Lighting: Kitchen Island Bench

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You might remember late last year we started our kitchen planning, and now that we’re close to building commencing, we’ve been trying to finalise our lighting choices to go through with the electrician. One of the key elements of the kitchen is the lighting over our island bench. While the lights in our inspiration picture (below – (image from Marsh and Clark) are from the US, I managed to track down an Australian supplier. Unfortunately, it turns out they are worth $2,500 EACH!! That certainly doesn’t fit our budget, regardless of how much I love them. So instead, I’ve been trying to find some alternatives. I’ve come up with a shortlist of these 6, and I think we’ve just about settled on the first option. They’re online only, so we’re going to have a look at the third option which are in store, they’re similar, but a bit bigger and at a much higher price point – but will give us a good idea of what they’re going to look like. Very excited to have ticked one more thing off the huge to do list!

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The most expensive house in America

While Hubs and I are focusing on getting the most bang for our buck in our build, I thought I’d take a look at what’s on offer if the budget was unlimited – and came across the most expensive house in America that is currently on the market.

Introducing Gemini – the $195 million tropical compound. Yes, you heard that correctly. $195 million compound.

The estate listing calls it a 15.65 acre crown jewel tropical compound, and a once in a lifetime offering of one of the world’s truly great and rare estates.

So what does $195 million get you?

  • 1 x large, elegant yet invitingly formal coral-clad 12-bedroom main residence, comprising large wings on both the ocean and Intracoastal sides, joined by a unique and irreproducible 15 foot wide residential gallery
  • 1 x 7-bed, 7.5-bathroom guest house
  • 2 x 4-bed guest cottages
  • 1 x manager’s office with work spaces and garages
  • There’s also a bird sanctuary, a botanical garden, and a butterfly garden
  • If you’re into sport, the sports complex features a regulation tennis court, half basketball court, Robinson Crusoe-style tree house and playground, miniature golf course and large-scale model train
  • For the boaties, there’s a private beach and a pier, too.

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Sounds like…. a lot of maintenance. But I suppose, if you can afford the price tag, you can afford a couple of cleaners and groundkeepers!

It looks like it’s been on the market for at least a year, so who knows what it will actually sell for, and if it will actually sell. Let’s just hope it’s built to withstand the weather, with Hurricane Matthew bearing down in the next few days. My thoughts are with all those in the path of Matthew – some of my favourite cities in the world are going to be effected and I can only pray that they come out with minimal damage. I’m keeping a close eye on the weather reports and hoping for a miracle.

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Kitchen planning + weekend fun

Well we still haven’t signed a contract for the build, but hopefully we’re very close.

This weekend we decided to start kitchen shopping as we’ve got the option of going with our builder’s cabinet maker or a kitchen company of our choice. I’ve found 4 companies that we wanted to check out, 2 of which are on the Gold Coast (the other 2 in Brisbane) so Saturday morning we jumped in the car and headed for Burleigh Heads. It was great to chat with both sides of the process – one place we spoke to the owner and the actual builder himself, and the other place we chatted with a kitchen designer. We already know fairly certainly what we want, but it was good to know that what we’re looking for is possible to achieve! I won’t go in to details until we have the actual drawings and are further along in the process, but this is our inspiration picture (image from Marsh and Clark).

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After spending 2.5 hours talking kitchens, we were both over it and given it was such a beautiful day we decided to swing by the beachfront and see if we could get a carpark and go somewhere for lunch. Luckily we only did one lap of the esplanade when we found a park and it was right in front of the best beachfront spot at Burleigh!

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We thought we’d push our luck even further and see if we could get a table at Rick Shores, a Pan-Asian restaurant headed by renowned Melbourne chefs, and managed to score the last two spots at the casual bar! Lunch was amazing, the flavours were so fresh and there wasn’t a bite that didn’t taste great. We had:

  • Chicken Popcorn, Meyer Lemon, Spiced Salt
  • Beef Brisket Bao, Smoked Ssam Jang, Cucumber
  • Massaman Curry, Lamb Shank, Potato, Pickled Onion
  • Miso chocolate parfait, with milo, peanut butter and malt.

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The cocktails were pretty amazing too!

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On our way home, we dropped into the estate to see if there was any building progress anywhere. Two lots have their building pads being levelled, so it’s likely we’ll see some construction there in the next few weeks. We had a hilarious story while we were there: we found a little pool in the nature reserve between us and our neighbours. It looks like it could be about a metre deep and it had a fair bit of water in it. We were looking at it and said wouldn’t it be great if there were turtles living in it. We got back in our car and drove around a couple of the other streets and all of a sudden hubby put the breaks on and said “what’s that?”. We got out of the car, and there was a turtle sitting in the middle of the road! It was really hot and the poor thing looked distressed. We’re not sure how it got there, or why it was there – perhaps it crawled up from a nearby creek and got stuck once it climbed down the gutter. I told hubby to pick it up and we would take it back to our little pond. Well, the minute we walked towards it, it ran and hid in the shade under our car! Hubby had to get an umbrella out of the car and he managed to get it to climb into an insulated cooler bag we had. We put it in the car and raced back to our block and managed to get it into our little pool! It was so happy, it swam around, ducking deep into the water and then finding a little ledge to rest on. Who knows if it will stick around, but at least the poor thing didn’t die in the sun!

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We spent a lovely day today celebrating our friends birthdays. Such a great group of girls!

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Did you know that it is only 91 more sleeps til Christmas? Can you believe how fast this year has gone? Have a good week everyone!

Get the look – Cape Cod living

I’ve been scouring the internet and magazines for images of interior styling that I like, trying to get a feel for how we’ll decorate our new home. As you’ll see when I begin documenting our build on here, I’m a HUGE fan of the Hamptons/Cape Cod style home. Being that we’re building on acreage on the Gold Coast, I think we’ve got the perfect spot to combine these styles and achieve a beautiful family home.

It’s all well and good finding pictures for inspiration, but what about finding the actual goods!! Often suppliers aren’t listed in magazine articles, or items were purchased many years ago or overseas, which makes copying them almost impossible. So, I’ve got my detective hat on and I’m on the look out for practical and budget friendly pieces to replicate these looks myself! Today I’m starting with these stunning images of a Cape Cod style living room… take a look.

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Isn’t it just divine!! Here are some options to get this look from Ikea, Freedom and Pottery Barn, hopefully covering a few different budgets!! Those with a heart are my top picks!

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Project Build: designing the floorplan

It’s been a little while since I told you about our building project that we’re embarking on, but since then we’ve been visiting display homes, sorting through design books and scrolling through Pinterest, and we think we’ve finally come up with a basic floorplan for our forever home! Our plan is to make use of a builder and their design service, but figure that we should at least have a reasonable idea of what we want when we go to talk to them. Given the slope of the block (gradual, but it’s there) we won’t be able to go down the path of a project home, and we want something a bit more custom anyway!

High on the priority list were the following:

  • 4 bedrooms – we have family and friends all over the country and the world that we often have to stay with us, so extra bedrooms were a must!
  • A library – hubby works from home at the moment, and we both have a lot of books, so we knew we needed something more than just a regular study. This room will be large enough to have a meeting table in the middle, as well as a desk and be lined with bookshelves.
  • Dressing rooms in the master – I have a lot of clothes and shoes, and we’ve finally just gotten some decent wardrobes in our current home, so I’m not going backwards!! Good storage is a must, with space for natural light and a central display unit for jewellery and bags.
  • Meals corner – I want to have a formal dining room for having nice dinners at, but I also love the idea of something more casual for breakfasts and lunches. A meals corner with booth seating against a window is my dream – I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to this!!
  • Theatre room – we want to have a theatre room, but we want it to be multipurpose too. Growing up my parent’s house never had the extra space for teenagers and their friends, and I imagine this will be that space in our house. The idea is that the wall between it and the dining room will be bi-fold, so that we can open up both rooms and use them for indoor entertaining if need be.
  • Split level – we want to work with the slope of the block, rather than cutting and having huge retaining walls everywhere. So, we’ve opted for 2 splits which you can see from the steps in the hallway of the drawing.

Now we’ve put our artist’s hat on and done a rough sketch on the computer – rooms aren’t quite in proportion and we’ve already decided to switch around the master so that the ensuite is overlooking the garage and the bed overlooking the outdoor area – but it’s a good start we think. We’ve been and met with a builder (an update on that will come soon) but we’ve been told it’s a great document to have and they can certainly work with this – yahoo!

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