Lennon House Features In ‘Interiors Addict’ Blog

Before & after: Plants star in timeless cottage reno

 

See original publication here

 

An original 1958 three bedroom cottage located in Geelong, this home was renovated recently by a husband and wife duo who brought their considerable experience (as a carpenter and interior designer respectively) to the project.

“Jeff purchased this house in 2008, long before I was on the scene. It was a tiny three bedroom home on a good sized block in a beautiful neighbourhood. It had already undertaken a few cosmetic changes in its lifetime but was screaming out for some love,” says the home’s owner and interior designer Sophie Barratt, Jeff’s wife.

BEFORE lounge
BEFORE lounge
AFTER lounge
AFTER lounge

“Jeff took on a mammoth task all by himself, bit by bit chipping away at an extensive renovation and enormous extension, with a vision to create a beautiful family home he could one day enjoy with a partner and children. But a project this huge ate away at Jeff’s time, physicality, money, patience and motivation,” says Sophie who reignited Jeff’s passion for the project soon after they met.

AFTER living area
AFTER living area

“At first, he was too embarrassed to let me come over to the house, because of the state he was living in. It took a few weeks for him to finally let me see it, and I saw the potential! He was living in the original part of the house, part gutted, part renovated and the extension out the back was framed, but sitting idle. There was so much work to be done to make this a liveable home – it was overwhelming,” says Sophie who runs her own interior design business Lennon House.

BEFORE backyard
BEFORE backyard
AFTER backyard
AFTER backyard

As is often the case, it was a pregnancy that gave the project momentum. “We were incredibly excited when pregnancy came knocking on our door but we had a dilemma. We were living in the property I own, while this house was sitting around half done, not worthy of renting out or even worth selling due to the unfinished nature it was in. It wasn’t practical, having two mortgages, with one sitting there with no good use,” says Sophie who transformed the home with the help of family, friends and a trusted team of trades – all before the couple’s baby arrived.

BEFORE kitchen
BEFORE kitchen
AFTER kitchen & lounge
AFTER kitchen & lounge

“We wanted to pay homage to the period of the home by not going overboard with extreme modernism, but wanted it to feel spacious and contemporary with a touch of luxury. I wanted it to be timeless and a blank canvas of sorts that anyone can make into their home if we were to sell down the track,” says Sophie. Original decorative cornices were restored in the bedrooms, as was the original fireplace in the lounge room. “Also, feature subway tiles in the bathrooms, kitchen and laundry were chosen to pay homage to the period of the home. Not only have they been around for ever and will never date, but they also provide a wow factor and focal point,” says Sophie.

AFTER dining
AFTER dining

Aside from honouring the home’s history, Sophie also undertook the renovation with a specific focus on greenery. “This house was designed with plants in mind. The shelf behind the bath isn’t there by coincidence! Greenery was always going to be the major wow factor in this home,” says Sophie who revels in plant maintenance.

AFTER nursery
AFTER nursery

“As an anxiety sufferer, plant care is such a calming way to distract a busy mind and take you away from your spiralling thoughts.  Looking around at the plants, spotting new growth or even a plant that needs a drink, can instantly distract your mind from a negative mindset.”

AFTER bedroom
AFTER bedroom
AFTER bathroom
AFTER bathroom

For more | House plant 101

Amy Collins Walker

ABOUT AMY COLLINS WALKER

Amy is our regular feature writer, an experienced journalist and interior stylist living in Perth, Western Australia. Find out more about her styling work at http://www.amycollinswalker.com/

 

Repotting Your Indoor Plants

Spring has sprung for us down here in the Southern Hemisphere and I couldn’t be happier.  The atmosphere is warmer, the days are getting longer, the air feels fresher and my plants are about to take off!  Well, they are now after repotting them.

I have a few Monstera deliciosas around the house but I’d been noticing they’d gone dormant.  I thought this may have been due to the non-growth season, but upon further inspection, I realised they were completely root bound.  They had taken up all the room in their homes and had no more space to grow.

We had an early wake up with a spring in our step with the sun shining brightly, the weather was stunning and my little boy Len was desperate to get outside.  So, on went our gardening clothes and boots and out we went for a much needed dose of fresh air, vitamin D and a play with some dirt.

I realised that repotting plants may seem completely strange, boring and foreign to some, thanks to a good friend popping by for a cuppa and clearly looking confused with all my plant babble and excitement of plant babies.

Long story short, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, but would like to gain further insight, I’ve noted down a few steps I take when repotting plants.  If you , like me, notice a plant is looking a little on the top heavy side of life, hasn’t sprouted a new growth for a few months and you’re feeling like water doesn’t even have space to go in it’s current pot, keep reading.  I’ve put together a step by step guide that I follow to repot my plants.

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Extremely top heavy plant.

Hasn’t had new growth for a very long time, even though there is a new stem waiting to shoot out.1

Removing from old pot

When trying to remove from current pot, roots are holding it back as they’re poking through the drainage holes in desperation for room to grow.   Keep pulling at it, these will need a trim.

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Root Ball

The ball of overgrown roots.  Anyone else come up with sexual innuendos in their minds when saying these words!?  Lol.

Root bound

Give the roots a snip!

They need a good haircut, trimmed right back and rustled up a bit before repotting into fresh soil.

Snip

The larger, new pot that the plant is hopping into.

Before placing the trimmed down plant roots into the new pot, fill it about 1/3 to 1/2 with potting mix, depending on the size of the remaining root ball.  I use an all purpose potting mix from Bunnings and it hasn’t ever let me down.  Place the plant in and continue to add potting mix to cover all the roots.  Compact down slightly with your hands to ensure the plant is stable and won’t fall over.

upsize

Water in your plant

Because Spring is the growing season and these plants were due for a feed, I added some liquid fertiliser to the water to water them in.  Again, Bunnings keep me stocked up with Garden Basics Liquid Plant Food Concentrate and my plants love it.  I gave them quite a good soaking and left them to drain on the pebbles and bask in the sun for a couple of hours before bringing them inside again.

Water

Repotted, happy plants

Now to bring them in and watch them grow!

Sunbaking

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Note.  I am not a plant expert, rather someone who loves plants.  All words and images  are my own and all advice is from my personal findings.

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Are You Ok?

It’s R U OK day today.  I hope you’re all ok?  Are you?  In our society, it seems to be the norm where it’s good manners, expected even, that our response is positive.  “Yes, everything is ok!”  But, I know that everything is not always ok.

RUOK
Brook Gossen – More Than Ever

Mental health is something we all need to focus on from time to time and it’s very important we prioritise it. Without our mind being healthy, we are often left in a dark, heavy slump.  These heavy dark slumps are painful, crippling and zap your energy like any physical illness.

If you’re not ok, that’s ok!  But you are the only one to be able to do something about it. Take the first step and chat to someone, put it out there, deal with it head on.  Don’t keep putting it off, blaming others for your problems or wishing someone else could help.  Because you are the control centre of your mental health, nobody else.  Take ownership over your life, your mind and your problems.  There’s real power in doing this, I assure you.

This year has been a challenging one personally, with a lot of stressors at play and anxiety trying to cripple me.  In some respects, I’m very lucky to have had anxiety and depression play an integral role in my life for the past 20 years, as it’s taught me to know myself, who I am, accept all of what I am (and what I’m not), what I value, what I expect from others and most importantly, what I won’t tolerate.   They are super powerful tools to learn and use to know what to do when your mind is battling against you.  People will try as much as they like to bring you down, doubt yourself, doubt your foundations and relationships.  But in the end, if you have all of these elements in your mental toolbox, you will come out the other end with a clear perspective.  Take the time to be you, accept yourself for who you are, flaws and all and, be at peace with all that you’re not.

Chatting to family and friends is so crucial.  To get another persons perspective can clear your mind so much and alleviate some of that built up pressure that stress, depression and anxiety has a tendency to cause.  Go to your GP and have a chat to him.  Get a referral to a psychologist.  They work wonders in helping you feel better in your own skin and mind and make you see that you are ok, just the way you are!

If you need medication, don’t feel ashamed, don’t feel weak.  Feel PROUD of yourself for helping yourself and making a move into better mental health.  Men, I’m talking to you as well.

To anyone suffering with mental illness; you are one badass mother f*cker because nothing is more terrifying than battling with you own mind every single day.” Unknown

Get outside into the beautiful fresh air.  Start your morning with a walk, even if it’s just around the block (I used to hate being told this).  Start a garden!  It  doesn’t matter what it is, what it looks like, whether it’s inside or out.  But it’s something you can nurture and take care of and think of other than yourself and your spiralling thoughts.  It’s extremely rewarding.  Have a bath, have a shower.  There is something about being in water that can be immensely soul soothing.  Have a day in bed.  Have two days in bed!  Accept it for what it is and give it the time to pass.  Just be careful not to make it a whole week, a month, or a year.  Get yourself up.  Eat well, at least between the chocolate and chips your body is asking for.  Exercise, even if it’s just for five minutes.  Do not put pressure on yourself though, as this can lead to five steps backwards and a mindset of failing yourself.

If you are grieving, experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, have suicidal thoughts or tendencies, Depression, Anxiety, eating disorders, addictions or even a phobia that is so terrifying that you struggle to face it head on, talk about it, please!  That is the first, crucial step to feeling better!

There is help available, whether it’s from the person next to you or a stranger at a clinic who may one day be your saviour.

I’ll ask you again;

Are you Ok?

Because if you’re not, that is ok x

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Do you love the bedding featured in the image for this post?

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@lennon_house_

The amazing team at ‘More Than Ever’ have donated a voucher for a king size sheet set to the ‘Beyond the Stigma’ online auction.  All money raised is donated to ‘Beyond Blue’.  It’s on now until 10pm Sept 20.  To bid, click here.

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If you need any further resources head to Beyond Blue or Lifeline x

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Note.  If you have a negative stigma or outlook towards anyone who may be suffering, shame on you and go and educate yourself.

 

 

Keeping Plants Alive

One of the most common questions I get asked is “How do you keep your plants alive?”.  To be perfectly honest, I wing it a lot of the time.  Although, upon further reflection, I have had a keen interest in indoor plants for a few years now which I suppose brings knowledge, which then brings the capacity to wing it.

To answer this question, I need to trace back and think about the beginning of my plant passion.  When I knew nothing!  Let me tell you, a lot of plants died in the process and a lot of money went down the drain.  I am a person who always learns, loves to gather new knowledge and make a point out of learning lessons from my mistakes, albeit the hard way, always.  I’m also a person who absolutely hates wasting money, but also waste in general.

Plants would look beautiful for a few weeks but ended up as death sitting in a window.  This wasn’t on.  I was determined to make this work, determined to have greenery and life in my home.  Determined to not fail, rather thrive in my new found hobby.  I began to research.

FullSizeRenderThe tiny care label provided with a new plant is very rarely sufficient.  This I discovered quite quickly.  Pinterest has always been a good friend to me, an enemy to my insomnia, but a wonderful companion for my creativity.  The abundance of articles on plants is magnificent.

I could go on about plants for pages, but I have two top tips which I will share with you right now.

1. Know your plant and know it’s water needs

At the risk of sounding irresponsible, indoor plants actually thrive on neglect.  Do not drown them in water overload.  A common misconception about keeping your house plants alive is that you must love them and literally shower them with love.  Please, don’t do this!  They will most likely die!  (Of course, there are exceptions to this for some water loving plants such as Philodendrons, ferns, moss.)  In most cases, your plant will require the soil to be mostly dry before needing another drink.

2. Light is food for your plants

Get an understanding of the different light requirements for your plants.  Bright light, bright direct sunlight, bright filtered light, low light etc.  Some plants need full sun, some plants need extremely bright light but not direct sun (direct sun may burn them), some plants may need a little sun baking session each week for a nutrient boost and some plants will thrive in low light.  Low light, however, can be a trap.  All plants require SOME light to live.  So don’t go putting plants in a completely dark room with zero natural light.  For example, we have a powder room in our house that has no window.  It’s a tiny little room with a toilet and basin, but no plants.  Yes, this pains me dearly, but I can’t bring myself to put an artificial plant in there.  So I have accepted the fact that there will be no life in that tiny room.

Indoor plants are such a joy to have.  They provide life to your environment, boost your air quality significantly, add a touch of jungle to your space and are extremely therapeutic.  It is such an achievement when you can figure out how to keep a plant alive.  Anyone and everyone can have plants inside.  The ultimate decor piece to make your house a home.

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Note.  I am not a plant expert, rather someone who loves plants.  All words are my own and all advice is from my personal findings.

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