Good Monday morning to you!
It’s time to take a look inside another home, so this week we’ll be focusing on the wonderful Andrea Barras.
I have been following Andrea for a while now on various social media platforms and I love her style, her amazing artistic ability and general outlook on life – she’s great! Plus her sweet newborn is named Tessa and that’s my second name, so it’s like featuring family.
So let’s take a look inside her home shall we?
1. So, who the heck are you?
I’m Andrea, the blogger and creative behind BIRD & DESIGN. Wife to Murray, Mom to three beautiful girls, Addison, Julia and Tessa.
I’m an experienced graphic designer specialising in the creation of unique identities, websites and other print materials for passionate freelancers, entrepreneurs and bloggers who want to grow their businesses and ideas. I love my work for its diversity and the chance to meet so many great people and learn so many new things – more often than not, my clients turn into friends 🙂
When I’m not working, I’m hanging out with my kiddies and my amazingly supportive husband – I love to read, blog and get stuck into a bit of DIY around the house. Inspired by everything around me, I’m always on the look out for new places, products and trends.
Things I love: Autumn colours, florals, indigenous plants, red wine, baked cheesecake, beautiful art, architecture and fabrics, avos, artichokes, stripes, music you can’t really dance to, supporting local crafters, travel, inspirational quotes, stationery and making daily to-do lists…
2. Give us the low down on your blog. We want to hear it all. (What’s your niche, what kinds of posts do you do, that kind of thing)
I blog over at birdanddesign.com – and I hate trying to define what niche it fits into, but I guess it’s a lifestyle blog with a very creative focus – I love to feature local brands, products, events and other creatives. I also share posts about the books I read, places I visit, recent work I’ve completed, life happenings and thoughts/tips on freelancing etc. I will soon be opening a little online shop which is something I’m really excited about – watch out for cool physical products (cute stationery etc designed by me) as well as digital products like affordable pre-made branding and graphics for other bloggers and entrepreneurs.
3. Share all your social channels so we can stalk you…
4. What does a regular day in ‘the life of you’ involve?
Well, a few weeks ago my ‘typical’ day was very different to what it is now – having recently had a baby things are a bit up in the air! I try to work / blog in the mornings when I am usually most productive and while the big girls are at school, and when our helper is here to assist with Tess if need be. Afternoons are usually for hanging out with the kids and sometimes getting started on the cooking etc.
5. When do you fit in time to blog?
Good question! Because I consider blogging as part of my ‘work’ I make the time to do it when I’m at my computer. Could I be more consistent? Hell yes! Do I stress about it? Hell no! I have learnt to go with the flow and to do the best I can – I went ‘off’ blogging for a while and I mostly think that was because I was trying so hard to force it when in fact I enjoy it so much more when I just roll with it and be myself 🙂
Where do you blog from?
The desk/computer in my office (I like to work on my big iMac – small screens irk me when it comes to working with images so you’d never find me blogging off my phone/tablet, and only very rarely will I do it off my smaller macbook either!)
6. Please can you share your top 5 tips relative to you blog niche…
Top 5 Tips On Re-igniting / Maintaining Your Creativity
1. TAKE A BREAK – exercise, play with your kids/pets, go for coffee with a friend – this might seem counter intuitive when it comes to that never-ending to-do list you have but for me it’s all about disconnecting, and then trying again when you feel that you have more focus/direction. It took me a very long time to allow myself to use this technique but more often than not, it works the fastest!
2. GET OFF YOUR COMPUTER! Write, colour in, doodle, journal – on actual paper, with real ink! This one works hand-in-hand with the point I make above – taking a break from your screen/keyboard and doing something physically creative without the overwhelm of the internet to distract you is a great way to kick start a creative project and get you in the zone. I used to always start my work off on screen, but a lot of the time now, I grab my notebook first and sketch out some ideas before I put them into action digitally…
3. CONNECT WITH OTHER CREATIVES – seeing what is out there, what everyone else is doing, making contacts, deciding to collaborate etc – this is a great way to feed your creativity and to connect with other like-minded individuals who all probably face the same creative struggles that you do! I try to regularly interact with other creatives and not only have they become great freelance allies but often good friends.
4. CREATE AN INSPIRING WORKSPACE – this is super important for me. Not only does my workspace need to reflect my personal and creative vibes, but it has to be inspiring and organised so that I have everything I need to focus. It doesn’t need to be a huge space or an expensive makeover session, but put some thought into carving out a little place for yourself at home (or even at work if possible) that is filled with pictures/quotes/design and ‘organised stuff’ that appeals to your creative nature. My home office is decorated in colours that are a reflection of my visual branding (it was unintentional that they ended up the same but obviously meant to be!) I have a gallery wall filled with art and quotes that I love. I put my best work up to see and be reminded of my capabilities, all my stationery and gadgets have their place, and I generally just LOVE to be in this space of my own, where I now function so much more productively than I ever have before…
5. MAKE A CREATIVE BUCKET LIST – anything goes, no matter how crazy it sounds! My list includes skills I’d like to learn, hobbies I’d like to take up, inspiring creative places I would like to visit, the level I would like my creative business to reach, and a whole bunch of things I would like to try my hand at designing – a wine label for example – I’ve never done one before but would love to!
7. Give us a brief tour of your home and garden – tell us about renovations you’ve done – before and afters, parts you love, parts you want to change, go crazy…
We bought our property about 2 and half years ago and it was/still is my dream home but needs a lot of work because of it’s age and because a lot of the decor original fixtures etc are wearing and quite outdated etc 🙂
The garden is about a hectare in size and filled with huge old trees and lots of fruit baring trees which is beautiful but a lot of hard work to maintain (I am not green fingered!). In summer hubby spends about 2.5 hours each weekend on the ride-on lawnmower just to keep the garden from looking like a jungle! I am in the process of (slowly!) trying to convert the garden to more indigenous vibes – succulents, aloes etc – apart from looking beautiful, they are drought friendly and low maintenance which suits me to a T 😉
I love the quirkiness of the old building and some of the design “features” which include windows that are not centered, mirrors fixed to the walls at below eye level, a hairdressing basin in the guest bathroom (!) and my personal favourite – old-school hotel-bathroom-style hair dryers that are in each bathroom and some of them still even work! My favourite thing about the house are the huge rooms, high ceilings, wooden floors and fireplaces in most of the rooms. One or two rooms in the house have beautiful lighting but there are also a few (like the dining room) which can be pretty dark. Other than some painting and having to sand/repaint the lounge-dining-room wooden floors, we haven’t actually done too many renovations to the main house.
We recently renovated the “pool house” (literally the building next to the pool, nothing as glam as it sounds!) to turn it into a functional guest room because we don’t have room for guests inside the main house (my office was the previous guest room). The “pool house” had a concrete floor, cold-water shower, basic loo and oddly, a proper working sauna! We knocked it all out through and redid the bathroom and shower, tiled the floor and repainted etc, and now it’s far more comfortable and habitable without us having to spend huge amounts on it (we are not sure if it will be a guest room forever – possibilities of it becoming an entertainment room in the distant future – so didn’t want to spend too much in case!)
8. What’s your favourite room/area in your home and why?
My office of course because it’s the only space that is solely MINE 😉 I also love how I’ve decorated it, an ongoing process and I love working in here each day and having a place to store all my ‘stuff’ (basically a hoarder!) Hubby’s favourite spot is the bar which is located in the old double garage, across the garden from the house, that had been converted into a proper man cave by the previous owner. The decor in there is a bit dire (we repainted and have some old furniture in there) but the ACTUAL bar is insane – huge and beautifully made/thought out!
9. If you had endless money and you could change anything in your home, what would you do?
Hubby and I have the ‘if money was not an issue’ conversation almost daily – there is so much we’d love to (need to!) do in this big old house! First up for me would be a new kitchen, and a new (bigger) bathroom in our room! There is SO MUCH to do in this house it would be a rather mammoth project 😉
10. Where’s your dumping ground – you know that place that you dump all your clothes and frantically have to clean before you have guests over…
The entrance hall AND the dining room!
11. Do you have a book collection? Let’s see it. Which one is your fav?
Yes – a small one in my office with all my creative books (I generally read fiction books on my Kindle but when it comes to non-fiction, I prefer to have hard copies because often the design of these is part of their appeal for me!) How do I choose my favourite?! Probably How To Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone and It’s Not How Good You Are… by Paul Arden
12. What’s the oldest and newest thing in your home?
Oldest – probably the old dining room table we had which belonged to hubby’s grandparents! This is now in our bar area/room but we still use the 5 (gross) chairs that go with it at our new table because we haven’t saved enough money to purchase 12 chairs for the new one yet, LOL!
Newest – does baby Tess count?! If not, the most recent thing we have purchased is a second hand rocking chair for her room. It’s very old-fashioned but super comfy and I had the cushions reupholstered so it’s in good nick but could probably do with a paint! I have a serious problem with buying old chairs at second hand shops and auctions, with good intentions to have them recovered but have yet to FULLY do up a single one 😉
13. Show us a typical messy day at your house.
14. When you’re not at home, where are your top 5 places to go in your area (with friends, as a couple, with kids whatever).
We are total homebodies so we don’t go out a lot but when we do there are a couple of spots here in the KZN Midlands that spring to mind:
- Terbodore Coffee – (lovely coffee and drive)
- Yard 41 – (eat at Farmers Daughter and shop at The Ruby Orchard!)
- Piggly Wiggly Country Village – (lots of cute shops and things for the little ones to do)
- Swissland Cheese – (kids love to feed the goats!)
- Ardmore Ceramics – (probably NOT for the kids – beautiful gallery to visit and peruse the amazing internationally renowned ceramic creations of locally trained artists)
Thank you for sharing your home with us Andrea!! It’s beautiful!!
If you like this series, I’d love for you to join me in the next instalment! Either leave your email address in the comments, mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org or um, like send me a smoke signal or something. I’d love to have you.