My name is Matt Allison.
I go by many titles with over a decade of experience in the design industry with my work being featured in lifestyle publications like Home, House & Leisure, Elle Decoration, VISI, Real Estate, Good Taste & The Sunday Times.
My approach to interior design & styling is clean and minimal. I believe that creating livable spaces involve equal parts simplicity and functionality.
This blog shares my love of Scandinavian design and its use of light, form and natural materials.
Thank you for visiting.
Category Archives: DIY
Years ago while holidaying in London I was paging through a decor mag, in it they reviewed a book called “Fast Decor: Creative Ideas for Instant Decorating” by Annemarie Meintjes & Karen Roos.
I called up EVERY bookshop I could to locate a copy and trekked halfway across Londontown to buy one, for an inordinate amount of money I might add. It was breathtaking, it still is. Crafty ideas that allow you to dress up or down a space without spending a fortune, and in some cases, nothing at all.
Imagine my surprise when I found out both authors were South African and the book was published in SA by Struik. I was floored, and truth be told also a little annoyed at having bought a book in London only to bring it back to SA, its birthplace, though I must say the UK edition has a much nicer cover.
Thus began my introduction to both of these wonderful ladies, each with their own stories. Karen now of course owns the amazing Babylostoren and Annemarie has her fingers in hundreds of creative projects, including deputy editing VISI, as she’s done since 2001.
How amazing is that cover! It’s something I’ve always loved about VISI, always progressively pushing the creative envelope on not only a local, but global scale.
This special issue is packed with creative DIY ideas, pulled from the past 12 years of back issues. They’ve graciously allowed me to share a few images from the issue with you below.
All images courtesy of VISI
Dry wall partitioning is banal at best, why not use your old magazines and build up your own internal walls.
All images courtesy of VISI
So you know that new fandangled electronic appliance you bought, wondering what to do with the ubiquitous preformed polystyrene inserts it came with? Why not spray paint them and style your own gallery.
All images courtesy of VISI
Upcycle your old milk bottles into bird friendly feeders.
I, and this blog also get a neat little mention in their “32 Reasons to Always Love Smart Ideas” features, thanks guys!
It’s in stores now, go buy a copy, they even have a digital option for those who prefer paperless mags, though good luck pushing a needle a thread through your iPad.
Recently I shared one of my goals and objectives for 2013 was to live “The Organised Life”.
I call them goals, not resolutions, as they’re more aspirational and are broader in nature, reduced to words or phrases. Added to the list is the phrase, “Play More”.
I’m a work from home Dad, freelancing where I can, but sometimes I get so caught up in my work that I forget to enjoy moments hanging with the kids, the reason I made this career shift to begin with.
Earlier this week I blew off work for a trip to the local park with Nathan leading the way on his push bike, following in tow with a mug of coffee. We got lost for an hour, it was magical.
Nathan LOVES being outdoors, and chances are when you look back at your own childhood your memories were probably of those times.
We are BLESSED to have 3 great parks, all walking distance from our home, but sometimes it isn’t always practical to visit them with Olivia being on a different schedule and so I started to think about how I could bring the park to us.
The outcome is our own little jungle gym (play gym for foreign readers). Inspired by Isabelle’s Gymnastic Rings I added a climbing rope (there wasn’t enough space to include the rings), a cargo net, slide and boxed up the frame to integrate a small sand pit.
Yesterday he spent over an hour playing with his spade, bucket and digger while Kathy and I enjoyed a sunny afternoon outdoors, spectators to his antics.
It’s just a start, but I hope to create more opportunities to “Play More” in 2013.
Here are my top 5 tips for designing your own jungle gym
1. Plan ahead, building a jungle gym can be costly, the larger the gym, the more expensive, as with most building projects. In the same breath you want to make sure that you don’t build something that can’t grow with your kids, likewise if you have younger ones try accommodate them as well by building something that caters for their needs.
2. Build with longevity in mind, if you decide to use wood look at using a naturally hard wearing, pest resistant timber like cedar. Ours is made of treated bluegum that has been sealed with a wax based oil that should last for 60+ yrs with annual treatment. Untreated soft woods are vulnerable to wood rot and wood born insects.
3. Less is more, there is a tendency to want to add everything you can to a jungle gym, but understand while children develop, less is more. Fewer options allow them to express their creativity through imagination, a slide soon becomes a banister that makes for a quick getaway from a fire breathing dragon.
4. Get dirty, as parents we can be a little over protective of our kids and the thought of building sand castles in the back yard may freak you out, but it’s all part of early learning development. If you are worried about contamination in the sandpit, cover it, failing that add in some coarse salt, it will keep the neighbourhood cats away and if you use a porous landscaping mesh to line the pit it will help excess rain water drain off into the water table.
5. Just add water, many of us live on small properties and owning a pool is not an option, never-mind the risk it may pose to younger children, but adding a simple lawn sprinkler into the mix unleashes all kinds adventure. Sand is great, mud is better.
Have you recently built your own jungle gym? What features have you added?