Introducing Briana to Team Bibby + Brady

One of the best pieces of business advice I've had is to hire your weaknesses. Bibby + Brady has always worked well with just the two of us because Dael and I compliment each other with our strengths. But as we've got busier and started taking on bigger projects, we wanted to be able to offer our clients a more complete interior design service. So we're thrilled to have a new member of Bibby + Brady to help us do just that. Meet interior architect, Briana Joll...

Briana emailed us at the end of last year when she and her husband were getting ready to relocate from Auckland to Hawke's Bay. We caught up for a coffee earlier this year once she had made the move down. With a Bachelor's degree in Spacial Design, certificates in ArchiCAD and CAD Draughting, and a working background in commercial interior design, we knew she'd be a valuable addition to our team. Being able to offer both our commercial and residential clients 3D visuals, along with documenting, draughting, and elevation drawings meant we could offer the best possible service to our clients.

We got straight to work getting Briana to create 3D visuals for a clients' laundry and kitchen renovation. These are so valuable when your client wants to see their space before starting on the construction stage.

It's an optional service we now offer, and it's a great tool for visualising how things fit and how different colours and materials will look. It's much better to spend a bit of time at this planning stage, tweaking the design until you're happy, than making changes at the construction stage or after installation.

In this particular laundry, the doors and the room are existing, and we're getting the cabinetry made and installed by our joiner. Briana can also do the elevation drawings if necessary.

Below are examples of elevation drawings Briana has done for some commercial jobs. Elevations show the fronts or sides of something, as opposed to a floor plan which shows a space from above. They're intended for use as a guide for construction, and as well as commercial projects, elevations are also great for residential kitchens, bathrooms, laundries, or anywhere that requires built-in joinery, such as bookshelves or an office.

Space planning is another of Briana's fortes, as you can see from this commercial office project below. Dael and I are also adept at this, but Briana's experience in spatial design and CAD software definitely enhances our services now.

So you see, the addition of Briana to our team means that Bibby + Brady can be your one stop interior design shop, cliché as that may be. Whether your project is residential or commercial, we can take it from the concept to the finished interior, project managing it along the way, and including submitting plans to Council (when necessary). You don't need to go to a number of different professionals, we can handle it all for you and take away much of the stress. We love having Briana as part of our team, and if you work with us you will definitely benefit from her too. Visit our 'Design Service' tab to find out more about working with us, and make sure you download our "work with us" pdf to learn more about our services and processes.

Adding Character to a New Build

Building or moving into a brand new home is an exciting time, and there are so many advantages over an older home. But unless you're lucky enough to have had it architecturally designed, a new house can sometimes feel a little plain, lacking in charm, or, dare I say, soulless. At our recent styling evening in Havelock North, I was asked if I had any tips on how to add character and interest to a newly built house, so I have put together this blog post with some of our ideas.

There are actually plenty of ways to inject interesting elements that will add depth and interest to your new home, one of them is to add panelling to your walls. There are a number of ways to do this and it's amazing how quickly it will elevate a room with it's subtle layer of texture. Vertical panelling is a classic look that can be made to look both traditional or contemporary depending on how it's executed. Pictured above with lovely thick skirting boards, this panelling creates a classic look. Another fun way to use it is to run it part way up the wall, top with a dado rail, and either paint or wallpaper above. The powder room below has turned what was a small, plain room into a fun, personality-filled space. The thinner panelling is a nice contrast to the door and works well in a smaller space.

By square setting the panelling from the ceiling to the floor without any skirts or architraves, you create a contemporary look for your home. The entrance below has cleverly lined up the door and wall panelling for a clean, seamless look. This is trickier to execute, so although the first versions (above) are possible to DIY, I would recommend getting the experts to help you with this square set panelling. This look really needs to be decided on before the building stage, so talk to your builder early on in the process.

We often use vertical panelling in our kitchen designs. With very little fabric or furnishings in a kitchen, it's a nice way to introduce texture. The home below uses the panelling in quite a contemporary fashion, also running it up the walls and on the door in the hallway to create a sense of continuity.

Below are more examples of vertical panelling, this time using it in natural wood for a hit of warmth as well as texture. This sort of application doesn't have to be used everywhere in your house, instead use it to create a feature in key areas.

Another form of wall panelling that you're probably familiar with is board and batten. It features wide boards covered by long flat strips (battens) about 5cm wide. This is one of the oldest, most traditional style of panelling and is often used on the exterior of houses. If using it on the interior of your house you can create the same look by just attaching the thin strips over a conventional wall. I love the character it adds, and it can also be used on just the lower half of your wall with paint or wallpaper above.

One of my favourite wall features is box moulding. This is something you can do yourself if you're a clever 'diy-er', or have a handy man in the house. Keeping it white adds subtle texture, or paint it dark to make more of a statement.

Built-in furniture pieces are not for the faint hearted, as they become a semi-permanent part of your home once installed, but they help to add that architectural detail that may be lacking in your new build. If well designed and built they will be a fantastic addition to your home and are often great for utilising otherwise unused or awkward spaces. Built-in bookshelves are the most common piece we're asked for by our clients. The one below is so handy for storage and display, and they've included box moulding - win, win!

When you're installing a new kitchen, the cabinets are custom made to fit. But there's nothing to stop you fitting cupboards similar to the ones below along a hallway, in an entrance, or a kids' play room for valuable extra storage. If possible, take them to the ceiling so they look like they're supposed to be there and not an after thought that has just been tacked on.

The bookshelf below is our ideal living room built-in piece. Open storage for books and favourite pieces, closed storage at the bottom for things you don't want on display, and a space for the TV. This setup is also great for ensuring that the television is disguised a bit and not the centre of attention in your living room.

One of our most favourite ways to add interest to, and elevate a space, is wallpaper. Powder rooms, laundries, and entrances are great spaces for wallpaper. Because you don't spend a lot of time in any of the rooms you can get really brave, go bold and wallpaper every wall. Of course, if you're open to wallpapering all four walls of your living or dining room we applaud you, but even a single wall, like the bedroom below will create a lovely feature. This grasscloth wallpaper provides beautiful texture but is otherwise quite subtle.

If pattern is your thing there are a multitude of gorgeous wallpapers to choose from and we're more than happy to help you choose - patterned or plain.

In any good design, contrast is a key component. When you have a brand new home, we like to add some vintage or antique pieces to give the place some depth. I love this little vintage table (below) against the crisp, new white walls. Have fun hunting on TradeMe or your local second hand shops, or if you're really lucky you may have one or two special pieces you've inherited from your parents or grandparents. 

The antique dresser below has been repurposed into a vanity adding some weight and character to the brand new bathroom.

Interesting tiles in your kitchen and bathroom will instantly add character and style. I would strongly urge you to choose a beautifully tiled splash back over a coloured glass one. There are so many shiny, hard surfaces in a kitchen, and a glass splash back is just one more. Tiles can add texture and pattern, even a plain subway will be so much more interesting than flat glass.

The kitchen below belongs to our clients, and although they didn't build it, the house was still very new when they bought it. Because the kitchen was so new they didn't feel the need to rip it out and start again, but they did want to breathe a bit of life into it, and stamp their own mark on it. It was as simple as replacing the handles on the bottom cabinets with a more contemporary matt black version, and removing the top ones altogether for a cleaner look. We then replaced the glass splash back with the soft green subway tiles, and added the gorgeous fish scale tiles under the breakfast bar. You can see before photos in our previous blog post.

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Below is the view from the above kitchen, where I can illustrate two more simple ways we added some character to the simple white interior. Other than the furniture and accessories, the two things we love about this space are the curtains and the chandelier. There were initially plain white roller blinds over the large bi-fold doors, but by replacing these with beautiful linen curtains it helped to soften the room and add texture. Fixtures like lights are a brilliant way to spice up a simple interior. We used the stunning chandelier to do just this, as well as to help zone the living room in the open plan space. A similar light was used over the breakfast bar above.

Lastly, paint is an oldie but a goodie... it is by far the quickest and most cost-effective way to change and lift a room. A simple colour can make the world of difference! The use of the multi colours below creates the illusion of an architectural feature.

In conclusion, not everything above will appeal to everyone, and you obviously don't have to include each tip into your new build. But we do hope that you have gained some inspiration to take your shiny new house up to the next level.

We always love your feedback, so feel free to comment below on ways you have added interest to a new build. And if there is anything you would like our advice on, let us know, it could be the next blog post we write.

Favourite Space | Sarah Zonneveld

Do you remember Carrie's walk-in-wardrobe in "Sex and the City"? It is still my dream wardrobe and what I'm hoping mine will look like one day soon (if we ever get our master bedroom extension off the ground). Our next 'favourite space' candidate took it one step further, she has a 'ward-room'! That's what happens when you are a serious vintage clothes shopper and your husband is a builder who is happy to convert a small bedroom into an entire walk-in wardrobe.

Sarah Zonneveld has lived in her Napier bungalow for 6 1/2 years with her husband, Norm, and two sons, Joel and Ethan. Surrounded by males (although she loves them all dearly), Sarah loves having something girly of her own; somewhere to retreat, and she confesses to sometimes getting stuck in there playing dress-ups and choosing her next outfit.

Not just her wardrobe, but most of her home is filled with beautiful vintage pieces that Sarah has lovingly searched for and collected. In fact even the extension at the back of their house is made, by Norm, from all recycled materials. Sarah had been looking for a beaded curtain for quite some time to hang on the entrance to her ward-room and found the perfect one on Trade Me recently.

She has such an extensive collection of clothes, jewellery and accessories, Sarah quite often has friends popping in to borrow something for an upcoming wedding or a school ball. She loves vintage fashion, but also pieces from different cultures. A 'creative gypsy' is what she calls herself, having taken on a lot of creative ventures, and a lot of travelling. She and Norm backpacked around Asia with the boys when they were younger, she also backpacked through Africa, and loved visiting India with her sister.

Norm built all the shelves and racks in the ward-room, and as Sarah's collection grows, he finds somewhere else to add a shelf, or a creative way to display items.

We asked Sarah a few questions, so she can tell you more about herself and her beautiful space...

What do you love most about this space - your ward-room?

It’s completely mine. It’s my girl zone in a house full of testosterone. I love being surrounded by my unique treasures and I can literally spend hours getting lost in my clothes and accessories. And I love that it’s my space to play dress-up every morning.

Can you tell us a bit about how long it took to create and how it has evolved?

I have the best hubby, he created this space for me because he knew I needed it, being the mad vintage collector that I am. I think he was scared I may take over his shed if he didn’t give me somewhere for my vast collection. I’ve been collecting vintage and op shopped treasures for well over 25 years.

My ward-room is constantly growing and being added to. I love to display things and I’m always asking Norm to hang something. We joke that there’s still plenty of wall space to put yet another shelf or hat rack, when in reality I’m fast running out of room!

What’s your favourite time of the day?

I don’t have a specific time that’s a favourite, but any time I’m op-shopping or working on a creative project is a good time of day.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m greatly inspired by other cultures and eras. I adore India, Egypt, Asia, anywhere exotic and unique. I’m drawn to the styles of other eras too, and will take pieces from the 70s and mix it with something that wouldn’t be out of place with Cleopatra or Queen Nefertiti.

What are your reading/listening to?

Reading – I always have my nose in a book but I’m currently devouring the latest issue of NZ Fashion Quarterly.

Music – Being a collector of everything, I also collect music and have an extensive playlist that’s constantly being added to. I love both old school and current music. My sons have introduced me to some incredible fresh talent that I would never have found on my own.

Sweet or savoury?

Savoury. Home grown or organic is how I like it.

Favourite drink?

My smoothie that I make every morning, I love to kick start my day with a good dose of greens.

Favourite thing you own?

A velvet ivy wreath that was worn by my Mum when she married my Dad. It was made by my grandmother who was a seamstress/dressmaker. I’m a sentimental soul so it’s an extra special treasure to me.

Top of your wish list for your ward-robe or home?

I’m on the hunt for a large rug for my lounge. No doubt I will come across the perfect one in an op shop!

As is usual with us when visiting these favourite spaces, we found one of our own. It's this gorgeous daybed nook at the bottom of Sarah's garden. Norm and Joel built it for Sarah 3 years ago as a birthday present. "We added the solar lights and the ivy is slowly growing up and over it," said Sarah. "I sometimes pull the screen down and fall asleep during the day, and the boys pull out the brazier and hang out there with friends. I love it, it brings me so much joy".

Thank you so much Sarah for inviting us into your home and world, you are truly a beautiful soul. Yours is the epitome of a house that's been turned into a home, and it's a true reflection of the people who live there - our favourite kind of house.