August 19, 2011

A short break in transmission...

Image via about tourism blog

Farmer Joe and I are off for a few days of 'R&R' in country Victoria. To show our support for all those towns ravaged by the Black Saturday bushfires, we have chosen to visit the region during it's recovery and spend our tourist dollars where they are most needed (while enjoying fabulous local food and wines!).

See you soon!

August 18, 2011

Dressing a bedside...

Massuco Warner Miller

It is (finally!) time for finishing touches in the main bedroom. Creating gorgeous vignettes and decorative details may come easily to some, but I am not one of those people. I can't tolerate too much that isn't functional, and am obsessive about avoiding clutter. So a simple task like dressing the bedside tables is a bit of a challenge.

Looking for inspiration - I love simple, uncluttered bedsides that use attractive functional items for decoration.

Ashlee Raubach

Heather Garrett

James Michael Howard

Heather Garrett

Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Emily A Clark. All images via decorpad

And looking at those last two images, I also think a bedroom isn't complete without a cat lounging somewhere. (NB: Belle the Ragdoll is only allowed into our bedroom under supervision after two incidents that resulted in a $200 dry cleaning bill).


August 17, 2011

This 'lil beauty...

...dropped in my inbox from remodelista, and I fell so instantly in love that I just had to share it with you. This is my idea of a perfect country home - light and bright, understated and uncluttered decor with a focus on warmth and welcome.

And how about that art! Large pieces with animal subjects, dramatically placed...

(Sigh), it's everything I want the house on Chambers to be.

Design by Deborah Berke, photography by Catherine Tighe, images via remodelista

And now I'm kicking myself all over again for letting Farmer Joe talk me out of white walls.


August 16, 2011

On blinds and bathrooms...

Christina Murphy

Recently, I had a conversation with a lovely lady in my favourite interiors store that went a little something like this:
B: "I was wondering if you could help me. I'm completely stuck with what to do with my bathroom window. It needs a covering, but I've no idea what".
Lady: "Well, what are you doing with all the other windows in your house?".
B: "White roman blinds".
Lady: "And why can't you do that in your bathroom too?".
B: "Ummm... I don't know".

Somehow, the idea of soft window coverings in wet areas had fallen onto my list of dont's. Don't know why, I just thought it was a no-no. But apparently the rest of the world has known all along that this is actually a fabulous idea. Check these out...

Katch ID

Mabley Handler

Helen Green

Dresser Homes. All images via Decorpad

Sign me up, white roman blinds everywhere!

August 15, 2011

The books that make our house 'go'

I am an obsessive reader - the kind of person who, before undertaking any unfamiliar task, will read a book that tells me how to do it. When I first moved in with my husband, I had just survived six years at uni on crackers and canned tuna. So I started reading cookbooks to learn how to cook. When we moved onto the farm, I wanted to establish a self-sufficient, organic vegetable garden. Never even grown parsley before? No problem, just find the right book!

I received a wonderful gift on the weekend of The Modern Household Manual. This book has everything you need to know to run a home, including how to sew a button, revive stale bread, clean a washing machine, and rescue a meal that's been overdosed with salt or chilli. So, I got to thinking that I might share with you all the books that make our house 'go' - my very own domestic secret weapons...

For entertaining... Jamie Oliver is God. Jamie's 30 Minute Meals has completely changed the way I cater for dinner parties and gatherings. His meals are healthy, impressive, and fast, so you don't spend half the night in the kitchen. Best of all, everything is served on sharing plates so that guests can help themselves to exactly what they want, and there's no shyness about going back for seconds. My friends think I'm a good cook. I'm not. I just have a really good book.

For everyday cooking... The Cook's Book of Everything by Lulu Grimes. Get an urge to bake your own sourdough bread on a Sunday? This book has the recipe. Need to boil beetroot and you've never even touched the stuff before? No problem. This book has everything.

For vegetable gardening... Our beloved Aussie garden guru, Don Burke, has everything you need to know in Organic. Don taught me how to design, build, plant, and harvest my vegie garden. He even told me which breed of chooks to buy and how to take care of them. He's never steered me wrong yet.

And, when I'm feeling a little more adventurous, I turn to...

...Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion. For the slightly braver kitchen gardener, Stephanie will guide you through how to grow, harvest and cook those little wonders that are normally the reserve of french chefs (think tarragon, chervil, quince, etc). This book is the only reason I'm not nervous about the enourmous artichoke plants staging a takeover of my vegie garden.


P.S. I buy all my books online from one of three places -,, and

August 10, 2011

(Still) obsessed with kitchen lighting

Not to be unpatriotic, but there are some things the Americans just do better than us. And lighting is one of them. My previous idea to hang an oversized lantern over our island bench (see post here) has been thwarted by the limited range of lights available in Aus within anything like a reasonable budget. So, focusing on what is available, I'm now leaning heavily toward an industrial pendant in a silver finish.

I do love this look, but our island bench is vertical and teeny-tiny, so we could definitely only fit one light. More like this...

Images via decorpad

So my worry is (and I really need help here), will one lonely hanging light give enough impact to 'wow-up' my whole kitchen? This is my short list (remember the backdrop - white shaker cabinetry, white subway tiles, beige granite benchtops)...

Image by Cape Cod Designs

Image by Cape Cod Designs

Image via Vixen & Velvet

Image by Vixen & Velvet

Image by Vixen & Velvet

At this point, I'm ready to let this one be settled by popular vote...


August 9, 2011

The last of the bare-rooted trees

Still aching all over from spending a hard weekend in the garden with Farmer Joe planting the last of the bare-rooted trees for the year (we only just snuck them in too - some were already at bud burst). Bare-rooted trees aren't very photogenic, looking an awful lot like sticks poking out of the ground at this time of year. So, until Spring brings us some leaves and blossoms, I'm happy to admire this beautiful Belgian garden, and remind myself that those big trees were little once too.

Images by Architectural Digest


August 8, 2011

What works in Melbourne...

Image by Channel Nine / The Block

...sometimes just doesn't work in the country. Farmer Joe and I loved Katrina and Amie's rusted cyclone wire pendant lights on last night's episode of The Block. Farmer Joe suggested that he could very easily make them, sparking a debate about whether such 'rustic industrial' accents could possibly translate well to a working farmhouse.

Image by Channel Nine / The Block

Our verdict? In an inner city Melbourne home, these lights are fabulous industrial chic with real 'wow' factor. In the house on Chambers, they would look like we just popped out to the fencing pile and hung some leftovers from the ceiling. So we'll pass on this one, and settle for admiring K&A's great work from afar (Sigh).


August 5, 2011

From inspiration to an Etsy find

Following yesterday's entrance art post, I was trawling Etsy and discovered JShears (original modern and abstract landscape oil paintings). Perfect...

Image by JShears

Image by JShears

Image by JShears

Beautiful, colourful landscapes with open skies that just make you feel like you have room to breathe. What a wonderful thing to come home to. I've chosen a 30 x 36 inch custom piece (nice and big) that will fill our wall perfectly.

Now, I just need to find a lovely pair of stools to place beneath it...


August 4, 2011

Entrance art inspiration...

Source Unknown

Still contemplating how to furnish and decorate our entrance (first posted here), and have just stumbled across this image saved to an old USB. Instant inspiration! I love the drama of the large artwork and the sense of welcome given by the pair of stools.

Is anyone else waiting for those stools to scuttle away?


August 3, 2011

If you haven't discovered online shelter mags...'re really only a few months behind me. Honestly, what did I do before blogging? These fabulous, free, online magazines have inspirational interiors that are (in my opinion) well above those offered by the magazines on the newsstand. Below are those that I follow (there are more, I'm discovering them gradually).

Ivy & Piper


House of Fifty

Trad Home



Just click to enjoy!

August 2, 2011

Tram scroll ahead!

Sometimes the decorating gods just send you a big fat 'Yes!'. Unanimous feedback (thank you all!) - go for a tram scroll and customise it with local farm names to make it meaningful. A wonderful friend, Miss C, was well ahead of me on this one. She emailed me a photo of her tram scroll, customised with all the towns and suburbs she has lived in (and it's fabulous that they can fill a scroll, Miss C, it shows how worldly you are). This is hers below:

Image by Miss C

Love it!

August 1, 2011

Are tram scrolls over (and should I care?)

Image by Country Living

Farmer Joe and I first spotted (and loved) a vintage tram scroll about two years ago. But now that our reno has finally reached the art selection stage, I'm wondering if this trend is just too far gone. Having been adapted to custom prints, birth and wedding celebration pieces, upholstery and tea towels, tram scroll designs are everywhere. In being so widely embraced, they seem to have lost some of their original nostalgic sophistication.

Image via Treasure Hunter Girl blog

Farmer Joe has had a great idea for customisation - to have a scroll printed listing the property names in our area. These are wonderful, character-filled Australia farm names (think Wittalocka, Wongawilly and Chain Pump Pastoral), that would give our scroll some originality. I would love your advice - should we go for it, or let this one go?