Paint finishes explained.


Flat paint is the most forgiving paint and a good rule of thumb is the higher the sheen the harder it is to hide surface defects. This makes flat paint a better choice for older homes or flawed walls and ceilings. Why is this so? Well, put simply flat paint reflects minimal light. This makes flat paint a good option for darker colour selections – minimal light helps to bring out the true depth of colour. Flat paint is not so easy to clean and is quite porous making it the least desirable option for kitchen, kids bedrooms, play areas and bathrooms but perfect for ceilings, accent walls and low traffic rooms.


Image from Pinterest



With it’s combined properties low sheen paint is the most commonly used paint type and in modern homes you will find it used on all walls, architraves and ceiling surfaces. It shares attributes of both gloss and flat paint making it easier to clean like a gloss paint but can hide imperfections like a flat – unless it is facing direct light – so good preparation and application is very important still! Low sheen works well on exteriors as well as interior surfaces and it has a matte look when facing directly onto the surface but a low-sheen at other angles. Great for living rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms.



Gloss paint has been widely used skirtings and architraves for many years and although modern homes are heading towards sheen for all surfaces now gloss paint on architraves will always be a classic look. Gloss is easy to clean, it is durable, it is less porous and moisture resistant. Gloss is light reflecting and will show imperfections and surface defects making preparation and application a high priority for this type of selection for your walls but can be well worth the effort! Semi-gloss & gloss are perfect for high traffic and wet areas like kitchens, laundry, hallways and bathrooms.






Need help selecting your colours? Contact us for your personalised colour palette with samples (sent via post) and yes, email consults are available!



The Dream Stylist xxx

***Samples only available to Australian residents***

Your ‘Must-Have’ List

When building or renovating on a budget, any budget, there should be a ‘must-have’ list. This list may need to be revisited throughout the epic journey especially when the extra’s all start to add up – very quickly! The purpose of a ‘must-have’ list will make you re-evaluate what is important to you and where else you can make sacrifices. If you are building or renovating a home

The purpose of a ‘must-have’ list will make you re-evaluate what is important to you and where else you can make sacrifices. For instance, a passionate cooking clients must-have was stone benchtops so she was willing to select standard ensuite bathroom tiles over the more expensive ones she had previously selected – the decision and the sacrifice was worth it. Another client desperately wanted bamboo floors throughout which came at a great cost so she went without the stone feature wall to her exterior to help with the extra cost. It’s all about balance.

If you are building or renovating a home for you to live in (which is different from building or renovating to sell/rent) then there should be aspects about this home that you absolutely love and that you feel reflects you and your style. There’s got to be a WIN in it for you, otherwise what is the purpose! It could be as simple as choosing white kitchen cupboards because you’ve always dreamt of cooking in an all white kitchen or as decadent as crystal chandeliers in every room. There should be at least one thing that you have chosen because you absolutely love it – you’re paying for it right?! It would be like paying hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new wardrobe yet none of it is really ‘you’ and you’ve just selected items because they are in the ‘standard’ or ‘practical’ aisle!

During mine and hubbies initial discussions about building our dream home my ‘must-have’ list was long. Like really, really long! I have been in this industry for quite some time and have gathered many ‘love to have’ on my list. Then we added in hubbies ‘must-haves’ too and our list was unrealistically long – seriously we had to pack the kids in the car and drive up the road to read them all! Sensibly we sat down and began the task of whittling it all down to 2-3 things each, depending on their expense, and how much we love them which quickly makes you really understand your style and what it is you truly want.

My top three things if we ever get around to building our dream house are:

  1. Herringbone timber floors (cha-cha-ching $$$$)
  2. A double Belfast sink, with matching tapware – that’s just one thing right?!
  3. Feature dado or beadboard to walls and/or ceilings

Number 3 was a really hard one to decide on because I also wanted rustic exposed brick somewhere, a mudroom, butlers pantry and stained glass panelling around the front door equally as much.

Hubbies top three – which happen to be on my wish list too (Win-Win):

  1. 10 – 12 ft ceilings
  2. Wrap around verandah
  3. A real fireplace with stack (ahem I could use exposed brick here – just have to make it hubbies idea somehow ;-))

Hubbie also wanted a round-about off the front driveway and glowstones in the actual driveway – yes stones that glow at night – but that’s another story altogether!

This list will evolve I am sure because I seem to have expensive taste but for the meantime, in dreamland, it’s not budging! I also know my colours for my exterior and interior which have been the same for the last 3 years – I do wonder how that will change over the course of the coming years but I know my style and I know what I love!

What about you? Do you have something you absolutely ‘must-have’ in your dream home regardless of whether you are building or renovating? I’d love to hear about it!

In the meantime while we are awaiting our Powerball lets feast our eyes on these dreamy spaces …… Ooohhhh …. Ahhhhh ….


The Dream Stylist xxx

Images courtesy of Pinterest

The New & Ironic Trend of 2016

A New Year will alway bring a new forecast of Interior Design trends. I’m not sure who decides on these but let’s assume there is a higher power called the Passionately Creative and Totally Stylish Interior Designers on location somewhere totally glorious that gather around an equally glorious table and say “Let’s throw bright orange and lime green together, add some brown swirls and call it Retro! These 70’s hippies are going to love it!” Well, the PCTSID have spoken and so by the power invested in me (and those PCTSID) I announce to you all that the NEW and HOTLY predicted trend of 2016 is New Eclectic! The irony of this trend is that, by definition

The irony of this trend is that, by definition if we have to define it, the New Eclectic trend doesn’t follow trends. Crazy ironic huh!

I actually love that this is the new trend for the upcoming year. By not following a trend  we get to love what we love. It should be applied globally in all aspects of life – what we do, wear, say, think. It’s individualism at its finest, it’s about being unique in your style and again, loving what it is that you love.

This trend works for everyone and is my new favourite trend of 2016 even though there are always more worth mentioning but I feel this one covers everything to some degree! Don’t you?

We have become more travelled and more sentimental. We buy new yet we keep old. There are no rules with New Eclectic. Just decorate with what you love and keep what you need. It’s about combining gorgeous and practical and less about impressing others. Instead, you get to wow yourself every time you walk into your little oasis in the world of crazy! How awesome is that!

Do what you love, love what you do! Happy New Eclectic Year!


The Dream Stylist xxx

Clutter Freedom – Tips How To Get There!


De-cluttering is one of the most therapeutic things that can be done for a home and its occupants. To do it properly is, well, it’s bloody hard work! It creates more mess before it becomes clean and clear, it means a lot of trips to the tip or a ginormous skip bin and it can tug on the heart strings while you spend umpteen hours procrastinating through old things you forgot you never needed. Like the ugly blue vase your great-aunts best friends sister gave you at your 21st… What’s her name again….

I can honestly call de-cluttering ‘therapeutic’ as I have recently began the task of de-cluttering our home. Our home that is filled with 7 peoples stuff. Stuff that has sat in the same spot for the past 6 years since we moved here and many more things that I couldn’t bear to throw away before we even…

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Why Hire An Interior Decorator?

Imagine a netball game without a coach, without a cheer squad, without allocated positions. It would be a pretty messy game huh? It’d be a game that would lack direction and without supporting roles it could end quite badly!

Well think of an Interior Decorator as your home decor coach. They are there to give direction towards the goal you have in mind. They are there to cheer you on when you begin to doubt yourself and your choices. They are skilled with a trained eye to understand how the game is played – what works and what doesn’t. They spend time learning all about you, your family and your lifestyle. They’re not being nosy they just want to understand who YOU are so they can create a home that is not only aesthetically pleasing to you but is also functional and practical to your every day living.

Your decorator will know how to balance your needs and wants. They’ll be your cheerleader when you are doubting your good choices. They will listen to your ideas but won’t be afraid to give you other options too. They will make you braver than you think you are but they won’t make you decorate in a style that doesn’t suit you.

Beautiful interior! Image from: designsoc

Beautiful living space but it may not suit you if you have a young family…
Image from: designsoc

THIS may suit better for a young family but not for a single guy... Image from: designimprovised

THIS may suit better for a young family but not for a bachelor pad…
Image from: designimprovised

A decorator will give you space when you need time to think, they’ll give you clarity when you need there’s too many choices and sometimes, just sometimes they will become the mediator between you and your partner because they live in the real world where choices aren’t always agreeable between two.

Hiring an Interior Decorator doesn’t need to cost you a fortune but it can cost a fortune, not to mention the stress and arguments if you don’t hire an Interior Decorator! What you save in mistakes whether it be repainting, furniture that doesn’t fit, or worse an exterior  selections that clash badly you can put towards something new for the house … Or some new shoes!

Sooo pretty! Image from: Pintrest

Sooo pretty!
Image from: Pintrest

Find an Interior Decorator who you build a comfortable rapport with. Someone you trust and who you feel understands you. After all you could be working with them for some time especially during new builds which can last for 18 months during peak building times. I have personally had a couple whom I have worked with for over ten years, their home renovation and two businesses in that time! They were my first clients and we are still working together to this day. We wouldn’t be able to do this if we didn’t build a relationship based on trust and understanding.

It costs nothing to ask for a quote. So be brave and ask an Interior Decorator today for advice.

Stop dreaming it, start living it!

Cristy xx

The Dream Stylist

Ceiling Canvas – Rise to the Occasion

Ceilings. Ceilings. Ceilings.

The empty space and blank canvas which sits above our heads. What was once thought of as no mans land is now considered your fifth wall or one-sixth of your space. In fact, and in reality, it has always been the fifth wall! In the past a white ceiling has been the most popular choice and for good reason – white is safe and white works BUT a white ceiling is not always the right ceiling – not for you!

Incorporating your ceiling into your design plan whether building or renovating can drastically change the feeling of any room. How? Well let’s take a look at a few ways you can use your ceiling to create a whole different look and feel…


If you already have low ceilings and you want them to feel higher and your rooms more spacious then you need to work with lighter colours BUT light doesn’t necessarily mean white! Whites range from cool to warm tones and your perfect selection will depend on your wall colour.

If you have a ceiling height over 2.7m you have more freedom to change it up a bit. To create warmth, cosiness or add a bit of drama you could paint your ceiling in rich, fulfilling colours. Using deep warm colours that bring the height of the ceiling down is great for home theatres, bedrooms or rooms where you require relaxation – yes this could even mean the bathroom!

I love these feature beams on this high ceiling, don't you! Image from:

I love these feature beams on this high ceiling, don’t you!
Image from:


Where white is concerned it’s important to note that a stark white doesn’t always work! And choosing the right white isn’t always the easiest option considering there are a thousand whites ranging in cool and warm tones. Time and time again, though, you will see that ceilings aren’t even a consideration in the colour selections and design of homes and a standard ceiling white is used more often than not. Always consider the ceiling when selecting your wall colours. This can change the overall appearance of your home. 

If you use warm colours, like orange or mustard, on your four walls then a better option for your fifth wall might be an ivory. Cool colours work well with crisp whites for a fresher feel and also with soft greys for lightness and mood.

A dusky blue/grey ceiling fills this dining room but leaves it open, fresh and airy. Image from: homedit

A way to make a room cohesive, smoothing the transition from surface to surface is to choose 2-3 hues of the same colour. Using the lightest hue on the ceiling (which will naturally appear a little darker than the actual colour), the middle hue on the skirtings/cornices/doorframes and then the darkest hue on the walls. Think ombre!

Using the same hue on all five walls can enclose a room if not chosen carefully as this leaves no breaks in colour, leaving nothing that defines one surface to the next. BUT when used right this look can evoke a soothing and restful feel which is perfect for bedrooms!

Alternatively try contrasting a deep wall colour with the sharpness of white, whether warm or cool, on ceilings/doorframes/skirtings this will make a room feel polished and sophisticated.

This is a stunning example of dark walls/white ceilings and how it can make a room dramatic but sophisticated. Image from

Well I could go on about colour and different ways to combine them but let’s move on shall we ….

Texture & Structure:

There are many ways to bring your ceiling into focus as a feature … A feature not an eyesore!

Beams in natural timbers in long lines across your ceiling whether to draw your eye to the view outside or to lengthen a room. White beams (or bulkheads) used in a grid pattern are very stylish and well used in Hamptons style properties – my all time favourite! Using bulkheads in open plan rooms can define areas without adding obstacles at eye level.

Ceiling leaderpost

Grid beams Image courtesy of: ceiling leaderpost

Image courtesy of

Grid beams with bead boards Image courtesy of

Bead board (another favourite of mine) adds instant texture and lineage to the ceiling. These can be painted in white or if you’re feeling brave in colour. Be aware when using timber boards that they can feel heavy and will lower the ceiling but are great for coffered sections, feature bulkheads and pitched ceilings.

Bead board ceilings Image courtesy of

Bead board ceilings
Image courtesy of

Wallpaper. Yes you read right. Wallpaper. Again it might not suit a whole ceiling throughout an entire house but used as a feature in a kids bedroom, an entrance, in a coffered section over the dining table with a ceiling rose and gorgeous pendant and well, it’ll be a hit!

Wallpaper feature ceiling Image courtesy of

Wallpaper feature ceiling
Image courtesy of

Pressed tin is beautiful and easily accessible these days. Again a whole ceiling could be over bearing in a large expansive open plan living area but featured in coffered areas would be perfect! You can also paint it any colour you like or leave it natural!

Pressed tin and bead board! Image from Pintrest

Pressed tin and bead board!
Image from Pintrest

See how many things you can do to your fifth wall? The magic happens when you balance the ceiling colour, pattern or texture with your decor. Echo the intention you’ve set and style you’ve created. Using your ceiling as a style piece in your home design brings a new dimension to living!

If money was no object and you were feeling brave, what would you do to your ceiling?

Stop dreaming it, start living it!

Cristy xx

Clutter Freedom – Tips How To Get There!

De-cluttering is one of the most therapeutic things that can be done for a home and its occupants. To do it properly is, well, it’s bloody hard work! It creates more mess before it becomes clean and clear, it means a lot of trips to the tip or a ginormous skip bin and it can tug on the heart strings while you spend umpteen hours procrastinating through old things you forgot you never needed. Like the ugly blue vase your great-aunts best friends sister gave you at your 21st… What’s her name again….

I can honestly call de-cluttering ‘therapeutic’ as I have recently began the task of de-cluttering our home. Our home that is filled with 7 peoples stuff. Stuff that has sat in the same spot for the past 6 years since we moved here and many more things that I couldn’t bear to throw away before we even bought the place! A lot of these things date back to 1998 – the year Ricky Martin topped the charts with a song title I don’t know how to say! These 1998-to-present “things” still sit in the storage room, in the same cupboard or under the bed in a box, doing the same thing they’ve always done – which is nothing but filling space of what could otherwise be free and clear air!

What inspired me to get my french maid outfit on? I began reading a book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and by ‘began reading a book’ I mean I got about 6 pages in (blame a busy schedule and reading a book about cleaning being a fairly low-set priority) BUT it did none-the-less inspire me from the very few pages I did read skimmed. It inspired me to find a place for everything. To work out whether I loved it or needed it and if it was neither of those two things than to be brave and get rid of it! Since I’ve started de-cluttering (and yes it sounds totally cliche) I feel so much clearer and lighter. There feels like there is more space and air to breathe than there was before – which in a mathematical sense x+(y)+mc3= MORE SPACE! You know all that genius stuff! (And yes I am pretty sure that equation is not even mathematical but hey I’m a stylist not a numbers guru!)


So you want to join the mathematical party? Well, here’s my top 8 tips (or as I have bulleted it – my A-H) on de-cluttering your home. BUT be aware I’m not discussing the 5 minute decluttering tips you’ll find swimming on the internet I’m talking real, hardcore, get in and get the job done once and for all de-cluttering! Not for the faint hearted! And you will need to find some time!

A. Choose a day, a few hours, and a room – it’s best if you choose a room in your own house though – your neighbour might not appreciate you going through his stuff 😉 Arm yourself with rubbish bags or cardboard boxes and because “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing” (Dale Carnegie) crank up your favourite music and get in the zone!

B. Organise your boxes into two – a donate box and a bin box. If you are planning on trying your hand at selling your things then have a box for that too. **Here’s my big tip for selling though: take photos of the items as you go and upload them straight away to your local Buy & Sell! If they don’t sell within 48 hours they become part of the donate box otherwise they’ll end up back in your cupboards – trust me I know!** Everything else that you keep MUST be something you NEED or LOVE! These bold, capital words are very important!

C. Empty all items onto the floor – this proves you’ve committed yourself to the task ahead and backing out is no longer an option! Sort the items into related piles as you go. For example if you are de-cluttering your kitchen cupboards group your items into: a plastics pile, ceramics pile, utensils, cups, plates piles etc. Then match your tupperware to their lids and well … good luck with that!

D. Complete each part of the room de-clutter completely and always save space for more items from other rooms – you never know where you’ll find a stray Tupperware container – especially if you have teenagers! But remain strong with your love/need and donate/throw piles. Stay strong! Freedom is near!!

E. Create a functional and practical system – one that works for you – and only once you have paired everything back should you purchase storage containers, shelving systems, space saving hooks etc. An example of a functional system is: hang your clothes in item specific groups – shirts together, dresses together, jackets together etc. I’m not into colour co-ordinating my wardrobe but if you want to go that extra mile than I’ll support you all the way!

F: Get your throw out and donate items out of the house ASAP! Don’t turn around! Don’t look back! Do not second guess yourself, do not let you partner/kids/great-aunts-best-friends-sister convince you to keep things you know you’ll never need!

G: Pour yourself a large glass of bubbly and celebrate! One room down, quite possibly a few more to go but you are heading in the right direction – towards clutter freedom!

H: Select a new room and repeat next week ^^^

Goodluck, enjoy the process and watch your x+(y)+mc3= MORE SPACE open up before your eyes!

Stop dreaming it, start living it!

Cristy xx

Being Brave

Clients usually come to me armed with their Pintrest boards, magazine cut-outs and unique ideas. They have a mixed understanding of how to combine their styles but they know what they like and what they don’t like. What I find as the time gets closer to selection crunch time is that doubt sets in. Advice from family and friends, although well meaning, can put a hold on your truest desires for your dream home. What I want to say is BE BRAVE!

You know your style, you know what feels good to you! Be confident in your own uniqueness while we help guide you in the right direction to ‘pull it off‘!

Things will date, trends come and go but your style is unique to you. Sometimes we live our lives too far in advance – worrying about possibly, maybe, having to sell in 10 years time and whether our selections will suit the make-believe new buyers. What about right now? What about you? What about what you love right now?

This doesn’t mean that if you have a love for blue that we will suggest you paint all your interior walls this colour but maybe, just maybe you could paint your front door your favourite blue hue, maybe you could have a blue toned mural painted on your living room wall, maybe, just maybe we could find the right blue, the right amount of blue that will make you feel happy, satisfied and in love with your home. Others may not love it but ask the question “Who are I building/renovating for?” Why do we forget to remember that it is ok to live in the moment and to enjoy the things we are doing and living right now. Think of all the 70’s homes – yes they are out dated now (40 years on) but I bet those homes back then were loved by their owners! Good for them!

So I say to you all ….. BE  BRAVE! Hire yourself a good decorator to make your braveness shine!

Stop dreaming it, start living it!

Cristy xx

Be brave