables, dining tables and chairs, sun loungers, and day beds. There is a solution for every situation and spaces can be multi purpose.

Another great addition is an outdoor rug to define the area. There are a multitude of hard wearing synthetic rugs that are ideal for creating a softening island to center an outdoor furniture setting on.

Five top tips for perfecting outdoor rooms

  1. Use the same colour palette and a sympathetic style of furniture to your interiors so that the outdoor room is cohesive with the rest of your home.

  2. Think about textural interest in the pieces you choose. Contrast creates interest.

  3. Design for the space you have and scale the size of the furniture accordingly.

  4. Ensure that all the seating is comfortable and well laid out for ease of conversation. No more than three metres between mouths.

  5. Pay attention to the durability of the fabrics.

Contact Yvette on 09 376 9323 to discuss your outdoor room project.


Renovating bathrooms successfully


Bathrooms should be a place of sanctuary and retreat, not just a utilitarian space.

Turning a tired and poorly designed bathroom into a beautiful and functional space can be more challenging than starting from scratch in a new build. However, some of the more rewarding bathroom renovations have been when we have had to work with existing parameters, and have transformed a dated and non-functional bathroom into something special and inspiring.

Its usually, but not always better to leave the plumbing where it is, especially in apartments. But if we think its important to move things around if structure and budget allow to gain greater potential from the space we will push to maximise the design.

You can never isolate the bathroom for the rest of the home aesthetically, so renovations must be in keeping with the existing design language. A sense of cohesion with the architecture and interiors is very important.

Having said that, we love making powder rooms a surprising and delightful experience….there is always room for artistic license and a WOW moment!

Five top bathroom renovations benefits we provide for our clients

  1. Increase the homes value. Improving the function and style of your bathroom will add value to your home and appeal to buyers should you decide to sell later.

  2. Save on monthly household bills. Replacing leaky taps and old toilets, inefficient lighting and heating with energy efficient and water efficient fittings will save on utility costs long term.

  3. Opportunity to reduce clutter with smart storage designs that maximise the available space with the room.

  4. Update the look and feel of the room and breath new life into every day activities. Get the lighting mix right, task and ambient lighting to cater for all the activities that take place.

  5. Become a personal, peaceful oasis that really increase your own enjoyment of your home.

Contact Yvette on 09 376 9323 to discuss your bathroom project.


Designing a sophisticated casual dining room

Images sourced from Pinterest.

Images sourced from Pinterest.

The dining room in any home is a convivial space to share meals with family and friends, engage in deep and meaningful conversations and interact on a daily basis. Casual dining rooms are often located within a larger open-plan area, nestled between busy kitchens and living rooms. The challenge with open plan is to create a sense of intimacy, an invisible perimeter that defines and separates the area, giving a sense of calm and an inviting place to pause.

Successful dining areas create an island of furniture and furnishings within the larger space, layer upon layer, from the floor up.


Rugs visually define an area, and add a layer of textural interest. A rug should complement the surround finishes, and it needs to be large enough to allow chairs to be moved back from a table (when guests are taking or leaving their seats) and still remain within the rug’s perimeter. Care should be taken in selecting the composition of the rug’s weave, to survive wear from chair legs and allow for ease of cleaning.

Images sourced from Pinterest.

Images sourced from Pinterest.


These need to be comfortable, and neither too high nor too low in relation to the tabletop. It really is worth test-driving a selection of chairs to find the best fit. Then there is the design of the chair itself. Think about the look of its legs in relation to the table legs: do they complement each other successfully? Timber chairs have a relaxed feel and can be partially upholstered for a smidgen more comfort. Chairs around a table don’t always have to match: carver chairs at either end add a sense of drama, or you could mix it up with stools and benches.


This significant item of furniture commands a lot of attention, so thought needs to be given to the look and materials. Timber is a popular finish, with its warmth and texture and practical surface. There are laminates, scratch-resistant polymers, metal, and concrete options too. It’s important to think about this piece in relation to the other finishes in the kitchen and living areas if it’s in an open-plan area. The floor plan often determines size and shape, and extension tables can be useful for special occasions.

Images sourced from Pinterest.

Images sourced from Pinterest.


The crowning glory to the setting is an eye-catching pendant. Slinging a pendant low over a dining table creates a canopy, heightens the sense of intimacy once seated, and offers the opportunity for more flattering lighting to those sitting at the table. Texture, visual interest, aesthetics and light output all need to be taken into consideration when choosing such an important piece.

Carefully considering these elements and how they relate to each other will enable you to create a comfortable and elegant dining area for years to come.

Contact Yvette on 09 376 9323
to discuss your next project.


The green revolution & playful geometries: Spring 2018

Image: Travelling salon at Salone Del Mobile by Cristina Celestino for Rubelli.

Image: Travelling salon at Salone Del Mobile by Cristina Celestino for Rubelli.

Optimism is the mood for spring 2018, and it is expressed with bold, confident and graphic colour-blocking treatments and a playful, happy design aesthetic. Maximalism of the 1970s is back, but it feels exciting and fresh. The new appeal of the decade of disco, macramé and maximalism may live in the comfort of nostalgia and in people’s need in uncertain times to wrap themselves up in the warm hug of texture and pattern.

Unbridled embellishment is everywhere, including the graduated shading of Ombre, and in more unique treatments including wallpapers, mirrors and marquetry . . . think fringing on furniture and window treatments for true 70’s glam. Globalisation is shrinking difference and distance. Consumers are well travelled and informed and want to show it in their homes. Technology makes everything only a click away. It’s the joyful optimism at the heart of this aesthetic that’s the hero of this new take on the movement.

Green revolution

Biophilia shows no sign of decline – our desire to seek a connection with nature is strong. Think of a profusion of verdant colours inspired by lush foliage. At the Salon Del Mobile earlier this year the integration of plants into installations, furniture and lighting was a strong theme. This follows through with the seamless integration of technology around the home. Kartell’s hybrid I-table transforms from a desk to a cooktop. There is a deeper focus on sustainability, recycling and ethically sourced materials, with the emergence of the circular economy that embraces regenerating products to create less waste.

Images sourced from Pinterest.

Images sourced from Pinterest.


Our transition to more conscious living is reflected in the increasing relevance of green and earth tones. We are still embracing richer palettes, wine reds, dark burgundy, saturated cassis, earthy pink ochres, comforting earthy shades of clay, rust and amber. Timeless beige, minimal grey and linen are coming back as neutral tones to balance alongside the flame reds, richer terracotta, deep blues and water reflection greens and chartreuse.

Images sourced from Pinterest.

Images sourced from Pinterest.

The alternative palette to this is gentle pastels and self-assured neutrals – warm cottons, pale gold, fleshy neutrals, dusky pinks and rose, hemp and pale bronze, desert sage and stonewash blue. These colours sit back; they are soft and quietly composed.

Images sourced from Rubelli.

Images sourced from Rubelli.

New Minimals

Minimalism’s new movement is combining the traditional elegance of Japanese culture with the modern Scandi noir aesthetic – ‘Japandi’. Japan’s sleek and rich colour palette, refined elegance and curves, and accents with screens and vases is a contrast with Scandi rustic details and neutral colours, relaxed farmhouse flair, and accents with blankets, throw pillows and rugs.

Images sourced from Pinterest.

Images sourced from Pinterest.


Voluptuous proportions, playful shapes and an almost human embrace of comfort and softness from marshmallow-like armchairs. The new silhouette is a very circular form.

Images sourced from Pinterest.

Images sourced from Pinterest.


The rise in natural stone, including the tactile texture of travertine and continued prevalence of boldly pigmented, richly veined marbles, used in in fresh and inspiring treatments, along with transparency in the form of delicately coloured and sculpted glass.

Images sourced from Pinterest.

Images sourced from Pinterest.

Contact Yvette on 09 376 9323
to discuss your next project.


Darker wood grains & more comfort: Autumn 2018

Autumn interior colours by Dulux

Autumn 2018 is  all about colour, texture and the boldness. Statement pieces are an exciting trend for the season. Warm, exotic colours mixed with artisanal textured finishes, and large enveloping pieces of furniture or detailed embellishments such as ornate hardware. Think leather drawer pulls, heavy metal curtain rings and rods, brass handles for cabinetry and lighting features.  Maximalism is making its presence felt in 2018 and allows people to express themselves in vibrant and unique ways that Minimalism doesn’t. Image credit: Dulux 2018.


Up the cosiness factor

Expect vibrant oranges, rich plum hues, and warm earthy tones like Terracotta. This rich shade sits in the bronze family, with its touch of orange and a hint of red. It looks great on tactile materials – especially bed linen – along with ceramics and tiles or an architectural feature for dramatic effect . Lighter woods have been on trend for a while, but expect to see more darker woods like mahogany, oak and walnut along with dark veneers.
Think velvets, suedes, and leather for their relaxed and sensual nature. Up the cosiness factor by adding in lashings oversized knitted throws, luxurious velvets, linens and soft woollen rugs and hides layered underfoot for impact. Go all out with a velvet sofa or take baby steps with a jewel toned velvet throw or cushion. Linen is perfect at this time of year. It is hypoallergenic, anti-static, breathable, low maintenance, and its unique soft texture that becomes softer with age. [Images below sourced from Pinterest.]

Autumn textiles

Seek out organic, earthy luxury, raw textures. Think patterns in organic grains, water marks, organic weathering, hand glazed ceramics, worn and weather wood and frayed edges to textile. Embrace the imperfectness of nature and Wabi-sabi. With interiors  this translates to handmade or hand-painted items including rough linens and pottery. The result? A deeply personal, organic aesthetic. Terrazzo is returning. This composite material of broken marble and cement that is polished and smooth. It gives a speckled mosaic look to floors and benches for a maximalist impact…..or a vase as an accent.  [Images below sourced from Pinterest.]

Terrazzo kitchen

Darker wood grains

There is a renewed appreciation for heavy cabinetry, possibly as a move away from open shelving. Rather than stark-white kitchen cabinets, expect to see warm greys, earthy hues and creams, as well as wood grain tones. Statement storage will be a growing trend in 2018. Gone are the days of sacrificing style for function. Versatile pieces like a tamboured buffet are expanding beyond media and dining rooms for creative placement throughout the home. There seems to be a growing desire for high-end organisation in our personal space, a desire for things—and life—to feel pulled together.

Tamboured buffet by  Anthropologie

Tamboured buffet by Anthropologie


Comfort spaces

Everyone is looking for comfort and reassurance, enveloping silhouettes will continue to grow in popularity. Couches will take cues from the boldness of the '70s this season, with sensual, generous curves that liven up your living room and envelope and cocoon.

Curving couch

Image: Parisian apartment interior designed by Joseph Dirand.

Contact Yvette on 09 376 9323
to discuss your next project.


Handcrafted rugs & Italian furniture: Spring 2017

Tide Weave and Horizon Weave Armadillo rugs

Tide Weave and Horizon Weave Armadillo rugs

Moving into Spring is a sure sign that it’s time to think about refreshing and re-energising our homes with colour and textures that herald the summer months.

It’s also when we think about venturing outdoors and reclaiming our outdoor spaces and preparing them for sun-filled days and warm evenings.
It’s timely to note that Maximalism was front and centre at this year’s Milan Design Week. Luxurious materials and textures, ambitious silhouettes, clever details, bold colours and vibrant patterns were to the fore.

These visually enticing and emotionally evocative furnishings are making their presence known here as local design showrooms start releasing their new ranges that celebrate all that is good about this time of year.


Textiles from Seneca

Elitis textiles by Seneca

Elitis textiles by Seneca

Seneca’s showroom Spring Fling in Parnell was a heady display of vibrant colour, beautiful patterns and a myriad of textures.

Fabrics and accessories from Romo Black and Elitis were a treat for the senses. Opulent velvets, soft chenilles, glamorous silks, refined and rumpled linens, tactile wools and metallic effects create a fusion of natural and contemporary qualities.

Patterns and designs had a strong feeling of intertwining layers of the past and present with intricate layering and innovative colouring.

Florals presented a contemporary interpretation of still life paintings, digitally printed with vibrant flashes of colour to enrich the designs.

Elitis textiles by Seneca

Elitis textiles by Seneca

Geometrics were also strong, in the form of patterns seen through a kaleidoscope, random mosaic designs or irregular pixelated patterns. Colours were bold and strong or exotic and evocative.


Outdoor furniture from David Shaw

Teak outdoor suite by Teka

Teak outdoor suite by Teka

David Shaw recently hosted an evening in their Parnell showroom where Duilio Zaffaroni from Roda presented the latest designs and innovations in their outdoor furniture ranges.

This Italian company designs versatile, Mediterranean flavoured outdoor ranges, which focus on high quality and durability. They strive for innovative combinations of natural and high tech materials in their pieces.

Green teak stools by Teka

Green teak stools by Teka

Their Teka range caught my eye, it uses Teak timber for the frames and Canatex fabric for the seats with an excellent choice of finishing details.

The durability and malleability of Teak is crafted into in a prism-shaped geometry that presents a striking form while still maintain a sense of lightness.

It’s a flexible range to use, as it comes in modular sofas, chairs, tables and low tables so can be used in a variety of settings and configurations.


Handcrafted rugs from Armadillo & Co

Armadillo Rugs - Tide Weave Basalt Fog

Armadillo Rugs - Tide Weave Basalt Fog

The Ivy House launched their new Parnell showroom recently which showcases the beautiful artisan range of handcrafted rugs from Armadillo & Co. Their main ranges are made from sustainable natural fibres and wools using Fair Trade practices.

They also offer an Indoor-Outdoor Collection of hard wearing multi-purpose synthetic rugs which are perfect for giving texture and presence to any space.

These rugs are hand woven from 100% recycled polyester fibres while still reflecting the same design aesthetic and textures of the natural fibre rugs.

There are three designs in this range, Horizon (mimicking a simple knitted stitch), Tide (alternating vertical lines in similar shades for discrete patterning) and Quills (echoes the horizontal lines of feathers).

All of these rugs come in a selection of enticing neutral colours and are ideal for creating a softening island to centre an outdoor furniture setting on.

Contact Yvette on 09 376 9323
to discuss your next project.