Door Paper – Covering Ugly Doors

The marvelous self adhesive ‘Doorpaper’ is a fantastic, easy way to cover ugly doors. Completed in 30 minutes, I removed my door handle, popped on the self adhesive doorpaper, trimmed it up and boom. Job complete.

I was sick, had sick kids at home and still accomplished it a very short amount of time (and even made a cheese sandwich for sick child) in the middle.

The only part was finding where my husband had hidden the tools to remove the door handle. His workspace is a mess.

For my door paper I chose my town map. I knew I couldn’t get the whole then done as the dimensions are different so I chose just a strip. I think it worked well.


Check out doorpaper at or

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Hiding faults – Miracle Anaglypta

Anaglypta – my new best friend. After four years of renovating the hubster and I were at a Mexican standoff with one of the toilets (yeah we got four toilets and they all needed replacing). Technically I suppose he was correct. The room needed stripping, relining, a new toilet, a new window, a new hand basin, new plumbing and a new hand basin (oh probably door and ceiling/light too if we are going to be 100% honest). Total cost was about $2000 for a small toilet, factor in we have four of them and you can see where I am heading.

Don’t get me wrong, if I had an extra $10 000 I would have totally done the toilet and the other two bedrooms still on the waitlist. But I don’t, and I actually have got to the point…..I want to spend some money on myself, not my blimming house! Maybe I should check out getting a personal loan and getting my hair cut.

My solution was to not reline. I suggested Anaglypta. My husband said it couldn’t be done. The Mexican standoff continued until he went away for work one weekend……

Some of the gaps between Gib board (dry wall) and the old 70s brown board was close to 10mm and included a lot of gaps. It hadn’t been plastered and some of the walls were still decked out in the horrible 70s Seratone – Laminex stuff.

Firstly I used a heavy grade lining paper which helped bridge the gap (so to speak). You can see from the photos that even though I have used lining paper the difference between substrates is still quite obvious but probably a little ‘softer’ than when I first started. The next step was to let the lining paper dry and then apply the Anaglypta. For this step I choose the biggest, thickest Ananglypta I could find. In this case it was Egon.

I also went against my builder brothers advice and wallpapered over the Seratone. Now I know this is foolish but since I get asked a lot if you can wallpaper over Seratone I thought I would try. Firstly I gave it a light sand and then simply stuck the paper on the top. This was several weeks ago and its still firmly stuck. My brother is shaking his head. I will keep you posted on this as to how it lasts.

The bottom photo illustrates the ‘end’ result. I say end as I have only done half the toilet. You can still see the separation slightly through the Anaglypta but by the time I paint it you wont really be able to notice it.

Conclusion: I know that the toilet would look much better if I had the extra $2000 to spend on it. But frankly after 4 years of DIY and a budget that went waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay past what we budgeted I am happy that the toilet is functional again. Its not perfect but it is good. I am happy with it. I’ll post finished photos soon and see what you think.

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Ugly Door – Quick Fix – Vinyl

After four years of renovating, my husband refused to paint anymore. And somehow he banned me too (that is a story for a different blog). So I was stuck with this horrible marked cream door . Time passed and I just had to look at it every day until I remembered the sample product I had ordered in ages ago and forgotten to try. The vinyl wrap. These are my trusty tools. All that is needed is a straight edge/ruler, pen, craft knife and scissors. I gave the door a light sand also. But (sadly not pictured) my number one tool is a damp cloth. Turns out the damp cloth is amazing with this type of product and helps get out air bubbles and wrinkles without creasing. The first step is to choose what ‘angle’ you are going to align with. Probably your side angle and top angle are not going to be a perfect right angle so you need to choose one. I chose the side of the door to line against and left about five centimeters at the top to cut off afterwards. As there is no pattern this makes life easy. It will probably take several attempts to get it right. But the product is pretty robust and can be peeled on and off and on and off until you have it right.

The hardest part of the project was the door handle. Turns out I should have taken it off (insert husband rolling eyes here). I really made a mess BUT this product is pretty forgiving and I just kinda fixed it all up and you cant really notice it unless you are really looking. So my three top tips are use a wet cloth, remove door handle and have an overhang at the top of the door of a few cm.

So here you can see the door handle area, AKA the disaster zone. You can’t really notice though can you? The little messy looking bit beneath the handle is just a wrinkle about to be smoothed down.After you get it on the door and smooth out all the bubbles (I found smoothing on a diagonal the best) I trimmed all the overhang from top and bottom and sides. I did try to wrap it under but it didn’t really work.

And here it is, my high gloss door. Its perfect in every way. I am pretty happy with it….but now that ugly handle stands out like a sore thumb. The whole project took under an hour and cost under $70. There are 12 stylish colours and the end result if perfect! You can find it here

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Seasonal Changes – Easy decor ‘refresh’

Growing up in New Zealand I never realised the exciting seasonal changes and the potential that each revolving season possessed. I guess I took it for granted. It wasn’t until my eight years in Japan that I really learnt to celebrate the beauty that each change holds. The Japanese are geniuses at this. In summer all the winter clothing gets stored away, the summer clothes and bedding comes out. In spring they get ready to picnic under the cherry blossoms and in autumn leaves or chestnuts are collected and displayed. It is this sense of excitement that I have brought back to my own home and hope to instill in my kids. Many of the small things I do to refresh my home during the seasonal changes are based on nature and common sense rather than passing trends. After all there is mounting evidence that contact with nature has significant positive impacts on mental health. I want my kids to grow up with nature in their hearts and in our home.

Spring of course is easy! Shed the heavy blankets, boots and coats, store them away to give your home that lighter de-cluttered feel. Pick flowers and display them in vases or jars.

Look at the difference in my hallway during winter and summer (sorry not great photos).

As the days begin to lighten after winter I get the kids to go on nature walks and take photos. Draw and paint the changing seasons. Kids don’t even need to be good at art for you to display it. Its all about colour and passion. Here is a pic of my 7 year olds art. The amount of comments I get on this is heart warming.

Spring is one of the easiest seasons to get your home read for. Flowers are everywhere! We have a lot of Peonies growing around us. One of the Buddhist centers has a Peonie picking day with all the proceeds going to charity. Its a win-win, I get to feel good twice. There are plenty of other flowers springing up like weeds in spring. Dont underestimate how good a single bloom can make you feel.

And back to Autumn. I couldn’t resist putting these photos in. You might have guessed Autumn is my favourite season (depending on which country I am living in).

My kids and I do a lot of leaf art and photograph it then put it in a nice chunky frame. Makes the kids feel good, we get to go for nice nature walks with out too much grumbling and the house reaps the benefits.

I am also a big fan of rugs. Heavy rugs for winter and lighter rugs for spring and summer. Nothing can beat that feel of wool under foot on a cold winters day. In spring and summer I love the light feel of my bare feet on jute or hemp.

Here in New Zealand many of us are allowed fireplaces (but many are not too). I am lucky enough to live in a an area that allows a closed free standing fireplace. For me there is nothing better than sitting in front of the fire with a mug of soup and a movie on. I adore winter when its done right. Sectional or modular couches are a great way to enjoy the seasonal changes in your home. We have a view of the port from our front windows so the couches can be arranged to enhance this and in winter pulled apart and re arranged to be closer to the fire. I love some of these couches from the Arhaus range (do they deliver to New Zealand?)  The slipcover ones look just the ticket to me and my messy kids. Pull the slips of for easy washing.

What ever the season your home is your castle and you should feel good in it. Sometimes this can mean major changes as you finally buy that piece of furniture you have been coveting for the past few years. Sometimes it can be as simple as changing cushions and throws for a mini update.

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Cleaning Pressed Tin

A lot of customers ask us about cleaning pressed tin. For some reason there seems to be some misconception that it is a high maintenance material. Let me reassure you that if it were hard to clean, it would not be at my house (as I am not very good at housekeeping according to hubby).

Pressed tin is the easiest of all the splash-backs I have ever had. It doesn’t streak, mark or stain. Because it is a ‘textured’ surface you just need to wipe it and no marks are left behind. In fact I generally don’t use any product on it either. Just warm water. Sometimes if I’m feeling dirty I use dishwashing liquid.

I am so impressed with it, I decided to make a little video to show you. Hopefully you can see the spots of dirt and how easy they are to wipe (embarrassing for me to show the world my dirty kitchen but to be fair it was behind my compost bin).

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What to do with just 1 x roll of wallpaper

At The Inside we quite often sell end of lines or batch numbers cheaply. Some of these are an absolute bargain. But like everything ‘reduced to clear’ ‘discounted’ or ‘on sale’ there are complications. In our case there may be just 1 or 2 rolls. Not enough to do a serious project. You can get your hands on some of our bargain basement beauties at

Some of our customers have come up with ingenious solutions. Using tongue and groove paneling, making a feature panel, Dado lines or juxtaposing two contrasting wallpapers to make a whole new look.

Check these out (some images our customers own, some sourced from google).

Update (nearly a year after I first published this article). I have just wallpapered my hallway in what I call ‘a mismatch of one rolls’. I absolutely love it…my husband does not (but what does he know). Not only is it unique – yes that is right – I am fairly certain nobody else will have this combination – but it is stunning and bold.


Beverly Hills Banana Leaf Republic Wallpaper by Martinque. Clever use of a panel to minimise wallpaper use.


Again with the Banana Leaf (ok I’m crushing on this one right now) but you can see they have used paneling or tiles to reduce the amount of wallpaper needed.


Clever use of a panel. This gorgeous framed wallpaper was probably less than a roll.


Another cute idea for using just a roll of wallpaper. This clearly defines the office space.


Here is a wallpaper we sell by the metre ‘Dandelion Clocks’. This gorgeous piece of furniture used less than 2 metres of wallpaper.


And how clever is this? This is actually leftovers from Piet Hein Eek ‘Scrapwood’ range. This was leftovers from a feature wall.



This is a roll of our ‘Horizontal Stripes’ behind glass and used as a splashback.


Some clever customer used wallpaper on a fridge. This was around 8 metres. wallpaper_headboard_new_zealand

A customer ordered a roll of our Starburst in lime/teal. Headboards take more wallpaper than you think but less than a whole roll.



Another customer orders wallpaper by the metre and makes these beautiful wallpaper dresses.


Here is 1 x roll of Brooklyn Tin Tiles on a Chimney.


Here is one of my favs, this customer was determined to use this wallpaper even though there was just 1 x roll. She ended up making a panel. You can see if doesn’t reach the edge of the wall. I absolutely love it. Looks intentional.


This clever customer wanted to use her left over wallpaper. Please ignore the Cole and Sons ‘Woods’ in the background (if possible)…look at the ducks made out of the Orla Kiely Multistem wallpaper on the door.

If you really love something and there is only one or two rolls left (not enough for your space) don’t despair, there are always options that in the end may just make your place unique.


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Wallpaper Fridge

So a little while back a customer wrote to me and said she wanted to wallpaper her fridge. While I had pondered the idea that our self adhesive range Eziwall would be suitable for covering ugly appliances, the thought of normal wallpaper being able to do this never crossed my mind.

My interest perked up immediately and I sent her around 8 metres of our fabulous Flamingo wallpaper. I think she used it all.

There was some debate in my household about the logistics about wallpapering a fridge. Somebody said it might effect the cooling mechanisms? In all the blogs I looked at, not one person mentioned this. Obviously everybody is more interested in the graphics than getting a case of salmonella (that’s the design world for ya).

Anyway I waited and waited and waited some more and around 6 weeks later these fabulous photos arrived.

Thank you Krystle for sharing with us your amazing refrigerator. I’m definitely going to try and talk hubby in to this. Or he is just going to come home and its done (most likely scenario. Actually most likely scenario is he will come home and its half done. And will stay that way for six to 12 months).


how_to_decorate_your_fridgedecorating_your_kitchen_with_wallpapercolourful_kitchens Getting started




Doing the sides


ideas_to_brighten_your_kitchenfunky_fridge Side on Flamingos


the_inside_nz_bloghow_to_brighten_up_a_boaring_kitchen Fabulous Flamingo Fridge!!!


I love you flamingo fridge


Pink Refrigerator


Better than the Retro Smeg Range

Here are some great blogs about other people who have wallpapered fridges

And even a youtube!

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Jason’s House

Every now and then you get a customer who has good taste. Usually they buy enough for one or two rooms and then they’re gone.

But not this guy.

Lets call him…..’Jason’. Jason bought wallpaper for a bedroom, then another, then another. Then he was hooked.

He did his whole house. In fact at one stage he said he wanted to strip some off and start again. As a sales person I should have embraced it. But I am quite partial to most of our wallpaper collection. I hand pick it myself. I had to tell him he just wasn’t allowed to strip it off and start again.

Seeing as he had done his whole house, you would think I would probably never hear from him again. Luckily for me Jason moved! His rather beautiful house sold in less than a week and I think its because somehow he made it all work.

You may think that wallpapering a whole house would be gaudy. But not if you have taste. Check these pictures out of Jason’s old house.

Moriko Lime Wallpaper


Dandelion Clocks


Reflex hung vertically


Kitchen Wallpaper


Lousia Wallpaper


Retro Wallpaper New Zealand


Matching Cushions


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Wallpaper in a bathroom

I am frequently asked ‘can I use this in my bathroom?’. There is no easy answer to this question. Actually there is – ‘no’.

But as more and more of those glossy magazines feature pretty bathrooms with walls adorned with colour and design my inbox gets fuller. I gotta say…they do look great. But they are put together by stylists who often don’t know the ins and outs and specifications of the product they are promoting. Its a bit ridiculous really.

I would love to say ‘yes’. Because I know that probably in a high steam area, a non specific bathroom wallpaper will probably last two years by which time the warranty will have expired anyway. But I cant. Its not fair. And so I get asked and then either ignored or because a customer really wants it they ask around and buy the paper off somebody who tells them ‘yes you can’. 

Firstly, let me say two words…paper + water.

Paper is capable of absorbing moisture and moisture creates mould (not to mention that most modern wallpapers are actually designed to come off with steam).

Now let me contradict myself and tell you about the amount of people who have bought ordinary wallpaper and used it in a high steam area and had no problems. Its true. I have had quite a few customers putting up wallpaper in bathrooms. While I know that normal wallpaper can look good for a little while, after about two years it will probably begin to peel. But hey, some people like to regularly change the look and feel of their bathroom, so if two years is enough then go for it!

I always start my rant (I mean my advice) like this –

If your really determined to put wallpaper in a bathroom or kitchen, ask yourself the following questions:

How many people use the bathroom? If its more than one or two people a day then your asking for trouble.

Is the room well ventilated? With a window?

Is it sunny?

Will you use a good size and mould killer upon application? If your determined to go ahead use a mildew proof wallpaper primer and adhesive. Mould can cause an unimaginable amount of health problems so do it right.

And lastly I ask, 

Your not going to install it in the actual shower are you? (You’d be surprised about the amount of people who actually contemplate it). The shower itself should be tiled or have some kind of ‘walls’. If the wallpaper is going to meet the tiles in a shower or ‘wall’ then apply a small layer of waterproof filler and sealant where it meets up to prevent the wallpaper from curling up. In any area around a shower or bath use extra wallpaper paste to really make it stick.

(Anyway some bathrooms are ‘occasional rooms’, meaning they are only used when guests come. In that case your probably going to get away with it). 

If after all this interrogation the customer still wants to go ahead then I advise to use a clear acrylic varnish over the top of the paper (something like polyvine or a clear glaze emulsion) to protect it from the heat and steam (before application spot test a section as some lighter wallpapers can dis-colour with varnish). But i’m not sure anybody has actually ever taken my advice. 

A word of warning (another one!) if you do decide on going with a normal wallpaper in a high steam area then your warranty and guarantee is void as you are not using the product for what it was designed for.

I don’t really know why anybody would insist on using a non-specifically designed wallpaper when there are actually quite a few wallpapers specifically designed for bathrooms and kitchens. Mostly vinyl coated or blown vinyl they used to be really daggy. But over the last few years manufacturers have really put some thought into their designs and there are some great products out there. There are even wallpapers now that look like tiles (much cheaper than tiling and you can change it or repaper when you get sick of the design).

Below are some of our current bathroom wallpapers (even some photos from customers actual bathrooms)atomic_bathroom_wallpaper_grande atomic_bathroom_wallpaper2_grande Goldfish_wallpaper_mediumsubway_tiles_wallpaper_medium. It is an ever changing selection so if you do find something you love don’t hang around. Or check out our website’s bathroom and kitchen section for some more great bathroom ideas

teal_bathroom_wallpaper_nz teal_tile_kitchen_wallpaper_new_zealand cream_mosaic_bathroom_wallpaper_new_zealand silver_black_bathroom_wallpaper mosaic_bathroom_wallpaper_nz black_mosaic_wallpaper_NZ bathroom_mosaic_wallpaper_new_zealand cream_bathroom_wallpaper+New_zealand green_geometric_bathroom_wallpaper_NZ bathroom_wallpapers_new_zealand tile_looking_wallpaper_new_zealand Florida_flamings_wallpaper_large kitchen_tile_wallpaper_large white_silver_bathroom_wallpaper_large goldfish_wallpaper_white_large goldfish_bathroom_wallpaper subway_tiles_white_brick_wallpaper_New_zealand_large time_out_wallpaper_new_zealand_large

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Bitchen in the kitchen

So we bought a kitchen.

By we, I mean Rebekah.
By bought, I mean overpaid.
And by kitchen, I mean half – as in half of the required cabinets to fill the space we have planned for our new kitchen.
That’s what happens when you leave your pregnant Mrs alone with a smartphone, access to your Trademe account and 30 minutes to kill.


The new kitchen complete came with as-new smeg oven, gas hobs and rangehood

If you follow her logic, it’s my fault because the only reason she was at kindy early was because she had to drop me at work (it was raining and I couldn’t ride my bike) and the kitchen was on my watchlist.
If you follow my logic, she is nuts for buying a major purchase for our house without considering it’s dimensions, checking our plans or consulting the person who is managing the project.  Me.

The only warning I got was two short text messages:
“I just bid on a kitchen”.
Followed 2 minutes later by
“I just bought a kitchen”


The sink and tap were included by the dishwasher wasn’t

At first I was bit gutted (my response resulted in my buying a bunch of ‘sorry I said you’re nuts’ bunch of flowers) because the kitchen is a delicate part of the renovation puzzle and I had spent many hours researching our options.
From the outset I earmarked the kitchen as a one area where we could save some money without compromising on the finished look and feel.



They say it is the heart of the home – and sure it’s where you prepare the family meals and share a cuppa with the Mrs in the morning – but it’s essentially a bunch of MDF boxes and there are plenty of ways to achieve a brilliant finish without paying the dazzling, custom-made prices.

In our last house, we bought a $12,000 ex-display kitchen from local joinery The Seller’s Room for just $3,400. I installed it myself and it looked brand spanking new and significantly improved the value and our enjoyment of the home.

brunner street kitchen

Our old kitchen

This time the kitchen space is much larger. An L-shape with a double return (I think Rebekah just made that description up –does it make sense?) and the longest bench runs for over 4metres. When it’s finished it has to look and feel brand new. The brother-in-law says we are looking at the wrong side of $20,000 to walk in through the front door and order that through a joiner. But I’m not a front door kind of guy.

kitchen layout
The best case scenario would have been to land another load of cabinetry from a local joiner who’s updating their show room. If you’re can find one these, you basically get a brand new kitchen at a second hand price – with the added bonus of building a relationship with someone who is actually skilled at making kitchens. The Seller’s Room were a top bunch of people: they gave us fixings, and installation advice and follow up service. You’ll see these kitchens come up every now and again on trademe but they often go for a premium. I think you’re better off to simply hit the phones and call all your local guys and ask them if they’re updating their show room anytime soon.
Our second option was to buy a second-hand kitchen and make it new again. With the Christchurch rebuild in full swing, there are heaps of kitchens coming out of red-zoned houses all the time and you can pick them up for a song. The thing when looking at a second hand kitchen is to forget about it’s current shape. It’s very unlikely you’re going to find one that you can copy and paste into your home. Instead think of them as a jigsaw puzzle. Modular kitchens are just a collection of standard-sized boxes called carcasses lined up next to each other with doors and drawers and a bench on top. It’s the carcasses that you build the kitchen with and to some extent, it doesn’t even matter how old they are. They’re all made from the same stuff and spend most of their lives hidden from view so you won’t notice the difference between them in a $5000 or a $50,000 kitchen.

My approach was to get cheap carcasses and spend good money on the things where you can feel the quality – door handles, bench tops and tap ware. If the doors are dated you can get the repainted or replaced or even relaminated. You can get cool handles cheap from ebay. Tapware and bench tops are something I’ll look at in more detail in future blogs.


It comes with a massive pantry

So obviously we (or she), has opted for the second option and I should point out that its not all bad. The kitchen cost $4000 (+ $700 delivery), and was part of a renovation that was underway at a Mt Pleasant home when the earthquake struck. It’s mostly white and comes with Smeg appliances, a glass splash back, a sink and a tap. It’s actually really good value. But the problem for us is that we can’t use either of the benches and we still need to by a bunch more cabinetry. And here lies the dilemma. It doesn’t make sense to refinish new joinery and its unlikely we’re going to get another lot of second hand goods to match.


So what do you think? Was this kitchen a bargain? And how do we make it work….


Budget update:

Total cost of project so far:

$1100 Architect concepts
$115 Floorboard salvage
4700 Kitchen

$5915 Total so far


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