Choosing lighting for your home

Feature light in lounge

The right choice of interior lighting can add so much to the look and feel of your space. You may want cosy, clean and minimalist, make a feature of a specific piece of furniture/art or simply just light up the room. There are a few things you should consider from the start of your light purchasing process to ensure you have all your ducks in a row to really optimise your home’s lighting. Todd from Rossiter Electrical helped us with our lighting in the villa, so we catch up with him for some professional advice.

Natural Lighting 

Lounge chandelier
Feature light installed by Rossiter electrical

Natural always trumps! There’s nothing better than walking into a space that is lit up naturally. If you’re like us an have issues during the winter with lighting, you may want to consider your skylight options, many houses have the ability to have a skylight built into the roof or installed in verandahs that are designed to shade during the warmer months.

A key thing to consider here is how you work with the light. Fresh walls and reflective objects allow the sunlight to bounce throughout the room. If you want to let the sun in during the say and hide it at night, consider roller blinds so you don’t block any sunlight with curtain gather during the day.

What’s the use of the light?

“A lot of people don’t know what they want.  When choosing lighting, start with what the light is for ie: prepping meals in the kitchen or adding more light to a lounge” Todd says this will help you start looking in the right direction.

People are using pendants in kitchens, however, finding that the level of light they produce isn’t great for preparing dinner so look to have task lighting installed instead. “Talking with your electrician when you’ve found the lighting you would like saves a headache and an empty wallet. Your electrician can tell you before you’ve purchased it if it will be enough to light your space and to your needs” Lighting store staff are always helpful also.

Ambience

“I’m seeing a lot of feature lights above dining tables connected to dimmers. This creates a dining experience at home that can be tailored to your requirements. There are so many ways you can add ambience to a home through lighting eg: amber bulbs have an amber light that can add a vintage vibe, LED strip lighting can be altered via a remote with different colours and levels of light”

Pendant lights 

Pendant lights in a kitchen
Pendant lights installed by Rossiter Electrical

Pendants are a universal feature style of light. They are great for villas with high ceilings like ours and to make a statement in areas like lounges, kitchens and foyers. Pendants come in all shapes and sizes and allow you to accessorise your lighting with the style of your home. We’ve chosen oversized LED bulbs with black pendants. We like the glass and black contrast so will flow this throughout the house.

You can also choose from a range of lengths, sizes and styles of rope, you can even wrap the rope around hanging bars to create an industrial effect. You can get pendant lights with upward of four bulbs, historically this would mean high electricity bills but today LED completely eliminates that and you have a much larger range of bulb style to choose from.

Downlights 

“LED downlights are popular as you don’t need to cut bats, can generally swap with existing units and are up to 88% more efficient than standard lights,” says Todd who installs many of these style lights in new and existing homes. “Downlights are the perfect spacial light, install them wherever you want to light up and they don’t cause any distraction to the eye. Downlights are installed in modern homes as they keep the room clean from shades that date or handing lights when the ceilings aren’t as tall as that of a villa”.

LED strip lighting

You see these in architectural builds, negative details with non-intrusive LED lights. LED strip lights can be used to illuminate a stairway, for kitchen lighting and creative lighting like ceilings and surrounds “clients sometimes prefer to source these themselves via sites like Aliexpress. The issue I’ve found with those lights is while they are cheap they are time-consuming to work with because of their low quality. You are always better off going with local companies that guarantee their product and you don’t risk dead LED’s or rework”.

Accessories

LED light switch

Switch Plates – “It’s increasingly popular to have clients ask me to replace all of their switch plates in their homes.  Whether you are renovating, building or going for a more modern plate the options are endless… Illuminated backlights, push on – push off, various colours and textures and push on – push off dimmers.”

LED bulbs – The majority of lighting today is LED, why? because it’s energy efficient and safe! LED bulbs also come in all shapes and sizes. Work with companies like lighting direct, we found them extremely helpful to recommend the colour and size of bulb for our spaces

Smart bulbs – Like everything else today, you can control your lights from your phone. The bulb talks to your smartphone and can be dimmed, change colour and even turn on when you want them too (read more here).

So what should you look out for?

Gone are the days of the 99 cent bulb.

  • Always go LED, it last for years and you’ll never have to change the bulb.

Avoid buying off aliexpress 

  • You lose quality and won’t have the lifespan. Downlights are often NZ made and affordable and it’s worth investing in quality LED.

Be careful with pendants

  • Pendants are more permanent so consider resale or a change in room use, the last thing you want is two pendants at the foot of your bed….

Links:

Rossiter Electrical 

Lighting plus 

 

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A homewares tour of Ponsonby Road

Before travelling to Auckland I had heard so much about this suburb, it’s dining, fashion boutiques and drinking options and of course its housing. On a sunny Friday morning, I biked from the city to Ponsonby to check out what options were available for the home. On the way there up college road, I had to hop off my bike so I could appreciate all the houses, they all looked just like our villa at home and there was so many of them! As you look around you see wisteria covered porches, grand bay windows and skillfully crafted fretting – I was in heaven. After soaking up the views I was eager to see where the people in these homes shopped locally for their homes, so I continued on Ponsoby road on a quest to check out what was available.

Bob & Friends

I was parking my bike from the Grand Mercure outside a charming villa on Ponsonby road and noticed that it was a homewares store also so went in for a look. Walking in I was greeted by the lovely store owner who told me to have a good look around.

P1200019WOW was my first impression, her exorbitant collection of homewares allowed you to browse like you would a museum. Bob & Friends is a store that brings a collection of contemporary British design to Auckland with a range of furniture by leading designers such as Mathew Hilton, Donna Wilson, Kay and Stemmerlee Kirkbridge, Gareth Neal, Terrence Woodgate and Rob Ryan.

I would shop here for the finer things to differentiate my home like modular scandi style shelving and the sustainably designed and developed lighting options by Tala (in love).

I loved how each room had a new feeling, toward the back of the house you could slouch in the chairs and picture the furniture in your own home. Being a villa it was even better for people like us who have a villa with high ceilings and white walls just like theirs!

Ponsonby Homeware store

Indie Home Collective

After stopping in for lunch at Blue Breeze I spotted Indie Home Collective from across the road and recognised the name from Instagram.

Indie Home CollectiveWalking in I knew that Georgia would like this store. A modern interiors store with an organic vibe, not trying to be something it’s not – I like this! Located in the perfect spot for shopping and dining on Ponsonby Road, the boutique historic space had white tongue and groove floors and was styled perfectly to relax when you were inside. The store person also made you feel extremely comfortable as she ran me through how each piece is carefully selected and why. Owned by the hugely talented Claudia Kozub, she has fantastically executed a feeling of comfort and home. I’m always influenced by a store that has a bounty of plants so maybe that’s why…

This store stocks international homeware brands such as The Scent of Home & Wonki Ware (so amazing). These sit alongside exclusive lines including Bedouin Societe & Ay Illuminate.

You often find stores that have a small amount of white washed linen blended with soft monochrome furnishings – but not one that nails this throughout their store – Indie Home Collective does!

 

Indie Home CollectiveIndie Home Collective

Ponsonby Plants

I go to Auckland and I find the best plant store yet – standard me!

Ponsonby Plants was such a great find in the cracks of the hustle and bustle.  I saw this across the road as I was biking to lunch so pencilled it for my way home. This store has been here for longer than I have been alive, so I imagine they’ve seen Ponsonby thrive also.

P1200122Richard DeGrandpre, owner of Ponsonby Plants is to thank for this haven. He grows the bonsai and cacti himself, as well as producing some of the pots with a varied maturity of plants from months old to years old. The price of the plants generally reflects the care and time that gives you a plant like a fiddle leaf fig that is almost as tall as you or a hanging vine that drapes like no other.

I heard locals in the store as they were admiring the bonsai’ saying how this store is the only store that offers the “in” plants when the others struggle to source them.

What’s even cooler about this store is they have worked with brands like Huffer and MTV, when you’re inside you will see why they go to this location for the plants – they have everything!

Get plants for your home people, not only are they healthy – they look so much better than anything else.

Auckland Plant storesBonsai Tree AucklandAuckland Plant stores

 

 

H&M Christchurch opens its doors

New Zealand’s second H&M Store is opening its doors to Christchurch and we were invited, joined by our favourite Christchurch influencers to a guided tour of the new store before the madness unfolded on Saturday morning with people camping out over night to be one of the first in the new store. The Crossing”.

Located in our newest retail precinct “The Crossing”, H&M have graced us with New Zealands first H&M Home department. The new store, wrapped around the corner of High and Cashel in a strikingly designed building both inside and out, caters to all ages and of course their homes too! Refreshingly relevant styles for clothing had Georgia shopping her heart out and the homewares just blew me away as they were all new styles that we haven’t seen yet here in Christchurch.
Home ware

It’s obvious that H&M design their home wares just like clothing: edgy, current and functional. The colours you’ll see in the home section are bound to shake things up. You’ll see antique blues, millennial pink, golds, olives and organic cotton. If it’s linen or velvets you’re after this is the store to shop, they’ve ensured that they are turning up to impress!

We both enjoyed how affordable H&M was store-wide. This global giant puts a lot of effort into carefully designing their lines and it’s so great that Christchurch is now home to H&M.

If you’re a corporate, fitspo, fashionista or a casual dresser – there’s something for you!

Following the walk through we were treated to a celebratory meal and cocktails at the moody Twenty Seven steps.

H&M ChristchurchH&M storeMooch Style Georgia Brian and Shayden WhippsBloggersHome wareLightingStore personChopping boardHOMEVanessa OrtynskyChristchurch BloggersH&M HomewareStore peopleHayley&coChristchurch BloggersTwenty Seven StepswineTwenty Seven Steps

Entertaining just got easier

We love how our little villa provides a perfect space to entertain. A huge selling point was the layout being flexible to both halves of the day and the galley style kitchen that leads to a rear private deck and garden. We love having friends and family over so they can enjoy our space with us, and it’s a great opportunity to show off what we’ve worked so hard to have and an even better excuse to get out the finer dinnerware and glasses. (is it okay for a 27-year-old to say that?).

Making our Kitchen more entertainment-friendly

We are spoilt with a modern kitchen but have made some key updates pre-summer so we can get some serious mileage out of that bad boy when the days are longer, the waistlines thinner and the weather warmer. We updated our splash back to make the kitchen brighter and appear larger, it also makes clean-up a dream.  The most exciting update we’ve made recently is installing a Fisher & Paykel Double DishDrawer™ Dishwasher… In White!!!

We haven’t had a dishwasher in past houses and have seen 4 seasons of entertaining without one in the villa, so needless to say this thing is a god send! We chose white as our Kitchen is white and they’ve specifically designed it to seamlessly blend with any kitchen environment and fit into existing kitchens (there used to be junk drawers there). We appreciate good design and we appreciate quality even more. The revolutionised design is more advanced, quiet and reliable than ever. Having flexibility with new styles of cycles, how you have the inside laid out based on what you’re washing and having a sterilising function makes it an asset to an entertainers kitchen.  We like to use the top as our “essentials” bulk loads and the bottom for the odd thing that doesn’t really warrant a wash right away. It’s perfect with the double drawers when you have a large group of people over and there are glasses a plenty and you need them rotating.

The heart of the home

Often people refer to the Kitchen as the heart of the home, we however argue that it’s a well laid out space that is the “heart” of the home as it provides atmosphere and so many good times and memories. We were even more spoilt to receive Fisher & Paykels, DishDrawer™ 20th year anniversary handmade dinner set in collaboration with artist – Felicity Donaldson of Wundaire. We’ve never owned something so authentic and unique. It’s amazing how a bowl can make Georgia smile haha. We like to use what we have rather than put it away to gather dust so we invited our good friends Myles and Nadia over for our first lunch gathering of winter.

The warmth of a well-heated home on an 8 degree Canterbury winters day, with a great spread for lunch, makes winter not so bad. Being able to easily clean up afterwards with the DishDrawer™ makes entertaining so much easier. We’re excited for the many events to come.

*** This post was sponsored however it was timely because we were looking at buying one regardless.  All words are our own : )

Styling with Freedom Furniture

Freedom Furniture bedroom

freedom furniture has been in New Zealand homes since 1996. We are huge fans of freedom, their values align with our own, aiming to inspire all New Zealanders to express their individuality and sense of style in their home. At freedom, you can always find something that suits your home, tastes and lifestyle – we just love that!

When we heard that freedom was opening a new store on Moorhouse Ave we wanted to be involved somehow so we can show everyone that follows Mooch Style their prodigious offering for your home.

9am on a Saturday morning just before the grand opening we arrived at the new store. Wide eyed we walked around before we did anything in awe of the product available and the pure scale of this store compared to the one we were used to. We were lucky enough to be given a space to style and had been online so had a rough idea of how we were going to style it.  Things soon changed when we walked in and decided this store is too good to not “shop” like we would any normal day.

P1180651

Below we walk you through how we styled the bedroom setting and the items we used.

FURNITURE

We set the scene with the furniture. We chose a Scandi bedroom set that uses blonde oak, grey linen and white finishes. Scandi is minimal which means it calms the brain and flows well with soft furnishings. In our own bedroom, we have blonde wood and white linen but not Scandi so jumped on the opportunity to play with this. freedom is really good at offering sets and multiple styles for whatever your style is.

In a bedroom, storage is essential so we used a tall boy, low boy and bedside table. They are also fun to style because they are all different sizes.

OSLO BEDSIDE 2 DRAWER – $399.00 | Oslo Bed – $1,299.00 |OSLO DRESSER 5 DRAWER – $899.00 | OSLO TALLBOY 7 DRAWER – $999.00

TEXTILES

Scandi can be kept clean or allow you to be braver with bed covers, pillows and throws. Freedoms new store do a great job of showcasing what’s available with the large space allowing you to picture it in your home. Start with the duvet and an accent colour.  We like depth with bed covers and they had the best duvet displayed for this, you can see it working with thicker cushions and fluffy throws because of the textures.

Cushions shouldn’t be the same on a bed in our opinion, they are a great opportunity to bring different patterns, colours and depth into the room. We decided mustard will be our accent colour as it pairs nicely with the blonde oak and sets an earthy tone to the room (allowing us to have fun with plants).

We like two throws on a bed, one for wrapping up in when you’re reading and one for aesthetic. Being able to select from a broad range of styles and weave types was great. We chose a knit and a patterned weave that went great with the cushions too.

TEXTURED DOT PILLOWCASE STANDARD (PAIR) – $49.95 | AKORI CUSHION 35X55CM – $54.95 | MATHIS THROW 130X150CM – $139.00 | NOLETTE CUSHION 50X50CM – $74.95 | PASCALE CUSHION 50X50CM – $74.95TEXTURED DOT QUILT COVER – from $249.00 to $279.00

ACCESSORIES 

This is the fun part, all the ground work is done and now its time to dress it up! As you’ll know, we loooooove plants so this is where we start. freedom has the best artificial plants available and they all look so real (and won’t die). We chose to lay a “bouquet” of flowers flat on the dresser and have the orchid stand tall and match the Scandi vibe. A lowboy is a good place to leave some space to put keys, drink bottles and jewellery so we went nice and clean for that. The lighting on show at this store was better than most stores, you can walk in a spacious area and browse the styles comparing them against each other.  Again – something for everyone, we found a thin stemmed wooden based lamp that was ideal!

The biggest win on the accessories was the large Fiddle Leaf Fig in a belly basket, that alone got people looking at the room.

FLORA PROTEA 70CM – $16.95 | ROGUE PHALAENOPSIS ORCHID 48CM POTTED PLANT $59.95MAI BASKET LARGE – $39.95STACKED CANDLE HOLDER 25CM – $16.95 | VECTOR MIRROR $74.95 | JERADA TABLE LAMP – $89.00 | ROGUE FIDDLE LEAF TREE 110CM – $89.00

Click HERE to see a video of our morning at freedom.

How to style your house with white walls

Having white walls in a house is a controversial choice based on who you are talking to. Growing up we had textured wallpapers, borders and multicoloured wallpapers, all things that you only see today in motels that haven’t seen the bristles of a paint brush in over 20 years.

Here’s how we’ve used our white walls as the base and worked out from there…

Choose a colour pallet

Painted Bookshelf

Because white works with anything, you’ll have to choose a colour pallet that best reflects your style. Pastels, bold hues, vibrant colours – they all work and often together.

With our house, we go bold with black and the rest stays to a natural pallet. The two work really well together as black helps a piece stand out where you want it to and the subtle colours like sky blue and slate greys naturally blend together and don’t compete.

On the other hand, your white walls could look seriously cool with pops of bold colours and plants always look great with the colours too.

Styling white walls
Image sourced via pinterest

Select your material

Scandi bedroom decor, Guest Bedroom

Scandinavia is a great example of people who style well.  Everything in a good Scandi home is complimentary and adds depth without competing.  We take this method and apply it to all of our furnishings and manchester.  Pompom knitted throws, thick cotton woven cushions that match our tribal style died rug, linen bedding and natural wood tones offset with black and white – they all work together as natural styles but also natural colours – which looks great with white!

P1170960

Get your style hat on

The best thing about white walls is that everything soon becomes a focal point (something to be cautious of too). We use it to our advantage as we love to style. Our favourite purchase is our HUGE Chelsea light in our lounge. Always remember that lighting can add so much character to a room, especially if the whole room is white. We love using glass to style, glass reflects light and is so simple and easy to dress up!  Lastly, you should try styling with plants instead of “things” you’ll have a healthier home and they look so damn good! (See how we’ve styled with plants here).

Why we’ve broken up with Kmart

Kmart Home, why we don't buy Kmart furniture

For those of you that follow our blog, you’ll know that this time last year we were die hard Kmart fans. We would find ourselves joining the great race every night for the new “ladder shelf”, matching marble with marble – with marble….

We used to be great friends

Kmart Accessories

Our flat was soon a showroom of Kmart homewares and we were proud of them. When we wanted to redo our lounges aesthetic we could achieve this for a price of a cushion at other homeware stores. But what we soon found is that a good percentage of the stuff failed considerably.  What good is a shelf for plants when you water them and it swells with a drop of water that has come off a leaf?

Our garage was then a holding place for things we purchased 6 months ago. We were lucky enough to have friends and family that would take a few of the items but when we bought our Little Villa we decided that we would save in the long run by buying second-hand vintage furniture giving it some TLC, and it worked. If you’re into modern mixed with some old like us and shop glossy laminates and clean lines, you can achieve this by up-cycling or repainting (very easy – check out this post) .  Introducing some older pieces will give you that quality that Kmart lacks for sometimes less that the cheaper pieces at Kmart so we would recommend going with option (we learned our lesson). And the upside is that you then find after 6 months that you don’t want to rotate your pieces with the trends like you do with Kmart because you’re proud of them and they will last for many years to come.

Just the other day we decided that we would spend half the price on a peg board at Kmart than what I would have to spend making one.  Instantly we regretted it.  The particle boards were mouldy and wet and the pegs were so uneven in thickness, some couldn’t fit. I wish we just went without something that week to afford the materials to make one, we wanted one for all our sewing gear for our handmade bags at Mrs Swan so just decided to just go grab one.

We still talk

We still have some KMART furniture, a guest bedroom is a perfect place for Kmart side tables where they will get very little use so won’t damage fast, up close you can tell they are no DA Lewis, but it’s our first home so we can’t have it all. We have the odd Kmart ornament, the quality difference is very minimal between them and the higher affluent stores. Ornaments are also something that doesn’t get used so it won’t wear. We tend to not shop at Kmart with a basket anymore where you just walk in expecting to walk out with something haha (we used to take a trolley).

Consumers now days are very much in touch with the trends and want to keep their finger on the pulse. There are so many ways you can adhere to these without buying into the Kmart craze. Our blog is all about showing you how, so check out our posts and keep that garage free!

NB: This is our own opinion, as we said we still shop at Kmart and their styles are super trendy. We are all about a good upcycle and want to educate that sometimes (like in this case) for the same price of a cheap piece of furniture – you don’t have to have cheap quality. We were not paid or incentivised to write this post.

Go upcycling!!!

Painting an Edwardian washstand

Edwardian Washstand

The Edwardian period was a time where the dark hues of the Victorian times were replaced by a more cheerful colour pallet and design.

Georgias Dad bought this stunning Edwardian washstand a while back, complete with a solid marble top. Being raised by antique loving parents I was a little worried about painting this because I know what they would say… BUT furniture is about you and your home. We don’t stain our furniture because we like the natural look beside the white walls, some stain theirs a yellow tone, some stain them dark – it’s all down to preference.

BEFORE

 

The brief was “cream”

We’ve used many shades from many paint brands but the one I knew would be perfect for this was “aged white” by Newtons Chalk Finish Paints. This paint we find to be so much easier to apply. Because we are close to winter and I like to upcycle outside I had to paint with the gaps of sun so it took a while. I applied 4 coats of paint, the last of them a thin one.

If you’re going to take on a piece this big I would recommend painting in a heated garage so your coats can dry OR in the summer so you can paint outside.  I like to paint outside so I can see the colours naturally and how they work with the piece.

This was a time-consuming project but in theory, it’s pretty straight forward, here’s what I required:

  • Paint Brush 
  • Masking tape
  • Sandpaper

Newtons paints require little to no prep work so a light sand and I was on my way. Making sure the piece was well masked was important so the finishing came up really well. If you feel this paint is a little thick, which chalk paint can be – just add a little bit of water and shake it up, this works a treat.

AFTER

 

As you can see the piece came up so well.  I really like the colour we went with, the chalk finish ties in so nicely with the character of the piece too.  If you’re into shabby chic, an alternative to sanding back the paint is using a product Newtons have called “Antiquing wax”. This way you can choose how far you go and buff off accordingly.

If you see one of these beauties around, pick it up! The marble top alone is worth the price and look how those tiles pop now!

How we restored a bookshelf

Painted Bookshelf

Displaying a group of objects in a home adds an area of interest where people naturally gravitate towards. In our lounge, we have applied the rule of thirds to our main wall.

The rule of thirds in design basically means that objects are visually more appealing in odd numbers.  We’ve applied this by having three stacked vintage suitcases to the left, our TV and sideboard in the middle and our newly upcycled shelving to the right.

The restored Bookshelf

We like to be bold with our furniture so we make sure it all aligns to a cohesive style that exists throughout our home. Our latest find was a home made Rimu bookshelf from a lovely couple that I would guess made it many years ago. I’m always glad when I pick up furniture because It’s a bit like a classic car where you know someone really enjoyed it back in the day and with a bit of TLC – it can be enjoyed for years to come.

 

Usually, with furniture, I have found it on TradeMe after putting hundreds of items on my watch list and making a last minute bid.  This was a different story, I knew what I wanted and I’ve spent months looking for it, so when I found it I flicked them a message and asked for a buy now!

Keeping the piece in-line with our recently upcycled sideboard with Loftmotif hairpin legs, I sanded it back with 80 grit and then 120 grit disks and painted it with black fence stain.  Now why I use fence stain for these pieces is because it dries fast and I like the streaky look so they are not “Jet black”. When the bookshelf was dry, I applied a coat of Newtons beeswax. If you’ve read our blog recently -you’ll know I love this product!! After an hour I buff it off with a microfibre cloth and prepped the wall.  Using wall plugs for GIB I made a template that aligned with the holes and marked it up level on the wall.

After a few minutes, it was easily installed and really secure because of the wall plugs I used.

 

Then for the fun part – styling!! We already had all the ornaments and plants from a KMART ladder shelf that was there before, but of course had to buy a new plant for the occasion… a drooping one too!!

 

We love our lounge, even more, it all works so well together and surprisingly we have a huge amount of floor space now!

TOTAL SPENT 

  • Shelves $20.00
  • Wall plugs and screws $6.00
  • Plant $23.00