With dark timber cupboards and a requirement for more storage, this family room was crying out for a makeover. A long sleek wall unit was custom designed to incorporate concealed storage, more filing drawers, a desk and a collection of porcelain dolls. New furniture was purchased to complete the new look. Designed by laurentaylor design and built by Wiltone Woodwork. After photography by Candice Van Moolenbroek Photography
It's a bit of a tradition in our family to make gingerbread houses every year. Well, not every year, sometimes we remember how fiddly + time consuming they are to make. It always seems like a good idea until you're in the middle of it! It's even more difficult with our high humidity in the tropics.
Anyway, this year, to make it even more of a challenge, I decided to make an Australian style Gingerbread House.... Again, it seemed like a great idea at the time!
I found a recipe and some templates from Taste but it was a really large house so I scaled it down a little bit so that I could make two houses out of one batch of pastry (as well as some little gingerbread people to go inside the house!). I found the templates here. And then I scaled them down and made a little cardboard house first to make sure all the proportions were okay. The original template from Taste had the house up on liquorice allsort stumps but I didn't go to quite as much detail as that. I also loved the spider and Christmas lights on the roof in the original version. I'd love to know how many houses they had to make before they got the perfect house for the photoshoot!
After making the gingerbread biscuits (just like a pre-fab house), my mother-in-law kindly offered her air-conditioned kitchen to construct and decorate the houses. This was great on two accounts, a cool environment meant the icing didn't slide everywhere and it made it less likely for me to lose my cool!!
When I finished, I realised I'd omitted the solar panels and the rainwater tanks. Another challenge for next year!!
The house turned out really well but storing the houses is always an issue in our humid climate so I wasn't really surprised when the awning collapsed. I better get cracking and do some repairs so it can be used as the table centrepiece on Christmas day!
Merry Christmas everyone.
Ahhhh...big sigh of contentment... It's my day off. My day off from being a Mum that is. I've got my interior design hat on again and I love it. I must love it. It's been 13 years since I finished university and started working at a small Architectural firm in Mackay. And I'm still working as an interior designer. (and still in Mackay!). The hours are long and sometimes it can be an extremely frustrating industry to work in but I'm still here. It must be love. I think that it's because I love working with people and helping them realise their dreams and ideas, making impractical spaces function again, turning ugliness into a thing of beauty, encouraging good practice of sustainability....
Don't get me wrong, I love being a Mum too. It's been a bit of a shock to the system.... Never have I folded so many clothes in my life, or been so domesticated (my former years were filled with share houses and travelling the world on a disposable income) but it's nice to have a few hours in a row during the day dedicated to my career.
So it's 10am, I've got a coffee and a homemade chocolate, I'm sat at my relatively tidy desk and I'm ready to work! Today, it's some marketing, some book-keeping and tidying some loose ends.
Becoming a Mum has definitely changed my ideas about the world, or in some cases, reminded me what it's all about. And because of these thoughts about sustainability and becoming more eco-conscious, I have had second thoughts about continuing my interior design career and have dabbled with the idea of studying permaculture instead. But, as my good friend put it, if we are in the industry, we should have more influence on how things are done. So it's probably worth staying here and trying to initiate or encourage change within the construction industry. (Have you ever seen a rubbish skip on a building site? So much is thrown 'away')
I've certainly been heard to say in the past "Oh well, those blinds are so cheap, you could always throw them away when they deteriorate" and "Oh well, if you get sick of it, you can always update your look and start afresh in a few years time". Reading the book "Zero Waste Home" by Bea Johnson, who is an artist by trade, was life-changing. She is an incredible example of how you can live in a modern, consumer-driven world without producing waste (or very minimal waste). And she does it in a very stylish way too. I think the biggest revelation is - there is no 'away'. We are just filling up our planet earth with disposable, single-use items and plastic. And plastic takes millions of years to break down. And it ends up in our waterways and ultimately into the food chain.
When we finished our kitchen renovation, we moved everything into the cupboards in a big hurry because we were having the timber floors sanded and re-polished and the interior of the house painted. I remember being disappointed that despite having a new kitchen, we didn't have enough storage cupboards. I wish that I'd read "Zero Waste Home" and "The Life-changing Magic of Tidying" and other such books on minimalism before we'd done the renovation and perhaps the end result would have been very different. Now I think we have too many cupboards! I loved the Grand Designs episode of the East Sussex man, James Strangeways who'd lived on a boat his whole life - he only wanted a couple of cupboards in his new kitchen! This house was designed by his nephew Ben Hebblethwaite of Godsmark Architecture.
I think that embracing a more minimalist lifestyle that is filled with experiences rather than stuff is something really worthwhile. Less time cleaning, more time doing things you love. One of the reasons I love living in Mackay is because we have access to some of the greatest outdoors in the world - we have the beaches, the rainforests, 4WDing tracks, camping, fishing and we have a beautiful climate.
If we can build kitchens and bathrooms that are built to last a long time, even if it costs more money to do so, I think it is the way of the future. Recycling and re-using materials is also so important. Helen Edwards of Recycled Interiors has made it her mission to promote this concept. Another Grand Designs episode featured an Earthship house in New Zealand which reuses materials such as tyres to create a well-ventilated space with natural light. I loved the windows made from glass bottles.
At the end of the day, where there is a will, there is a way. And it's all about turning thoughts + words into actions. And I hope that we can all work together to create sustainable homes + workplaces as much as possible.
People often wonder why you would go to an Interior Designer when you could go straight to the Cabinetmaker. Designers look at the whole kitchen in context to the rest of the house and can often come up with design solutions to problems you didn't even know you had! And it's all about brainstorming and coming up with ideas. Here are three different options for one kitchen. Which one do you like best? #kitchendesign #interiordesign #designsolutions#kitchenrenovationmackay #mackayinteriordesigners #laurentaylordesign #kitchenrenovation
Before + after of a raked ceiling which was previously clear finished pine and is now white. #laurentaylordesign #mackay #beforeandafter #interiordesignRead More
It is a lasting memory of the fun we had with friends and family on the day we were married. It is handmade by a local weaver in Mackay. It has wonderful bright colours and it is soft underfoot.
It is our hallway runner which we commissioned Pam Hutley to make with the money that was gifted to us on our wedding day. When we renovated our kitchen and bathroom, we also ripped up all the carpet in the bedrooms and had the timber floors polished. It has made a world of difference in regards to reducing dust and hayfever symptoms. But, it is nice to walk on the hallway runner with it's 100% wool. We chose the heavier duty version because it is in the main hallway of our home. Pam buys the woollen fleeces, dyes them and then spins it into yarn. She tries to use natural dyes where possible. All of the dyes in our runner are natural except for the black. The yarn is then woven on the loom into the finished product. We are so happy with it. It always brightens our day!
It's been a busy week. It always is when you're trying to work from home and look after a baby!
On Tuesday, we had an 'action-packed' day. We drove 'Daddy' to the airport at sunrise.
We had vegemite on toast for breakfast.
Then we made egg-free apple + almond muffins from Louise Fulton-Keats' fantastic cookbook, 'Thermomix Cooking for your Baby + Toddler'. Baby M is allergic to eggs.
M had a nap and I did some work (paid and housework!)
Then lunchtime and another nap (it's a baby's life)
While M was napping, I met with a local Mackay artist, Harvey Stone. Such wonderful pencil and ink drawings of unusual subjects such as fungi and pandanus seeds. He has a variety of styles, all very graphic. He gave me a lovely watercolour of Lawn Hill Gorge (one of my favourite places from family camping holidays). He'll be at the Wintermoon Festival in Cameron's Pocket at the end of April and at the next Rock Paper Scissors Market at Mackay Artspace in July.
I started a weaving in the afternoon. I want to try another design from the gorgeous blog, A Beautiful Mess.
We went for a walk and picked up some rubbish. I am trying to lead a more eco conscious life this year. Don't forget about Clean Up Australia Day on the 6th March.
Dinner, bath and bed.
Some more work and then it starts all over again tomorrow!
Living in North Queensland or in any other tropical or sub-tropical climate, the connection between the interior and garden is so important. In renovations to our 1950s worker's cottage over the past couple of years, we have strived to create a strong connection to the outdoors. We began with a new deck and then re-modelled the kitchen and bathroom. The main aspects of the brief were to improve functionality, aesthetics and to increase natural light, ventilation and access to the garden.
We've been working on our garden to turn it into a tropical oasis. One of my favourite flowers is the Bird of Paradise. It is so sculptural and the colours are so bright and beautiful.
My friend didn't want a baby shower so we cunningly planned one anyway! We hope that she enjoyed it. The icing on the cake was definitely a surprise visit from her Mum. It was a lovely morning with a small group of girls, lots of cake and conversation. We were planning on doing some stitchin' and bitchin' but we didn't quite get around to it.
I made this nappy cake to mark the occasion. I used over 50 nappies. Probably about 80 nappies in total. And I roughly followed the directions on Kidspot's blog. It's pretty easy and an effective centre piece and gift! I chose black and white embellishments because my friend's nursery has been styled in these colours.
When my daughter was born, I momentarily turned into a domestic goddess. I was baking and making. I didn't feel that pregnancy glow that people sometimes speak about but I did feel a post birth glow. Until sleep deprivation kicked in. In the midst of my crafty storm, I decided to be swept along with the recent weaving trend. So I started a small wall hanging for my niece's 'big girl room'. I got inspiration from this amazing U.S. blog - A Beautiful Mess.
My niece's birthday is in Spring and the arrival of her sister or brother is expected not long after so I thought that by starting a wall hanging in June, I was bound to complete it in time! It was lucky I allowed so much time. Especially when the grumpiness, procrastination and lack of motivation arrived along with the prolonged lack of sleep.
My niece's big girl room was themed in pink, white and gold so I bought wool in those colours in lots of different sizes and textures. My handy father-in-law made the loom from an old picture frame and nails. And without further ado, I started weaving!
The former Pioneer Shire Council Chambers on Wood Street, Mackay is a beautiful Art Deco building designed by Architect, Harold Brown. Originally built in 1935, it has been lovingly restored by the current Mackay Regional Council. It was officially re-opened on the 2nd August 2015. These are some 'before' photos including some pictures of our Wedding in November 2013 before the adjacent 1970s additions were removed in the restoration process. Wedding photos were taken by Candice Van Moolenbroek Photography. Lauren Taylor Design assisted the heritage Architect, Conrad Gargett and Mackay Regional Council with the design of the new kitchen (requested by the new tenant). Inspiration was taken from the design on the original doors throughout the building.
Monday was just a perfect Winter's day in Mackay. Blue skies, a light breeze and a warm sun. We walked all the way around the city stopping in at the Botanical Gardens, Baby Bounce at the Mackay City Library, lunch at Caneland Central, and a walk on the Blue Water Trail with afternoon tea at Grandma's. Days like this help to reiterate why we love living in Mackay!
One weekend, last year, Meg & I paid a visit to Mackay's dump shop and we transformed these old green vinyl chairs from old to new!
We made the trip down to Pam Hutley's studio last week to see the beautiful colours of the yarn for my new hallway runner. Only natural dyes have been used. Pam dyes the fleece and then spins it into yarn.
The rug will take about 2 weeks to weave so it should be ready next month. How exciting!
With the interior renovations to our small worker's cottage almost complete, it's time for the fun part! We received some money as a Wedding present to put towards a rug and so I am working with local Mackay weaver, Pam Hutley to create a colourful hallway runner to brighten up our black and white themed hallway. Can't wait to see the finished rug!
It is often the final decorative touches that make a house a home and it is wonderful to showcase sentimental artwork, gifts and ornaments collected over the years. This is our worker’s cottage in Mackay, Queensland. We have added a deck and we have just renovated the kitchen and bathroom. Photos of the new kitchen and bathroom will follow shortly.