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interiors

Fashion

Sneak a peek inside my wardrobe and how I keep it organised

22nd March, 2017

I used to have the luxury of using a spare room in our house as a wardrobe however I’ve since had to cull things down a lot and keep it confined to a set of cupboards and drawers. This definitely called for some serious organisation on my part. Whilst it was quite a mammoth task to get everything into a smaller space it was certainly very cathartic to do an edit of everything I owned and to see the more organised finished product. When it comes to my wardrobe having a system is key as I find it helps to make it so much easier to get out the door in the morning. Here’s how I do it:

Categorise everything

I make sure to separate everything into different categories – I put jumpers with jumpers, skirts with skirts and pants with pants so I know which section I need to look at when I’m after something. If everything is just in random piles I will never be able to find what I’m after.

Segregate into seasons

I put my out of season clothes in storage so it doesn’t take up valuable real estate in my wardrobe. When it’s summer I put away all my coats and winter clothes and vice versa. I find this also helps me to see what I have to wear during a particular season without being overwhelmed by everything else I own. Also, so my out of season clothes don’t take up valuable storage space in the house, I put them in vacuum sealed bags. This is also helps protect them whilst they’re out of action for a few months.

Introduce a go-to section

I hate having to rummage through the rest of my clothes when I’m pulling things out that I use on a regular basis so to get around this I make sure to put all the clothes I use a lot in one section. This includes my jeans, leather pants, black blazer, a white shirt and all my white t-shirts as I wear them the most. I have about seven different looks that are my go-to so I keep them in an area that is easily accessible so I don’t mess everything up.

I have the same system with my shoes. I put the ones I wear the most at the front of my cupboard and the ones I wear the least further back so I don’t have to pull everything out when I’m trying to get to them.

Invest in matching hangers

I threw away all my wire hangers and invested in black Ikea hangers to keep everything in my cupboard uniform. It keeps everything looking neater and it makes me feel like I’m browsing through a boutique whenever I’m looking at my wardrobe.

Keep accessories in the one spot

I keep things like my sunglasses, jewellery and hair accessories in the one easy to access drawer so they’re easy to view at a glance and I know exactly where they are. I find if I have them in different spots I’m more likely to forget where everything is thus adding more time to my getting ready time in the morning. When it comes to the accessories I use the most, I pop them in a small bag which I know I can easily grab if I am going away.

The great thing with having an organised wardrobe is it encourages me to stay organised as not only does it feel nice to look at a tidy space it also helps me to keep track of where everything is. I’ve also found that by having a system it doesn’t matter how much closet space I have, everything is guaranteed to have a home.

Tell me – what are some of your best wardrobe organisation tips?

Photography: Sophia Athas

Lifestyle

Styling Grace’s Nursery

15th March, 2017

As anyone who is expecting a baby can attest, decorating a nursery is one of the more fun aspects of being pregnant. Just the sheer possibility that awaits when styling a blank space for your impending progeny is definitely a highlight, especially when you’re about to become a mum for the first time. I adored putting together both Sophia and Grace’s nurseries. Whilst Sophia’s space has definitely changed now she’s a toddler (stay tuned for an upcoming post on Sophia’s room) I also didn’t just want to replicate it for Grace’s room as I wanted her to have something uniquely her own. I loved sourcing different pieces Grace’s room and incorporating little trinkets and gifts from friends to create a cosy and inviting nursery. Here are some of my tips for putting together a nursery you and your baby will love spending time in…

Start with a neutral palette

I started with a neutral palette of whites and greys as it’s an easy colour scheme to build on. I wanted soft shades rather than super bright colours as I wanted to create a really simple, yet cosy space for Grace and something quite soothing to be in (we would inevitably be spending a lot of time in there after all). The aim was to keep it light and airy so everything from her cot to chest of drawers is all white.

Use soft colour accents

To brighten up the space I added touches of soft pastel pink whether it be in the form of a stuffed toy or blanket. It helped to give the room a little personality and also some feminine touches. If you’re having a boy you could always add soft blues or yellow if you want to keep it quite neutral. That said, if you want to use pink in a boy’s room or blue in a girl’s room then go for it!

Add personal keepsakes throughout

I love adding little trinkets throughout the girls’ rooms such as gifts from friends and family to really personalise their rooms. It makes it a really special space as it’s like having a presence from all the important people in their lives dotted around the room.

Mix and match

I love shopping at places like Pottery Barn and Jacadi for things such as furniture and accessories as they have such a great range to choose from plus the quality is great so I know it will be able to grow along with girls. There’s a Jacadi playmat that I used with Sophia that Grace is now using and it still looks great. You don’t have to spend a fortune on outfitting a nursery but buy the best quality furniture that your budget will allow. It’s also worth keeping an eye out in your favourite interiors stores for other things such as lamps and frames as you don’t need to shop at kid-specific brands for those decorative elements.

Don’t over clutter

I like to keep a really tight edit of everything in Grace’s nursery to avoid it looking too cluttered and busy. I make sure that everything on display are things that I think really add something to the space. When you’re expecting you’ll find you’re often gifted so many things but it’s important to remember that you don’t always have to put everything out on show. Keep the room quite streamlined. Even if you’ve got numerous stuffed toys on your hands, choose the three that you like and store everything else away for playtime.

Display pretty things

Whilst I’ve got prints hung up on the walls I’ve also got a beautiful tutu and star bunting hanging up in Grace’s room as decorative accents to brighten up the walls. I also keep her adorable shoes on show because they’re so cute. And instead of hiding away things like knitted blankets and wraps, I’ve chosen to dot them around the room. Whilst I mentioned above that it’s important to keep a tight edit of things in the room there are just some things that are simply too pretty to hide away! When in doubt just ask yourself if it adds to the room. You’ll know by the answer whether it’s something to display or not.

Sneak a peek at the rest of Grace’s nursery below…

Photography: Sophia Athas

 

Lifestyle

My tips for decorating a home when you have kids

27th February, 2017

As most people with kids will attest, decorating a home comes with its own new considerations once little ones enter the picture. Everything from sticky fingers being wiped down on the couch to trying to grab everything in sight means that you have to take these things into account with your colour scheme, your furniture and home decors. Of course, having older children gives you a little more freedom to decorate as you wish but when it comes to younger kids, this is what I’ve learned…

Go for colours that camouflage

Most of our home features slightly darker earthy tones such as brown or beige which I find hides dirt a little better. Also our carpet has greys and beiges in it and our outdoor furniture is navy so both hide dirt quite well.

Go for durable fabrics

I have friends who have white couches and small kids and I honestly don’t know how they do it. We have a couch made from a durable earthy toned fabric and the pillows are made from quite a similar material so this helps to avoid the couch looking worse for wear. When it comes to the furniture in our home everything is quite neutral and quite durable so I always consider those things when I’m buying anything for the house.

Invest in baskets

I never used to have baskets around the house but now I love them as they’re great for storing (or hiding!) things like toys and pillows in a hurry. This is a lifesaver when guests pop around unexpectedly and I need to quickly tidy the house.

Do a big edit of ornaments

I still like having decorative bits and pieces around the house but I’ve done a big edit so I only have the pieces I really love dotted around our home. This makes it easier to keep track of them as the girls are quite curious and love picking things up and playing with them.

Choose neutral kids’ furniture

We live in an apartment so the kids’ space is our space so I feel like the kids’ stuff has to blend in with our stuff. I find children’s furniture can be really bright which tends to be a little bit of an eyesore so we try to get furniture that is neutral so we’ll get white or blonde wood rather than bold colours such as reds, blues or greens. Sophia has a little canvas teepee but it’s made from a light canvas material and has wooden poles rather than fluoro which teepees commonly come in. Also the stool that she uses at the bench I got it in white as opposed to blue or red and their little table and chairs are white.

 

Lifestyle

Designing my ideal living space

10th January, 2017

I recently teamed up with King Living as part of their series, The Room Project to create a space that reflected my style. I opted to create contemporary ‘Hamptons’ inspired space, featuring the King Living modular Plaza sofa dressed in the luxurious Palm Beach Whitewash fabric as the main feature and feminine touches throughout. When it comes to the interior of my home I love monochrome. I opted for a sofa in a neutral tone, using black and white accessories whilst introducing some softness into the space with subtle pastel blue and blush tone cushions.

An occasional chair is the perfect opportunity to make a style statement so I chose to add the King Living Seymour chair in a gorgeous pastel blue, textural fabric in the room to complement the hues I had chosen for the cushions. To showcase some of my favourite coffee table books, I used the chic, streamline Miss Coffee Table. As a finishing touch I decided to add some flowers (I adore roses and hydrangeas for any room in my home) to brighten up the area.

I feel art is really important in a space, so I went with a black and white horse photographic print, which I feel brings great energy to the room. In addition I dotted some gold details throughout, such as gold vases to give the room a luxe contemporary feel. The end result was a gorgeous space that I could happily spend time with my family as well as being a sophisticated area I’d be proud to have in my home.

Check out behind the scenes of the shoot:

 

Lifestyle, Shop

Christmas decorating with Etsy

13th December, 2016

One of my favourite parts about Christmas is decorating and now having both Sophia and Grace, it’s nice to be able to make our home as festive as possible for them. At the same time I also like decorations to complement the interior of our home and this is where Etsy has come in handy. For anyone who has ever lost a few hours trawling all the beautiful crafts and homewares on the site you’ll know that it’s the perfect spot to find just the right decorations to suit any taste or budget. I’ve stocked up on a few things so I’m now all set to add some festive touches to our home and here are some of the top tips I’ve picked up along the way…

You don’t have to stick to Christmas colours

Red and green are synonymous with Christmas but they’re not exactly hues that will work with every home colour scheme. I am all about neutral tones and I’ve found that Etsy have some great Christmas decors in that colour palette that will look ideal with the rest of my house. Don’t be afraid to step away from the traditional Christmas hues for something a bit different.

Find things that you can use all year

If you use a white table cloth or decorations in gold such as gilded cutlery for your Christmas table it can be reused throughout the year so it’s not just limited to a single season. However adding elements such as kraft paper Christmas crackers will ensure you maintain the festive vibe.

Add personal touches

I love anything that’s personalised so am planning to extend it to my Christmas decorations. For example personalised name cards are a great addition to a festive table and is something that guests can take home as a souvenir. A Christmas plate with your kids’ names or glassware are also a nice way to add a personalised festive touch. Christmas gift stickers with your name are also a great for turning ordinary wrapping into something a bit more special. Also make sure to think outside the box when it comes to decorations – I found the personalised tags below in the Etsy wedding section!

You don’t have to go big to make an impact

I live in an apartment so I don’t want massive decorations that I have to store for the rest of the year. I like small things that still give the Christmas effect and give a visual impact without taking up too much room. This is where cute Christmas tree ornaments or a rustic wreath or garland can work around the home. The difficult part is just deciding which ones to buy!

Lifestyle, Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Neale Whitaker

13th November, 2016
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The Block Judge, Neale Whitaker and I catch up at the Lexus Design Pavilion

 

Neale Whitaker is a judge on television’s The Block – which airs its season finale on November 13 – and editor of Vogue Living. Whitaker, 54, talks to me about the most frustrating part of being a Block judge, what makes him cringe, and his top tip to quickly rejuvenate any home.

Who do you think will win tonight’s finale? 

Ah, that’s a tough one. The judges don’t have the best form in picking the winner! Auction day is unpredictable and there are so many variables  – the auction order, the reserve prices and basically the depth of the potential buyers’ pockets. All of the apartments offer the luxury of space and an opportunity to live in a heritage building that’s been restored with integrity.

What has been your favourite room from this season and why?

Kim and Chris [Elliot] delivered the ultimate master bedroom with the proportions of a luxury hotel suite. I loved Julia [Treuel] and Sasha [Wright-Neville’s] kitchen, and Will and Karlie’s master bedroom with the wooden panelling was pretty special.

What have you learnt from being a judge?

From the contestants I’ve learned the importance of budget, careful planning and understanding your potential market. From my fellow judges, I’ve learned to see things through an interior designer’s eye – it’s far more detailed than a magazine editor’s eye.

What is the most frustrating element of being a judge on The Block?

When the contestants don’t take our advice and believe they’re being victimised. They’re not! We always try to be constructive and our advice is based on experience and knowledge. We want them to win, not lose.

Why do you think renovating shows have become so popular? 

We’re a nation obsessed with real estate, so the renovation frenzy feels like a logical progression. Renovating is achievable – it’s something we can do to improve our lives and increase the value of our property. There’s definitely a competitive edge there, too, regardless of whether you’re on The Block!

After so many seasons, do room reveals still excite you?

Yes they do! I guess the day they don’t will be the day to hang up my judge’s hat. There is always that sense of the unexpected and of anticipation based on what was delivered the previous week and the advice we offered.

When there is backlash on social media against you, how do you deal with this? 

You have to take it on the chin. That’s all you can do. Or maybe not look. What did Taylor Swift say? “Haters gonna hate.”

How would you describe your own interior style preferences?

It’s a terribly overused word, but eclectic. [My partner] David [Novak-Piper] and I like such a mix of styles and periods but we get a lot of pleasure out of making them all work together to create a home.

What trends make you cringe?

Trends generally make me cringe. That might sound like a strange thing for a magazine editor to say but I believe a home is a really personal thing. I would never buy – or encourage someone to buy – anything simply because it’s on trend.

What is your best advice for first-time renovators?

Plan, budget, plan, budget and then plan again. Just be really sure about what you want to achieve from the renovations. Is it for you or for resale? Be prepared for the renovations to take longer than anticipated and budget for 25 to 30 per cent more than you think you will need.

What are the most popular interior trends at the moment?

Don’t talk to me about trends [laughs]! But, realistically, we’re seeing a lot more colour at the moment and a real emphasis on anything hand-made and hand-crafted. I think we’re also seeing more confidence to mix things up. We’re starting to realise that it’s OK to be individual.

What is a quick fix to rejuvenate your home? 

A new rug is always the best fix for me. When you walk into a room, what’s on the floor is the first thing you register. And think about changing your art and adding a wall mirror. It can double the size of a room. New bed linen is [also] an amazing pick-me-up.

What is a day in the life of you?

Juggling! My main priority is editing Vogue Living, so most days will find me in the office with the editorial team, but I somehow manage to squeeze in quite a few other activities like emceeing and public speaking. Most evenings will find me at industry events, and when we’re filming The Block, I’m in Melbourne every Sunday. Life’s busy.

What led you down this career path? 

Life! I started in the fashion industry, moved into publishing, moved from the UK to Australia [in 1999] and then moved from food magazines to interior design magazines. That’s when I knew I’d found the place where I wanted to be. And then I stumbled into TV! I’ve been very lucky and I’m very grateful for the opportunities that have come my way.

You were an editor of Belle Magazine and now editor at Vogue Living. How has your role evolved? 

A magazine editor’s role is always evolving. Learning to harness the power of digital and social media is challenging and exciting. That’s not something I really had to worry about in my previous role.

What has been your greatest career achievement so far? 

I’m proud of many of the things I’ve achieved in my career. Perhaps I’m proudest of my longevity and managing to stay relevant. I hope I can keep doing that.

D’Marge named you as one of the most stylish men in Australia. What is your style secret?

I’m sorry to say I don’t really have one! I think my personal style is very understated, quite classic, and intuitive. At 54, I feel I know what suits me and I tend to stick with it.

What is your favourite room in your Surry Hills home?

The kitchen – it’s totally where we live our life! And it will be again in the new apartment we’re just about to move to in Alexandria.

Where is your favourite travel destination when you want to escape from Sydney? 

That’s easy. The south coast of NSW. It’s where I recharge and where I feel the most relaxed. I call it my “happy place”.

What are your plans for the holiday season? 

Our favourite thing is a road trip. We love to put our dogs in the car [weimaraners Otis and Ollie] and head off. This year we’re heading to country Victoria for Christmas, then back home via Melbourne and the NSW South Coast.

What is next for you? 

Whatever comes next! I’m enjoying the opportunities that are coming my way but I would love to do more TV. It’s such a powerful way of communicating. Watch this space – that’s all I’m saying!

The Block season finale airs on Sunday, November 13, at 7pm on Channel 9.  

BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO The Lexus Design Pavilion, Flemington.
WE ATE Raw striped trumpeter with salted turnip, mustard & horseradish
WE DRANK Matua Valley Lands & Legends Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ
NEALE WORE  MJ Bale jacket, shirt and white jeans; P. Johnson Tailors tie and RM Williams boots. 
Fashion, Lifestyle, Shop

The one thing I always have in my home

28th July, 2016
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Candles aplenty at the Jo Malone “Just Because” dinner I hosted earlier this year

If there’s one thing my house is never without it’s a beautifully scented candle. I love having one burning in the background as there’s something quite luxurious about a gorgeous fragrance filling up your home (note: this is why I always have one burning when I have visitors over). A candle also adds warmth to any space which makes it a simple way to decorate a room. There’s no shortage of wonderful candles out there. And there’s definitely one to suit every taste and budget.

Check out some of my top picks below…

 

 

Tip: Candles usually come poured into a perfectly re-usable glass or metal jar so when you’ve used one up be sure to repurpose its home; you can use it for everything from a makeup brush holder to a vase.

To clean out the jar simply pop it in the freezer so the wax hardens. Once frozen take it out and scrape out the excess wax and wick which should leave you with an empty jar. If you’re removing the label, using a hairdryer, blast hot air over the jar to melt the glue, peel off the label then run it under hot water to clean the sticky residue.

Lifestyle

Decorating inspiration from the Lexus Design Pavilion

6th November, 2015

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During Derby Day and Melbourne Cup I spend most of my time at the Lexus Design Pavilion and each year it’s so beautifully styled and the interiors are so incredible that I always walk away with lots of design inspiration. This year’s Lexus Design Pavilion is based on a ‘Journey of the Senses.’ The theme was inspired by the theme of Lexus’ presentation at Milan Design Week 2015. Lexus collaborated with a stable of world-class creatives including Joost Bakker, Mim Design Studio, Ben Shewry, Dan Hong and Georgie Seccull. Guests of Lexus enjoyed the luxury experience through custom created sound scapes, scents, striking visual aspects and of course, taste. These pics give you a bit of an idea of how stunning the space was and these are some of the tips I took away from this year’s space.

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1. Don’t be afraid of colour

The gorgeous mint and forest green tones used on the dining chairs and banquette seating in the pavilion provided a great contrast to the white tones throughout. Sometimes it pays to be a little bit adventurous in your colour selections to give a room some personality.

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2. Use flowers unexpectedly

The tulip flower installation throughout the space was amazing. Suspending tulips from the ceiling all throughout was definitely striking and a great way to decorate a room in an unconventional way.

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3. Mix textures

The different textures throughout the room, including the stunning marble gave the room a luxe feel. Using multiple bowls was also a great way to decorate and is easily achieved at home.
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4. White on white

Much like white on white is a fail-safe option when it comes to fashion, white is is also a great way to keep a room fresh and inviting and gives the illusion of space. The touches of colour with the flooring and flowers gave it just the right amount of personality.

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5. Find a statement piece

The amazing butterfly wall art was a talking point for many guests. While you might not be able to recreate something quite so intricate at home, it’s a good lesson in the fact that you can dress up a wall by simply finding one stand out piece and letting it do the talking.

Photography: Earl Carter