When fantasy becomes reality

I don't know about you, but for me decorating often belongs far more in the realms of fantasy than reality. I'd like to be one of those people who live in a picture-perfect house where every piece of furniture and fabric is pefectly matched - but that's not how we live. Our home is a work in progress, and one day maybe I'll have a room I think of as finished, but a whole house? In my dreams..

I adore pouring over decorating magazines and books and my collection has grown over the years, with the occasional cull due to moving, storage or husband pressures. However, due to circumstances (renting for several years), finances (never abundant) and energy levels (flagging often), I don't often feel my decorating aspirations have been realised.
So, rather than regale you with pictures of my decorating failures/challenges/works in progress (ie. messy kids rooms, overflowing cupboards and "rat's nests" - I think we all have them, don't we?), I want to look at a few examples of decorating success. Instances where the decorating dream has become a reality - yes, once in a while something goes right.

This magazine cover is from a Christmas 2007 issue of a UK mag I've always enjoyed. Against the strong wall colour this beautiful starburst mirror impressed me as a perfect focal point for the living space. Was slightly crushed to discover the mirror pictured cost 2,400 pounds! Obviously I'd need a cheaper option. And earlier this year, I found it! Late one afternoon as I raced past a homewares shop in a local shopping centre (with 4 children, in search of chicken wings for dinner) my eagle decorating eye caught sight of a starburst mirror in the back of the shop. Racing in for a closer look I was ecstatic to discover how similar it was to my magazine cover, and it cost well under $100! Hooray for cheap chinese imports!
The pigeon hole cupboard (pictured in my header above) was another success. Found while holidaying on the south coast, I knew this piece was versatile with that great rustic industrial look I admired. But it was a risk, and I'm not that brave when it comes to handing over my $. The furniture dealer offered to buy it back if I got it home and changed my mind (he was sick of my indecision!) and I didn't regret the purchase.

 I love these fantastic european-style bookcases I purchased from Ebay. (So happy infact I bought 3!) Providing a perfect storage solution for my large collection of books and magazines (+ cupboards for hiding junk!) the colour and classic style won't date and is far more substantial than similarly priced options in flatpacks. Actually I had to laugh when a Sydney Morning Herald style guide promoted an almost identical bookcase as being "ebonised wood" (meaning timber painted black!) from a high end decorating boutique for the bargain price of $20k (could have bought at least 10 of mine for that). Ouch!

And finally, here is a close up of one of a pair of Art Deco light fittings we found for our living room. By matching the style of lighting to the age and character of our house, we added instant authenticity to our extension. The lights make a fabulous glow and I love the way they give our room an old-world feel. If you're interested in art deco or federation style hardware, check out ebay or a place like Chippendale Restorations in Sydney that specialise in reconditioning old building materials. http://www.chippendalerestorations.com.au/

I'm glad my home is a decorating work-in-progress. It would be boring to have everything perfect, and I'd have nothing to forage in junkshops or online for if every space, surface and object was complete.


  1. Great decorating work Sarah that sunburst mirror is a winner, excellent policy taking the long view. Think sandstone color paint totally makes the mirror too :). Bookcases a bug improvement on my birch look ikea! Cheers lisa

  2. Sorry Lisa, I must stop bagging out the flatpack. I know they are the best option for a lot of situations and people. Still, if you want european knock offs like mine, I'll keep an eye out on ebay for you (my finders fee is negligible)p.s. glad you like the mirror! sarahx

  3. I so understand what you are saying...love the mirror and can't wait to see it updated with Christmas decorations around! Bookcases are gorgeous...and practical.

  4. Love th starburst (and Luie is sure to love hers when she gets it for christmas! Thanks for the tip off! - I ended up getting the big one as couldn't find the small one anywhere) x Kat


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