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Friday, November 4, 2016

Review: The Fisher & Paykel Double DishDrawer™ Dishwasher



Less than a year ago we found ourselves walking the shopping aisles searching for a new dishwasher. At the time I remember looking at the Fisher & Paykel range and staring longingly at their DishDrawer™ dishwashers.

I kicked myself for not investing in one at the time because not long afterwards the dishwasher we ended up purchasing started to play up. We had difficulty turning it on at times, the wash cycle didn’t always work and it just became unreliable. So unreliable, I preferred to just wash most items by hand. Ugh.

We were at the point of returning it when I received an email asking me if I would like to test out the new Fisher & Paykel Double DishDrawer™ Dishwasher.

Yes! Yes!

And now here I am today, stacking dishes like a pro – long stemmed glasses in their spot, small glasses on top, neatly stacked plates and I’m even using the cutlery basket properly - stacking each piece in the individual holes as opposed to chucking them all in the one compartment and finding they don’t clean properly.

I barely recognise myself anymore. This is a transformation.


My favourite feature of the DishDrawer™ Dishwasher is the two drawers that slide out effortlessly and require less movement to load and unload – which is great if you have a small child on one hip as I often do!

Quality and Design

Dishwashers are a considered purchase for the homeowners I work with and the DishDrawer™ Dishwasher is a good choice for its sleek contemporary design that integrates well in many different styles of kitchens, including ours.

The stainless steel finish is easy to wipe clean and it comes with recessed handles for a clean, modern look. The control panel for both the top and bottom drawers is positioned in the top right corner and it doesn’t detract from the aesthetics of the dishwasher. The overall design will work well in many different styles of kitchens.


Each drawer is designed to wash independently which means that you can do smaller loads without feeling guilty, and you can for example, wash delicate items in one drawer and heavily soiled items like pots and pans in the other drawer. The flexibility comes in handy for us.

I was surprised at how quiet the dishwasher was when it was operating. We usually switch ours on just after dinner and we head into the adjoining room to wind down before the bedtime routine starts. The last thing our family would want at this time is the sound of a dishwasher buzzing loudly away and the quietness of the DishDrawer™ Dishwasher is a blessing for us during these precious minutes.


I couldn’t work out how to switch on the child lock feature with our old dishwasher, but the DishDrawer™ Dishwasher makes it easy with the simultaneous push of two buttons, locking the drawers and disabling the buttons. My youngest loves to open cupboards and drawers lately so this feature is a really important one for us to have in our kitchen to keep little fingers safe.

Our family is very happy with the Fisher & Paykel Double DishDrawer™ Dishwasher.

Photography: Tina & Jarrod Photography
Video: Lisa Zhu

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Modern Learning Space - Before



Often I work on projects that give me a real buzz, but this year I worked on a very special one - the design of a Modern Learning Space for a primary school.

Earlier this year the Principal of the school wrote to me asking if I would be able to and willing to design the space. She wanted it to look funky and an exciting learning space for the students. I think it took restraint to not write back 'YES!!!!!' in all caps. The reason for my excitement is twofold:

1. This was a wonderful opportunity to use my skills to be able to give back to the local community by creating a fun 21st century learning environment for students, and

2. This was my primary school as a child!

The Existing Room
I have a hazy recollection of sitting in this very classroom all those (ahem) years ago and it hadn't changed a bit since I attended - right down to the heaters (for some reason I still remembered those) and even some of the posters I saw had an 80's vibe to them.

The carpet was in need of a refresh, and the paintwork was yellowing. This room needed help!

The main updates to the room before the project started were to fit an electronic whiteboard that was no longer used and install Wi-Fi. The school had purchased bright new modular furniture to use in the new space but it looked flat in the existing room. They also purchased a large touch screen, a 3D printer and were introducing a Lego Robotics program to the school. But the room didn't have that exciting feel they wanted for the students to use all this fabulous equipment to learn.

The Initial Plan
I visited one day to check out the space to see what we could do on a limited budget. We agreed to:

  • replace the carpet
  • paint the walls and ceiling
  • take down the whiteboards from the front wall
  • remove the heaters because they weren't being used and yet the school was still required to have them regularly serviced
  • replace the whiteboards on the left side wall
  • replace the blinds that were old and yellowed
  • remove any furniture that wasn't required i.e. the teachers desk and an old cabinet
  • the back wall has a storage room behind it and to hide the contents behind, paper was used to cover the glass. I suggested painting the entire wall, including the glass to hide the contents of this room.
  • the tall storage cabinets at the back of the room were used to store the equipment as part of the Lego Robotics program and they were to stay but painted in white
My Design
I mocked up a 3D render of the new space to share with the school and the parent / carer community for their approval. This was a large space and I knew that the room could handle bold stripes made up of carpet tiles so they can be replaced if damaged over time, and laid across the full length of the room. While discussing this idea with a teach she became excited at the possibility of using the stripes as 'runway' that the students can use to raise their built robots - and at that moment I realised I was working with teaching staff that are always looking for ways to integrate learning even through the design of space and the idea was locked in!

Selecting paint and carpet

The stripes would also be taken up the front wall using paint for continuity and it allowed us to create a feature of the front wall which would now be bare with all the existing whiteboards taken down. There was no need for the school to mount anything here so it was a great opportunity to do something fun with that wall. The original design shown here had multiple stripes up and over the ceiling, but I felt it was overkill once we started painting and pared this back in the final space.

The back wall was also an opportunity to have some fun. I had the idea to mimic the squares and rectangle shapes of Lego to create an interesting wall that tied in with how the space would be used. We used paint suitable for glass to paint over the glass panels and hide the contents behind the wall.

I chose citrus-y colours to balance the primary colours of the furniture and selected a darker shade of carpet tiles to hide dirt a bit better and lighter shade of wall colours to keep the room looking bright and fresh.

We had so many volunteers to help us over a couple weekends to get the room ready including the school principal, teachers, parents and carers and people who hadn't painted before but were willing to give it a try and I left each day feeling SO INSPIRED by how very lucky we are to have such a wonderful community. I have so many people to thank - you know who you are!

Next up, I will share with you the final space.

If you would like assistance with an interior project, feel free to contact me about my design services.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016




They say the right lighting can make or break a room. I couldn’t agree more.

When I renovated our home I will admit I knew very little about the impact lighting could have on a space. My electrician asked me what I had in mind and aside from wanting to hang a few pendant lights I really didn’t have much more of an idea. In our rush to move in we settled on a blanket of downlights for the main living spaces and looking back now, I wish the decision had been more considered. There is nothing I love more than a careful selection of different types of lighting to change the feel of a space to suit your mood.

Lighting design is an understated art form and a well-considered design, combining ambient, task and accent lighting can add so much drama to a space and help with performing specific tasks.
Beacon Lighting have a great selection of contemporary floor, table and pendant lights to work with in your space and I’ve teamed up with them to style my top favourite products and to share with you some other lovely selections.

From left to right (top image):

Misura Floor Lamp
The delicate lines of this floor lamp are unassuming, which helps to integrate this floor lamp easily into many different spaces – a dream lamp for an interior stylist or designer. It doesn’t scream, “look at me I’m over here taking attention away from everything else in the room!” but rather it speaks more quietly, hanging out in the space as one of the cool kids without competing. Sometimes you need that piece in the room that works seamlessly rather than filling a space with too many showpieces.

Some other floor lamp favourites include the Citta Floor Lamp for its modernist aesthetic and the LEDlux Blakely Floor Lamp, which is also a very delicate in design.

Alrik 1 Light Coolie Pendant
Who would have known plywood timber could look so fancy? The strong cylindrical lines cast such a beautiful shadow and I couldn’t resist playing up this feature in this photoshoot. This pendant light would look wonderful clustered as a group of three and varying the size adds interest.
Gaston 1 Light Table Lamp
A perfect combination of two materials that work so well together – copper and concrete. Designed by Josh & Jenna of The Block and Reno Rumble fame, the simple shape of this lamp and the way in which the light casts upwards makes this table lamp a sculptural showpiece to add to your home.

Other table lamp gems include the Gustavo Table Lamp with its marble base and metal shade and the Raika 1 Light Table Lamp combining amber glass and cork to create an interesting overall design that looks more like a lantern than a table light.

Lunar 1 Light Small Cylinder Pendant
I was really looking forward to seeing this light in person as I have been considering it for a project. Amber is my preferred coloured-glass to work with at the moment and when lit, it casts a beautiful warm glow. It’s a real winner!

Other beautiful pendant light alternatives include the Harvey 1 Light Pendant - concrete lights are on trend right now and the clay colour gives the concrete unexpected warmth – and the Monlue Tread Pendant in copper with black accents. Copper is still hugely popular at the moment and combined with the matt black finish of the shade, this pendant light looks elegant and refined.

To see a huge collection of floor, table and pendant lighting, visit Beacon Lighting.







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