Sculpture by the Sea Sydney 2015


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Due to a husband on crutches, I could only get to the Marks Park area of Sculpture by the Sea this year, but it’s still a stunning part to visit – I love the openness of Marks Park, the views, and the way the sculptures interact with the environment around it.

It’s on for another 10 days so make sure you get down there – preferably early morning during the week. And grab brekky afterwards at the brilliant pop-up cafe “The Grounds”, perfect for a coffee and a bacon and egg brioche.

Yellow Front Door

Sculpture by the Sea

Cushion Creativity


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Cushions are undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to update your interior space, and also help to define a particular style or colour palette.

Here are some simple tips to follow when choosing cushions.


Don’t be stingy with the number of cushions – a sofa with lots of cushions will add visual interest and be much more inviting.


Cushions usually need to tie in with an existing room. Choose your cushion colours by looking to an existing rug, painting, wall colour or decorative piece. Start with neutrals like grey or beige, charcoal or white, and add a couple of other colours that work in with the scheme.

Black, white, grey and yellow scheme. Cushions by Sian Elin
On the left, the pink in the cushion picks up on the pink in the painting. On the right, the blue goes with the candlesticks. Cushions by Imogen Heath


Mix up the patterns – try a stripe, floral, geometric, animal print – and remember to add a few plain, unpatterned ones to to allow the eye to rest. Often cushions from the same designer go together and tell a story, without being too matchy-matchy.

Geometrics with florals. Cushions by Imogen Heath


For winter, I like to use wool, felt, leather or velvet cushions, in deep or warm colours to add cosiness and warmth. In summer I swap them for light, natural fabrics such as cotton or linen, usually in lighter, brighter colours.

Lambswool cushions by Gabrielle Vary


If you’re after a more classic, sophisticated or formal look, go for rich fabrics like silk or velvet in jewel-like colours.

Jewel-like colours on silk, by Jonathan Adler

If it’s a more casual, beach vibe you’re after, look to linens or weaves in natural colours like white, tan, pale grey and straw.

Linen cushions for that relaxed feel


Choose cushions in a variety of shapes and sizes, placing smaller or lumbar cushions in front of larger square ones. Make sure the insert is approximately 5cm larger than the cover for a fuller look.

Cushions by Lorna Syson

Refresh Often

Trends and styles change often, so keep your cushions updated to stay current and prevent the room looking dated.

Cushions by Sian Elin

Lastly, go with what you love and will make you smile upon entering the room.

Shop a variety of cushions online at Yellow Front Door

Our Garden Renovation


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Back in July, my husband and I decided to embark on a renovation of our front garden – you know that little courtyard you walk through when approaching the front door. It’s now finished, and I’d like to share with you the process, our choices, and some before and after pics.

Our house is a typical Bondi semi-detached house, built in 1940, and the garden is a modest 5 x 4m space. Given it’s era, we had to carefully choose products and plants that remain true to the character of the house while still appealing to my preference for clean, contemporary lines. We live here with our two young children, aged 5 and 7, so it had to be practical, hard-wearing, and stain resistant. The renovation was long overdue (we’d been in the house over four years…and I think the garden was last done in 1977…).

So out with the buckled 1970s bricks and the stained 1990s terracotta tiles. We knocked down a half wall that separated the courtyard from the verandah, and also ripped up the wide garden bed and climbers that were the bane of my existence – nothing thrives there due to the south aspect.

Knocking the wall down was the best thing we did – it really opened up the area, made it feel more spacious, and also made it more usable. We laid charcoal granite pavers and teamed them with encaustic cement tiles. We put back a narrow garden bed to break up the line between the stone pavers and the white fence, and chose hardy easy-care tropical plants.


Verandah before – ugly orange terracotta tiles

Courtyard before – 1970s bricks, very uneven

Wall between to verandah and courtyard made the area feel small, dark and oppressive

The wall came tumbling down! It has really opened up the space and made a MASSIVE difference to the feng sui



View as you walk through the front gate. A yellow front door of course – in Dulux dandelion yellow


View looking back towards street


Tangerine outdoor cushion from Yellow Front Door. Hogsten outdoor chair from Ikea


After much research, we chose charcoal granite pavers for the courtyard in 600x400mm $90 sqm. The dark colour is extremely practical and hides any dirt, marks or stains, and the larger size is pleasing aesthetically while also making the space appear larger. For the verandah we chose black and white encaustic cement tiles, 200x200mm, in a pattern called Fleur Di Lis $120 sqm. They’re a modern take on traditional tessellated tiles, and are much less fiddly to lay.

We got both the pavers and tiles from Teranova in Bronte, who were helpful and well priced.


Granite pavers in charcoal 600x400mm 


Fleur Di Lis encaustic cement tiles in black and white 200x200mm



From left: Guzmania (a Bromeliad), Rhoeo Spathacea


Purple Cordyline


From left: Philodendron, Calathea


From left: Cordyline, Bamboo Palm, Cordyline Purple Prince

Thanks to AJL Gardens for doing a brilliant job with all the construction/paving work and plants – they were very precise when laying the pavers and tiles, and their attention to detail really shows.



Beautiful tiles with Pukeko bird and Pohutakawa tree – a gift from New Zealand


We love our letterbox from Milkcan

Vivid Sydney 2015


Vivid Sydney 2015 was definitely as good as previous years . The light installations and accompanying music are incredible, pure bliss, and Sydney Harbour is really showcased to its full potential. Most of it is visual but some of it is interactive and tactile, and kids will love it just as much as adults.

The mesmerising beauty of the light shows and music is actually really relaxing, best enjoyed by simply wandering around, stopping, sitting and soaking it in. It’s the perfect way to slow down and stop – something we don’t often do in our busy, frenetic lives.

So go ahead, get caught up in the atmosphere and lose yourself

Why is Sunbrella Outdoor Fabric So Good?


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Sunbrella is a brand of outdoor fabrics – starting out in 1961 they originally specialised in awnings, sail covers and marine upholstery. Sunbrella has come a long way in 50 years – now producing an incredibly extensive range of fabrics suitable for various uses in the outdoors.

New technology in the way the yarn is woven means the outdoor fabrics are super soft, textured, and feel more like indoor fabrics. Not only soft, they’re exceptionally strong and durable, breathable, and stain and water resistant.

Sunbrella fabrics are solution-dyed, which means the dye or colour is added to the acrylic when it’s in a liquid form. So the colour is integral to the fabric yarn, making it more long-lasting and resistant to fading.

Yellow Front Door is launching a range of outdoor cushions using Sunbrella fabric in the next few weeks – in time for the start of the Australian spring. So keep a look out on the website for the new range of outdoor cushions online in wonderful colours and textures.

A sneak peak of two of our new Sunbrella outdoor cushions: Melon and Flax

Fantastic Skiing at Cardrona, New Zealand


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In July 2015 I was lucky enough to go on a skiing holiday with my family to Cardrona, South Island,  New Zealand. I really can’t rate it highly enough – the mountain, staff, scenery and our accommodation.

We just had to build a snowman

Cardona ski field is particularly good for beginners – choosing which mountain and ski field was a bit of a mine field, but I was greatly assisted in my research by Powder Hounds – a comprehensive site that reviews and ranks mountains and skiing all around the world. So for me, a third time skier, and my children (5 and 7) who are absolute beginners,   Cardrona came out on top (luckily there were a few treacherous black runs to keep my husband happy too).

The beginner slopes

We all had lessons every day, which were invaluable, and perfect for learning technique and gaining confidence. Watching the little kids learn to ski, coming down the mountain in their little “ski-train” going choo-choo all the way brought tears to my eyes! The ski instructors were fantastic – calm, kind and experienced – just what you need.

There are only three cafes on the mountain (that I found) and Noodle Bar was the best – fresh, tasty and satisfying.

Now to the accommodation – we found an absolute gem of a luxury Bed and Breakfast called Waiorau Homestead on Trip Advisor – after reading a mixture of good and bad reviews on just about every hotel/guesthouse in the area (think bedbugs, zero cleaning and rooms with no windows…) we found his place that has no negative reviews. Well earned too – the hosts bent over backwards to make our stay happy and comfortable – even lighting an outdoor fire on one of the nights so the kids could toast marshmallows.

The house and rooms are stylish, luxurious (feather duvets and heated bathroom floors), and most importantly, warm! A roaring fire goes day and night, and meals are accompanied by music, candles, and the most wonderful food thanks to one of the hosts being a chef.

The family room at Waiorau Homestead


                  We were greeted by this every afternoon – cheese, homemade muffins and tea

Nearby, the Cardrona Hotel is the perfect place to unwind after a day on the mountains – fires are lit indoors and out, there’s a quaint, historic, rustic feel, and pretty good steak too.

                                              Dates back to 1863 – not bad for NZ

                                                              Lovely mulled wine

The scenery around Cardrona is breathtaking, and Wanaka is a pretty good place for a day trip if you need a break from skiing – I recommend the gorgeous cinema Ruby’s, and Puzzling World for laughs.

It was the perfect little break from life in Sydney and Yellow Front Door – the only downside being  the price – skiing will definitely be a once a year treat!

You Need New Outdoor Cushions for Summer


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Summer is just around the corner, and at Yellow Front Door, we’re excited to announce our new range of outdoor cushions. The best thing about this range is that we sourced the fabrics and made the cushions, so they are our own Yellow Front Door brand.

Firstly, and probably most importantly, we chose the fabric. It needed to be strong and designed to withstand the harsh Australian sun, rain and humidity. After a lot of research, we chose Sunbrella fabric for it’s high performance and superior quality. Sunbrella fabric is made from solution dyed acrylic, which means that the colour pigments are added in the early stages of manufacturing when the acrylic is in it’s liquid form, before it’s turned into yarn. Therefore, that the colour permeates right through the fabric, so it won’t fade. The fabric is resistant to UV, water and mould, and is breathable and very easy to keep clean.

Now to the colours and styles – we looked for colours that were lacking in our existing range (yellow fro example) but we were also mindful of choosing colours that would complement each other and our existing range, making it easy to mix and match. Sizes are a fairly standard and popular 45cm x 45cm – the perfect size for the outdoor sofa, chair or bench seat.

The four new outdoor cushions are Dandelion (a sunny yellow), Turquoise (bold turquoise), Turquoise Chevron(a textured turquoise and cream in a chevron pattern), and Tangerine (a vibrant orange/melon).

If you’re looking to buy outdoor cushions online in Australia, look no further than Yellow Front Door for an exciting, quality range that will last many seasons.

Dandelion Outdoor Cushion Cover
Turquoise Outdoor Cushion Cover
Coral Stripe and Tangerine Outdoor Cushion Covers

10 Things to Learn from these Beautiful Bedrooms


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Bedrooms are the most personal rooms in the house. A bedroom should be beautiful and relaxing, and offer you a feeling of peace, safety and comfort. Given that approximately one third of our lives are spent sleeping, it’s important to get this room right. Carefully consider colour, texture, lighting and furniture, and introduce elements that bring your own personality to the space. These bedrooms will show you some key ways to create a bedroom that is not only beautiful, but also functional and relaxing.

Dark walls are cosier
Given that bedrooms are mostly used at night for sleeping and reading, it’s the one room in the house that can get away with being dark and moody. Bedrooms should be cosy and inviting, and a dark wall colour will achieve this. Remember colours look different depending on the amount of light available in the room so get a few sample pots which you can paint onto card and attach to the wall with blu-tack. This will also help you coordinate the colour with existing furniture and colours. If you don’t want the room to appear too dark you can use a dark colour on just one wall like here, and behind the bed is the obvious choice.

If light isn’t an issue, be daring and introduce the dark colour to all four walls.

This grasscloth wallpaper in aubergine combines a dark colour with texture for an extra dose of cosiness.

Traditional Bedroom by Sydney Interior Designers & Decorators Darren Palmer
Texture is key
Texture is all about the feel of a surface or material, and is vital for creating warmth, character and cosiness. Texture also helps with acoustics. Introduce texture with curtains, rugs, throws and cushions. Look for textiles that have a “slub” to them, which means they have nubs and irregularities which give a bumpy, uneven and rough texture. Consider natural, woven or embroidered materials in linen, wool, silk, or velvet. Rugs should be thick and luscious, and even wall art can introduce texture if you choose a painting with a rough surface.

Here texture is introduced through the exposed concrete bricks, so little else is needed.

Curtains add sophistication
Installing curtains will up the drama and luxe factor, so consider using them even if you already have blinds in place. Blinds are great for controlling light but can feel clinical. If your bed is positioned in front of a window like here, sheer curtains will remove that drafty feeling while allowing the light through.

Aim for two layers of curtains which can be placed on separate tracks – one sheer curtain for privacy, and another in a heavier fabric for light and temperature control.

Bedheads dictate comfort
When choosing the style of bedhead, consider not only how it will look but also how it will feel when you’re sitting up in bed.
A padded bedhead will introduce comfort and texture (but will require regular steam cleaning).

Buttons and studs, along with a geometric pattern, bring formality and a traditional element to this bedroom.

A wooden bedhead, whether it’s part of the bed or attached directly to the wall, is easy to keep clean, but will need some European pillowcases for comfort.

Get creative with your bedhead. You can use wallpaper, recycled wood, or pressed tin panels like here. More creative DIY bedhead ideas here

Lighting is vital
A bedroom needs a variety of lighting options – overhead lighting that’s easy to access when you’re popping into the room, bedside lights for reading in bed, and soft ambient mood lighting.

Pendant bedside lights should be positioned slightly in from the bedside tables otherwise they will light up the table, not your book.

Wall bedside lights are perfect for creating that luxe hotel look while keeping the bedside tables clear, and can be angled to suit like these ones.

Art can go on the floor
Art doesn’t have to be confined to the walls. Recently, patterned rugs have made a real comeback, and can make a bold statement in the room. Pick out a colour from the rug to repeat elsewhere in the room. If your rug is bold, make sure it stays the “hero piece” by keeping other artworks and accessories muted.

Using two colours creates calm
Limiting your colour palette to two colours, like the pale grey and beige here, creates an exceptionally calm and restful space, making it easy to relax and switch your brain off.

Plants improve air quality
We all know that plants release oxygen, but they can also remove harmful pollutants, toxins and chemicals from the air. These toxins, such as formaldehyde and benzene, can be found in synthetic carpets and furniture, paints and cleaning products. Top plants for producing oxygen and cleaning the air are the Bamboo Palm, Snake Plant (or Mother-in-law’s Tongue), seen here, the Areca Palm, Rubber Palm, Boston Fern and Peace Lily.

Don’t compete with the view
If you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful view from your bedroom winnow, keep decoration and furnishings to a minimum to ensure the focus remains firmly on that view.

Make it Personal
Your bedroom is the only room in the house that your guests generally don’t see, so don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Choose the things that YOU like, and really let your personality shine through. I’m sure this boudoir makes it’s owner smile every time they enter!

heath carousel

Remember cushions
Cushions will add colour, comfort and luxury to your bed. Choose colours and patterns that go with the room and make you happy. A collection of cushions, like the Imogen Heath cushions here, look amazing, or go for a single cushion for a more minimal look.
See the Yellow Front Door range of cushions in a vast array of colours, patterns and styles here and enjoy online shopping with free delivery Australia wide.

A Wonderful Stay at Gaia Retreat and Spa


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I was lucky enough to spend four blissful days at Gaia Retreat and Spa in the Byron Bay hinterland in Northern NSW last week. What a treat! I really felt spoilt and pampered, and had a good dose of much-needed TLC. Plus it’s a great place to reflect on life, change bad habits or start new ones.

I was lucky enough to meet an old, great friend there whom I don’t get to see very often, but many people were there on their own for some down-time or a detox, and there were a few couples too.

From the minute you walk through the door, the place feels calm and serene, yet super-friendly and welcoming. The staff are lovely, the food amazing (and healthy!), and the decor and natural surroundings are beautiful.

You can do as much or as little as you like, either relaxing in one of the many indoor or outdoor daybeds and sofas around the property, or choosing something more adventurous. There’s yoga every morning at 7.30am ( a respectable hour!), a swimming pool, tennis court, bush walking, cycling, and exercise classes if you feel inclined. Every day the timetable changes, with classes ranging from cooking to meditation to Tai Chi.

There’s also the wonderful day spa, with treatments such as massage, body scrub, pedicure, but also some more unusual ones like esoteric healing.

The overall decor and ambience is very much relaxed Balinese, but furnishings are kept updated, and feel fresh and new.

The grounds are stunning, with lots of resident lizards, birds and frogs, and the views around the 25-acre property are really to-die-for.

The rooms are well-furnished and equipped, with comfortable beds and a great selection of teas. We had the Layana suite (entry point) but there are more deluxe and expensive options, even one room with it’s own plunge pool. We didn’t feel the need since we were only in our room to sleep anyway.

Now, the food…..some of it comes from their own vegetable and herb garden, resplendent with papayas and mangoes, but a lot comes from the local area, mostly organic of course. The food is prepared with such love and care – all those nutrients and vitamins look and taste absolutely wonderful! Breakfast consisted of platters of smoked salmon, avocado, tomatoes, fruit, plus a gluten-free porridge made with millet, amaranth, quinoa and brown rice, each day with a different flavour added such as coconut and fig. There was also a cooked option, such as frittata or poached eggs.

There is a lovely little tea station for all-day tea-drinking, and freshly made gluten free muffins.

Lunch was usually a salad – one example was roast pumpkin, beetroot, avocado, green beans, pecans, dill, sheep’s feta, rocket and cranberries – what a combination!


Dinner was always three courses, with the starter being something like scallops or soup, the main fish or chicken with beautifully prepared vegetables, and dessert being a gluten-free cake with yoghurt or chocolate mousse. Speaking of which, they have the most amazing recipe for chocolate mousse with avocado, see this recipe here

Most of the food is gluten, diary and red meat free, and they cater to any special dietary requirements.
I highly recommend Gaia to anyone and everyone – whether it be for R&R, a detox, de-stress, get fit, or just to treat yourself and feel spoilt. Even if you’re not a lie-around-reading-your-book type of person, you’ll never feel bored, I guarantee!

Kate Unsworth

Yellow Front Door  

Kitchen Series – style and design


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Last year I wrote a kitchen design series on Houzz Australia – Traditional, French Provincial, Mid-century Modern, Tropical, Industrial and Classic.

If you’re planning on renovating your kitchen, or just love drooling over gorgeous kitchen pics, you must take a read. You’ll also learn the key design elements of each style, and how to create the look in your own home.


French Provincial

Mid-century Modern




Kate Unsworth

Yellow Front Door


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