13 February 2018
More Perth properties may soon be sold under the hammer. Photo: Peard Real Estate
With the Perth property market in a state of recovery, agents are predicting auctions will rise in popularity in favour of the traditional offer and acceptance sales method.
While latest Domain Group auction data revealed there were 180 auction listings in Perth in November, with a clearance rate of 30 per cent — in comparison to Sydney data for the same month of 4,187 listings with a clearance rate of 55 per cent — there were signs more homes will be sold under the hammer in Perth in 2018.
Domain Group data scientist Nicola Powell said a seasonality effect was obvious when looking at auction data for Perth, where there tended to be more homes for auction in the spring months.
Auctioneers expect to be busier in Perth this year. Photo: Dan Soderstorm
She said auctions were ingrained in the Sydney and Melbourne vendor market, and as the Perth property market began to recover, auction conditions might improve.
JLL buyers advocate Lachlan Delahunty said “auction” seemed to be a foreign word in WA.
“However, we should start to get comfortable with the process, as it will soon hit our shores,” he said.
“Properties sold under the hammer signify only three per cent of Perth property. Unfathomable when comparing that to the likes of Melbourne and Sydney with clearance rates of 80 to 90 per cent.
“Hot markets attract auctions – like bees to honey, as we have seen in Sydney in the early stages of last year.
“However, this form of selling is certainly no place for a soft market, which Perth has experienced in recent years, recording clearance rates as low as 30 per cent in the final parts of 2017.”
Mr Delahunty predicted if the WA market continued to improve during the first few months of this year, properties in coastal and blue chip suburbs would start to see the benefits of a bidding frenzy.
LJ Hooker national auction manager David Holmes said auction volumes in Perth remained steady and almost unchanged: 1973 in Perth last year, compared to 1964 in 2016.
“Perth is still a long way off the auction volumes of the eastern states – Melbourne recorded more than 50,671 auctions last year (a 19 per cent increase year on year) with Sydney notching 40,281 (a 16 per cent increase),” he said.
“However, at the end of 2017 and already in 2018, our offices have fielded more inquiries from sellers about the opportunities to auction their properties. LJ Hooker Kalamunda Foothills auctioned four times as many properties in 2017 than they did the previous year and expect to hold even more in 2018.
“Data has indicated a shift in the Perth market, with the first positive price recorded in the last quarter for a long time. When markets begin to recover, that’s when auctions rise in popularity as buyers openly compete to determine what new market value is.”
Rob Druitt, First National Real Estate Druitt and Shead principal and auctioneer, said auctions were on the rise in Perth, with buyers becoming more savvy in their understanding of the process.
“It’s unlikely in the short to medium term that we will catch up to the like of Melbourne or Sydney, however, as our market improves we are likely to see more auctions,” he said.
Mr Druitt said there were many benefits to selling and buying at auction.
“For the sellers, it is a quicker sale process and if the property is worth more than we all think, they will achieve it,” he said.
“For the buyers, in what is becoming a more competitive market place for certain types of properties, if they are organised, they have a genuine opportunity to buy the property in an open fair forum as opposed to properties selling off the market or quickly with multiple offers.
“For the market, it is good as it helps to genuinely set the market value of property and provides immediate feedback to the market on sales evidence and interest.
“Also, if the property doesn’t sell on the day of auction it will come on the market post-auction and is available to conditional buyers.”
Acton auctioneer Boyd Fraser said the benefits of auctions included a compressed campaign for 21 days and a 50 per cent chance of selling under the hammer on the day.
“Both buyers and sellers are in the same forum so transparency in the process is guaranteed. There is a significant difference in the number of days on market,” he said.
Western suburbs were popular areas for auctions, but other standout areas included Spearwood, Hamilton Hill and Coogee, Mr Fraser said.
08 February 2018
Parliament has passed the legislation allowing first home buyers to save for a deposit inside superannuation through the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) and also allowing older Australians to ‘downsize’ and then contribute the proceeds of the sale of their family home into superannuation.
From 1 July 2018, a first home buyer will be able to withdraw voluntary superannuation contributions they have made since 1 July 2017(up to $30,000 each, with individuals being able to contribute up to $15,000 a year within existing caps), along with a deemed rate of earnings, to help buy their home.
Also, from 1 July 2018, when Australians aged 65 and oversell a home they have owned for at least 10 years, they may contribute up to $300,000 from the proceeds into their superannuation accounts, over and above existing contribution restrictions. Both members of a couple may take advantage of this measure, together contributing up to $600,000 from the proceeds of the sale into superannuation.
30 January 2018
Author: REIWA President Hayden Groves via reiwa.com.au
After a solid couple of years of subdued conditions in the Perth property market, we can look back on 2017 as a transitional period that brought about the bottom of the market.
Coming off the back of a very soft 2016, the Perth property market regained its foothold in 2017, with stable listings, sales and median house price levels observed.
The stability we are now witnessing across key market indicators is a welcome change.
What to expect in 2018
The forecast for 2018 is that the Perth market will moderately and steadily improve, however REIWA cautions against expectations of rapid growth in either the established housing or rental markets over the coming year.
In 2017 there was an average of 489 property sales recorded each week, which REIWA forecasts will lift to approximately 500 sales per week over the next six months. If sales volumes continue to trend at current levels, listing volumes will begin to fall, creating upward pressure on prices as demand builds.
We saw listings for sale start to level out and decrease last year, peaking at just over 15,000 in early 2017, before reaching a low of just over 13,000 in September.
With new dwelling activity set to decline in 2018, REIWA forecasts the number of properties for sale in Perth to remain at current levels over the next year, a level commensurate with market parity.
Perth rental market
Perth’s rental market also appeared to turn a corner in 2017, with listings declining from 11,000 in January to just over 9,300 by December.
Over this same time, leasing activity levels were strong, with approximately 1,180 rentals leased each week. If this trend persists, the balance between supply and demand of stock will continue to improve in 2018.
In a welcome change for investors, Perth’s median rent price has stabilised at $350 per week since April last year. While we don’t anticipate there will be significant growth to median rent prices in 2018, they’re not likely to fall either with quality family homes in particular in strong demand.
The Perth market is no longer experiencing significant declines in median house and rent prices, nor are we seeing listings for sale and for rent increasing at the rate they once were.
As market conditions improve and confidence returns, competition among buyers will inevitably increase.
If you’re thinking about purchasing your first home, trading-up or investing in property, my advice is to act sooner rather than later and take advantage of the stable and favourable market conditions.
To discuss your valuable investment with our Business Development Manager Sarah Morgan, give us a call on 9475 9622
25 January 2018
Welcome to our new series, ‘3 Things I Wish My Clients Knew’, where we’ll be asking a range of experts in the design world to reveal three things they wish every client understood, whether it’s answers to questions they’re commonly asked, practical considerations that would speed up the design and installation process, or knowledge gaps they’d love us to fill… plus a useful golden nugget for you to store away in your memory bank.
We kick off with interior designer Stephanie O’Donohue from smarterBATHROOMS+, who talks us through the things she wishes every client knew before starting a new bathroom.
1. Minimalism is (almost) never cheap
‘Clean, sleek lines’ is what my clients ask for – think single sheets of material, no joins, no handles and no grout lines. The most common misconception I come across is that this is a cheap look to achieve. People are fooled by the apparent simplicity of the aesthetic. But to achieve a truly beautiful, minimalist look the detail in the build needs to be precise.
Some of the simplest-looking spaces I have worked on have been the most expensive, due to the immense detail and meticulous planning required.
Specifying no cabinetry handles often means expensive opening mechanisms or hand-cut joinery. No joins in stone means buying oversized slabs and having an expert stonemason on hand to book-match the ends perfectly. And no grout lines means either huge, expensive tiles that take two tilers to lay (which doubles the labour cost) or porcelain sheets that can only be cut and installed by a stonemason – onto a wall that most likely has to be straightened instead of just packed.
2. Don’t DIY your tiling – ever
It’s just not worth it. Planning the tiling and tiling itself are both art forms. I have seen far too many new bathrooms that only look good when you’re not wearing your glasses. Once you see a crooked tile or uneven grouting it cannot be unseen.
A tiler who plans the space, tile by tile, to ensure the placement of cuts and grout lines will be perfect is worth their weight in gold. You may be tempted to tackle a job that seems straightforward, but don’t do it. Especially if you have contrasting grout.
A good tiler will work more quickly than you could ever hope to, and they will be able to correctly use epoxy grout, giving you a superior and longer-lasting finish than you’d achieve yourself with a regular cement-based grout. They will also be able to disguise an uneven wall or an unsightly edge to a degree.
The tiles and grout are your first defence against water damage. Inferior tiling puts your whole room and subfloor at risk. Step away from the tiles and call an expert.
3. Tight budget? Stuck for a design idea? Go big!
This is one of my favourite tricks. Sometimes you can’t afford the Rolls Royce of every element in your space. But if you can distract from your more economical, practical design decisions with a wow feature, you can save yourself thousands in upgrading everything unnecessarily.
Oversized handles, for example, can add a touch of drama and interest to an otherwise plain bathroom. Have you got a high bathroom ceiling? Find the biggest pendant light your electrician can lift and fill the bathroom with an object so demanding of attention that it develops a personality of its own. You’ll find it gives your bathroom a real designer edge and detracts from the cheaper elements in the space.
You could also distract the eye with repetition, where you take one design idea and use it several times over in a space. Do you love penny round tiles? Pick a round basin, rounded tapware, a round mirror and towels with a circular pattern. Repetition of a theme will give the space a cohesive, thought-out feel where every design decision is deliberate.
It will also help you shop better as you won’t fall into the trap of picking 10 things you love and finding none of them work together.
The one thing I always get asked is…
‘How long does a bathroom renovation take?’ Many people are surprised when they hear that a quality bathroom renovation takes about four weeks. Renovation shows are not reality!
Many people don’t have a spare bathroom they can use while the renovation takes place. If that’s the case for you, plan ahead. Hire a portable toilet or shower from a reputable builder, join a nearby gym (there are often free trials you can take advantage of), or consider renting elsewhere for a month while the job is done.None of these are ideal, but if you’re going to build a bathroom to last 20-30 years, that month of inconvenience will quickly be forgotten when you step inside your gorgeous new space.
My golden nugget…
Unless it’s a colour other than chrome, a tap is a tap. Something basic will be fine, so don’t spend your hard-earned cash there. Funnel your money into custom cabinetry instead. Having a smart drawer that fits your lipstick collection perfectly, in a colour you love and with a concealed bin, will be worth so much more than the bragging rights for Italian taps.
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.
01 December 2017
Our office is closed from Friday 22nd Dec and reopening on Thursday 4th January 2018.
During this time, If you have a query in regards property management please email your Property Manager.If you have a query in regards to a sale please ring or leave a message with your selling rep.
In the meantime, you may want to visit our website www.pmmetro.com.au for more information
27 November 2017
Adrian Ballantyne via realestate.com.au
With the real estate market continuing to roll from strength to strength, trying to determine a property’s true value is an ever-present challenge for buyers.
Snaring the property you want while avoiding paying too much is the dream, but how do you make that happen? As a buyer, how do you ensure you purchase at the right price every time?
Some of Melbourne’s leading buyer’s agents share their tips.
Buyers need to know what a property is really worth. Picture: Getty
Know your goals
The “right” price for a particular property won’t be the same for everyone.
For example, a first-home buyer might see a certain price as fair for a property, while an older couple looking at downsizing might be perfectly comfortable paying $100,000 more to ensure they get hold of it.
Kristen Hatt, from buyer’s advocates Woledge Hatt, says being crystal clear about what you want from a property will help determine what your right price is.
“It’s about having a really good understanding of what you’re trying to achieve, and then making sure that property will meet all of those goals, because then you can make decisions around price as well,” she says.
“Understanding what the property is and the likelihood of (a similar property becoming available again), will determine the right price for you.”
How to negotiate a property price:
Research, research, research
When it comes to determining the right price for a property, there’s no substitute for market knowledge and conducting your own research.
Luke Assigal, from Parley Property Advisory, says it’s important to frame your own market, rather than blindly following the selling agents and their indicative price ranges.
Inspect in person
All property knowledge isn’t necessarily equal. While looking at properties and results online will give you some measure of knowledge, there’s no substitute for checking out properties in the flesh, Hatt says.
“Just getting the results of properties doesn’t necessarily tell you about the properties,” she says.
“Sometimes a property sells for a certain price because it has a major structural issue, and you can say: ‘Well that’s why it was cheap’. Understanding more about each property is important.”
Home tips for buyers:
Calculate based on square metres
Some agents are reporting that for many properties, calculating the likely sale price based on the rate per sqm of land is proving increasingly accurate.
Again, it’s about research. If a number of properties nearby have sold for around $5000 per sqm often you can expect a very similar rate for the house you’re eyeing off.
“You can do square meterage, particularly when you’re dealing with larger blocks and development blocks in blue chip areas,” Assigal says.
“You can get access to stats quite easily – most properties have the square meterage listed online.”
It doesn’t necessarily mean the property will be the right price for you, but at least you’ll know how much you’re likely to be up for if you decide to bid.
Use a buyer’s advocate
Studying the market yourself each week is one thing, but consider for a moment that there are people who do it professionally.
While the average punter researches properties only when they’re actively looking to buy one, buyer’s advocates/agents have knowledge and expertise built up over many years, and can give an almost instant appraisal of what a property should be worth.
Hatt says that with buyer’s advocates, you’re paying for that superior market knowledge, as well as their ability to sniff out properties based on your personal requirements and circumstances.
“We were chatting to clients the other day and talking about a specific bayside area, and I said that over the last five to 10 years I would have been through 80% of the homes in that area that have been for sale over $1 million,” she says.
“That’s knowledge that you can’t just get by going to a few open for inspections and thinking that you’ve got an understanding. A lot of buyers are only in and out of the market in a very short period of time.”
27 November 2017
The latest data from REIWA shows 53.4 per cent of sellers are having to discount their property in order to sell and the average amount they’re discounting by is seven per cent.
If you’re on the market or considering selling, you need to adapt to the current property conditions. Otherwise, you may need to discount to achieve a sale, which can lead to significantly longer selling times.
The latest September quarter 2017 data shows it takes on average 70 days to sell a property in WA, so if you want to beat the average you need a strategy to encourage a quicker sale.
Meet the market from the get-go
Pricing your property appropriately as soon as it goes on the market is key. The number one reason why a home stays on the market for an extended period is because it’s considered over-priced by the market. If you want an expeditious sale, you need to be realistic about price.
A suitable price will attract more buyers and, subsequently, more offers and competition. If you’ve not had an offer to buy within the first four weeks’ of coming to market then you need to consider either the asking price or marketing/selling methods being adopted.
Consider expressing the price differently such as a price range or shifting to an auction campaign.
Auctions can achieve a quick sale
Auctions are gaining in popularity in WA and are a considerably faster way to sell, taking an average of 27 days for a seller to secure a buyer. While listing numbers are relatively stable across the Perth market, stock levels remain higher than the long term average.
Selling via auction can help your property stand out from the competition and separate the genuine buyers from those just browsing.
Presentation is key
With good choice for buyers (particularly in select markets), you’ll need to take extra care and effort when it comes to presenting your property. While you don’t need to do a full blown renovation, making mild cosmetic improvements to the property, including the garden and any fencing, can go a long way in attracting more buyers.
Do your research before coming to market
If you are buying and selling simultaneously under similar market conditions, the state of the market is almost irrelevant. While you might not sell for a price you want, you’ll also be buying in a market that offers adequate choice and competitive prices.
When you’ve made the decision to sell, do your research and find out how the market is performing in your local area. Speak to our agents in the areas you’re interested in buying in. They’ll be best placed to give you an idea of what’s going on in and around your area.
There are buyers out there and we know that if your property is priced correctly from the start, it will be snapped up by those eager to buy their first home, trade up or downsize.
Visit our website for more details pmmetro.com.au
27 November 2017
NICOLA MCDOUGALL via domain.com.au
During property transactions, sometimes the seller hasn’t found anywhere else to live by the time they sign on the dotted line.
One of the most common solutions to this situation is renting back the property to them for a period of time, but is it a good idea?
Property Pursuit director and buyers’ agent Meighan Hetherington said the “rent-back” option was more likely in an off-market sale that happened sooner than the seller had anticipated.
Deciding whether to offer a long settlement or a rent-back depends on each party’s circumstances. Photo: Gabriele Charotte
Renting back the property to the seller also gave the buyer a stronger negotiating position, she said.
“That’s a really strong position to be in from a negotiation point of view because we can meet the seller’s needs without offering more money,” she said.
“The seller can either have a long settlement with the comfort that they have got the sale or they can have a normal 30-day settlement and they can be cash buyer to jump on any opportunity if something comes up but not have to move before they’re ready.”
It’s important for the tenancy agreement to be explained in detail to the seller to prevent any potential issues. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams
Deciding whether to offer a long settlement or a rent-back depended on each party’s circumstances, but one usually put the buyer in a stronger position than the other, she said.
“You can often negotiate a better price by offering a normal settlement with a rent-back than you can in offering a long settlement,” Ms Hetherington said.
Long-standing Toowong sales agent and principal Doug Disher said rent backs were often mutually beneficial to both the seller and the buyer, such as when the property had been bought for future re-development purposes but the original owner had not found a replacement home.
But he said it was imperative that a formal lease was drawn up if renting back the property to the seller, to ensure the terms and conditions were clear.
“The most important thing in any arrangement is to ensure the terms are legal, clear and precise,” he said.
“It’s essential that both parties understand their obligations under any such arrangement. It is always best to get legal advice before entering into any agreement involving rent-back situations.”
Ms Hetherington said one of the risks with renting back a property was that many sellers had not rented for a long time and often misunderstand their rights and responsibilities as well as those of the landlord and property manager.
It was important for the tenancy agreement to be explained in detail to the seller to prevent any potential issues during the tenancy, she said. Likewise, an entry condition report was imperative.
“The entry condition report is the only piece of evidence that the new owner has to say what state that property should be left in by the tenant when they vacate,” she said.
22 November 2017
Erin Delahunty via realestate.com.au
Property auctions can be intimidating, especially for first-time buyers, so knowing what to do and what not to do is essential.
David Holmes, LJ Hooker’s national auction manager, shares his advice.
Four top tips for a successful auction day…
Holmes says pre-auction preparation is absolutely vital to success. Would-be buyers should talk to the selling agent, research comparable properties, decide on a strict price limit and commit to sticking to it, he says.
“Once you’ve inspected the property, know you have a connection and want it, ensure your finances are all sorted and your deposit is ready to go. If your bid is successful, you will be required to pay the deposit on the day,” Holmes says.
“Get all the necessary inspections done before auction day too, because when that hammer comes down, it’s unconditional, with no cooling off period,” he adds.
Don’t let nerves take over
The biggest mistake many potential buyers make is turning up to an auction and not bidding because of nerves, Holmes says.
“If you’ve done your homework and know the market value of a property, put your hand up and bid, strongly and confidently. While it can be daunting, an auction is a genuinely transparent process, a negotiation that happens out in the open, with people who want to buy a property,” he says.
“People can have real peace of mind that they’re not paying, say $50,000 over the market value, because it’s all done in public.”
Think about your body language
At an auction, it’s also important to appear confident, Holmes says.
“You need to look confident and essentially, like you have very deep pockets, like you can bid all day long, to deter your competition,” he says.
“Don’t be on the phone or looking like you’re out of your depth or stressing out, as other bidders will be able to sense that. Appear very, very confident, put your hand straight up with a decent bid and you’re half-way there,” Holmes says.
Don’t be ‘invisible’
“As an auctioneer, I always go and meet the potential buyers before an auction, to ensure they’re aware of the relevant legislation and terms and conditions. There’s no point trying to hide up the back and not talk to the auctioneer and agent staff,” Holmes says.
“If you’re keen, polite and courteous from the get-go, the auctioneer will be more likely to engage positively with you too.”
20 November 2017
If there’s one thing that gets a bad rap in design, it’s the studio apartment. Often a rental with very little in the way of space, studios must do it all without room to spare. While it is a tall order, we found a place that does it just right. Tucked away in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, this studio is just as relaxing as it is energising. Keeping rental restrictions and their client Jamie’s laid-back style in mind, designers Lindsay Boswell and Ali Levin of LABLstudio created an urban oasis filled with ideas that anyone would sacrifice square metres for.Mixing earthy and glamorous touches, this “hidden gem” evolved into a room suitable for sleeping, living, and entertaining. Getting creative with the space, Boswell and Levin incorporated unexpected pops of colour using removable wallpaper and made sure every piece served a variety of purposes. The result proves that size isn’t everything! Keep reading for a full studio tour and Lindsay and Ali’s favourite tricks for decking out a small space.
Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
POPSUGAR Home: How do you create a space for both living and entertaining, especially in a studio?
LABLstudio: In studio apartments, it’s really important to make sure that you carve out distinct areas for sleeping, living, and entertaining, even if they’re all in the same room. Whenever possible we like to make sure there is a proper living area (i.e., a sofa, side table, coffee table), as well as a place where you can sit, eat, or work. Sometimes this means sacrificing some of the “bedroom” to make for a larger “living and entertaining” area.
Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
PS: How do you make a studio livable without looking cluttered?
LS: Make sure that all of your main pieces serve multiple purposes. For example, the console that we placed between the windows doubles as a place where two people can comfortably dine, a place where Jamie can sit with her laptop, and a place where she can put her makeup on in the morning.
Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
Similar to the living space, the bathroom uses pops of colour to reflect the apartment’s earthy, glam vibe. For a personal touch, the designers even switched out the vanity knobs.
Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
PS: We love the wall art. How did you do that? It is from your Femme and Gem collection?
LS: The one wall (next to the bed) is wallpapered in our “Gemma” print (in Sapphire) from our “Femme and Gem” collection. It’s removable, and you can hang it yourself! For the other walls, we hand painted watercolour pinstripes to add personality and to tie everything together.
Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
The entryway is proof rental lighting doesn’t have to be boring. For an industrial touch, you can find a similar light fixture here.
Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
LS: The goal was to give Jamie a cool place to call home — a space that was relaxing yet energizing and a space that reflected her personality. We tried to make the apartment feel as large as possible and use fun and unexpected pops of magenta and purple throughout.
Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
: In this apartment, we opted to place the bed in the corner and mount a shelf on the wall rather than a bedside table. This allowed for a larger living and entertaining space. If you make the bed the priority, the apartment ends up feeling like a bedroom rather than a real place where you can hang out with friends and entertain.
Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
To maximise space, Ali and Lindsay choose side and coffee tables that double as stools for additional seating. To add personality, they hung a magenta juju (African feather headdress) above the sofa.
Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
PS: Any tips for renters looking to add a personal touch?
LS: Do not be afraid to paint your walls or hang some wallpaper! So many people who rent end up leaving their walls bright white. If you keep all of your walls this colour, your place will look like a rental and not like a home. There are so many removable wallpaper options out there to personalise your space. Get your hands dirty and paint or hang the paper yourself — make a day of it, invite a friend or two over to help, and open a bottle of wine!
Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
PS: What is one piece of advice you could give city dwellers?
LS: Living in a big city can be hectic and overwhelming at times, and it’s important to make your apartment feel like a real home, especially if you rent. Good design doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money or take up a lot of your time. These days, there are a lot of affordable design options out there.
Photo by Matthew Williams via LABLstudio
20 November 2017
Jane Hone via domain.com.au
If there’s one room in your house that needs to be functional, surely it’s the kitchen. So what’s the secret to ensuring that your kitchen works in the most functional way?
Architects and designers agree that if there were one magic ingredient to kitchen design, it would be the “kitchen work triangle”.
For the uninitiated, the work triangle is a design principle in which the three most utilised components of a kitchen—usually the fridge, stovetop and sink—are within easy reach of each other, traditionally in the shape of a triangle. The idea is that you only need to take minimal steps to move between each point.
Ema House. Architect: Evelyn McNamara Architects. Photo: Jeremy Toth
“The maximum steps are two to three,” says interior designer Fiona Lynch, who has designed hundreds of kitchens, all with some form of work triangle. “Any more than that and you’re going to get a workout while cooking – but it’s probably not good if you’re trying not to burn something!”
Interior designer Pascale Gomes-McNabb agrees. “Kitchens that are planned with the sink, stove and fridge in a triangular formation are generally more efficient and ergonomic to use”.
“You definitely work faster in a well-planned kitchen.”
Hahei House. Architect: Studio2 Architects. Photo: Simon Wilson
It’s a concept that was first developed in the 1940s by design researchers from the University of Illinois, who gave very specific guidelines on how the work triangle was to function.
There should be between four and seven feet (1.22 and 2.13 metres) between the refrigerator and sink, they said, four to six feet between the sink and stovetop, and four to nine feet between the stove and fridge. There was also to be as little foot traffic crossing the triangle as possible.
Of course, kitchens today are not the same as the standard kitchen of the 1940s. We are seeing more open-plan designs, for example, rather than a separate kitchen, which actually makes the work triangle even more important.
Seddon House. Designers: Red Door Project Photographer. Photo: Shannon McGrath
“People are wanting very large kitchens,” says Lynch. “Often the most functional kitchens are quite small. Some houses seem to be getting bigger, but [you need to make sure] that the triangle still works.”
On the other hand, there are more people living in small inner-city apartments. Gomes-McNabb says that in these spaces, the components might be arranged in a linear style. However, the basic idea of these three points remains.
Architect Brad Swartz suggests making sure the spice rack is within easy reach of the stovetop, and refers to a decent amount of bench space as the “fourth element” of good kitchen design.
Imo’s Modular Kitchen. Designers: IMO KXN. Photo: Toaki Okano
“I’ll typically push the cooktop to one side and the sink to the other side so you can then have a good space between for preparing food,” he says. “Also, a slightly deeper-than-standard bench top is really nice. A standard bench top is 600mm deep, but if you do one that is 650 or 700, you can do two sets of plates, front and back.”
Nick James of Architecture Architecture adds that the bench height should be tailored to homeowners for maximum cooking efficiency and that using island benches in work triangles isn’t for everyone.
“People either love it or hate it because the dishes end up piling up on the island bench,” he says.
Architect Chloe Naughton points out that there should be ample space on which to place hot or heavy dishes and that kitchen designers should be careful when it comes to galley-style kitchens.
“The distance between either side of the kitchen is key to the triangle working successfully,” she says. “If the space between is too large, it seems to interrupt the flow of the kitchen.”
The good news is that once you’ve got the flow of the kitchen down pat, you can set about making the place look beautiful.
“If you get the kitchen design right, you can go to town on the aesthetics,” says James.
Sayes Stock House. Architect: Sayes Studio. Photo: Simon Wilson
20 November 2017
Modified via domain.com.au
As the holiday season approaches, one more thing to worry about on the ever-increasing list is how to create a multi-purpose guest room for the family and friends who come to stay once a year, without tying up precious space in your home.
But, according to interior designer Meredith Lee, it can happen quite easily.
“Multi-use rooms are the key to doubling the feel of a home,” says Lee. “Whether it’s sectioning off spaces to create study nooks with creative uses of bookshelves as room dividers or adapting a living space into a guest bedroom at short notice.”
The King Living Felix Studio bed works well in guest rooms that double as a study when not occupied. Photo: King Living
She says the easiest thing to do is start with an idea of the main purpose of the room – for example, understanding whether you have a lot of guests coming to stay or just a few every now and then.
Likewise, if you only use the space as a study from time to time, cabinetry that hides away the workspace will help you relax in the room when there’s no work to be done.
Furniture designers are also helping in the trend towards more efficient storage options for living rooms and guest bedrooms, such as King Living, an Australian furniture manufacturer that has specialised in innovation, quality and design, superior comfort and enduring performance for the past 40 years.
Furniture with multiple functions is the key to saving on space and money. Photo: King Living
David Hardwick, global buying manager for King Living, says functional furniture such as the brand’s award-winning Delta sofa and multi-award-winning Jasper provide a place to sit as well as storage, making them perfect for multi-use rooms, especially as their modular designs can be reconfigured and have backs and arms that can be repositioned.
King Living has recently released The Reo Grand sofa bed, blending contemporary design, functionality and comfort. It also features Smart pockets on the arms to accommodate side tables that swivel, as well as phone charging, adjustable lights and wireless speakers to make small spaces extremely functional.
“Most customers will be surprised when you reveal this sofa bed as the form helps to mask the function hidden within,” says Hardwick. “A 15-stage adjustable headrest complemented by the streamlined aesthetic and deep-seated comfort create what we believe is the most comfortable sofa bed on the market.”
Make sure the room works well with the rest of your house, but has a few unique style choices. Bedroom by designer Meredith Lee. Photo: Elizabeth Schiavello
King Living’s Felix Studio bed is another innovative option, with a quick conversion that only requires the push of a button as it’s fully automated. The armless model is also perfect for small spaces without compromising on seating space and King Living products come with a 25-year steel frame warranty.
“When choosing one, it’s best to try and operate the sofa bed yourself when browsing various options, and have a good lie on the mattress or press down firmly to see where the lumps might be. Also consider the full size when opened to ensure there is still enough space within the room to move around the bed.”
Lighting is another important consideration when multi-purposing a room, and it can be tricky – such as having a bedside reading lamp rather than a floor lamp to provide the flexibility to turn a bedroom design into a living room area with minimal effort.
“It’s also about clever use of colour – in bedroom environments blues and greens are more calming and cooler colours make spaces seem larger,” says Lee. “You want to keep the guest room in synch with the rest of the house so any patterns, colours and textures are consistent. A guest room should feel different, but not completely different, to the others.”
And while it’s important to live in the moment, also consider adapting to life stages when you’re designing your guest bedroom and what the room could be used for in the future. Just don’t make your guest rooms too comfortable. As Benjamin Franklin said: “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days…”
20 November 2017
Kate Shaw via houzz.com.au
When it comes to dream kitchens, there are two elements that feature highly on Australians’ must-have lists – a generous island bench, and bi-fold windows to connect the kitchen space with a family-friendly outdoor area. Why not take the concept one step further and install a kitchen servery – combining a kitchen island and alfresco dining in one? Take a look at these great spaces and be inspired to add some cafe-style cool to your home. Even better, if you’ve got the window, the benchtop is weekend-DIY friendly.
Milestone Building Pty Ltd
Less is more
How beautiful is this Sydney space? The simple kitchen servery showcases the contemporary painting on the opposite wall, and is set off perfectly by the timeless Charles Ghost stools. It’s the ultimate example of less-is-more.Note: While the grey-painted bricks look gorgeous here, you should think carefully before painting brick. Read more here before you pick up that paintbrush!
This kitchen servery is as cute as a button. Timber stools and benches both inside and out give this Sydney kitchen a warm, beachy feel. And the hat hook is a great touch for when the sun starts beating down.
Open all hours
The beachy vibe continues in this coastal Sydney home, with rustic stools, wood panelling and stunning flooring. The outdoor roofing and side protection ensure the area is an all-weather zone.
This lake house servery is picture perfect. The ultra-comfy stools, cute double casement windows and abundance of wood offer the warmest of welcomes.
Goes both ways
Again, wood is used to great effect in this contemporary Sydney home. And you’re not seeing double – the bar and stools extend inside, for the best of both worlds.
Hill Construction Company
Looking for a clever solution if you don’t have a fully covered area? The window itself opens to become a canopy in this stunning San Diego coastal home. What a beautiful spot to take in the sunset.Tip: Bi-fold, stacking, sliding, casement and canopy-style windows such as the one seen here can all be used for serveries. The space, size and budget you’re working with will determine which style works best for you. If you take the window all the way up to the ceiling, you will gain the advantage of the two spaces feeling like one large room.
Another example of an upward-opening kitchen servery window can be seen in this kitchen extension. This Queenslander has been sympathetically renovated and oozes character, with natural wood accents, traditional weatherboards and vibrant artwork.
Note: Generous kitchen windows such as these not only look great, but are an effective way of increasing airflow between the indoors and out, reducing the need for air conditioning.
Room with a view
This Brisbane drinks bar isn’t quite a kitchen, but with a view like this, I had to include it here. The bar stools look particularly comfy, although personally I’d prefer to be facing in the other direction!
This Seattle kitchen features a generous pass-through window and doesn’t skimp on practicalities. Note the kitchen benches on both sides of the window are at the same level, which aids service, and the generous length of the bench ensures there’s plenty of room when eating. The roofing ensures comfortable all-weather entertaining too.Tip: It’s important to allow enough space for each person when planning your servery. At least 70-75 centimetres per person is a good measure, allowing ample room for elbows and knees. Ensure you leave plenty of room for stacking windows as well.
Penman Brown Interior Design
But wait, there’s more
The kitchen doesn’t stop indoors in this Sydney residence. A small outdoor kitchen area creates additional storage space as well as providing room for a barbecue and outdoor sink…
The Home Improvements Group, Inc.
… as does the patio kitchen seen here. While these are compact spaces, the sky’s the limit when it comes to outdoor kitchens.
The perfect outdoor kitchen includes a servery window, bench space, utensil storage, a sink and two modes of cooking.
Exquisite Gardens Australia Pty Ltd
Talking about dream outdoor kitchens, take a look at this Melbourne beauty.
When it comes to cafe cool, this kitchen servery ticks almost all the boxes. The customised modular design is a prefabricated beauty, with the home consisting of three separate modules clad in corrugated metal. A cafe-style table umbrella could be a useful addition, however, on rainy days.
Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis Architects LLP
Kitchen serveries really come into their own on summer evenings. Set your outdoor table, open your windows and doors and let the festivities begin! Just don’t forget the insect repellent.
20 November 2017
Lucy Feagins via domain.com.au
Who: Milliner Carla Murley, her husband Troy, and their young children Ruby and Oscar
Where: Beaumaris, Victoria
What: Sympathetically updated mid-century home
The Beaumaris home of the Murleys encapsulates many of the best attributes of mid-century design. Photo: Eve Wilson
The Beaumaris home of Carla Murley, her husband Troy, and their children Ruby and Oscar perfectly exemplifies the hallmarks of classic late 1950s Australian architecture. It’s a relaxed, robust home, honest in its materiality, with a strong connection to the outdoors.
The Murley family moved here in November 2013. At the time, it was a small 1950s house on a corner block, slightly run down but full of potential. “The bones of this little mid-century house were perfect. The existing house only needed minimal updating to bring it up to scratch,” Carla Murley says.
The original house was built in 1958 using a “small homes service” plan published in The Age and modified slightly by a local builder.
Milliner Carla Murley and her young kids Ruby and Oscar. Photo: Eve Wilson
In the early 1960s, it was extended to include a studio for the original owner, who was a graphic designer. “It was the owner’s studio that sold the house to us, the brick floor sealed the deal,” Murley says.
The couple was keen to preserve the mid-century character of the house, while adding a few extra rooms to accommodate their young family.
A year after moving in, they extended either end of the existing house, creating a central courtyard. This gave them an extra bedroom and bathroom, and a home studio for Carla Murley’s millinery business, Murley & Co.
The home perfectly exemplifies the hallmarks of classic late 1950s Australian architecture. Photo: Eve Wilson
Having created a courtyard visible from almost every room, landscaping became a top priority for the Murleys once the renovations were complete. Luckily, the family inherited a treasure trove of mid-century plants from a local development site.
“I rang the developer initially and asked if he had any plans to keep the many mature agave americanas on his development block, which was just up the road from us – some were over 50 years old!” Murley recalls. “He just laughed at me and said, ‘take what you want’.” The couple spent three weekends removing and replanting the lot.
Furnished with an eclectic mix of mid-century treasures and vintage finds in every room, there’s a lot to love about this bright and breezy, relaxed family home.
The couple added a few extra rooms to accommodate their young family. Photo: Eve Wilson
With its original red brick floor, optimal orientation for sunlight and airflow, and strong connection to the garden, it’s a home that perfectly encapsulates so many of the best attributes of mid-century design, thoughtfully updated for contemporary family living.
The Design Files guide to brick
Wait long enough and every design trend comes around for a second (and third, and fourth) moment in the spotlight. Now, the humble brick is having a renaissance.
- Bricks are a robust, low-maintenance material that requires no sealing or finishing for most applications.
- Anywhere you might typically consider tiles, bricks are an option.
- Bricks retain heat in winter and keep the house cool in summer.
- If you’re not sure about the colour of a brick wall, consider painting it a neutral colour (we’re loving white painted brick). Be sure to prime bricks before painting.
- Mortar can have a big impact on the look. A safe option is a colour as close as possible to the bricks (mortar can be colour-matched).
20 November 2017
We know, we know. It’s still only October. But you’d be surprised how quickly this end of the year seems to slip away.
October turns into November and then all of a sudden it’s Christmas Eve and you’re at K-Mart playing tug-o-war with another shopper for the last set of fairy lights.
So to save you the hassle of trying to decorate last minute (and having to resort to the leftover red and green tinsel), HuffPost Australia spoke to Deb Bibby, editor-in-chief of JONES Magazine for a sneak-peek into the must-have Christmas trends of 2017.
But wait. Before we start, we have to ask. Do Christmas trends actually exist? Or is it pretty much also Santa and Rudolph every year?
“Yes, I think they do,” Bibby said. “And I think they are kind of dictated a little bit by fashion. This year we are seeing trends such as all white… just beautiful layers of crisp white all in different textures.
“And you can do that beautifully on a tree. It can be really elegant and chic. Though I would say if you are going for all white look, make sure you get baubles that are different textures to create some interest.”
As for other trends to watch out for, Bibby said organics, crystals and even underwater, beachy themes will be appearing in stores, as well as more traditional fare.
“There is a lovely trend for all the organics and more natural decorations. So for instance in the upcoming issue we have this gorgeous tree with earthy colours and gold baubles.
“This style really lends itself to home-made decorations as well. That natural thing is very on trend. You could pick a dull gold bauble and then make some things with the kids using cardboard or brown paper, such as little origami pieces tied with a bit of gold thread. You’d be surprised how much fun the kids have making these things. They just love the process.”
For those wanting something less earthy, Bibby said filling the tree with crystals can make for an eye-catching look.
“Then there is slick crystal, and you can use real crystal or a more affordable crystal style decoration, depending on your budget. Mass decoration looks beautiful if you can do it. You know, really filling the tree.”
While a crystal-covered tree may be stretching the budget for some, Bibby maintained Christmas decorations don’t have to be expensive.
“I mentioned before the earthy organic tree, with all those beautiful homemade pieces. Or if you wanted to invest in one thing a year, David Jones does beautiful limited edition hand blown baubles. I think that’s a really lovely thing for a young family to do, to start a tradition. Every year you could buy one of those to add to your tree.
“If all else fails, resort to fairy lights. Even if you took a branch — like a white branch — if you took a branch out of the garden and hung a simple selection of baubles on it, or threaded some fairy lights through the tree, even simple touches like that can look magical. Especially for kids, too. If you can’t afford lots of baubles, my advice would be to go for fairy lights.”
If in doubt, use fairy lights.
Given Christmas falls in the Australian summer, Bibby also said it can be fun to play around with beachy themes.
“I think underwater themes are really fun. You can get little decorative characters and little fish — it’s just beautiful for kids,” she said.
“You can have a lot of fun with little fish, little mermaids, starfish, beautiful blues… I think there’s something to be said for just having fun with the tree and not taking it too seriously. Let the kids contribute by decorating the tree with you.”
For those with more traditional tastes, Bibby said it’s fine to embrace the old red, green and gold but warns not to overdo it.
“If you are more for a traditionalist going for the greens and the reds, tone it back a little bit,” she said. “I wouldn’t go full on green and red. Perhaps the odd red through a green tree but not a full on multi-colour extravaganza.”
She also notes there are other ways to embrace Christmas traditions such as getting into candles, wreaths and pine cones.
“Candles are a beautiful thing at Christmas time, as well as being massive gifts at Christmas. They are just not dying… a candle is still a beautiful, beautiful gift,” she said.
“Even the scent of a particular candle at Christmas can really be special. Pick a particular ‘Christmas scent’ so that’s a memory for your children.
“Speaking of scents, using pine somehow on the table is lovely if you don’t have an authentic tree. And I love a good wreath. It’s a really nice welcome to Christmas.
“If you are having people over to your house, you want to make it feel special, and having something on the door to announce Christmas is a great way to do that.”
As for Christmas decoration no-nos?
“I think tinsel… if you were stuck with tinsel, stick to one colour you might be able to get away with it,” Bibby said. “I wouldn’t add different colours of tinsel. Look, it’s not my favourite decoration.”
For more Christmas decoration inspiration, see our favourite pins below.
12 September 2017
With spring expected to draw an influx of buyers, and amid tight supply of properties for sale, Perth property prices could rise in the coming months, says Hayden Groves, president of the REIWA.
The Perth property market is showing positive signs as we head into spring and summer,” says Hayden Groves, president of the REIWA.
New data from the REIWA shows Perth’s median house price and median rent held steady in the three months to August 2017.
The median house price remained consistent at $515,000, and the overall median rent was stable at $350 – the fourth consecutive month rents have held steady.
REIWA President Hayden Groves said the results are “encouraging”.
“The stable medians are good news and indicate that sellers’ and landlords’ expectations are matching those of buyers and tenants,” said Groves.
Property listings down 10 per cent for the quarter
The reiwa.com.au data shows listings for sale eased one per cent lower in August, and are down 10 per cent compared with three months ago.
Groves said prices could rise in spring, when it’s likely demand will pick up.
“Traditionally in spring, there tends to be a lift in sales activity,” he said.
“There is potential for the median house price to increase in the coming months as we see more demand for housing and increased competition from buyers,” said Groves.
In the rental market, stock is down 10 per cent, and leasing activity is up 8 per cent
In the residential rental market, reiwa.com data shows stock levels declined by six per cent to 10,046 properties in August, and leasing activity rose by eight per cent.
“The boost in leasing activity is pleasing to see and has contributed to the declining trend in listings levels,” said Groves.
“Rental stock gets absorbed due to the demand from tenants,” he said.