Interiors

A traditional christmas tree

29.11.17


Sunday’s excitement levels for Christmas Day this year have been bigger than ever, so a fancier than ever tree was on the top of our wishlist.  I first learnt about Balsam Hill trees last year when I made an enquiry after spotting a range used in a display at my local shopping centre. I was impressed with the stunning realism of the artificial trees from the USA, a true step up from your run of the mill trees that are available from the usual Australian stores. Hand-crafted with care, I’m in awe of the huge range now available for all of us in Australia from the Balsam Hill website.  Check out the huge range of different tree varieties available here.

After checking out the big range of options, I chose the Fraser Fir tree, which is inspired from the Abies fraseri, which is widely regarded as the best Christmas tree species in the USA. It arrived with their Easy Plug feature, with gorgeous fairy lights ready to go – all I had to do was plug in to the wall. It’s a warm and inviting tree with substantial foliage that is truly so life-like. It really gives off that southern charm you see in Christmas movies that I grew up with. I know, that setting is a far stretch from a hot Summer Christmas that Australian’s are used to, but there is something about the charm of a traditional Christmas that makes it that bit more magical for kids.


The tree arrived really quickly and I knew it was a special tree when I was unpacking it, as included in the box was a premium tree stand with scratch-proof rubber fee, a sturdy off-season storage bag, two sets of gloves to shape the tree in style and extra bulbs for the fairy lights. I was very impressed!

It was the first year that Sunday has really been able to help me properly decorate the tree, and we added the gorgeous ornament set also from Balsam Hill to our collection this year. Generously proportioned and lovely quality, the ombre french country ornament set is inspired by antique European ornaments. Check out the big range of decorations here, including the tree collar pictured above. The galvanised tree collar is a cool alternative to a traditional tree skirt, made from 100% iron and features two hinged pieces that easily wrap around to cover the tree stand. Now all I need to do is add around the tree base all those lovely Christmas presents for the family that I’ve hidden away from Sunday’s curious eyes.

Briar x

Christmas Gift Guide 2017 – the ladies

23.11.17

I thought it was a good time to share my annual Briar Wants This Stuff  from Santa Guide. There are so many good things out there at the moment, I found it difficult to narrow down my favourites:

  1. I was told by my hairdresser recently I need to brush my hair more. Anyone else with curly hair will understand you result in really unfortunate frizz when you brush curls. The boof aside, you might as well do it in style with this chic gold brush from Mecca.
  2. Christmas Day dresses sorted for girls Australia wide with this beauty from Zimmermann.
  3. Sweet diamond ‘Mum’ necklace from Claire Aristides would make Mumming-life that bit more glamorous, don’t you think?
  4. This looks like a really cool book I want on my coffee table.
  5. I have a few pieces by Sibella Court dotted around the home and this cute shield mirror would only add to the eclecticism.
  6. Jan Logan makes stunning rings and this little blue nugget one has me all heart-eyed!
  7. Sweet desk accessory in the form of a teacup and saucer would be perfect for my new habit of a couple of green teas in the day.
  8. I’ve got two of the classic Kubus bowls in white and now I want one in classy and spiffy bronze!
  9. I love indigo, and I love The Beach People, their bath range is really lovely.
  10. Another brand fave of mine, the petite and blue neoprene bag from the originals, State of Escape is top of my wishlist.
  11. The Terrazzo wall hook from Design Stuff has been sealed so this would be super cute in a bathroom for towel hanging.
  12. This beauty will never be on my wall, but a girl can dream. I’m obsessed by the work of George Byrne.
  13. Having 4 sisters I think I definitely qualify for this fun t-shirt. Rachel Castle does it again in the cute stakes.
  14. When in doubt, check out giftware at Country Road. My indoor plant selection is growing and I’d love this clay watering can to sit alongside the greenery.
  15. A little stocking filler in the form of an always handy bottle opener, also from Country Road.

Happy Christmas Shopping, I’ll come back with some ideas for the kids and guys soon. Coming up with gift ideas for guys is always hard though, do you agree?

Briar x

I love cacti

09.11.17

I’ve had big love for cacti since working in my Aunt’s garden centre nearly 18 years ago, and lots of gorgeous Palm Spring homes shared on Pinterest and Instagram has been responsible for another spike in popularity for these sculptural plants. I had high hopes for my very own mega cactus garden when we moved, but I had to park those dreams once I discovered how much established plants actually cost these days. Pretty astronomical unfortunately!

I was so excited to spot these ‘Mother in Law’s Tongues’ and ‘Columnar Cacti’ in a seconds pile (literally a pile) at a local garden centre today, I snapped up a handful for a steal so I could test out my propagating skills before committing to some more serious purchases.

You can propagate columnar cacti by slicing pieces with a sharp knife, you then leave to callous over and then plant. Here are (very) detailed instructions I came across after doing a bit of research. It’s very wordy, but the process isn’t at all difficult:

  1. Disinfect the blade of a sharp knife using a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol. Lay the knife on a flat surface. Allow the blade dry completely before using it.
  2. Select a piece of columnar cactus to root (around 20cm in length is a good size). Put on gloves to protect your hands. Steady the top of the columnar cactus with one hand. Sever the cutting using the disinfected knife. Cut at a 45-degree angle without sawing the flesh of the plant.
  3. Place the cutting upside down in an empty pot so that the cut end is exposed to the air. Set it in a warm, dry spot out of direct sunlight. Allow the end of the cutting to dry out for at least three days, or until the wound heals and takes on a hard, whitish appearance.
  4. Fill the bottom half of a pot with succulent potting mix (or a good mix of sand and regular potting mix).  Make sure one-third to one-half the length of the cutting is below the edge of the pot.
  5. Hold the cutting upright while filling in around the edges with more potting mix. Shake the pot slightly to settle the soil. Gently firm the mixture around the cutting. Add more, as needed, to fill the pot close to the top.
  6. Water the columnar cactus cutting two days after potting it. Drizzle water onto the growing mixture until it feels slightly damp. Maintain light dampness in the growing mixture, but allow it to dry out slightly in the top inch before applying more water.
  7. Set the potted columnar cactus cutting where it will receive very bright but indirect light Shelter the cutting from direct sunlight, which can cause the flesh to dehydrate and make it likely the cutting will die.
  8. Check for roots four weeks after planting. Firmly hold the base of the cactus, and gently try to lift it; if the cutting does not move, it has produced roots.
  9. Transplant the columnar cactus cutting into a permanent pot filled with succulent potting mix or directly into a sunny garden bed four weeks after it has rooted. Water it sparingly.

Wish me luck! I’ll let you know how I go, I’m aiming for a Columnar Cacti forest at the front of the house within a year.

Briar x

PS. Spot Baby Raff ; )

A SMALL BUT PRACTICAL LAUNDRY

29.09.17

I’ve been helping a client with their laundry renovation recently, and it’s a space not much larger than my laundry. It got me thinking about tips to create a practical laundry when you’re dealing with a small space.

The basics of a laundry should ideally include:
– Washing Machine
– Dryer
– Sink
– Bench space for folding
– Storage for laundry products

So, how to include all that when you have a wall that is less than 2m in length to deal with? I’ve seen wardrobes bigger than my laundry, so it was somewhat lucky we managed to fit in all of the above and include a small shower and toilet on the other side of the space.

Washing machines and Dryers have become a lot more compact in recent years, and the designer duo from Smeg that we have been living with for the past 9 months are seriously special. Good looks aside,  I love the big 10kg capacity of the front loading washer and the  dryer has a sensor controlled drying function. The 8kg capacity of the dryer is generous in size and most importantly, is nice and quiet. I just love how I can close the door on the laundry now, no overheating and annoying condensation etc that we were so used to with our old dryer. My favourite setting on the Dryer is ‘Jeans’ which dries our clothes super fast.

A busy household can never have enough storage, and overhead cabinets to match the style we installed in the kitchen have proved to be really handy for bulky beach/pool towels. I’ve also managed to occupy a shelf for all the swimming accessories that raising  a water baby brings – flippers, goggles, kick board etc. The compact sink in stainless steel has a heavy duty vibe that a laundry needs, but is a little more sophisticated, being round and undermount. The under bench cabinet holds our powders and cleaning products. Honestly, for such a small space you’d be surprised at how much it manages to store!

Below are a few inspiration shots for laundry rooms that are tiny but mighty:

Stacking the washer and dryer on top of each other as pictured above is always a good idea, and the great looking laundry range at Smeg make this possible, as the Washers and Dryers are made to be paired together. I also love the extra-large portholes in the Smeg designs, and the wide-angle opening for easy viewing and access, even though their dimensions are suitable for a 60cm installation in a smaller laundry space.


This gorgeous laundry which was photographed at a Smeg/Clarendon display home has the luxury of a little more length to play with than the first laundry, and again, the stacked washer and dryer creates even more storage above and below the counter. I love the window that has been incorporated  in to the design – it really helps create the illusion of more space. The full length broom cupboard on the right is also perfect for storing an ironing board.

Open shelving is going to make the space appear larger, you would just have to be conscious of always styling the shelf with lovely products and neatly folded towels, which isn’t always practical. I also love the drying line they’ve managed to fit in the laundry above.

This laundry has a little more space to work with than the first two examples, but I had to include it purely for the beauty of this space. The combination of oak, white tongue and groove cabinetry and clever concertina door with the brass tapware and accessories has me wanting to renovate for a second time!!

Briar x

Images via Pinterest.

Renovating with Scyon

14.09.17

When visitors are checking out our new house they will often comment on the set up in the photo above. We basically pushed out the entire house by knocking down the old back wall which was heavy on the eye with tiny windows and old red bricks. The job was quite a minor one in the grand scheme of things, but it made a huge impact to our little home, and the way we live. What you see above is basically used as our main dining room, especially when the weather is warm. The new deck is undercover making it handy to barbecue even when it’s raining. I remember my builder asking me what material I’d like to build the new back wall with, as replacing old bricks with new bricks really didn’t excite me. He told me to check out the Scyon ™ range of cladding as it’s a product he loves to work with, not only is it resistant to damage from termites, rot and fire, but it can also be gun nailed and is easy to cut – like timber. I was immediately drawn to the Scyon Linea™ range. The fibre-cement wall cladding with it’s deep shadow lines is perfect to create a classic/coastal look in the 180mm width, so as soon as I saw it, it basically became the exact look I was after.

The cladding comes primed, so painting is a breeze. I remember the day our painters arrived I switched at the last minute from wanting it all black to going with an all white direction. I’m really happy with this decision in the end, it especially stands out at the front of the house. We replaced the very dated porch surround and it improved the facade immeasurably, really popping out from the newly painted black bricks.

The wide custom made louvre windows frames that were installed in two aspects at the back of the house only added to the updated coastal feel of the place, and opening them to get a breeze in to the house on a hot day has proved to be really nice.

On a more technical level, why choose Scyon Linea weatherboards? The dwelling will maintain its integrity and general appearance significantly longer than timber. Some timber is susceptible to cracking over time, which in turn can lead to shrinking or warping. Linea will resist shrinking and hold paint longer than wood, and can also be painted dark as well as light colours (it’s recommended timber should never be painted dark).

We also chose to use the Axon™ smooth cladding for the deck ceiling, a look we adapted from walls that we had cladded inside the house.

I must tell you another big reason I chose to work with this range of cladding, which took on a contrast away from the standard bricks…It’s because I have plans/dreams for a second renovation. It is years away, but our plan is to add a storey on to our little house…adding two bedrooms and a third bathroom upstairs for the teenagers, and reconfiguring the bathroom and babies room downstairs to create a parents retreat. I have a vision that this second storey will all be created with the Scyon Linea cladding. A modern box shape with big louvre windows – which will contrast against the original 60’s brick house…I hope you can see where I’m going with this? I’m positive it will be beautiful!

Need more inspiration or info? Visit scyon.com.au to discover new looks for your home and learn more about cladding options.

Briar x

All Content © 2016 Sunday Collector. All Rights Reserved.