SWAN BOATS! One of my favourite things to do ever! Image by Alex Fulton Design

There are two parts to my Tokyo trip – the first week was all about design and the second was about family.  The first week was with a group of fellow design lovers led by the formidable and glorious Megan Morton.  This post will break down all the good bits (and there were many) and share all the joy of Tokyo.

Colourful streets of Tokyo | Image by Alex Fulton Design

To Stay:
+  Centurion Classic in Akasaka
+  Hotel Niwa in Chiyoda-ku
+  Trunk (Hotel) in Shibuya
+  Book and Bed in Shinjuku
+  Artist Hotel – BnA Studio in Akihabara
+  9 Hours (Capsule Hotel) in Shinjuku North
+  Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel (excellent for Disneyland and Disney Sea)

Sakura City – Tokyo was full of blossoms | Image by Alex Fulton Design

The Tokyo Metro | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Exterior garden in Tokyo | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Stair gardens in Harajuku | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Staying in the ‘right’ place can be a bit of stab in the dark when you are looking at a map of Tokyo, but the good news is there are some great areas and there is such a super Metro system that you are generally covered to use your accom as a base and go from there.  I would suggest Shinjuku and Ikebukuro (Toyko’s largest train station and full of nightlife), Ginza and Tsukiji (Polished neighbourhood), Shibuya (Heart of youth culture) and Akasaka and Roppongi (Cutting edge art and design)  as they are all very central and easy to go places from.  Taxi’s can be expensive going long distances and we only really used them at the end of the day or if it was raining. Even then the Metro was a better option in the rain as taxi’s were in high demand.

At first I was a little scared of the Metro but after buying my first Pasmo card, loaded on some money, I was off!  Google maps walks you through how to get from point A to point B, so easy using the public transport option. Easy Peasy. By the end of two weeks it was a doddle!

Tokyo Taxi | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Waiting for the Metro Trains

Blossoms in Ginza | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Pretty Rubbish Trucks | Image by Alex Fulton Design

The first week we stayed at Hotel Niwa which highlights included an excellent breakfast buffet, communal massage chairs and great staff.  The gym was rubbish but after 20,000 steps a day I found I gave up on that idea pretty quickly. Gym Schym.

The second week was at the Centurion Classic in Akasaka.  This is a great area with many supermarkets and foodie joints that satisfied day trip exhaustion.  The staff bowed when you entered and left and the foyer was a favourite place to Photo Booth moments.  Our room was a traditional space with rice paper screens, traditional flooring, futons and closed in bunk beds for the girls.  We also had two in room massage chairs (bonus and very well used) and a cooling unit that you stand on to ‘refresh’ your body.  Mental note to google one so I can have a little ‘Tokyo’ at home!

The other hotels I’ve mentioned are ones that were recommended and my fellow design-mates stayed at.

The Design Chasers in Ginza | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Subway patterns | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Street colours | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Pretty Payphones | Image by Alex Fulton Design

When you match the trains | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Design Team in Tokyo | Image by Alex Fulton Design

The many shades of Metro floors | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Changing skyline in Tokyo | Image by Alex Fulton Design

The foyer of our Hotel – Centurion Classic in Akasaka

To Eat:
+  Vending machine Ramen (this is indeed one of life’s joys)
+  Bills (there are three in Tokyo) excellent coffee and Australian fare
+  Moon Restaurant (Designer food)
+  Sakura Market Food (Only around when the blossoms are out)
+  Eddy’s Ice cream (Harajuku)
+  Luke’s Lobster
+  Lawson Super Mart (excellent food and drinks – great fun finding new favourites including heat up eye masks!)
+  Gonpachi Nishiazabu (Kill Bill Restaurant in Minato)
+  Ivy Place in Daikayama (Best fluffy pancakes!)
+  Le Pain Quotidien (Beautiful French bakery)
+  Higashuya (In Ginza, traditional Japanese fair in beautiful surroundings)

Vending Machine Ramen in Suidobashi | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Food Erasers | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Real Sushi | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Sakura Market Food – Deep fried pasta in savoury or sweet | Image by Alex Fulton Design

I’m not really a foodie, but in Tokyo it was hard to separate food from design in most cases, as a lot of the food was so beautifully presented – from sushi to cream buns.  I wanted to try everything (and we did!).  The wee supermarkets were so fun to explore and try new and strange foods and we found some new favourites.

The Totoro Cream Puffs were a highlight – these wee cuties are in hot demand though with them selling out usually by 11am.  If you want to get some ring and reserve a few a couple of days before – they are worth it.

The cutest Totoro cream puffs ever! | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Wasanbon Higashi Sugar Sweets | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Making Sushi Rice balls | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Bills in Omotosando | Image by Alex Fulton Design

I loved the Japanese food but equally there was some excellent European options – We managed to visit 2 of the three Bills Restaurants (as in Australian Bill Granger) for a great coffee and yummy breakfast, lunch and dinners.  Their Hotcakes are insane and are a must.

Lukes Lobster was another favourite – these hot soft rolls filled with meaty chunks of lobster were juicy and mouth wateringly good.  Again they are in a few locations.

Luke’s Lobster in Shinjuku | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Le Pain Quotidien Breakfast – Best! | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Le Pain Quotidien Bakery – Best! | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Moon Restaurant Fine Dining at Rappongi Hills

As a wee treat we headed up the Mori Tower for Lunch at Moon Restaurant – it was a degestastional dream with beautiful presented high end food with an incredible view.  After a 8 course meal we could walk it all off by visiting the musuem and art gallery based on the same floor.

Eddy’s Ice Cream in Harajuku | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Dining at Disneyland | Image by Alex Fulton Design

To Do:
+  Poodle Cafe (In Harajuku – any animal cafe – hedgehog, owl, or cat!  They are mostly based around this area – link HERE)
+  Blossoms!  (Best time of the year to see them is end of April early March)
+  Swan Boats at Ueno Park
+  T Site (for amazing afternoon tea and mind blowing bookshop)
+  Robot Restaurant  (I wouldn’t eat here but it’s a must for a full sensory experience)
+  Tokyo Dome Amusement Park (Highly recommend the karaoke Ferry wheel)
+  Scramble Crossing (In Shibuya – get a birds eye view from the various viewing spots)
+  Oedo Antique Market (In Chiyoda – Open first and third Sunday of each month)
+  Kitchen Street (In Kappabashi.  Seeing is believing – there’s so much for your eyeballs here – look for the 3 teacups!)
+  Ink Stand (Taito City – Make your own Ink Colour)
+  Sumida Aquarium (At Tokyo Skytree)
+  21 21 Design Gallery (In Roppongi)
+  Mori Art Museum (In Roppongi)
+  The Ramen Museum (in Shin-Yokohama)

Harajuku Toy Poodle Cafe | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Local Signage for colour inspiration | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Blossoms at Nippon Budokan | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Finding colour in Omote-Sando | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Ok guys – you will need to plan your days as a lot of what we did was spread out all over Tokyo.  Make sure you group together what you want to see (maybe only do two big things a day) and then plan your shopping and eating around the area you will be in.  There’s an abundance of things to do for all ages and a lot of what we saw we stumbled across as there are so many exhibitions and events going on everywhere!  This is especially true around blossom season, where everything is all about the ‘sakura’.

Swan boats at Ueno Onshi Park | Image by Alex Fulton Design

The Jesus Rafael Soto Penetrable BBL Bleu at Louis Vuitton | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Book Shop at T-Site in Daikanyama | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Make sure you book in online a session in one of the Teamlab exhibitions – they will blow your mind.  They are full sensory experience with lights, water, touch and visual images.  Its hard to explain, but worth taking the time to see.

The Sumida Aquarium which is located next to the Sky Tree was a lovely retreat from the hustle and bustle of busy streets and a great place to take some time out.  After that we decided to head up the Sky Tree which is the highest tower (634km) in Tokyo, infant the world, and yes we paid extra to not go in the queue and it was well worth it! You still had to queue to go down, but the views!  We could clearly see Mt Fuji which is surprisingly close to Tokyo (and a day trip away).

Ferris Wheel at Tokyo Port | Image by Alex Fulton Design

TeamLab Bordalis Lantern Room | Image by Alex Fulton Design

So Japaneseie | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Fabric at the Odeo Antique Market

Making our own ink at Ink stand

Kitchen Street in Kappabashi | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Sushi Cooking Class | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Sumida Aquarium at Sky Tree

Tokyo’s Sky Tree – the highest tower in the world | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Teamlab Planets | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Adventure park at Tokyo Dome | Image by Alex Fulton Design

21 21 Design Art Gallery | Image by Alex Fulton Design

View from the top of Mori Tower

Very addictive UFO Catchers | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Torrowland at Disneyland | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Its a small world at Disneyland | Image by Alex Fulton Design

The Monorail at Disney | Image by Alex Fulton Design

It was always on the agenda to visit Disneyland and Disney Sea and we only left 1.5 days for this, which was never going to be quite enough.  We were very surprised to find that Disney Sea was very impressive and less busy than Disneyland.  We enjoyed it more, but we still loved the whole Disney experience.  We stayed at The Sheraton Grande which was way cheaper than the Disney Hotel and just a stop (on the Disney Monorail) away from both parks, very easy!

Disney Sea | Image by Alex Fulton Design

To Buy:
+  Pool Clothing (Collaborated with MUJI on a capsule range)
+  Camper Shoes (In any country is a joy, the one in Omote-Sando was beautiful)
+  Dover Street Market (In Ginza)
+  Tokyo Midtown (for higher end design and fashion – IDEE Design Store was my fav!)
+  21 21 Design Site Gallery Store
+  Cat Street (for high fashion and amazing store fitouts)
+  Lush Store (In Harajuku – they have sushi train bath bombs)
+  Opening Ceremony – (In Omote-Sando, the stairwell is a colour and pattern mind blow)
+  Mandarake (In Shibuya – descend 8 floors to Manga Heaven and head to the back of the shop for the ultimate insty shot)
+  Tokyu Hands (In Shibuya – Floors and Floors of everything)
+  LOFT Stationary store
+  MUJI (all over Tokyo but they recently opened a new flagship store)
+  Fog Linen (HQ in Setagaya City – the best linens in the land)
+  Douguya Nobori (Beautiful Japanese design store)
+  Kitchen Street in Kappabashi (Seeing is believing – there’s so much for your eyeballs here – look for the 3 teacups!)

Beautiful cotton collection from Pool in collaboration with MUJI | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Camper buys | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Dover Street Market in Ginza | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Dover Street Market in Ginza | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Fair to say that the shopping was nothing short of incredible – from cheaper finds in Harajuku to High End madness in Ginza, Tokyo has every you need and things you didn’t!  Take a spare suitcase, as you will easily fill it with keepsakes, gifts and homewares galore.  Kitchen Street alone could have taken up a whole bag with ceramics, knifes and any other kitchen utensils you can dream of!

My personal favourite was Tokyu Hands, with floors and floors of everything from dogs glasses to folding gumboots (yes I brought the later not the former) – it has a floor for everything!  Start at the top and work your down and pay at the bottom and make sure you get your tax back – bonus!

Everywhere you turn in Tokyo there are things to delight your eyeballs and fill you bags.  I made sure I took a generous carry bag to drag around my daily finds.

Beautiful ceramics at Tokyo Midtown Shopping Mall | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Pop up Rug Exhibition – IDEE SHOP | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Gallery store at 21 21 Design | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Colour explosion | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Shopping heaven | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Local pharmacy goods | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Shopping in Cat Street | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Amazing shop fitouts in Harajuku | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Lush in Harajuku | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Ginza department store | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Cruising the streets of Ginza | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Crazy Cosmetics in Harajuku | Image by Alex Fulton Design

New Camper Shoes at Camper in Omote-Sando | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Opening Ceremony Store with its stunning colour and pattern overload was a must see

Tokyo definitely has it all and i’m glad we spent so much time exploring the city – so many people told us to do day trips outside the city, but we really wanted to get a good grip on the city itself and we certainly did.  The people, the sights, the technology, the food, the shopping – it’s a true doable destination that will leave you inspired, surprised and wanting to book a ticket back as soon as your credit card has been paid off!

+  This wasn’t in anyway sponsored, I just wanted to share my experiences and all I found.

+  If you wanted to go explore Tokyo with a like minded group, I would highly suggest one of Megan Morton‘s trip through The School. She is magical and you will see and learn things that regular travel will never get.

Want all this good stuff in a nutshell? Or as they call it in the grown-up-land, a downloadable version. Get it HERE

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GEM: Sprucing up your Outdoor Area

Fulton Home as featured in Homestyle Magazine – photography by Duncan Innes Photography. Interior and Exterior Design by Alex Fulton Design

The weather is turning, the days are getting longer, and there is a definite hint of spring in the air. This is always a super time to clean, rearrange, make plans and prepare for a new season. As spring is the season for growth, organisation and cleaning, your outdoor area is a space that will benefit from some love and design.

I maybe an interior designer, but I do love to include outdoor areas into my design plans. These can be extensions of existing indoor spaces or stand-alone purpose-built areas, either way, they’re the perfect accessory to summer living. I like to give outdoor spaces just as much consideration, as they complement the way you live indoors, and can add value to your home and how you choose to live.

The way to approach an outdoor area is very much like an indoor space – using the same planning and design principles. The four main areas that need consideration for any space are:

  1. Function
  2. Design
  3. Layout
  4. Budget

Fulton Home as featured in Homestyle Magazine – photography by Duncan Innes Photography. Interior and Exterior Design by Alex Fulton Design


The first thing to consider is how the space will be used.

Is it an extension to increase the indoor/outdoor flow? Is it a separate area that needs walkway access? Will it need amenities like water, gas or power? Is it a space for eating, entertaining, conversation, relaxation or elements of all these things? Being very clear about the area and knowing its objective will help you with the next three points.

Mark out the area and walk through the space and see if it’s going to work in a practical sense. There are multiple ways to configure a space to complement the shape and square meterage of the area – for more about this see point three for layout.

If it’s an area off the back of the house, how will it all link together? You don’t want to be walking through the kid’s bedroom to entertain guests, or be at the other end of the house from the BBQ to the kitchen. Do you need to consider shade? Are you protected by the elements? Do you need a pergola, or would an umbrella do just fine? Is the sun going to work with this space? Are you protected from the wind? What’s the difference between morning and evening and will that be appropriate for the space? What products will be best for the use of the area? Concrete, paving, artificial lawn, grass or decking?

It seems like a lot to think about but at least cover your bases and work with what’s around you to get the best within your limitations.

Fulton Home as featured in Homestyle Magazine – photography by Duncan Innes Photography. Interior and Exterior Design by Alex Fulton Design


Just as important as how the space works is how the space looks.

What ‘look’ have you got in mind? Will it complement your current style, or will you go for something completely opposite? Have you got some images of what you would like to achieve? Images and having a clear visual identity might help when explaining to a store assistant or a tradesperson about what you need/want. Having a clear vision about how you want this space to look will also help you when you’re choosing products such as outdoor fabrics, picking colour schemes, specifying products, identifying finishes and bring the whole space together in a cohesive space.

It’s also useful to think about longevity and how these design elements will last over the seasons. If you need to put them away over winter, is there anywhere to store them? Or would it be more beneficial to invest in outdoor grade fabric/finish for your new seating area?

You may have an old state home but have an idea to link it to a contemporary and cosy entertaining area – great, but make sure you have a very clear design direction. Make up a colour scheme so that when you’re out choosing wooden furniture or scatter cushions that it will all work together. Design is the difference between an OK space, and an AMAZING space.

Fulton Home as featured in Homestyle Magazine – photography by Duncan Innes Photography. Interior and Exterior Design by Alex Fulton Design


Flow is everything in a space – without it an area can seem confusing and disjointed. The continuity of a working space seems like it would just ‘happen’, but it’s quite a science and can make or break a space.

Think about entries and exits and how they link – can you access all the functioning parts of the area with ease? This is a good time to whip out your graph paper and have a play with scale. Whether you have existing outdoor furniture or you are considering buying new products like a BBQ or spa pool, do all your planning with proportions so you don’t get stuck with something too oversized or undersized. Literally cut out graph paper scale shapes of the products you’re wanting to add to the space and see how they all work in together. Is it too cluttered?

Do you need to think about upgrading the size of your outdoor furniture, so the space feels in proportion to the new decking area? Balance, scale and flow of a space make a space ‘work’, and are highly important elements that are crucial to making it snazzy.

Fulton Home as featured in Homestyle Magazine – photography by Duncan Innes Photography. Interior and Exterior Design by Alex Fulton Design


Last but never least is budget.

How much money have you got to spend on this space? Knowing function and design will help you work out what you need for the space and therefore you can fairly accurately work out a budget for what you have in mind.

Work out if putting money into this space is going to be beneficial to your quality of living in both the short and long term. If this is a space the whole family is going to be enjoying for years to come, you will want to make sure you have the budget to do it right so it will stand the test of time. Could it be worth considering a personal loan to give you that larger budget to play with?

Create a list of what you’ll need and want, and allocate a value to each. Stick to your budget per item, and you’ll eliminate the risk of blowing it all on a state-of-the-art BBQ, but leaving nothing left for outdoor furniture. A good way to manage big ticket items might be taking advantage of a credit card that has interest free options such as a Gem Visa.

Using your budget, you can determine how big of an investment your make-over will be, and if you might need any financial support to create your dream space.

An example of your budget might be:

BBQ                                                                             $1,800

Sofa seating unit                                                         $900

Outdoor rug                                                                $400

Pot plants                                                                    $1,200

Lighting                                                                       $600

Decking                                                                       $3,000

Water feature                                                             $250

Extras                                                                          $150

Landscape Design Plan                                            $1,000 – $3,000

TOTAL                                                                         $8,300

If you are coming in over budget after collecting quotes, think about where you could cut costs or stagger the items. Maybe your dream BBQ can wait until next summer while you get everything else set up? Keep looking for ways you could save money on your project. Have you got some tradie mates that would give you a hand, and you could repay them with a BBQ meal? Have you considered the products you are using? Is there a cheaper option or alternative? Quotes and research are the easiest and best way to lock into your budget. Ask around and find yourself some cunning ways to save some dollars.

Most of all, set yourself realistic goals so you are not spending all spring and summer on renovating your outdoor area – make this a doable, affordable and noticeable project that complements your lifestyle and your finances. If you’re well prepared and plan accordingly, you’ll find yourself with your feet up enjoying a glass of something cold in no time!

Find out more about how Gem could help you create a better outdoor area this summer.


Gem credit, lending criteria, fees and terms and conditions apply. Gem Products are provided by Latitude Financial Services Limited

+ This is a paid collaboration with GEM and Alex Fulton Design Ltd +

Images by Duncan Innes Photography for Homestyle Magazine

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Dulux Colour Forecast 2019: FILTER

DULUX COLOURS: Wall (rear) in Dulux Tata Beach, Wall (front) in Roxburgh. PRODUCTS: Popsycle Lemon rug, Jardan | Gin dining table, Nicholls Design | Cap lounge chair by Jasper Morrison for Cappellini, Cult Design | Terrazzo planter by Tantri Mustika Ceramics | Pepite Sculpture Maquette 02, Gidon Bing |‘Mustard’ original painting by Stacey Rees, Modern Times | Thonet S 533 chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe | Anibou B4 planters by Studio Ciao | Something Beginning With ‘Sculpture 13 ‘original sculpture by Mark Alsweiler, Modern Times

It’s that time of the year when we get to say HEEEEELLLLLOOOOOOOOO to the newest Dulux Colour Forecast from the colour dream team

+ Bree Leech (Creative Director, Dulux Australia)
+ Andrea Lucena-Orr (Colour and Communications Manager, Dulux Australia)
+ Davina Harper (Colour and Design Specialist, Dulux New Zealand).

These colour connoisseurs head over to the Milan Furniture Fair each year, searching for what hues are raising their heads above the colour-crowd and then they kindly group them for us in easy to digest palettes, ready to consume… and they are delicious!

The overall concept of FILTER is all about how we are influenced by the tech heavy world we inhabit and how we should splinter off aspects that suit, reflect and enhance how we individually want to live.  What initially seems overwhelming, can be compartmentalised into elements that elevate all parts of our lives rather than hinder and drag us down.  It’s all about choice and reflection – something we tend to forgot to do when we are being bombarded with too much sensory information.  Its time to care about repairing, maintaining your wholeself, creating a legacy and initiating an identity for yourself.

Let’s break them down into bite size bits.


DULUX COLOURS: Wall (rear) in Dulux Shepherd’s Warning, Console in Federation Brown Wall (right) in Pink Linen Half, Ceiling & trims in St Clair Quarter PRODUCTS: Capitello stool by Moroso, Hub Furniture | Arkley sofa, Jardan | Khyber Collection rug, Behruz | Velvet cushion in Terra, House of Orange | Printed cushion in Osaka, House of Orange | Fanuli Alpaca velvet cushion in Whisper Pink | Fanuli Gloria brass ring, Great Dane Furniture | European Wig Doll, Scout House | Orphelia Ritual One art print, Figgoscope Curates | Line table lamp in blush (on console) Douglas & Bec | Ezra coffee table, Grazia & Co | ‘The Creation’ sculpture in black by Iva Viana | Figgoscope Curates Column card stand in brass by Ferm Living | Designstuff Sphere card stand in brass by Ferm Living | Designstuff Books & magazines (on coffee table) | Stylist’s own Ardea armchair by Zanotta, Cult Design | Ceramic dish, Stylist’s own | Patina oil burner (on mantle), Great Dane Furniture | Normann Copenhagen Brilliant Box in purple by Simon Legald for Normann Copenhagen | top3 by design Regenbogan vase | Fenton & Fenton (top shelf) Spatia vase in rose by Aytm | top3 by design Glass box, Stylist’s own (middle shelf) | Oh So Single odd bookends, Hava Studio | Traditional French Still Life, Scout House (bottom shelf)


This palette reminds us that tradition is a teacher than can be applied into the present with skills and craftsmanship learned from the past.  Its a nod to the traditions but encourages us to put our own modern spin on things.  It’s a bit elegant, a bit classic, and a lot innovative. It also champions a few variations of purple but in a new modern way.

“Legacy values the timeless and elegant over the new and disposable”

This palette features saturated colours in warm hues of pale pinks, lilacs and mauves, with accents of red, blue and green to punctuate the scheme.


DULUX COLOURS: Walls in Dulux Southern Alps | Feature (right) in Dulux Massey | Column (left) in Dulux Devils Staircase | Column (right) in Dulux Sunbird Orange. PRODUCTS: Callimaco floor lamp, Artemide | Diana A side table by Konstantin Grcic for Classicon | Anibou Banana incense burner by Nonsense, Jardan |‘This Life We Share’ original artwork, by Jasmine Mansbridge, Fenton & Fenton | Helm sofa & blue cushions, James Richardson | Line throw by Tom Dixon, Safari Living | Tiger Multi cushion (reverse side), Bonnie & Neil | Soft cushion in wine by Tom Dixon & Velvet cushion in orange, Safari Living | Salt Plains rug by Alexander Lotersztain, Stylecraft | Plec coffee table by Antoni Palleja Office for RS Barcelona, Ajar | Perforated trays by Hay, Cult Design | Large orange facet vase | Nyary 400 armchair by Alvar Aalto for Artek, Anibou | Taylor ottoman in mustard velvet, Fenton & Fenton | Grimace vase & Funtasma candle-holder from the Folkifunki Collection by Jaime Hayon for Vista Alegre | Figgoscope Curates Shape Up vessels, Formantics | Wrap Knot Glacier sculpture & Joy armchair, Jardan | Untitled no.23’ original artwork by Max Lawrence White, Modern Times | ‘Blue Savana’ original artwork by Mim Fanning, Studio Gallery | Match Stick Banjo Pot in garnet, Capra Designs Tree Trunk vase by Hay, Cult Design | Dita stools (in kitchen), Grazia & Co | Showtime vases by Jaime Hayon for BD Barcelona | Ajar La Soufflerie French Blown Glass – Vase Tete | Nyary 70s Cobalt Blue large Murano vase | Nyary Pendant lights, Homeowner’s


I shouldn’t have favourites but this palette won me over… big time.  I especially nodded vigorishly when it was described as palette to “shed our conventional camouflage and take on a more flexible view of the world with fun, spirited energy and spontaneity”. Me. In. A. Nutshell.  A big, good-looking, atypical, chromatic nutshell.  Fair to say that this palette is the most vibrant and has been inspired by multicultural influences and anything that exudes individuality.

“Identity empowers you to show your true colours”

Its about experimenting with bold tones, clashing patterns and mixing gloss levels.  Pale colours are a base for unusual combinations of saturated blue, purple and oranges.


DULUX COLOURS: Wall in Dulux Otarara | Background wall in Big Lagoon PRODUCTS: Trenza floor cushion in Verde Mix by Valentina Hoyos Halcyon Lake | Old Yarn Fun Tulu rug Loom Rugs | Vintage Maralunga two-seat sofa by Vico Magistretti for Cassina in rich toffee leather, Modern Times | Bleached Solid Timber Stool, Safari Living | Sula vase by Pietro Bastia for Incipit, Meizai | Stoneware vase with handles by Britt Neech | Pepite Contemporary Japanese Oribe vase by Tanahashi Jun with Kintsugi repair | Kazari Large Industrial Light | Gidon Bing Ceramics | Fri easy chair by Jaime Hayon for Fritz Hansen, Cult Design | Flocca linen blanket in Russo, Hale Mercantile Co


There is an abundance of difference between the world we control via electronic objects and the unpredictability of Mother Nature.  This palette is about finding a balance between both.  We now put an emphasis on looking after and repairing our world and our relationships with nature and others by repurposing, recycling and evaluating consumption which are all reflected by the colour palette.

“Uplifting colours smooth out the rough edges with their authentic optimism”

Comprising neutrals alongside dirty greens, yellow and earthy hues of cinnamon and sienna, Repairs colours oxide warmth and a vintage feel


DULUX COLOURS: Wall in Dulux Silver Thaw Ceiling in Dulux Milton PRODUCTS: Mags Soft sofa by Hay, Cult Design | Mustard cushion, Homeowner’s | Edie Lifestyle Bedu cushion, Norsu Interiors | Fog pendant by Front design studio for Zero Lighting, Great Dane Furniture | Tibesti rug, Halcyon Lake | Moodlum side table & coffee table | Dean Norton Guaxs A hand-blown crystal tall glasses & carafe | Mondo Piero Bloomingville Stoneware large flower pot in Nature, Designstuff | Books, Stylist’s own | Stoneware enclosed form (on mantle) | Philippa Taylor Bloomingville Stoneware small flower pot in Nature (on mantle) |Designstuff Ceramic Vessels (on mantle) | Emma Gale Ceramic tassel with linen, Ceramic tassel with cotton, Philippa Taylor | Nuvola chair by Paolo Navone for Gervasoni | Anibou Knox suede cushion in Buff, Sly | Small white planter & large planter by Simone Karras, Pepite.


With the abundant exposure to screens and technology we are all crying out for a simpler, more susincient life with the empahsis on looking after who we are a and what we want to be.  Declutter and simplification are the mantra’s we would like to live by and inhabit.  Its simple, refined and calming with limited distractions.  You feel better just by looking at these quiet tones.

“Beauty is found in subtle textural details and quiet colour accents”

Think sumptuous texture and block colour of pinks, offset against warm neutrals, golds and mauve-greys.


So thats it.  This really has only been a wee taster.  There is more imagery to come to help inspire and surprise you, and I promise you will be looking at your walls with re-newed interest (I know I am).  I got some serious beige to cover up and these palette has provided the goods alright.

Styling and Creative Direction and all round awesomeness: Bree Leech
Photography and amazing eyes: Lisa Cohen

Images are all property of Dulux Australia and New Zealand

+ This is a paid endorsement which feels more like fun than hardwork +

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AFD Trav Tips: Hawaii (O’ahu)

Sunset Shack Bench Set | Image by Alex Fulton Design

This will be my first travel blog!  I don’t really know why I haven’t done this sooner…but here is is. My wee slice of Hawaii.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel | image by Alex Fulton Design

To stay:
+ The Laylow (Kuhio Ave, Honolulu)
+ Royal Hawaiian (Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu)
+ Surfjack (Lewers St, Honolulu)

The Laylow Pool Area | Image by Alex Fulton Design

The Laylow Corner Suite | Image by Alex Fulton

The Laylow Restaurant and Breakfast Area | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Pool side eating at The Laylow Hotel | Image by Alex Fulton Design

We stayed at the Laylow which tots ticked all our requirements… Not too expensive, didn’t have to have beach views (to help cut costs), good vibe, good for a teenage heavy family, a pool, close to shops and surfing and mostly just cool.  This was all that and more.  Free jandals were a bonus.  Food was really very good and it was tempting to eat in as the selection was tip top with super service.  Great coffee, amazing pastries, good eggs, fresh food – you really couldn’t fault it!  The fit out was also super inspiring too.  Very clever, modern and laid-back Hawaiian vibes.

The pool at the Surfjack | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Foyer at the Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Mahina and Sun’s Restaurant at the Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club | Image by Alex Fulton Design

A good alternative with probably the same types of ticks would be the Surfjack.  It probably has the most instagrammed pool in Honolulu with the tiles designed to say ‘Wish you were here’.  It also has a very arty, funky, hipster 50’s vibe that makes it very insta-worthy. We had to see for ourselves and had a super yummy date-night there.  The food was nuts-good but I wouldn’t want to eat their every night as it was expensive and not really everyday food – good date night though.  The restaurant itself is called Mahina & Sun’s. Really excellent with a very unique interior fit out and nifty vibe.  Their use of wallpaper was very rad.  My fav’s were the birds of paradise in the toilets and the Shaka Sign in the main dinning area.  Make time to also visit the on-site shop called Olive + Oliver.  Curated as, it stocked really beautiful and un-touristy homewares, fashion and goodies.  They also have some amazing events on that are located around the pool – we just missed out on seeing Jack Johnson play and Kimi Werner (@kimi_swimmy) talk for Earth Day.  Just so cool.

Shaved Ice at the base of the Diamond Head Walk | Image by Alex Fulton Design

To Eat
+ Bills Hawaii (Bill Granger’s Restaurant Beachwalk Ave Honolulu)
+ Leonards Bakery (Kapahulu Ave East of Waikiki and food truck based at Waikele Outlets Carpark)
+ Rainbow Drive In (Kanaina Ave East of Waikiki)
+ Shimazu’s Shave Ice (Castle St – Giant!)
+ Liliha Bakery (Lunch and Dinner Auahi St Downtown)
+ Island Snow Shave Ice ( Kailua Road, Kailua)
+ Kamehame Bakery – purple on the inside donuts! (Kalani St – Purple Donuts)
+ Starfruit Stand (Olohio St Waialua)
+ North Shore Tacos (Kamehameha HWY)
+ The Cheesecake Factory (Royal Hawaiian Centre)
+ Fumi’s Shrimp Truck (Kamehameha HWY)
+ Sunset Shack (Kamehameha HWY)
+ Duke’s Waikiki (Kalakaua Ave)
+ Genki Sushi – think sushi delivered by trains! (Ala Moana Center)

Fresh and hot malasada’s from Leonards Bakery | Image by Alex Fulton Design

You will notice that my food choices are not on the ‘healthy’ end but very much on the ‘gosh that’s going to photograph well’ end.  My fav’s were a real mixture of yummy and decor so please no judging me ok?!

Taco-tastic from North Shore Taco’s | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Bills (as in the Australian chef Bill Granger) was a last night treat.  And it was.  Beautiful, lofty and modern fit out with a very neat menu.  We all enjoyed everything we ordered and a special mention does go to the desert hotcakes.  You know it’s his signature dish when they make a miniature keyring out of them! Don’t be fooled by the street level entrance – you will be transported to tropical restaurant paradise once you are up on the second floor.

Rainbow Drive in | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Bakery’s are big and the best one by far was Leonards.  Situated West of Waikiki we walked there from Waikiki Beach.  After ramming dozens of fresh-out-of-the-deep-fryer Manapua’s we ubered back.  This was not to be our only visit as we also managed to track down a second location food truck after a speed shop at the Waikele Outlets Stores. Bonus.  Pink accessories and packaging with it’s iconic blue lettering is a ‘grammars delight.

Shave Ice was not really on my list but the girls loved it.  Novelity factor was high.  Who knew they put condensed milk on them!  Not me!  It was also a revelation for my youngest daughter to realise that there was a emoji for shaved ice. Again who knew.  So educational this travel lark.  Our hotel (The Laylow) did free shaved ice every day at 2pm.

Those colours and that branding at Leonards Bakery | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Cheesecake Factory was very American and very well received by our American-curious teenagers.  The meals were nuts huge and everything you could imagine and more!  Great, family friendly and cheesecakey. Another institution is Dukes with it’s beach side dining and tiki dominated decor – it was certainly is slick and have processed a tourist or two.

Now that’s a Papaya Bowl from the Sunrise Shack | Image from Alex Fulton Design

To counteract all the donuts I really was keen to find some healthy options and the Sunset Shack out on the Kamehameha Hwy was the business.  Rice cakes stacked nuts and powders and shavings of all sorts of wonders, Papaya bowls that will blow your mind and coffee concoctions that would impressed any millennial (even an old one like me!)

Sunset aboard the Sunset cruise | Image by Alex Fulton Design

To Do:
+ KCC Farmers Market (Tuesday 4pm – 7pm and Saturday 7.30am – 11am)
+ Diamond Head Walk
+ Chinatown (1130 Bethel Street Downtown)
+ Barrio Vintage (Nuuanu Street)
+ Colourful Murals (442 Cooke St)
+ Moana Falls (Off Pali Highway)
+ Pali Highway lookout
+ Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden (Luluku Road)
+ Lani Kai Beach
+ Sunset Beach | Pipeline
+ Mermaid Caves (416 Keaulana Ave)
+ Atlantis Submarine Tour
+ Dole Plantation
+ Island Tour
+ Helicopter Tour

View of West coat from Novictor Helicopter | Image from Alex Fulton Design

We really did a real mix of adventuring.  To start with with we were all fresh off a pretty hectic first term so we all really needed chill.  Daily surfing and beaching got us back on track.  The beach at Waikiki is beautiful and full of tourists but really surprisingly ok.  The surf is even chill.  We hired boards daily and it felt like a wee luxury to paddle out, do a few waves and surf back in for some beaching.  Shopping and eating were other daily pastimes.  We did get our butt’s out and about though and finding stuff to do was easy.

Waikiki Beach – Tourists and good waves | Image by Alex Fulton Design

For a little more adventure we decided to brave the tourists and do the Diamond Head Walk.  It was relatively hard and we really did work up a good sweat getting to the top – it was soooo worth it. The paths are skinny but it’s very amusing hearing the conversations from the tourists.

Family surfing is good for the soul | by Alex Fulton Design

Both Jeff and I had been to Hawaii years before so it was lovely to talk the girls and see island love through their eyes.  I had recalled North Shore being pretty amazing and because of that we decided to do the hire a driver and see the island day tour.  Excellent.  Our driver was really accomodating with last minute “stop – I want to go there” calls and even gave us a few hot tips.  Quick swims, photo breaks and food pit stops were perfect and no parking issues!

Big Pineapples are cool. So are teenagers | Image by Alex Fulton Design

A cane pineapple is the best souvenir from The Dole Plantation | Image by Alex Fulton

As cheesy as it sounds, the Dole Plantation was worth a quickie – even if you just go in and get some Dole Whip.  OMG.  I also managed to find a cane pineapple bag.  Win win.

Diamond Head Beach House | Image by Alex Fulton Design

To Shop:
+ Bailey’s Antique and Aloha Shirts (East of Waikiki, Kapahulu Ave – just a few blocks down from Leonards Bakery)
+ Aloha Stadium Flea Market (Salt Lake Blvd – Wed, Sat and Sun 8am – 3pm)
+ Olive + Oliver (In the Surfjack)
+ Diamond Head Beach House (On Monsarrat Ave on way to Diamond Head Walk)
+ Betty x Joe (Kihapai St Kailua)
+ The International Market Place (Kalakaua Ave)
+ Ala Moana Centre
+ Aloha Superette (Uluniu St Kailua)
+ Waikele Outlet Stores (surprisingly ok)

Hawaiian shirts-a-rama at Bailey’s | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Happy Husband = happy family, so it was a little bit of a surprise for my husband to take him to Bailey’s.  My husband, Jeff is a HUGE Hawaiian shirt fan so this place was heaven on a stick.  We loved it too.  It seemed every shirt there had a story and the owner was close by to expand on anything that piqued our interest.  Tom Selleck, Anthony Bourdain, Tom Jones – all accounted for with their signature shirts.  Classic.  Prices varied from $20 to $2500!

Local goodies at Aloha Superette | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Betty x Joe Store with local artists and craftspeople | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Aloha from Sunrise Shack | Image by Alex Fulton Design

Mostly I was determined to find cool and cute design stores but with ‘said’ teenagers we did venture to find all those iconic ‘American’ brands which Honolulu most definitely had.  I did get my way and as part of the Island tour our driver was very accommodating with finding the off beat and different.  They were hard to find! But I found them for you.  My greatest finds were the Rainbow pottery drums from Aloha Superette AND my Kat + Roger mugs I found at Olive + Oliver. I had been spying these ceramics on insty so bonus.

Shaka’s from the air | Image from Alex Fulton Design

Hawaii really is a city and an island all rolled into one.  Perfect for two teenage girls and perfect for us as family.  We will be back!

Want all this good stuff in a nutshell? Or as they call it in the grown-up-land, a downloadable version. Get it HERE.

+ Just so you know I was not paid to say anything above – I just wanted to pass on some of my fav Hawaii places.

+ Also a special thanks to Jen Gotch from for passing on some hot tips for Hawaii. These girls know how to colour + travel + eat + ‘gram!



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Winners: Dulux Colour Awards 2018


Winner: Commercial Interior Public and Hospitality | Wagaya (NSW) by Span Design

This year’s 2018 Dulux Colour Awards looked super.  They do every year.  Seeing new ways to apply and work with colour is tops, and these awards certainly bring out the best of the best!

I’m starting with this blue and pink beauty from Span Design.  Wagaya is a very hip and on-design commercial space which has totally mastered the art of colour AND lighting – thats a hard ask – especially when that lighting is neon.  Balance is key and they have nailed an aesthetic that is very pleasing, ultra modern with a huge helping of flair. Yum.

Winner: Commercial Interior Public and Hospitality | Wagaya (NSW) by Span Design

Get a load of the textures at play here – perforated metal, sumptuous velvets and a texturised tile.  Very cool gang, very cool.

Commercial Interior: Workplace and Retail
Winner – Abbotsford Studio (VIC) by March Studio

OOOOOoooh – Commercial Interiors when they go good.  Having been a judge on this panel I can see how this entry would of stood out immediately but no doubt the judges also had to do the ground work on the why’s and how’s to finally make this commercial interior the winner winner chicken dinner. It’s as much about the story as the flashy images (tip for your entry next year!) and this space has both in spades. Spades I say!

Commercial Interior: Workplace and Retail
Winner – Abbotsford Studio (VIC) by March Studio

Abbortsford Office, March Studio, Colour Palette

A little bit Memphis, a little bit vans-shoe-check and a lot of colour combo goodness.  This makes for an exceptional place to work I would guess.

Commercial Exterior Winner (also the winner of the Grand Prix Award) – Fitzroy Crossing Renal Hostel (WA) by Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects

Not only did Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects win the Commercial Exterior Award the also took out the Grand Prix Prize.  Three cheers!

I actually think the judges would say this better than me here: ”An exemplary piece of architecture, whose impact is heightened, and even defined by, the considered use of colour, the Fitzroy Crossing Renal Hostel is the clear overall winner of this year’s Grand Prix. The nuanced juxtaposition of contextually inspired hues demonstrates an understanding of the strength of colour and its relevance in the Australian landscape.”


Commercial Exterior Winner (also the winner of the Grand Prix Award) – Fitzroy Crossing Renal Hostel (WA) by Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects

Commercial Exterior Winner (also the winner of the Grand Prix Award) – Fitzroy Crossing Renal Hostel (WA) by Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects

Clever clever clever.  Finding the right mixture is such a complex yet intuitive process. It’s like they pulled the colours palette from the rural surrounds?  Yes, I think they just might have.

International Commendation – The Family Bach by Cymon Allfrey Architects

Not a winner but a super commendation (we will take it NZ, we will!).  VERY worthy of a commendation is this Family Bach from Cymon Allfrey Architects.  It’s the use of one colour (and in this case a Dulux Canary Yellow) as a highlighter throughout the architecture.  Nice work.

International Commendation – The Family Bach by Cymon Allfrey Architects

That contrast colour doing it’s job at the front entrance.  Dashing.

International Winner – Crimson Education Office by OPL

The winner of the International Category is (drumroll here) a KIWI!  Yay Yay Yay.  It’s been a long time coming to finally get a NZ winner in these AUST dominated colour awards (They are just so darn clever those Aussies).

International Winner – Crimson Education Office by OPL

Designer Patrick Loo has wow’ed this space with a dichromatic combo of a faded crimson (Dulux Red Rock) and a bright white (Dulux Vivid White and Dulux Mt Aspiring).  It’s incredibly architectural and welcoming at the same time.  The judges said it was “discretionary but deliberate” and I would tots agree.

Multi Residential Exterior Winner – 5 Sam Sing Street (NSW) by Collins and Turner Architects and Environa Studio

This flappy metaly shades of green and grey entry took out the Multi Residential Exterior section.  Nuff said?

Dulux Pale Green Tea, Colorbond Pale Eucalyptus, Mangrove, Colorbond Cottage Green, Storm Break, Intensity Leaf Satin

Multi Residential Interior Winner – North Perth Townhouse (WA) by Simon Pendal Architect

Simon Pendal and team have nailed ‘doing colour strong and well’ in the Multi Residential Interior Category.  That green though (Dulux Celtic Green).  Gutsy and full on in your face and I love it.  Big gestures in colour are often lacking, so to see this kind of throat-punch with colour makes my heart sing.  TKO through that white interior (Dulux Lexicon) with serious amounts of block colour why-don’t-cha.

And now they have done it with this shade of klein blue (Dulux Ahoy).  Soooo good right. So good. You are killing me softly teaming that blue with that chartreuse yellow and orangeyred. Anyone noticed the white cutout on the roof.  Go the deets.

Single Residential Exterior Winner – Albert Park Curved Pleated Façade (VIC) by AdeB Architects

AbeB Architects won there category with a perforated fold metal facade.  Nifty.

Single Residential Interior Winner – Percy St (VIC) by Bagnoli Architects

Pastels dreams do come true.  Loud and proud they are in this category of residential Interior.  I haven’t seen all the rest of the entries but I don’t care.  This wins.  It’s subtle in colour but not in execution.  Check out the application through out each space.  I’ve only given you two images but I could of shown them.  Bravo times a thousand.

Dulux: Percy St – Spanish Olive, Bleached Coral Half, Antarctica Lake Quarter, Duck Egg Cream Quarter, Fair Bianca Half, Antique White U.S.A.

Single Residential Interior Winner – Percy St (VIC) by Bagnoli Architects

Seriously – they also need to get the Miss World Joinery Award too right.  Sexy seeeeeeems right thur.

You reckon you could compete next year?  You sooo should.

Keep posted on all things colour and awardy with Dulux NZ (and Dulux AUST).

Yours in colour, Alex

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Winter Warmer: Dulux gets cosy


Dulux Colour Trends 2018 – Essential Palette. Styled by Bree Leech, photographed by Mike Baker. Colours are: Dulux Remuera, Dulux Century Mist Suede Effect and Dulux Spanish Olive

Dulux Colour Trends 2018 – Essential Palette. Styled by Bree Leech, photographed by Mike Baker. Colours are: Dulux Remuera, Dulux Century Mist Suede Effect and Dulux Spanish Olive

Dulux Colour Trends 2018 – Essential Palette. Styled by Bree Leech, photographed by Mike Baker. Colours are: Dulux Remuera, Dulux Century Mist Suede Effect and Dulux Spanish Olive

Nips are in the air and it’s time to get your cosy ON at home.

It’s always exciting (and super dooper inspiring) to get any new imagery from Dulux so I have to share ASAP.

These greys and neutrals with hints of warm accents all come from the ESSENTIAL Dulux Colour forecast.  They are predicting a pretty minimalist mood for winter 2018 – a little bit casual, a little bit moody and a lot elegant.

“With it’s soft, muted shades, this palette is all about laid-back sophistication and simplicity.  It’s incredibly easy to live with and works beautifully in NZ homes” says Davina Harper, Design and Colour Specialist at Dulux NZ

For me, I could possibly add a little more juice with some brighter tones from this palette.  Dulux Little Shoal Bay is a warm electric blue and Dulux Clay Court is a dense terracotta which would add the warmth part to this grey based range.  Don’t forget pink – Dulux Mornington Half is a perfect little hue-quencher to soften what can be a monochrome forecast palette.

There’s something for everyone and I encourage you to look for yourself and finds some colours to really sink your winter teeth into!

Sponsored post for Dulux NZ (and plus I love it!)

Styling: Bree Leech
Photography: Mike Baker


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Colour Forecast: Dulux Colour Trends 2018

ESCAPADE palette featuring Dulux Sir Edmund, Cuticle Pink and Mossburn Styling by Bree Leech and photography by Mike Baker

This is always a favourite part of my year – the Dulux Colour Forecast.  Dulux NEVER fail to inspire with hue heavy imagery that will totally change the way you think of colour and how to use it in our spaces.  Nicely umbrellaed under the word BALANCE, each of the four palettes takes cues from the world around us, the latest in design and social happenings and form a solid story of curated themes – Essential, Kinship, Escapade and Reflect.

“Balance is desired in many areas of our lives, whether it be at work, at home with family, our lifestyle or simply within ourself. With future interiors in mind, the idea of balance is crucial to ensure we live and work in harmonious spaces that help to stimulate our senses, as well as enabling us to relax and retreat”

Each year there’s usually one pretty strong theme that you tend to warm to immediately and for me it would have to be ESCAPADE, but gradually as you learn about each theme you slowly start to fall in love with new colours and combinations that give unlimited possibilities to interiors which is incredibly exciting.

ESCAPADE palette using Dulux Bondi Pink and St Edmund | Styled by Bree Leech and Photographed by Lisa Cohen | Pouf by Poliform, Divider from Global West, Quilt Cover Set from Linen House, Fitted Sheets and Pea Cushion by Kip and Co, Pendant Light from Space, Side Table from District, Brass Lamp from House of Orange, Artwork by Ben Craven, Mirror and Jewellery Box from Designstuff

The ESCAPADE colour palette immediately takes you to warm days sitting poolside in Palm Springs with minty blues (Dulux Waitiki Landing and Manu Bay) and lolly pinks (Dulux Friends and Cuticle Pink).  It’s all about the quest for fun and adventure.

There’s a fun loving quality to these this colour palette that offers up a huge dose of feel good factor which feels spontaneous and up beat – it certainly lifts the soul and brings out that sense of fun and holidays.  We know how good a vacation feels so there really is no excuse not to bring this feeling into our homes.

This scheme also allows for organic forms to works alongside more solid structures – a heady mix that creates spaces that take you away to someplace special.  These colours and ideas bring destinations to you and your home. Staycation – yes please.

ESSENTIAL palette using Dulux Gnu Tan, Suede Effect Century Mist, Dieskau, Terrace White, Flooded Gum, Little Shoal Bay and Clay Court | Styled by Bree Leech and Photographed by Mike Baker

The ESSENTIAL palette immediately lowers the noise and sets a scene for simplicity and softness.  An ode to natural textures, it champions muted shades as well as stronger tones like browns (Dulux Gnu Tan and Clay Court) and blues (Dulux Little Shoal Bay and Adele Island).  They have even added a very natural pink to help compliment these tones (Dulux Mornington Half) which I am already falling hard for.

ESSENTIAL palette using Dulux Gnu Tan and Spanish Olive | Styled by Bree Leech and Photographed by Lisa Cohen | Chair and Coffee Table by Hub, Rug by Halcyon lake, Vase by Scout House and Bronze dish by Henry Wilson

It’s neutral but with a colourful edge that reminds us that we are allowed to put colour onto walls and that’s it’s not all about being loud and saturated to make a design statement.  This has impact just by being soft, natural and present in the space.  It allows us to feel like we can slow down and reconnect with spaces like never before.  It’s instant mindfulness through colours and design.

KINSHIP palette using Dulux Motueka, Tikitiki, and Very Terracotta | Styled by Bree Leech and Photographed by Mike Baker

The KINSHIP palette takes us to another place entirely.  These colours take us back to not just our roots but connects us with the world.  They remind us that we are a global community which can be reflected in our home spaces.  With much social unrest and global uncertainty it’s nice to feel a sense of place and the feeling of being home.  This palette most definitely offers us this.

Bringing these colours into your current realm is a intimate nod to the power of tribes, family and community.  It’s a real celebration of traditional folklore and cultural diversity which can’t be ignored, so instead should be embraced.  A big hug around the world.

KINSHIP palette using Dulux Very Terracotta and Cardrona | Styled by Bree Leech and Photographed by Lisa Cohen | Armchair by Mobilia, Rug from Halcyon Lake, Coffee Table by Apparentt, Sofa from Voyager, Cushions from Figgoscope, Vase from Modern Times, Ceramic Vessel and basket from Kazari, Set of Terracotta Pots from Hub

What I loves about this palette is the askew colours – different version of the regulars.  The subtle blue (Dulux Ruski), the grubby green (Dulux Herbalist), the orange toned pink (Dulux Maiko) and the bright mustard (Dulux Fortrose).  These colours feel new – they feel exciting and offbeat and I personally can’t wait to try these in some new spaces.  I also think I have a new favourite red (Dulux Outrageous Red)

REFLECT palette features Dulux Ohaupo, Amazon Queen and Martinborough | Styled by Bree Leech and photographed by Mike Baker

The REFLECT palette is the colour equivalent to ‘tipping our hats’ to the past, especially the 70’s with large helpings of the 90’s.  Modern day has really got us very involved in a smart and technological world and this palette is our chance to help us find greater meaning in what we choose to surround ourselves with.

REFLECT palette using Dulux Goyder Green | Styled by Bree Leech and photographed by Lisa Cohen | Armchair by Space, Chaise and Coffee Table by Voyager, Pendant Light by Statelight, Artwork by Stefan Gevers, Cushions by Zuster, Rug by Behruz Studio, Side table by Anibou, Glass on table by Franque

The colours range from pigment rich greens (Dulux Goyder Green, Wiroa Island and Amazon Queen) to a display purple based pinks (Dulux Smokey Quartz and Morikau) and mauves (Dulux Martinborough), right into a dense purple (Dulux Nugget Point).  There’s going to be no problem finding a favourite mix of colours that will bring back memories from the past as well as creating new ones to take you into the future.


All of these images are really only a snippet of what Dulux are doing with the 2018 forecast, infact they have given a plethora of imagery, which you can get your own inspiration from, in the e-magzines that are out now.

From matching whites to each trend, to well known designers making their own palette choices, suggestions of schemes we can try and paint tips – these mags are such a great reasource for us all to use.







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Creative Collaboration: GEM Visa 3 Ways with… Freedom Furniture ‘Grace’ Bench Ottoman

Photograph by Babiche Martens.

Armed with my trusted GEM Visa I was whisked off to a local Freedom Furniture store to style one item three different ways… Today’s item was the beautifully stylish Freedom Furniture Grace Bench Ottoman in Plush Pink Velvet.

Photograph by Babiche Martens.

Taking the cue that this ottoman is not only good looking but also functional I wanted to add it to an entrance-way.  We come and go from our home so it’s nice to have a place to sit, put our shoes on and contemplate what we need for the day.  Space is also at a premium in an area like this so the ottoman is perfect to sit against the wall leaving plenty of room for human traffic.  The soft pink colour way also brings a nice lift to a predominately neutral and natural colour scheme.


+ Ottoman: Grace Bench Ottoman $999
+ Sidetable: Valencia 2 Door Buffet $1,299
+ Rug: Cowhide Floor Rug $549
+ Vases: Mottle Vase Grey $34.95 & Umi Vessel 30cm $59.95
+ Basket: Hampshire Bread Basket $44.95
+ Throw: Loopy Throw $199
+ Foliage: Rogue Bird of Paradise $39.95 each
+ Mirror: Keighley Mirror $269

Photograph by Babiche Martens.

Mixing up the seating around your dinning room table is an easy way to update the table’s look and feel.  Adding an upholstered bench ottoman contributes a sense of luxury and texture to a usually hard edged setting.  Team the bench seat with an upholstered chair in a complimentary colour and suddenly you have created a table-scape that is warm, inviting and and perfect for long lunches and family dinners.  Colour clues have been taken from the artwork which allows us to play with subtle tones of seafoam, teal, dusty pink and white.


+ Ottoman: Grace Bench Ottoman $999
+ Dining Table: Valencia Dining Table $999
+ Dining Chair: Stax Dining Chair $169
+ Pendant Light: Coron Ceiling Pendant
+ Artwork: Matthieu Print $289
+ Vase: Alondra Lantern $39.95
+ Foliage: Rogue Nut Pod $24.95 each
+ Table setting: Rattan Placemat $17.95, Oak Serving Board $54.95, 
Tailor Coupe Dinner Plate $11.95, Jet Side Plate $5.95, Sorrento Bowl $8.95,
Jett Mini Bowl $2.95
+ Glassware: Prestige White Wine Glass $34.95 set of 4, Prestige Red Wine Glass $34.95 set of 4 Cassiopla Water Glass $7.95 each

Photograph by Babiche Martens.

The last room to get the ottoman treatment is the bedroom.  This setting with it’s slubby bed linen, concrete floors, and black accents could head into a more masculine zone but the blush pink velvet fabric of the Grace Bench Ottoman breaks that up.  Add the same tone into the bedding and it ties in the soft colour perfectly to break up the heavy influence of darker tones.


+ Ottoman: Grace Bench Ottoman $999
+ Rug: Melibu Floor Rug 160 x 230cm $699
+ Bedding: Crushed Cotton Sheet Sheet $229,
Brushed Marl Pillowcase Set $39.95, Brushed Marl Quilt Cover $179,
+ Cushions: Dorian Floor Cushion $54.95, Carlotta Cushion $44.95
+ Bed: Oslo Queen Bed $1299, Chelsea Queen Plush Mattress $1,499
+ Bedside Table: Mayson Side Table $299
+ Plant: Rogue Agave $319
+ Bedside Lamp: West End Table Lamp $129
+ Bedside Objects: Concrete Large Star $32.95, Crestwood Vessel 14cm $17.95,
Crestwood Vessel 8cm $14.95,  Metric Mug Diagonal $6.95
+ Art: Bakari Wall Art $299

Photograph by Babiche Martens.

Each set wouldn’t be possible without the help of my fantabulous GEM Visa.  It really gives you flexibility when purchasing with long-term interest free deals with Freedom.  So you can buy what you need and not pay interest for 6 months!  Most definitely the smarter way to shop!



All products used in these sets are current and now available from Freedom Furniture

+ this blog post is a paid promotion in collaboration with GEM Visa

+ Styling by Alex Fulton Design

+ Photography by Babiche Martens

+ All styled in-store at the wonderful Westgate Freedom Furniture store (thank you to all the staff that went above and beyond to help us!)


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Creative Collaboration: Barker’s of Geraldine Squeezed Fruit and Botanicals

Barker's of Geraldine Squeed Fruit & Botanicals

Barker’s of Geraldine Squeed Fruit & Botanicals

Ooooooooh I do love a good collaboration and the good folk at Barker’s of Geraldine have asked me if I would spin my AFD styling magic over their new Squeezed Fruit and Botanicals range of premium fruit cordials.

Barker's of Geraldine Squeed Fruit & Botanicals

Barker’s of Geraldine Squeed Fruit & Botanicals

This set all stems from the idea of the forbidden fruits.  A little garden of Eden that has produced a bounty of goodness that may look so good it’s forbidden but lucky for us it’s not.  Snakes, crystals and plenty of lush greenery, this is a sophisticated picnic for two.

Barker's of Geraldine Squeed Fruit & Botanicals

Barker’s of Geraldine Squeed Fruit & Botanicals

In this range:

+ Squeezed Blood Oranges with Lime and Bitters

+ Squeezed Redcurrant with Cranberry and Pomegranate

+ Squeezed Lemons with Lime, Cucumber and Mint

+ Squeezed Blackcurrants and Blueberries with Elderflower.

Barker's of Geraldine Squeed Fruit & Botanicals

Barker’s of Geraldine Squeed Fruit & Botanicals

Mmmmmmmm – how will you drink your’s?!

Products all sourced from The AFD STORE 

Rug: Pappelina Noa Rug in Grey with Turquoise Stripe 70 x 90cm $163

Crystal: Stoned Rose Quartz $119

Container: Good Thing Bowl in Grey $89

Candles: Good Thing Pair of Candles Sticks in Red $65

Art: ‘Uncle Ian’ by Alex Fulton Design, POA

Set Colours: Dulux Blue Lagoon (Teal), Dulux Flat Point (Pink) and Dulux Colombo Street (Red)

All images are ©Alex Fulton Design for Barker’s of Geraldine

* This is a paid collaboration and all ideas and styling are from Alex Fulton and approved by Barker’s of Geraldine

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6 Ways to make a Grand Entrance


Ooooh it’s me… talking about creating a Grand entrance for your home.  There will be a link to the full video below, but I wanted to share 6 tips about how to create you own grand entrance in your very own home.


1. Match colours to the feel and purpose of your home

We are based at the beach so there’s a real coastal vibe happening and the colours reflect this feeling.  It’s about matching the feeling and the elements that surround your home and how you want to reflect this in your asthetic design vision – try these Pop and Scott Pots from Copper and Pink.  I wanted a softer, natural feel that reflected the vibe we wanted our home to have as well as the location that it’s in.


2. Hightlight features and disguise flaws

Sometimes we are stuck with certain features that we just can’t change, so using colour and objects are an easy way to help highlight the good bits and hide the not so good bits.  We couldn’t change the weatherboard exterior colour as it had just been painted by a previous owner, but we could change the door colour as that was a lot cheaper and time efficent to carry out.  I chose a punchy blush pink (Dulux Millers Flat) that helped to draw your attention away from the neautral weatherboards and highlight the unique style of the entrance way door.


3. Complement the style and architecture

Walking the neighbourhood is a great way to get some clues about the architecture in your ‘hood and is an easy way to help you narrow down what you like and what you don’t.  It can help to find design features that connect with you and you can apply to your home and exterior.


4. Keep the continuity

Interior Designers, like me, are always talking about the flow of a house and this is especially true for an entrance way.  It’s the first clue a visitor gets to tell them what’s to come.  The colours and patterns used in an entrance way should reflect what is going to happen in the rest of the home.  For us it’s a touch of monochrome, house plants, a smattering of blond wood, and highlights of blush pink and yellow.


5. Make use of storage and accessories that match your style

Don’t forget that the entrance way is acutally another room in the house and should be treated as such – given the same consideration as other parts of your home.  I like to make sure that there is plenty of storage as well as a place to sit and put on and take off shoes.  This area tends to become a dumping ground for bags, keys and other bits and pieces so try to provide hooks, hangers and baskets to give these goodies a home.  For us we got a clever peg board (from George and Willy) which let’s us hang hats, umbrellas and shelves for other little bits and bobs.


6. Hardware should be good looking and functional

A digital lock works really well for our family which is coming and going all the time.  It means no lost keys and it allows us to give access to friends and family when we are out of town or to a tradesmen if needed.  It’s great for piece of mind and this particular lock (the 3109 from Yale Locks) is very user friendly and all members of the family can easily use it.  It looks good AND it works well which is a huge tick from me.

Your entrance way should be fun and a reflection of you and whoever lives in your home.  It should show who you are and how you want to live – tell your interior design story!

I really hope these tips help and if you want to see more check out the full video: Yale Grand Entrances – Alex Fulton


This post is a collaboration between Alex Fulton Design and Yale Locks NZ.

All imagery and video is the property of Yale Locks NZ/AFD and needs to be credited accordingly.

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