what a facade {our home}…

building your own home presents many quandaries: but i anticipated that…

what i didn’t anticipate was that they would come so thick & fast…

& my first stumbling block was one that took me quite by surprise: it turns out i’ve spent so long dreaming, planning, scheming about the interior of our house that i kind of forgot to really consider what it would actually look like from the outside!

so when our architect needed reference images i was at first stumped: my eyes glazed over & then panic swiftly ensued…

being a serial renter i’ve always just considered property facades a fait accompli: nothing i needed to concern myself with!

sure i know a handsome house from the outside when i see one, but breaking down what it is exactly that makes it so appealing is not something i’d needed to consider, until now…

& so i scoured the net &, of course, pinterest to see what i could come up with…

townhouses

but the process was all a bit reminiscent of a certain children’s fairytale: some were too modern, some were too quaint & some were just too, well, not us…

& it occurred to me that it’s actually really hard to find images of something juuuuuuust right when you don’t know what exactly juuuuuuust right is…

so i changed tack: my new m.o. entailed scouring my memory banks for houses i’d seen in the flesh & fallen in love with instantly…

two such places sprung to mind…

royal crescent hotel bath

the first was this building at the royal crescent hotel in bath…

we came across it several years ago on a weekend trip & both my boyfriend & i admired its generous proportions & symmetrical facade…

set on acreage somewhere out in the country surrounded by expanses of greenery & it would be perfection itself…

but for our narrow inner-city plot {with a paltry 7.8 metre frontage} which is flanked by single-storey weatherboard cottages, this style sadly is a non-contender…

& then i remembered this…

armadale

beautiful right?

my last home as a single gal back in melbourne was in a seriously ugly 70s block of flats…

on the upside it was fortuitously situated on the same street as a positively mesmerising set of terrace houses…

i used to ogle at their facades long & hard & would often fantasise about what they were like inside…

i’m not sure which feature i love the most: the street-facing balconies, wrought iron fretwork or shuttered windows…

but strip all of the ornamentation away {which we’ll have to do in order to avoid creating a complete pastiche} & what i think really contributes to their success is their proportions: they’re juuuuuuust right!

armadale2

this one was my absolute favourite as there was something tantalising about its manicured front garden neatly confined behind a row of wrought iron railings…

yes, the block is still wider than the one we’ll be building on {this one’s approximately 10.3 metres}, but i think it’s a good starting point…

sadly i didn’t come across these images until after we’d sent the architect our brief, but somehow i think a certain somebody might be getting an addendum in the post!

images via: arch dailysweet southern charmconrad architectsannie fitzsimmonsdomainthe home page

 

designing in tandem {& defying convention}…

tree hotel

i “designed” my first home when i was all of fifteen…

it featured a sunken lounge {no judgement, it was the 80s} and a round, galleried library with a giant oak tree growing from its centre & extending upwards through a domed glass enclosure {though i never did finalise the technicalities of that bit}…

fast forward quite a few years & it appears very little has changed; i’m still trying to fuse as much nature as i can with my interiors & i still refuse to bow to convention…

& never has this been more evident than in the process of planning our future home…

floating concrete benches & cantilevered stairs blend seamlessly, drawing the eye to the courtyard beyond; a combination internal/external fireplace nestles alongside expansive walls of glass, blurring the boundaries between inside & out; & a wood-clad larder to rival that of a dean & deluca franchise makes the prospect of unpacking the groceries a decidedly pleasurable one: my delight is palpable…

it’s hard to imagine, but after decades of scheming & scribbling on scraps of paper, mentally redesigning innumerable rental properties & salivating over countless design tomes i finally get the opportunity to put my ideas into practise & see my dreams realised…

not too hard to imagine is my horror upon realising there was a fundamental flaw in my plan…

planning a home from scratch is hard; planning a home from scratch in tandem with your partner can prove considerably harder, especially when your design approaches are diametrically opposed…

we’re only at the initial planning stage {we submitted our design brief & initial drawings to the architect today}, but already walls are starting to go up & they’re not the bricks & mortar variety…

suddenly my polished concrete visions are reminding a certain somebody of building sites; my floating benches raise eyebrows & pulse rates for all the wrong reasons; & as for my indoor/outdoor fireplace…

& yet i can raise a smile; afterall, there’s a certain irony to all of this that doesn’t escape me…

i’ve been told i’d make an excellent police officer as, in my day-to-day dealings, i’ve been known to be a little ‘feverish’ when it comes to following the rules {i’m the girl that buys a ticket even when there’s no inspector}

but when it comes to design, as already noted, i don’t bind bending those rules one little bit; i don’t mind at all…

my partner, on the other hand, serves as my mirror image; ordinarily he is the first to fly in the face of conformity…

he prides himself on his ability to swim against the tide & it’s imperative in his line of work that the moment everyone else starts doing what he’s doing he maps a different course entirely…

yet, inexplicably, when given a house plan to ponder mr rules-are-made-to-be-broken magically metamorphoses into mr granite-worktops-are-us {not that there’s anything wrong with granite worktops, but i’m all about pushing those boundaries}

& so it is, sometimes we advance, sometimes we take two steps backwards & at other times i’m left wondering if we’ll ever find a common path to follow at all…

but more importantly, if & when we do will it be paved in concrete or granite?

image via: tree hotel

game changers {the birthday lamp}…

a nomadic abode

every now & then you bring something into your home that changes all the rules {& no, i’m not talking about a partner, a child or a pet}

something that simultaneously uplifts its surroundings & kicks the ass of absolutely everything it comes into contact with all in one fell swoop…

for me this game changer is my birthday lamp…

standing approximately 110cm tall it reminds me of a bronzed, gnarly chunk of petrified rock which still bears a fleeting resemblance to the twisted tree trunk from whence it came…

swirling metallic rivets festoon the base while an oversized oatmeal linen shade rests assuredly on top: i must concede, when i first saw it online a couple of years ago i thought it somewhat ugly & grotesque but now i find myself drawn to it like the proverbial moth to a flame…

it sits proudly at the entrance to our lounge {demarcating this area from the adjoining dining room} so it’s the first thing you see when you turn the corner into our home…

&, just as i suspected it would, it triumphantly serves three key functions: a light source, a piece of art & a room divider…

while it’s by no means the largest item in my lounge room, it’s most definitely one of the most impactful…

a little like the alpha male of the furnishing pack, it stands there defiant & dominating, brandishing its authority over all the other pieces & threatening anything that doesn’t come up to par…

in an act of capitulation i’ve already changed up the art that sits behind it, thrown a reindeer hide across the back of the nearest chair & switched out various other peripheral pieces accordingly…

but at the end of the day i really needn’t bother as for now at least all eyes will invariably be drawn to the birthday lamp…

what’s the game changer in your decor?

{ps, this is none other than the dynamo lamp from atelier abigail ahern}

 

on the homefront {dining room update}…

long ago in a land far away, a certain curly-haired blogger promised to show updates of her new home as & when it developed…

to be honest, i’m always a little trepidatious about presenting things here in their unfinished format: partly because i can be a bit of a perfectionist & partly because i’m aware that things can sometimes look a little half baked when they’re, well, only actually half baked {explained so deftly in this “the middle makes no sense” post put together by john & sherry over at young house love}…

but, here goes…

following last week’s acquisition of a “not forever, but it will do for now” dining table {posted about here}, i’m happy to report we’re finally making some progress at last…

here’s how our dining room looked when we first moved in {a blank canvas}:

a nomadic abode

& here’s how it looked for the best part of our first four months of living here {a blank canvas housing a non-blank canvas, four neglected chairs & a bin}:

a nomadic abode

oh the shame!

& here’s how it looks now with the addition of the aforementioned “not forever, but it will do for now” dining table which arrived on saturday having been hoisted over the balcony by a rope…

a nomadic abode

of course this nook is far from finished, but at least we now have somewhere to eat & something to fill that gap in the middle of the room…

& whilst the table was a forced purchase {more on that here}, things could be worse…

its size works well in the compact thoroughfare which serves as our dining room & i think the arched table legs tie in nicely with the rounded backs of the wishbone chairs {personally, i prefer more of a high contrast look over a matchy matchy affair, but needs must}…

the table currently boasts a patchy orange sheen so i’ll be sanding that back & applying a soaped oak finish {more about that another day} so that it sits a little more quietly in the space…

in addition, i’m also planning to soften this whole nook with a rug {which will also take away from the wood-on-wood overload currently on show}, an oversized light, a glossy console table & some artwork {as well as actually hanging the existing picture as opposed to propping it up on a radiator}…

i’m toying with colours at the moment, but because there are no windows along this entire side of the house {skylights only} & it can get a little gloomy, i’m currently leaning towards introducing a fresh green palette to enliven things & bring the outdoors in…

perhaps a bit like this…

a nomadic abode_green dining room

i love vintage art work: it’s generally affordable {so you don’t mind swapping the look out every now & then} & it feels like having old friends to stay…

& as i already have a few pieces in my collection, i’m hoping it won’t be long before i can bring this whole look to life…

a nomadic abode_art

but all this being said, come back next week & i might just have installed the walled succulent garden i’d envisaged since day one…

such is the beauty of design!

unearthing my signature style {& yours}…

visit here often enough & you’ll soon learn i cover a lot of style bases in my day-to-day wanderings through design…

i pretty much love them all {well, almost}…

from simple scandinavian interiors with touches of black & modernity to bohemian splendour pulsating with colour, from modern glamour with its velvets & sparkle to rustic retreats with their rugged simplicity…

& virtually everything in between…

that’s why one of the best investments of my time i ever made was to determine my personal signature style…

do we all have one? i’m pretty sure you’ll find we do, & it’s not that difficult to decode…

here’s mine…

my-signature-style

as you can see, there are lots of natural elements, calming colours & an emphasis on texture, simplicity & a nod to whimsy…

i actually put this board together a few years ago as part of my project work for my course at klc, but the timing couldn’t have been better as we were also approaching a house move & had decided to take an unfurnished flat with the aim of purchasing our own pieces…

i referred to this board often throughout this moving process, particularly when it came time to purchasing those larger items like sofas & armchairs…

as silly as it sounds, having these images to hand really kept me on track when my mind was diverging down a kazillion different avenues of thought…

is this an exhaustive list of what i love?

absolutely not!

but it was never meant to be…

it was merely meant to summarise a look & feel which i found myself drawn to time & time again: a mood that repeatedly drew me in & held me captive…

as varied as my tastes are, the process of narrowing down the images to include on my board was actually relatively-simple & it’s a fun project which i encourage anyone looking to start a home from fresh to undertake…

equally this process is invaluable for anyone who looks around their existing home & doesn’t fall in love with what they see &, most importantly, feel time & time again…

where to start?

i work a lot online, so for me it was a case of sifting through my saved image galleries & collating images into a common folder…

with the advent of pinterest it’s even simpler: create yourself a moodboard for home & start pinning…

here’s a few of mine:

a nomadic abode_pinterest

or, if you’re old school & can bear to desecrate your favourite interiors magazines, there’s nothing like pulling up a stack & getting stuck in…

the rules are simple…

firstly, only save, pin or tear out those images that make your heart positively skip a beat: the ones that make you inhale breath quickly or that make you want to flip back & forth to repeatedly…

you’ll know them the instant you see them…

the first sign of doubt or second guessing means that image is automatically a no-go!

this is a stage in the process that involves feeling, not thinking, so follow your heart, not your mind…

secondly, once you’ve gotten yourself a good selection of imagery, start narrowing it down to a manageable size {i settled on 18 images, but it could be any number really}…

remove any duplications of subject & repeat the selection process above seeing which of your chosen ones make the biggest tug on your heart strings…

try to make sure all the elements you truly love are incorporated {for me it was important that typography, nature & whimsy were represented} & avoid selecting images of other people’s homes where possible, instead focussing on textures, shapes & colours as well, of course, as mood…

finally, once you’ve pared down your selection simply arrange your images onto a moodboard & you’re done: it’s that easy…

the result should be something that makes you feel the same way you want to feel whenever you’re in your home, be that pulse quickening or serenity inducing…

there’s no right or wrong, afterall, it’s your home!

a nomadic abode_my style

three years later & my signature style moodboard still represents my style today {give or take}…

so, what’s your signature style?

{have you ever created a moodboard for your home or is this something you’d considering doing in the future? if so, does your home reflect the mood you set out to create? feel free to get in touch with me at anomadicabode@gmail.com & i’d love to feature your moodboard &/or house tour here on a nomadic abode}

the happenings {a dining nook}…

a nomadic abode_dining nook

a rare thing indeed happened this past saturday…

whilst sitting in the movies watching life of pi, no less, it would appear we purchased a dining table on ebay {the bidding frenzy ended mid-movie}…

intake of breath…

before you get too excited, no it’s not the “forever” table, but it is an agreed “it’ll do for now” table that we determined we’d buy as part of a new year’s eve truce…

after much persuasion i caved & agreed two plus years probably was long enough to go without & the boyfriend conceded that, should i find the perfect table at a later date, this one could get the chop…

& so it is, we are now the proud owners of a compact little number in oak to tie in with our wishbone chairs {though my strong preference was something round, chunky & probably in a darker oak to contrast}

& there’s nothing like buying a dining table to instil a long-overdue dining room makeover frenzy in this household {see image above}…

our dining room is a box-like cubby {approx. 2 meters wide x 2.5 metres long} which serves double duty as a thoroughfare between the kitchen & living room…

as we rent, any major makeover is unfortunately off limits, but nonetheless i’m determined to give this space its own sense of style & identity…

first step, as always, i pull together a load of images on my computer & start constructing a roomset to see how i feel about colours, shapes & finishes & the mood in general…

first to go in are existing pieces {the table, our wishbone chairs & an oversized new york canvas purchased from ikea several years ago}…

then i play with other key pieces that will really set the mood like lighting & rugs…

our living & dining spaces are somewhat open plan so i need a look that is cohesive with the rest of the furnishings & decoration, so i’m planning on bringing in a nod to the industrial look via this fabulous koushi light & an element of tribal with a much-coveted kilim rug

i think adding a glossy console/desk from ikea {thanks for the tip ms ahern!} along the back wall will create a focal point & somewhere to display some decorative items & the colour will also tie in nicely with the other silvers & greys i have going on elsewhere in the flat…

the final step, & possibly my favourite, are the decorative finishes…

again i’m using some existing pieces i can pull in from elsewhere like my asuka wallpaper lamp {similar available here} & some artwork that i’ve acquired over time…

some books, glass votives, a porcelain cockatoo {to remind me of home, of course}, & a florist van worth of blooms completes the look…

torn…

so, the prospect of building a home from scratch is sending me into a tailspin: i’m talking full-on nose diving into the abyss…

of course i’ve thought about doing this since forever {the first house i ‘designed’ was at the tender age of fifteen: it had a circular, multi-storey library with a tree growing up from the middle of the room through a purpose-built glass ceiling at the top}…

but, nonetheless, i still find myself freefalling through all of the possibilities & searching desperately for some terra firma with which to break my fall: truth is, mostly i just find myself torn…

how, i ask you, can the same person who loves this…

this…

this…

this…

& this…

also love this…

this…

this…

this…

& this?

& that’s just the living space!

when the scope of your taste is so diverse, how & where do you begin to eke out a common thread in order to make a cohesive whole {assuming, that is, that there is a common thread to be found}?

no doubt you’ve seen a lot of these images on my blog before & no doubt you’ll see them again as i try to break them down & strip them back to understand exactly which of the elements therein are the ones repeatedly drawing me in…

this won’t be an overnight process…

but, fortunately for me, working out the minutia of the interior decoration is such a long way off i needn’t lose sleep over any of that just yet…

what i do need to explore, with some urgency, is how we want to live & what we want the space to ‘feel’ like in order to determine what the bones of it must be: afterall, the use of light, space & the sense of flow are fundamental issues to get right from the very get-go…

& then there’s the question of suitability: i’m not one for convention so my house is never going to be the standard two up, two down, but am i simply trying to shoehorn the wrong house into the space available?

once i settle on a design i actually like will it fit with the plot, the neighbourhood or even my budget?

even scarier still is the fact that, when it comes to building a home from the ground up, i don’t even know what i don’t know!

can i let you in on a secret though? i’m loving every minute of the ride…

images via: global atelierabigail ahern, vosges paris, abigail ahernshannon fricke, anna burleslivingetc, seventeen doors, vogueguy creations

sometimes it’s the little things…

that have the most impact…

like this new old lamp my mum & i picked up at the markets a few weeks ago…

it almost didn’t make it home with us {it took a few laps of the stalls & a lot of umms & aahs before we succumbed}, but i’m so glad it did!

we teamed it with a modern linen drum shade to pull out the colours of the background glaze & tie it in with some of the other pieces in the lounge room…

not only does it enliven a previously ignored corner, but it also casts the most warming glow around the whole room…

have you made any small purchases lately which have had a big impact?

a wrong turn…

somewhere along the road to setting-up-home-ville i seem to have taken a wrong turn & ended up on the corner of granny decor drive…

have you ever done that? gotten so lost in the process of acquiring individual pieces for the home that you’ve actually lost sight of the bigger picture entirely?

maybe you’ve inadvertently overdosed on leopard print to the point that it now feels like you’re living in a safari park? or stockpiled so much mid-century modern that your house has taken on the appearance of a danish furnishings warehouse?

don’t get me wrong… individually i love all of my pieces… of course i do, otherwise i wouldn’t have acquired them…

but all of my pieces combined? that’s another story completely: en masse my prized possessions are starting to steer my home firmly in the direction of pensioner parade & i fear i am but a framed doily away from retirement villa chic…

so not the look i was going for!

at first i wondered how it had happened… how was it that with all of my training & a hitherto discerning eye, i’d somehow ended up surrounded by an abundance of frills & flounce, florals & lace &, errrrm, old tat?

after much careful consideration i think i’ve determined the error of my ways: you see, i have always loved a mix of old & new in my home {not for me the “i bought my entire home contents from the same shop on the same day” method of decorating}… & indeed, get the balance right & the blend can, in actuality, prove timeless!

to this end, i’ve become a bit of a dab hand at pulling the trigger when it comes to purchasing vintage finds… having missed out on too many one-off items due to indecisiveness or inaction, i’ve come to appreciate the need to commit, & quickly, to snapping them up lest someone else does!

but what i have evidently not been so great at is picking up the modern pieces necessary to offset the older ones: somewhat understandably, i guess, i’ve tended to hang fire on those purchases because they’re usually a little more expensive & a lot more readily available… fact is, these items almost invariably get placed in the “one day” box, but somehow never actually get acquired!

& therein lies the issue: mixing old & new pieces in the home is a fine balance… too much modernity & the antiques can look distinctly old hat… too many aged pieces, however, & the whole house can start to look like granny’s knicker drawer!

combine this with a penchant for pretty pieces & the issue is compounded tenfold!

great if you’re granny… not so great if you’ve got a few years ahead of you before retirement age &, as i hope i fall into the latter category, i suspect i have a bit of a rebalancing act ahead of me…

stay tuned!

mirror image…

barely 24 hours ago i was boring the grey hairs off my mum’s head with my grandiose plans for the flat which included, for no particular reason other than i love it, the notion of a bar…

but not just any bar: a repurposed shop counter with glass votives, vintage crystal decanters, flowers &, the crowning glory, a giant ‘peacock’ mirror {which i have long since coveted} hanging smack-bang directly above it…

i’ve reworked my hastily thrown together moodboard ever so slightly in order to give you a sense of my vision…

 

 

fast forward to this evening when i finally had chance to peruse rue magazines‘s latest edition…

there featured across a seven page spread are the magazine’s new san francisco headquarters: an airy & fresh space featuring touches of zebra, leather &…

wait for it…

a table-top bar resplendent with… you guessed it, a glorious, jaw-droppingly beautiful ‘peacock’ mirror…

well i never! how rude!!!

but i have determined that instead of changing my plans or feeling pipped to the post, i shall instead rejoice in the knowledge that the extraordinarily talented team behind one of my favourite online mags share my vision for the perfect bijou bar…

images via: a touch of luxe, rue magazine

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