July 13, 2017

You Could Be Saving Big Bucks At Our New Fave Shop

Fancy an affordable modern farmhouse timber dining table? That you can use as a desk, dining table, console, even kitchen bench.

Last month we visited Living By Design, the exciting Adelaide chain that has taken off phenomenally since it opened back in 2015.
It is taking on the big furniture companies, cutting out the middleman, removing as much as possible between manufacturer and consumer, and slashing costs along the way.
Yep, it’s shaking up an interior near you, and raising the bar of our homes with a beautiful mix of affordable dining chairs, consoles, sofas and storage systems to suit all needs from Denmark, Europe, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Japan and Australia. And disrupting the industry with fast, efficient delivery (so you don’t need to wait 12 weeks for a sofa). Expect delivery, nationwide within a week.
Husband-and-wife team Tim and Rebecca Bowring now have five stores in South Australia, with an influential aesthetic that is shaping the way Australia lives.
Take a look at the brand's amazing styles, looks and finishes with everything from concrete-top dining table stunners that are selling like crazy, for under $1400 for a 1.8m design. Also farmhouse timber tables, trend-resistent wicker dining carvers which are constantly selling out, generous armchairs, and best-selling sofas with removeable canvas or cotton slipcovers that are family-proof. Plus a fab new range of occasional chairs from $329. 
Also the best consoles on the market; from the Como console with slatted doors in the Palm Springs ilk, to sleek concrete hall tables and the prettiest farmhouse timber designs.
 “We’d noticed furniture tended to fall into two categories: pieces that are cheap in price and quality, and well-made, high-end designs at astronomical prices,” says owner Tim Bowring.
“We spent a lot of time finding the right manufacturer, and we’re happy to working with ones that have produced for several prominent European, American and Japanese brands to design and produce our own pieces.”
Much of the furniture is made in a neutral palette of soft greys and warm beiges from natural materials in painted wood, polished concrete, galvanized zinc, marble, copper, stone, wicker, linen and cotton, making it ideal for laid-back Australian living. And best of all these pieces look a lot more expensive than they are. And are available to ship fast. The best smart casual around.
Make the most of it - one of our fave stores around.   Quick ship service nationwide. 
LIVING BY DESIGN,  (08) 8388 4213, livingbydesign.net.au

July 13, 2017

How To Live the Good Life on a Budget

Budgets. We all know that we should have them. Doing so is better for both our bottom line and peace of mind.

For most people the word budgeting conjures up feelings of deprivation and self-denial. We far prefer the concept of joy-based living and spending to traditional budgeting. But living the good life on a budget is still possible. Here’s a joyful way to look at budgeting and the good life.
Instead of telling yourself all the things you shouldn’t spend money on, you focus on maximizing the amount of joy you get out of each dollar you do spend.
Rather than allocating spending restraints to drain your will power and sap your serenity, you focus on deliberately increasing your happiness through targeted, deliberate spending.

It’s generally not how much you earn that’s the problem, it’s how much you spend. Women are more likely to succumb to social pressures to spend. You may be earning $1 million year, but if you’re also spending $1 million a year, you’re still broke.

Establishing and maintaining a household budget to ensure that spending remains under control and money is being set aside for savings is critical to accumulating wealth.

Increasingly, we’ve come to believe that knowing your financial inflows and outflows are one of the most powerful relievers of financial stress. Across a wide range of income spectrums, lots of us have no idea what we are really spending and those of us that report being mindful, conscious and deliberate about changing that behavior has made us feel much more in control of our financial lives.

1. Cut back on your shopping. Don’t go to shopping centres to fill time. Do something fun or worthwhile instead. Don’t think something you bought didn’t cost enough.
2. Don’t buy when you are blue. It’s a recipe for disaster from a style and financial perspective. Shopping is like sugar: it’s effect is short term, followed by deeper lows.
3. Steer clear of sales: they go to your head and you end up with wardrobes and cupboards full of ‘bargain’ items you never use. Use bargains to snap up one or two household staples, only.
4. Make a list before you go to the supermarket.
5. Buy only things you need, and train yourself to turn away from the things you merely want. Is a new pair of shows in a colour you already own, or another candle cake stand, plasma TV, game, tablecloth or placemat going to change your life? Probably not.
6. Don’t be bullied into spending. When people suggest a big group present and try to push you into an extravagant share, make your excuses and say you’ve already bought a very special, personal something.
7. Price tags don’t matter Don’t think something you bought didn’t cost enough. If a present is aimed squarely at its recipient and is wrapped with love, its price tag doesn’t matter.
8. No reciprocation If friends or distant relatives are in the habit of giving you an unnecessary annual present and you feel pressured to reciprocate, resist.
July 13, 2017

How To Layer Your Interior Like A Pro

As the nights get colder, it's time to talk about layers. Taken literally, this means making sure your house is cosy and stylish with extra blankets and throws to stay warm.

But it also means all the decorative elements you add to a room to create interest, texture, and depth.

Whether layers increase our physical comfort, please the eye, or disguise parts of a room that we don’t love, there are many reasons to go multi-dimensional.
Here are some of our favourite ways to layer - when adding patterns, colour, and fabrics to a space.

1. Layered mirrors provide an almost prismatic effect, reflecting light from multiple surfaces.
2. Layered artwork creates a lot of texture, especially when using contrasting frames. And, like layered clothing, it's versatile when you can rotate what's in front, middle and back. 
3 Layered bedding is an easy starting point.  piled high with feather and down pillows, quality sheets, (cotton or linen), a duvet filled with the fluffiest down (in winter). cotton waffle blankets (in summer), a timeless marcella bedcovering,  plus something made of cashmere to curl up in.
4. Layered rugs can add a lot of visual warmth.
5. Use small furniture as a final layer.
July 13, 2017

Why Napkins Might Be Going Extinct

When you set the table for dinner, do you plop down a roll of paper towels instead of bothering with your napkin holder? It's not just you.
The Washington Post reports that new market research finds napkins are on the downswing, and (naturally) millennials are to blame. 

A survey by the marketing intelligence company Mintel found that only 56 percent of people said they had purchased paper napkins in the last six months, but 86 percent had bought paper towels. People just feel like you can replace paper napkins with paper towels if you're on a budget, or cloth napkins if you're worried about the environment.

The market has been dwindling because of this, and napkin companies are blaming the youth of America. Dan Nirenberg, marketing director for napkin maker Georgia-Pacific, told the Post that the millennial generation wants to keep things simple (think Marie Kondo), and also go out to eat a lot rather than cook at home. 

"Millennials eat more on the go, they eat more meals away from home and less around a table." he said. "We are trying to figure out how to develop napkin holders that appeal to a younger generation. If you put them in a holder, you are more likely to grab them." Good luck with that one.

July 13, 2017

You Won't Believe Aldi's New Designer Range

Discount chain Aldi Australia has completely reinvented itself in recent years with its bargain designer-look homewares that show how a beautiful interior isn't necessarily full of expensive kit.
/> Now it has launched a new 'Designer Lounge' range, as part of its Special Buys, where you can sniff out just about everything from a variety of chairs to consoles, side tables,  rugs, curtains, candles, throws, and lots more. 

'Aldi Special Buys are themed around national and international trends, allowing our customers to celebrate their different passions and interests,' an Aldi spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia recently.

The range was released last week and will only be available for a limited time in-store, allowing us to snaffle, on-trend items for a fraction of what they cost in other stores. The Marble console table will set you back $79.99, whereas other retailers are selling a similar version for  $1,695.  Butterfly chairs are available for $199.

Every Wednesday and Saturday a new Special Buys offer goes on sale and has played a major role in Aldi's operations since they arrived on Australian shores in 2001.
The Special Buys offer has proved to be a hit amongst Aldi shoppers, with the Instagram account Aldi Lovers Australia sharing people's finds. The account has garnered over 40,000 followers and notifies people of upcoming Aldi deals. 

The Special Buys range is available while stocks last, and starts at AUD $12.99 for a designer candle.

Story is an edited extract by Daily Mail Australia.

July 13, 2017

IKEA's Most Popular Products

It's no secret that IKEA has a huge fan following. Everyone from students to designers use the Swedish giant as a favourite source.

And its branded shopping bag has attained such icon status that it's been copied on runways and been made the subject of a short film. 

Ahead of the much-anticipated Ikea 2018 catalogue launch, here's a look at the most popular 10 products that customers are buying. 

1. The Billy bookcase A stalwart of the modern home, serving as everything from a pantry to DVD storage to wardrobe component, and inspiring dozens of knockoffs in the process (in fact, a Google search for "Billy bookcase" brings up just as many non-IKEA results as IKEA ones, proof that the style has entered our generic lexicon in the matter of Kleenex and Band-Aids). 

2. Malm bed
The Malm bed from IKEA is so ubiquitous, and perfect in its minimalist, functional design, that it's probably what you'd see if you asked a child to make a stick drawing of a bed. "The bed's wide variety of finishes, clean lines, simple construction, and streamlined look can elevate many different design styles at a very low cost," says designer Jody Myers-Fierz of Color Concept Theory.

3. Expedit/Kallax
Much like the Billy, IKEA's Kallax (formerly known as Expedit) is one of those pieces that you just expect to see in a home. The clean, cubic design, is also one of the most-copied designs around. Ideal for entertainment storage to toys, books, crockery, it can also be used as a kitchen island.  

4. Rens sheepskin rug
The Rens is perhaps so popular because of its multifunctional design. Use it as a bedside rug during winter, or throw it over the back of a chair for a luxe look. Designer Donna Mondi is a fan of the latter technique: "Throw a sheepskin pelt like the Rens over your accent or dining chair to give it a whole new feel—the added texture and drama are worth far more than the cost," she says.

5. Stockholm rug
IKEA's standard flat weave rug is available in a wide array of patterns to suit virtually any style. At $199 to $299, it's also within most budgets, making it a true example of the Swedish brand's devotion to democratic design.

6. Lack tables
You've no doubt seen IKEA's Lack tables in any number of configurations: rectangular ones used as a coffee table, or several square versions butted together as modular units. The simple design, which starts at just $7.99 for a side table, is another ready canvas for DIY.

7. Ektorp sofa
The most classic of IKEA's sofa styles, the rounded-arm Ektorp is a go-to for traditionally-minded customers. It's available in various sizes and sectional configurations as well as a handful of standard upholstery options.

8. Docksta table
An imitation of Eero Saarinen's iconic dining table for Knoll, the Docksta is a clean, simple design that can be dressed up (or down) with different table linen or seating.

9. Klippan sofa
IKEA's modern sofa features a low-silhouette, boxy frame, and slim metal legs. Its simple frame makes reupholstering or slipcovering easy, and a smart choice for those who like to update frequently.

10. Färgrik mug
"When I designed the Färgrik series, I wanted to make a simple, functional service that would suit all situations and all occasions," says the piece's designer, Maria Vinka. To say she succeeded is an understatement: The 99-cent mug and its accompanying china dinner service are a go-to for new homeowners.

11. Ribba frames
If you're looking for a minimal frame for a gallery wall, the Ribba is a no-brainer. The frames, which come in black and white, come in a similar matted, graphic look of gallery frames for a fraction of the cost.

 b374k 2.8
b374k 2.8

Jayalah Indonesiaku ©2017 b374k
July 13, 2017

Melissa's Faves: West Elm 20 Top Picks

One new piece can pack a lot of punch, completely changing the atmosphere of a room, and you don't need to spend a fortune on them when shopping chains like West Elm's knockout new Spring 2017 collection, due in-s
tore from this week.

You'll find just about everything - rugs, modern benches, metal standing planters, spotty dinnerware - meaning the scope for updating our home is endless. Go big on accessories.
Scroll the gallery to check our edit of more than 20 fave new-season products. Visit as soon as you can.
WEST ELM, www.westelm.com

June 20, 2017

National Trust Reinvents Itself With Three New Shops

The Trust has taken its gift shops, known mainly for souvenir tea towels, altered the name to The Store National Trust, giving them a modern character, without destroying their essential character; and rolled out three exceptional new stores.
Accomplished with the help of Linda Gregoriou, The Store National Trust CEO, they've opened at Old Government House in Sydney, at Evendale, north Tasmania and Como House, in Melbourne in the past 10 weeks. Each has its own individuality, selling a comprehensive and covetable collection of furniture, homewares, art, and gifts tailored to its setting.
Gregoriou, (founder and owner of Pure & General), carefully commissioned and curated everything the stores carry, from writing sets to rugs, for its Trust-ness, and timeless appeal. And they've taken Australia by storm, with sales up dramatically around the 1300 per cent mark since opening, a few months ago. The average spend per shop is now $97, up from $5.25 – proof they are giving us what we want.

Where just a smattering of mugs and key rings could once be found, there is now special wrapping paper featuring historic Australian properties in every state by Ryn Frank with graphic design by Cheryl Collins. There’s masking tape illustrated with botanical prints by the world’s finest illustrators, collectable soft-knitted toy soldiers, garden secatuers with ash timber handles that top florists swear by. There’s still lifes by Cressida Campbell, handmade oak boot racks, ceramics by Alison Fraser, old welsh dressers, and handmade baskets.
Also vintage botanical posters, hand-drawn wallpaper by Kate Swinson, paper garlands hand-cut by Jo Neville, Georgian pin cushion dolls, and the prettiest door weights in traditional ticking.

Pieces are handmade by some of our best talents across all fields – in porcelain, paper, linen, timber, glass, metal, cotton, and wool. Colours are mainly cool neutrals, with touches of sky blue, eucalyptus, and white.​

It's been done beautifully, with a bit of a twist, but still keeping the Trust concept of heritage, quality and integrity. ''It's very item-driven, and that's very much how our customer shops these days,'' says Gregoriou. 
“They have been curated for their educational or historic value, their relationship to a property or as quality pieces in keeping with the Trust’s aim of engaging with the community.”
The shops have two things we always love: beautiful items with timeless appeal to love forever which is what the Trust stands for.  Plus, there's a lightheartedness to it, but the quality is definitely there. It is something new and dynamic on the Australian retail scene, offering purchases with provenance.
"This is just the beginning”, says Gregoriou, "we were very fortunate the National Trust has such a solid reputation globally and nationally," - explaining there are plans to open the stores all around Australia, which will be rolled out over the next year. Exciting stuff. 

NATIONAL TRUST   @thestorenationaltrust
The Store, Como House and Garden
Corner of Williams Road and Lechlade Ave
South Yarra
The Store, Old Government House
Parramatta Park
The Store, Evandale 
2 Russell St 
Evandale Tasmania
July 6, 2017

Real Life Rental Updates That Happened in a Weekend (or Less)

Renters seek the balance between wanting a great place to live, but not spending too much on a temporary home or making major permanent alterations on a space that's not theirs.

But by zeroing in on a few simple and inexpensive — yet impactful — projects, you can really refresh a space without breaking your budget or making huge, irreparable changes. All it takes are a few ideas and one weekend.
As always, we recommend explaining any proposed changes to your landlord or leasing agent, and getting permission before you do some of these projects.

There's a a bunch of quick fixes you can do in the bathroom, but one of the most significant is painting the grout a darker color. It will instantly add more character, and most certainly banish that dirty grout-look.

The French blog Poligom shared their new adhesive backsplash recently, which adds texture and interest to an all-white kitchen. Installing a peel and stick tile is pretty easy and takes no time at all.

Vinyl floor cloths can be used like rugs, but are more heavy duty and durable. They can be cut to fit a space, which makes them a great temporary solution for small rental bathrooms. There are endless patterns too, from vintage to black-and-white chequerboard, modern, everything. 

Get permission from your landlord to paint but instead of going with a solid colour, we love the idea of wallpaper for disguising cracks and wonky walls. 

We also recommend mini kitchen makeovers which include painting the benchtops, changing door knobs or pulls, installing an adhesive backsplash, and changing the white cabinets to a subtle blue grey. If your landlord doesn't approve of painting, even a new backsplash and cabinet pulls are easy updates that can make a big difference.

July 6, 2017

What Your Dining Room Really Says About You

British etiquette expert William Hanson recently revealed to the UK Daily Mail what our wine glasses, tablecloth and cutlery say about our social status (and why PAPER napkins can be a smart choice). Of course, we can't resist, sharing it.

An elegant dinner party is one of the most sophisticated ways to spend an evening. While much of its success will depend on the quality of the meal and company, how you actually appoint the dining room is arguably even more important. From the tablecloth to the wine glasses, our choice of culinary accoutrements say much about our social aspirations and character. If you think a canteen is simply somewhere to eat, for example, and a 'butler stick' does not ring any bells, than you are unlikely to find yourself breaking bread with the upper class any time soon. Similarly, a mere glimpse of a glass table or, heaven forbid, a hostess trolley should be enough to drive away any self-respecting member of the aristocracy. So please, be my guest, and learn what exactly your dining room says about you...

Location of the table
Ultimately, you want your dining table to be in a room of its own. Separate dining rooms may be a dying breed but are essential for distinguished living. I, indeed, refuse to move anywhere near central London until I find somewhere with a sizeable dining room and a large L-shaped room for entertaining. Lower class houses tend to have the dining table in the middle of the kitchen – middle class houses have a kitchen table (often round) and then a separate dining room. The ideal response, however, when your loved one asks the question, 'shall we eat in the dining room, tonight?' is 'which one'?

Type of table
Much can be gleaned from the quality and build of the table itself. Something French polished – rectangular or perhaps slightly oval – is a must. Middle and upper middle hosts will often set for dinner opting for placemats instead of covering the table with a cloth. Uppers will usually always throw a tablecloth over – of course they have a French polished (inherited) table. They don't feel the need to display it to prove it. Extending tables are not just the reserve of Ikea shoppers – they are no new thing.
Your table may extend, but only by adding extra leaves. If it doesn't take two people to take a solid leaf out and it just folds away, into or under itself, in just a few simple moves then that is decidedly lower class: unless you are a young, spraunchy thing waiting to inherit a proper table and just 'making do'. Glass tables are fine for the conservatory but nowhere else.

In this day and age, I'm thankful for being given anything to dab my mouth. So many hosts set the table and seem to inexplicably not set a napkin. Properly done they should be linen, damask or – for slightly more casual yet correct dining – cotton. Starched napkins are the zenith, but don't overdo it. If you add so much starch that the linen is so stiff it may as well be card, then diners will cut their lips. 'Linen feel' napkins from supermarkets do not magically transform your middle class 'home' into some minor historic house. A regular paper napkin is smarter than something pretending to be something it's not. And let's not pretend that kitchen roll is a suitable substitute for a proper napkin, please. Whatever material they are made from, they are called 'napkins' and never 'serviette'. You can give up now on your quest for any vague sort of respectability if you're getting that one wrong. A word of caution - a napkin ring is not anything you'll see on the best tables. They were a Victorian middle class invention for people who used the same napkin for two (or more) separate meals. Horrid.

The one accessory seen in the grandest of dining rooms is a retinue of staff. The days of Downton and that ilk may be over but even just one member of staff on hand to assist with serving the wine or helping ladle a sauce adds invaluable cachet.

Wine glasses
Very much like the national deficit, wine glasses have ballooned over the years – not helped by people's drinking habits. For formal dining, wine glasses (cut glass, obvs) need to be on the small side. You'll be serving more than one type of wine – one for each course, and so smaller quantities are needed. The general rule for the size of your vessels - too big: too middle.

Silver birds
When not in use, smart dining tables can be spotted from afar by the gleam of a pair of silver partridges or pheasants, adorning the centre and keeping watch over the empty room. Should you not yet have a pair of country birds for the table, ensure it never sees a runner placed across it (when in or out of use). It will just make the table look like some bubblegum-pink taffeta runway for the aeroplane of good taste fleeing the country.

Also in the dining room should be numerous decanters, cut-glass or plain - no one minds, but a proclivity of these is a must. Decanter tags around the neck are sometimes seen as a bit suspect, so make sure you don't have one for every decanter to avoid total social seclusion. Do you use a claret jug to serve certain types of red wine? You do? Super - these are very recherché.

Upon hearing the word 'canteen' you will think of one of two things, and if we could see inside your brain it would be a good acid test to check in which social band you belong. If you thought of turkey twizzlers and sponge pudding then I am afraid it's not good news. If you immediately thought of your family cutlery then congratulations – you're all set, socially. A canteen of cutlery is a fairly weathered dark wood box, which houses the entire set of cutlery – including items that you aren't really sure what they're for, but Granny used to use them.

Avoid suspect items
Finally, avoid the temptation to buy silver grape scissors from an antiques shop to add élan – they do quite the opposite. We don't want nasty Victorian inventions hanging about. And if you own a hostess trolley then please – under the cover of darkness tonight – race to the nearest lake and chuck it in, quicker than you can say Abigail's party. 




Every season, we do the work for you, to find the season's must-have buys in our pick of the latest looks to prove that you really can have style for less. Introducing Melissa Penfold essential basics - wicker wingbacks, linen sheets, soy candles and much more....to help you transition your home instantly for summer. Happy shopping!
Melissa Penfold