Thursday, 31 March 2011

Buddha Gardens Day Spa :: Byron Bay, NSW

After my long weekend in Bryon Bay, I would like to share with you one of my favourite day spas in the area. No weekend in Byron is complete for me without a few hours relaxing in the Buddha Gardens Day Spa.
images via Buddha Gardens Day Spa
I am always drawn to this day spa not only for the quality of massage but also for the tranquil tropical gardens which are available for guests to use either before or after their your treatment.
photo above by Ross Doonan & © Beautiful Accommodation
This is one of those gardens that have such a relaxing feel about it... It's just big enough for 4 people with a sauna, a heated plunge pool, waterfull and also the property's resident water dragons! Now I know that if I was a water dragon I would if I lived here!
Home to these lucky guys!
There is also the Orchid Room which features a spa bath set in natural rock, waterfall, an open air shower and Balinese Day Bed which is ideally suited to couples.

I know this will sound rather indulgent... but one day I would love to recreate something similar to this tranquil outdoor space in my own back garden... and all local water dragons will be welcome!

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Recycled timber furniture

Today I am going to interrupt my flow on kitchens but return next week with food recycling ideas for your kitchen...

Yesterday I spent a delightful morning strolling around the Bangalow Markets. I love these markets as you never know what local craft talent you will discover.

I am currently in the process of renovating our 1950's bathroom so I have been on the look out for a piece of recycled furniture, a table or a cabinet that can be restored and used as my bathroom vanity storage unit. It has been months and has been a difficult task to source this item as the item needs to be no bigger 350mm deep and requires storage space. Most furniture is a lot deeper than this and with limited storage.
So I was excited to discover Johnny from Plank Furniture, a local furniture maker who makes custom built furniture made from recycled and reclaimed timber materials. He uses mostly local Australian Hardwood timbers such as Tassie Oak, Ironbark, Camphor, Silky Oak, and Cedar sourced in the Northern Rivers area of NSW.

His talents not only lie with making furniture but he can also build recycled timber kitchens and kitchen counters!
images via Plank Furniture
I will definitely be interested in pulling together some recycled timber furniture ideas for my bathroom and will let you know how it all progresses.

Next week I will return with how to incorporate food recycling options within your kitchen.

Have a great week.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Byron Bay Vista Lodge :: Byron Bay hinterland, NSW

Just a quick post today as I am away in Byron for the weekend. We are staying at the Byron Bay Vista Lodge, just a little inland from Byron. The lodge is architect designed and set on 2 acres of semi-tropical trees, landscaped gardens and has a saltwater pool.

The lodge is spacious with high-ceilings and a huge deck and is set amongst beautiful gum trees, cow and horse paddocks and amazing hinterland views.
You are also welcomed by the owners playful dogs and the local bird life.
The decor is of a traditional old world timber theme set against a background of beautiful gum trees and pastures. As an example of recycling, the timber kitchen is second hand from Ebay and likewise most of the furniture is also sourced from a mixture of secondhand shops and Ebay.
image via Byron Bay Vista Lodge
A great place for relaxing for both couples and families and it gets a big thumbs up from my friends that are also here.

Have fun.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Recycled timber countertops

There is something to be said about using recycled timber within the kitchen.

Even introducing an old butcher block island table adds age and character to any kitchen design.
image courtesy of old sweet water cottage 
If you are unable to source a butcher's block table then there are a few other options for a timber countertop that would give you that same aged look.

Recycled timber countertops - For an alternative to new timber counters

1. Durapalm - An alternative to timber. Wood havested from coconut palms (past their fruit-bearing years), FSC certified and Formaldehyde-free.

2. Windfall Lumber - Recycled timber counter tops made from various sources ranging from salvaged structural timbers to local family farms to exotic hardwood pallets.

3. Teragren - Made from renewable bamboo.

4. Australian recycled timber - FSC certified timber and recycled timber salvaged from demolition sites, woolsheds and wharfs across Australia.

The main rules for sourcing recycled timber are to look for the FSC certified timber logo or to source timber from you local timber recycling centre or recycled timber joiner.

Have fun.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Waka Nusa Resort :: Nusa Lembongan, Bali

Another interesting place I have stayed in Bali is the Waka Nusa Resort on the Island of Nusa Lembongan, situated 12 kilometers East of Bali.

The resort faces Sanur and the impressive Gunung Agung volcano (at 3100m) and because of its isolated location and limited infrastructure, the Island has been preserved from the growth and progress that has evolved in Bali over the last ten years.
The resort has 10 thatched huts based on a palm tree plantation with a white sandy beach, a beautiful turquoise lagoon and coral reef. Diner is alfresco style and literally on the beach edge with your own bamboo lantern.
images via Waka Nusa Resort
The hut construction materials used are in keeping with the natural landscape, local available materials and local tradition; traditional 'alang-alang' thatched roofs, coral and earth pigmented wall rendering (no VOC's here), local wood joinery and traditional decoration.

As Nusa Lembongan has an ancient and fragile ecosystem the island's power and water supply is limited. The huts do not have air conditioning (only overhead fans), intercom, TV's or telephone in the rooms. Instead of air-conditioning, there is natural ventilation which is forced by the lower wall inlets bringing the cool air in from the outside garden. The hot air is let out through the Terra-cotta outlets at the top of the roof.

It was nice not to have to rely on power and the creature comforts of air-condionting. We found the fans and the natural ventilation enough comfort... and embraced the calm and quite atmosphere without phones and the TV in the back ground.

If you are likely to miss your sports channel then this is not the place for you but if you fancy a peaceful and beautiful island getaway then look no further.

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Eco friendly counter tops and splashbacks :: Recycled glass

I just had to add this selection to last weeks list of alternative kitchen counter top materials.

Recycled glass countertops and splashbacks -
For an alternative to natural or quarried stone.

These products are by Trend and range between 59% to 80% pre and post consumer glass waste. They not only produce counter top materials but also recycled glass mosaic tiles which can be used for kitchen splashbacks. This material is not just avalible overseas but also in Australia.
images via Trend
Its great to know that I can still enjoy a glass of wine or my Bombay Sapphire and know that the bottle could end up recycled in someone's kitchen!

Have fun.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Bali Spirit Hotel and Spa :: Ubud, Bali

I could not help myself but to mention another place I have stayed in Bali...

I just love places surrounded by rainforest and located near water. One such place is the Bali Spirit Hotel and Spa nestle on a hillside above a gorge just outside Ubud. I love the combination of its natural location and hand crafted Balinese architecture.
However it's not a place if you do not like walking up and down steps! But if you like to swim in an outdoor pool surrounded by rainforest; or read a book to the sound of a river flowing below; or take a dip in the nearby traditional Balinese bathing pools; or just relax with a traditional Balinese massage in a garden pavilion to sounds of frogs and the flowing water... then this is your place.
the rainforest pool...
breakfast by the river below
the main building

As you can see from the photos, the main building has been lovingly restored and retains a traditional Balinese character and feel. Windows and doorways are made from carefully carved timber along with the old four poster beds and foyer furniture. The hand woven fabrics and textiles are also sourced from local craftsmen and designers.
images via Bali Spirit Hotel and Spa

If you are interested in staying one day, then this is one of those mid range hotels that makes you feel like you are stay at the luxury end without the associated charges.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Eco friendly kitchen counter tops :: Recycled glass counter tops

Technically the greenest kitchen counter top is the one you already have... However if yours is bright yellow (we still come across a few) or beyond repair or you are unable to source a recycled kitchen then you may need to look for a new kitchen joinery and a new countertop.

Firstly, your counter top material should be of good quality, durable, water resistant, non porous (this excludes most natural stones) and something that is a timeless design that you are happy to live with for many years. If your kitchen is a neutral design and of a good quality it is likely to be around for a while, thus reducing the need to consume more materials with buying a new kitchen.

I have selected a few alternative counter materials below. Some of these brands may not be available in your country but there may be other similar products available by local suppliers.

Recycled glass countertops - For an alternative to natural or quarried stone

Whilst granite and marble counter tops have a luxurious finish they are not very environmentally friendly as they are a quarried from natural stone. Nowadays engineered stone has become quite popular as a practical stone substitute but their manufacturing process is not so eco-friendly and their recycled component is fairly low.  However, some stone composite brands are now incorporating higher recycled content options. For an alternative to natural stone or non recycled composites try:

1. Squak Mountain Stone - A fibrous-cement material made from recyled paper, recycled glass and low-carbon cement.

2. Fuez - Made from 100% curbside recycled glass.

3. BottleStone - Made from 80% post-consumer curbside recycled container glass.

4. Vetrazzo - Made from cement and 85% recycled glass from curbside recycling programs. Some of the glass comes from  windows, dinnerware, stained glass, laboratory glass, building demolition glass, traffic lights and other unusual sources. They even provide a certificate of transformation that tells you where the glass came from!

5. Seeta by Torzo - A formaldehyde free composite made from sunflower seed hulls.

6. Caesarstone - On a few colours only, 42% recycled content from production off cuts.

Nowadays there is a wider selection of different surface materials that adopt recycled principals, FSC certified timer products and green building council certification. This is still a growing market a lot of green wash with some materials claiming that they are eco and green when they are not. If you give yourself some time to research thoroughly and check the products technical credentials then you should be able to find your perfect alternative counter finish.

Have fun.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Komaneka Tanggayuda :: Ubud, Bali

Today there has been non stop rain here in Brisbane... This rain reminds me of our first trip to Bali a few years back and a rather soggy stay in Ubud.

Ubud is a beautiful hillside village in the centre of Bali. If you prefer not to be part of the party scene on the coast and would rather relax in a day spa surrounded by lush rainforests, rice terraces and plenty of culture then the inland villages of Bali are the perfect option.

At the time I was designing a Balinese day spa here in Australia… so this trip was well timed and added an extra dimension to my interior design research!

As it was Christmas, we treated ourselves big time and stayed in the Komaneka Tanggayuda resort, just outside Ubud. This picture says it all...
Our accommodation was this Valley Pool Balinese Villa with our own private infinity edge plunge pool, day-bed pavilion and outdoor bathroom!
The design style of this resort reflects a contemporary interpretation of traditional Balinese architecture. It is also a great example of the architecture being constructed from local materials. These included "alang-alang" thatch roofing; "paras" sandstone and other Indonesian stones for the floors, walls and hand made outdoor bath; and hand crafted local furnishings and furniture.
This outdoor stone bath also came with its own surrounding frog pond! It was quite an amazing experience to have your own frog chorus in the evenings.

images via Komaneka
With such stunning views overlooking the surrounding landscape it did not matter that it rained the whole time. It was still warm and we could spent most of the time outside under the protection of our day bed pavilion reading and listening to the rain... bliss!

Since then there is now three in the resort chain. So if you feel tempted you can check them out here.

Have fun.