Thursday, 11 February 2016

Simple Interior Design Tips

When we're working with our Bibby + Brady interior clients, there are some basic tips and tricks that we use again and again. It seems many Kiwis own black leather sofas. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but they can dominate a room with their heaviness. If that is the case, cushions and throws are your best friend.

Layering throws, sheepskins and cushions will help to soften your dark sofa, as well as adding great texture.

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If there was one item of furniture I would recommend you invest in and don't scrimp on, it's your sofa (and your bed). You spend a lot of time on it, so you want it to be comfy, and you want it to last. With a more expensive sofa you're paying for quality - instead of foam cushions, which will wear out more quickly, you get feather and down cushions. A cheap sofa may have a plywood frame stapled together that just won't last as long as one made from hardwood and held together with glue and dowels, or tongue-and-groove joints. Effectively you will have to replace a cheap sofa a lot quicker than a quality sofa, so my argument is that in the end you're saving money.

We often look to use a light neutral coloured sofa in our interiors. If you do invest in a quality sofa, a neutral colour will not date and works with so many different looks. A new selection of cushions will transform it when you're ready for a change.

But, of course, we do love our colour at Bibby + Brady. This stunning soft pink sofa with wooden buttons is a winner. It's still quite a neutral tone, adding lovely warmth, and would work in a quiet Scandi room just as well as a more colourful space. It's also available in grey if you prefer.

If you do want to be a bit more dramatic and sophisticated, you can't go past this divine blue velvet sofa with elegant brass legs. It's a darker colour, but the velvet fabric means it's softer than leather. All four of these sofas are available to purchase through us at Bibby + Brady, contact me for more details.

Another of our favourite tips is to take your curtains right up to the ceiling. It will create the illusion of height, and will add instant sophistication.

Often people will hang their curtains just above the window, but you can see from the pic below what a difference it can make hanging them as high as possible.  It's an optical illusion, the window on the right looks bigger when in fact they are both the same size. As well as the height, make sure your tracks are wide enough so that when you pull the curtains back you're getting maximum light. This also makes your window look larger, and we all love natural light in our homes.

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My final tip for this post has to be about vignettes - my favourite thing in the home. A good vignette will tell a story, as well as make a room look beautifully styled, lived in and loved. The most basic thing to know when you're creating a vignette is to use different heights, shapes and textures.

Lamps, flowers and foliage are great for adding height to your vignette. Books are brilliant for grounding smaller objects. As well as books and vases, use more unusual or quirky pieces to express your personality - a camera, a spool of cotton... whatever makes you happy.

Don't just layer from the base upwards, you should also layer from front to back to add depth. Artwork hung or propped up on the wall behind is the best way to do this. Nature always adds amazing life and texture to a display. Sometimes the most beautiful is the most simple, like some branches in a jar.

Remember the space underneath. If it's a console table you can place a basket or a small stool below it. Some side tables have a lower shelf great for a stack of books topped with a bowl or dish. I love the repetition of orange in this vignette (below), it draws your eye up and down over the entire scene.

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These are just three tips to help create a stylish home, there are many more. If you want help with your home or workspace, we're here for you. You can send us photos of the area/s you want our advice and we can put together individual tips and tricks especially for you. Of course we can also help you source and purchase the perfect pieces for your home too, be it furniture, fabric, art or homewares. Drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Jen Sievers | Artist

It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to my old mate, Jen Sievers. Jen and I worked together in a design and marketing firm back in the day. I knew she was a super talented graphic designer, but what I've recently discovered is that she is an amazing artist too.

From a young age Jen always loved to paint and draw. She started her career with a fine arts degree, and went on to work for 15 years as a graphic designer. Jen's 'Big Magic' moment happened when she and her husband moved out to a semi-rural house in the foothills of the Waitakeres. It was spring time and the beauty of her surroundings inspired Jen to pick up her paintbrush again. Working four days a week as a designer, Jen spends as much time as possible in her studio on Friday through Sunday, and in the evenings (when she's not chasing her beautiful wee toddler around).

Jen paints contemporary abstracts that are fresh, whimsical and drenched in colour. Her aim is to capture movement, draw the viewer in and evoke joy and emotion. I think it's safe to say that she has achieved that, don't you?

You can find some of Jen's acrylic on large canvases at Endemic World, and she may be introducing some of her work in print form too in the near future.

She also has a number of her pieces available on Society6, from prints to tote bags to cushions, and more.

As well as her large canvases, Jen creates small wood blocks that can sit on a bookshelf or be hung on the wall. For more details and to keep up with all the happenings and new work, make sure you follow Jen on Facebook and Instagram. I know I'm excited to see what's next for this fantastic artist.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Favourite Finds

Boy, it's been a while since I've done a "favourite finds" blog post, but I've been really busy pinning, posting, saving, coveting, discovering, watching and learning, so there's lots to show you. Friday seems like the perfect day to share some of these things with you, and you may even decide to try or check them out for yourself over the weekend.

I recently pinned this gorgeous kitchen and shared it on Facebook. The beautiful Morris & Co wallpaper was originally designed in 1876, but still looks amazing in this modern day space. I love it teamed with the crisp white tiles - green and white is a favourite kitchen colour combo of mine, it's so fresh. The wood and copper accents help to bring out the blush of the flowers. Old and new, it's the way to go.

In my job I use a camera a lot to take 'before' and 'after' photos of our clients' spaces, as well as pics for our Instagram feed. We have a large SLR camera that we use for work purposes, but more often than not it's just my iPhone that gets used for everyday snaps. I recently came across the Olympus Pen E-PL7, and it's now high on my wish list.

As well as looking super cute, it's small and compact enough to carry in my handbag, while serious enough to take some great photos. The LCD screen flips down, and can be turned around around making it the perfect selfie accessory (not that I'm a selfie kinda gal).

Definitely my favourite new app is PocketYoga. For just over NZ$5 you can download the app to your phone and/or tablet and be ready to practice your yoga anytime, anywhere. I absolutely love it! You can choose between different practices, different durations and different difficulty levels. Wherever you are, home or away, just roll out your yoga mat, make your selections and you're ready to go. With soothing background music, let a calm voice talk you through the practice. Once downloaded you don't need wifi to use the app, so it's great to take on holiday with you.

I came across these wise words earlier this week and I knew I had to share them with you. So true, and such good advice. Make sure you follow this link and read them all.

Every year on my birthday, I always ask for the same thing - no fighting from my kids, and pizza and bubbles for dinner (I'm easy to please). This Friday Night Pizza is the best, and since it's Friday you should make it tonight - everyone will love you for it. If you live in Napier, pop into Vetro for your prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, and other cheeses. They also sell the delicious Pizza Pazzi bases. Or if you can't be bothered cooking, just buy the whole thing from Pizza Pazzi.

If I'm not drinking bubbles with my pizza (sometimes I'm the responsible driver) I'll be drinking my new favourite, Höpt Soda. My friend Mandy introduced me to it, and it's so delicious. I like to pour mine into a wine glass or one of our crystal tumblers, and have even tried it with a splash of gin (when I'm not the driver, of course) - yum! There are four delicious flavours. I have now tried them all and my favourite is Pear & Basil.

I'm currently saving for a pair of Juliette Hogan Japanese Denim Ankle Jeans. I'm a huge JH fan, and these jeans are the perfect length, just above the ankle. They look fab with heels, ankle boots, sneakers, and even my fave pair of Havianas. Can't wait to get them in my wardrobe.

Last on my list to share with you today are my two latest TV obsessions. I had heard a lot of hype about the series Breaking Bad, so over the holidays I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I'm now midway into season 3 and am well and truly hooked. Sometimes I cringe, but you just have to keep watching to see what happens. 

And new to TV One and OnDemand is the series Blindspot. We've only seen one episode so far, but already I love it, and am intrigued to see the mysteries unravel each week. Check it out this weekend, and let me know your thoughts on it (and any of my favourite finds).
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