Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Block NZ Villa Wars | Kids' Room Reveal

Who watched the kids' room reveal on Sunday night's episode of The Block Villa Wars? Host Mark Richardson said it was the best room reveal in The Block NZ history, which is pretty impressive for week two. 

As top scorers of week 1, Cat and Jeremy, and then Brooke and Mitch were able to choose the house they wanted for the duration of The Block. Both chose to start fresh with one of the untouched villas, which put them behind the other two teams who were able to rework the previous week's rooms. The restoration of heritage details, and failed council inspections were the major setbacks, especially for Brooke and Mitch.

Cat and Jeremy: 1st place | 17.5 points

With more time to focus on the styling and details, Jamie and Hayden were expected to take this room out with their amazing built-in bunk bed and cubby house complete with a slide. But they were pipped at the post by Cat and Jeremy, who were thrilled (and a bit surprised) to take out their second room win.

While the brief was "to wow an eight year old", this room is cleverly versatile and could work as a teenager's room, a spare room, or a study, giving the new home owners lots of options. A gorgeous soft grey blue on the walls (Dulux Lake Camp) sets the scene.

I think Cat is very good with her details. I love how her custom made curtains pool ever so slightly on the floor, and how she's chosen lots of warm colours to contrast the cool blue walls. In my opinion, the reason Cat and Jeremy are winning is their attention to detail and adding that little extra layer that gives the room personality and a 'lived in' feel.

Jamie and Hayden: 2nd place | 17 points

Jamie and Hayden had the satisfying task of painting out Sarah and Minanne's awful lilac room from the previous week. They continued with their black and white theme by painting one wall entirely in black board paint (Dulux Design Chalkboard), and the others white.

The bunkbed is indeed epic! Martin the builder did an amazing job creating the bed on a mezzanine floor, a little study area underneath, a super cool slide, and the top of last week's wardrobe became a little cubby house.

The black carpet is pretty cool and works well in the room, but from experience dark carpet like this needs constant vacuuming as it shows up every little thing. I know Jamie and Hayden were hoping to win this room, and they came so close. I think they need to just take it up one more level - a large piece of art on the wall by the slide would've helped to add a bit more life and maybe a touch of colour. Also, although the room is carpeted, the addition of a fun rug would help to create zones in the large floor space. But those things can be added in, and on the whole it's a pretty great room.

Sarah and Minanne: 3rd place | 15 points

The sisters have come a long way since their disastrous first week, and they produced a cute kids' room, also with a built-in bunk bed. It's a great use of space with a desk underneath and makes the room feel huge - there's certainly enough room for a second bed if they wanted it, or a sofa/daybed would be fab.

Once again, for me, the styling is pretty simple and lacking that something special. Sarah chose to put a 3D printer in the room, which, at about $1000, was a big ticket item. I would've preferred to have seen that money spent on some beautiful decor and accessories. But maybe the kids would disagree with me.

The wall colour this week (Dulux Elusive Blue Half) is really pretty and subtle, and I like the calmness of the overall colour scheme. A massive step up for the girls this week, let's hope it continues.

Brooke and Mitch: 4th place | 14 points

It was a particularly hard week for Brooke and Mitch, but with all their set backs they did well to finish their room. I was really happy to see them keep their heritage ceiling and spend lots of time on those details, which they failed to do in week 1.

They chose some sweet pieces and Mitch did a good job of putting up all those pink dots after very little sleep. It needed more, there's no doubt, but it is a good blank canvas for the new home owners to put their own mark on.

Top residential real estate agent, and one of The Block judges, Bernadette Morrison awarded Jamie and Hayden her top score of 9 for their kids' room. But it was Cat and Jeremy's score of 9.5 from judge Jason Bonham, founder and director of Bonham Interior, that propelled them to victory. Can they make it three out of three with The Block's first wet room? I love designing bathrooms, so will be watching this week with interest.

To see more of the kids' rooms and lots of extras, pop over to TV3.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Tête-à-Tête Lounge

Creating a beautiful environment to work in is important (I think) for any industry, but it is especially so for an interior designer. With the high cost of rent and overheads, a commercial office space can seem a long way off for up and coming designers, but San Francisco company, Coupar Consulting, have come up with a clever idea to provide a communal design space for designers to meet with their clients.

Tête-à-Tête Lounge has a number of different spaces available to it's members, including a conference room, individual work stations, communal drafting tables and lounge areas. Clients are able to buy monthly memberships which allows them access to the various spaces, computer equipment, samples, and consulting support.

I think this concept would be fantastic not only for up and coming designers without their own space, but also designers based out of town who may be visiting clients in the city.

Shared workspaces are becoming a popular alternative. I love the idea of like-minded people with businesses that compliment each other. I can think of a few that are really successful. What about you, do you think this is a good idea?

photos by Christopher Stark

Read more about this gorgeous office space at My Domaine.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Block NZ Villa Wars | First Room Reveal

The Block NZ is back on our screens, much to the delight of my three daughters and myself, and I'm sure a lot of you guys too. Aptly named "The Block Villa Wars" the teams were forced to get competitive within minutes of meeting, as they had to choose their favourite house. Strategic thinking back-fired for two of the couples who chose a less desirable house to try and throw the others off their scent. But alas, they were forced to create their guest bedroom in the houses they selected, meaning two couples worked in house 1, and two in house 2. Join me in the coming weeks as I run through each room reveal and give you my feedback.

Taking out the first room with a score of 16 out of 20, and also the first challenge, Taranaki couple, Cat and Jeremy look like the couple to beat at this early stage. Proving that nice guys do indeed win, they have shown some talent and great design flair in their first room.

They based their room design around a piece of art, which is a great idea. The colour palette is soft and relaxing - perfect for a guest bedroom. The cool blues and mint greens are balanced by soft pinks, mustard and lots of blonde wood.

I thought the soft grey wall colour (Dulux Godley Head) with the white trims was beautiful, and brought a modern touch while still keeping the traditional bones of the room. The furniture and light choices were great too. My only criticisms are the mirror could've been twice as big, and I have a pet hate of scrunched up throws! I would've preferred the throw laid smoothly over the end of the bed, or removed all together.

But on the whole, I thought the styling was really well done by Cat and Jeremy, and I'm excited to see what is to come from this couple.

In second place with a score of 13 out of 20 were Christchurch couple, Brooke and Mitch. These guys were keen to show their modern, contemporary style, and although I love a mix of old and new, I think they missed the mark a bit with this room.

I think they should've kept the base of the room more in keeping with the villa style - bigger skirting boards and more traditional looking doors - and then added their modern touch in the furniture and accessories. Also, the bedhead, which is lovely, gets lost against the similar coloured wall behind. A slight contrast would've made all the difference here. Finally, a long low set of drawers would've been a better fit for the shape of the room.

Now to the good stuff! Brooke and Mitch have got loads of potential. The colour palette is great, the seagrass wallpaper adds beautiful texture and is very on-trend, and their workmanship looks excellent. I'm sure we'll see lots of great things moving forward.

Close behind in third place with a score of 12 out of 20 were Auckland duo, Jamie and Hayden. I can tell this team is going to be fun to watch. They're not afraid the push the boundaries and get creative, as they proved with their dark charcoal walls (Dulux Mt Inaccessible) and wood feature wall.

I actually loved the feature wall before it was painted, but I know Hayden was wanting to create an urban feel with the contrasting black and white. What I love is the texture the wall creates. I would definitely utilise the talent of their builder, Martin (Maree and James' builder in Season 3), to the max if I was them.

Even though it's a guest bedroom, this room lacks storage. Although the freestanding wardrobe is cute, it's not quite enough, and built-in storage under the bed would've been much better then the collection of baskets that's there.

Although they styling is a bit basic, I think Jamie and Hayden will get better as they go, and I'm sure they will have plenty of surprises in store for us in future weeks.

Trailing at the back with a very low score of 5.5 out of 20 were the pint-sized sisters from Hamilton, Sarah and Minanne. It was a tough first week for the sisters who tackled the restoration of their beautiful original battened ceiling, taking a lot of their time and effort.

Unfortunately that left very little time for dressing and styling their room, which left a lot to be desired. Although they made some brave colour choices, they were a bit too jarring!

The only way is up now for Sarah and Minanne, and I really hope we see something wonderful from them in the next room, which is a kid's room - time to get really creative.

What did you think of the first rooms, and have you picked you favourite team yet? Find out more and see all of the room reveals here (as well as where to buy products used in the rooms).

Blogging tips