MY STORIES

Renovation Design Expert

BRISBANE | AUSTRALIA

LOOKING BACK 
BUILDING CUBBIES & THE INFLUENCE ON MY CREATIVITY
As a child our home was always a place to create and build cubbies. We would generally create the structure out of furniture and throw large sheets or pieces of fabric over them. With five kids in gathering mode we would drag in food, pillows, mattresses, music and we would hang out in them for hours. Our motorbikes were often used to drag items up and into the bush to make a special little home among the gum trees, weeds and lantana. We would play house in there for the entire day, sweeping the dirt floor till it looked welcoming.
As a parent I have to continually remind myself that children need to be creative and to do that they must be allowed to make a mess and I need to get over it. In my opinion super tidy houses with everything perfect is only okay when visitors come, but I rather like visiting a home where you can feel the creativity of life that goes on inside those walls. We just have to  let go and enjoy all that our home brings even if that comes with mess.

Carmen x
LOOKING BACK
FOR THE LOVE OF ARCHITECTURE
When I was a young child my mother took us 5 children on a guided tour of Brisbane. We visited the Brisbane City Hall, The Treasury Building and other nearby attractions. In the city hall I remember the lift ride to the tower and being taken in by the glorious glossy timber, crafted doors, long corridors and sweeping staircases. In my opinion it was just so fancy and a world away from our Brady Bunch style home in The Gap that had been built in the 1970’s. I guess Mum not only wanted us to have the local knowledge, but to also witness old time beauty and craftsmanship that she loved and admired. I have grown to love classic beauty in architecture and homes myself and even when I design for modern homes, I sneak elements of timeless beauty into the spaces. You can never tire of quality or beauty. Patsy Stone once wrote that “One should never be the oldest thing in ones house.”
At the moment I see a common trend. People want everything new in their home. But it is the old classic pieces of furniture or decorative items that add the soul a house needs. You can very successfully mix old and new if you know how. Ralph Lauren continues to inspire me the way he does this in his home and with his home wares collection.  See a little snippet of Ralph Lauren’s home with Oprah. Wow! Let me know if your love his style.
So just consider old before always assuming new. Bit of both is best.
Carmen x

WHY I JUST DON’T LIKE PLASTIC IN MY OFFICE

Okay we all love Officeworks but do you really like the look and feel of plastic in your office? Perhaps consider using timber, metals and glass instead. No need buy new. Source at your local op shop or flea market

LOOKING BACK 
WAS IT THE DOLLS HOUSE?
I have taken my mind back to my childhood to see why I continue to pursue this design lust of mine. Why have I continued to seek out design and why it is that I have not been content to create a career out of any other avenue? So I reminisce back to being a small child where we had a very simple dolls house just like this with the open rooms and multiple levels. It was my mother who would provide all of the carpet sample pieces, wallpaper off-cuts, fabrics and magazines. My sisters and I would spend hours transforming the spaces into new rooms with a fresh new look. We would sew cushions, create new bed spreads, hang art on the walls and rearrange the furniture so that it was just how we wanted it.
I suppose we take for granted all of those wonderful childhood memories until we realise the huge impact that they have on us as we grow and develop a better sense of self and what drives our desires and interest.
Hearing about how creative people have come to be doing what they do in their life gives me great pleasure. The more I work along side them, the more I love how they are fueled by a genuine love for doing something beautiful and meaningful.
Carmen

LOOKING BACK 

WAS IT THE DOLLS HOUSE?

I have taken my mind back to my childhood to see why I continue to pursue this design lust of mine. Why have I continued to seek out design and why it is that I have not been content to create a career out of any other avenue? So I reminisce back to being a small child where we had a very simple dolls house just like this with the open rooms and multiple levels. It was my mother who would provide all of the carpet sample pieces, wallpaper off-cuts, fabrics and magazines. My sisters and I would spend hours transforming the spaces into new rooms with a fresh new look. We would sew cushions, create new bed spreads, hang art on the walls and rearrange the furniture so that it was just how we wanted it.

I suppose we take for granted all of those wonderful childhood memories until we realise the huge impact that they have on us as we grow and develop a better sense of self and what drives our desires and interest.

Hearing about how creative people have come to be doing what they do in their life gives me great pleasure. The more I work along side them, the more I love how they are fueled by a genuine love for doing something beautiful and meaningful.

Carmen

LOOKING BACK 

A MOTHERS OBSESSION WITH WALLPAPER 

Some families collect shells, some collect books, others collect puzzles. My mother collected wallpaper. She had some strange love affair with it and now I know why….it’s glorious stuff.

Mum would negotiate with the wallpaper shop to buy discontinued rolls and sample books and there it started. I love how beautiful the pattens were. i guess I didn’t know it at the time but we were so lucky to have wallpaper covering our school books instead of brown paper and a holy card. Our books were easy to spot among the other 38 in the pile.

This paper also became our gift wrapping paper, our drawer liners, our tin pencil holder covers and so on it went. To this day In fact, my sister still covers gifts in it now and they always looks gorgeous. 

Carmen x

MY NAVY & WHITE FETTISH
What is wrong with me. I just can’t get enough of gorgeous navy and white decor, especially mixed with natural timber. Such a classic look that never dates and just looks so stylish. 
My love runs deep and I have devoted a whole board to navy and white on Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/CarmenDarwin1/navy-white/

MY NAVY & WHITE FETTISH

What is wrong with me. I just can’t get enough of gorgeous navy and white decor, especially mixed with natural timber. Such a classic look that never dates and just looks so stylish. 

My love runs deep and I have devoted a whole board to navy and white on Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/CarmenDarwin1/navy-white/

WHY DECORATING THE TABLE IS SO IMPORTANT TO ME

WOOHOO WALLPAPER

Wallpaper works its magic. These trellis pattern wallpapers are really in vogue at the moment and I think for good reason. They are stylish and add huge appeal to any room. To find trellis wallpapers you can visit any wallpaper site and simple type “trellis” or “tile” into the search bar to bring up results.

“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”

—   

Jane Austen

 

LOOKING BACK

MY GRANDMOTHERS LOVE OF COBALT BLUE & WHITE CHINA

Cobalt blue works miracles in my mind. I don’t know what it is but this colour just elevates my emotions and I love it so much. If you are after an accent colour to pack a punch then this is it. Simple, beautiful and a classic that will never go out of style. Go ahead and use it.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”

—   Charles Darwin

WHY I INSPIRED NATURAL SELECTION

I just love the look of lime green with natural items such as wood, wicker, string and greenery. This is easy to achieve and lovely for your home. Consider it for a colour palette that you can use in outdoor areas but also lovely in dining rooms to add a fresh edge. 

MY LOVE OF ENTERTAINING

Apart from my love of home styling I love creating and styling little functions at home or sometimes for my children’s schools. I am a sucker for pretty fairy lights and table decorations.