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HOW I FOUND MY INTERIOR STYLE

by jenellewitty@gmail.com

How I came up with my interior style for our apartment. Where the inspiration comes from (including my mood board) and where I shop for furniture and home decor.

I want to talk a little about home decor details, mainly because I’ve been at home all the time this year and we have started to update little bits here and there. After hinting at this more- given we have shot a few more times than normal at home, it’s time to expand on this. First I have a bit of a disclaimer/ life update.

THE DISCLAIMER

Essentially, this year we were hoping to finally move overseas to live for a couple of years, but given the Covid-19 situation, all of those plans changed. And, truth be told, it is not likely that we will ever move overseas now.

The plan was to move, so we could be closer to travel more in the Northern Hemisphere. We love spending travel time in Europe, so naturally, I want to be back there at any chance I can. But neither Mario nor I have ever gone to the US or Canada or anywhere in South America etc. So while we discussed being in Italy near friends on Lake Como, we ended up feeling like Toronto would be the spot for a couple of years.

As all of this pandemic unfolded, the comforts of being close to friends and family grew more important. Even now, I am separated from my family and friends, as I am the only one in Perth. As time wears on, I am feeling the shift to want my own house, rather than a small rental apartment (which is what we have now). Before you ask, (Mum), I am still more interested in travel and building or renovating a home than marriage or babies. Let me get that off my chest.

WHERE WE LIVE

Currently, we are based in Perth, Western Australia, just north of the city. As it stands we looked at moving rentals mid-June but the timing wasn’t right and for now we have leased till March 2021. The apartment is tiny, which was intentional, as I wanted to downsize, minimize, and avoid renting a place where we would be wasting time tending to unused lawn/ gardens. Our previous cottage was slightly bigger but had inefficient space and was quite old. It took ages to clean, felt dark and cold.

We moved into this apartment upon its completion, so it is new, bright, quiet in a good location, and safe. Bonuses are that it has two balconies, which was welcome during lockdown. Cons being that one balcony is so big that I’d have preferred more inside space, so it wasn’t as cramped. There are two bedrooms, one bathroom and an open living space with a kitchen. Worth noting, we work from home, so our space has to be multi-functional. We used to have our office in the second bedroom, but it was always cold and dark. Since swapping that room around, it now has the tv and couch, the door can be closed and low lighting is a plus. The desk and work area is now in the living space which isn’t ideal, but it’s okay.

WHERE I SEE US LIVING NEXT

The bottom line is I’m ready to move into a bigger space where I can’t see everything I own from any one vantage point. Before I wasn’t worried so much about buying long term furniture since we would probably sell it all when we went overseas. Now I am slowly feeling more committed and interested in the longer term. Hence a few new furniture and home decor pieces.

MY INTERIOR STYLE

I was recently asked to describe my interior style and it essentially boils down to minimal, functional, with natural textures, light warm tones, or white. The only accents of colour come from plants and things like brushed brass detailing. Actually, having said that I do have a couple of white and navy touches in my serving ware, a velvet chair, and a throw. Navy is a neutral I love to include to bring a sense of calm.

I love natural light, so I tend to want to bounce it around as much as I can. In addition, I love woven grass details, rattan, marble, travertine or stone, glass, brushed brass, ceramics, and matte white painted finishes. And no, I don’t need everything to be new, I like a mixture of vintage and modern pieces. We aren’t living here forever either so I haven’t invested heavily in designer furniture, I opt for quality affordable pieces and some things that will do for now.

Most of the inspiration comes from my travels, something I will go into a bit more below. It can be anything from a Riad in Marrakech, to a converted barn guest house, luxury hotel, or even a cafe.

THIS IS JUST PART ONE

As interior style is a pretty large topic, I will expand on decor and interiors little by little. In this post, in addition to an overview of my mood board, and the places I turn to for decor and furnishings, I’ve chosen to focus on our dining space and workspace. In the future, I’ll go into the outdoor spaces, bedroom, kitchen, wardrobe set up, and so on.

THE OFFICE & WORKSPACE

Above are some pictures I took of my desk right before we changed our office area. We did have two desks facing one another but decided to pack mine up and put it on storage. Why? I really wanted a dining table and we couldn’t have both. And I was happy to work from a dining table since I use a laptop anyway.

With one desk facing the wall, which is Mario’s workspace, we were able to fit in some drawer units for office stuff and one for my makeup/ PR samples. We also have a clothing rail in the area where I keep new arrivals I need to shoot or looks I have planned to film and shoot. Of course, I don’t love having either there all the time, but we don’t have much space. So it’s all a compromise. The rail can easily be moved in or out if I need to use it elsewhere. Unfortunately, one downside is that Mario isn’t naturally as big on tidying as I am. So I have to deal with his messy desk and try to ignore it. When he can, I appreciate it when he has time to put things away and keep it tidy. (Hint, hint. Let’s see if he reads this.)

I thought the office and dining space was a great example to share how I plan out furniture in my space. Below is a quick Sketchup rendering I did when planning our living room. It had to fit the workspace, sliding door, and illustrate where our dining table would go.

sketchup of our living room and work space

HOW I PLAN OUT FURNITURE IN THE SPACE

When it comes to working out how to orient a space, I draw up a quick rendering to check all the furniture fits and there is still room to move. With my design background, (I used to be a set designer, and occasionally freelanced as an interior designer) it is quick for me to draw up. But, I’ve actually been using the free Sketchup CAD program that is so basic and easy to use, I highly recommend trying it out. I think it will be quick for anyone. Particularly once you get the hang of it.

First, measure your space and furniture to give you an idea of what you have to work with. Once you draw up your space and put in some furniture you can move things around to work out what fits best. It is easy to search for pre-drawn things like plants/ tables etc, as people create them for you to download and put into your drawing. For example, all of the core Ikea furnishings are in there so it is easy to find something to use, even if it’s not exactly right.

WHY PLAN THIS WAY

Why bother? Creating a rendering or even a 3D rendering helps communicate your plan to people who can’t visualize things in a space without seeing it. In my case, Mario can’t see it if it’s not there the way I can. Drawing it all out first saves me having to argue and struggle to explain how I want the space. After the drawing is done, you can save time moving things around too. In turn, that also potentially saves furniture damage.

THE DINING TABLE

We took a long time looking for the right size dining table and ended up buying one from Ikea when they launched this new Lisabo style. I wanted something in a light timber with minimal legs, not a huge central base. It had to be just the right width too. So it’s the perfect thing for us for now.

Underneath, I’ve added a jute round rug to frame the dining table area and provide a softer, warmer surface underfoot. It will last us a while, but it was also just a cheap one from K-Mart. Again, we don’t need to invest too much at the moment in our furniture, but finding affordable options to suit my style is great.

THE DINING CHAIRS

As for the chairs? I’ve had plenty of questions on those already. Mum tells me I hated them growing up! We had a set at home around our dining table (an octagonal glass, timber, and rattan table that I’d love to get my hands on now). These actually came from a friend, who had been given them years ago and was storing them in his garage. I’d been searching for a vintage set and he happened to have some, so after I spotted them, he kindly held onto them for me until we were ready. It has been such a good gift! Thank you, James!

They need some work, in summer we will scrub the chrome to remove rust and will either re-do the rattan ourselves or send them off to be re-done. Definitely look on vintage sites and gumtree or, as I did, if you know someone who has them, ask. I think they are the sort you either keep forever or get over and are willing to get rid of.

WHERE I LOVE FINDING FURNITURE

Okay, so, some of this will only be helpful to locals, but all the same. I’ve managed to find great vintage pieces on gumtree, eBay or Facebook sales groups, so definitely look there if you want vintage.

I absolutely love Brosa and am so excited about our new boucle chair. You will have spotted it on my Instagram here. More on that soon. We also have pieces from Freedom, including our sofa which have served us well, despite the long wait times on just about anything they sell. I’ll be happy to sell and upgrade our sofa someday. It’s been nice but I am over it. Finally, I love West Elm and locally, Empire too.

THE DESIGNER EDIT

When it comes to international designer furniture, we are lucky to have some great options in Perth. I have a stunning navy velvet lounge chair by Danish designer Hans Hornemann for Norman Copenhagen from District. It gets moved around a bit, (see above) I don’t have the ideal spot for it yet. At the moment it is in the bedroom but it deserves a more prominent spot. One day.

District, along with Living Edge, Design Farm, Stylecraft, Mobilia and Loam are our main options for designer furniture locally in Perth. Of course, I would go crazy when the time is right, but at the moment I am not really needing to invest in the long term pieces just yet. In the meantime, I can add to my wish list and buy more affordable pieces which I love just as well.

Avene Hydrance range in my bathroom

SHOP MY INTERIOR STYLE EDIT

Before I go too much further (keep scrolling for my interiors mood board and where I find my home decor), I knew you would ask to shop an edit of my interior style. Click the images below to shop.

WHERE I FIND HOME DECOR

For home decor, I rely mostly on plants to style the space and therefore avoid much else. Namely, this is because I never found all that much I was into and I don’t have a lot of bench spaces to add vases or sculpture. I do have my eye on some Aalto vases from Iittala, but that’s more of a want than a need to spend.

Plants I tend to buy from small independent nurseries, as they grow better than from Bunnings or Ikea. Gumtree is handy too for bigger plants, like my olive tree. Pots I get from Bunnings, Ikea, or independent nurseries or decor stores. It’s a real jumble, I prefer them to be white, stone, cream or terracotta.

We have a couple of random antiques, for good measure. I’ve literally brought home a set of antique scales from Adelaide! They have the best antique stores for little bits and pieces up in Strathalbyn. We love spending a day out there whenever I am back home. If you are into ceramics, I’d recommend checking out Sole Ceramics and Winterwares both of whom are Perth based. I’d love to add one of the Sole Ceramics terracotta double handle vases to my space someday.

Riad Snan 13 in Marrakech

WHERE I FIND SOFT FURNISHINGS

In terms of soft furnishings, our bedding is beige linen or white cotton. I love that simplicity. I have a few bits from West Elm, my favourite being a cushion from Morocco, I so wish I’d bought pieces while we were on our trip there but we didn’t. Actually, I have a Moroccan metal tray that I love too, it reminds me of my favourite Riad in Marrakech. (See above).

I am also a huge fan of UK brand Toast, not only for their fashion but the home decor. I am simply obsessed with my handmade Toast quilt which again, is an example of my touch of navy and white. We are currently upgrading our bedroom, so I will share more when it is ready. The existing dark wood bedroom furniture is Mario’s and I’m not into it. Below are some of my travel images which became my bedding mood board.

My handmade quilt from Toast
Barcelona city guide with Inspiring Wit travel and fashion blogger from Australia Praktik Bakery Hotel
Barcelona city guide with Inspiring Wit travel and fashion blogger from Australia Praktik Bakery Hotel view
the most epic bedroom view in Madrid with Inspiring Wit travel blogger from Australia
Riad Snan13 Marrakech tour diary

MY INTERIORS MOOD BOARD

Below, I wanted to share just a few photos I’ve taken over the years which became my mood board for our apartment. These are from cafes, hotels, and places we have stayed on various travels. They all have in common a sense of inviting calm, natural light, and freshness. Note the natural warm tones, accents of green from plants, and brass details.

The Westin Perth club lounge fashion and travel blog Inspiring Wit
Ooh la la Boutique North Freo
The Westin Perth Inspiring Wit travel blog Jenelle wearing Rebecca Taylor and Reiko Denim
Propeller North Freo
ooh la la coffee
Am I French Yet? Alliance Francaise French Film Festival lineup 2017 with Inspiring Wit blogger Jenelle
Bradshaw blouse in white Bohemian Traders worn by Inspiring Wit fashion blogger Jenelle Witty with black jeans
Cotton On denim edit worn by blogger Jenelle of Inspiring Wit. Wearing striped t-shirt, gold necklaces and indigo jeans at Alex Hotel Perth communal table

LOOKING FOR MORE INTERIORS INSPIRATION?

That is certainly enough from me for this initial interiors post. I hope you have enjoyed it. Clearly, since I had so much to write, it was bursting to come out. Haha, I have written far too many fashion-based posts lately and I was needing a break. It’s long overdue for me to share travel posts, but I’ve been holding off on them all until it is safer to travel again. And beauty, oh boy have I fallen behind on sharing makeup and skincare routine updates.

I promise to mix it up in the coming weeks. And I still have a food post to share too! In the meantime, I would love to hear about your own interior style. Where do you shop from? Where do you get your interior inspiration?

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