I have shared very few overall images of the casual living area on the blog… mainly because while I've been very happy with the Architectural element of it, the actual decorating has been the last thing that I've turned my mind to. Up until now it's all been fairly temporary or very much a work in progress.

 looking up to the ceiling lantern - windows on two sides

 The silk dots always show up much whiter in photos than in real life.. it's not that strident.

The sofas were purchased at the end of the renovation, so we've had them for nearly 2 years now. One is a four seater, the other a 3.5 seater and they are upholstered in a very fine slate grey and beige woven linen. I tend to do upholstery in main living areas in neutrals, and then bring in the pattern in other things - on an armchair or cushions or in the curtain or blind fabric. However having the neutral sofas sitting there in a neutral room for so long started to do my head in. I craved a bit of colour and pattern.


Early this year I started the ball rolling by commissioning a custom rug from The Rug Establishment. I wanted something that would break up the geometry of the space - there are a lot of rectangles and squares, and also to introduce some colour. I also wanted it to feel contemporary, so the design of the spotty rug with four different colours in it and neutral background ticked the boxes. After that I pulled a couple of the colours out with a throw rug from Designers Guild which also added in another couple of colours with tonal variations of pink and plum that complemented the rug.


Scatter cushions with green the predominant colour also helped to tie in with the outdoors. I designed the extension on the house to feel like a modern conservatory (in a way). The big steel windows and doors really help to give that feel, and bringing in more green with the cushions added to the light and airy feel I was wanting. The yellow cushions are more of a chartreuse colour (thank goodness… while they were being made up I started to panic that they were going to look too much like the dreaded Green and Gold colour scheme that is Australia's sporting colours), so they tie in with the green nicely as well. As our sofas are extra deep, all the scatter cushions have made a big difference in making anyone that isn't over 6' more comfortable sitting on them…




I've written before about the new table lamps, but they have sculptural bronze bases and compliment both the steel windows and side tables as well as an existing wrought iron floor lamp that was made by a family friend as a wedding gift many years ago (he is a master blacksmith). So with the soft furnishings largely taken care of I turned my attention to the Elephant in the room. The TV.


viewing point as you enter the extension from the hall

There are two things that couples tend to argue about when decorating. One is the sofa choice, and the other is the size and location of the TV. Mr AV and I were no different. Originally it was going to be hung over the fireplace and covered up when not in use with a painting, however the fireplace space wasn't large enough, so we would have to have a small tv (unacceptable to Mr AV)  and with a very high French mantlepiece I was concerned we were going to get sore necks looking up at it at any rate. So we just plonked our existing TV on an unattractive pine chest in the corner while we argued about it for the next year and a half. Eventually I wore Mr AV down and the TV has now been mounted flat on the wall that is not visible when you enter the living area.


I wanted it to go here because my main concern was that it not be seen when you walk into the living area from the hall. I always have what I think of as a 'viewing point' (I have no idea if this is an actual design thing, it's just the way I think of it) in a room. It's what you see as you enter the space, and it sets the tone for the room. I like my viewing point to be inviting. A giant black void of a tv screen is not. It draws the eye and distracts from all the other good things in a room. Additionally I didn't want our living area to revolve around the tv. I prefer a focal point of garden windows and the fireplace, not a blank screen that guests line up facing when you have people over.


So by mounting the tv on the wall that you don't see as you walk into the room it just visually disappears. It could be the frame of a painting from side on. So successful has this been that I've had to point it out to two visitors in the past week after I've told them I've moved the TV as they have been standing in front of it facing out to the garden and haven't noticed it behind them.

glimpse of the tv from side on

The difference this has made to the overall feel of the room is immense. Without the box and tv of old it feels much less cluttered and temporary, and more spacious and airy.


Planned changes for the future include the armchairs… our new point of argument! Plus there will be another lamp and table to put in-between them.  I will probably have more cushion covers made in velvet for Winter too. The colours will be in the warmer palette taken out of the rug and throw rug, rather than the fresher greens and yellows I chose for summer.


As for styling of the room, I really haven't bothered much…. The chess set on the coffee table was my families, with the board made by my Dad and the pieces bought in England back in the 70's (they are replicas of the oldest chess pieces found) he gave it to our oldest for his last Christmas present as he is chess mad, and it's played with most nights. The books are just ones that I'm currently flicking though, and other decorative bits and pieces tend to annoy me on the coffee table unless they fulfil a function. So I mostly keep it clear.

So, that's progress for the time being on this room with lots more tweaking required. Having never really done a proper post on it I thought it was well and truly about time!

Sources:
Sofas - Jardan "Leila"
Side Tables - Pottery Barn
Table Lamps - William Yeoward
Cushion fabrics - Designers Guild
Throw rug - Designers Guild
Floor rug - The Rug Establishment - custom
Coffee Table - Zuster - custom
Wing Armchair - Small & Whitfield estate sales
Flooring - Linoleum

60 comments:

  1. Heidi, I absolutely love how your room has come together and how you have made it look not only elegant and contempory but practical for day to day life- so often missing from magazines. Dont get me wrong this beautiful space with its colour, light well ceiling and comfortable sofas could grace any top magazine.
    I so love the shape of your wing back chair- it adds a real contrast and I really love the colour!!!
    I look forward to further evolutions, you are so very talented.
    Enjoy your week
    Marilyn xx

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    1. Thank you so much Marilyn! That's so kind of you to say… I always worry that my photos are so terrible on the blog, so that is high praise indeed that you say it could grace a magazine! I'm still so pleased with the wing armchair. It just gives the mix of old and new that I like and bounces off all the contemporary furniture nicely. xx

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  2. This all looks fantastic Heidi - you have done an amazing job. The colours and styles work together so well. Do I spy new dining chairs in one of the photos? Had a great time in Hong Kong - so hard to go back to work this week. Have only been back two days and my clients are already stressing me out! Have a great week - your children must be on holidays soon .... Jo xx

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    1. Hi Jo - yes, new chairs have finally arrived! I'll do a post on the dining room next as it's a completed space now. I'm so glad to hear your trip to Hong Kong was fun, although the re-entry to work life is always a hard bump back to reality. Yes, holidays soon. Am sort of dreading it due to the mess and chaos ahead for the next 7 weeks, but the break from the relentless morning routine is always kind of nice. Plus the slower pace in January when my husband is on leave too. xx

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  3. Great post - came to have a look after seeing your Instagram picture. I love this room very much. I especially love the lofty ceiling and the windows so high up. I agree that TVs are too frequently the focal point of a room, and I think your solution is very well conceived.
    I know that the armchair is set to be reupholstered, but it really picks up the warm tones in the artwork above the fireplace so perfectly!
    Glad the fire situation has calmed in SA. I think we are due for a very long, hot summer.

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    1. Thank you so much! The TV isn't exactly a cleverly hidden thing in this room, but it's interesting that you don't necessarily have to completely hide it to not make it a focus in the room I think.
      Yes, summer is not looking good - I see we're in for 40 over the weekend again and it does get worrying when the fires have already begun and been so ferocious. Have a good week!

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  4. Heidi
    The room architecture was always superb - and it's so hard to improve on superb. But you've done it. It's stunningly beautiful - and the greens you've used really link it so well to the garden. Also love the fish painting, it's such a wonderful feature and works so well with the new rug. I'm running out of superlatives. But this room deserves them all. It also feels like the much loved home it is and not like the decorator's styled set you see so often in magazines.
    In due course, look forward to a post on the winter options. Congratulations!! Pammie

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    1. Pammie you're so sweet. I remember how the room was when you visited and it was all just kind of starting with the garden just planted and still full of dirt, and the room a little on the bland side with the lack of colour. It's slowly getting there! Next time you visit it will be so different from the first time xxx

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  5. I have no intelligent comment, so I exclaim from the bottom of my heart "preeeeeeteeeeee" :)
    We are going through the motions with the architect. How do you feel about 2 bathrooms in a 3 bed house, and the ensuite facing the front? Hmmmm

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    1. How exciting re the architect. I think an ensuite is a must these days if you can afford one. Better for resale of the house later down the track, but from a family perspective it's a great place to hide when you need a little personal space :) As for ensuite facing the front as long as its not by the front door I don't think it's too much of a problem… just make sure you have good window coverings!

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    2. thanks for your input, heidi!

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  6. Heidi, the room looks very stylish the architecture is beautiful. I love where the TV has been placed a great idea to take the focus off of it. The furniture arrangement looks so inviting. Point of argument the chairs. I gave ground on mine and now my husband doesn't even think his choice is comfortable. ( Arr !! men I don't think they should have an opinion unless extremely qualified) I'm with you on the styled coffee table.
    Your kids will be on holiday soon so the room is really going to be put to the test.
    What about our crazy weather the gardens going to take a beating.

    PS: love that chair.

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    1. Well I have to say that I don't find the sofas comfortable due to the extra depth, and my husband was insistent, so I gave in… but they aren't that comfortable as I'm far too short. The cushions have helped a little but I'm really wanting the armchairs as I think they'll be so much better ergonomically speaking. I try to keep the kids out of this area - they have their playroom all set up and it's not that far from the living area, so they tend to hang out in there. Of course the other day they were busy building a cushion tower so they don't necessarily stay put in their space!! xx

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  7. I love the room as it is cosy but still so spacious. you are lucky you can hide your tv - there isn't much wall space for tv's to hide around here. There is something about a TV that does kill a space when it's a main focus. I love how there is a niche industry on hiding TV's with pop up shelving or wooden folding blinds. I didn't put a tv in the top room and in the winter i am hardly there because there is no TV! It's a love hate thing isn't it? xxx

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    1. It definitely still feels spacious. I'm just adding until it gets to a point where it feels like enough… the two armchairs and table will likely be that point. But I don't have a lot of wall space either due to the windows, so this was the only large area that could have a tv on it. And now not so much room for future art. The English have so many clever ways to conceal tvs. I always remember those pop up upholstered benches for the end of beds that were invented so long ago. Or skirted tables were another one. Agree with you that tv is a love/ hate thing. So many times its on in the evening and neither of us are actually watching it… xxx

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  8. looks beautiful! Are the green cushions the fabric you sent? gorgeous shade. Love your ruggy too.

    You must love walking in there x

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    1. No, it's a different one that's a bit lighter. I do love walking in now - it feels serene and calm. At the moment!

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  9. PS orange chair MAKES IT!!! hope you aren;t changing the colour? x

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    1. yes I am! It's going to be plum coloured fabric. So a bit darker but kind of in the same colour family. But finding a nice faded orange velvet to replace it would be very, very hard.

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  10. PPS you know Mr FF would have all those walls covered with art. I went to chambers today and almost fainted at how many things were lying resting against walls on on the floor. Are you going to leave them blank? or art it the hell up? x

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    1. I'd like much more art, but these things take time. I'm not overly fond of decorator art, so prefer to wait for things that we really love. Plus don't have a lot of wall space really. Where are you going to put the new stuff?? Will you cull older things you don't love anymore? xx

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  11. This all looks fantastic Heidi. A very inviting room and so well curated. How are you going to place the armchairs and the wingback?
    I got a really deep sofa for our family room and we desperately need more scatter cushions; as you say it only works if you are really tall! I'm looking forward to sorting that out in the new year. I'm still on the hunt for lamps ;) x

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    1. I think we'll flip the sofa back to where it originally was and have the armchairs facing the tv. The sofa has a low enough back that you'll be able to see the tv over it. But we are arguing about that so we'll see… you'd think he'd have just let me go after he has conceded that the tv placement is perfect…!
      Can't wait to see what you do with the lamps!! I seriously feel like I'm aware of the lamp inventory world wide. It's so hard to find the perfect thing. xx

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  12. I love this room! It is absolutely beautiful--so airy and crisp, but still inviting and comfortable. The shade of the green cushions reminds me of something so specific and I can't place it. I will report back when I remember. TVs are awful and so hard to contend with. I used to have terrible sleeping problems and a told me that the TV so close to my bed was the problem; as it was a black hole for energy. I took it out and haven't had a TV in my bedroom since. Aside from energy, you are so right about them being visual black holes! I have mine to the right hand side when you walk in my family room, too. I just don't like them over the fireplace. If it can be avoided somehow. Am not the least bit surprised that is such a common fighting point for couples! I fight with myself about it! Love this room! Can't wait to see the chair reupholstered. Of course I love the orange... But trust your judgment immensely!
    Do you know what would really set this room off? Have you ever seen those blankets with the big ass Hs all over them?

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    1. Stop! Nooooooo! Not the miracle blanket!! You're so funny.
      Laughing too that you fight with yourself over the tv placement too. But that's a good move to take it out of the bedroom. I don't like them in bedrooms, and when we moved into the house my husband on the first night we went to bed pointed to the wall opposite our bed and said "that would've been the perfect place for a tv. What an oversight that we didn't put in power and aerial points there". I told him it was definitely no oversight. Of course he now just watches stuff on his ipad in bed, so that's kind of been annoying… xx

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  13. Heidi it's so gorgeous, I can't believe how well it has come together with the cushions, the fantastic design on the rug and the key older piece: the chair! Also love the chess set on the table, that really is lovely but also speaks to family life, it's very warm to see it there. Great solution with the tv, it's so clean looking between the windows and the slim line of it, it's not noticeable at all.
    Really like your idea of velvet pillows for winter too, that will be an interesting change-up.
    Hehehe Stephen Andrew has a good suggestion re the big H blankets haha!

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    1. Thank you so much Dani! The chess set doesn't really go with the rest of the room in a way, but I love it because it was made by Dad and reminds me of my childhood. Plus it gets so much use it's not worth putting it away anyway!
      I love the concept of swapping things over seasonally. As the room feels so airy and light it's nice to cosy it up a little for winter, so the velvet cushions in warmer colours should do that nicely. Oh and of course the miracle blanket will warm things up too as Stephen Andrew suggested!xx

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  14. Absolutely beautiful. I think my favourite part is the natural light that shines in. Not only does it look stunningly designed, it also looks comfortable.

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    1. Thank you Vicky - I never take the light for granted after living in the much more internal facing old part of the house for the three years before. The light and feeling of airy space is such a contrast to the Victorian era rooms at the front.

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  15. Hi Heidi, my two cents of advice. Don't clutter the room with art. It looks so calm and elegant as it is. The garden vista as good a picture as you will buy. I was visiting people last week. The TV remained switched on for my 48 hr stay. Even during our meals. Terribly distracting. So rude. Stymied conversation. So juvenile. I got quite annoyed but not my role to comment. Gosh I hate those damn things. My gym has several permanently switched on. Just as annoying. I must be in a grumpy mood today. Judith

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    1. I hope your day improves Judith! That's just awful about the tv and the house you visited. I really don't like it on during the day at all and usually have music on or the radio. Of course I fight a battle on that with my husband due to weekend sport… now the cricket has started it's 5 days of 24 hour coverage so that's a great background noise! But fortunately you can't see the screen from the rest of the living area now so it's not quite so intrusive. But I'd never put it on with people over!! That's just terrible that it ends up overriding conversation. Here in Adelaide a lot of cafes have tvs in them, and it drives me insane…. can you tell I'm not a huge fan of them either?! x

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    2. It's a bit of a problem in our house too. G gets up v early to watch the stock market reports and business news. The rule is it has to go off during breakfast - I refuse to eat a meal in front of it - unless it's something I really want to see (unfair?), like the British Gardens in Time program (luckily he likes it too).
      Later in the day it's Foxtel cultural programs on fine arts (arts, music etc) or history - he is, after all, a bit of an intellectual. Fortunately he's gone past sports. I like these programs too but can't bear it on all day. It's kind of like background noise, never giving the mind peace to just think or day dream. I have negotiated some TV free time (it was driving me mad!) when we're home and he's reluctantly agreed - but if I'm out, it's on all day I think. But it's always turned off when people visit of course - except when our son is here and HE watches the sports programs. Pammie

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  16. A fantastic light, bright and inviting room. Again, well done.

    p.s. Thank you for all the detail you put into these posts and supplier info.

    Linda C.

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    1. Thanks so much Linda, and glad you find the supplier info useful too x

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  17. I love your zesty mix of colors and patterns and what you did with the big black box. I thoroughly agree with the concept of a 'viewing point' and I'm so pleased you were able to wear the mister down as the final placement is a stroke of genius. Thankfully, although I've subjected my mister to his share of "wearing down" on several issues, the television has not been one of them. We just don't have one. I think I'm lucky in the mister department with respect to the tv as I know several other misters that would not hear of such a thing (televised sporting events are too important to them!).

    I love how the new old chair looks right at home in your room.

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    1. You're so lucky you have TV alignment with your husband CD! Very unusual, and I was just talking to someone today about how they watch tv in different rooms as they like to watch different programs to each other. So it's not just the difficulties of how big/ where to put it for some, but what they're watching too. The chair does look very settled there, I'm still so very pleased with it! x

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  18. Heidi, you are a genius. I love the whole lot. Good luck with the arm chairs. So much potential for arguments when designing/renovating- we solved this problem by getting a third party opinion from a gem- worked a treat x

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    1. Thank you so much HIH, and so nice to see you around the blogs again - I've been wondering how you're getting on. Third parties are always the way to go to stop the arguments… aside from the cost ones, which no third party can ever solve for you! Hope it's all going well! xx

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  19. Heidi - it's gorgeous. I love it all.

    The TV is genius. Ours is very much 'there' in your face but we're limited on wall options. I put a large vase of flowers in front when the darn cricket's not on - not sure about these new fangled day night test matches !
    I do work in television news so often have the 24 hour news on when I'm home so I can helpfully 'produce' it as I pass.

    Your cushions are just lovely and after gazing at them with envy I realised it's very rare to see no pattern and lots of colour - stunning. x

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    1. That's very funny about flowers and the cricket! Yes, I was cursing the new day/night tests. Also the fact that there is this window where we have cricket and football still on. Mr AV refers to it as 'the perfect storm' when it's sport 24/7. And there's definitely no professional reason for having it on for him (unlike you!).
      That's true about the lack of pattern… I just didn't feel that a greek key/ lattice/ floral/ stripe would look so good. The fabric is lovely in person (textured and has a little sheen to it), so it doesn't really need more. x

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  20. Love it all Heidi and that arm chair adds just the right amount of height to create visual interest. I actually like the orange too although plum will be lovely. Love your art and I don’t think it needs much more at all, but then I tend more to minimalism as I find it more restful. Our sofas are also way too deep and unless you are curled up or horizontal they’re not comfortable at all. We have succumbed to recliners, although they had to be very sleek and elegant scandinavian ones to pass muster with my design savvy offspring! The fashion police approved. I bought one for Mr T to recover from major open heart surgery last year and then after reclining in it just ONCE I had to order one for myself! So supportive and comfortable and I quite like to look of them. I find when older folk like my parents visit, they need an armchair for support and to be able to get up easily. We have some really comfy ones in the more formal living room that they gravitate to. Do you know much about window tinting Heidi? I’m thinking of having the living room windows tinted as we have so much light in there I worry about the furniture fading. We came back from holidays to find the bedlinen in a bedroom with the same orientation had faded in just four weeks. (Although it wasn’t expensive bedlinen , so maybe that was the problem) Any hints re tinting? We have blinds which are recessed and not visible when up and I like the crisp look of no curtains. I always have the blinds up in daytime as the view is lovely and I just prefer to have light. Guess I want it all! Thanks for your informative posts - I often reference you when talking with the architect. Tonkath

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    1. That's very funny about the recliners Tonkath! I'm glad you got your own though if it was super comfy, as no doubt you were on fairly arduous nursing duties whilst your husband recovered. It's always best to have a bit of a mix of chairs in a seating area for the reasons you mention above - no one chair suits every person. And it is nice to be considerate of guests and the fact that they might not feel (or be able to) sprawl on a low lying sofa.
      Yes, a film is a really good idea on the windows to protect the furniture. You can get clear ones that cut out all the UV and they don't go purple these days. 3M make good ones, there's a list here http://solutions.3m.com.au/wps/portal/3M/en_AU/Window_Film/Solutions/Markets-Products/Residential/Sun_Control_Window_Films/

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    2. Yes, heavy nursing duties and even had to learn how to mow the lawn and cart the bins up our very long, steep drive! Fortunately he had a great recovery and was back to normal after three months. I did get to watch a lot of Game of Thrones though! Thanks so much for the link! Off to look at tinting now - Tonkath.

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  21. Oh Heidi, I love it all! Your mix up is perfect and you know that I am in firm agreement with you about the TV! Did you architecturally draw that wall to fit that particular model......Rx

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    1. Thanks R! Am very happy with the inclusion of colour. No, the tv space was somewhat serendipitous. I'd originally designed that wall with a wall of glass to look over the pool at the front of the house in the side garden. After we moved the pool to the back, I shuffled windows around in frame stage, so it just ended up being the largest area of wall. Worked out well though! xx

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  22. I read this a couple of days ago in Carmel but couldn't comment and just kept on looking on my phone. Just stunning color touches in your, the green, yellow and touch of pink in the flowers are just perfection. So clever, modern but fresh and comforting and comfortable.
    I found cushions a real bear and did them over three!! times, and then of course, no one wanted the old ones because they didn't go in anyones' house. Now we have none.
    Your colors remind me a bit of the Carmel Valley Ranch I just stayed at, that same surprising modern but natural touch.
    Importantly, your dining chairs around the table look comfortable. It's hard to get something stylish and good to sit in for hours.
    I did notice at the Ranch the banquette seating was too low for the table, which i see a lot and which i don't understand in restaurants and hotels...who wants to have their elbows sticking upwards at the table?

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    1. I can't believe you did your cushions 3 x's! So funny - do you have a cupboard full of them that you can whip out if you feel a change in mood?!
      Funnily enough our dining table was too high. I had it cut down by the builders. It was 800mm high, which is 50mm more than you'd normally have. Funny how such a small measurement difference made such a difference to comfort. I was always with my elbows up, and used to feel like a 5 year old sitting up at the table! xx

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  23. What a pretty space. Those windows are absolutely gorgeous and you've made excellent choices to showcase the architecture. Beautiful.

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    1. Thank you Jen, the windows were a total pain in the neck during construction with all the problems we had with the contractor, but they do look beautiful and have given the feel I wanted.. so I'm kind of over the pain now :)

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  24. Simply fabulous.
    As a "tallee" I think I'd love your sofa. I'm also a tucker away of things, others like, eg tvs and staircases opposite the front door so that guests are drawn upstairs, unless of course your living areas are upstairs. A friend has fabulous Harbour views from her first floor so they reversed the floors.
    When I first read your post, I couldn't place where I'd seen the cushion colour scheme and then it dawned on me. One of the first winter weddings we went to in our early 20's, had each bridesmaid in a different colored dress. The colors being your cushion colours of green, chartreuse and the colour of your chair, rust or burnt orange. Much prefer your cushions. Den x

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    1. That's so funny re the wedding! When I started reading your sentence I started to think "did I copy that from somewhere I didn't remember…?". Obviously not! Well, I think the colour scheme would work a lot better for cushions then bridesmaids dresses. I seem to remember it was a 'thing' to have different coloured bridesmaids dresses at one point in the late 90's…

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  25. Everything looks so great. It is a beautiful airy space. I love your tv solution. So glad it didn't go above mantle. Also, glad Hub price gouged you on the original dining room light and you ended up with such a show stopper!
    www.lasscreative.com.au

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    1. Ha! There's a lot of pain on the whole husband intervening on design stuff! Sometimes it works out for the better though. I'm sure you feel the same way… but yes, am still so happy with the light. xx

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  26. Hi Heidi, Just catching up on social media after a busy few months with books and family matters. I wanted to tell you your home is beautiful. I even love the tangerine wingback armchair the way it is, in all its gently aged glamour! (Designers Guild is doing a lot more velvets this season, if you were looking for a replacement fabric. But I'm sure you'd already know that.) I particularly love your garden. Congrats on all of it. Unfortunately, I missed all the comments over the H blanket post -- what a storm! I liked them years ago, when one appeared in Charlotte's townhouse in Sex and the City (the navy one; very elegant), but felt they were too over-priced. I found one for $1800 in Collins Street, but even that seemed excessive? We have a few beautiful Designers Guild blankets (even they seemed expensive at $150), but visitors can't tell the difference between them and the $50 Zara versions! Enjoy your beautiful home over the summer. I bet the kids love it!

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    1. That H blanket would be the baby/ cot version you're referring to - can work as a small throw I guess too? Yes, a little bit of a storm in a teacup, but interesting discussion….
      Thanks for the compliments on the room, it's all starting to come together. Looking forward to reading some of your latest books which you've no doubt been working away hard on. xx

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  27. Stunning! And all that natural light. I'm catching up on your posts. The chandelier fixture over the dining table is to die for!!! So chic. xoxo

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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