Saturday, April 30

Local Luxury

Here we are not even half way through the year and I am already dreaming of a weekend getaway! A nice little break away from it all...a time out from everyday life...I'd just love a place by the sea, where there is great food to be indulged in and local treasures to discover and I think I have found just that!
The coastal lodge I want to share is a little out of this renovator’s reach right now, but someday I hope get to spend the night at one of Delamore Lodge’s guest suites on Auckland’s beautiful Waiheke Island.This incredible lodge is a short ferry trip (or helicopter ride!) from the Auckland CBD. Waiheke Island is in itself a much loved local treasure! The island is sparsely populated and has many stunning beaches and it’s own sheltered micro-climate which provides the perfect spot for picturesque coastal vineyards. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic weekend escape full of spa pampering, beach walking, local art and craft browsing and incredible food and wine.

So, let's take a look at my dream weekend accommodation, the beautiful Delamore Lodge...


A stunning setting, high above the sea...

...nestled in subtropical gardens...

...and here is our own private lodge waiting for us...
The candles have been lit...
...the view is stunning...
..and you know it's going to be a wonderful stay!
The master suite doesn't disappoint...
..and neither does the private courtyard!
There's plenty of space to entertain...
..but you might not want to share the view!!
Wow! So romantic!!
Waking up on your first day might look a little like this...
...you could choose to take a refreshing dip in the pool...
...or perhaps some of the on-site spa treatments are more your style...
...Lunch is served at noon and it looks amazing!

Mmm, I'll take two of these! ;)
...and things get even better with a drop of the fabulous local wine!
Photo's courtesy of Delamore Lodge

..which prompts an afternoon tour of the nearby Mudbrick Winery...

...there's a stunning vineyard and garden to amble around...
...and after an afternoon of wine tasting,
just when you think your day can't get any better...
...you see this...
...you just have to stay for dinner after seeing the view of the Auckland skyline!
...the sunset is picture perfect...
..the food, out of this world...

...the chocolate Vahlrona parfait at the Mudbrick Restaurant = bliss!!
...such a romantic setting for a weekend away!
Photo's courtesy of the Mudbrick Winery
You make your way slowly back to your lodge that night, full of plans for the last day of your stay...there are beaches to be explored, local shops to discover and massages to be had...
It would be hard to peel myself away from stunning Onetangi Beach!

*Le sigh* this is all sounding like absolute perfection to me! So, what about you guys?? Do you have a favourite local spot for a weekend away? Maybe some place by the beach, or the lake or maybe in the mountains? I just love these local treasures! :) 

xo K

Tuesday, April 26

Teaser's and a Design Dilemma

After a very productive weekend we are about 80% there with our living room makeover! We spent all of Friday and half of Saturday furiously painting the walls, then we gave the carpet and sofa a much needed deep clean on Saturday afternoon, (isn’t it crazy the amount of dirt that comes out of the carpet when you have pets!?) as soon as the carpets had dried we moved the furniture back in and I got to play stylist all of Saturday evening. I had so many new things to unwrap that I had saved up specially for this room so it was a lot of fun!'


Now that the room’s coming together I have to say how in love with our new white bookcase I am! It's the stand-out in the living room for me. I wasn’t 100% sure on how it would look to begin with but I wanted to take a risk and as soon as I had it styled and stepped back to have a proper look I was so glad we decided to get it. Our old bookcase was just too small for the space and the new bookcase with it's brilliant white paint is so much fresher, it pulls the whole beachy look together so well and I just adore how all my coastal bits and pieces look on it, here's a little peek...

Magazines, books, coral, photo frames, shells, candlesticks and more are kept on the shelves...

I found these little milk bottles at Bed Bath N Table and filled them with taper candles and seashells, I can see them holding single stem flowers too...

These woven spheres add a nautical feel...

My blue 'fossil' vase from Freedom's summer '10 collection

In the rest of the room our white blinds are up again (still love 'em!). Well actually only half of them are up, I’m still waiting on the ones for our big sliding door in the entry way - hopefully this week! But our sectional sofa and new throw pillows are in place and coffee table has been styled ready for the big reveal! ;)

I even went shopping yesterday for some more bits and pieces and came away with a coastal-style table runner for the dining room and five pretty blue tea-light candle holders for our console table (whenever we get around to building it!)...I just couldn’t resist 'trying out' the new tealights and runner last night so I popped them on our dining table, so pretty...


My last purchase was a wicker Ottoman for our entry way, one that I'd had my eye on for a while from Early Settler, it’s my first addition to the entry way which is coming together slowly. I'm just waiting for the new blinds to go in and to spray paint and hang the new coat rack...

The new Ottoman! It looks more grey and weathered in daylight, love it!
So, while I’m really happy with how things are going so far I’m having a bit of a dilemma about the console table I want to build for behind our sectional! The main reason I want one is because we only have a bright overhead light in the living room at the moment and I think a console table would be the perfect surface to put some ambient table lamps on for reading. Since any table we build is going to be very narrow (I don't want to push the sectional too far out from the wall), I’m finding it hard to source the right table lamps for it. I don’t want anything bulky but I do need something tall enough so that we won’t lean back and bump our heads on the shades all the time. I found this nautical inspired contender that is a possibility…

Smogen lamp by Lighting Direct
..I've also looked at getting some kind of floor lamp that could sit behind the sofa forgoing the console table altogether, but I don’t think the shade would sit in the right place (due to the placement of our sectionals ‘leg’s in each corner and with surrounding walls on three sides). It’s a bit of an awkward spot and I’m trying to rack my brains of how to make it all work…

Silver dome lamp from Lighting Plus


...I think it’ll be off to the lighting shops this weekend to check out all the options in person and hopefully the lamp of my dreams will jump out at me! But if any of you out in blog-land has had a similar dilemma about lamp placement and sectionals I’d love to hear it! I'm a little stuck on this. You can see where our sofa is positioned in this post, I like to sit on the chaise part which is unfortunately the most awkward spot to light! So any and all of your ideas would be so greatly appreciated - when it’s your own space it can be hard to spot things that fresh eyes might see!


I hope everyone has a great week, I’m sure to be pondering console table designs and table lamps for the next few days at least, oh and waiting for my blinds (if they ever arrive!)...have a great one!

xo K

Thursday, April 21

Progress update

Progress! I do like that word. It stands for moving forward, achievement and in my case getting one step closer to a completed living room.

This project feels like it’s been a long time coming and I suppose it has really! We’ve owned our home for a little over two years and have only now been brave enough to tackle the living areas. Being complete DIY novices when we bought our home back in 2008 we wanted to start with more minor projects and work our way up to the biggies. The living areas are the true heart of our home so we want to get it right the first time!  
There have been a few differences in this project so far, mainly that it's the first time we’ve outsourced any of the work to a professional! In true DIY style we're usually happy to sand, hammer, paint, wallpaper, tile, do minor plaster repairs and electrical work ourselves, but this time the job was bigger than us (damaged walls with 4+ layers of ageing wallpaper) so in came the plasterers to clean up and skim the walls for us so we could have the perfect blank canvas to begin our makeover. The painting kicks off tomorrow and I can't wait to see my brush glide across that silky surface :)  

To give you some idea of how at-the-beginning of this project we are right now I'll show you how my living room to-do list is looking:
  • Clear room and remove all fittings
  • Sell current under-sized bookcase
  • Get wallpaper removed and walls skimmed
  • Prep walls for painting
  • Order new blinds for sliding door
  • Order new Bookcase (we had this made by a cabinet maker, it has arrived and it's lovely!)
  • Paint walls (kick off is tomorrow AM!)
  • Wash windows and doors, deep clean the carpet and sofa
  • Hang blinds
  • Frame and hang seaside botanical prints from Etsy
  • Purchase suitable ottoman for entry way
  • Purchase or make suitable art for space above couch
  • Hang art and coat rack
  • Build a long and narrow lamp table to go behind back of sofa (this one might take awhile!)
  • Purchase two new table lamps
  • Style our new living room (buy pretty flowers, fluff about with books and accessories, photograph the result and relax and enjoy our new space, yippee!)
Is this list making anyone else tired!? It's going to be a busy few weeks!
There'll be progress pics to come as things unfold at the house, so for now I'll leave you with some of the pictures that I've used as inspiration for our living room colour scheme...
I'm a little obsessed with the statement these black chandeliers are making!
 
Loving the blue and green...
 
Clean, simple and serene...

I love this restful mix of colour...
Can you tell I just love the look of monochromatic whites and neutrals! You have so many options to choose from when it comes to accent colours with these tones, but I think I love it the most when mixed with greens and blues, the colours of the coast.
Have a great Easter Friday!
xo K

Tuesday, April 19

Gardening and other Disasters

I have done something crazy. Something that I probably shouldn’t have done with my not-so-great track record in gardening... I went and bought twelve (yes, twelve) sweet baby hydrangea bushes and I’m planning on planting them in my garden! *cue sinister music* 
Let me explain...


I have Blue ones...
Pink ones...
White ones and a few surprises...
I am a complete gardening amateur with a knack for killing off the toughest of plants – yes, I am in possession of the dreaded ‘black finger’! 
So while I do enjoy planting things in the garden and I love looking at all the pretty plants at the garden centre (that somehow seem to transform from lush and green to straggly and lifeless within weeks of being in my care!) I am absolutely hopeless at keeping my plants alive!

House plants, potted colour, orchids, palms, ferns and one glorious but unfortunate gardenia have all met their maker once they were placed into my care and believe me it wasn’t through lack of trying! I have studiously trialled composts, garden mixes, fertilisers and one of those funny scientific meters that tells you what kind of soil you have (my husband found this last one extremely amusing!)...
...but seriously, none of those things have helped me in any great way. 
However I do think I have turned a corner, things have definitely improved of late! I think I may have found my gardening forte all on my own!  


My 'secret' for healthy plants is to look only for plants that have ‘extremely hardy’ or ‘native’ written on the labels, therefore only plants that can survive the most hopeless of local conditions (and hopeless locals!) can come home with me - simple but very effective!

This tack has worked quite well over the summer, my eight ‘extremely hardy’ magnolia trees, planted along our fence line in late spring, are still alive (although curiously less leafy than when I bought them), I also have five young pittosporum along the side of the house that are all in good health and the aforementioned gardenia that I left for dead has found a second wind under the agaves - fantastic!!

Gardenia 'Professor Pucci'
All this adds up to a little more gardening confidence but I’m still nervous about how my sweet new hydrangea babies are going to do in my designated patch of lawn! As I've learned with gardening though, only time will tell! I’ll be taking the plunge this weekend, very carefully planting my baby hydrangea...I might even photograph the big event, all the while hoping and praying that they like their new home and want to stay...

Little hydrangea if you can hear me, I vow to keep a close eye on you and defend you from the dog's eager paws, to water you when it hasn't rained and to report on your progress, if you would please just grow big and strong and give me lovely flowers in the spring!
So tell me, are any of you out there as hopeless at gardening as me or have you found your own gardening 'secret recipe'?? :)
Maybe you're one of those lucky green-fingered types and have some tips to share! Love to hear it! 

xo K

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