new home inspiration {upstairs, downstairs}…

a nomadic abode

i was determined that the staircase leading to the second storey of our new home would be, in itself, a feature…

as with the rest of our house design i wanted it to represent well-considered, standalone design…

perhaps i’m running from my past of making do in converted old buildings, but in this home i’m desperate to avoid all those odd angled ceilings & awkward spaces you’re so often left with, the culprit of which is more often than not the staircase…

cantilevered stairs

at first i wanted our staircase to lead up from the lounge room at the back of the house with a clean-lined, cantilevered design…

crossed lines staircase

i love the fact that the structure {or lack thereof} is on show…

understair nook

& the workable nooks that can be created in the negative space…

a nomadic abode_staircase option 1

but this idea was nixed for two reasons…

firstly, the footprint of our house is less than 7 metres wide on the ground floor &, as we have to step-in the second storey, less than 6 metres upstairs: chip away from this a minimum of 1 metre in depth for a staircase & unfortunately it doesn’t leave an abundance of living space…

secondly, placing the staircase at the very back of the house would make accessing the second floor a bit of an unnecessary hike from the front door…

so we resolved to place the staircase more centrally, off the hallway {between the kitchen & the ensuite}…

the only problem with this plan being there’s not the space to accommodate my preferred design {a single run staircase} & instead we’re going to have to install a return, winder staircase {&, with it, its limitations}…

screened stairs

on the upside, i have found a few designs i love the look of, like this screened run {it reminds me of a harem}…

crisp & clear

or this glass-encased version which not only mimics the original open-air & cantilevered design i preferred, but also allows light to flood the stairwell & hallway alike…

ben de lisi

even this enclosed staircase, in the home of ben de lisi, could work if we do decide to go down the more traditional route…

regardless, the best part of this new stair placement is the landing it creates upstairs…

landing

it took a few attempts to crack the design for this {most problematic was how to get the stair run to end where & how we wanted}, but when i happened across this image i knew this was the look i was going for…

our staircase will open up onto a landing that runs the width of the house & faces {albeit slightly off-centre} double glass doors leading into the study, which itself overlooks the double-height living area beyond…

i think {& hope} it will create a sense of arrival when you reach the top of the stairs & lend the design as a whole an air of intent…

images via: cr decorationsolothaisthe zhushflash decorkikareicherthousetohomecasa vogue

design advice {pulling the plug}…

im not sure if this is a taboo topic or not, but i have a question for all of you designers out there: have you ever had to pull the plug on a potential client?

if so, were there red flags? what was the final straw? & how did you execute the cut-off?

a couple of months ago i found myself in the deliciously decadent position of having all my stars align…

i had a lead on a local ff&e design job, an offer for an internship at one of my favourite interiors magazines & motivationally speaking i was back on track after a long hiatus…

i met with the client & was invited to submit a design for their guest room so that they could gauge if our styles were compatible…

that seemed fair enough, so i set about putting together a scheme having been shown the existing furniture {a bed & wardrobe}, paint colours & some imagery of rooms the client liked the style of…

there was no budget {yes, i asked} & the design brief was “high-end residential”…

anomadicabode_client moodboard

this was my first submission…

the whole process took about 12 hours {there were, of course, several iterations} & was submitted just over 24 hours after my initial client interview…

anomadicabode_client moodboard 02

i subsequently went back & tweaked some things to add a bit more colour into what was a particularly neutral scheme…

the feedback from the client was predominantly very positive, apart from wishing to change the overhead lighting {they wanted something cosier}, create more of a feature behind the bed & to disguise the exposed radiator …

but it quickly became apparent that even these changes were still not going to be enough to secure the role…

the client also wanted me to populate some photos they’d taken of the room to see if the pieces i’d chosen would work & i was provided with some plans, dimensions & imagery…

again, there were several iterations before i finalised my submission…

anomadicabode_client guest room 02

i suggested we build out the bedhead {also creating some storage behind} & add some artwork {though i generally think this should be something the client should be involved with as appreciation of art is a very personal thing}

anomadicabode_client guest room 03

the reading nook was kept simple & i provided three options to disguise the radiator, including built in cabinetry…

anomadicabode_client guest room 01

whilst the dressing area continued the clean, classic & elegant feel consistent throughout…

this submission took approximately 14 hours to pull together & involved some additional sourcing, image manipulation & drawing…

again the client feedback was positive & i felt proud of myself for persevering, especially considering the tight deadlines & moving goal posts…

but then the clincher came…

the client had obviously done some research based on my submissions, priced some of my options &, after telling me i had expensive taste {remember, there was no budget & the spec was “high-end”}, asked me to source cheaper options for some of the pieces i had proposed…

this is where i personally wanted to stop the merry-go-round & get off, but my boyfriend suggested i arrange another one-on-one meeting with the client as there’d clearly been some confusion: i thought the purpose of these boards was for the client to determine if our styles were compatible {this was never intended as a final, costed submission}

i politely declined the offer to sink more of my time into what was increasingly looking like a futile process & suggested we meet for coffee to discuss matters further including how the project would progress {timings, payment, logistics, etc.}, but this suggestion was met with a phone call from the client telling me that they still wanted me to supply cheaper options of certain pieces before they were willing to proceed…

& this, my friends, is the moment i pulled the plug: 2 weeks of back & forth & 26 hours worth of submissions later & my patience expired…

i was becoming more than a little suspicious that there wasn’t going to be any paid work at the end of this process & i determined my time & energy was better spent pursuing other options…

but i’m curious…

tell me please, what would you have done?

would you have gone the next step & provided budget options? or would you have pulled the plug on this project a lot earlier? if so, when?

storytelling {my style}…

happy hump day everyone!

the last two weeks have been a bit manic around these parts so please excuse my absences: late nights, early starts & lots of complaining…

i thought i’d quickly share a little of what i’ve been up to…

beyond answering a last-minute phone call to undertake a couple of weeks interning {more on that another day}, i’ve also been pitching for some client work {some of which i shared here} & putting together a storyboard series to apply for a role as a style assistant…

i thought i’d share my storyboarding with you today as i’m quite proud of what i achieved given the very tight turnaround {click on each of the images below to enlarge}…

to showcase my design approach i decided to put together a series of boards based around the theme of storytellers: my reasoning being that i consider a stylist’s role to be that of a storyteller, of sorts…

first things first, i introduced my topic…

 

The Storyteller_Susan Colebourne

 

before delving into how i would recreate the world of three different types of storytellers for an editiorial feature…

i started with the world of the humble author {of course this had to be set in a cabin}…

The Storyteller_Authored_Susan Colebourne

then dipped into a cinematic extravaganza {at an outdoor screening set indoors, no less!}…

The Storyteller_Cinematic_Susan Colebourne

& finally i rounded it up with an ode to the time-honoured tradition of verbal storytelling around a camp fire {& if you guessed i’d be bringing the campfire indoors, then i’m here to tell you that you’ve guessed correctly!}

 

The Storyteller_Spoken_Susan Colebourne

which world, if any, would you most like to inhabit?

i’d love to know your thoughts…

{ps: a big happy birthday to my beautiful mum all the way across the seas}

 

new home inspiration {master bedroom}…

a nomadic abode

happy monday again all!

i hope you enjoyed this morning’s edition of country kitchen alchemy

now i’m back with something a little different for you to ponder this evening…

so last week i kicked off a new series called new home inspiration & i’d like to continue each monday with a different theme {there’s lots, so stay tuned}…

the plan initially is to share my inspirations for each space as i take you on a virtual tour, of sorts, through the new home…

so far we’ve covered the entrance & how my dreams for a dedicated entry were dashed…

now it’s time to shuffle a few paces down the hallway & head into the very first room we encounter along the way: the master bedroom…

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new home inspiration {the entrance}…

a nomadic abode

we’re still tweaking our house plans so not a lot of progress to share with you on that front just yet, but i thought it might be fun to take you on a virtual house tour, of sorts, over the next few weeks/months showing you some of my ideas & inspirations for each space as i go…

& i guess it makes sense to start that process today at the beginning: the entrance…

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formulating a plan {our new home}…

a nomadic abode

i’ve been up half the night formulating a plan: a house plan that is!

it’s yet another iteration of the same floor plan we submitted to our architect months ago for him to base some drawings on before we left for australia…

the same plan we walked through with him whilst back home & the same plan i’ve been pondering ever since our trip, trying to resolve some niggling issues in my head {it seems entrance ways & staircases are the thieves of my dreams}…

but first things first…

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going to church {amen}…

whilst the highlight of our recent trip back home was most definitely the catch-ups, there was one visit in particular i was super excited about: a pilgrimage to church!

but, of course, not just any church…

a nomadic abode

you may remember this post about some projects i was taking on at the back end of last year, one of which was advising a new church home owner on some finishing touches…

well i finally got to see the space in person &, let me tell you, it exceeded all expectations…

this 1920s building has been creatively divvied up into five separate apartments, the front of which belongs to my dear friend cunning client who snatched it up as soon as it hit the market…

ana_church4

like anyone who steps inside, she was positively dazzled by the sense of airiness & tranquility which abounds…

a nomadic abode

an expanse of brilliant white walls is bathed in a light which is tinged with the prettiest of palettes thanks to the soaring, double-storey, stained-glass windows…

ana_church

& it didn’t take her long to transform this former house of worship into a welcoming, cosy retreat…

resplendent in all-white furnishings, this truly is a happy &, dare i say, uplifting home which already brilliantly reflects the personality of its owner…

so much so that my second thought upon entering the space {my first thought being ‘wow’} was ‘this lady really doesn’t need my help’…

 

ana_church2

the bulk of furnishings have already been purchased & put in place {don’t worry, we surgically removed that dining suite from the perimeter of the room}…

a nomadic abode

& alongside the original detailing…

ana_church5

there are plenty of whimsical & personal decorative touches to gaze upon too…

in fact it’s kinda hard to tell a designer hasn’t already paid a visit…

but fear not, having up-ended the house only to put everything back where it originally was {except the dining table}, we have determined there’s still room for a few final flourishes & even one or two nooks yet to be decked out…

watch this space…
{psssst… i was a little reticent at the thought of sleeping in a former church, but it was the best night’s sleep i had the whole time i was away… could you/would you ever consider living in a place like this? does the thought of it fill you with dread or delight?}

working in layers {client moodboards}…

i happily spent this past weekend helping a friend pull together some looks for her new rental home: predominantly just some finishing touches in the guest bedroom, but fun nonetheless…

& it’s funny, but i learnt more about her tastes in one afternoon’s shopping expedition than i did in the six months we worked together: wool is a no-go {too itchy}; nothing too contrived; moroccan & colonial influences welcomed, but nothing too themed; no animal references in any shape or form e.v.e.r.; pom poms, chandeliers & girly frou frou are out, but patterns, velvets, b&w typography, panelling, maps & globes are heartily welcomed…

at first i was perplexed…

a lot of the items she liked seemed unrelated & the more she referenced the more i struggled to conceive how they could work together…

we had cosy velvet couches mixing with paisley cotton prints, coir mats & carved wooden tables alongside art deco clocks, black metal lanterns & industrial floor lamps…

to clear my mind i took a couple of photos in store of some of the items she’d noted &, once home, turned to some tried & tested methods {all of which i thought i’d share with you here today} in order to unravel the puzzle…

first things first, i drew on what i knew {a mini client survey of sorts, if you like}…

my friend is a vegetarian with dutch ancestry, a musical background & she’s currently studying geology & likes to travel…

from our time working together i knew she often wore a more masculine palette consisting predominantly of blues & browns, but these were often given a flirty twist with either a pattern {yes, she likes a bit of patternage this one}, an interesting cut or detail & accessories {more knee high boots than arm loads of jewellery}…

having this insider knowledge helped me a lot…

next i pulled some inspiration images relating to looks & feels we had discussed: colonial, moroccan & even the dutch masters were referenced, but the overlying theme was cosy, uncontrived & welcoming…

moroccan splice

velvet masters

finally it was time to break out some moodboards…

i work quickest on the computer & often just cut-out images, place them on the page & build up layer after layer until i get the mood i’m after {precision isn’t essential here}…

firstly i introduced images of existing pieces i’d have to work around in the guest bedroom: white walls, wood floors, a metal bed, a vintage wooden children’s chair {to be used as a bedside table} & some framed b&w photography…

then i added in some basic furnishings that were needed like storage, a second bedside table & some lighting…

guest bedroom_basics_masculine

on top of this i layered soft furnishings including bedding & rugs…

guest bedroom_soft furnishings_masculine

then i added the finishing touches including decorative accessories, additional artwork & a final layer of soft furnishings to complete the look…

guest bedroom_finishing touches_masculine

 

& finally, to give an overview of the layering process step-by-step, i compiled a board showing each stage being added in turn: first the furnishings, then the soft furnishings & then the finishing touches…

guest bedroom_masculine2

this look was inspired by one of the velvet masters inspiration images above, but i quickly pulled together a further three options to show my friend also…

i hoped at least one of these moodboards might strike a chord & give us a general sense of what direction to take the room in:

option two: feminine

i knew my friend didn’t love soft girly pinks, but she had liked a couple of purple pieces whilst we were out shopping, so introducing this colour was a way to give a subtle feminine feel to the space…

guest bedroom_feminine

option three: ultra feminine

knowing she loved patterns i decided to up the ante & throw in even more feminine flair by working in some crewel work & vintage kilim rugs…

guest bedroom_feminine2

option four: masculine

& finally, this look is very much inspired by one of the moroccan splice inspiration images above: the palette is restful, there’s a play on patterns & the overall vibe is calm & inviting…

guest bedroom_masculine

given more time i’d probably strive to give some altogether more varied scheme options, but this was certainly a great place to start…

images via: the diversion project, randomituscolour outside the linesmartyn lawrence bullard

thinking outside the vase {three ways with fauxs}…

happy spring-like saturday to you all!

fabulous weather outside… wondering why i’m not out there getting some sun on my face instead of tap.tap.tapping away on a keyboard, but i just wanted to drop by quickly and share some more loveliness with you cheeky chappies… so, here ’tis…

with so many quality faux blooms about {which i’ve happily banged on about before here and here}, i had to share these ideas for putting a creative spin on them {no vases were hurt utilised in the making of this post, uh uh!}…

first up… this really pretty idea from viv at ish and chi {check out her post here}… how sensational would this look in a little {or a grown-up} girl’s room… or swap out the colours {i’m imagining blooms in varying shades of lilac & mauve & deep purple hues with glossy green foliage & some strips of tan leather to bind} & set against a bare brick or concrete wall to bring an edge of femininity to an otherwise raw & masculine space…

or check out these little beauties from the jil sander 2012 collection in milan… forget the fashion {though it was breathtakingly beautiful}, these floral ‘exhibits’ caught my eye… i particularly love the display at the back where it looks like the flower heads have just been plucked off their stalks and layered haphazardly one atop another…

& it would be so easy to work this museum-esque vibe into your own home {or wedding reception… ooooooh}… all you need are some beautiful blooms & something to display them in like a glass cloche, perspex box or and old museum display case… {basically anything other than a vase!}

and finally, inspiration picked fresh from the portfolio of photographer kari herer

ever since i first clocked eyes on kari’s photographs i’ve wanted to bring these artworks to life so that i can physically reach out and touch those flouncy florals… {sometimes a photo just isn’t enough for me}

so, whilst i suspect kari used real blooms to create this look, you could certainly get away with swapping those out for the artificial variety… then just attach them to your background of choice {personally, i’d stick with the wildlife theme as it works so well} and set the whole piece off in a deep box frame {with or without glass}…

i’m so sorely tempted to try out each & every one of these looks in my own home… so watch this space as i’ll be sure to share if i do!

images via: ish and chidesign spongefashion is great

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