Botanical Decorating Ideas


Botanics have been used decoratively since the beginning of history, as different ages and cultures, (Egypt, China, Persia and Europe among others) have all interpreted the natural world in different ways, to create vibrant, visual environments. Here are three botanical decorating ideas to try, whether you are interested in botanic design from a classic perspective, or in creating a new, modern approach...

Botanical decorating idea # No. 1 -  House Plants

One advantage of live plants is that they contribute to a healthier environment; as they've been proven to increase oxygen levels, making your home a healthier, happier place. Keep an eye out for some of these favourites: Spider Plants, Dragon trees, Gerbera Daisys, English Ivy, Boston Ferns, Philodendrons, Snake Plants and Peace Lilys.

Grouping plants of varying heights creates visual interest. Try gathering plants together, ideally in odd numbers and then add some hanging plants; succulents can look fun wall or ceiling hung. Holders and hangers are also popular ways of creating a cascading, leafy look. If, like me, you are based in Christchurch, have a browse at one of my favourite gift-ware destinations, token. I found some amazing light bulb terrariums there!

Botanical decorating idea # No. 2 - Wall Coverings

Make your wall an artwork with a mural - a bold statement piece. A single mural can transform a room and creates more impact than several small pieces. One of my favourite botanical's is a collaborative piece between Miss Lolo and Back To The Wall: 'Miss Midnight in the Garden'; a contemporary, brightly coloured mural, that packs a punch!

Have a glance as well, at the wonderous de Gournay's chinoserie collection. A botanical chinoiserie style mural, can add an elegant, oriental influence. For an artisan, sophisticated look, check out the beautiful wallpaper of Florence Broadhurst - a hand silk screen, printed on brushed gold, available from the Paper Room.

Botanical decorating idea # No. 3 - Fabrics

Drapery, upholstery and accessories, are excellent ways to infuse your botanical decor. If you are looking for inspiration, the internationally acclaimed Timorous Beasties are bursting with unique designs. They have everything from lampshades, cushions, rugs and ceramics, made from some of the most original, contemporary textiles I have seen for some time!

There are also many traditional, beautiful, botanical fabrics to choose from. Country-style botanics, (watercolour and 'artist-like',) are just as on trend as the loud tropics this year. Remember, a professional interior designer will have access to a design library of exclusive textiles, prints and patterns for you to choose from.

If these botanical decorating ideas have inspired you to add some leafy greens into your home and you'd like some designer input, you know where to find me! If you would like to browse some New Zealand furniture to compliment a project, read more here :)

Mia @ black gold x


New Year, New Pretty Things


I am very excited about what this year is going to bring in terms of Interior decor, given the buzz surrounding the New Year trends.

With this in mind, I had a little scout around and found some new decor pieces, (mainly furniture) from a few boutique New Zealand stores. Our local business' work tirelessly to source and create the latest cutting-edge design, so let's support them wherever possible!

In no particular order, here are a few gems...

Item # 1 -  Cowhide Bench

Christchurch's Corcovado has some wonderfully unique, natural pieces - the raw rattan style materials, earthy tones and leathers are timeless. I have picked the Cowhide Bench, because benches are fantastic, not commonly available items for residential settings.  Bench seating has the ability to work as a sophisticated space-filler without adding any imposing height. The tan leather chairs were a close runner-up though, echoing the terracotta tones of New Year.

Item # 2 -  Metal & Timber Side Table

Ed Cruikshank of Arrowtown is an artisan who makes some epic bespoke & signature pieces. His timber and metal side table particularly caught my eye with it's 'industrial yet classic' take (and his bespoke metal bar stools similarly so). Edgy, timeless and quality are words I would use to describe his work, which can be found on a very aesthetically pleasing website if you aren't heading to Arrowtown any time soon!

Item # 3 -  Amber Glass 'Croc' Pendants

The Vitrine in Auckland has an amazing eclectic mix; they source original vintage industrial and antique items from all over Europe, often restoring before on-selling to the public. They update their website frequently with new arrivals, which is where I found my Amber Glass 'Croc' Pendants. I have an affinity for all things glass, but their unusual pattern and adaptability for different environments (from restaurants to eclectic homes), were the winning factors for me.

Item # 4 - Awa Koaka Credenza

Treology is a family owned business based in Christchurch, that mixes traditional craftsmanship with contemporary art, to do some incredible things with timber. My pick was the Awa Koaka Credenza because the detail in the sculptural form just amazes me, but there are many others by this company that are equally exquisite. Their award winning 'Umber Chair' is another favourite of mine, as wood 'bent' furniture is another rare find, due to the time and skill required.

Item # 5 - Aumoe Sofa

YOYO - Furniture Design by Kiwis, is based in Wellington, and as the name suggests, full of New Zealand furniture, accessories and lighting design. YOYO is contemporary in it's design style and flare, but there are also hints of mid century elegance, and a little kiwi retro flavour, scattered amongst their work. The Aumoe Sofa was my pick, for it's simplicity, contemporary lines and I just love the moss colour - there is also a fabulous Aumoe Chair to match.

Item # 6 - 'In the Absence of Light', by Mia

Mixed media 1020 x 780mm. A little addition - original Fine Art by Mia on stretched canvas and limited edition, unframed signed prints available on archival paper. Be in touch to discuss :)

Happy shopping!

Mia @ black gold x


Why hire an Interior Designer?


As I explain to my clients at black gold creative, when you use a professional you can expect that your personal preferences will be heard and value added through the expertise, knowledge and creative flare of the designer. Your project will be well scoped in advance so that you can proceed with a realistic  - and shared - understanding of the outcomes, time-frames and costs. 

Consulting a professional interior designer early in your thinking can ensure the success of the environment you live in and ambiance in which you live your life. Here are five ways why hiring a qualified and creative interior designer can protect your investment and add great value:

Why hire an Interior Designer # No. 1 - Time

The amount of choice and options in the interiors world is endless - from materials, paint colours to furniture and fittings! It can be overwhelming and also very time consuming. If you are a busy person having an interior designer narrow down and select the best options for you can be a blessing! As they say - time is money!

Why hire an Interior Designer # No. 2 - $$$

Speaking of money, this is my next point. Mistakes are costly - by hiring a professional, you can get it right the first time! There is nothing worse than having to knock out part of the kitchen because something went in the wrong way round! There is also the added advantage of 'trade discounts' where designers are able to receive many things at slightly lower cost which can then be on- sold to you (dependent of course on the arrangement you have with your designer). 

Why hire an Interior Designer # No. 3 - Resources & Contacts

There is a much wider range than many people can ever imagine when it comes to sections of fittings, furniture and furnishings! Designers can source you things from suppliers you often either can't have access to or aren't aware of. You have the option of exclusive items that others won't. Not to mention the benefit of good trades liaisons - most designers have regular electrician, plumbers, joiners and builders they work with and trust to do reputable work.

Why hire an Interior Designer # No. 4 - Knowledge

Expertise is worth it. Almost everything has a 'better' choice and your designer can explain the 'why'. White paint for example - a designer can explain which white paint will sit better with the rest of your colour scheme dependent on the tone that is in it. Why a certain splash-back may be a more practical choice over another. Why your rug should be slightly bigger and why your oven is better placed on the other side of the kitchen. Designers complete qualifications covering everything from colours, to spatial layouts, to construction drawing - they are a valuable asset to the decision making process.

Why hire an Interior Designer # No. 5 - Wow

The wow factor is a blend of qualifications, experience and just outright talent! Some designers have a specific 'aesthetic' and others create a look suited to your taste. People often ask me what my design style is - my answer is 'a contradiction'. I love colour - but like many New Zealander's am a fan of black and monotone. I love the theatrical and flamboyant but find minimalism fresh and relaxing. I'm a style risktaker but also I also like pare down to appreciate subtleties in colours, textures and materials. However most importantly, my design approach is about listening. Understanding someone's tastes and then interpreting them in a way they hadn't thought possible. Having a background in art, I often treat the design of a room in a similar, but three dimensional way.

Designers can help you feel confidence in your choices and above all, help you create a space that you love. Hopefully this was a useful insight for anyone considering hiring an interior designer and if you haven't read Part 1: So what does an Interior Designer do?, have a glance - as it delves into the types of interior designer that could be suited to you!

Mia @ black gold x


So what does an Interior Designer do?


It sounds exciting and glamorous - but what is it really?

Many people assume interior designers envisage and create beautiful spaces - though correct, this is quite a reductionist view of the profession. A designer takes on several behind-the-scenes roles, often including the role of project manager, in order to deliver the beautiful, finished space. 

The title 'Interior Designer' has wide scope and is used to describe Interior Stylists & Decorators as well as Interior Architects.

An Interior Stylist or Decorator largely focuses on colours, materials, furniture and fixtures, combining them to create a cohesive, aesthetically pleasing space. They have in-depth knowledge of textiles, colour theory and composition and have a wide network of suppliers. They know what works with what, how to place things to get the most function-ability out of your space whilst still making it attractive to the eye. They are the person that makes a space look 'wow'.

Interior Architects on the other hand, are exactly that: designers of interior spaces. They often have to draw up plans, elevations, cross sections, construction details - to enable a space to be renovated or built. They have to have in-depth structural knowledge as well as knowledge of building codes and regulations to ensure things are constructed legally and safely. They are also clued up on space planning - ergonomic function-ability is vital in an office space or restaurant.

Where things get blurry however, is that many designers do elements of both. I am an example of this. I style, decorate and draw up plans for construction. I can design for most things that aren't restricted building work. So in other words, you don't need to get an architect to redesign your kitchen, you can get the interior specialist - the Interior Designer - to do this.

Each designer has their own niche and skill-set and it is worth finding out exactly what your designer can offer, so you know it will match your requirements. Some specialise in kitchens or bathrooms, some only do residential homes, some only do commercial, such as hospitality, offices or retail and some, like me, love variety. 

Keep an eye out for Part 2: Why hire an Interior Designer? 

Mia @ black gold x