Thursday, December 18, 2014

Robert's Bedroom Update



AFTER MANY WEEKS working on Robert’s new bedroom, I’m happy to show you the end result. He wanted to be involved in the whole process and it was fun to work on a project with him. I showed him fabric samples, we went shopping together for table lamps and other items and because he has been so involved he loves showing visitors his new room and giving them a rundown of all changes.

Thanks to Sleepmaker we were able to give Robert a new larger bed to sleep in and his other bed has been passed onto Christopher for when he is ready to transition into it. We painted the walls in his bedroom the same colours as the rest of the house - very light and bright whites was really important for this room as it doesn’t have much sun for a large part of the day.

I ordered a bedhead using this very beautiful cockatoo fabric. The green colour was picked from wallpaper in the same design and colour matched to use on fabric. I also asked for piping to finish off the bedhead and I think this gives it a clean, finished look.

The bedside tables were very much a splurge. After never having had bedside tables in his bedroom I wanted to give him something special. As soon as they arrived he filled them with books and his favourite toys.

We wanted to add very subtle white wallpaper to the area above the chair rails but we haven’t settled on a design yet so for now I painted some very subtle triangles in the corner of his room which can only be seen when the sunlight hits it from certain angles. It’s our little ‘surprise’ touch, if you will, and best viewed in person.
There is also lots more storage added and a bench seat to read books and relax.


Sleepmaker are offering a sleep set valued at $750 to one ish & chi reader.

The sleep pack includes:
  • 2 x pillows
  • 2 x pillow protectors
  • 1 x waterproof mattress protector
  • 1 x quilt 

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post describing “Your Dream Bedroom”. I’ll announce the winner in January. Good luck!


Bedhead: BedNest with Cockatoo fabric from Signature Prints
Bedside tables: Imported - contact me if you are interested in purchasing
Table lamps: Freedom
Bedlinen and blanket: Sheridon
Picture frames: Country Road
Boy + Girl artwork: David Bromley
Giraffe artwork: Watercolour painted by me
Elephant artwork: Wallpaper sample by Abnormals Anonymous
Macaw artwork: Sharon Montrose
Bow tie: Seed Heritage - part of pageboy outfit worn at our wedding
Cabinets for bench seat: IKEA
Cushions: Custom upholstery, fabric from No Chintz
Animal figures: Schleich
Scatter cushions on bench: Ferm Living
Wooden pig: A holiday souvenir painted by Robert 

If you would like assistance putting together a room for your home, feel free to contact me about my design services.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rouse Hill House & Farm


Sydney / Australia

THERE IS NOTHING QUITE like a Sunday drive. Piling the family into the Mini, we headed to Rouse Hill House & Farm.  Robbie joined the kids tour through the farm and we ended the afternoon with a historical tour of Australia's oldest property owned by generations of a single family.

Built in the early 1800's the colonial house was occupied by six generations of the Rouse and Terry families up until the late 1990's. The property covers many acres and is now open to the public as a museum with tours run by volunteers.


Sydney Living Museums hold various family events at their historical properties throughout the year. We joined the Earn Your Tucker tour at Rouse Hill House. The tour involved grinding corn and wheat to feed the chickens, collecting eggs and churning butter.

There was also an opportunity to feed the horses and for kids to ask questions from people who look after the livestock on the property and have spent much of their lives working on a farm. It was very hands-on with the kids enjoying taking turns carrying milk pails across the farm in the traditional way - chained to a carrying pole balanced across the back of the shoulders.
After we had completed our "chores" (the adults joined in too), we were all able to enjoy our tucker on the verandah, soaking in the beautiful view.


Following lunch we booked a tour to visit the main house on the property and the barns. Our tour guide gave us a detailed explanation of the history of the family who owned the property and the changes to the property through the years.

I personally enjoyed seeing the layers of additions to the property with each generation adding their own mark without erasing what had been created by those that lived there before them. There are visible extensions to the house, a roof added over the kitchen and laundry areas and even a random placement of a 1960's television set in one of the formal rooms.

To preserve the house today, the rooms are kept in the dark so that the sunlight does not further deteriorate the wallpaper and fabrics. The rooms look dull and brown in colour having faded over time. Interestingly, there was a glass display of wallpaper remnants, curtain tiebacks, tassels and fabrics recovered from inside books, in cupboards and behind furniture which were hidden from the light and showcased the true vibrant colours - turquoise blues, lime greens, purple, orange and gold.

"The range and intensity of colours available to the decorator increased dramatically in the second half of the 19th century as chemical aniline dyes were developed."
- Text extract of sign inside Rouse Hill House

There are layers of fabric on chairs dating back to 1860 which have been reupholstered a number of times preserving the original fabrics underneath the new layers. There are also original 1850's curtain rods with curtains made of fabrics from the 1950's. It is fascinating to see such an eclectic mix of eras in the one house.

The barns also have a history to tell with the stables housing the family's prized racehorses. Over the generations, the family's wealth decreased and there was discussion about selling the property in the 1950's. Luckily for us, the property was never sold and now remains a public museum.

Rouse Hill House & Farm
356 Annangrove Road, Rouse Hill, NSW 2155

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hotel Tour: Empress Zoe

Living Area with stone day beds, an antique Cappadocian fireplace and local Turkish textiles

I have so much to tell you, I could really bore you with it all - about how the tree was removed but left behind was so much damage it took days and a lot of effort to fix, and that I'm still piecing together Robert's new bedroom which I will share with you next week, and that I'm spending my days helping my sister with her new place and researching ideas and... never mind. I'm here today to share with you another hotel tour. It's been a while since I have posted a tour and if you like feel free to check out the archives too.

Located right in the heart of the tourist district in Istanbul is Empress Zoe, consisting of a number of townhouses that surround a peaceful courtyard. We arrived exhausted and carrying too much luggage with us so it was wonderful to check in and offered to have our luggage carried for us to our room up a tight winding staircase. Our townhouse was located just past the central courtyard and walking through the gardens it was easy to forget that we were located in the city.

 The entrance area with the winding staircase

 Clockwise: Villa Zoe courtyard suite bedroom // Entrance to private courtyard // Hamam style bathroom // Painting of Empress Zoe

The hotel is named after Empress Zoe (b 978 - d 1050) herself who was reputed to be a beautiful and well loved woman by the people of Constantinople. She ruled for many years with her husbands becoming emperors through marriage (there were three of them) and for a time she also jointly ruled with her sister. Her life story is documented in each hotel room which provides an interesting historical read. The hotel has been restored with care to preserve its past and there is an abundant use of local Turkish textiles and artwork throughout the spaces.
Rooftop terrace

Clockwise: The streets of Sultanahmet // Buffet breakfast // Blue Mosque // Resident cat at Empress Zoe

We stayed in the Villa Zoe courtyard suite which has a private courtyard, a living area with an antique Cappadocian fireplace and a hamam style bathroom made of marble! What worked really well for us is the separate kitchenette which we used to clean baby equipment and the private courtyard gave Robbie plenty of space to run around. The hotel is charming with resident cats accompanying you for breakfast and a small rooftop terrace with beautiful views over the river. I was most inspired by the textiles used in the hotel including hand-embroidered suzanis which were draped by the doorways and used as curtains.

In the centre of Sultanahmet and all the major sites including the Blue Mosque and Topkaki palace which are only a short walk away. The hotel is near my personal favourite markets, the Arasta Bazaar. You will need to catch a taxi to visit the Grand Bazaar. There is a long street full of shops and restaurants right at the doorstep of the hotel which is handy as there is no room service available.

Who can stay here
The hotel caters for singles, couples and families. I don't recommend the hotel if mobility is an issue due to the winding staircase that you will need to walk up to access the rooms and courtyard.

Best bits
The service by the staff who were always happy to help us navigate the neighbourhood. And the breakfast! The buffet breakfast in the courtyard was an absolute favourite and to this day I still crave the large figs on offer.

Please note: I was not sponsored to write this review. Photographs taken by me and used with permission by the hotel. Photograph 1 & 3 credit: Empress Zoe.






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