We all steal inspiration from somewhere - magazines, blogs, Flickr. But we do this safe in the knowledge that everyone else has probably seen it too and so it's no big deal. It gets a little trickier when you do it to someone you know. Have you ever visited someone's house and left wanting to steal an idea, a look or heck, the entire house? I do this all the time. Sometimes I do something about it, but most times I just dream about how it'd look at my place and store it in the part of my memory that is house-related for another time. After visiting my editor Deb's house I wanted to completely redo my house in a casual beach style with distressed furniture; everytime I visit my sister Kristie's I want to paint a raspberry feature wall (and steal her tidiness); I looked high and low for the perfect low, long white entertainment unit for my space after seeing one at my friend Pip's; the kids birthday party shoot at stylist Alice's house was the last confirmation I needed to get my cowhide rug (and convinced me I need to change my front door and window combo to a wall of bifolds); I tried to buy the same dining buffet as my friend Emma after playgroup at her house one day but it was sold out; and at my Nana's it's her Hans Wegner-inspired reclining armchairs I want to nick. In fact, I even asked if I could buy them off her and bless her, she's giving them to me for free. If I ever get around to picking them up!
See, I'm a thief! It's not that any of these things are new or original ideas, but seeing them in real life - not in the pages of a magazine or on a website - is usually the clincher. The problem with this - particularly if it is something unique - is that, like ripping off clothing ideas from fashionable friends, we can find ourselves clones of each other, quite possibly leaving the original slightly peeved at no longer being original and risking not ever being invited back! Not me, though. I've been the copied a couple of times and am of the "immitation is the sincerest form of flattery" school.
On Monday I outdid myself: three of us former Cosmo girls played babies at Louise's house (between us, we've had seven babies in four years. Quite the effort really) and I found myself popping her entire home into my "house-inspiration vault". I now want turquoise chairs in the living room, a huge funky chandelier over my dining table, ghost stools and the cool storage boxes on the wall in her son's room. That said, I was slightly thrilled to see a few decorative similarities to my own place: we both have cow hides, the same Ezibuy zebra rug, antlers, wooden letters spelling "love" and dark floors - all coincidences (except the zebra rug which I'm pleased to say I was the copied not the copier of!) - yet she somehow made all of hers look so much better than mine!
But most of all - and finally, to the point of this post - I want her kitchen, which is hands down one of the best I've ever seen. Designed by her architect hubby Graeme Bell, it's modern, sleek, stylish, clean and packed with storage and cool ideas. Like the open shelving on the other side of the island, the mirror splashback, the hidden fridge, the fantastic industrial-style pendant lights, the integrated Corian sink and the funky commercial-kitchen taps and faucet.
Love the Philippe Starck for Kartell Charles Ghost stools, from $211 for small, Top3ByDesign
Lou promises the actual kitchen itself is pretty standard, just well-designed, but I'm still too scared to ask how much it cost! She does share her must-haves though: "Our main requirement was that we have a spot to eat meals together in the kitchen without resorting to the formal dining room. Also, I LOOOVE to cook, so I wanted plenty storage, plus a practical space to prepare meals for 2-20 people! Oh, and the one thing I was obsessed about was the kitchen sink tap. I love the taps in commercial kitchens with the long swivel-y hose." Wishes granted!
The pendant lights are Lampara by Gineico Interiors. Lou made the pinboard herself
Love the mini library as you walk through the kitchen area to the living room.
Gold stars to Graeme and Lou - it's an amazing space and has inspired me to get cracking on my own kitchen renovation which kind of got forgotten what with all the giving birth and craziness of the last few months!
And back to my thievery: we're meeting up again in a few weeks, this time at Pip's new house. I can't wait to see what she's done to the place... and what ideas I can nick! Now, please tell me I'm not the only house-style stalker?!