Media, Plant Care, Uncategorized

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/

 

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Plant Care, Uncategorized

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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Follow us @lennon_house_ on Instagram x

Plant Care

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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Follow us @lennon_house_ on Instagram x