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Friday, 23 October 2015 12:04

Modern Victorian Decor & The 'Apia' Screen Design

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The humble, traditional, and orderly 'Apia' screen pattern with its regular pillowed squares and floral motif evokes a time from the past when religion and a certain rigidity ruled society with elegance quiet grandeur. Though named after a city in Samoa, this design seemed more in place right here in Australia, perfectly suited to our many Victorian homes, and perfectly adaptable to a more contemporary Victorian interior decorating style. Unfortunately, this is another pattern that I have no actual installation photos to show you, so I have once again done a bit of Photoshoppin' to a couple of pics to give you an idea of how it might look in a home:



In both the above and below pics I've 'installed' 'Apia' in the windows, always an option for custom sized screens for more privacy, shade, or decorative beauty. In the above photo, the screens add a sense of monastic grace to a fairly sterile bedroom interior, and have the added value of appearing to be security screens. Should the screens be cut in aluminium, aluminium composite panel, mild steel, or corten, there certainly would be an added deterrent to burglars--at least the ones without time and a screwdriver on hand!



And in this 'installation', I've added 'Apia' in the window to a gorgeous modern Victorian style bathroom, where I imagine it would add a bit more privacy than those sheer curtains alone, as well as create beautiful shadows on that pretty white tiled floor on sunny days. Compressed hardwood screens could be painted to match the colour scheme of any room, or the screen could be cut in powder-coated ACM, mild steel, or aluminium.

Now for a look at Victorian-inspired interior decorating in modern homes:



The key feature of a modern Victorian style bathroom is a free standing bath tub. These days, there are free standing tubs without the traditional claw feet, as shown in the bottom left bathroom. With just this feature alone, any bathroom will have the Victorian touch, though to go a bit further you could add a semi-detached sink or pull-chain toilet.


The key feature of a modern Victorian style bedroom would be a grand bedhead. Be it a four-poster bed, a baroque carved bedhead, or ideally, a cast-iron or decorative metal framed bed, tall, fussy beds with either foot boards or a long bed stool definitely give any bedroom the Victorian flavor.


Traditional Victorian style can be lavish, stuffy, cluttered, and subdued with warm or natural colour schemes, but the modern Victorian style needs only the architectural features of the house itself and a few of the essential elements: baroque or Queen Anne styled lounges, chairs, mirrors, or picture frames. A modern Victorian home can be quite sparse and colorful, but the direction of its decor is led by at least one or two dominating traditional pieces, such as the baroque sofa in the bottom left picture or the grand, tall windows and ornate tray ceiling of the lounge room on the bottom right.


Other elements of a Victorian home may be:


  • Ornate fireplace mantles, which can be modernized when painted in non-traditional colours
  • Modern style chandeliers and checkerboard tiles
  • Dark stained wood, grand front doors, and grand stairways
  • Reproduction antique stoves and sinks in the kitchen



  1. 'Alto' free standing bath tub $699 at Early Settler
  2. 'La Spezia' 4 Light Pendant in Antique Black $369 at Beacon Lighting
  3. Versailles Decorative Bird Cage in Antique White $69 at Early Settler
  4. Birdcages and Flowers removable wallpaper $89.95 by The Wallpaper Company. This company specializes in a fantastic range of wallpaper that can be removed easily and reused--no glue! Even if you are renting your home, you can now enjoy the beauty of wallpaper, and when you move, just take it with you to be re-used in your next home!
  5. Paris Double Bed $229 by Fantastic Furniture

I hope you have enjoyed this brief foray into modern Victorian interior decorating style. To see much more in this style and to see the latest installation pics of 'Apia' as we they come in, follow our decorative screen Pinterest board features, including one just for 'Apia'.

For more details on QAQ screens in general or to find a distributor near you, call and ask for our lovely retail sales rep Sylvana at (03) 8390-0306.

For trade inquiries, email our equally lovely rep Samantha at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Please leave a comment if you enjoyed this post!

And tell me what is your favourite Victorian decor element.


Thank-you for reading! :)



Friday, 09 October 2015 15:17

Types of Garden Series: Upside-Down Gardens

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Why would you grow a plant upside down? That's what I wondered when I first learned about this type of garden just last week. I thought the lady telling me about it was pulling my leg! But no, upside-gardening is a real thing, and though some people may say it's a trend, there are some real benefits to growing plants upside down for both the gardener and the plants that make it worth trying out. Read on for what these are and for how to start making one yourself!


Benefits of Growing Plants Upside Down:


  • It saves space - urban gardeners with small outdoor spaces can line the upside-down plants above what they have growing right-side-up below

  • It eliminates the need to till, weed, and stake the plants
  • The plants are at eye-level, so there's no need to crouch down to get to them
  • The fruit of the plants are less prone to rot and attacking pests as they hang well above the soil



How to Plant an Upside Down Garden

You can create an upside-down garden using household buckets, potting soil, organic fertilizer, and a choice of plants that are appropriate to the size of the container and the spot you would like to hang them in. Tomatoes and cucumbers are the two most common plants to grow in an upside-down container.

  1. Drill a 4-5 cm hole in the bottom of the bucket (or smaller holes for smaller buckets).
  2. Next, you'll need a small piece of newspaper, gardening fabric, or coffee filter for anchoring the plant in place until it is strong enough to hold its own. This will prevent the soil from washing through when the plant is watered.
  3. Create a slit in the material for the seedling or small plant, and very carefully guide the plant down and through the hole, upside down. Be very careful not to damage the stem. If you damage the stem, throw the whole plant out and start again with a new plant.
  4. Gently fill the potting soil around the root ball about half-full, tamping as you go. Add a handful of complete organic fertilizer and fill up the rest of the way with more soil 2-3 cm from the rim of the container.
  5. Hang the plant up on sturdy hooks no less than 2.5 m from the ground.
  6. Feel free to plant another small plant requiring the same water and sunlight conditions on the top of the container (right-side up) at this point, just to utilize the extra space and make the container look even more interesting.

Caring for Your Upside-Down Plant: Two Things to Watch Out For


  1. Never let the soil go dry -Water the upside-down plant thoroughly until water runs out the bottom. Set-up a self-watering system if possible, as one of the difficulties encountered with upside-down gardening is that when the soil goes dry, it can be very difficult getting the soil to re-moisten again. Water will flow right through upside-down planter soil that has gone too dry.
  2. Prevent the stem from breaking - As your plants grow, they will reach around and begin to grow up toward the sun, which, for heavier, fruit-nearing stems, means breakage may occur. To prevent this, stick a bamboo stake in the bottom hole with the plant, and train the plant to grow downwards along the stake.




A number of pre-made upside-down planter pots by gardening brands are available online within Australia. if you are after something a bit more sleek-looking or for indoor decorating like those pictured above, ordering one of these is an alternative to the DIY approach. There seems to be no limit to what can be planted upside-down, so long as the plant is not too heavy or large, of course.


And there you have it! Happy growing upside-down!


Please leave a comment if you enjoyed this post, and let me know-- have you ever heard about this type of garden? Have any of our readers actually grown anything upside-down? I'd love to hear from you!




The undulating, ribbon-like crossed lines of QAQ's 'Espressivo' decorative screen design are both strikingly modern yet feminine; it's an abstract, artistic design that especially suits a contemporary indoor or outdoor decorating scheme. As last week's screen design feature post focused on the more traditional 'Vine' design, which I paired with traditional and rustic styled patio settings, this week I'll be pairing 'Espressivo' with modern styled outdoor furniture and decor. First, take a look at two installations of this design (in real photos!) that I have to share with you:


'Espressivo' in Compressed Hardwood


Decorative screens can fill those 'in between' spaces beautifully, increasing privacy and shade while adding character and value to your home.



'Espressivo' in 2 mm Corten


Or, a decorative screen can simply be installed as wall decor to liven up an empty space. Corten, shown here and installed with the stand-off method (click to see our tutorial) is a rust-colored metal that weathers extremely well, as it gains a charmingly rustic, uneven color over time.



Modern Patio Settings


Now on to some modern patio eye-candy. Modern patios are all about boxy, clean lines and neat edges, manicured gardens, geometrically shaped, modular furniture, and a fairly neutral, to simple color palette. They are minimalist, uncluttered, feature a few key statement pieces, but by no means do these settings lack an inviting coziness and comfort.

Compared to the intimate provincial settings of the past, modern outdoor settings always seem to cater to larger, group socializing and a lot more backside lounging or general slouchiness...

A Selection of Amazing Finds off eBay:


To get a modern patio look, you'll need a very clean-lined, manicured landscape and patio design and a few stellar pieces of outdoor furniture. There's no need to spend a load of cash on these, either, in fact, if you're DIY-inclined, you'll be amazed at what people are creating with shipping pallets! For those of you who are not, however, there are great designer deals to be had on eBay at much lower prices than what you'll find in shops. Here are a few unique and stunningly stylish pieces I felt rather impressed with that are available there now:


  1. Seth Wicker Accent Chair $625
  2. Smokey Ash Textured 4-Piece Outdoor Sofa Set $849
  3. Iron Wire Drum Coffee Table $229
  4. Outdoor Rattan/Wicker Day Bed $2,599

Make My Week--Please Leave a Comment!

What plans to do you have for your home patio and what have you done already?

I'd love to hear from you. :)

As always, I hope you have enjoyed this brief foray into modern patio style. To see much more in this style and to see the latest installation pics of 'Espressivo' as they come in, follow our decorative screen Pinterest board features, including one just for 'Espressivo' and modern patios.
Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details on any QAQ screen or to find a distributor near you.
Thank-you for reading! :D



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