Thursday, 25 February 2016

Favourite Space | Florence Charvin

Dael & I are really excited to be bringing you a new series of blog posts called "Favourite Spaces". We are surrounded by amazing, clever people and we wanted to share these people with you, and show you the places they love the most. You'll usually find creative people in cool surroundings, and that's definitely the case with the lovely Florence Charvin.

Florence is an amazing photographer, and will be our photographer for all of our Fave Spaces posts. I've featured her on the blog before here and here. Originally from France, she's now a true blue Hawke's Bay-ite and has recently moved into a cute wee cottage in Clive with her three young children.

Florence's favourite space is her dining nook and kitchen. When she moved into the house the kitchen was very old and dated. Although she couldn't afford a super flash kitchen, she has managed to create a beautiful space on a tiny budget. The old cupboard doors and bench top have been replaced with plywood and cut-away detailing instead of handles. Planks of wood on metal braces provide more storage, and the wall hung cupboards were kept, but with the fronts removed.

The open storage means all of Florence's beautiful pieces are on display. Gorgeous pottery and old tins collected over the years, and jars filled with kitchen staples.

The bench seats in the dining nook are made from concrete blocks, topped with a wooden seat and layered with cosy throws - ingenious! So simple, really comfy, and in keeping with Florence's style.

Each "Favourite Spaces" post will have a wee Q&A so we can get to know our creative peeps a bit better...

What do you love about this space?
I love the fact that it's where we all meet to have our meals and be together, work, do homework, play games...

Who helped with your renovation?
I loved that space from the moment we moved in, and I knew I wanted it to look clean, open and cosy. So I painted it myself straight away in black and white, and my friend Rowe provided the plywood that replaced all the old surfaces and cupboards doors. My sister-n-law, Megan, was great with advice, like keeping the cupboard on the wall but getting rid of the doors so they look like modern shelves; and I also wanted comfortable window seats to go around the kitchen table, and she suggested using those concrete blocks, which were really cheap and really useful for storing my cookbooks.

Do you have any advice for people decorating on a budget?
Just work with what you've got and improve it with paint in a colour that's really you. Bring in some fun and modern items (like the concrete blocks, a nice table, plants etc).

Getting to know you better:
What's you favourite time of day?
When the light is soft and beautiful, either early morning or late at night.

Who or what inspires you?
There are a lot of clever, interesting people around, but I am the most inspired by people who are excited about life and it's possibilities.

What are you reading at the moment?
I love reading, in particular French writers. I am reading Marcel Proust's "In Search of Lost Time" (Swann's Way).

Sweet or savoury?
Savoury!! Even when I was little I would ask for cheese and olives as a treat rather than chocolate or cake.

Favourite drink?
Chai tea, and Champagne for special occasions.

Favourite thing in your home?
My vintage mirror collection. I have loads of them, I love their various shapes and the light they reflect back in the house.

Top of your wish list for your home?
A beautiful industrial lamp to go above my kitchen table and a large vintage Cathrineholm enamel bowl in black or yellow.

Thank you so much Florence for inviting us into your home, and for joining us on this journey of favourite spaces. I think you'll agree Florence has a beautiful style and you can see that reflected in her work - Fotographie by Florence Charvin. I hope you come along on the journey as well, and meet all of the clever and interesting people we know.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Colour Crush

I often admire a serene, neutral colour palette when done well with lots of delicious texture. I sometimes even contemplate trying it in my own home. Then I see something with gorgeous, rich colour and am instantly pulled back into my love affair with colour.


Two of my favourite colours are blue in all it's beautiful hues, and green - lush emerald, jade, a touch of mint... Here, let me show you.

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Gorgeous colours always evoke strong emotions in me. How about you, are you drawn to particular colours, or are you a fan of the neutral palette? Neither is right or wrong, but I believe you should find those colours that move you, and surround yourself with them.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Home Tour | Stefanie Cove

A mix of Bohemian influences and preppy details is the perfect representation of designer, Stefanie Cove. The Palm Beach preppy comes from her childhood in Florida, while the eclectic Californian style is a result of her adult years in LA.

I love this entranceway. A simple floating shelf big enough for some flowers, a bowl for your keys, and a mirror is all you really need, and is perfect when space is tight. Many homes open up straight into a living room, but it's nice to create a sense of an entrance, even if it's small.

As an event designer Stefanie has developed a knack for finding those unexpected touches to highlight her clients' personalities. This translates so well into her home which is filled with pieces picked up on her travels over the years.

To tie the open plan spaces together, Stefanie repeats the use of natural textures, colourful woven textiles and shots of metallic. What drew me to her home was her fabulous attention to detail and the collection of little vignettes dotted throughout.

An awkward space at the back of the living room has been successfully filled with a custom made bench seat and a large book shelf.

Have you ever seen a more gorgeous home bar?! We've just been working with a local client on a home bar, but it's very masculine with a "shaken not stirred" vibe. I love it, but I must say this beautiful wallpaper, gold mirror and turquoise glasses are pretty divine too.

A simple bowl of lemons and a single flower is enough of a centrepiece in the cute dining room. Three is such a nice number to work with for a grouping - the bowl, the vase, and the little board are simple items, but it's a lovely mix of colour and texture.

The bedroom continues the layering of textiles, and hits of copper and brass add a touch of sophistication. Books and trays are a stylists main tool - they're a great way to encompass and ground a series of objects. I love books so using them in my vignettes is also a brilliant way to have them on display.

To see more of Stefanie's home pop over to MyDomaine.

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.

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