Lighting, Window Furnishings & Harvey’s Room Reveal – Episode Nine

When we first stepped into the norsuHOME its lack of open space and sufficient lighting meant the space was dark and somewhat a little depressing. I have a ‘real thing’ about the right home lighting, as I believe it sets the whole mood and atmosphere of a home. For me it needs to be light and airy in order to feel inspired and relaxed. Lucky for me on this rare occasion Dan agrees.

Being an original home meant that rewiring was a non-negotiable. A bit like the re-stumping, the cost kills you but the benefits outweigh the negatives. By setting up the electrical foundations in the beginning gave us the scope to install some amazing lights and their subsequent technology. People that know me well know I’m a self-confessed tech head – a web designer in a previous life – so this was super exciting for me!

When starting the hunt for the right solution I thought I had a reasonable amount of knowledge in this area. But boy did I learn quickly I was an absolute novice! Working in the interiors industry can certainly come in handy when renovating a home, as you have access to the absolute industry experts…stating the obvious aren’t I? This is when we contacted Gerard Lighting.

When first meeting with Gerard Lighting they commented “the right light at the right time has a positive impact on one’s mood, perspective, satisfaction, health and wellbeing.”  I knew instantly that with this approach we would achieve our lighting goals. Before even removing the revolting lace pendants, Gerard Lighting had delivered us with a carefully thought out lighting plan that met all of our objectives.

Kristy and I were blown away by this…not only did Gerard Lighting clearly understand that we wanted to find the right balance between architectural design and practical functionality for our young family, but we were amazed about how much we learnt during the process. We now often joke that a downlight is simply not just a downlight. We now know that having the flexibility of changing the hue of each is highly appealing, allowing us to achieve different moods throughout the different regions of the norsuHOME.

Further understanding the needs of modern families, Gerard Lighting recommended a professional lighting design, incorporating the wireless Diginet Sitara Bluetooth Lighting Control system. Having two young children meant that having the ability (and luxury) to set up lighting schedules, and turn lights on and off at the simple touch of an iPhone/iPad was extremely appealing to us.

Annabel and Harvey are still at the age where they are at times frightened by the dark – the wireless Bluetooth capability allows us to control the dimming of their lights from the comfort of the sofa, or anywhere in the home actually! We can also set them on timers to ensure we’re being sustainably conscious once they’re asleep. On top of this, being able to turn the lights on at night wirelessly before entering the home ensures we always feel safe. Additionally, we love their matching colour coding of the Diginet LEDsmart+ Push Button Dimmer light switches, knowing we can quickly identify the right light the first time…it sure helps the little ones! I even set up the app on my iPhone myself within seconds – too easy!

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, the Gerard Lighting team also recommended installing their Diginet Smart Scan MKII Motion Sensors to control LED strip lighting in the bathroom and laundry, ensuring our children remain in a ‘sleepy state’ during the night – who would have thought. This has become a favourite part of the entire norsuHOME…I’ll be honest, our friends love to enter our bathroom just for fun saying it feels like a luxurious hotel. We feel very humbled.

When planning your lighting, make sure you don’t forget the outdoors. My husband Dan is a lover of the garden and we often entertain at night. We wanted to feature our exterior and love the minimalist design of the Crompton Diablo LED wall lights Gerard Lighting suggested. Their directional nature allows us to highlight our newly landscaped garden, especially alongside our new long Adbri Masonry driveway. We also opted for their Crompton KALI lights for the back of the house, their adjustable functionality allows us to keep a much needed eye on the kids on the trampoline and in the cubby!

With the different lighting hues, the easy ability to control lights remotely, and the option to dim every single light in the home, we have achieved such a wonderful end result. Gerard Lighting have offered the complete package for lighting a home, their hard work and dedication has been integral in helping us to do this, and we doubt any other lighting brands could have met these needs. Thank you Gerard Lighting!

In this week’s episode we also step you through our window furnishing selections. First thing’s first, who knew Carpet Court also sell a plethora of stunning blinds and shutters? Until this renovation, I’m the first to admit I was fooled by their name. Carpet Court’s reputation as a flooring specialist is well known, but with over 147 local stores selling blinds and shutters, they’re also Australia’s largest retailer of window coverings. You learn something new every day! 

When it came to selecting our window furnishings we had a pretty clear idea of what we wanted in our minds (surprise, surprise!). Being a traditional Californian Bungalow, Dan and I both wanted the home’s facade to remain quite classic so to speak. Paying homage to its era, we couldn’t look past timeless white plantation shutters. We had shutters in our last home and still love the elegance they bring to a period home. Not only do they look stunning from the streetscape, we adore they way they stream beautiful soft light into our bedrooms, whilst offering some privacy at the same time. As you can see all of our bedrooms from the driveway, we opted for kerb side appeal installing shutters in all rooms. 

One important shutter tip that was passed on to me from expert Jason at Carpet Court was to select the model containing different top and bottom louvres. Having never thought of this before, Jason explained that we could keep the bottom part shut for privacy when needed, but have the top open allowing light to enter the room. Not only do they look sophisticated, they are highly practical. #winning. 

For the back of our home which is slightly more modern in shape and design, we wanted to achieve a different look and opted for a sleek and minimal roller blind. These allow us to control privacy, light and keep us warm as the nights are getting chilly. We carefully selected a light filtering transparent fabric which allows the natural sunlight to stream in our living room. I was blown away by Carpet Court’s extensive range – we chose White from their Husk Weave collection. It has a gorgeous textural element which almost looks like linen! It had my name written all over it. 🙂

Continuing our techie passions, we went a bit fancy and installed motorised blinds. Coupling this with our bluetooth lighting, I’m starting to feel extremely lazy…yet very lucky! Having the ability to control our blinds with the simple press of a button not only appeals to my nerdy side, it certainly plays to Dan’s obsessive compulsive personality…they are always perfectly levelled. 

In the living room we’ve also installed some stunning linen sheer curtains. Those close to me know I’ve a little obsessed with these. I would literally recommend sheers to EVERY home – they instantly create calmness and soften every space. Not only did I install them in the norsuHOME for this exact reason, I did it as a little styling “hack”. The ceilings in our living room are lower than the original part of our home. Instead of dropping the curtains from the windows and doors, we hung them from the ceiling, which creates the illusion of greater length. I also ran them across the entire walls, also achieving greater width. When they’re drawn, suddenly our daggy circa 1970s reno looks quite spacious and grand!

A special thanks must go to Jason at Carpet Court in South Melbourne. If you’re shopping for window furnishings be sure to pay him a friend visit! 

Before I forget, we also reveal my little man Harvey’s bedroom this week and this goes down as my personal fave (feel like I’ve said this before!). While I’m in love with blush pink I’ve never been a massive fan of designing the typical blue and pink, boy and girl rooms. Instead I’ve lovingly used a sage and olive green palette for Harv, all based around Dulux’s Spanish Olive which we painted on his walls. 

I’m also a strong believer that you don’t need to fill children’s spaces with kiddy objects. Harv’s room is a nice blend of age appropriate goodies (the Nerf funs are hidden in the cupboards. SIGH.) along with artwork and furniture that will grow with him, giving the room’s design longevity. If you’d love to know where we sourced his treasures, please see our shopping list below:

Harvey’s ever growing shopping list

Bed area

Desk area


Fittings and fixtures


Lastly (wow we’ve covered a lot this week!) we thought you might also like to know where we snapped up our feature lighting pendants from:

– Our bedroom, menu Franklin Chandelier, Black and Rubn 

– Bel’s room, Vita Copenhagen Eos Feather Pendant – Large, White and Livly Luna Lamp, Pink

– Harv’s room, HK Living Factory Lamp, Matte Light Grey, Electric Confetti Cloud Nine Neon Light and Livly Star Lamp, Grey

– Toy room, Muuto Ambit Pendant, Light Grey and Electric Confetti Eyes Neon Light, White

– Hallway, Louis Poulsen Above Pendants, White

– Kitchen, Rubn Lighting Long John Pendant, Brass and Natural Leather 

Enjoy! xx

Tips & Tricks

For those that don’t know, what is a lighting control system?

A lighting control system is an intelligent network of light fixtures and controllers (such as switches, dimmers, sensors and hand held devices). These connected lights and controllers communicate with each other, allowing any controller to switch or dim any combination of lights. A lighting control system can enhance lifestyle, improve comfort, add convenience and provide peace of mind. The latest lighting control systems also allow users to control lights from their mobile devices, wherever they are.

Can you share the advantages of a home automation lighting control system over stand-alone lighting controls or conventional manual light switching?

Conventional light fixtures and wall switches are connected together via the electrical wiring in walls and ceilings. This means that a wall switch can only control a light that it is connected to via this wiring. In a lighting control system, a network connects all lights and controllers together. This enables any controller in the network to control any combination of light fixtures in the house – they do not need to be physically connected via electrical wiring. For example, a hallway wall switch which is part of a control system can be set up to switch off all lighting in the house when you leave for work, not just control of the hallway light. When you arrive home, a switch in the hallway can be setup to turn on the hallway and the family room together. 

A control system adds the flexibility to set up any combination of controllers to switch or dim any combination of lights from anywhere in the house, or even outside the house with a smart device! None of this is possible with conventional light switches and standard electrical wiring.

A major benefit of lighting control home automation is its ability to maximise energy savings. Can you tell us how the Diginet Sitara Control System achieves this?

Diginet Sitara can ensure that all lights are off when not being used. This can be achieved in many ways. A ‘Master OFF’ switch in the hallway as described above, a movement sensor in the garage, a simple time schedule setup on a smartphone to switch all lights off at midnight (except in the toddlers room, which could be dimmed to 10%).

It is important to note that although a residential lighting control system can save energy in a home, enhanced lifestyle as well as improved comfort, convenience and security are the major benefits.

Do you need to be technically savvy to use this cutting-edge Bluetooth technology?

Not at all. Diginet Sitara was designed for every Australian homeowner – Bluetooth technology is just a means to an end. All the technology used in Diginet Sitara is there to make a homeowner’s life better, not to make their everyday task of controlling lights harder or confusing.

For the budding renovators out there, what is the one most important tip you can recommend when implementing a home automation lighting control system?

Make sure that the lighting control system does not solely depend on smart devices for control – there is no substitute for a dimmer or switch on the wall. The best user experience is achieved when smart device control of lighting works seamlessly with fixed control points on walls. Nobody wants to be in a position where the phone battery dies and they can’t control their lights!