Brooklyn Fever

I have recently visited Brooklyn for the first time, like this week, and FELL IN LOVE. Its where you’ll find the good coffee in New York, cute shops and all the hipsters. I mean Williamsburg was the birth place of the hipster right? But don’t tell them we refer to them as hipsters as they will deny until the rooster crows three times. This weeks colour palette is brought to you from an airy Brooklyn loft.

Brooklyn Loft

We have a nice creamy white. It opens up the space and makes it feel light. Its paired back with charcoal greys, another soft but deep colour. It wouldn’t be a factory turned loft space without the ever cool exposed brick and recycled timber. And yes my metallic choice this week is bronze. A more aged and rustic friend of gold.

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If I were using this palette I would paint my walls creamy white, but would have the artwork in the soft charcoals range, preferably old commercial signing. I would also have soft furnishings using the charcoal. I would then have a lot of timber. This gives a natural look to the space, especially if recycled. I would clad walls, have timber floors, timber bench tops and furniture. All in similar hues so it looks neat and cohesive. I would leave the exposed brick wall if I was lucky to start with one or I would have it veneered in. It adds much needed texture to the room and gives it an edge. Then I’d dress the room with carefully picked antiques. Pop over to vinnies and get some cheap frames and spray them bronze. Get some cute old tennis rackets, hang a collection on the wall. Don’t be afraid to mix and match with this one. The more bitsy it is the better, just remember to work with a similar theme and a  colour palette and it should all tie together (I can feel an Ask Jacqui question brewing…).

Right, I’m off to grab my almond milk latte and listen to the National.

Interview with Cotter and Jewell Interiors

I have had the pleasure to work with Karenza and Dee from Cotter and Jewell Interiors, and I just love them to bits. They are creative and cheeky ladies who have a great style. So lets get some sneaky tips off them to take home!


Hi Ladies! Tell me about how you met and your business.

We both worked together many years ago for a high end bespoke furniture company as their Interior Design Consultants. We worked well as a team, providing greater design ideas and having fun at the same time. We remained friends and embarked on different directions in our design career. Years later, a friend needing her home interior refreshed to sell, demanded our services, bringing us together once more. We enjoyed it so much, we decided it was high time we made a go of it on our own and hence Cotter & Jewell Interiors was born!

How do you spend your weekends?

Ahhh!! We often spend part of the weekend working, as you do when you run your own business. But of course we love to relax and have some down time to revitalise our busy minds! Karenza is either at the beach surfing or Dee is running around town getting ready for marathons. Our favourite thing is a glass of wine in a quiet spot with a few good interior mags. Oh and throw in the odd designer market and a great meal with friends. Of course we like to party as well! Every now and then, Dee will be the first rocking out on the dance floor and Karenza will be the last to leave!

How would you describe your individual style?

We both have a pin board on our Pinterest site, named “Jewell Style” and “Cotter Style”, depicting our individual flair.

Karenza loves calm, relaxed spaces with natural timber, chalky white paint and a touch of humour. Juxtaposing antique finds with elegant modernism. For example I love a box I found in Mexico City, outside its a scruffy wooden box that opens like a folder and inside it is a shrine to a passed away person. But in Mexico with day of the dead a person’s life is celebrated and this box has amazing crazy colourful pieces inside.

Dee finds the question too hard to answer! I think I will begin with how I dress and see how this unfolds! My dress style is very simple, with a tendency to wear tone on tone in colour. I like my clothes to drape easily for comfort and ease. To add some interest and colour to my attire, I always add a piece of jewellery (necklace or bracelet) or scarf – providing the final finesse to my outfit. On reflection, I tend to use the same formula for interiors as well. Keeping my design and colour palette simple and adding a few key signature pieces to provide the finishing look.

When a client comes to you with a room to design, how do you draw out their personal style?

Karenza: We give them ample time. Time to get to know us and for us to know them! It is important we take this time, as we are usually a stranger they have never met, but have only heard of. Its important for our client to be relaxed and be at ease. We always ask to look at the home in its entirety, if possible and if they are happy to do so. One room needs to know how it plays a part of a whole home.

Dee: They have kindly welcomed us in their home, their personal space, which speaks volumes of who they and their personal style is there ready for us to see. They just don’t realise it. As it is appears in the purchases they have made for their home; from the very ornaments they have found and bought to showcase. These pieces will provide some necessary clues on colour, shape and form, which we can extract for use in creating our design ideas.

Is it quite an involved process with the client?

Karenza: Yes, you really become part of their life for a time, you need to understand their habits and lifestyle to really give them a great result and sometimes you wish you could just move in once you have finished.

Dee: Karenza is so right! This is the part I really love of my work. Forging a strong relationship with our client, which sees us become part of their everyday world. As their lifestyle need changes over time, from starting out and having babies that grow into children then teenagers to adulthood, their homes are expanding and contracting accordingly. We are usually invited at these various points of time to assist with the differing needs in the function and design of the evolving home.

What is your favourite shop at the moment?

All of them!!!

Karenza: Ahhhh Ahoy Trader from Byron Bay, quirky details with fun, Le Forge great customer service and you can always find a piece of real beauty. The Modern (Scandinavian furniture) has that look down to a tee and good prices!

Dee: There are too many to have just one as a favourite. Being Designers, we shop directly to the source, so we can offer fabulous prices to our clients! One of my all time favourite suppliers is Cromwell Australia as I really love their broad product range of classic timeless pieces. They offer everything, from cushions to lighting, mirrors, art and high quality furniture.

As interior designers you have your finger on the pulse of what’s hot in the design scene. Please share what you’ve seen!

Karenza: Oh the gorgeous wallpaper we just put up for a client: Its watery affect and handpainted look is spot on.



Dee: I keep seeing the colour BLUE splashed everywhere and making a stamp in interiors. Just like the wallpaper and artwork we have just hung.


So Joyous “So Joyous” from Penny Farthing Design House

When in an apartment, what would be your space saving tips?

Karenza: Products with multi use; a table with drawers (it can be a dining table and a desk). Stools that neatly stack extra seats and extra side tables. Full height kitchen/wardrobe cupboards (even if this means you go bespoke to do it). Standard height cabinets waste so much room and can be dust collectors on top. Blinds instead of curtains, they are less imposing. All of this, is of course dependant on your style too.

Dee: Karenza has said it so well! Mainly, to be guided by the principle of “less is more” to create the illusion of a bigger space.

What’s a trick to get an expensive look on a budget?

Karenza: A clever idea can be seen with a kitchen for example.. Use white cabinets (possibly IKEA) and always do beautiful stone bench tops and a stunning tap!

Lighting can dramatically change an interior space and is becoming so cost effective nowadays.

Curtains. Use a sheer fabric at a low price but triple the amount you would use, it will look luxurious in its abundance but hey may have cost $10 a metre!

Double sided cushions, each side being different to have a quick change, 2 looks for the price of 1.

Buy a beautiful antique piece of furniture that sits in a key spot and spend less on the rest, what your eye sees first will always give the first impression on lushness.

Dee: Karenza’s last point is the key! By adding a significant high quality piece to the main portion of lower value items, you will be providing the essential “gloss” to your entire scheme. In effect, this “trick of the trade” is based on the 80/20 principle, whereby 80% of the outcome, in this case the “expensive look on a budget” can be attributed to 20% of the cause, being the expensive item purchased.

The key to the trick is in adding the main focal piece to the interior. You can do this by up-cycling an old furniture piece such as a chair with plush and interesting fabric, by using beautiful sumptuous bed linen and towelling to update a tired bedroom or bathroom or by wallpapering or adding an artwork to the wall.

Well, there you have it, so many great tips, so much gold! Thanks ladies, I know I have taken away a few new tips!

KARENZA JEWELL – 0410 131 013

DEE COTTER – 0415 952 822

Home Call with Rachel

Welcome to Rachel’s sweet abode. Warm, cozy, loved and colourful. Watch to see her tips in styling up her country charm inspired apartment. I can smell those scones cooking now!

Shop Stop: The Design Hunter

This week we get to meet the lovely Melissa from The Design Hunter. What an amazing shop, really. I love the diverse and interesting range of home wares. You’re going to find some interesting items and all with a story. Definitely worth a visit (and a few purchases)!

316 Bronte Rd, Waverley NSW 2024

The store is open Monday to Sunday 10am to 5pm
Design Services by Appointment Only

Trawling Gumtree Sydney

So here it is, my first trawling session through Gumtree for Sydney. Finding all the gold for you at a good price… ready, set, buy!

1. Pink armchairs (FREE!)

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These would be awesome in the right room, for the right person. And they are free! Don’t like pink, get them reupholstered a different colour. It’d still be cheaper than buying new ones! I think they look super cute.

2. Antique Sofa ($550)

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This is such a steal! Perfect as is, but if I were to buy this I would reupholster it in a peacock green as a slight contemporary twist. Such a good price!

3. 1960’s fold down desk ($60)

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Well this is just an amazing find. Even if it does have some scratches or needs some repair, this price just makes it worth it. You better hurry up and buy this one or I will!

4. Day Bed ($140)

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Yes I know this is ikea, yes I know the black is full on but imagine it in a bright pink, emerald green, fluro coral or white with cute cushions and bedding. The perfect bed for any girl! (I always wanted a day bed growing up, so this is the emotional pick from me)

5. Glass Buffet ($150)

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Ok, this one would be awesome if you painted the black legs to a copper or gold- so chic! Its sturdy and classy all at the same time.

I hope this has inspired you to recycle pre-loved furniture, and with a bit of fabric, paint and love they can replicate items out on the market now for a much cheaper price!