Katrina Chambers | Interior Design Blogger Australia
Katrina Chambers is a familiar face within the blogging scene and was a contestant on The Block in 2011. She is an eager blogger about all things design, lifestyle, DIY and interior styling, her posts clearly resonate with her largely female audience with Katrina taking out the Kidspot Top Blogger of The Year Award in 2012.
It’s that time again! Floor Plan Friday! I always find a never ending supply of plans to look at. I also never get sick of searching for them. There are a lot of same-same styles out there, so the hunt for ‘that something different’ is always on.
Today I have a pretty typical 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 living plan. But there are a couple of features which I liked…
2- way bathroom for the kids. Bed 3 has direct access. You could close this off if you wanted to.
Lots of storage with a walk-in-linen, walk-in-storage and His and Hers WIR.
Wide front entry
Laundry is away from bedrooms (and not off the kitchen/pantry)
I really like the study position tucked away. That’s a really good idea. It also has the foyer area off it, so it would be such a nice light and bright space to work in.
The deck and alfresco area is a good size. I hate pokey outdoor entertaining. This way you could do a couch and a table with plenty of space for a BBQ too.
Are you in the market for a new couch? Have you got space for a modular shaped couch? Even with a chaise? They are very popular at the moment. There are lots to choose from in varying budgets. While most of us still like the grey tones, I have seen some blue sneak back in too. Last year I bought a new modular couch (number 10) and it was the best thing I ever did! I love it.
Modulars are good because my whole family can sit all at once. I also like the new style with the head rests. I was sick of trying to fluff up squashed cushions. A modular also defines your living room space and it’s easy to place a rug under it because you’re not worrying about the distance between 2 and 3 seaters.
Come and check out some of the most popular couches I found when scrolling around the web…
Here’s where you can go shopping for any of the couches above…
Artificial turf has become very popular. When people started using it in their backyards a few years ago I was very skeptical – we probably all were. I was a little cringey and unsure of it. BUT it’s come a long way in the last couple of years. There’s been a big improvement in the quality and maintenance of it. It’s become available in an array of blade lengths, colors, and textures.
Artificial turf is an instant solution to your landscaping and brings gratification immediately. No waiting around for months for it to net together, no watering, no weeding and no mowing! It’s green all year round and you’ll never have to worry about a messy and unkempt yard.
There are some con’s though – It will need some grooming at some point (like vacuuming and hosing it to remove any dust, leaves or stains). If you have animals you’ll need to be careful with their waste (like picking it up every time and hosing in anything left behind). It can also be warm under your feet and parents have expressed issues with children playing on it. It can also be costly to install.
Here are some photos of artificial turf looking great if you’re considering it…
Around a pool (you won’t need to worry about grass in the pool). I wish I’d done this around mine!
On top of an old deck
Around garden beds (no need to edge and whipper snip all the time)
In a kids play area
Before you go ahead with artificial turf make sure you do lots of research on the product. Compare pricing, how much it costs to lay (or if you can easily DIY), what sort of maintenance is required and of course the colour and style. Most suppliers will offer samples for you to take home.
Try hard to separate zones and create designated spaces. It may seem like open plan is the only way to go when living in small house, but sometimes everything can just end up looking messy with no real home for items and furniture. You can use screens to divide areas like a bedroom from a bathroom. Put coat or shoe racks in the entry to keep all those necessities in one area. Put a console table up against a couch to separate living and dining, yet also gaining some extra storage.
Buy pieces of furniture which can be used for more than one purpose. For example, a trundle bed can be great for sleepovers, or a storage ottoman can be used for your feet, extra seating or additional blankets can be put inside. An extendable dining table is also a good investment. Whichever multi-purpose furniture you choose, make sure to select pieces which are size appropriate to your space.
After living in the same small space for some time you can become stuck in a rut and might need to rethink how you use all the areas in your home. Think about corners and dead spaces. Can these be better used? Maybe they could be turned in to good storage spaces with vertical book shelves. Or a small office space?
Smaller homes require you to get creative about your storage. Make sure you look up. Can you add vertical storage, shelves or modular cabinetry to empty spaces? Maybe you could add a shelf above your tv with baskets to store DVDs, remotes or magazines.
More often that not you’ll be editing, culling and living lighter with a smaller home. This can be good! It’ll help you sort out what’s important and you’ll save money by not wanting to fill a large home with unnecessary homewares.
Go light and bright. No matter what, a light colour will make the room feel bigger and less crowded. I would opt for the same wall and ceiling colour so it all blends together with no starting and stopping. If you do love colour though, use it in your accents like cushions and a bit of artwork.
In a bid to get out and about more, last week I saw a little workshop pop up in my Facebook feed. A lovely girl (Sam from Willow Metta) was hosting it and for some reason I just clicked on it and booked myself in. If you read my latest blog post about my surgery then you’ll know that I haven’t be able to get to things like this in a long time… I was so excited!
I announced to my husband and kids I was off to a New Moon Cacao Ceremony + 13th Rite of the Womb. They were like saaaaay what??? My eldest kid said please don’t put that on your Instagram because people will think you’re crazy. Haha. I said tough luck! I’m even blogging about it. My husband’s Mum (who passed away 2 years ago) was right in to all of this so my husband grew up with it. He thinks I’m turning in to her. But in saying that, he thinks she’s sending me messages. I think so too!
So, yesterday afternoon I gathered some of my favourite crystals (rose quartz, clear quartz, amethyst and citrine) and headed to a yoga studio in town. I went on my own. It felt so good to just be out and about doing something different.
It was 2 hours of bliss. There were drums, sage cleansing, intention writing, some sharing in the group, cacao drinking and activating the Rite of the Womb (that was very different!).
I loved it! I felt so good and smiled the whole way home. I released old energy and set new intentions. The new moon is now, so it’s a good time to write down new beginnings and wash away the old. Intention creates more clarity in your life. I felt like now is a perfect time for me to draw a line in the sand. The old stuff is the lethargic, unwell, sickly me. The new stuff is a more motivated, happier, healthier version of me. I didn’t go there because I had major issues in my life. I just went so I could feel good about stuff again.
Also, I’ll be buying some cacao of my own. Not only does it have awesome health benefits, it acts as a heart chakra opener. Cacao is known as a ‘connection facilitator’. Ancient history holds cacao in very high standards I learnt. Using it in a ceremony can be very powerful to help you shift or focus on intentions. You can create your own Cacao Ceremony at home too. I found a good blog post explaining how to do that here.
Before you think I’ve gone nutty (haha) I think that after major life events, or trauma, or just bouts of being unwell it’s a GOOD idea to find something to lift your spirits… whatever that may be. Some people like the beach, some people like to go for a run… Life is about creating moments of joy, and that’s a good thing right? Most of us feel better when we clean out a few cupboards at home, so why not clean out your thoughts??
I am definitely going to the next one again.
Have you been to any intention setting ceremonies? I’d love to hear what you think! KC.
I just want to start by saying thank you to everyone who messaged me over the last few weeks. Your support has been wonderful and it really helped. If you’re new to this blog I’ve written a few posts here, but just quickly, I’ve had Crohn’s Disease since I was 18 years old, have battled with it a lot in the last 2 years (more than usual) and just over 2 weeks ago I had permanent colostomy surgery. Yeah, it was big…
But if you’ve just found me via a google search then I am sure you’re keen to read about my experience? If you often come to my blog for interior design, then maybe this blog post isn’t for you! Which I am cool with, so I’m happy for you to click away now. But for me, it’s just what makes up my life, and yes I’ve spent a lot of time hanging in hospitals recently. I think in the last 2 years I’ve had 14 anesthetics…. horror!! Yep, it hasn’t been easy, BUT I am now out the other side!
You might be wondering what led me to this decision? Well basically I had no choice. I was in no position to fix this with diet and happy healing. I was in a terrible place with a huge part of my sigmoid colon full of disease and irreparable damage. This was not a decision I took lightly. I made it based on my future and my quality of life. I could not fix the issue (without giving you gory details!) and I could not stay the way I was. I spent 2 years with an infection through my body which no amount of antibiotics, or good eating, would fix it.
I’ve spent the majority of this year bedridden. And until you’ve been bedridden you have no idea how debilitating life becomes. I could get up for a couple of hours a day here and there. I always put on a brave face and tried to get on with it, but it was hard. I have 3 kids, so they needed me as well.
So at the end of last year I decided (well my surgeon nodded and said I needed it!) with my husband that a permanent colostomy bag was the answer. It’s not a cure for Crohn’s disease, but the only way to feel better right now was to take out that part of my bowel. If you’re wondering who my doctors are I see Dr Stephen Tattersall (Gastro) and Dr Justin Evans (Colorectal Surgeon) in Sydney. They are excellent.
Anyway, just over 2 weeks ago my husband and I headed to Sydney. My Mum came to stay with the boys at our house. I wasn’t nervous initially. I just wanted it all done! I started drinking the awful prep in a motel room the night before the surgery and I can say that doing that was actually worse than my surgery. I’m serious! I do not do well with that prep. It’s vicious. My bowel was so damaged that it’s painful, I vomit, I shake and I barely get through it. My husband was frightened he said he thought I was going to die! Anyway, obviously I got through it. But I felt like I’d been hit by a truck and I was so tired and exhausted when I went in to my surgery. Months of feeling terrible and hardly eating didn’t help.
I became anxious laying on the bed waiting for the doctor and nurses to prep everything around me before the surgery. I was teary. I was frightened because I was worried I’d wake up with a more drastic operation or there would be a drama. I felt this way because my surgeon couldn’t be sure either until he actually got in there. In the end the anesthetist said how about we just put you off to sleep right now? Ha! Yes thank you!
3 hours later it was over and I remember seeing my husband’s face. He said everything was good. Of course now I’m crying, but drugged up and not feeling any pain. I had 15cm of diseased bowel removed, a new stoma and felt like I’d had a baby (because they’d opened my cesarean scar again – ouch!!).
The first 3 days are a blur. I had a pain button with morphine and I know I used that often! 24 hours after surgery I did get up and walk around with the physio. It was very painful, but I was determined to be out of that hospital within a week.
I was still on a liquid diet for a few days. Your stoma doesn’t become “active” for a few days. As in, your bowel won’t start working straight away. I actually didn’t know this. By about day 5 it still wasn’t working, so I started taking some softeners. Day 6 it still wasn’t working and now I was in pain and needed endone! Eventually there was some slight movement and enough for me to go home on day 7.
If I am honest I did find looking at my stoma and changing the bag very distressing just for those first couple of times. I knew what to expect from looking at photos, but it’s still a shock when it’s on your body. I won’t give you all the details on this because it’s gross (haha!), but I will say that 2 weeks on I now feel pretty good about it.
I said to my Mum “I guess it’s like a scary movie… the first time you watch it it will frighten the crap out of you, but if you watch it over and over you’d be like, oh that old thing!” So this is how I’ve been thinking of it. The more I get used to it, the easier it’s become.
I will say that overall it’s not been nearly as hard or as awful as I had imagined. It’s not been as difficult to manage. I’ve had no hiccups, no dramas and I have been happy to just get on with it.
I am still to find the right routine for me (and my bowel!), and I am still to find the right “bag”. I don’t have that sorted just yet. I am not trying to focus on that though, I’m just focusing on managing it for now.
My energy levels are through the roof because the infection has gone (I am not freezing anymore, or sweating, or have swollen ankles or thirsty). Which is weird for me! Maybe they aren’t at the levels of a healthy person just yet, but for me they are amazing. I am starving ALL the time. Which is good, because I have lost a lot of weight. I need to put some back on and I can’t wait to be out and about more often. Like I said earlier being bedridden as held me back.
I am looking forward to the future. I already feel so good and can’t wait to get back in to the world. Things I haven’t been able to do for years are now back on my list. Even being able to walk around the shops without worrying about the toilet is exciting for me. Tomorrow I am heading off to a New Moon Ceremony! I never would have been able to workshops previously. My bestie and I are booking workshops left and right and looking for fun events to go to already.
I’m also going to find a new job. I have been wanting to do something for a long time but never could. But now I think I can. I no have idea what/where, but just the thought of having that freedom is exciting.
So, here’s my word advice to anyone who is not sure about this surgery (and of course everyone is different), but for me I can already say this is the best thing ever. This has already changed my life and maybe I should have done this years ago! I know it’s been a process for me but I am sure it’s made me stronger.
My family have been amazing. I am lucky. My husband is the best human alive. We’ve been married 18 years and I cannot fault him ever. My 3 boys have had to deal with some weird stuff over the years. I hope they have learnt empathy from all of this. They haven’t been frightened, they just deal with it. We laugh about my bag all the time because it can make some random unpredictable noises haha!!
I also have to thank my wonderful friends who just took over with my kids. Picking them up, dropping them places and caring for them has been such a blessing. We’ve never had so much food in the house because people are so generous and helpful.
Today I am off to watch some cricket, get the groceries and stalk around Facebook for some workshops I can attend in Wagga over the next few months. Hit me up with anything if you know of one!
Thanks again guys. I am lucky I have a great online support network. I also hope to help anyone else in the same spot me. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime if you need a hand. I have some lovely online friends who also have a stoma who have been helping me. I am grateful for that!
I see the word “Hamptons” and I am stalking! I am a lover that’s for sure. Today I have this classic single-storey Hamptons style floor plan for you to drool over. It’s a pretty simple plan, but does tick a lot of boxes. This plan isn’t that easy to read as you have to keep looking at the numbers to work it out, but overall I think you may like it?
Kids up the back with their own bathrooms (2 would share). The master is on the front opposite a home office which is good. I like that.
There’s plenty of storage with the laundry and walk through pantry.
You could make the outdoor alfresco area a little bigger too.
Check out the e-nook (number 14).
Overall it’s a pretty good plan. The facade is pretty too! It suits an 18.5m wide block.
Let’s bring back pressed metal tin. Well, I’m not sure it ever left, but I love seeing this product pop up in the interior design world. In the last house I built we did a pressed metal tin splash-back. And I loved it! I haven’t used any in my current house, but I am sure I could sneak some in somewhere…
It’s such a versatile product, and easy to DIY because it comes in panels (as opposed to learning how to tile). So check out some of these gorgeous photos. You might be inspired! Here’s 10 ways to use pressed metal tin…
1. Kitchen wall
Instead of having overhead cupboards, or trying to decide on a splash-back, use black tin for maximum impact. It adds texture and drama to a modern space.
Whether you use it on the side or front you won’t regret this. Usually when you pick a new kitchen you’ll be asked about the ends and front… and most people have no idea what to do with that space. And if you’re on a budget then usually you’ll just pick a solid laminate, but using pressed metal would be such a feature piece. Again, this could be a DIY you attempt at a later date.
Pressed metal tin in bathrooms is pretty popular. There are plenty of white walls on Pinterest, but this black one adds emotion and impact. I really like it in the bathroom. I’d probably opt for white (because I am a white freak!).
I am feeling a lot of love for photography prints lately. Anything to do with the beach, the desert, a forest, a cactus… they are filling my walls here at home. If you want a cheap way to add real life artwork to your home, then a digital download is so affordable. Most of these above are under $10 (AU) to buy, then print out yourself. Officeworks can print them for less than $20. That’s a cheap way to bring your room to life with a print!
Painting furniture is such a cheap and easy way to transform something old in to a feature piece. The internet is full of ideas on how to do this. You can paint chairs, dressers, console tables, frames, mirrors and so much more. I’ve painted lots of things over the years. I can spot a bargain at a garage sale, or online and I’ll have it propped up in my garage waiting for a new lick of paint. Here’s a list of tips to make sure your paint job lasts.
1. Sand it
I am on the fence with this one. I say that because it all depends on what you are painting over, what paint product you’re using, and what you’re using the furniture for. If you’re painting over laminate, or vinyl, then you must use a good primer first because they cannot be sanded. Generally, the laminate or vinyl may not live as long as a piece of furniture which has been entirely sanded back from the beginning. If you want longevity and a nice paint finish, then sand the furniture back first. Don’t hand sand as this will take forever. Use an orbital sander (they are so cheap to buy from a hardware store).
2. Clean surface
Once you’ve sanded make sure the entire surface is squeaky clean with no lint or residue.
Once sanded (or as mentioned above if you can’t sand it), you need to undercoat with a primer. A product I have used over and over is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint as it has a built-in primer to the colour you choose. I am in love with this stuff. It’s hard to get your hands on though as you need to buy online. But if you’re not up for that then head to the hardware store and buy any undercoat primer in white and give your furniture a coat of that before you put your colour on top. Make sure the primer is fully dry and sand away any lumps or drips, so you have a clean surface.
If you’re after a neat finish, then a mini roller will work wonders. If you’re after a distressed or aged look then a paintbrush will help. Paint always dries darker so remember this when choosing your paint colour. I always do 3 coats of the colour to get an even finish.
5. Sand again
If you are after a distressed look, then you can sand off the edges here and there. Just remember you’ve added a white undercoat in there so you may see some of that show up. I like that look though! If you want the finish to be solid, then grab a fine sanding block and lightly rub over the furniture to give a smooth finish.
6. Protect it
There are a couple of ways of doing this. You can paint on a product or use a wax. For a solid finish paint on Cabot’s Satin Water Based Polyurethane Varnish. Give it at least 3 coats. Stay away from oil based because it does give and orange tinge. If you’d prefer a wax then go for Feast & Watson Mastertouch Carnauba Wax. This product is tops. Rub it in a circular motion with a brush, let it dry for about 20 minutes, then grab a rag and buff. Repeat a few times if you like.