A second car

26.07.17

We’ve been a one car family since just before Sunday was born, which we found really worked for us, financially. The apartment we were living in gave Mark a two minute walk to work, and we found having a second car an expense that wasn’t necessary. We figured the money saved on registering and insuring another car could pay for a cab if our little family ever got stuck without wheels.

Things changed dramatically when we moved to the burbs earlier this year! Mark found himself with a commute to work for the first time in ten years, which needed a car, mainly so he could easily drop Sunday at Preschool on his way in the morning. So, it was clear we needed a second vehicle for me to get around town with the kids and my day to day work errands. Dreams of a Fiat Beach Buggy obviously weren’t going to happen (can you imagine dashing around the beaches in one of these minty green cuties though, talk about adorable). Looking at a safe family friendly car option was the brief, air bags, leather seats and all.

Making our own funds magically increase in our bank account overnight to make this purchase happen didn’t work out unfortunately, especially after renovating our home (don’t get me started on landscaping costs), so I started shopping around for a car loan. It had been years since I’d dabbled in that area, so it was with perfect timing that the NRMA contacted me and asked to check out their offers. I’ve long been a very loyal member of their roadside angels from Roadside Assistance, but had never considered the NRMA for a car loan before. Looking further in to it, I was impressed with the following; A really quick and easy application process, no monthly fees, pre-approval within 5 business hours and funds available the next day. Loans are available for new and used cars as well as motorcycles, caravans (another dream is to have a little vintage caravan sitting in our backyard one day for extra accommodation and just for the thrill of owning a vintage caravan), motorcycles, motorhomes and boats. The NRMA also offers a 21 day loan satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy, you can pull out!

I’ve been checking out a few different cars to purchase and had a go of the NRMA’s handy car loan calculator and the very clever service that gives you a car history report, which I think is really important when buying second hand.

So, it really has been a positive experience and our want of owning a second car is being made that little bit easier. Meanwhile, I still can’t get over this cute little Fiat twin set, which was available for sale back in 2014. I spotted these photos on one of my favourite sites, Messy Nessy Chic. If the buyer who ended up with these 1950’s vehicles is out there, let me know – I want to hear how these sweeties are going. 

Known as “La Spiaggina”, literally meaning  “beach-ette”, the Fiat beach-buggy was marketed worldwide as the Jolly, meaning “joker” in Italian. They were available in pink, coral, white, pale yellow and sky blue. Aristotle Onassis owned one and allegedly used it aboard his sizeable yacht. It is believed that fewer than 100 exist today, each one with its own unique quirks. This particular model may have been one of the 32 Jolly cars that were used as taxis on the island of Catalina off the coast of Los Angeles from 1958–1962. I just had to share these with you, because it’s not often I get this excited about a car!

One can dream, right? 

Briar x

Waiting for toast

24.07.17

The prettiest time of day at our place is when the morning light streams in through the back doors, which always coincides with breakfast time. Rafferty’s golden curls are hit with this gorgeous light and my heart often swells, and then reality hits and I remember I need coffee. Coffee consumed, the morning can properly commence and I make breakfast for the kids.


The long wait for his vegemite on toast. Crusts off, cut in to bite size squares. Often followed by a banana…but don’t cut that up, just peel the skin. It won’t be touched if the banana is in pieces. Yes, for a little person that can’t talk, he sure let’s you know what he wants!

 
Our happy little guy has been lucky enough to test out a ‘Poppy’ high chair from Phil + Ted’s the past couple of weeks. As Raff can’t talk too much yet, I’m going to give you a little review of my own. The chair only weighs 4kg, making it easy to move around the house when eating, which we do often – going from the kitchen, to the dining area to the outdoor deck. Both Mark and I are honestly really impressed with the chair, Raff is a big boy for his age, the proportions are good and the material of the seat is soft and spongy for maximum comfort. I’m also impressed with how easy the dishwasher safe tray is to remove from the seat for really fast cleaning, and the extra large size of the tray has been ergonomically designed to fit Raff and his big meals until he is around 3 years old. By the time he has outgrown it, the legs of the chair can be made shorter and the chair transforms in to a small kids chair – talk about handy!

I also like the simple design, the slim lines make it an easy edition to our interiors when not in use. In a nutshell, this is a safe and sturdy high chair that Raff is genuinely happy to sit in for his mealtimes. The good news is I have another Poppy high chair to give away, in the colour of your choice. Check out my instagram account @sunday_collector to enter. Not on Instagram? Feel free to leave a comment below to go in to the draw. The random giveaway is open to Australian residents only.

Briar x

Kitchen Trends

13.07.17

I worked on a two day shoot a few months ago styling photographs for Smeg in my home with Jacqui Turk, it was a great shoot where I got to have some fun with casual food styling and I especially loved the challenge of styling our fridge and freezer to a showroom/catalogue standard. I wanted to share the shots on here, as I’m so pleased with how they turned out.

All this focus on the kitchen got me thinking about trends and how my particular kitchen will fare in around 5 years time.

In the planning stages of a kitchen renovation it’s important to leave some time to do your research, pin images on Pinterest and tear out magazine photos of spaces you love. Chances are, you’ll soon realise the kitchen style you are drawn to. I think it’s important not to take interior trends too seriously, if it’s something you love and can’t stop thinking about – then it’s pretty safe to say it’s right for you and your home. I do think it’s good to take your time and don’t make too many big impulse decisions, and try to imagine yourself in the space in 5 years time. Will you still be happy with your choices?

It’s safe to say I’m going to love our  White Dual Fuel Freestanding Oven/Stove for many years to come, I can’t tell yohow lovely it is to use. As I’ve mentioned previously, I based my recent kitchen renovation around it and I just knew we needed the beauty in the space and so a natural direction from the traditional lines of the cooker was to add shaker cabinetry. Touches of gold came after that in the form of cabinet handles and a mixer tap. I realize gold is a current trend that’s popping up everywhere in interiors – but it’s a trend I love, and I figure door hardware and a sink tap can always be updated in 5 years time if I get over the look.

I’ve pulled together some further trends that are popping up in kitchen designs:

Integrated storage and workstations
It’s becoming increasingly popular to integrate appliances and workstations into the design of a kitchen to create a sense of flow and order. It’s important to ensure that an appliance such as a microwave doesn’t dominate the aesthetic of your kitchen and this focus stops your kitchen looking cluttered and busy. For example, I hid our Smeg microwave under the breakfast bench, concealed from the hero viewing angles. It’s no secret that an abundance of storage in a kitchen is a must, so having a pantry that is tucked behind joinery is a great way to provide generous storage while being discreet.

Pared-back colour palette
Investing in a kitchen renovation is a big expense, so having a pared-back colour palette would allow your kitchen to always sit comfortably within the interior style of your home. Open shelving is always handy if you have decided to go with a safe colour palette – which mean objects and homewares with punches of colour can still be included in your kitchen and reflect your own personal style – but can always be re-arranged for a refresh if you are sick of the look.

Colour trends
Trend forecasters are saying dark shades of green will become the new must-have dark interior colour as we say goodbye to navy and midnight blues (although I’m not quite ready for that, I think a navy blue kitchen is divine). Dark green as a paint colour creates a wintery Scandi look that works beautifully with brass, marble and terracotta – it adds depth and brings in colours from the outdoors. The lighter hue on it’s way to stardom is the lightest peachy nude, which would look amazing for door cabinetry with gold door hardware, if you’re game!

Mix it up
Changing up hardware finishes is a trend that isn’t going anywhere soon: Instead of going for a monochromatic stainless steel look, renovators are choosing integrated appliances and accessories with various finishes, such as gold, timber, white enamel and pewter. The final result is an eclectic, one-of-a-kind space. Another popular trend I’m seeing is ‘tuxedo cabinets’ eg.You could consider navy blue cabinets at the bottom with soft grey wall cabinets for a soft contrast.

Our integrated dishwasher blends right in:

Social Butterfly
If you live anything like my family does, the kitchen is no longer simply where your meals are prepared, it is the place where the family gets together at the end of the day to eat, talk, watch television, or just hang out with the laptop. Design trends have started to reflect this way of living with open-plan kitchens blending into the main living and dining areas. After a big wall was knocked out, I know our kitchen has become the entertainment centre of our house. I’m just careful it doesn’t equal lots of clutter and mess. The oversize pantry with drawers and small appliance cupboard means a lot can be hidden behind closed doors. One exception to this rule is the 50’s retro style small appliances I have from the Smeg range. The toaster and kettle in cream are too gorgeous to hide away, and we also got to have a play with the range in soft blue.



Briar x

 

Sunday Collector Renovation: Studio Makeover

14.06.17

The ugly duckling room of the house was definitely what we now call our ‘end room’. It’s actually more like a studio space, and after a renovation  and shop at Pottery Barn, it is now a room that is used every day.

A little back story for you…

The room was built by the original owners as an add on in the late 70’s to be used as in-law accomodation. When we purchased the house, we were basically left with an unfinished room that was accessible from the old back porch. A long and narrow space that was really dark (and kind of smelly), the wall dividing it through the middle in to two small rooms only added to the awkwardness. From the first time I saw the house, I was convinced that it would be an easy project to actually join this redundant little area to the main part of the house. I think my builder thought I was mad for not knocking the ‘wing’ down, but we were really keen to keep a fourth bedroom space for guests to be able to stay over…and I’m so happy we persevered because it’s actually ended up being such a handy room for so many reasons for our little family.

I’m not going to lie, once the renovation was finished with the fresh carpet laid and the walls painted – we were still left with a long, narrow room. After knocking the dividing wall out, the space had a lot more light (also thanks to a lovely new louvre window), but I was seriously stumped on how I was going to furnish the difficult space.

I was really clear on what the requirements needed to be:

• We had to to fit in a Queen Size bed with bedside tables and lamps

• I needed a small home office area that was quiet and away from the kids

• As a family, we ideally wanted a second sofa set up for reading and  TV watching (ie. Mark’s sport)

The above requirements is a big ask, I know. This is where Pottery Barn came in and really saved the day. I was asked to check out their new Small Spaces range and to decorate our truly small space. I certainly love a challenge!

I was so impressed, the range of furniture really was going to be the prefect fit. I chose the SoMa Brady Slope Arm Sofa first, being only 200cm in length and not very deep it was perfect. I also managed to squeeze in the handy set of Moraga Coffee Tables.

The small scale of the Murphy Entry Bench in matching timber to the coffee table sits perfectly underneath the wall mounted TV, which will hold Sunday’s DVD player and DVD’s.

 I’ve gained a really handy home office set up with the tiny but mighty Windsor Modular desk and bookshelf . I love that I can hide my ugly printer and store handy samples I’m using on jobs really close to hand. As I use a small laptop, the scale of this desktop is fine for me when working from home. Also pictured above is the Lucas Dining Chair and the oversize desktop clock.

At the far end of the room, the bed set up is a calming little retreat, especially as the outlook is on our new veggie garden (something my Mum especially likes when she recently stayed). I kept things simple with an ensemble bed set up. The petite Photographer’s task Table Lamps serve as perfect reading lamps, and the Wall Basket Art adds some interesting texture to the plain white walls above the bed. I added a layer of soft furnishings and accessories throughout the room with the great range of cushions and throws available at Pottery Barn, my favourite cushion being the washed velvet in indigo.

Raff dropped in for a visit at the end of the shoot after his nap, and another nice little surprise was that the SoMa Brady sofa converts in to a very comfortable bed option, where it simply folds out flat to create a mattress. Wow, we really can have the whole family stay! The option of a mattress pad will give your guests some extra comfort too. Would you look at me below! So speedy and efficient in preparation for my guests, ha!

I’m really happy with how the room turned out in the end. Pint-sized and perfectly scaled, it’s a hardworking space for our little family, giving us the extra space we so desperately needed.

Briar x

Photos by Jacqui Turk.

Behind the scenes with Phil + Ted’s

24.05.17

In partnership with one of my favourite parenting websites, Babyology, Rafferty and I were lucky enough to road test the all new mod from phil&teds recently.


My ‘Baby Hollywood’ was followed around by a camera while I pushed him in his new zippy little buggy. Proving to be quite the showman, I think the videos of Raff and I going about our day to day adventures are really cute. You can view them all here.


This cool stroller has been designed to suit your child from newborn to 4 years old. It’s light and super easy to get around.  The mod’s slim and compact design and easy folding mechanism makes it really handy when space is tight. As you can see in the videos, we are able to zip around shops and go for long walks. Raff has hit the 13kg mark these days and is still not interested in walking, so a handy stroller is a non-negotiable for me! I also like how I’m able to change from parent-facing to flipping Raff seated in the other direction, where he can see the world (definitely the favourite position for my little busy body). The adjustable handle bar is also perfect for (taller) Mark, and the safety harness for Rafferty is a really secure design.


I’m not going to lie, Raff is a very content and chilled out baby – but he honestly didn’t complain once in his new ride, which tells me it must be comfortable for the little guy.


You can purchase the mod in a range of different fabric designs (the one pictured here is ‘Abstract’) now from Babies R Us for $699.99.

Briar x

PS. Rafferty and I both wear Country Road in the shot above. The dress I am wearing in the first shot is from Chowchilla Vintage.

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