16 January 2018
Image Source: A Beautiful Mess
So what if size isn’t on your kitchen’s side? You know the old “fake it ’til you make it” saying? Well, it applies to kitchen design, too! So, if your cook space’s dimensions have got you down, try these easy, foolproof tricks to make your kitchen feel and look bigger than it actually is.
1. Install a Vertical Backsplash
Image Source: Annie Schlechter for Domino
Want to visually increase your room’s dimensions? Simply turn subway tile on its head. Laying out the tiles vertically (rather than horizontally) draws the eye upward, making a kitchen ceiling appear taller than it actually is.
2. Open the Room Up With Open Shelving
Image Source: Jeremy Liebman for Domino
Too many upper cabinets can make a tiny kitchen look top-heavy. Try removing a few and replace them with open shelving instead. Not only will your kitchen instantly open up, but you can show off prized cookware and accessories, too.
3. Lengthen With a Runner
Image Source: House*Tweaking
For a quick and inexpensive way to make a kitchen look longer, simply add a graphic runner. Occasionally changing out the runner will give your kitchen a new look with little effort.
4. Save Space With Stools
Image Source: domino
No room for a spacious kitchen table and chairs? Choose a narrow dining table with stools or benches that can tuck under the table. This set-up allows for better traffic flow while avoiding over-crowding your kitchen.
5. Get Your Shine On
Image Source: domino
Even if you are shine-inclined, subtly reflective materials can help a kitchen feels larger by bouncing around natural light. Our faves: lacquered cabinets and reflective backsplash tiles.
6. Work With What You Have
Image Source: domino
Studio living can be tricky, especially since your living and sleeping quarters are limited to one room. This kitchen makes the most of the space with open shelving, a gallery wall, and even a TV! With clever arranging, you can cook and have your cable too!
7. Think Up
Image Source: hoto by Ditte Isager. Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 2010.
Short on space? Think up! Pot racks are a great way to free up limited cabinet and counter space. If you’re on a budget, consider this affordable option.
16 January 2018
As an auctioneer, clearly, I’d prefer that every auction made it to the big day. Sometimes, however, vendors opt to sell beforehand because of their unique financial or personal circumstances.
Can you really buy beforehand?
There has always been some skepticism amongst buyers whether properties are really for sale prior to auction or whether it’s just a price fishing expedition.
In my experience, vendors who are open to selling before auction, generally are committed to the idea if an appropriate offer is made on their property. I generally find there are two types of buyers who make offers before auction.
The first is the buyer who is dipping their toe in the water, so to speak, and hoping to learn the seller’s price expectation. The other type of buyer is one who genuinely doesn’t want to bid at auction perhaps because they’ve missed out on a few properties already and want to learn sooner rather than later whether they’re in with a shot.
Selling before auction happens more often in specific market conditions, of course, but also at particular times of the year like before Christmas.
Some sellers just don’t want to have their properties still on the market over the holidays and for them certainty is more important than going to auction.
So, for those sellers, they are chasing peace of mind more than the best price. Selling before auction can happen in rising and falling markets in my experience. When a market starts to shift to the positive, more buyers tend to make solid offers before auction because they don’t want to run the risk of missing out on the day.
In southeast Queensland at present there are more sales before auction than usual for this time of year, because the market appears to be strengthening. In fact, I don’t think it’s increased this sharply for a number of years. If we use history as a teacher, it may be indicating that the southeast Queensland market is shifting into another gear as we head into 2018. Conversely, when a market starts to cool off, sellers think that they don’t have the same security blanket so they opt to accept offers beforehand.
What are the pros and cons?
Buyers must understand that buying before auction is an opportunity so you really must make your biggest and best offer if you’re serious about securing the property. You can’t try and buy prior by putting your toe in pool – you can only buy prior to auction by diving into the pool.
Don’t make an offer with the expectation that the seller or the agent is going to come back and tell you exactly what their lowest selling price is going to be, because that just doesn’t happen.
They’ll either say you’re close or you’re not even in the same ball park. Also, if a seller is prepared to accept offers prior, it’s unlikely that you will be the only buyer in the running so you must put your best foot forward.
Likewise, if you’re buying a property prior, you almost have to compensate the seller for the risk of them not taking the property to market on auction day. That means that quite often you have to pay a premium because you’re compensating the seller for not going through the campaign that they’ve been advertising for three or four weeks.
For vendors, selling before auction has to involve what I call a #noregretsprice. So it’s the figure that they’re not going to look in the rear view mirror and regret that they didn’t go to auction.
Going to auction could produce a spectacular result on the day if there are a number of competing bidders, backed up by a thorough marketing campaign. The reality is that sellers won’t know what the result will be until auction day – and for some peace of mind is more important, which is fine.
At the end of the day, buying or selling before auction can be a sound strategy as long as the vendor is prepared to accept that a higher price may have been achieved on the day and the buyer understands that they’re unlikely to get a bargain.
11 January 2018
Melissa Cowan on Houzz
The weather is seriously heating up, it’s light until 8pm and everyone is in the mood to socialise and drink sangria (rather than stay home and watch movies). Summer usually means an abundance of parties – from Christmas catch-ups to New Year’s celebrations, to “just because” gatherings of family and friends.
If you find yourself hosting a summer party, here are some ideas to have on hand that will make it a soiree to remember.
Photo by Elizabeth Home Decor & Design, Inc
Set up a self-serve drinks trolley
Setting up a drinks trolley to allow your guests to serve themselves will save you a lot of time during the event. Whether you’re planning for your summer party a long time in advance or throwing it together at the last minute, putting together a drinks trolley is an excellent idea. And being on wheels means you can easily cart it outside.
Tip: Pack your trolley full of everything you may possibly need, from liquor to cocktail shakers, straws and citrus. Keep a back-up supply nearby for when anything runs out.
Failing being able to have a drinks trolley, making sangria or punch before the party is delicious and easy. The great thing is that the mixed drinks will only get better as they continue to infuse with the added ingredients (like orange). Just make sure to keep it in the fridge until the guests arrive, and then periodically fill it with ice.
Offer your guests citrus-, mint-, strawberry- or cucumber-infused water to keep them cool on hot days; no one wants to get dehydrated. Also, keep a few ice buckets on hand to fill with ice and hold your water bottles. Try combinations of a few ingredients for variation, like strawberry, lemon and basil, or watermelon and mint.
Tip: Use thin slices and cubes so the flavour can infuse more quickly.
Photo by Dreamy Whites
Use mason jars for … everything
What can’t you do with a mason jar? They make fabulous cocktail containers and beautiful makeshift vases. Plus it’s much quicker to make a big batch of cocktails in the blender and then pour it into the jars, rather than trying to mix them in each jar.
Jars also make for lovely candle holders. Add pebbles or shells at the bottom of the jar to create a beachy vibe (and to help prevent them from tipping over).
Tip: When using jars as vases, make sure they are filled with enough water to weigh them down, and that the flowers or branches put in them aren’t so heavy that they’ll topple over.
Display your garden cuttings
Plant cuttings are a surefire way to add vibrancy to your party. Use mismatched vessels for floating them in with water, and mix up the types of plants you feature. Succulents look particularly beautiful, but flowers are also a great option.
Give the foliage a home among the food to create a rustic and relaxed tone to the party. You could even intersperse herbs in pots for your guests to pick and sprinkle on their food.
String up some fairy lights
Who doesn’t love fairy lights? Lighting is one of the quickest ways to add ambience to a space. Stick to warm light to prevent the lighting from sticking out too much from its surroundings.
Tip: Before starting, measure the area where you want to use the fairy lights – and then add on a few more metres for slack.
Photo by Terri Clark Interiors
Paper lanterns are a great way to add a colour injection into your party. You have the option of having purely decorative lanterns, or ones containing small lamps or lightbulbs. As an added bonus, a “grazing centrepiece” of fruit and vegetables is a stunning and unique way of presenting your offerings.
If you don’t want to go to the effort of stringing up lights, or your party will only be during the day, consider putting up some pretty bunting instead. If your soiree will be continuing into the evening, put out a few light blankets for your guests to drape over themselves. You might be surprised how much the temperature can drop once night falls.
Prep your music situation
In my opinion, music can make or break a party. When choosing your sound system (unless you have a pre-existing one), bluetooth speakers are great because they can be easily moved from room to room. Tailor your music playlist to your guests – are they into the classics or the latest hits? A combination of the two will likely be a crowd pleaser. Try and estimate the amount of time your guests will stay (and take into account that there’s always one or two that stay well into the night!) and then make your playlist long enough. Five or six hours will usually cover it.
Tip: Rather than having one huge, really loud speaker, have a few smaller ones and put them in different spots around your house. Place them above ear level to stop your guests from getting blasted with noise.
Get out the fancy stuff
When people think of summer parties, they usually think of disposable plates and cups and paper serviettes. If you want to break the mould, and trust your friends not to break your teacups, go all out with your special crockery. Don’t worry about them being perfectly matching – mismatched crockery will be totally “boho chic”.
Prepare easy finger food
Light finger food is much easier to handle than a giant meal, especially when the weather is sweltering. Buy your ingredients seasonally to ensure freshness and cost-effectiveness. Dips, crackers and cheese always go down a treat. So that your guests don’t have to line up for their snacks, place a couple of food stations in different locations so they’re more spread out.
Tip: Be sure to include a few vegetarian options if guests have advised they don’t eat meat – or even if you’re not sure of their eating preferences.
Make sure there are shady spots available
Getting burnt and overheated is the quickest way to turn any guest into a sweaty grump. If your guests will be by the pool, put out some outdoor umbrellas. If they’re going to be on the grass, pop up a tent.
Get the pool ready
Having a pool party? As well as the obvious chores like making sure it’s clean and leaf-free, chuck in some inflatable pool toys for your guests to lounge on. Nothing says summer party more than an inflatable flamingo.
Photo by decor8, LLC
Remember that your highest priority for the party is for you and your guests to have fun. If you’re worried about your guests not knowing each other, or if you get a little uncomfortable in social situations, have a few conversation starters on hand. I particularly like “What’s the most annoying thing your mum does?” or the more conservative “What’s your favourite book of all time?” Relax, most guests will be more than happy to pour their own drinks and serve their own food.
04 January 2018
If lavish roof gardens and expansive backyards are only a reality on your Pinterest boards, that doesn’t mean your chance at outdoor living is crushed. If you have a balcony, a front porch, or a little patch of grass to call your own (if only on a “renting” basis), then you’ve got potential.
We’ve rounded up outdoor decor ideas for tiny spaces. From the dual purpose, to the fold-up, to the mini, there’s even something for those balconies that have a one-person-at-a-time limit.
Wheel it out, and wheel it back in.
Yes, it’s instantly an Summer party when you’re drinking from a cherry-printed cup.
Party Drinkware Set ($39.95)
Party Drinkware Set
Stools that are as much seats as tables and completely stackable.
VÄSTERÖN Stool ($14.99)
Fold up the legs and keep it with your ironing board.
Ikea PS 2014 Bench ($75)
Ikea PS 2014 Bench
Load it up with everything you need for dinner under the stars, and then take it all back to the kitchen in one go. Box also charade as a planter, lift, tray and storage unit.
KNAGGLIG Box ($9.99)
Pull it out for max relaxing, then fold it up and hang it on the wall when you need to make space for the washing.
MYSINGSÖ Beach Chair ($39.99)
MYSINGSÖ Beach Chair
The answer to wall gardens for renters, this apparatus is a bench and storage box, and it allows you to keep plants vertically, leaving more floor space.
ÄPPLARÖ Bench Wall Panel and Shelf ($159)
ÄPPLARÖ Bench Wall Panel and Shelf
Opt for lighting that hangs, and requires no power (other than the sun).
Smokey Bulb String Lights ($10)
Smokey Bulb String Lights
The top of this table is a a removable tray. So smart.
Metal Tray Table ($15)
Metal Tray Table
Torres Outdoor Lounge Chair
This bench could be the only piece of furniture you need for lounging, reading with a cup of tea, playing cards with a friend or painting your toe nails.
Woven Bench ($39)
All that bulky BBQ equipment in one multi tool.
BBQ Multi Tool ($49.95)