We found that moving into our first home was really tough begin with. Strapped for cash, furniture a mishmash of hand-me-downs and garage sales finds but as time passed our taste developed, we did some DIY work and splurged on some quality furniture. We we're excited to see that we weren't alone in this style of journey, Kylie and her fiancée have done a great job of their first apartment– see more below the jump.
Over the past 2 years, Kylie and John have put their time and resources into creating a warm and inviting home. Painting out feature walls in favor of a more neutral tones, investing in new furniture and finding objects that they love have all contributed in the transformation of their home.
What was your inspiration for your home?
Our apartment block was built in the early 1970s, and I guess we tend to gravitate towards design from that era as well. There are a few 'original' elements of our home that will remain to help us stay in keeping with the original design — such as the textured ceiling (thankfully freshly painted before we moved in!), 1-inch orange and brown bathroom floor tiles, and marbled oyster light fittings (these may not have been there at the start, but they've sure been there a long time!).
What your favourite element of your home?
We love the spaciousness of the apartment. Really, there are some cottage houses in Brisbane that are smaller. The living room is HUGE for an apartment — so huge that we had to bring the couches more into the centre of the room to make the space more intimate. The main bedroom is also so massive that we had to think about what else we could put in there besides a bed and chest of drawers! In the end we decided on a reading area, and bought a replica Barcelona chair.
What was the biggest design challenge in designing your home?
Budget of course! We were first home buyers with a very limited renovation budget. Aside from the money we spent replacing the shower/bath (which was leaking into the garage below due to serious rust), we haven't made any structural changes. We have painted all the walls — we had to get rid of the hideous beige and bubblegum purple! Aside from that, we've just filled our home with relatively cheap objects in keeping with our combined tastes (although often they're more my tastes and John just puts up with them!).
What do friends say about your home?
This is quite amazing actually, because I honestly thought that no-one would be interested in our home except us! Friends have given us really fantastic feedback about the space we've created, especially those people who saw how it looked when we moved in. Mostly I think they're amazed at how little we've had to do to change the space so drastically. Since starting the Flying Ducks blog, I've also been able to show off our home to friends that are too far away to visit, and I've made new friends along the way as well! I do make a point of telling everyone that I'm a complete novice and really don't consider myself particularly creative or artistic.
What is the biggest embarrassment in your home?
Well, we're not particularly good at DIY stuff. We can 'MacGyver' some things, but really we have no idea. This includes seemingly simple tasks like screwing in the kitchen blinds correctly so they don't come crashing down. Things like this usually wait until one of our dads comes to visit!
What is your proudest DIY?
Considering we're not that great at big structural projects, I'm proud of the little things we do to make our space more interesting. I buy random objects from Reverse Garbage (like the three white cement frames that I use to display meaningful items), and try to put clever things in plain Ikea frames (like samples of Florence Broadhurst wallpaper that I can't afford to buy in large quantities, or Hawaiian postcards given to us by a friend). I also changed our ugly blue patterned futon sofa in the office by putting the whole mattress inside a double quilt cover. I'm also quite proud of converting a giant dog crate on wheels into a guinea pig mansion for our spoilt little pets!
What was the biggest indulgence with respect to your home?
We're getting plantation shutters installed in 2010 (a wedding gift from my parents), which is definitely an indulgence we couldn't have otherwise afforded for a few years. Of the stuff we've already done, we probably indulged a little with some of the replica furniture — although it's not by the original designers, it's far from cheap! We've got a replica fibreglass Saarinen tulip dining table, Panton chairs, and the Italian leather Barcelona chair in the bedroom.
The best advice given or received?
I read a lot of Australian interior decorating magazines like Inside Out and Real Living, which have been a source of great inspiration for a complete novice. I also subscribe to loads of design blogs from around the world, and I'm constantly amazed at what people come up with. I've learnt that I will NEVER have painted feature walls! We've just gone with the basics: a base colour (in our case, grey–blue — dark grey–blue carpet and light grey–blue walls); an accent colour for accessories (in our case, red); additional black and white 'neutral' pieces; and the occasional 'random' colour as well (like the gorgeous mint green c.1957 mixmaster!).
Your dream source for stuff?
There are too many of these. If I was really indulging, I'd buy lots of Starck and Kartell pieces from Space Furniture (I don't go there very often because it's too dangerous). For cute little accessories delivered straight to my door, I love Have You Met Miss Jones?
Thanks to Kylie and John for opening your home to us, we look forward to see how your home continues to develop. Be sure to follow Kylie's blog, Flying Ducks, for more info on their projects.