As mentioned last week, I’m going to take a little break from the blog to settle into our new home and community, but I’ll be back. Thank you for your kind comments and messages after my last soul bearing post, it was touching to share your stories and hear your thoughts.

I have resorted to mobile broadband at home, and have gone with Optus, although the connection is so slow, it took 45 min for my emails to upload! And it has taken about 2 hours just to get the WordPress site to load so I could write this post. The more I hear similar stories from everyone in the area suffering the same difficulties and frustrations, I realise this is something that may take years to resolve.

Anyway, I thought it would be nice to leave you with a selection of inspiring photos and some of the ideas I am thinking about for the house, and which I am adding to my new project folder on Pinterest here.


Our house is quite similar to this style, although has a rendered brick exterior rather than timber. But ours is two storey and has the three dormers on the front with the deep porch, steep roof pitch, chimneys and round columns. I’d love to know how people with this style of home cope with the deep verandah and how it impacts on the light into rooms. We are finding that the southern facing rooms are terribly dark in the daytime despite large windows, and because of the second storey we can’t put skylights in. Not sure how to get around that problem. Any ideas?


I would love the house to be painted white, or light grey, with black shutters and doors for accents.


 The ceilings in our house are really high, over 12 foot,  so I think the walls will benefit from paneling to make them seem less lofty, and so that we don’t need quite as much large artwork to fill up the space. Particularly in places like the entrance foyer and up the staircase.



Our staircase is currently covered in a rather drab and uninspired beige carpet, so I’d like to take it up and stain the treads dark with white risers. Perhaps a runner….but depends on whether it’s slippery or not. I didn’t find the need for one in our old house.


We have been doing lots of entertaining since moving here, with people dropping in all the time for coffee, impromptu dinners, a swim etc, so I am eager to make sure we have lots of comfy and relaxed seating to accommodate everyone. I am in need of some lovely but inexpensive armchairs, and would like a to have a nice mix of shapes and styles in the house. I had wanted to use bamboo blinds last time too, but never got around to it. Perhaps here.



Of course I have to find space for my collection of blue and white which will continue to feature in this new house. We have a couple of fireplaces with nice painted mantles, although again lots of beige travertine and cream paintwork, so have to find a way to brighten them and update them without huge cost.


Again, because we have these deep verandahs I need to find ways of lighting and decorating them so they aren’t just vast empty spaces.


We have a lot of custom joinery in the house, from the laundry to bathroom cupboards and WIR, and again they reach up to the ceiling. They are all a bit beige and dull, so a nice freshen up with some white pain and new handles will help. I’ve come to the conclusion the paint job for this house is going to eat up about half my decorating budget!


My quest for nice tapware in our last house took me months and months and lots of wasted time and effort to solve, with several sets of taps bought from the US unable to be used. So this is something I am prepared for this time around. Thankfully in the three years since we started our last renovation, a lot of US stores now ship to Australia so hopefully I won’t have such a challenge. I would love to have some beautiful polished nickel tapware this time, but I’m not holding my breath!da4f0092f6f3d33349bc7373b76ee947

The kitchen is the major challenge in this house. It’s currently poorly configured and designed and in the wrong location. So I am trying to work out how to spin it around and redesign the space. I want a nice big, open, inviting kitchen, where there is room for everybody to hang, sit and mingle. Knowing how much time everybody spends in the kitchen these days, even when entertaining, I’ve learnt how important it is to have a kitchen that can cater to that.


The big question is whether to do an all white kitchen as before, or incorporate some black or dark stained timber….I do love the contrast it brings and somehow it seems to suit this setting too.



I really loved our oversized soapdish we had as our powder room basin in the last house, which I found at Recollections. I’d love to have something similar, or perhaps something with nickel legs.


Our ensuite is wonderful in its spaciousness, outlook and storage, but it’s all rather bland in a sea of 90s beige and cream, which isn’t my colour scheme of choice (unless it’s using the above tiles from Waterworks). As it’s cost prohibitive to retile the whole bathroom, and rip up the travertine, I am going to have to find ways of lightening and brightening the room, with lots of white paint, and perhaps a lovely wallpaper like the one below. I stupidly left the new twin mirrors behind in our ensuite, which I should have had the foresight to bring with me, as the previous owners took the mirrors in this ensuite and I don’t have another pair that fits.


We enter the house through the backdoor which walks straight into an small alcove, then the laundry. It’s not ideal, I’d rather come through the front door, but we park our cars there and it seems unavoidable.


The dryer is currently sitting in front of the back door, as it doesn’t fit into the laundry cupboard where it should. This is more than a little annoying. And the back door area is a sea of school bags, boots, coats, a rubbish bin, cricket bats etc. I really want to find a way of creating a user friendly mud room that doesn’t cost the earth in custom made joinery. It can be four seasons in one day down here, so coats, boots and the like are always at the ready.


One of the things about this new country life is how much time we have been spending sitting around the outdoor dining table eating and chatting. It’s been wonderful. So I am on a mission to make sure it’s a comfy and stylish space.


One of my big mistakes and regrets with the last house, was not creating a designated workspace for me. I ended up working on the dining table and it was always a mess, and drove us all mad. So it’s at the top of my list to either make sure there’s a proper office, or a well designed work space in the kitchen or living area. The room I had set aside for the office, is likely to become the kitchen now, so it’s going to be a matter of reworking the rooms.


The Highlands has had a really warm summer, and we have spent a lot of time outdoors eating and entertaining on our verandah which is elevated off the ground and laid with sandstone paving. It has been very hot during the day, and we’ve needed shade to sit out, but it can also be very cool in the evenings, even in summer, so I would love to create some kind of outdoor area that functions well in both climates. I love the idea of an outdoor fire and built in BBQ area, but it’s all an issue of budget and priorities. We need some kind of pergola, but also a covered area (another mistake at the previous house), whether solid or retractable, I don’t know yet but I don’t want to sacrifice daylight.


We have a big double garage with roller doors. They are dull and daggy and need a bit of style, so I am thinking of painting them black, as above to tie in with the other black accents I plan. Would love some beautiful decorative touches like these corbels, but not likely!


Some of our sofas need updating and given a bit of a facelift, although recovering won’t be an option with our budget quickly running out on expenses we hadn’t counted on like replacing the pool heating and filter, the rat eaten central heating, the antiquated irrigation system, the ride on mower. Things we presumed were all working well and which our building inspection failed to highlight. So frustrating.

I’m thinking of adding some lovely trims as above to help reinvigorate them. And I’d love to use a bit of this stunning Ralph Lauren fabric or wallpaper below.


 Another thing we have to consider for added privacy and security is a nice set of gates. We have stone pillars on either side of the drive, and a nice laurel hedge, but a set of simple timber gates will give provide the function we need and the decorative touch we desire.Steel-White-Gate-Lux-2B


I’ve just heard today that the article shot of our last house for Home Beautiful will be coming out in the May issue, so keep an eye out.

See you soon,


For more ideas and inspiration, visit my Pinterest page here.

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21 Responses to Interior decorating and design ideas for our new house

  1. Sam says:

    Hi Mel, these images are stunning. Love them all. Have you thought of using a dongle (portable wifi), I’m sure thats what it is called. That might help. Sam

  2. Hi Mel…love all of your ideas…cant wait to see what your going to do..

  3. Susan says:

    It sounds like you are getting alot of insight into what you need, as you live in your new home. You have some wonderful ideas!

  4. This is so excited Mel. You’ve got lots of wonderful ideas and in time.. you home will come to life. It sounds like you’re having lots of fun entertaining and I’m sure the kids love the property:) xxL

  5. janine marshall says:

    Hi Mel,

    Loved hearing all of your ideas. They sound wonderful! Oh what you could do if money weren’t an object, it would be fantastic. If we ever had the chance to build I would come up with some type of system to deal with the issue of washing here in winter. It’s enough to drive you over the edge. I can’t help but feel this is very rarely addressed in new builds down here. It’s not unusual to have washing hanging inside trying to get dry and this can last for 4 months or a bit more. I would have a laundry big enough to accommodate a huge table or island bench for the folding down of the clothes, ironing etc., as I usually sit in the passage and fold down. It would be a small thing that would make a huge difference!

    Hopefully you can find some mirrors for your ensuite soon, that are just as nice as the ones you have left behind. I have a mental list that if we were to ever move what would I take with me. You may be surprised!!! Anyway, better go and get the day started…

    take care


  6. It’s lovely to read an update about your plans for the new property. You have found some beautiful inspiration and have great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Sue Fogarty says:

    Sounds wonderful Mel (I am reading this in Squaw Valley while my husband skis). So nice after Sydney heat. I like warm colours in dark rooms and anything reflective helps. Looking forward to following your journey. Enjoy.

  8. Anne says:

    Mel, we painted our garage doors black (they were previously a green colour) and they look great and adds a whole new dimension to our garage. My husband sprayed them with his paint spray gun.

  9. Shannon says:

    Hi Mel, love following your blog and love your style! On the subject of armchairs have you seen oz design’s latest collection? And they usually have 20-50% off deals often.
    I wish I’d seen these before I spent 3 times as much on two provencal armchairs from domayne! They’ve got quite a few nice ones in different styles but I thought of you when I saw this one!

  10. Bronwyn says:

    Hi Mel, it is good to see your post. You sound stronger and happier this time round. Taking time to step back and see what needs to be done, and working through the possibilities you will have the beautiful home you want for your family. Have a lovely day

  11. Hello to my long lost friend!! How are you? I have so missed coming here and still trying to re-add you back to my blogroll so I dont miss a SINGLE post! omg everything here is SOOOOO gorgeous, I truly love each and every shot and cannot imagine it being any prettier….soooo exciting!
    Switched to wordpress and its been CRAZY. Still trying to iron out kinks, its a work in progress:) Hope you are well and settling in!

  12. Susan, Corlette says:

    Cheers Mel,
    lovely to see your post…………………paint is certainly the way to go for a smart update of your beautiful home, add a touch of black as that will be fabulous and give it grounding!
    Maybe some crackled mirrors on a row in front living areas would bring in light from the south……….and glass lamps that reflect light in daylight as well.
    YES, to a slice of black ( or charcoal) in the white kitchen, I have done exactly that and love the result.
    Am so looking forward to seeing the gradual result, keep us posted please and enjoy that country living

  13. I hope you wil continue to show us your progression in the new home! As for the dark rooms…do you have deep over hangs from the roof? I wonder if that is causing the darkness? Not sure what you could do about that. Enjoy the soothing pale light inside and make yourself go outside for extra sunshine??

  14. Tyrone Bree says:

    I love your style. Seems like you have a lot of experience in decorating a home. The paintings, the rooms are perfect for a house like that.

  15. Jenny Langmaid says:

    Your new home looks totally amazing and with a generous sprinkle of your signature blue and white it will metamorph into an American East Coast or cape cod hillside gem! Cant wait to see it. Jenny

  16. samplee says:

    sdzsdasd aS

  17. Pam Micciche says:

    Beautiful! Please come to DC and decorate my new house 😉

  18. Lori DiRenzo says:

    I love the photo of the foyer with the silver/grey damask wallpaper. Do you have any idea who the manufacturer of that wallpaper is? Thank you.

  19. Arika Achatz says:

    Mel, I happen to find your blog and absolutely fell in love! Your style is impeccable. I also have quite the passion for interior decorating but am having trouble on how to start.

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