My Mini Kitchen Makeover

With a small budget, I recently set about giving my kitchen a mini makeover. Here’s what I did....

When I purchased my apartment off the plan, it was a little disappointing when I found out that I couldn’t make a lot of design changes. There were however, a couple of things that I could do – adding these pendant lights at the build stage, along with closing in the space above the top cabinets to make it look more streamlined. As you can see in the before image to the right, there wasn’t a huge amount I changed. And in hindsight, I have to say it’s not that bad, at least it’s very white. It just didn’t speak to my personality though. It all felt a bit blah.

So here’s what I changed:

  • New barstools for more contrast
  • New gooseneck tap
  • Bigger fridge to fill that space
  • New tiled splashback with more visual impact
  • New toaster and kettle
  • New brass door handles to tie in with the pendants
  • Remove oyster light and replace with 2 downlights

The Morphy Richards range of toasters and kettles are super stylish. I love that their new Scandi Aspect design has a timber-look trim giving it a fresh modern look. Another favourite addition are my new Lewis Dolan brushed brass pulls and handles from US online store My Knobs. I had to use a secondary shipping company (shipito) to be able to get them here to Australia, but it’s worth it, as brass hardware in Australia is hard to come by (and not to mention super expensive in comparison to these).

I really love my new plastic mat in the kitchen from Habitat Home Collection. The icy blue colour is nice and fresh and adds just the right amount of colour to the monochromatic space. It’s also really durable, and because it’s made of plastic, it grips quite well to the tiles so you don’t need to worry about it slipping around.

When it came to budget – the tiles were actually the cheapest thing in the space, coming in at $61 for 2 cartons from Bunnings. The labour was about $250. I’m lucky to know a tiler who did a great rate for me – and as he just tiled over the top of the existing tiles it cut time down. Another budget friendly addition was the black tap from Meir. What a difference it makes replacing the existing ho-hum mixer that was previously there. I love that it’s a matte finish - it dries quickly and never looks streaky (like it can with a chrome one).

Overall, I’m really happy with how the makeover turned out. It’s now a space I enjoy using.

Get the look with these finds:

Big City Views Balcony

It’s not often the striking Melbourne cityscape is upstaged, but this inner-city balcony may just trump the view it overlooks.

Photography Annette O’Brien  /  Styling Jess Frazer  /  Words Jacqui Greig

Quality pieces of furniture, such as the GlobeWest ‘Reef’ three-seater sofa, Luum ‘Simply’ daybed and Luum ‘Simply’ coffee table pictured, were chosen for their contemporary appeal.

Quality pieces of furniture, such as the GlobeWest ‘Reef’ three-seater sofa, Luum ‘Simply’ daybed and Luum ‘Simply’ coffee table pictured, were chosen for their contemporary appeal.

Home to Scott Feltham and Nicola Sims, and their two children, this balcony is considered an outdoor alternative to a lounge room. “The balcony is always the most popular spot to wind down at the end of the night,” says Nicola. A subtle reflection of current urban design, the space uses bluestone, raw timber and steel as key elements, with a modern and relaxed feel.

Nicola loves to be surrounded by warm colour and bold, simple shapes, evident in her online homewares business – Luum.

“I’ve used colours that complement the soft pastel tones in our succulents, and balance well with tones of green. Cushions from my own range make the balcony inviting. The tables and daybed are from my ‘Simply’ range – bringing warmth through colour, natural timber and their simple form. I tend to find it easier to relax when surrounded by things that aren’t overcomplicated.”

Measuring approximately 4x6 metres, the space has been maximised with streamlined furniture and plants in pots as opposed to garden beds, while the kitchen and dining areas – adjacent to the balcony – have bi-fold doors that open to conjoin the indoor open-plan living space with the terrace.

The laser-cut metal screen is the hero – inspired by a need for privacy; balanced by the desire not to block too much of the Melbourne skyline. The simple geometry of the design complements the bold foliage scattered throughout the balcony, which, with the numerous potted plants inside, ensure a garden-like feel despite living in a dense urban landscape. 

“We have numerous potted plants inside and out to extend a garden-like feel in our dense urban landscape,” explains Nicola. Luum ‘Cup’ pots and Capra Designs ‘Crescent’ plant stand pictured.

“We have numerous potted plants inside and out to extend a garden-like feel in our dense urban landscape,” explains Nicola. Luum ‘Cup’ pots and Capra Designs ‘Crescent’ plant stand pictured.


Love this space? Looking for more outdoor inspiration? You'll find this and more in our new Planted Magazine and the Endless Summer edition of Adore Home. Out in newsagents now.

Wanderlust: Bask & Stow, Byron Bay

There’s a little piece of paradise hidden in the back streets of Byron Bay called Bask & Stow. If you’re looking for boutique accommodation in the area, this is a must-stay.

Photography: Kara Hynes  /  Words: Loni Parker

When it comes to accommodation, I can be very picky as I’ve stayed at a number of beautiful boutique hotels in Australia and the US. So you can trust me when I say Bask & Stow really is an inspiring place to stay. I loved all of the design details both inside and out. White breeze block throughout gives a definite Palm Springs vibe – it’s safe to say my head was bubbling with design ideas for my future dream home.

There are four suites to choose from – sun, sea, sand and salt, each with its own unique coastal-inspired style. We stayed in the sea suite pictured above and right. Whilst the rooms aren’t huge, they did feel spacious thanks to the high ceilings and white walls and furniture. Plus you have your own private balcony – some with hanging cane chairs and outdoor table and bench seat.

The bathroom was pretty big, complete with bathtub and rain shower. I loved the luxurious details in the suite, like the marble floor tiles in the bathroom, leather door handles on the wardrobe and Slim Aarons print on the wall. There’s even a small kitchenette, but with so many great cafes and restaurants in Byron, you’ll want to eat out. On our trip we ate breakfast at Byron Fresh, grabbed some fish and chips from the kiosk at Beach for a casual lunch, and dined at the laid-back Byron Bay Brewery (try the sticky lamb ribs - they’re insanely good). It’s also worth noting Bask & Stow is a short walk from Top Shop, famous for its milkshakes, smoothies and casual bites.

Other features on-site include the shared plunge pool – a great spot to cool off in the afternoon.

Location-wise it is situated half-way between Tallows Beach and Byron Bay’s city centre, making it a great spot to enjoy the best of both worlds. There are great walkways along the beach – I’d highly recommend it on your stay. We walked up to the infamous lighthouse from Bask & Stow, which took us about an hour overall (there and back). It’s near impossible to get a car park up there in the summer, so walking is your best bet (plus great for walking off those lunches and dinners out!).

Overall I really enjoyed my stay, it’s the ideal spot for couples seeking a quiet weekend away in a tropical, relaxed setting. Click here to check out their website and to book your own escape.

Lusting over Slim Aarons prints

Renowned for photographing the rich and famous throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s, Slim Aarons imagery captured a bygone era of glamour, serenity and innocence. I’ve longed to own one of Slim Aarons prints for a number of years now - here’s a look at some of my favourites.

Coco Republic stock a small but quality selection of Slim Aarons prints – both framed and on canvas in a number of sizes. The good news is that they’re currently on sale, making it a great time to invest in one of his classic prints.

Having photographed the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Joan Collins, Mick Jagger, Grace Kelly, (the list goes on and on), he was invited to all of the celebrities’ parties as one of them. He was an insider who they trusted and consequently captured his subjects in their natural surrounds - no stylists, no lighting equipment, just Slim and his camera.

Attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places, was his mantra.

A range of Slim Aarons prints available through Coco Republic

A range of Slim Aarons prints available through Coco Republic

My Top 5 Favourite Hotel Pools

Hayman Island's new Aquazure Pool

Hayman Island's new Aquazure Pool

More often than not, I judge a resort not just on its rooms and service, but on the quality of the pool. I’ve been lucky enough to stay at a number of beautiful hotels in my time, and thought it would be fun to round-up my top five favourite hotel pools. Let the countdown begin...


Sometimes size isn’t everything. The palm tree lined pool at The Beverly Hills Hotel, renowned for its old Hollywood glamour, pushes this one into a respectable number five position on my list of all-time favourites. But it’s not just the tropical wallpaper walls of the private cabanas that had me salivating, it’s the underwater music that really wowed me. I’ve never come across this before and it just makes it an ultra special experience – something I’ll never forget.


Byron Bay’s newest five star resort, Elements of Byron, is a popular destination for both local and international travellers – and it’s not hard to see why. The lagoon pool is big enough – you won’t have a problem finding the perfect nook to swim or lounge. Poolside bures and settees, hanging lounges (in the adults only area), a heated spa, and paddling pools for the kids make it a very well thought out space suiting everyone’s needs. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, or a thirst, you’ll have no trouble catching the eye of attentive wait staff at the full service, poolside Barefoot Kiosk.



Sure it’s not the biggest, but it certainly is the most colourful, and with a to-die-for view of Palm Springs’ mountains, this brings The Saguaro Hotel’s lively pool in at the number three spot.

I’ve been lucky enough to stay here twice, on my first stay it was super easy to find a sun lounger (we stayed on a weekday), plus there were plenty of laid-back tunes to help you switch into holiday-mode. Second time around there was a DJ playing some awesome tunes (see my short video opposite), and it was jam-packed with holiday-makers – oh and not a spare chair in sight! I loved it though, it’s a very trendy place and even though the rooms aren’t the best, the pool’s atmosphere more than makes up for it.

Palm Springs’ warm temperatures all year round and very few rainy days, make it an ideal paradise and holiday destination. Surprisingly summer is the cheapest time to book accommodation (as it’s insanely hot), so keep that in mind if you don’t mind the desert heat. I actually like it - it’s a dry heat - much better than the sticky humidity going on here in Brisbane at the moment. 

Palm Springs warm temperatures all year round and very few rainy days, make it an ideal paradise and holiday destination. 


When it comes to size, Perth’s Crown Metropol is pretty darn big. Featuring one whopping swimming pool, plus three other smaller size pools (including a fun kids’ pool complete with water slides), it’s lined with tropical gardens, crisp white sun loungers and luxe cabanas (which you can hire). I definitely recommend hiring a cabana, it means you’re not looking for a chair (especially in the peak periods) and you can just relax out there all day.

The poolside kiosk is not far away, however with an abundance of wait staff circling the area, you can order food and drinks without ever having to leave your prime poolside position. My kind of bliss.

Without a doubt this is Perth’s best hotel pool, and with rooms priced from $298, it represents excellent value for money compared with other luxury accommodation.



Sitting in the number one position, is Hayman. Without a doubt their gigantic pool is mesmerizing. When I stayed it was prior to their renovation and the new additional Aquazure Pool (pictured above, opposite and directly below). For this reason alone, I’d love to go back – I’ll just need to sell my left kidney in order to foot the bill, in the meantime I’ll just have to make do with staring at these images. Featuring a spectacular infinity-edge pool with breathtaking views of the Coral Sea, there is also luxurious private cabanas and stylish day beds dotted along its perimeter, oh and did I mention the poolside bar. Of course though their original Hayman pool is just as divine and is the size of seven Olympic pools, guaranteeing plenty of space for everyone. Did you know it’s the largest pool in the southern hemisphere? When it comes to pools, bigger is always better – especially when you’re sharing with lots of other hotel guests.

Of course though this is just my favourites from the places I’ve visited. I can’t wait to hopefully discover more fabulous resort pools this year. May 2017 be the year for lots of travel.

Shop online with OZ Design Furniture

Redesign your home with a range ofmodish summer styles, from the comfort of your living room with OZ Design Furniture’s new online store. With Australia-wide delivery and summer collections right at your fingertips, shopping has just been made super easy.

Keeping up with the latest décor trends has been made stress-free thanks to OZ Design Furniture. With summer styles of furniture and homewares in store and online – there’s no better time than now, to refresh your interiors. For all of the time-poor renovators or busy Christmas shoppers out there, OZ Design Furniture are making things really convenient with their new online store. Shopping at your fingertips with Australia-wide delivery – now what’s not to like about that? I personally am doing most of my Christmas shopping online to avoid the shopping centre cues.

What I love about OZ Design is that they stock a great variety of homewares/furniture in different styles - from calming coastal, to neutral Scandi, to global eclectic - there’s pretty much something for every taste. I’ve posted a few images from their collection here, so much eye candy, and so much inspiration for your next redecorating/renovation project! Visit to shop the range.

Christmas gift guide: secret santa

It's always a struggle finding the right gift when it comes to Secret Santa. If your budget is under $30, we've rounded up a few bright and colourful gift ideas. All with a fun, summer colour palette.