Blog


10 November 2017
By portermathewsblog


Why This Controversial Organising Method Is Exactly What You NeedImage Source: Flickr user Emma Story

Letting go of clutter is hard to do. Anyone who has encountered the teachings of Japanese cleaning guru Marie Kondo knows that minimalism is currently all the rage; her housekeeping manual, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has inspired legions of readers to throw away their unneeded belongings. We love all things related to organisation and have to admit to clearing out our drawers and closets in a fit of aspirational tidying ourselves.

Not everyone, though, is on board with KonMari, the nickname Kondo gave her techniques. As with any good trend, there’s a corresponding backlash. In The New York Times this month, a contributing writer extolled the virtues of living a life surrounded by things in an article called “Let’s Celebrate the Art of Clutter.”

Whether you’re pro- or anti-clutter, you must admit there’s a certain calmness to be found in a well-organised drawer. And that’s why we’re big fans of KonMari, even if her work is becoming a tad controversial. Read through to see 25 examples of Marie’s method at work, and see if you aren’t a little inspired to take a turn at organising your own home.

1. Reduce the Number of Clothes You Have

Reduce the Number of Clothes You HaveImage Source: Instagram user edenlighthipe

Kondo believes aspiring KonMari adherents should begin with their clothes, going through belongings and keeping only those things which “spark joy.”

 

One Instagram user posted a photo showing her newly tidied closet, with all the shirts facing the same direction with space between the hangers. 
Image Source: Instagram user 21sunshineave

One Instagram user posted a photo showing her newly tidied closet, with all the shirts facing the same direction with space between the hangers.

 

According to Kondo, a well-organised closet should be able to hold many belongings. 
Image Source: Instagram user AfterGravity

According to Kondo, a well-organised closet should be able to hold many belongings.

 

There should be enough room in a closet for two people's belongings, and more. 
Image Source: Instagram user justagirl_abby

There should be enough room in a closet for two people’s belongings, and more.

A well-tidied closet will soon be able to store other belongings besides clothes.
Image Source: Instagram user gammonje

A well-tidied closet will soon be able to store other belongings besides clothes.

2. Get Rid of Papers in the Office

Get Rid of Papers in the Office
Image Source: Instagram user marijneline

Kondo believes that people keep too many old papers they simply don’t need. Keeping office space tidy will make life a lot easier!

 

The method works especially well in small offices.
Image Source: Instagram user naominevitt

The method works especially well in small offices.

3. Store Belongings Vertically

Store Belongings VerticallyImage Source: Instagram user GoingZeroWaste

Not a fan of piles, Kondo urges storing belongings vertically. One reader employed the advice with tea towels.

 

The vertical stacking method is good for drawers, too. That way, you can see everything!
Image Source: Instagram user Beck_Morgan

The vertical stacking method is good for drawers, too. That way, you can see everything!

 

Kondo also likes when things are organised by colour. 
Image Source: Instagram user janerichmond

Kondo also likes when things are organised by colour.

 

The vertical stacking method should also be used in closets. 
Image Source: Instagram user susanneschipper2

The vertical stacking method should also be used in closets.

 

Vertical stacking in drawers makes organising a child's clothes simple.
Image Source: Instagram user tresarandanos

Vertical stacking in drawers makes organising a child’s clothes simple.

 

4. Rethink How to Store Small Items

Rethink How to Store Small ItemsImage Source: Instagram user StacyWalkerMyers

Kondo is a big proponent of folding small items, including socks and stockings.

 

She also believes in rolling socks, which helps preserve the elastic.
Image Source: Instagram user pinkandbling

She also believes in rolling socks, which helps preserve the elastic.

 

5. Use Small Containers

Use Small ContainersImage Source: Instagram user clarkie.chick

Kondo is a big proponent of using boxes of all sizes and shapes for organising small items, like jewellery.

 

She thinks it's best to keep small boxes on hand for future storage solutions. 
Image Source: Instagram user LuckyMaya

She thinks it’s best to keep small boxes on hand for future storage solutions.

6. Say Bye to Your Books

Say Bye to Your BooksImage Source: Instagram user stacywalkermyers

Kondo believes people keep books for far longer than necessary.

 

Kondo urges her readers to get rid of most of their books, only keeping the ones that "spark joy."
Image Source: Instagram user dani.catastrophe

Kondo urges her readers to get rid of most of their books, only keeping the ones that “spark joy.”

 

Reducing the number of books in one's home will free up a great deal of space. 
Image Source: Instagram user madebyfeixi

Reducing the number of books in one’s home will free up a great deal of space.

 

7. Attack the Bathroom Too

Attack the Bathroom TooImage Source: Instagram user mikedickson

Kondo urges paring down bathroom items and keeping what’s left in small containers.

 

She believes in wiping down products after use, and then keeping them out of sight until the next time.   
Image Source: Instagram user konmari_lifeproject

She believes in wiping down products after use, and then keeping them out of sight until the next time.

 

8. The Kitchen Should Be Orderly

The Kitchen Should Be OrderlyImage Source: Instagram user noz__ie

Kondo’s methods extend to the kitchen, where even containers can be stored in containers.

 

Kondo urges keeping counters clear and most items out of sight. 
Image Source: Instagram user wijeisenijs

Kondo urges keeping counters clear and most items out of sight.

 

9. Make Your Entryway Tidy

Make Your Entryway TidyImage Source: Instagram user sarahfought

Kondo personally uses a cabinet by her entryway to hold everyday belongings and shoes.

 

Kondo believes cabinets, even when used as storage, should be orderly behind closed doors.
Image Source: Instagram user midwestwannabe

Kondo believes cabinets, even when used as storage, should be orderly behind closed doors.

 

 

Comments (0)

10 October 2017
By portermathewsblog


It’s no secret that the Perth rental market currently favours tenants, so if you’re looking to purchase an investment property it’s important to select a rental that appeals to your target market.

Unlike purchasing your own home to live in, buying an investment property needs to be approached with your head – not your heart. Features you may value in your own home, may not necessarily appeal to prospective tenants.

You need to think like a tenant and buy a property that meets their needs. Here are five tips for purchasing a rental that appeals to tenants:

1. Location is paramount

As with any property purchase, location is paramount. This is especially the case when buying an investment property.

A common tenant requirement is proximity to amenities. Be sure to buy in areas that are close to key amenities like shops, transport and schools. It’s also a smart idea to seek locations that offer a good lifestyle, for example younger tenants generally value living close to thriving hubs, while families with young children will value being close to parks and kid friendly facilities.

2. Consider the home’s internal layout

Give consideration to the internal layout of the property you choose to invest in. Many tenants choose to share accommodation, so it’s a good idea to look at properties that have features that appeal to this style of living.

Things to consider when assessing the home include:

  • Is there good separation between living areas and bedrooms?
  • How many bedrooms does the home have? Are they spacious?
  • Is there more than one bathroom?
  • Are there plenty of storage options?

 

3. Outdoor areas are important

We’re lucky in Western Australia that our climate is warm and favours outdoor living. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to factor in some kind of outdoor area into the rental home you purchase. Whether it’s a balcony, a courtyard or an enclosed alfresco – outdoor living options are attractive.

While many tenants value outdoor living space, it’s worthwhile choosing a home that is low maintenance. Gardens may look beautiful, but they require a lot of upkeep so it’s best to invest in properties with low maintenance outdoor areas as prospective tenants may be put off by the work required to keep a garden looking good.

4. Parking options are highly regarded

Being able to offer tenants a designated parking space is very attractive. While in WA most homes come equipped with a garage or carport, units or apartments – particularly those in the city – often require tenants to park off-street. A lack of parking options is an inconvenience to tenants, so it’s beneficial to look for investment properties that provide tenants with a secure space to park their car.

5. Extra features will help your rental stand out

As an investor, you need to be competitive in the current market to secure a tenant. In order to make your home stand out, it’s worth ensuring the property has some attractive extras like:

    • Airconditioning – WA’s long hot summers can be uncomfortable without airconditioning. Tenants want to be able to escape the heat when inside, so airconditioning is often a key requirement.
    • Quality appliances – modern appliances like ovens, dishwashers and cooktops can go a long way in helping your home stand out.

 

    • Digital connections – we live in a technological age, so features like good cable connections for internet and wifi and strong mobile signals are increasingly important factors for tenants.

 

  • Pet friendly – rental properties that accommodate pets will appeal to a wider selection of applicants.

If you have any questions about renting out your property in Perth, speak to Ron Padua on 0404 428 843 or email bdm@pmmetro.com.au

Comments (0)

12 September 2017
By portermathewsblog


Do you currently own an investment property in Perth or are looking to purchase one? We have four tips for how to be a good landlord, from understanding your rights and responsibilities and those of your tenant, to finding the right assistance to help you safeguard your investment.

1. Understand the law

Renting in WA is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 and the Residential Tenancies Regulations 1989. As a landlord, it’s good to have a basic knowledge of these laws and regulations as there are specific provisions covering issues, including but not limited to:

  • Security bonds
  • Rates and taxes
  • Damages and repairs
  • Notice periods

More information about the relevant laws and regulations can be found on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.

Brush up on your rights and responsibilities and if you have any queries, speak to one of our friendly officers in the REIWA Information Service.

2. Take note of your safety responsibilities

Ensuring your investment property is in working order prior to renting it out is a must to keep your tenants, property manager and yourself safe.

As the landlord, you have a responsibility to ensure your property meets certain safety standards and if issues arise during the tenancy, you must address them in due course.

Three main safety issues to be aware of include:

  • Blinds and curtains
  • Pool and spa fences
  • RCDs and smoke alarms

Read our article about your safety responsibilities as a landlord for more information.

3. Know the costs involved

An investment property is just that, an investment. Landlords should expect to invest some money in their property in order to reap the rewards later in life, whether it be for a retirement fund or to purchase another property.

Be sure to consider the costs involved in renting out your property, including:

  • Insurance
  • Property taxes
  • Strata fees and/or rates
  • Maintenance and repair costs

Some costs are tax deductible, so speak to your property manager or accountant for more advice on making a claim come tax time.

4. Engage with a property manager

Not only will a property manager act as a liaison between you and your tenant, they can assist you with the following:

  • Evaluate the market – a property manager can conduct an evaluation of your property in comparison to other rentals on the market. This can help you determine a competitive rent price and marketing campaign to secure a tenant.
  • Help with tricky questions – property managers undertake extensive and continual learning to stay up-to-date on rental laws and regulations. They can help you to understand both yours and your tenants’ rights, and further assist you with tricky situations such as break leases.
  • Find your perfect tenant – your property manager will hold home opens and assess applications to help you find a tenant. Further, REIWA agents have access to a National Tenancy Database, which allows them to review a tenant’s rental history.
  • Maintain your investment – through regular property inspections, a property manager can ensure your investment remains in tip top condition. Further, they can assist by organising repairs and maintenance calls.

If you have any questions about renting out your property in Perth, speak to Ron Padua on 0404 428 843 or email bdm@pmmetro.com.au

Comments (0)

18 August 2017
By portermathewsblog


How to Decorate a Designer-Worthy Nursery on a Budget
 Image Source: Sara Boulter Photography

Welcoming a new baby into your home is one of the most exciting, joyous, and expensive life milestones, and nursery preparation is proof. So when we stumbled upon interior designer Autumn Clemons’s chic, budget-friendly nursery, we knew we had to share. Filled with thoughtful details and brilliant design hacks, this space proves that you don’t have to overspend to create the nursery of your dreams!
To leverage the room's plush carpeting, Autumn chose to envelope the space in soothing neutrals. For the walls, she chose Benjamin Moore's Grey Mist. By laying a smaller rug with soft textures at a diagonal, Autumn was able to create a strong focal point.

Image Source: Sara Boulter Photography

To leverage the room’s plush carpeting, Autumn chose to envelope the space in soothing neutrals. For the walls, she chose Benjamin Moore’s Grey Mist. By laying a smaller rug with soft textures at a diagonal, Autumn was able to create a strong focal point.

The crib (an Ikea score!) is accessorised with an adorable owl pillow. How cute is the little animal hook that works perfectly for displaying a special outfit?
Image Source: Sara Boulter Photography

The crib (an Ikea score!) is accessorised with an adorable owl pillow. How cute is the little animal hook that works perfectly for displaying a special outfit?

Instead of taking up space with a clunky bookshelf, Autumn chose to hang floating shelves to keep books handy while also displaying the covers.
Image Source: Sara Boulter Photography

Instead of taking up space with a clunky bookshelf, Autumn chose to hang floating shelves to keep books handy while also displaying the covers.

For the curtains, Autumn picked up an Urban Outfitters tapestry, cut it in half, and added blackout lining.
Image Source: Sara Boulter Photography

For the curtains, Autumn picked up an Urban Outfitters tapestry, cut it in half, and added blackout lining.

For the pendant, she added a DIY touch to this inexpensive light from Home Depot. What looks like wood planks on the ceiling is actually wallpaper from eBay.
Image Source: Sara Boulter Photography

For the pendant, she added a DIY touch to this inexpensive light from Home Depot. What looks like wood planks on the ceiling is actually wallpaper from eBay.

A low, vintage dresser becomes the ideal changing table with the addition of painted drawers and new hardware. Also, can we talk about this cute changing pad cover?
Image Source: Sara Boulter Photography

A low, vintage dresser becomes the ideal changing table with the addition of painted drawers and new hardware. Also, can we talk about this cute changing pad cover?

Floating acrylic shelves make switching up art and accessories a breeze.
Image Source: Sara Boulter Photography

Floating acrylic shelves make switching up art and accessories a breeze.

Cushioned rockers don't come cheap, so Autumn decided to add rocking chair legs to an Ikea chair to create her own affordable version.
Image Source: Sara Boulter Photography

Cushioned rockers don’t come cheap, so Autumn decided to add rocking chair legs to an Ikea chair to create her own affordable version.

What looks like a spendy sconce is actually another crafty DIY project.
Check out the full tour with links to all the DIYs on her blog!
Image Source: Sara Boulter Photography

What looks like a spendy sconce is actually another crafty DIY project.

Comments (0)

10 August 2017
By portermathewsblog


Liz Durnan via domain.com.au

We all know those super-organised people, don’t we? They’re up at the crack of dawn baking muffins for the school fundraiser, work nine-to-five in a high-powered job, have numerous well-turned out children and, on top of it all, their house is always perfectly clean and organised – without any paid help. Do they make you sick, or do you secretly envy them? Don’t waste your energy. Instead, watch how they do it and see what you can learn.

Our homes shouldn’t be driving us mad; they should be our sanctuary. As much as I wish I could pay one of those personal organisers to come into my house and turn it upside down, I don’t have the spare budget (sigh). So I’ve learned from my clean-freak friends and I’m forever reading up about what I can do to take control of my home. Here’s what I’ve found helpful:

18892679-2
Photo by Juliette Byrne – More living room ideas

Regular clean-ups

Like many people, I’m more of a regular procrastinator than a regular cleaner, often preferring the motto “Why do it it today, if I can do it tomorrow?” However, since having kids and a home to look after, I’ve learnt the hard way that this motto isn’t really doing that much for me.

I’ve often watched friends with tidy homes and wondered what their secret is. Now I know; they simply clean up as they go rather than wait for the magic fairy to come in and do it.

3373931
Photo by Juliette Byrne – More living room ideas

 

They never wake up to a kitchen full of dirty dishes.

By doing a little bit each day in bite-sized chunks – and getting other members of the household to do the same – things don’t pile up and become overwhelming. Create a roster so that everyone knows what they have to do and when.

A place for everything
I know Marie Kondo didn’t invent this idea, but if there’s one thing I’ve taken from her much talked-about book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it’s the idea of having a place for everything and putting everything back there.

Apply this rule to all areas of the house – from the kitchen and the laundry to the linen cupboard. Take stock of every single item you own and ensure there’s a place for each one.

Best of all? Your mornings will be transformed. No more running around the house first thing in the morning looking for your keys, your coat or the other shoe – you’ll know exactly where to find everything, and fast.

Use storage wisely
However, good storage with a place for everything only works if you’re managing it. Have you ever blamed your messiness on your lack of storage? I used to, but recently I finally got the new fitted wardrobes and mudroom of my dreams installed, only to find we were still messy – alas, the storage doesn’t magically tidy up for you. Of course it helps, but you still have to do the work of keeping it organised. The other members of the household need to be schooled in the simple ways of putting their things away too.

22871400
Photo by Schmidt Kitchens Palmers Green – Search kitchen design ideas

Declutter sprees
One of the ways our houses can drive us mad is by having too much stuff. Are you forever unable to find things – your wallet, the potato masher, your favourite pan? This is often because we can’t see the stuff we’re looking for among the chaos. If you have a family and new things regularly coming into the home, it’s important to get rid of stuff often too. Regularly – even as often as monthly – go through kitchen drawers, pantries and wardrobes and take stock of what you have, getting rid of what you’re not using.

Tags: Home, Lifestyle, Tips
Comments (0)

21 July 2017
By portermathewsblog


How to Have the Most Unique Nursery on the BlockImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

There are many steps on the road to preparing for baby, but one of the most fun – and certainly most creative – steps is decorating the nursery. For my baby boy, I set out to transform my home office into a welcoming nursery that was at once personal, sophisticated, and wonderfully whimsical; more than just looking beautiful, however, it had to accommodate the essential nursery functions – and all without breaking the bank. I had my work cut out for me!

For some professional guidance, I turned to the experts at Laurel & Wolf, an online interior design marketplace that, for a reasonable, one-time flat fee, guided me to a top-notch designer with whom I created a custom room plan. Laurel & Wolf allowed me to try out the service at no charge for this project.

The design process was simple; after creating a detailed room profile, multiple designers submitted initial project proposals. I fell in love with the eclectic style of Pamela R McIntyre of The Curated Life. I selected her as my designer, and we got to work, exchanging design ideas and products over Laurel & Wolf’s online platform. The final design she gave me included a style board, detailed floor plan, and shopping list.

Check out pictures of the resulting nursery below, and read my 13 tips for creating a truly unique space for your little one.

Hang Personal Art

Hang Personal ArtImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

Decorating with art and decor that are meaningful to you and your partner is a simple way to infuse your family’s personality into the nursery. I’ve long collected silk scarves, and I wanted to share their style and beauty with my son. I found a circus print by one of my favourite designers and had it framed to hang above his changing station.

Add Simple DIYs

Add Simple DIYsImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

When I couldn’t find the lighting I wanted within my budget, I began to think of ways to create it myself. Not wanting to get into electrical nitty gritty, I layered two super affordable Ikea hanging lighting fixtures — a paper lantern to softly diffuse light covered with a natural wood pendant. To make it extra unique, I wove a vintage French ribbon through the wood slats. Sometimes the simplest style is not only easier and cheaper, but it looks better too.

 

Blend Children’s and Adults’ Decor

Blend Children's and Adults' DecorImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

I tried to balance whimsical and sophisticated touches to create a nursery where both my child and I would enjoy spending time. Decorating with a mix of children’s and adults’ decor was an easy way to achieve this look; for example, a felted wool elephant head is framed by succulents in contemporary CB2 vases above the mantel.

 

Scavenge for One-of-a-Kind Pieces

 

Scavenge for One-of-a-Kind PiecesImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

While I love to browse through the beautiful nurseries in catalogs, I wanted my nursery to have a more unique and eclectic look, so I shopped for a mix of new, store-bought items, like the crib, and distinctive decor, like the blue Moroccan Kilim rug my Laurel & Wolf designer found from a Tunisian rug dealer on Etsy. It was the first piece I purchased for the room, and it set the whimsical tone for everything that came after.

Thoughtfully Lay Out the Room

Thoughtfully Lay Out the RoomImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

Every space presents its own challenge, and my home’s was its outdated Victorian floor plan; fortunately, Pamela, my Laurel & Wolf designer, evaluated my needs and came up with a creative layout that allows the room to function as both a nursery and playroom. Using the measurements of the space and essential furniture pieces, she created a layout to scale on Laurel & Wolf’s platform, allowing her to play around with configurations. You can draw your own or check out one of the many websites and apps that allow you to do it on your computer or tablet.

Shop Second-Hand Finds

Shop Second-Hand FindsImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

I knew I wanted a high-quality glider, but every style I liked gave me a serious case of sticker shock. While the glider is an important piece of the nursery, it’s not one with versatility or longevity, so I didn’t want to splurge on it. Instead, I set up a Craigslist alert and pounced immediately when the high-end glider I loved popped up for sale in mint condition at nearly a third of the new price.

 

Splurge Where It Makes Sense

Splurge Where It Makes SenseImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

As the nursery design process progressed, I fell hard for the timeless yet exotic look of campaign dressers.The initial plan was to purchase an affordable vintage set or DIY my way to the style, but ultimately I decided to splurge on Pottery Barn Kids’s Gemma dressers. Their aesthetic was perfect not only for a baby boy’s nursery, but could also fit seamlessly into a girl’s room, or our own bedroom down the road. The furniture pieces could eventually even be converted into a bar cart or sideboard. The quality, versatility, and storage potential of the campaign dressers made them a worthy splurge.

 

Get Family and Friends Involved

Get Family and Friends InvolvedImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

Rooms decorated with love and care really do feel warmer and more welcoming. To bring all the love the baby’s family has for him into the space, his cousins filled the bookshelf with their favourite childhood reads. They even inscribed the inside cover of each book with a special message to the baby.

Seek Help For Design Dilemmas

Seek Help For Design DilemmasImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia
Not sure how to solve that diaper storage problem or where to put the crib? Get help! Working with Laurel & Wolf gave me the pro insight I needed to really polish and refine my design concept. Whether a professional interior design service or a best friend with a great eye, it’s never a bad idea to get a fresh take on your space.
Turn Cute Baby Items Into Decor
Turn Cute Baby Items Into DecorImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia
If you’ve ever heard the ooing and ahhing that happens at baby showers, then you already know how adorable baby clothes and accessories are. Instead of hiding them in a drawer, I decoratively displayed a few of my favorite pieces, like these knitted booties grandma bought in Ireland, around the room.

Keep It Interesting by Mixing High and Low

Keep It Interesting by Mixing High and LowImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia
Avoid a stale, straight-out-of-the-showroom look by mixing retailers, styles, and price points. From eBay to Land of Nod, I shopped a variety of sources to give the nursery rich, eclectic style and added flair through small, affordable items, like these playfully striped Ikea seagrass baskets and the fluffy faux fur accent rug.
Get Creative With Storage
Get Creative With StorageImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia
The room we transformed into a nursery had no closet, but instead of dragging a heavy armoire into the space to store hanging clothes, I mounted a rod into the wall. It not only gave me a place to put all of baby’s hanging clothes, it also put some of his most adorable ensembles on display.

Take Your Time

Take Your TimeImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

Don’t rush to fill in every gap in the nursery at once. It’s OK if the bookshelf isn’t full or there’s a blank spot on the wall. Great design takes time, and there will be plenty of opportunity to fill the space with meaningful mementos after the baby is born. Trust me, you’ll be glad you waited and did it right the first time.

 

Comments (0)

14 June 2017
By portermathewsblog


Winter’s chill brings cosy decor and lazy afternoons spent sipping hot chocolate in front of the heater, but it can also bring major electrical bills. If heating your home is seriously expensive, then you’re going to want to read these 12 cost-effective ways to stay warm this Winter.

    • Get the Right Window Coverings

If you’ve ever stood next to a drafty window, then you can attest that they’re major culprits of heat loss. Investing in thick, lined curtains or adding liners to your existing curtains (Ikea have them for $29.99 a pair) will keep the cold air out. Keeping them closed during Winter you can cut your energy bill down by up to 20 percent.

    • Add a Storm Door

Create an extra layer of padding between the elements and your house by adding a storm door. While it’s a little bit pricier up front, you can reduce energy loss up to 50 percent by purchasing a storm door made with low-emissivity glass or coating.

    • Install a Programmable Thermostat

Instead of keeping your heat on full blast all day, use a programmable thermostat to set the temperature to turn it down while you’re out in the middle of the day and turn it back up right before you come home in the evening. Turning the temperature back at least 10 degrees for eight hours a day can save you up to 15 percent a year on your heating bill.

    • Fill in Insulation Gaps

Invisible cracks and gaps around the house allow valuable heat to seep out. Taking a little time in Summer or Autumn to caulk or weather strip these leaks around the house will save you big money on your energy bill come Winter. Common areas in need of insulation include the space between the baseboard and the floorboard, behind electrical outlets, and around windows and attack hatches.

    • Reverse the Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans usually have a switch you can flip to change the direction the fan blades are rotating in. By simply switching it to clockwise rotation in Winter, you’ll push hot air that has risen to the ceiling back down into the room. Doesn’t get easier than that.

    • Put Layers on Yourself

It’s a lot cheaper to throw on a sweater and some fuzzy slippers than to crank up the heat every time you get chilly, so keep warm layers close at hand and the temperature at a reasonable setting.

    • Improvise Wall Insulation

If tearing down the drywall to add insulation isn’t an option, then it’s time to get clever. You can line chilly external walls with cold-absorbing materials like a tall shelf filled with books, use decorative screens as cold air blockers, and even line baseboards with cardboard.

    • Position Furniture Around Heat Sources

For a free and temporary fix, give your living spaces a Winter makeover by rearranging furniture away from cold external walls and around heat sources, like the fireplace. It will make those frigid nights more enjoyable.

    • Swap Your Globes LED

As the nights get longer, our lights stay on for — longer but it doesn’t have to cost more. LED bulbs use 85 percent less energy compared to traditional globes and have a lifespan of 25,000 hours.

    • Add a Rug

Wooden or tiled floors can be really cold under foot in Winter. Laying a thick rug that feels soft under-foot will help keep your home cosy.

    • Winter-Proof Your Bed

Swapping your quilt for a thicker one or adding an extra blanket (between the sheet and quilt) will keep you warm at night without using a heater.

    • Make the Most of the Sun

Getting your washing dry can be hazardous when the weather is bad, but making the most of any sunny moments will save you on dryer costs. Pick up a portable dryer that you can quickly bring in if the weather gets bad or keep inside by a window.

Comments (0)

14 June 2017
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

2_gwbz30

The search is over – you’ve settled on your new address. The movers are booked, the boxes are packed, now what? It’s time to make that place feel like home. It’s easy to get carried away with all the big changes and costly renovations you’d like to make, but they are not always possible, at least not right away. In the meantime, here’s your six-step go-to guide to turning any space into a place you’ll love calling home.

1. Clean and scrub

Okay it might seem obvious, and an easy one to palm off to a professional, but even if you do spring for an expert to help with the heavy lifting, there’s much to be said for getting down and dirty yourself. It helps you bond with your home and get to know its structure and its unique quirks. You can’t beat a sense of intimacy with your space for making it feel like a home.

Photo: Pottery Barn

2. Respect those who came before you

Whether it’s the architect who designed your apartment or the decades of homeowners before you, take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. Can’t bear those old slate floors at first sight? Hang in there. Embrace your home’s idiosyncrasies, including the questionable style choices of past owners, and try not to be arrogant. Maybe the house has a point. Wait to see what it might be before diving into an expensive new fitout.

3. Make a floor plan for the way you actually live

This includes choosing furniture that will service the way you use your home. For instance, there’s no point taking up precious space with a large formal living room if you only ever eat at the kitchen bench. Maybe a few new barstools are all that’s required for an eat-in kitchen, leaving you a whole spare room to turn into a much-needed study. Alternatively, replacing your pair of bulky, two-seater sofas with a single sectional sofa might help de-formalise and open the layout of your new living area.

Photo: west elm

4. Run for covers

The easiest, most affordable reno-free makeover you can give any space is paint and textiles – in that order. If paint is a priority to freshen up a tired or grubby place, then you can’t go wrong with basic white (and it’s easy to go over later). Textile-wise, start with rugs and curtains, choosing designs that reflect your style and complement the period of your home. Finally, finish with cushion covers – you’d be amazed at the way they will transform any tired sofa or uninspired corner.

5. Allocate a place for everything you own and everything you use

A little planning at the start will help curb the clutter and keep your home tidy and more manageable over time. For example, if a vast book collection is your pride and joy, then a wall dedicated to open shelving may be a better use of space than a pretty sideboard and mirror. Or if you’re keen cyclists in a tiny apartment, a wall-mounted bike rack might be just the wall decor for you.

6. Tell your story

Displaying photos, personal collections and travel mementos are well worn ways of reflecting and celebrating the people who live in a home, but there are other subtle solutions, too. Introduce a favourite, memory-inducing fragrance via a vase of fresh flowers or a scented candle. Or add a glass cloche or display box with a favourite childhood object or holiday souvenir to instantly bring that personal touch home.

Photo: Pottery Barn

 

Tags: Home, Lifestyle, Tips
Comments (0)

06 June 2017
By portermathewsblog


Has your place been looking a little . . . clogged up lately? Well, it may be time to do a little cleaning up! However, if you’ve been following these rules below, you wouldn’t need a decluttering session as your home is guaranteed to be clutter-free.

1. Get rid of duplicates

If you have duplicates lying around, get rid of them if they are not necessary. Keep the better duplicate and trash or donate the other.

2. Get rid of things you haven’t used in a year

So you keep telling yourself that you’ll use it eventually, but if you haven’t touched it in a year, chances are that you’re not going to in the near future. Do your home a favour and get rid of the items that aren’t getting any use.

3. Digitise nostalgic items

Do you have too many nostalgic items that you can’t seem to get yourself to give away? Take photos of them and then get rid of them — you’ll be able to keep them around forever without cluttering up your space.

4. Don’t keep items out of guilt

I’m sure you have a thing or two around the house that you keep out of guilt. Perhaps it’s a sweater sweet Aunt Betty knitted for you for Christmas that you never wear or that fancy dress you splurged way too much on. Time to be brutal and get rid of them all.

5. Put things back where they belong

It’s easy to just leave things lying around, but that’s how clutter builds up. After you’re done using something, immediately put it back where it belongs so you won’t procrastinate.

6. And find a home for them

Make sure every item in your home has a place, whether it be a plastic container or an under-the-bed organiser. And remember: a pile of items is not a true place for your things.

7. Sell, give away, donate, upcycle, or throw away

When assessing things you want to get rid of, start by seeing if you can make some of your money back by selling it. Here are some avenues for selling different types of clutter.

If you don’t think it’s worth the effort to sell, give it away to people you know who will use it. Perhaps to your family and friends, or even your Facebook network. You can also choose to donate it to get a tax write off.

8. Don’t keep items you wouldn’t buy now

Are there some items you have that you would never buy now? Perhaps you should take a good hard look at them and figure out why you need them now and if you can do without them.

9. Opt for covered furniture

If you have a clutter problem, choose furniture that is covered, such as a closet with a sliding door instead of open shelves. This will help your place look cleaner and more organised.

10. Don’t forget storage under your bed

There’s a lot of real estate in your home that’s not being put to good use; one that people often forget about is under-the-bed storage.

11. Think tall

Use up all the space in your home to make the most of it, including the vertical space. The more space you have for your stuff, the less likely it’s going to get cluttered up.

12. Evaluate your spending

If you’re buying things you don’t need, take a hard look at your spending. Perhaps you need to take part in our 30-day spending hiatus to motivate yourself.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography
Tags: Home, Lifestyle, Tips
Comments (0)

25 May 2017
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

The bathroom is one of the most expensive rooms to remodel. So if you’re on a budget, a bathroom renovation might be out of reach. The good news is you don’t have to live with the ugly – all you need is a little DIY elbow grease.

Try these easy projects to give your bathroom an upgrade, and the best part is, you can do any of these in one weekend.

Update the vanity

Transform the vanity with new paint and hardware.Transform the vanity with new paint and hardware. Photo: Jason Frank Rothenberg / Domino

Painting the vanity is one of the cheapest ways to upgrade your bathroom and still make a big impact. Sand your existing vanity, and patch any imperfections with wood putty. Then, start with a good oil-based bonding primer before applying the final coats of paint. Finish the look with new hardware

Upgrade the toilet lever

Open homes:

Photo: The Makerista

Something as small as the flusher handle can make a big difference. Upgrade the white plastic version for something in shiny chrome. Don’t be intimidated by the plumbing aspect of this project; it’s actually super easy.

Replace the towel bar with hooks

Open homes:

Photo: House Tweaking

Using hooks in place of a towel bar is not only more stylish but also easier to use. You don’t have to worry about perfectly folded towels hung evenly on a bar.

Add a bold accent wall

Open homes:

Photo: Jessica Antola for Domino

Another way to add a wow factor to your bathroom is to go bold with paint. Choose one wall and go wild with a colour you might be scared to use anywhere else.

Paint your own wallpaper

Open homes:

Photo: May Richer Fuller Be

Wallpaper can be pricey, so why not paint your own pattern? You don’t have to be an artist to get beautiful results. Use a stencil, or go freehand like this project from May Richer Fuller Be. She created a stunning basket-weave pattern with simple brushstrokes.

Change the light fixture

Photo: A Beautiful MessPhoto: A Beautiful Mess

Changing the light fixture in your bathroom can actually be easier and more affordable than you think. Use an inexpensive LED light, then amp up the style by using a decorative ceiling medallion.

Line the medicine cabinet with decorative paper

Open homes:

Photo: Sarah Hearts

The medicine cabinet can be a neglected space, full of dusty shelves and expired products. Sprucing it up is the perfect weekend project. Get it organised, and then add a bit of flair with decorative contact paper. It’s a nice little surprise every time you reach for the toothpaste.

Add art work with a photo collage

Open homes:

Photo: Little Green Notebook

Every room needs art work, and the bathroom is no exception. Make a collage with your favourite photos by mounting them on fabric-covered cardboard and plopping it in a frame.

– popsugar.com.au

Comments (0)

18 May 2017
By portermathewsblog


Author: Rachel Preston-Bidwell via reiwa.com.au

Renting out your property for a reasonable price and turning it into a successful investment can be challenging, especially in the current market. We share some tips on how to make improvements to your home to get a tenant in as quickly as possible and obtain a rent price that works for both parties.

1. Make some home improvements

If your investment property is a little older, it may benefit from some low-cost cosmetic renovations, including:

  • A coat of paint
  • New blinds or curtains
  • Fresh carpets
  • Updated/modern light fittings

Freshening up your rental property and repairing any damages can make a big difference to a prospective tenant.

You may also wish to consider installing features such as air conditioning, security screens or an alarm. These types of items can potentially add value to your property and also be an attractive incentive to a tenant.

Read more about the features tenants want in a rental.

2. Consider tenants with pets

Many landlords won’t allow tenants with pets, so those who are willing to be pet friendly are at a particular advantage and can potentially attract a higher rent return.

If you are concerned about a pet damaging the house, talk to your property manager about a pet bond, in addition to your main bond, to cover fumigation costs if required at the end of the tenancy.

3. Speak to a property manager

Property managers have a good understanding of the rental market, including the types of properties in demand in a particular area and the going rent prices.

Speak to a local property manager for recommendations on rent and even about what improvements you could make to your investment property. They can also help ensure you don’t overcapitalise on your rental, by recommending what improvements are sought after by tenants and what to avoid.

If you’re looking to rent out your property, speak to us on (08) 9475 9622 or email bdm@pmmetro.com.au

Comments (0)

18 May 2017
By portermathewsblog


Laura Barry via houzz.com.au

With its rich, velvety, jewel-toned look, the new-traditional style trend arrives just in time for the cooler weather

The new-traditional look is a bold one. Characterised by the use of velvet, jewel tones, and rounded, tufted furniture, it goes a long way towards cosying up our homes for autumn and the onset of winter. But truth be told, it can be a difficult one to incorporate into an existing interior scheme. Here, we give you some tried and tested tips for adding these little luxurious touches to your home… without going to the length of redesigning your decor.

Comments (0)

17 May 2017
By portermathewsblog



Maggie Winterfeldt via domain.com.au

You’ve put heart, soul and a lot of bucks into turning your house into a home. The last thing you want is for someone to break in and rob you. A home intruder is scary to even think about, but spending a few minutes of time recognising and fixing ways your home is vulnerable can pay off big down the road.

Here are nine ways you may be inadvertently making your home more attractive to thieves:

Rundown front door

Are you inadvertently making your home more attractive to thieves?Are you inadvertently making your home more attractive to thieves? Photo: Sean Locke

Your front door is the first place burglars will look, and a dilapidated front door signals that your home is an easy target. A clean, painted front door gives the impression that the entire home is well-cared for and harder to breach.

Single lock

Burglars look to see what kind of locks they’ll have to navigate to enter, and when they see only the standard cylinder lock they’re more likely to have a go than if there’s also a padlock visible. In short: doubling up on locks makes your door physically more difficult to break into and your home less appealing to burglars.

Enticing trash

The discarded boxes and bags from all your big-ticket purchases are like advertisements to burglars of the valuables inside your home. Prevent thieves from getting as excited over your new flat screen TV box as you are with your new TV by keeping this type of garbage inside until trash pickup day.

Dark exteriors

Burglars don’t like to risk being seen, so when you create a barrier of light around your home using motion sensor activated and basic exterior lights, you’re creating a barrier around your home through which they’re not likely to penetrate. Pay special attention to vulnerable areas like front and back doors and walkways.

Welcoming landscaping

When planted beneath windows, bushes and shrubs are not only pretty, but they’re an obstacle to climbing into windows. Burglars are especially deterred by the kind of greenery that has thorns or makes loud snapping noises. For trees reaching up to second story windows, be sure to clean up lower branches so they can’t function as a ladder.

Overflowing mailbox

Piles of mail are a sign that you’re out of town and primed for a robbery. If you’re going away for a while, use the Request Hold Mail service to stop delivery while you’re gone. For shorter periods, a neighbour will likely be glad to pick up your deliveries.

Visible interiors

You don’t want burglars to get a peek at all the goodies you have inside your home, so shut the curtains, pull the shades, put a giant house plant in front of a street-facing window – do whatever you have to do to keep unwanted eyes out. Be especially mindful at night when the dark sky and lit interior combine to create a fishbowl effect in your home.

Empty house

Encountering the resident is way more than most burglars are bargaining for. If they think you’re in the house, they’re staying out of it, so make it look like someone’s home by turning on a light or two and even leaving on a TV or radio to make some noise. For prolonged periods away, you can use electronic timers to turn them on and off automatically.

Non-existent alarm system

They take a bit of financial investment, but a quality alarm system is a huge burglar deterrent, and a necessary one if you live in a high-crime neighbourhood. Do your research and pick a reputable alarm company – thieves know the bad and bogus alarm system signs – and consider high-tech options, such as alarms with a camera that allow you to monitor your home from anywhere.

Comments (0)

11 May 2017
By portermathewsblog


Author: Jen Dalley via domain.com.au

Photo: Kanner Architects

The next time you hear the rhythm of rain as it drums overhead, grab your boots and venture outside to follow the rainwater’s journey. After it hits your roof, where does it go to next?

If your home is like most, the water probably travels down gutters, through downspouts and onto an asphalt driveway, picking up traces of pollutants such as petroleum and pesticides along the way. Down a street gutter it goes, eventually finding its way into a storm drain. This may be as far as you can visibly follow the journey, but it certainly doesn’t stop there. Much stormwater runoff finds its way into nearby rivers and lakes.

Photo by Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp - Discover farmhouse exterior home design ideas
Photo by Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp 

Redirecting stormwater into the ground is a much greener option. Microorganisms in the soil are able to digest the pollutants, purifying the water on its path back into the aquifer. Allowing the water to seep into the ground also helps prevent the erosion of nearby waterways caused by runoff.

By replacing your impervious asphalt or concrete driveway with a permeable surface, you’ll be supporting groundwater recharge while also visually softening your property.

The first step in installing a permeable driveway (sometimes referred to as a sustainable drainage system, or SuDS) is deciding which design will work best for you.

Open-cell pavers are simply concrete pavers with holes that can be filled with a pervious material. Filling the cells with vegetation can soften the entire look and add a bit of green to your site.

The open-cell pavers shown here provide the minimum surface area a car would need to navigate the path.

What’s underneath the pavers is what really counts. A solid base is key to minimizing heaving and cracking. You will need a 15cm subbase of 3.8cm clean rock topped with a 10.1cm base of 1.9cm clean rock, to make the driveway stable enough for cars to pass over it. The paver system goes on top of that. A polyurethane liner should be used near any foundation walls or concrete that needs to be protected from water flow-back.

Photo by Shouldice Media - Search contemporary exterior home pictures
Photo by Shouldice Media

Pervious pavers commonly have joints filled with aggregate to allow water to penetrate between the pavers. Tabs are formed into each paver, providing the correct joint width and making installation easier. As with open-cell pavers, a sturdy base is required.

Some ceramic pavers are actually porous themselves, allowing the water to pass through the surface directly, instead of through the gaps between. This means the gap can be narrower and doesn’t have to be refilled with aggregate as often — a common chore with other pervious paver systems.

Due to the small size of the pavers, cracking or heaving is not an issue in cold climates.

Gravel is another surface to consider.  It will also need a base underlayment to maximise its pervious nature. Usually this is a plastic mat made up of circular or honeycomb cells structured to provide load-bearing support. These cells are filled with gravel and help keep rainwater in the soil and out of sewers.

By Jen Dalley |||||||||||||| Salt Lake City - See more Home Design Photos
By Jen Dalley | Salt Lake City

A combination of systems can be used, too. Pavers and concrete strips together give this driveway visual interest.

When you have decided on a system and are ready to install it, look to redirect as much of the water as possible from your patio, roofline and downspouts to the new permeable area, so you’re capturing as much runoff water as possible.

Systems like this open cell with vegetation allow water to pass through as much as 40 per cent of the surface area.

Most jurisdictions enforce land-use codes that limit the buildable area on a lot. Many also include a maximum amount of impervious surface area allowed on a parcel. The driveway is a great place to include more permeable area, especially if the lot is small.

Photo by PLACE architect ltd. - Browse contemporary exterior home ideas
Photo by PLACE architect ltd. – Browse for a landscape designer

Interested in adding a permeable driveway? Here’s more info:

Who to hire: You’ll need an excavator to dig a trench for the system and a landscape crew to put in the paver system — especially if you use concrete and don’t want to mix and place the concrete yourself.

Considerations: Find out what type of soil you have. It could range from sand (fast drainage time) to clay (longer drainage time).

Permit: Check with your local council.

Best time to do this project: Late spring or summer, when the weather will cooperate. Construction during winter in colder climates is not recommended due to frost-depth issues.

Project length: One to two weeks.

Cost: Many permeable pavers within Australia allow you to request a sample size of the paver before purchasing, although the final cost will be affected by the type of paver, your location, the size of the project and the amount of site work required.

By installing a permeable driveway, you’ll be directly protecting the integrity of our natural resources, supporting groundwater recharge and adding green space to help balance carbon dioxide levels.

Comments (0)

26 April 2017
By portermathewsblog


Renting out your property for a reasonable price and turning it into a successful investment can be challenging, especially in the current market. We share some tips on how to make improvements to your home to get a tenant in as quickly as possible and obtain a rent price that works for both parties.

1. Make some home improvements

If your investment property is a little older, it may benefit from some low-cost cosmetic renovations, including:

  • A coat of paint
  • New blinds or curtains
  • Fresh carpets
  • Updated/modern light fittings

Freshening up your rental property and repairing any damages can make a big difference to a prospective tenant.

You may also wish to consider installing features such as air conditioning, security screens or an alarm. These types of items can potentially add value to your property and also be an attractive incentive to a tenant.

2. Consider tenants with pets

Many landlords won’t allow tenants with pets, so those who are willing to be pet friendly are at a particular advantage and can potentially attract a higher rent return.

If you are concerned about a pet damaging the house, talk to your property manager about a pet bond, in addition to your main bond, to cover fumigation costs if required at the end of the tenancy.

3. Speak to a property manager

Property managers have a good understanding of the rental market, including the types of properties in demand in a particular area and the going rent prices.

Speak to a local property manager for recommendations on rent and even about what improvements you could make to your investment property. They can also help ensure you don’t overcapitalise on your rental, by recommending what improvements are sought after by tenants and what to avoid.

If you’re looking to rent out your property, speak to us on 9475 9622 or email us at mail@pmmetro.com.au.

Tags: Advice, Rentals, Tips
Comments (0)

20 April 2017
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

So you’ve bought your first house. And now you’ve got to furnish it. Money’s tight all over, especially for young adults and first-home buyers, but odds are the cheap-and-nasty stuff you had when you were share housing has done its dash.

When to comes to big furniture purchases, look at getting classic pieces that are built to last, says Triana Odone of King Living. “If you’re on a budget, don’t purchase based on trends that won’t be chic in a year’s time. Stick to buying a quality-made piece that’s built to last.”

“Take the time to do some research and really think about what style of decor you prefer,” says Odone. “Do you like quite simple, contemporary designs without big cushions? Do you like sofas and chairs that you can really curl up in?” Once you’ve got an understanding of your style, think about how you’re going to use your living room – where you’re better off spending a bit extra on quality construction, and where you can save money, too.

When you're setting up your new home, invest in good quality When you’re setting up your new home, invest in good quality “weight-bearing” pieces, like sofas and beds. Photo: Jane Ussher

“It’s pretty simple,” says Odone. “If it’s a weight-bearing piece of furniture, it will need to be well-made if you want it to last and to remain comfortable over time.”

When it comes to buying a sofa, make sure you get one that really suits the way you live – in other words, do you sit up straight, curl up in the corner with your feet tucked underneath you, or do you stretch right out on the sofa?

There’s no wrong answer to the question, but whatever you do in your living room, you should do in the showroom, Odone says. There’s no judgment.

When you've got a well-made piece of furniture, it can last for decades.When you’ve got a well-made piece of furniture, it can last for decades. Photo: Jane Ussher

If most evenings you’re horizontal with the remote in your hand, what’s the point of perching on the edge of the sofa, or just leaning back for 30 seconds? That’s not going to tell you what you really need to know.

Get your shoes off, stretch out – is it wide enough? Long enough? Are the armrests at the right height? Will you need a couple of toss cushions to really get yourself sorted for an evening of chilling out?

If you love to entertain, and your sofa can expect to have three good-sized blokes parked on it during most televised footy games, you’re going to want to get a sofa with steel frame construction.

In a small home or apartment, flexibility is important, too.In a small home or apartment, flexibility is important, too. Photo: King Living

Yes, it costs more than one that’s made with a lesser-quality frame, but it’s not going to collapse unexpectedly in the middle of the game, and you won’t need to buy a new one every two years.

On the other hand, you can save money on smaller decorative pieces such as coffee tables, side tables, cushions, lamps and rugs.

“Those are the non-weight bearing and decorative items that don’t need to be durable in the long-term. When you’re just starting out, a flat-pack end table will work just as well for you. Later on, when you’ve got more money, you may decide to upgrade,” says Odone.

Smaller pieces will give your room personality.Smaller pieces will give your room personality. Photo: Jane Ussher

When buying staple pieces, keep your style of living in mind. If you’ve bought a small apartment, you might want to consider furniture that doubles as storage. If you’ve bought a large family home, keep the flexibility and fabric of the furniture in mind. Many sofas, beds and ottomans do double-duty as storage solutions.

Once you’ve found a sofa that fits you in terms of structure, you’ll want to consider how hard-wearing you need the fabric to be.

Removable covers are a great idea, says Odone.

In a small home or apartment, consider furniture that does double-duty.In a small home or apartment, consider furniture that does double-duty. Photo: King Living

“With high-quality construction, there’s no reason a sofa can’t last for decades. You may need to reupholster it after several years, and the foam or batting in the seat cushions may need to be restored or replaced, but that’s still less money than buying a new sofa,” she says.

– Stuff.co.nz

Comments (0)

19 April 2017
By portermathewsblog


There’s been a number of unsavoury news reports in the last couple of weeks about rental properties being destroyed by tenants. While these types of incidents are relatively uncommon, it’s worth noting in most cases the rental property in question was privately managed.


While it can be tempting to go it alone and manage your rental by yourself – premised upon the notion of saving on management fees – deciding to not use the services of a professional real estate agent is risky and can often cost you in the long run.

Avoid going it alone

The amount of work involved in managing a property and how complex it can be is often underestimated. While the majority of investors choose to use a property manager, there are still around 40 per cent of investments in WA that are self-managed. In my opinion, it isn’t worth the risk.

A property manager will take care of the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of managing a property, and they’ll be well-versed on the Residential Tenancies Act. This is particularly useful if the property is damaged, maintenance is required or the tenant is being unreasonable.

As the owner of the rental, your emotional attachment to the property can be a detriment when dealing with the tenants yourself. A property manager acts as a link between the owner and the tenant, and will offer advice based on the best outcome for you.

Access to industry databases

A property manager also has access to the National Tenancy Database so they can identify any applicants who have a poor rental history when it comes to paying rent and maintaining a property. This is priceless information and can help you select the most appropriate tenant from the start.

Marketing your rental property

Perth’s current rental market offers tenants plenty of choice, which means investors need to work harder to attract interest in their property. A property manager will assist you with a marketing campaign to give you a competitive edge.

Plus, they have access to property websites, like reiwa.com which isn’t available to private landlords, so you can ensure your property is seen by as many people as possible.

Do your research before hiring

When selecting a property manager, it’s important you do your research. If you are negotiating with an agent about hiring a property manager, ensure you have a chance to meet them first.

You want to ensure you appoint someone who has excellent communication and people skills, is knowledgeable and experienced in the industry, pays attention to detail, and is professional and highly organised. Check too that they are a REIWA member, so you can be confident your interests are being protected.

Management fees are not excessive and are normally tax deductible. It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with having a professional handle the tenancy.

Tags: Leasing, Rentals, Tips
Comments (0)

13 April 2017
By portermathewsblog


When knocking down walls just isn’t an option, mirrors can be a transformative solution for visually expanding a small space — no contractor required. The trick? Placing large mirrors in strategic spots so that they reflect maximum light and space. Check out our favourite mirror decorating methods for working magic in a cramped layout!

Layered With a Console
Layered With a Console
Image Source: Studio McGee

If you have room for a console, you have room for a tall mirror. Make the most out of it by layering a wall-busting mirror behind your console.

Tucked Behind a Sofa

Tucked Behind a Sofa
Image Source: Victoria Pearson via House Beautiful

The area above a sofa often feels like dead space. If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of finding and hanging the right mix of art, try this trick instead.

Displayed Window Style

Displayed Window Style
Image Source: Bonnie Sen for Domino

Mirrors shaped like windows trick the eye into thinking that the space is lighter and larger than it really is. Look for options with beautiful details, like this arched and paned pair!

As a Headboard

As a Headboard
Image Source: Domino

Instead of something traditional, experiment with alternative headboard ideas, like this large antique-style mirror.

Door Panelling

Door Panelling
Image Source: Domino

Panelled doors can be the perfect excuse to add mirrors. Just visit your local glass shop to have them cut to fit the dimensions of your doors.

Installed in Wall Panelling

Installed in Wall Panelling
Image Source: Domino

Or go big by taking that idea to your walls. In a light-filled bathroom, it feels more zen than disco.

 

From the Window to the Wall
Image Source: Domino

Try leaning a large mirror on the opposite side of your largest window.

In the Dining Room

In the Dining Room
Image Source: Domino

Instead of art, consider hanging a floor-length mirror horizontally to open up the space.

On an Armoire

On an Armoire

Image Source: Domino

Looking for an armoire? Consider buying one that has a mirrored front to serve double duty.

Tags: Lifestyle, Tips
Comments (0)

06 April 2017
By portermathewsblog


Author: Catherine Smith via domain.com.au

With summer now over, your verdant vegetable patch can become more than just a hard-working utility area. Bring out a table and chairs, find a shady tree, add an umbrella or pergola and spend long lazy afternoons eating what you’ve grown. Copy one of the hottest restaurant trends, and you’ll be dining garden-to-table in minutes.

  1. Shape up
    Add architecture to the garden to tie it to the rest of the house. Here chunky pergolas make ideal climbing frames for beans and tomatoes. (A strong enough post can even carry heavier courgettes or gourds into the autumn.) Pick your lettuces straight onto the plate.

Photo by Christine Darnell Gardens

  1. Shed rescue
    Soften the back of an ugly shed or garage with battens, or disguise it with a dark paint colour that makes the building recede and the greenery pop. Espalier a fruit tree against the wall, trail strawberries over the edges of the bed and you can pick dessert too.

    Tip: Colour coordinate your veggies to match the paint work: comb the seed catalogues or garden centre and you’ll be amazed at how much you can eat that’s not green!

  1. Terrace dining
    Layer an eat-in garden on the tiniest deck or courtyard: espalier fruit trees against the walls (look for varieties with dwarf or ballerina in the name), stretch wires or yachting rigging to grow climbing vegetables, and tuck the year-round lettuces and herbs in front. The back of the raised bed supports bench seating so you can seat a crowd, while an umbrella provides midday shade.

  1. Rock solid
    For a soothing palette, limit the materials you use so that your finest veggies stand out. Stacked stone planting beds are the same creamy tones as the limestone table, as are the painted walls and gravel walks in this garden. For a more modern twist, use concrete edging, square pavers and a slick contemporary concrete table.

Easy Lighting Fixes for Your Outdoor Area

  1. At the bottom of the garden
    The barbecue doesn’t always have to live next to the house. Move it down to the back of the garden, so that you have a pretty amble between the veggie beds to pick what you’re going to eat. Portable barbecues can be ugly, so dress up the space with a proper outdoor bench, add a tile splashback and a living roof to make a great focal point.

    If you already have a garden tap, it is not much more to rig plumbing to this area too for a kitchen sink. (Hunt demolition yards for super-cheap vintage, and look for old brass taps that will weather prettily outdoors.) Then you can really get away from it all.

  1. Shady business
    If your yard has no big trees, create shade with architecture. Crisp posts and beams balance the geometry of the raised bed. Vary the look with the shade materials: use solid canvas shade sails for deep shade, mesh gardening shade cloth for more dappled light, or operable louvres so you can alter the light or for weather protection.

    Tip: For a cool south-of-France look, use striped canvas in classic blue and white or black and white.

  1. Climb the walls
    Not enough room for a horizontal garden? Vertical veggies can still feed a crowd, and create a gorgeous focal point. Buy ready-made pockets and fill them with good quality potting mix. It is best to plant densely so there are no ugly gaps (and it slows drying out). Check the manufacturer’s info for irrigation instructions, as a vertical plant wall will need frequent watering.

    Tip: Plants look most effective in mass groupings. Mix and match coloured lettuces and herbs, and tuck in swathes of bright flowers – marigolds (Calendula officinalis) to keep away bugs, blue flowers to attract bees. Feed regularly for lush foliage and replace plants as soon as they start to get leggy.

  1. Classical
    If you prefer formality in your garden or terrace – veggies can look shaggy by mid-summer – stick to sharp shapes. Train fruit trees (or grapevines) along horizontal wires, and keep them clipped to reveal structure. The bare branches create lovely winter lines too.

    Tip: Plant small citrus trees in classical pots and clip into balls for year-round structure and bright winter colour.

Photo by Giannetti Home - More home design photos

  1.  Living room
    Don’t just eat out, turn the veggie garden into the living room all autumn: bring out deckchairs or basket chairs for a spot of post-meal lounging. When the dining table is not in use, decorate it with rows of vintage plant pots, glass hurricane lanterns for candles or pots of herbs for snipping to add to salads.
  1. One on the side
    Don’t waste the side of the house – it can be more than the dumping spot for rubbish bins or gardening gear. Even if light is limited, you can slide a raised bed right by the back door for veggies such as lettuces that bolt to seed in full summer sun. Add hard paving and hardy ground-cover herbs, and tuck in a folding table and chairs for your morning coffee spot.
Comments (0)

30 March 2017
By portermathewsblog


Fabian Capomolla via realestate.com.au

As a gardener, I often meet people who claim to have black thumbs. 

All sorts open up to me about the plants they’ve killed over the years – rattling off leafy victims like a list of their prior convictions.

But I’ve also noticed that so-called black thumbs share at least one thing in common: They genuinely want to change their plant-killing ways.

I have more than one story to share of a tragic plant loss. But does that make me a black thumb?

Personally, I don’t believe there are black thumbs, just lazy gardeners, and I mean that in the nicest possible sense.

The modern ‘garden’

No matter your lifestyle, or the amount of time you have available for gardening, there’s a perfectly matched plant for you.

Plants do make a great addition to any home. A healthy garden can improve the value of your property and also make it a nicer place to live.

Now, when I say ‘garden’ I mean something more than the typically Australian concept of sprawling front and backyards.

Gardening

With increasing numbers of people living in apartments and smaller homes, I’ve noticed a real shift in the way we approach gardens. We’re starting to bring them indoors.

Indoor plants are great for cleaning the air of toxins, using up carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. They’re also great for cooling a space.

Overall, keeping company with plants is said to improve your mental health and make you feel good.

If you’re on Instagram, you might have come across the hashtag #plantsmakepeoplehappy, which sums it up in one, rather long word.

Green thumb vs black thumb

So, there’s proof that plants make people happy. But what about people making plants happy?

I truly believe that everyone has a green thumb and the ability to keep plants thriving. It just comes down to finding the right plant for you and your lifestyle.

Indoor plants coffee table

In my experience, the difference between a green thumb (a good gardener) and a black thumb (a lazy gardener) is simply the process of observation, followed by informed action.

In most cases, people skip over the first step, and just do.

This might mean watering without checking to see if the soil is dry, or placing a plant that needs lots of light in a dark corner of the house.

Sometimes, people just forget, and plants die of neglect.

If you think you’re a bit of a lazy gardener, there are plants out there that can cope with some degree of neglect.

The reality is that there’s no such thing as “no maintenance plants”, just those that are naturally robust and require minimal maintenance.

So, I’ve suggested a few shortcuts to make the most of your low-key approach to gardening, together with a handful of plants that require little effort for maximum rewards.

Lazy gardening shortcuts

1. Choose low-key plants

If you’re a low-key gardener, choose plants to match. You’ll have the best chance of success with plants that don’t demand much attention, like mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) or potted cactus.

garden green space succulents

2. Start slowly

Thriving indoor jungles look great, but require constant upkeep. My advice is to start small and gain confidence in your gardening first. Pick two or three plants and learn to look after them before investing in more.

3. Soil matters

Most plants set their roots down in soil. So, it’s important to pot your plants using a mix suited to their needs. Succulents, for instance, do better in a well-draining soil. Most other low-maintenance plants will be happy with good-quality potting mix.

4. The right light

Light is essential for plant growth, but some plants need less than others. To ensure your plants thrive, choose the right spot for them. As a rule, put succulents and rosemary in bright, sunny positions. Plants like mother-in-law’s tongue and Devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum) will be able to survive (and even thrive!) in medium and low light conditions.

5. Get a moisture meter

Over-watering and under-watering are two of the main causes of plant death. If you’re not sure when to water your plants, help is at hand! Soil moisture meters are a cheap and easy way to gauge when to get the watering can out. Stick the meter in the soil and let it do the work for you.

Or, rather than a machine, use your hands! Stick your finger on to the top of the soil, and if the soil sticks to your finger – it’s damp. If it doesn’t, it’s time to give the plant a good water.

6. Observe your plants

Observation is the first step towards becoming a better gardener. Instead of just walking past your plants, stop and say hi. Admire them and listen to what they have to say. Floppy leaves? The plant might need more light or water. Brown patches? The plant might be sunburnt, overwatered or diseased.

gardener green space

Observe your plants and then act on the messages they’re sending you. Like I say, I don’t talk to my plants, but they do talk to me.

7. Treat your plants (every so often)

Everyone needs a bit of TLC sometimes and that includes plants. You can treat your plants by fertilising them during their growth period, shifting them to a brighter spot now and then, and splashing them down in the shower after a long period indoors, to remove dust from leaves.

However, the number one killer of plants tends to be kindness. As for other relationships in your life, a little freedom goes a long way.

8. Get a plant-sitter for holidays

Remember to care for your plants even if you’re off on holidays. Recruit a friend to pop in and plant-sit, or give all your plants a good water before heading off on a short getaway.

9. Don’t worry

Gardening is all about learning. It’s OK to kill one or two plants along the way if you learn from missteps and mistakes. Keep things fun, keep learning and the plants in your home will be all the happier.

Comments (0)