Preparing the living room for paint

When renovating the inside of a villa, there are a few things you need to consider. Do you keep it traditional to its character, or modernise so when you’re inside it’s like you’re in a new home. This is particularly important when starting in the living room like us.Traditionally, villas were designed to face the street, leaving little planning as to where the sun will be and what time of the day it will be there. That being said as you enter our house you walk straight into our living area, it sets the tone for the house, the atmosphere for the space so of course should be well considered.

There was little connection between the areas of the house, no flow means enclosed spaces ultimately making the house seem small and not overly entertainment friendly. The living room had also played subject to a DIYer who really didn’t care about what they were doing, bubbles behind painted wallpaper, ripples from earthquake movement that were plastered over and more dodgy botch jobs than a plastic surgery in LA.

Renovating our living room

It’s exciting renovating, but can be extremely overwhelming from the get-go. Where do you start? What will the investment be and is it worth it? What can you do yourself and what should you get a tradie for and of course, how is it all going to pull together at the end?

We learned a few things in the preparation stage that we thought is worth sharing for first time renovators as essentially, that’s what we were!

Stage 1 – Research and Plan

Some people will start with a spreadsheet, others start with a timeline, we start with a mood board. Knowing what you want is far more valuable to the project than knowing how much money you have in the bank. If you start by making a mood board of what a living space in your home will feel like in your eyes, you can start being realistic with your self in terms of what style you actually like and will it actually work in your home.Check out our mood boards for living rooms and Villas, they certainly helped us narrow down the mass of ideas that we had.

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 11.54.36 PM

Useful places to collate information from:

  • Pinterest – Easy to create boards and share them with your partner or family so they can attribute their thoughts.  You can also pin directly from the internet if you stumble upon an image you like.
  • Instagram – Our favourite for getting feedback from people and inspiration from accounts you like to follow.  We often search hashtags like #nzhomes #villarestoration #characterhome
  • Facebook Groups – Ask questions on Groups like NZ Home decor tips tricks and advice, ask for photos from people that have done the same thing, this is great because it’s real life – not staged imagery.
  • Your home and garden magazine – Amazing for New Zealand home renovations and they share content that is relevant and helps.

Now is a good time to start ordering swatches from places like Resene and Dulux to match them to the decor you have or confirm that they are hitting the mood board vibe. Smaller things like getting switches and lights are easy to do while work is being done and gets you out of the house while the paint dries!

Stage 2 – Price and Timeline

If you are making structural changes or working with several professionals, it’s important to take your time to be 100% on everything before you begin so that you are less likely to have regrets when you are finished. Get quotes from at least x3 people and always look for credibility. Websites like are always failsafe for finding the expert tradesman for the job.

The price at this stage is indicative of where you came to with your mood board. We always spreadsheet money we have spent on renovations to keep an eye on not over-capitalising and it also helps us be realistic as to what is a reasonable budget for each room. For our lounge, we were happy to go a little extra higher as it does set the tone for the house and is the room we spend the most time in and leaves the first impression for guests. At this stage, it’s a good opportunity also to find out what you can do to save cost that won’t disturb the professionals.


Who we used:


For the skim coating, we used Dans Decorating. Dan did my parents house who are long-time renovators and couldn’t recommend him enough. You know you have great tradies when they walk in and make you feel super comfortable, it really shows in the finish of his work how experienced he is!


We had to remove all the switches and plugs so Dan and Ryan could do their thing so of course used Todd from Rossiter Electrical. Like Dan, Todd makes everything easy as and is fantastic at providing advice on lighting and switch types etc.


Our Friend Ryan who is a qualified builder removed a door and a non-structural wall and had that sorted in no time, he’s a pro with his own home reno on the go.

Stage 3 – Prep work and completion

This part probably seems the longest of the lot because by this stage you’re so excited that you’re finally here – but it’s still not done, yet.


Do what you can to prepare, it also gives you a sense of involvement too. We stripped all of our wallpaper using a $60 KMART garment steamer – lifesaver. We also applied a pigment sealer after sanding the walls to hide the hideous pink and every other colour under the sun before Dan came in to do his amazing magic like work with the plaster.

We tried to make it as clean as possible in the area for the tradies so when they come in it’s easy to find what they are looking for. Preparation is difficult and you may start wishing you never started. In the grand scheme of things it’s very little work for the amount of satisfaction you’ll get from it – so persevere! It’s funny, you start to understand your house so much more when you take sheets of plaster and GIB off the walls, you see its imperfections and then find some quirk and beauty in it too.

From here, it’s over to the finishing touches to get the room done – stay tuned for more info on our reno!



D.I.Y Planter Box

Planter box

There’s no denying that the thought of a lush garden is amazing, but they require a lot of work. For those of us who have small backyards, busy schedules or want to create a garden that is niche to a type of flower, planter boxes are a great solution.

I remember when I was younger making a stylish planter box with my step mum and then replicating it as a gift for my nanas birthday! When we got Frankie (our Boxer puppy) Georgias stepsister Nicole checked in on her for the first week, which we really appreciated so wanted to say thank you. As you will know if you follow our blog, I like to get creative with gifts, be it a repainted bike, upcycled chair or in this case – a planter box, gifts with thought are always the best received!

Nicole bakes amazing cakes (check out her Instagram) so the planter box will help her grow colourful flowers to put on the cakes she makes. Planter boxes are great for things like lilies, tulips, daisies or for mini vegetable gardens. I also got some new Ryobi Powertools from their One+ range that I wanted to take for a test run (very happy).

Handy tip – buying the wood, this can start costing some serious coin, I looked around for the best deal.  This day it was from Musgroves, I managed to pick everything up for $30 NZD. Musgroves sells recycled building materials and timber, so super cool for a look around too, I could easily get lost for hours looking at their range of character pieces.

Watch the step by step video below

Installing an Espalier kit

Espalier is an ancient practice of controlling woody plant growth for the production of fruit, by pruning and tying branches to a wire support.  A French name which comes from Italian “spalliera” (to support or lean on). 

Espaliered fences are becoming popular in residential areas limited to spaces, community gardens, driveways and the like. We’ve been wanting to cover a fence that is the first thing you see when you enter our front yard, it’s a great way to take the focus off a boring space and let’s face it, they look pretty cool!

We were on the hunt for a smart system that we could use for so long, then we stumbled upon Lock Jaw who was also a local business to New Zealand. When you research espalier there are usually four types that are popular:

  • Horizontal
  • Candelabra
  • Verticle
  • Diamond

We decided to choose diamond as that would cover up most of the fence we wanted to hide when fully trained and looks super slick!

You can watch our video for install instructions here!

The tools you need are:

  1. Power drill (we use Ryobi)
  2. Potriveter
  3. Tek screw drill bit
  4. Measuring tape and pencil
  5. Wire and snips

The install is surprisingly easy if you have a straightforward fence to drill in to. Lock Jaw makes the install super easy with guides on their website. We followed the pattern that they had on the box when threading the wire which took all of 1 minute!Espalier FenceThe only thing you really need to know is to keep the distance between each gap the same when making the diamond kit, that way your diamonds will turn out even!

We went down to Oderings to buy our climbers, Georgia and I were very happy with the selection of climbers they had and the young guy helping us out knew his stuff! We decided that we didn’t want to wait a year or so to start seeing real growth so chose the Potato Vine which in the Nightshade family and they were already really long to begin with.  When planting we gave them lots of compost in the hole and then gently wrapped them around the wires. When finished we soaked them with water to give them a strong start.

We are very excited to see the espalier kit next year after a good 6 months growth! It’s better than we imagined and has added so much to that first glimpse of our front yard. Now for the rest of the yard!

You can buy the Lock Jaw Kit here: 

Lock Jaw website 

King size set

Lock Jaw Diamond King Espalier

The Mooch Style Christmas Wish List

christmas gift ideas

Christmas is our favourite time of the year. We catch up with family and head to our families spot in Central Otago to spend the summer holidays in the sun. We also have a lot of friends and family around at our place so like to keep on top of the maintenance around our house and garden. If you’re like us, and you are overly house proud or know someone that is, you may want to give them something that makes their weekends a breeze and their day to day comfortable. Georgia and I have asked each other for 5 “wish list” items for Christmas – for the home!

Keep reading because we are giving you a chance to win one of these items for Christmas ; )

Georgia’s Wish List

For the Sunbathers:
Pour a Mojito and relax with this summer stunner!

– freedom furniture NZ

Lounge around and soak up the rays. Extra comfort added with a soft, full-length cushion, just perfect for relaxing!
Freedom Furniture Lounger

For the home bodies:
Coconut, Caramel and Tonka Bean, head to our Insta to win the full set!

– The Aromatherapy Company

Fill your home with these delicious scents this Christmas. What’s better is we are giving you a chance to win one! Head to our insta for details.

For the coffee snobs:
Delicious colours and freedom to get creative

– Breville Nespresso Creatista

Not just good for the morning coffee – espresso martinis anyone??? You’ll be in her good books for a few days!
Coffee machine

For the floral lovers:
So moody – and so local!

– Just South West

Botanic prints are suuuuper cool and so popular with home stylists. What’s best is she shoots them in NZ.

For the pamper princess:
Lush stonewashed Jamie Kay bed linen, it’s like heaven.

– Father Rabbit

Jamie Kay stonewashed linen is so luxurious and naturally antibacterial, antifungal and has great anti-allergenic properties and works as a thermo/cooling regulator – which you will love too!
Jamie Kay linen

Shayden’s Wish List

For the control freaks:

Monthly fixed price lawn maintenance packages.

–  Turf Technologies

If you watch our Insta stories, you will know I’m mad about our lawn. Turf Technologies work with you to create lush, healthy green lawns and envious gardens.
Turf Technologies, lawn care

For the clean freaks:

Water pressure better than the garden hose.

–  Ryobi Power tools

Have fences or a deck that needs restaining? This will keep your husband busy this summer (hint, hint Georgia).

Pressure washer

For the tech nerds:

Everything at your fingertips for when it’s your turn to choose the channel.

–  Apple TV

Apple TV 4K lets you watch movies and programs in 4K HDR quality and enjoy iTunes and apps like Netflix and youtube.
Apple TV christmas

For the green thumb:

Have an ugly fence that you want to hide or are limited to space? Espalier your plants!

– Lock Jaw espalier kit

Lock Jaw Espalier kits are becoming popular with gardeners and landscapers to create compact and attractive tree features. If you have a limited outdoor area in suburbia this is ideal. You can even grow fruit trees from it.
Espalier kit

For the Hipster:

If you love beer or cider and have ever dreamed of crafting your own fresh brews at home.

– WillamsWarn Brew Keg

Kiwi summers are pretty good! In as little as 4-7 days with 10-20 minutes of effort your man can have his own brew – damn this thing is awesome, every man needs one!
Brew Keg

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.


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


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


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


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.


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!


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!!!

The Villas first alteration

Kitchen Subway tiles

We plan on going through our home with a fine tooth comb and updating everything so it is perfect and to a professional standard. Our house has been DIYed by previous owners to make a “quick buck” so while it looks great there are many things we have on our to-do list.

We spend a lot of time in the Kitchen. Whether it be entertaining, cooking or baking it’s very much “the heart of the home” so it was only fitting that this is the first place we invested some money touching up.

The splashback for our kitchen was a piece of peg board hardboard like the mechanics use for their shadow boards!?? We knew it had to be replaced for safety reasons (and it was just weird). We wanted it done well so decided we wouldn’t DIY and we would get the professionals in.

When I ripped off the board I knew I was going to uncover something due to the slap-happy nature of the DIY – surprise, there was a hole! After I patched it up and patched up the damaged plaster and paint it was good to go.  We decided to go to Giovanni Tiles, they offer genuine advice and their range is super impressive.  We decided that we would go with the classic white subway and a black grout.  The reason we went with the white is because our kitchen is quite narrow, we originally wanted a black hex but that would have boxed the kitchen up and also you could argue that the hex is a fad (subway are timeless).

The tiler at Kustom Tiling mentioned that we should go with a charcoal grout as Black oxidises, ensuring that we make a good job we were more than happy to go with his suggestion. Kustom Tiling in Christchurch was fantastic, great communication and turned our job around in 4 days from contact for us to ensure it was completed for a photo shoot we’ve just done!

We knew it was going to look good but we didn’t think tiles could have that much effect on making a space feel larger.

Email Dean if you need a tiler: