Officially it's Autumn (although we are having the usual very hot March). Shop windows are full of scarfs and pea coats you don't want to even try on in the air-conditioned shop, the days are noticeably shorter and my sun dress rotation is becoming very boring.



I am preparing in my own way for the upcoming cooler months though by feathering the nest. Finally I have had the armchair I purchased at auction last year reupholstered. I ended up choosing a plum coloured Pierre Frey relatively large weave fabric to replace the original orange velvet.

The armchair before suffering from saggy seat

The upholsterer did a great job - he replaced the pancake like horsehair cushion with a down and feather one, redid the broken webbing in the seat, and redid all the antique brass nailhead just like the original. It's the favourite chair in the casual living area now, and we're all very happy with it. To show how the colour ties in with the others in the room you can see the plum colour is in the spots on the rug, and also similar in colour to the colours in some of the scatter cushions on the sofa.





Next up is a club fender for the fireplace. These are very common in the UK, not so common here in Australia. I'm trying to introduce additional seats into this area, and they tend to be a popular place to perch on where it's warm with a class of wine in hand when there's a crowd. I'm getting it done in the UK (no local manufacturers), and it will have an upholstered seat top in a light grey herringbone linen that matches in nicely with the sofas. The base will be a brushed stainless steel, so will work in with the speakers on either side of the fireplace and give a good blend of new and old. It will also mean there is a little bit of distance between people and the fire, which has always concerned me somewhat as the current set up doesn't seem so safe (we don't have the fire on when children are around as a result).



Another project that's just starting to gain momentum is the new garage. We had hoped to get moving on it last year, however the difficulties involved in the design meant it's taken until the past month for final development approval to come through from our local council. We have a tricky time with Heritage requirements for our street (our house itself is not Heritage listed, rather the overall street is protected), and this means absolutely everything is sent to the Heritage advisors for comment and recommendation (such as when we did a pool in our back garden that can't be seen from the street… it still went through Heritage).


The slow progress on this approval was due to the fact that we are incorporating a second level for accommodation over the car spaces. This will be for out of town guests, but will also do double duty as a studio for me to work out of. I've incorporated most of this space into the roof line so that it doesn't appear visually bulky from the street, and it has direct access to the street via a door and staircase. It will finally be a place for me to store the samples that are currently overtaking our Library/ meet up with trade reps and clients and get a little better separation of work/ home life which is all rather blurred at the moment. There'll be a kitchenette, a full bathroom and a murphy bed (concealed Queen sized bed that folds down from the wall). I'll post more as we get to the point of starting construction (currently the engineering is being finished off, then we need the building permit approved), but it will be an interesting project to follow for some readers as I'm trying to maximise the outcome for minimal expenditure - it's always interesting to me to see which are my most popular design posts, and they tend to be the ones about doing things cheaply. The ones on spending money…. not so much.  But in the meantime I thought I'd share a few of my design inspiration photos of garage/ coach house/ loft style conversions all from the Garages page on my pinterest.






Aside from that life has been busy. They call it Mad March in Adelaide as we have all the Festivals at once - Adelaide Festival of Arts, the Fringe, Womadelaide (world music festival), Writers Week and then the Clipsal 5000 (car race - I avoid this one). Coupled with just getting over the whole back to school information nights/ drinks/ getting children settled into school etc just prior and it's been busy.



Two weeks ago I went to see the James Trilogy plays (James 1, James II, James III), which was 11 hours in total (7.5 hours of theatre, the rest being intermission and breaks between the plays for afternoon tea and dinner). It was performed by the National Theatre of Scotland and the National Theatre of Great Britain, and was the headline act for the Festival of the Arts. Each play could stand on its own merits if you didn't think you could sit through them all, but seeing them consecutively was fantastic.  It was all very Game of Thrones- like with the political intrigue/ clan fighting during the 15thC and was obviously written just before the referendum on Scottish independence last year - the final monologue in the James III play was spoken to the audience about Scottish identity/ independence from England and it was a sort of hybrid between the 15thC in costumes and the modern era with language. It was absolutely brilliant.


Of course, sitting down for 11 hours throws up a quandary of what to wear. There were a few men in kilts in the audience, but having no Scottish blood myself, I opted for comfort by wearing my favourite Joseph stretch gaberdine leggings. I know, I know - leggings are not pants, but honestly, these are a thick (elasticated) fabric and really do look like pants. I've forced some of my friends to buy them too and they are similarly thrilled with the miracle nature of these pants - comfortable, you can wash them in the machine, yet good enough to wear to the theatre or dinner out. Mine were bought a year ago in the David Jone's sales at 50% off plus another 30% on top of that but I will be buying them full price when these wear out (I think matches and netaporter carry them).  I wore them with the silk shirt/ jacket/ Goossens necklace I blogged about a few posts back. Jacket necessary because even if its a warm day for some reason they like to make the theatre absolutely frigidly cold. I suppose it did give a very Scottish feel by default...


Continuing with the never ending summer, a few months ago I was telling my sister about the bargain Salvatore Ferragamo sunglasses I'd bought at Costco. I have an unfortunate habit of throwing my sunglasses in my bag at some point (after being very careful to store them in their case most of the time) where they inevitably scratch. I was particularly annoyed as I'd done this to a reasonably newish pair of Chanel sunglasses, and wasn't prepared to fork out for another pair. But my sister was unimpressed with my cheap designer sunglasses and told me that you can buy replacement lenses. Not only that but you can get them polaroid -something the designer sunglasses never seem to come in. In fact the saleswoman in Chanel went to great pains to let me know that my sunglasses were not legal to wear driving in Europe. I was able to reassure her that wouldn't be a problem for me… Anyway, back to the replacement lenses. They make the lenses for pretty much all designer sunglasses, mail them out to you and you just pop out the old ones and put in the new. If they don't carry your brand in stock, you can mail your sunglasses to them and they make a pair to suit and mail them back. Cost is around $60 for polaroid and less for the non. Can't recommend it more highly. The company is called Sunglasses fix. I've now replaced two of my old sunglasses lens and have three sunglasses on rotation.


Anyway, I'm off to do a bit of free magazine reading on my ipad before preparing lunch for the family. It's a long weekend here, and we've had a very lazy one after the past few busy weeks. I've finally managed to get stuck into the garden to do the weeding and pruning and having been too busy to download my usual rotation of about 20 design and fashion magazines from the local library I have a lot of catching up to do. Hope you had a good weekend.

view of the side garden

30 comments:

  1. I usually do a change around of my decor with the seasons as well, but I'm not quite ready for Autumn yet especially as it's 40 degrees in Perth today, Summer isn't ready to disappear just yet :)
    Love your armchairs by the way x

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    1. I've seen Perth is baking Michelle - we're usually next in line, but I think we might be escaping the worst thank goodness. It's been weirdly humid here and very tropical. So agree that while it says Autumn in the shops it certainly doesn't feel like it. x

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  2. I like how you mended your sunglasses. So annoying to have to throw something, especially something expensive, out.

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    1. Used to drive me crazy! So glad I hung onto them and now have them all fixed xx

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    2. Brilliant to get the lenses changed. Another of my problem is I seem to break the frames - sometimes the arms just snap off - and not just at the metal hinge. Once that happens I think they're probably beyond repair. Happened in Nice two years ago so I bought a v cheap pair from the guys selling them along the Promenade des Anglais. When we were in Aix, for some reason I mentioned this to the staff in Agnes B. They were horrified and said I'd ruin my eyes with those glasses. They sent me to an optometrist up the road where I bought one of theirs, not designer but well-made and rather nice, French. So far, still have them.
      Your house just gets better and better - from an already high base. Looking forward to the garage/studio. Fingers crossed the plans are approved soon. The club fender sounds wonderful too.
      The Scottish James series must have been fascinating. How lucky to have been able to see it all! If it had been here G could have worn his kilt and sporran! We're still in the depths of the FFF. Some wonderful films, some not so. But a good variety and with excellent casts. The other day in the lobby I overheard people describing something described as a cross between GOT meets RHOM but didn't catch exactly what they were talking about. Intriguing, No? Pammie xx

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    3. The FFF sounds like a lot of fun Pammie - it's so rare for me to get to see a movie at the actual movie theatre (unless it involves animation…). Although we saw the Big Short a few weeks ago which Mr AV didn't enjoy much - said it reminded him of work.
      Yes, the sunnies are def beyond repair when they have the hinges broken. This happens to Mr AV who has an unfortunate habit of sitting on his. He was actually asking me what the point of the cases that come with sunglasses were the other day as he threw his out. I told him to stop people from sitting on their sunglasses most likely…
      Garage plans are approved - building approval is more hinging on the engineering, so I'm hopeful we'll start soonish. Unfortunately the engineer had a personal problem and there's been a delay - story of my life! xx

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    4. Yay to the plans being approved. Hopefully the engineering tick will come soon. Sometimes I sit on sunnies like Mr AV, sometimes I drop them on the footpath. Klutz!
      Understand about not getting to the movies often - it was the same when our son was young (there are some advantages to ageing). But we did get to see all the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies. When we were in Colombo with a built in nanny we could go to the cinema at night. But one evening we were v late arriving-there was no-one in the ticket office or anywhere. All the doors into the cinema were locked (to prevent people getting in without paying we're guessing) and unattended. This gave us complete horrors - what if there'd been a fire - everyone was locked in! We never ever went to the movies again at night. Yes, we're really enjoying the FFF. Have given brief reviews of faves so far on FF's blog. Have also booked in for Trumbo. Pammie

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    5. Goodness - I hope they've upgraded their fire policies at those cinemas, but being Columbo I'd say unlikely. Don't blame you for not going again!!
      I think you got to see all the classics with your son - my best way of seeing something is to watch it on apple TV when it's released there. I'm going to watch the Orry Kelly doco tonight I think xx

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  3. You're making me feel useless BC I have so much to reupholster and fix but oddly in good at getting stuff to reupholster...exciting about a studio. But waiting for plans are rather testing the patience but it's needed. Oh to need sunglasses! I usually get mine free with a magazine! X

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    1. Ah well the waiting for development approval was unusually long. So much so that I had to lodge a complaint with the council over the delay. Apparently the hold up was because the planner took sick leave for a few weeks, then went on holiday for a few weeks immediately after… then it was Christmas and he seemed to never be in the office. It was definitely on the slow track. So much for an 8 week statutory turnaround!
      So funny re your sunnies - I wear mine all year round otherwise the glare just makes me squint. Plus you get cataracts as an older person due to sun damage as a young, so they really are a necessity in Oz. xx

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  4. Hi Heidi, excellent research on lens replacement. Your garage is going to be wonderful. I like the living area and skylights. So glad the weather has turned in Sydney it has been a scorcher.
    xxx Lillian Plummer

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    1. Hi Lillian, I can't wait to get going on the garage! It will be a happy day indeed to shift all the stuff out of the Sitting room and spread out more. Glad to hear you've had a bit of relief from the heat - we have a pretty warm week again, then hopefully it will start to get a little cooler for Autumn… xx

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  5. Thank you for the sunglasses tip. I'm prone to wrecking mine too. That chair fabric is brilliant: excellent choice.

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    1. I love the chair fabric - I think because there's such unlimited options out there I tend to pick something and then worry it isn't the best option I could have gone with… always a relief when it comes back and I'm happy!! xx

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  6. Hello Heidi
    I will really enjoy watching your garage / studio project take shape. Keep us posted!
    I hope you are going with the skylight option. In the past few years I have installed three Velux skylights in my raked ceilings here in Canberra. I opted for the electric operated blinds and opening (via remote control) and double glazing. The auto closing in the event of rain is miraculous. Definitely worth paying for all these features.
    Love your newly upholstered chair and the apparently left field colour selection of the throw cushions. Not an intuitive choice but definitely inspired and successful. I counted them and note that you do not yet pose a threat to FF's cushion tally. But what is it with men and cushions do you know? Why can't they just sit with them on the chair rather than having to make a big fuss about taking them off?
    Judith

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    1. So agree with you about the Velux motorising option Judith. We had the manual ones in our bathroom in Melbourne (but were on a shoestring budget so couldn't afford the motorisation), and I'd always have those "oh no" moments when at work and it would unexpectedly rain, and I knew I'd left them open. The motorised ones in our current bathroom are brilliant by comparison. Good to hear you love yours too.
      As for the cushions - two will end up on the future armchairs, so there'll be a small depletion of numbers but my husband hates them and spends a lot of time throwing them on the floor. Then again, he agrees that they do make the room look better. It was very devoid of colour before. xx

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  7. chair and necklace are wonderful xx

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    1. Thanks - hope work isn't snowing you under too much xx

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  8. I don't know, it's mystical or something... but there is always something in your posts that I have long been interested in but can never find. This time it's the "Murphy Bed"...have been thinking of putting one in my home reno. Also, the studio above the garage. I am renovating and my daughter is re-building. I always pass your ideas onto her. Oh, I love your lounge room. The couches are wonderful. How do you keep them clean? slip covered? Thank you.
    Linda C.

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    1. Linda - so funny, but your first line I started reading thinking "spam", as they often start off in a similar way! That is indeed odd though that I write things you're thinking of - in psychic synch that's for sure!
      The sofas are slip covered, but I've yet to have them cleaned. The kids are supposed to stay off them (they have their playroom), and the fabric is quite good at hiding dirt anyway, so it's really just luck at the moment. But when the time comes I'll be able to take them to the dry cleaner and have them done properly. x

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  9. The chair looks fantastic and I love that it picks up the darker colour in your rug. Love the theatre outfit - I'm living in leggings at the moment and already dreaming about post pregnancy wardrobe additions! I look forward to hearing more about the garage development... we are about to put planning permission requests in for an organery, I hope it sails through but suspect it will be a bit of a drawn out process. x

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    1. I used to loath and detest my pregnancy wardrobe by the end, and often made purchases thinking they'd fit after baby. Some successfully and some not so… Hope you're feeling well Charlotte. The Orangery sounds fantastic! And yes, everything simple seems to still take forever xx

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  10. Thanks for sunnies tip. We have just contacted an architect about renovating our house in Melbourne. We've been here nearly 30 years and I've always liked the small and separate room approach for privacy and cosiness. Strangely enough, it is now that the children have left home that I hanker for a larger kitchen/dining area. When we are all together now it usually involves the children's partners and a friend or two so we now have just the two of us or a crowd. I've read your blog for quite a while now so re-visited your kitchen/dining dilemma with Mr AV wanting a large inclusive area. I'm tending toward your ideas as I don't want to miss out on the conversation but also don't want the stacks of dishes on display. How's it working out? Do you still feel part of the action in your almost but not fully partitioned kitchen. And finally.....are you still a huge fan of the lino? Thank you so much for sharing all your fantastic tips. I'm very grateful to FF for sharing her links.

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    1. Hi Anon, good luck with the upcoming reno. I absolutely love the arrangement with the kitchen, and can't recommend it more highly. I still feel part of the action, but not seeing the mess in the kitchen is fantastic. I also like it during a dinner party as I can kind of stay connected, but have a bit of space to concentrate on whatever I'm doing next. I think it's a great compromise. People still wander in and chat, but I can easily hear things and participate in conversation even if they're in the dining area.
      As for the lino - still love it! I praise it every day as whatever our kids throw at it it cleans up beautifully. I'ts just a great neutral backdrop, and really lets the furniture, windows, rug etc shine.

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  11. Love the reupholstered chair. The proposed studio will be great. Reminds me of the first apartment we stayed in in Paris in the first arrondisement, this time 4 years ago. Our 2 kids loved it. An economy of space without any waste, but with all essentials and more for our kids used to space and rooms. I went looking for our photos and they are identical to what you've posted. Thanks Den xxx

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    1. Thanks Den, and I can't wait to have a studio!! Having to pack away work at the end of the day and then drag it all back out is a bit tedious. That apartment sounds fantastic - the Europeans are very good at all the space saving ideas, we can be quite lazy by comparison with not making things do double or triple duty. xx

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  12. The chair is amazing I just love your home! How amazing will it be to have the space over the garage for work and guests? Double-duty spaces are very sensible renovations. I have those leggings in my shopping bag at Net-A right now so thanks for the tip.
    Also really interested in your club fender for the fireplace, such a useful thing to have in so many ways, please keep us updated. They are a popular item in older houses in my neighbourhood but sometimes people rip them out, why why? They are terrific: safety and extra seating. More double-duty and I'm not surprised because you clearly put so much thought into design and use of space.
    Hear you on the frigid theatre... our theatre season is in the summer and this is why I have a collection of Brora cropped cardigans to match my summer frocks: the a/c can easily ruin the play for me if I don't have a good bit of cashmere to cover up with. XO

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    1. I think you need those leggings Dani! You'd love them I'm sure. I can't believe people rip out club fenders in Canada of all places!! Really, it's a bit of an indulgence in some ways as our cooler fireside months are a lot shorter than other places in the world, but I do love to introduce different pieces of seating in an area - people gravitate to the style that suits them and in which they'll feel most comfortable, and some people do want to perch more at someone else's house.
      I'm always feeling the cold, so a cardigan is always in my reptoire! xx

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  13. Gorgeous fabric on the chair - your upholsterer did an amazing job! Looking forward to hearing more about the development of the garage/studio space. I have a pair of Oliver Peoples sunglasses, and they sell replacement lenses as well. Good thing too, because my son scraped one of the lenses less than two weeks after I bought them. I bought 2 sets of spare lenses!

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    1. I think you always find things are damaged pretty early on... new cars seem prone to that too! At least your brand has readily available spare lenses. The whole european driving thing was kind of interesting to me though - if it's not safe to drive with the sunglasses on in europe than I'm not sure why the sunglasses are allowed in Australia with our harsh UV... I'm waiting for an update on your blog on your fashion progress Louise! xx

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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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