Inspiration or imitation?

Inspiration or imitation?

We know our Members love Instagram, and we get that it’s a great source of inspiration for both designers and clients.

But with a non-stop stream of stunning designs in our social feeds every day, how do we make sure our inspiration doesn’t become imitation?

How can we be inspired by a style without downright ripping it off? And when our Client shares a Pinterest picture and wants ‘exactly that’, how do we encourage them to add their own flavour to their new bathroom or kitchen?

We’ve taken some inspiration from one of our favourite authors and have come up with three tips to help keep you on your own path:

1. Look through your own lens

‘You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.’
Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

If you’re continually drawn to the style of one or a small number of designers, start looking for the parallels in their folio/s. Are there elements that they seem to repeat? Patterns? Colours? Lines? What do they see from a design perspective that you may be missing in your work? How can you learn to see through your own lens of awesomeness?

2. Give an idea an all-new spin

‘Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas.’
Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

If you (or your Client) are taking inspiration from another designer’s work, you’ll want to make sure you put your own creative spin on the concept. What was the element that caught your eye? A colour? A tile? A combination of finishes? How can you take that element and give it a remix? If your finished design has a hint of the original inspiration, but it’s been reworked enough to have its own sense of style, you’ve done right.

3. Credit where credit’s due

‘Don’t try to be hip or cool. Being open and honest about what you like is the best way to connect with people who like those things, too.’
Austin Kleon, Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

If you love another designer’s work and draw inspiration from their style (without imitating it to a tee), let them know. You may even earn yourself a new fan with some ‘credit where credit is due’! We have some inspiring examples of modest, humble and incredibly talented designers in our community. If you’re not already a part of it, join in!


Meet a Member Tuesday | Betty-Jo Bleakley

Meet a Member Tuesday | Betty-Jo Bleakley

Tuesday | 23 February 2021 | 4pm ADST

*Note: Australian Daylight Saving Time (ADST) applies to NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and ACT only. In Queensland, this session will commence at 3pm (AEST), and WA should clock in at 1pm (AWST). SA guests should note a 3.30pm (ACDT) start.

Betty-Jo Bleakley has been a member of the KBDi community for many years. The Toowoomba-based designer has a passion for all-things-outback, and covers some serious ground in her quest to bring beauty and bliss to Queensland’s hard-working rural families. She combines her interior design knowledge with feng shui principles and a holistic mindset, creating healthy, healing and supportive environments for residential and commercial clients. In this one-hour session, Betty-Jo will share how her business has grown and evolved, and inspire you with her heart-centred approach to interior design.

Places are limited (with priority allocation going to KBDi Designer Members). Register TODAY and we’ll confirm your spot via email.


Event registrations have now closed.

PD Tuesday | A personal (virtual) tour with Stephen Crafti

PD Tuesday | A personal (virtual) tour with Stephen Crafti

Tuesday | 16 February 2021 | 4pm ADST

With more than 40 published books to his name, Melbourne writer Stephen Crafti is a living library of all things design and architecture. In his highly-regarded architectural tours, Stephen takes his guests on a delightfully entertaining journey through some exceptional homes. In this session, he’ll take you on a personal (virtual) tour through his own award-winning Melbourne abode. Stephen will share some stunning photographs and many enthralling tales, and will be sure to reignite your passion for design.

Watch the recording

Whoops, this video is for Members only. If you have a Membership, please log in. If not, you can get access by becoming a KBDi Member here.
PD Tuesday | All about indoor plants

PD Tuesday | All about indoor plants

Tuesday | 13 April 2021 | 4pm AEST

Rhiannon Meertens has a qualification in interior design and a certifiable obsession with indoor plants. As the owner of two thriving plant stores in Brisbane, Rhiannon is the go-to guru for green-thumbed stylists. In this one-hour session, you’ll learn what to consider when allowing space for greenery in your designs, and discover the best types of plants for bathrooms and kitchens. Rhiannon will share the biggest mistakes people make with indoor plants, and show how thoughtful plant selection can change the vibe of your interior space.

Places are limited (with priority allocation going to KBDi Designer Members). Register TODAY and we’ll confirm your spot via email.


All about green

All about green

Applying any kind of colour requires bravery and commitment – from both the client and the designer. For the latter, a keen eye for colour combined with some theoretical knowledge can ensure decisions are made with confidence. And knowing a little bit of history can make the colour selection process more interesting for all.

About the colour green…

Green falls right in the middle of the light spectrum, meaning our eyes need minimal adjustment to see it.

The human eye can differentiate more shades of green than any other colour, and this is evidenced by the long list of adjectives often applied to the hue. Yellow-green and blue-green are apparent, but the following list includes some (but not all) of the more complex shades:

  • Apple green
  • Avocado green
  • Chartreuse green
  • Emerald green
  • Forest green
  • Grass green
  • Jade
  • Khaki
  • Leek green
  • Lime green
  • Mint green
  • Olive
  • Pistachio green
  • Sage
  • Teal
  • Viridian


The history of green…

Put simplistically, green is made up of yellow and blue. No, it’s not rocket science, but it wasn’t always so clear! The ancient Greek mathematician, Plato, stubbornly maintained that prasinon (leek) was made by mixing purron (flame) and melas (black). The father of atomic theory – Democritus – believed pale green was a product of red and white. Like the colour red, green was deemed one of the middle colours sitting between black and white. The medieval Latin word sinople could refer to either red or green, and – not surprisingly – the two were often confused.

Green was further complicated when it came to creating dyes. Historically, there was a deep aversion to mixing different substances, and there was a long-standing taboo associated with mixing blue and yellow pigments. Anyone caught dyeing cloth green by dipping it in woad (indigo) then weld (a yellow dye) could face severe repercussions in some countries.

Artists struggled with the colour green, too. The taboo against mixing began to fade in the early Renaissance, but artists were challenged by the varying reactions with combined pigments.

These craftsmen and artists’ struggles could explain green’s symbolic link with capriciousness, evil and poison. Of course, the more scientific link between poison and green potentially had more influence: the popularity of copper arsenite pigments in the nineteenth century was responsible for many deaths. As consumers papered their homes, clothed their children and wrapped their baking in the exciting new shade of emerald green, lethal doses of arsenic proved fatal.

Today, however, the hue is much more associated with peace, serenity and the natural environment. After a year of lockdowns and home confinement, many homeowners have a new appreciation for the need to connect with nature. There’s no easier way to meet this need than with the application of a dash – or splash – of green.

Following are four gorgeously green interiors that demonstrate how the various shades of green can evoke a range of feelings in your clients’ homes.

Sydney duo, Kate St James and Catherine Whitting (St James Whitting) bathed this beautiful bathroom in forest greens. Jade and emerald mosaic tiles shimmer and shine, invoking the magic of a deep, dark forest.

A sweet sage green adds a sense of calm to this light and bright kitchen. Perth’s Jalpa Karia (RJ Design Studio) balanced the Vivid White cabinetry with Dulux’s Sage Monica and Blackbutt-toned floors, creating a harmonious and homely space.

Silver fish swim in a sea of teal in the powder room wallpaper specified by New South Wales designer, Cate Liedtke (Catherine de Meur Interiors). The striking design and stunning colour palette make for a tranquil space.

Perth designer, Kerrie Richardson CBD Au (Lux Interiors), brought warmth and earthiness to this kitchen with a clever combination of colour and texture. The muted green-brown tones of Laminex Possum sit peacefully alongside the textured Planked Oak, echoing the sense of serenity found in the Australian bush.

Do you have a favourite shade of green? What does green mean to you and your clients? We’d love to hear your thoughts – comment below and feel free to send us images of your best green applications.

Designing with tile: texture and dimension

Designing with tile: texture and dimension

The inherent ‘smoothness’ of tile – and its subsequent ease of cleaning – makes the material a popular choice for bathrooms and kitchen splashbacks. But for those looking for more dimension in their designs, textured tiles offer some exciting decorative possibilities.

Concave and convex, folded and indented, rippled and bevelled tiles can turn the ordinary into extraordinary. Even the slightest variation to the face of a tile can capture and reflect the light in a space, immediately adding interest and a tactile calling.

In this feature, we’re exploring some of the ways KBDi Members have successfully designed with tiles to introduce texture and dimension.

Melbourne’s Jasmine McLelland (Jasmine McClelland Design) added lux to this lavish space with a Carnivale Tri Grey Italian Porcelain Tile. The three-dimensional run of faceted pyramid shapes is beautifully balanced by a no-nonsense, large format floor tile and discrete frameless shower screens.

The same designer introduced a beautifully embossed white tile to this sturdy family bathroom. Mimicking a woven textile with a classic chevron pattern, the selection softens the space while adding interest and movement.

In a textured-tile-trifecta, Jasmine played with concave circles in this spectacular kitchen splashback. The tiles both absorb and reflect the light in a most unusual way, adding a new dimension to the black and white geometric space.

The natural light flooding this bathroom emphasises the surface variegation of the rippled subway tiles specified by Melbourne’s Matthew James. Balanced with a large format floor tile and fuss-free fittings, the overall look is simple, clean and timeless.

The subway tiles in this gorgeous bathroom (designed by Adelaide’s Janine Izzo, Antipode Interiors) are just one of four in a prettily patterned space. The bevelled-edge of the subway adds weight and substance to the window wall, contrasting perfectly with the delicate tiles elsewhere in the room.

Have a favourite from the selection above? Share your thoughts below.