A dummy’s guide to bedding: Quilts

Bedding can be the most important investment you make in your home; the key to a good night’s sleep is in your bedding choices and I rate a good night’s sleep pretty highly. But with the huge range of choices in the market (and it’s growing every day) it can be really confusing to a novice to know you’re making the right choice. So once a month I will do a feature on bedding and how to choose bedding that’s right for you and your situation.

This month it’s Quilts.

Quilts, doonas, duvets, whatever you want to call them, these are the large fluffy warm covers on your beds which can double as a bed cover and protector. There are many different types these days with different fillings, construction, and purposes.

The first big point about quilts is maintenance; quilts will need washing, airing and care. If not they can be susceptible (like all bedding) to hygiene issues, such as mould, dust mites, bed lice or even scabies. If you don’t know what those are, google at your own peril – it isn’t pretty. If your quilt is washable and your machine can take the size, then wash it thoroughly in boiling water once a month. If your quilt is not washable, it needs to be stuck in direct sunlight at least once a month (if not more). The sun is your natural defence against the nasties I listed above – it will kill off all of them (however if you realise you’re infested with these, I would recommend a complete bedroom overhaul and a trip to the doctor; this advice is purely preventative, and cannot supplement the advice of your gp). On a daily basis, pull back your bedding when you get up and ensure the sun casts onto your bed through your window – let this air out until you’re leaving the house or need to make the bed. Immediately throwing the covers back on will only increase the risk of nasties.

Now with that formality out of the way, lets look at the different types of quilt fillings:

Cotton: This is a great summer quilt. Cotton breathes and doesn’t let you get all hot and bothered, but still has that little bit of weight we like in quilts. In Australia, it’s great from Mid-November to end February for those balmy nights.

Eucalyptus: Some companies are starting to introduce Eucalyptus blends into their quilt ranges. These are a great eco-friendly choice, made from plantation trees (and some companies, like One Choice, promise to plant a new eucalyptus in the wild for every product sold) and natural fibres. They’re great for asthma sufferers and warm sleepers; they suck out the moisture while keeping you warm, so there’s less chance that you’ll end up sweaty or cold.

Polyester: Synthetic materials are far better for the colder months. They’re great because they’re affordable, light and fluffy but very warm. Additionally they’re nearly always machine washable. The only drawback is that they do not breathe at all – so if you’re a hot sleeper prone to sweating, this will only make the problem worse. Great for cold kids though.

Wool: A classic choice for winter and autumn. Woollen quilts, made from natural fibres, breathe and aerate the body, and a lot of people swear by them. However they are quite heavy and compact, so if you want that light and fluffy feeling, wool isn’t your best bet. Only some of these are machine washable, it depends on the maker. But they are a classic choice and most are Australian made.

Feather and Down: This often confuses people as they don’t understand the concept of down. While the feather in the quilt is the actual bird feather with the spine going up it, the down is the fluffy tiny feathers that grow on the bird’s stomach and chest. The percentage of down to feather is important in a quilt: the more down, the warmer, and fluffier it is (and luxurious), the more feather, it will be cooler, crunchier and flatter. Generally also, the more down, the higher the price. Feather and Down quilts generally cannot be washed, only dry cleaned, so they’re not a great choice for kids. Additionally, they are not recommended for asthma or hayfever sufferers.

So there is lots to choose from, and these are only the most basic products – some more specialist stores do silk, or bamboo quilts. So always speak to the sales staff and see what they know about the products, as they tend to be trained on the differences.

The construction of quilts is also very important; when you see a quilt, generally it will have a pattern of boxes stitched into it. This is to stop the filling from moving around and bunching up in one spot. But some companies box it larger and some smaller. Smaller tends to be better, so keep an eye out for that.

Some companies are bringing out every season quilts too; this is where they sell 2 quilts in one packet, one heavier (Autumn weight) and one lighter (summer weight). These will clip or zip together to create one heavy Winter quilt. These can be great if you don’t want to go through the entire selection process several times for the different seasons.

A final note is that across Australia there are retailing laws where quilts cannot be returned, refunded or exchanged for resale. What this means is that if there is not a fault in the product it cannot be returned – so no change of mind. This is for safety reasons as you can guess, sharing quilts with a stranger is not hygienic and can pass on some nasty things (this includes if you haven’t opened it, as there’s no way for a store manager to tell if a product has been opened and very skillfully resealed or not). So when you make your decision, make sure you’re sure about it. This is a fantastic rule that protects all of us, so remember it when shopping.

Good luck with your quilt shopping, and comment if you have any interesting quilt experiences (or bedding shopping experiences). I used to work in manchester, so it’s interesting to hear the consumer’s stories

PS. For more information about bedding, the Complete Home website has heaps to offer

Finishing touches for the bedroom


Make your bedroom truly your own with some unique finishing touches.


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A house doesn’t become a home just because you’ve finished building or carrying out your renovations and installed your new furniture. It is the unique combination of homewares that you choose to fill your house with that makes it a true reflection of you and your family. This is especially true of the bedroom as it is often the most personalised space in the house. If yours is crying out for some creature comforts, check out some of the bits and pieces that have been topping our wishlist lately.

1. Waves wallpaper from Baresque www.baresque.com.au
This luxe design from Baresque is so elegant. It would look amazing as a feature wall in a master bedroom alongside luxuriously soft bed linen and innumerable throw pillows.

2. Accessories ladder from Aero Designs (www.aerodesigns.com.au): Aero Designs’ accessories ladder is perfect for anyone who is a little short on space. If you can master the art of hanging your scarves, towels or jewellery nicely, it can be a decorative feature as well as a practical storage solution.

3. Leaning mirror from Aero Designs (www.aerodesigns.com.au): If you don’t trust that double-sided foam tape that is often used for mounting mirrors, this leaning mirror from Aero Designs is the perfect thing for you. It’s also available in red, white, black and silver if orange isn’t your thing.

4. Luxury Sateen sheets from Baksana (www.baksana.co.nz): These sateen sheets from Baksana are absolutely divine. Woven from extremely fine combed cotton, they’re easy to care for and come in four colours. Almond, linen, pebble and walnut are all gorgeous, but I don’t think you can beat a perfectly crisp, clean white sheet.

5. Jewellery stands from Frunique (www.frunique.com.au): Frunique’s jewellery stands are the perfect combination of style and functionality, especially for those of us who are constantly struggling to untangle necklaces, replace damaged gems or search for missing earrings.

6. Cotton knit blankets from Linen & Moore (www.linenmoore.com.au): How cosy do these cotton knit blankets from Linen & Moore look? Can’t you imagine settling in to watch a movie or read a book on a wet winter day under one of these. The colours are charcoal, oyster, white, dune (our favourite) and nutmeg.

7. Colinton chair in Millwood from Laura Ashley (www.laura-ashley.com.au):  How funky is this retro-inspired occasional chair from Laura Ashley? The fabric it’s been upholstered in is so charming. It would make the perfect addition to any bedroom. You could toss your clothes on it at the end of each day or snuggle into it when you’re reading and if you decided to use either complementary or contrasting fabrics for your curtains and other bedrooms features, it would make quite a nice statement. 

8. Madrid Ottoman from IDC Homewares (www.idcreations.com.au): If you’re lucky enough to have a lot of natural light in your home, these ottomans from IDC Homewares are the perfect thing for throwing down on the floor to bask in whenever the mood strikes. And because they’re so light (they’re made of cotton with polystyrene filling), they won’t be hard to move out of the way when you’re not using them.

9. Leaves pillows from Linen & Moore (www.linenmoore.com.au): These pillows from Linen & Moore are a great way of bringing a little bit of nature into your home. Those pale blue ones would look beautiful with neutral bed linen in varying shades of white, taupe and/or ash.

10. Large vase from Anne Black (www.elevatedesign.com.au): Anne Black’s hand-crafted porcelain designs are lovely and feminine. With clean, simple form and delicate, understated graphic detailing, this vase would look beautiful on a bedside table or dressing table.

11. Capri crystal lamp from Laura Ashley (www.laura-ashley.com.au): This lamp from Laura Ashley is simply stunning.  It would make the perfect bedside lamp for a simple, yet elegant guest bedroom






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Kitchen design: Green apple splashback

The lighting and aesthetics of your kitchen are fundamental features to make you feel truly at home. 

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“We wanted the colour tones to compliment the owners’ desire for something fresh and advanced. By adding an invigorating splash of apple green, you’re drawn with careful attention to the lighting detail and complimentary design features. Wisely selected appliances have moved this 19070s home into the future. I also love the Lock & Cam 2pac overheads with LED lighting, making the most of the soft yet energising apple green in the living space. The seamless benchtop with special order J-scoop handles allows no-join appearances with perfectly matching draw lines and finger-groove handles.” Designer: Stuart DougallforMelbourne Contemporary Kitchens

Cabinetry Two-pack white and gunmetal gloss cabinet doors
Panels Two-pack white and gunmetal gloss
Internal hardware Häfele Portero sets, Häfele Magic Corner, Häfele internal drawers, Blum Aventos lift systems, Häfele integrated vegie baskets
Benchtop LG HI-MACS in Gemini, acrylic benchtop
Handles J-scoop finger-groove handles
Splashback Starfire Glass for splashback and breakfast bar
Kickboards Matte Grey to match finger-pull handles
Lighting LED strip lighting for breakfast bar, LED Spotlights for overheads

Oven Neff Tuckaway
cooktop/hotplate Miele
Rangehood/canopy Miele
Dishwasher Miele Integrated
Refrigerator Westinghouse
Sink Franke Undermount

melbournecontemporarykitchens.com (VIC)
Photography Emma Bidsee, JMH Photography

Dramatic kitchen project

Bold and striking, this is one space designed to attract attention

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The brief for designer Stuart Dougall was to create a dramatic kitchen that would also be easy to use every day. The home’s previous kitchen was a marble and beech-coloured veneer number that Stuart says had “had a hard life”, and the owners wanted their new kitchen to better match its surroundings.

“The penthouse apartment is surrounded by glass so we were asked for a non-reflective and dark finish,” Stuart says. The apartment’s location also made access difficult and meant Stuart and his team only had a limited amount of space to work with. Other design considerations included the height of the existing bulkheads, as well as the integration of the fridge and the integration of an under counter to the island bench.

Stepping into the space, the sense of drama the owners desired is immediately obvious. The unique splashback, designed around the owners’ favourite wallpaper, adds a further bold touch to the colour scheme. The integrated appliances give a modern and streamlined look and there’s ample room for the couple’s food preparation needs.

The island is the centrepiece of the space, featuring “Jaipur pepper” Italiana stone and also clad in Caesarstone “urban”. The island area is raised to hide any mess and also offers plenty of extra useful bench space.

“Left of the oven is a curved wall and touch-latch cabinetry with a fixed panel to house the intercom,” Stuart says. In another very modern touch, lighting, music and interior climate can all be controlled via iPad.

With an enviable position overlooking the Albert Park grand prix track, this striking kitchen is the perfect blend of good looks and functional design.

Designer details
The kitchen was designed and built by Melbourne Contemporary Kitchens
Address 7-9 Newcastle Rd, Bayswater Vic 3153
Phone (03) 9720 7575
Website www.melbournecontemporarykitchens.com

Photography xxx Photography

Cabinetry Two-pack satin black flat panel
Panels Two-pack satin black flat panel
Internal hardware Blum Tandembox internal drawers, Hafele Le Mans corner unit
Benchtop Caearstone “Urban” with Italiana stone island feature (“Jaipur pepper”)
Handles Designer Doorware Richmond
Splashback Wallpaper with pure clear glass
Kickboards Brushed aluminium
Lighting LED spotlights under cabinet, LED strip lighting, pendant island light

Oven Neff
Cooktop/hotplate Neff induction
Rangehood/canopy Smeg undermount
Dishwasher Miele integrated
Refrigerator Liebherr integrated

French provincial galley kitchen

When you are short on space, choose a galley. When you want character and style, choose French provincial

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“That wall has to go,” said Dean Kitchens’ designer Jason Levin when he first set foot in his client Wendy Barnao’s magnificent character home in the north-western suburbs of Wembley, Perth. The existing kitchen was extremely small and in need of a complete revamp but, mostly, to create the look of a particular era, a wall separating the kitchen from the dining area had to be removed. Demolishing the offending wall left a long but relatively narrow area.

“We had a few options,” said Jason Levin, “and after lots of discussion a galley layout was selected. This layout offers a very practical solution to the space and its length makes for a large and very easy-to-use kitchen with no nasty corners.”

To retain the character of the traditional home, Jason opted for a French provincial theme that would certainly put a stamp on the space and reflect its beautiful surroundings. Next, the lovely solid jarrah floorboards were repaired and restored.

The centrepiece of the design was to be the chimney piece complete with storage and mantel. The rest of the design would follow a symmetrical plan, which was the trick to making the French provincial look work. Consequently, the tall elements were placed either side of the design — this included a pullout larder pantry, double-door fridge, oven microwave tower and appliance cabinet.

“We wanted to have some glass-fronted storage and the use of tall glass panes featuring eight windows of glass reflected a sophisticated and opulent surround to the custom-made character chimney piece,” Jason explains. “Wherever possible, drawers were used for their wonderful usability and practical storage and some traditional mouldings seen in the pilasters and corbels cemented our intended provincial style.”

The island was placed central to the design; it had staggering length so includes an abundance of drawers for storage, practical integrated pullout bins, fully integrated Fisher & Paykel DishDrawers and an asymmetrically placed sink area. The placement of the sink was paramount to the practical use of the space as it gives the cook massive uninterrupted bench space on which to prepare and serve meals.

The back of the island followed the theme of the opposite wall with tall elements (the shallow cabinets) placed at each end. This allowed the casual breakfast bar seats to be placed central to the space.

To finish off, each side of the island was ornamented with pilasters and corbels to make it feel like a piece of beautiful furniture.
In no time, this opulent French provincial galley with its quality European appliances became a place to cook, entertain and love.

Designer details
The kitchen was designed by Jason Levin and built by Dean Kitchens
Address 2A/102 Railway Parade, City West Centre, West Perth WA 6005
PHONE (08) 9324 1933
Email deankit@bigpond.net.au
Website www.deankitchens.com.au

Doors and panels White matt foil
Internal hardware Hettich
Handles Hettich traditional style
Benchtop Granite
Splashback Granite
Kickboards White matt foil
Floor Original solid jarrah
Lighting LED lighting to feature glass cabinets

Oven Neff 600mm double oven
Cooktop Neff 900mm gas
Rangehood/canopy Smeg undermount
Microwave Panasonic
Dishwasher Fisher & Paykel fully integrated with drawers
Refrigerator Westinghouse double-door
Sink Abey
Taps Abey

To achieve the French provincial look, careful design is essential.
This room was transformed with bold symmetry, a gigantic benchtop and French provincial style.
We love lots and lots of drawers.
Design, manufacture, installation, quality appliances, plumbing and electrical cost approximately $60,000,

Elegant bliss

This Hamptons-style kitchen is perfect for a large family

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The classic Hamptons-style kitchen, perhaps made most famous in the Jack Nicholson film Something’s Gotta Give, has become popular the world over. Known for its effortless elegance, the Hamptons look was just what the homeowners wanted for their new kitchen.

“The owners loved the kitchen in Something’s Gotta Give and wanted a Hamptons-style kitchen, seating on the island to enjoy the view of the river and a place where the children could do their homework and interact with the chef,” says Rob Thomson from The Kitchen Factory Malaga.

The previous kitchen in the home was plain and outdated. It was not functional, didn’t fill the available space and simply looked lost in the large area. “The clients have a large family and needed facilities for preparation and entertaining. The children also like to participate in cooking meals,” Rob explains.

The main design considerations were to maintain spacious areas with easy access to both the appliances and the work areas for the kitchen in the style requested by the client. This classic layout had to blend into the large, open space that incorporated high ceilings. A good work triangle, adequate and functional storage areas and specific areas built to suit the clients’ appliances (coffee machine and Theromix) were also musts.

And from the honed jet-black granite benchtop to the classic-style doors, the new space looks great. The island offers both tremendous views and a practical space for the family to come together, while a large selection of clever storage solutions and everyday practicality.

“This is a magnificent two-storey home with fantastic river views and the kitchen fits in perfectly with the style of decoration,” Rob says. It’s light, airy and spacious with a hint of the special Hamptons style. The result is a very happy client who loves the kitchen.”



Cabinetry Two-pack satin painted Dulux Polar White, classic Hamptons-style doors
Panels Decorative end panels to cabinet door style, routed panels in areas to enhance design
Internal hardware Blum hardware and OrgaLine inserts, pull-out spice/sauce drawers, tray divisions, detergent basket, accessible pull-out corner, chrome lazy susan, deep pot drawers, pull-out Häfele 70L bin with top drawer, pull-out drawers with inner drawers
Benchtop Honed jet black granite with 40mm square edge
Handles Cast-iron antique finish knobs overhead, cup handles in black for all drawers
Splashback Rectangular tiles to splashback, stainless steel behind stove
Kickboards Fancy kickboards to island, standard kickboards to rest of kitchen
Lighting Downlights lights in cabinets and under overhead cabinets



Oven Wolf freestanding oven on a custom-built plinth
Rangehood/canopy Wolf
Dishwasher Bosch
Refrigerator Electrolux
Sink Villeroy & Boch butler sink on island, Oliveri stainless steel
Taps Franke Professional mixer, Perrin and Rowe tap




The kitchen was designed and built by Lynda, Maud, Nicole and Sharon of The Kitchen Factory Malaga
Address Unit 9, 16 Kent Way, Malaga WA 6090
Phone (08) 9209 2234
Website kitchensanddesigns.com.au

Espresso addict: Top 7 coffee machines


Can’t leave the house without your morning coffee fix? Whether you want to bring out your inner barista or just brew a simple cup, the latest coffee machines on the market have you covered.


1.The ultimate machine for the home, the Ilve machine is designed to be built into your kitchen space. Featuring a combined milk frother and hot-water spout, personalised coffee presets and removable drip tray and water tank, it also has a decaffeinated coffee function for those who want the coffee taste without the buzz. Standout features include the red LED display system and the machine’s ability to be quiet and let you know when it needs refilling and cleaning. ilve.com.au



2. The newly released Maestria and Gran Maestria machines by Nespresso enable anyone to create the perfect cup of coffee at home, just like a true barista. Both feature retro dials at the front to allow coffee lovers to adjust the volume of coffee poured. The Gran Maestria (pictured) offers unsurpassed control by allowing users the option of cold milk, hot milk, and two hot milk froth options (for stiff or velvety froth) to create high-quality iced coffees, lattes and cappuccinos. What more do you need? nespresso.com.au



3. La Pavoni Spa was founded in Milan in 1905 thanks to Desiderio Pavoni in a little workshop at Via Parini. His first invention was patented by Luigi Bezzera on September 1, 1902, and was duly registered at the Milan State Office on September 19, 1903, giving life to the first espresso coffee machine called Ideale. As the first machine of its kind to be marketed, this model spread the fashion of drinking Italian-style espresso coffee at the bar, first in Europe and then around the whole world. If you love your design icons as much as your coffee, shouldn’t you indulge yourself? lapavoni.it



4. Cappuccino? Flat white? Latte? They’re all perfect when made with this Perfecta ESAM5600 machine by DeLonghi. In fact, the system features four separate milk buttons so you can really have the coffee you love at home. A graphic display touch screen makes creating a coffee easy, and the milk container cleans itself. So sit back and enjoy the coffee, because with this machine that’s about all you’ll have to do. delonghi.com


5. There’s something about making coffee the real way — all you need is freshly ground beans and a willingness to learn. The commercially inspired Infuser BES840 Espresso Machine from Breville is ideal. Rather than starting with bursts of high pressure, a steady low-pressure pre-infusion gently expands the grinds before stepping up to high pressure for an even extraction and the 1700 watts of high power delivers fast heating and high-pressure steam for great milk texture. The result is a full-bodied delight. breville.com.au



6. Sometimes simplicity is divine. Wake up to a freshly brewed coffee every morning using the 24-hour program function of this KitchenAid KCM222 Coffee Maker. With a 14-cup capacity, it’s the ideal coffee maker to use when guests come around, while a one- to four-cup brew cycle is ideal for smaller crowds (or just yourself). The pause-and-serve feature allows you to pour a cup of coffee before the entire pot is complete, and a self-clean function makes cleaning a breeze — just how coffee should be. kitchenaid.com.au



7. Everyone needs to be impressed sometimes and it’s inevitable with the Impressa Z7 coffee machine by Jura. This top-quality model excites even the most demanding coffee enthusiast. Make a macchiato, cappuccino or any of the 11 options at the touch of a button, and enjoy. The machine also features a clever pre-heating capability for the first cup, while a height-adjustable cappuccino spout ensures no splashes and optimum milk foam quality. au.jura.com

From Grand Designs Australia magazine Vol. 1 No. 2

Indian furniture design

Old but beautiful — original Indian pieces are given a new lease on life

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For Karminder and Tanveer Sohal, a little piece of India was missing in their Western Australian community. Realising that there was a market for beautifully made Indian items, Karminder and Tanveer endeavoured to share their love of India’s vibrancy and richness with Australia.

“Sohal Living,” Karminder explains, “is a platform for me to fulfil many of my dreams, the first of which was to creatively showcase the different arts and crafts of India to the people of Western Australia.”

Karminder and Tanveer were born in India and as Karminder’s father served in the army she found she moved from place to place every two years. This gave her a grand sense of the variety that exists across the continent and she came to understand that each region of India specialises in a different craft. India is a country where craft and knowledge are passed through generations year after year, making the quality of the items produced so exceptional.

“One such example of these crafts is inlay work,” Karminder says, “which I’m currently introducing to the Perth market, but I realised that the craftsmen in this field don’t make enough money for such a skilled job, so I asked some families to buy machinery for the tradesmen so they could do the work in their own homes. Our beautiful mother-of-pearl inlay coffee tables are proof of their talent.”

What Sohal Living aims to do is source recovered items from demolished Indian village homes, renewing them and creating modern, beautiful and glamorous pieces for the Australian market. Sohal Living’s skills extend to rejuvenating a variety of different items, ranging from various architectural pieces such as old ceilings, pillars, doors and windows that can be used when building or renovating to elaborately designed tables, doors, coffee tables and mirrors in old carvings or copper. “We also have a very good collection of candles that have been designed by top Indian candle designers,” Karminder adds.

The joy of taking an item that has seen better days and injecting new life into it is what makes the process so enjoyable for Karminder and Tanveer. “When I hunt for old village carvings, windows, balconies, pillars etc I find it very exciting as I know that whatever furniture I design from this will surprise me, too.”

The items have been sourced, recovered, handled lovingly and finally given a new lease on life, making every item a one-of-a-kind piece that is completely original. “I’m hoping that the freshness in my work will appeal to my clients. We have a lot of old village buffets, screens and old copper pots. We also have tables designed from old doors, all of which cannot be replicated,” Karminder explains.

Clients also have the opportunity to get involved in the creation of their new pieces — a process that Karminder personally relishes. “I love it when clients take part in creating their furniture,” she says. “I show them raw carvings to give them inspiration and then we work together on creating the final product.”

Inspiration for the founding of Sohal Living comes from a supportive family and the promise of helping others. Karminder offers her support to a children’s school for the deaf and blind run by a friend of her father’s in India. The school is currently undergoing an upgrade, having functioned for years in an extremely run down condition. A new hostel is now being built to house the school and it is Karminder’s family’s greatest dream to help him build it.

Sohal Living
2 Callaway Street, Wangara WA 6065
Tel 08 9303 4420
Website sohalliving.com

Photography Stephen Nicholls

For the modern family

A fresh two-storey home that fits well into the existing streetscape

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Positioned in a leafy suburb on Sydney’s North Shore, this custom-designed two-storey abode was designed to suit the owners’ requirements for a home that fits in with the existing landscaping at the rear and an open feel to the living area out to the rear yard.

“The clients’ brief was to provide good areas for the couple and their teenage son,” explains Paul Vale of Grantleigh Homes, who designed and built the home.

Grantleigh Homes worked with the existing block to ensure the home suited the landscape and slope and it also had to incorporate some clever touches when it came to the interior.

“The owners needed to fit in a number of existing furniture items including several large bookcases, so measurements were taken and neat recesses were created in the new design, together with appropriately sized nib walls to ensure the owners’ extensive collection of books was well accommodated together with other furniture items,” says Paul.

Due to the slope of the block, the ground floor was stepped down towards the rear to sit well on the site and provide a higher ceiling to the open living area to the rear. Spotted gum flooring through the ground-floor living areas, entry and kitchen is a particularly appealing element of this design.

“This home is special as it is a modern two-storey home that fits neatly into the existing streetscape,” says Paul.

PO Box 6206, Dural NSW 2158
Phone: (02) 9653 9195
Website: www.grantleigh.com.au

Trend focus: Vintage style

Over the past couple of years, vintage interior design and style has strongly picked up in mainstream interior design (as usual, it follows the movement of fashion towards vintage styles and trends). In the right house a retro or vintage style can look fantastic; in other homes, less so. I think a lot of it has to do with the balance between vintage cool and recreating the flavours of an era, to looking like your grandmother’s house (nothing against grandmothers of course).

You also want to avoid your home becoming a hot mess of  from 10 different eras. The 50s and the 20s were gorgeous, innovative and stylish eras, but they should not strongly mix in the same area. Before you contemplate decorating in this style, consider researching the different style movements of the 20th century, and find what style might suit you and your home best.

If money isn’t a huge factor, I’d also steer clear of mainstream homewares specifically marketed as “vintage style”. More often than not, these are low quality pieces with no true commitment to a specific style or era, and are just following the latest trend. Instead, pick longer lasting and high quality true vintage pieces – there’s a growing market in the area of restored vintage furniture, especially from the 50s onwards. If you live in Queensland, check out Kat Creasey’s work on My Little Rockabilly – she has expanded her business into custom vintage furniture restoration and the results are beautiful;

One aspect of vintage interiors that can get out of hand is the amount of kitsch to use. Now I love kitsch and kitschy items – they can really add a more playful level to your home – but you only need a few of these items to get the intended effect. If you’re doing a classic 50s style bedroom, one leopard print item (like an ottoman) is really all you need to break up the style. I’ve always loved the idea that you need one “trashy” or cheap item in every room to give the design a bit of tension. It’s a great concept and will eliminate the stodgy or sterile element. It will also stop your home looking too much like your grandmothers home, or a display home.

While I strongly encourage more in depth research, here’s a quick run down of the eras and their styles

1900 – 1914: The Edwardian era. This era was dominated by Art Nouveau, so look into luxurious interiors; potted palms, bamboo and wicker furniture, light and airy spaces and pastels. Think Titanic or Downton Abbey.
1918 – 1929: The Roaring 20s. The Jazz age was a bastion of change and modernity with the introduction of Art Deco and Bauhaus designs. Black contrasts, hardwood flooring, strong colours, Egyptian motif wallpaper, and simple furniture. Watch Chicago, Midnight in Paris, The House of Eliot or Miss Fisher’s murder mysteries for some inspiration.
1930 – 1939: The depression era. Though marked with economic downturn, design continued to flourish and grow towards modernism, with influences from art movements such as Neoclassicism, Futurism, Cubism, Modernism and Constructivism. Sleek style, modern lines, minimalism, exotic upholstery, muted shades of green and mustard. Take a look at Cinderella Man and The Artist.
1945 – 1959: The mid-century modern. The late 40s and 50s were defined by nature as post-war eras, and with this there was a strong move towards sentimentality and modern designs (and there’s two very different ends of the spectrum; conservative suburban 50s design and rockabilly trends). Think flowery wallpaper, formica furniture, pink kitchens, leopard print, record players, and cadillacs. Take some influences from Revolutionary Road, Cry Baby, or American Graffiti.
1960 – 1979: Flower Power and Revolution. These decades took strong influences from the revolutions in society, music and fashion; middle class white culture began to explore Indian and Eastern designs. Psychedelic wallpaper, saffron and pea green upholstery, space age designs, Andy Warhol prints and plastic. Look to The Brady Bunch, Hair and Goldfinger.


In the end, find an era that suits you. You can employ the smallest of elements from it, like a distinctice couch or piece of art, to a full-blown reproduction home. If anything, it’ll guarantee individuality and a wow factor.

And make sure to check Complete Home’s interior design section and furniture sections for latest ideas and providers of gorgeous interiors.

PS. Check out some sweet Vintage styling on Pinterest. It’s a vintage haven there!