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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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
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27 July 2017
By portermathewsblog


15 Easy Ways to Make an Old Home Look Like New
Image Source: Inspired by Charm

This past weekend, my husband and I moved from the 94-year-old home we’ve been renting in the Berkeley Hills to a 58-year-old home around the corner. I have always had a soft spot for old homes — the architecture, the charm, the doorknobs! — but they definitely come with their quirks. Love ’em or hate ’em — if you’re living in an old house, you know there are some issues to contend with. Read on to find a list of 15 (relatively) quick fixes to make your old home feel new again.
Paint the Cabinets

Paint the Cabinets
Image Source: A Beautiful Mess

This is a big project, I won’t lie. I painted my cabinets once despite being spectacularly DIY averse. But that monotonous oak was killing me, so I persevered. And it is so worth it! A few cans of paint (and many hours of your life) will completely transform your kitchen — in fact, your whole home.

Paint a Tile Backsplash

Paint a Tile Backsplash

Image Source: One Kings Lane

Boring white tile backsplash? No matter — geometric patterns are hot this year, and you can make your own in a weekend!

Give Your Pantry a Makeover
Give Your Pantry a Makeover
Image Source: Polished Habitat

What with layers of paint and warping wood, old house pantries can definitely be lacking, so give yours a makeover! Make it the happiest place in the house.

Paint a Brick Fireplace

Paint a Brick Fireplace

Image Source: Inspired by Charm

If your brick surround is an eyesore, not to worry — just paint it.

Cover a Popcorn Ceiling With Wood Planks

Cover a Popcorn Ceiling With Wood PlanksImage Source: Domino

Is this a major project? Yes. But then everything related to the ubiquitous popcorn ceiling seems to be. This is a doable DIY if you plan ahead. And the outcome is gorgeous!

Replace Ugly Doorknobs With Vintage Versions

Replace Ugly Doorknobs With Vintage Versions
Image Source: House Tweaking

This is an easy fix, but buying reproduction doorknobs can get pricey fast. To keep the budget down, shop local salvage yards or source an eclectic collection on Etsy.

 

Paint Kitchen and Bath Hardware
Paint Kitchen and Bath Hardware
Image Source: Brittany Makes

Old kitchen and bath hardware can look pretty tired, and it’s no wonder, what with all the heavy lifting they do for us every day. But with a little sanding, primer, and paint, you can give them a new life. Check out this tutorial on how to spray-paint hardware for some inspiration!

Paint the Floor

Paint the Floor
Image Source: Little Green Notebook

Check out this great tutorial on how to paint a tile floor. Let your creativity run free with multiple colours and a repeating pattern.

Paint a Wood Fireplace
Paint a Wood Fireplace
Image Source: The Makerista

Does your old house have a room (or rooms) full of wood siding? Can there be too much of a good thing? Sometimes a focal point is all that’s needed to draw the eye.

Dress Up a Cinder Block Wall With Chalk Paint

Dress Up a Cinder Block Wall With Chalk Paint
Image Source: Sarah Hearts

Are you cursed with a dated cinder block patio wall? Do this now! Cutest solution ever, although definitely opt for paint over chalk to make sure your hard work lasts and lasts.

 

Paint Your Trim

Paint Your TrimImage Source: The Makerista

Old homes often have intricate architectural details — show them off by painting them a dramatic contrasting colour.

Container Garden in Place of Landscaping

Container Garden in Place of LandscapingImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

If your landscaping looks as old as your house but new landscaping is not in the budget, try a container garden instead. Add a few at a time (just remember to water them from time to time), and soon your garden will be looking cheerful.

Spray-Paint ’80s Brass Light Fixtures

Spray-Paint '80s Brass Light FixturesImage Source: Brittany Ambridge for Domino

Sometimes a can of spray paint and an afternoon is all it takes to update an old light fixture.

 

Tile Over Your Countertop

Tile Over Your CountertopImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Dated tile? Yucky grout? Tile over it! Click here for the DIY.

 

Paint Your Stone Patio Tiles With Pops of Colour

Paint Your Stone Patio Tiles With Pops of ColourImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Leave it to the bloggers at A Beautiful Mess to make even an ugly concrete patio look adorable.

 

Tags: Home, Lifestyle
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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.

 

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14 June 2017
By portermathewsblog


Nicola McDougall via domain.com.au

Whether you’re a homebuyer or a homeowner wanting to refinance, valuations can result in you uncomfortably sweating on that all-important final number.

But, while valuers are professionals who clearly know what they’re doing, are there any strategies to improving your valuation?

Should you highlight every single improvement when the valuer is on-site or is it best to leave them alone so they can get on with the job?

Should you highlight every single improvement when the valuer is on-site or is it best to leave them alone so they can get on with the job?

Herron Todd White national director Valuation Tony Higgs says it can be beneficial for owners to be on-site but you don’t want to be over-eager.

“Obviously we’re trying to get as much information as we can while we’re on-site and if the owner is constantly following us around and going, ‘This is the toilet. This is the laundry’, well, those sorts of things we can work out for ourselves,” he says.

“It’s those things that they’ve done recently that they want to point out to the valuer, which is great, and that’s the stuff we want to know.”

For properties that have been recently renovated, Higgs suggests owners mention the improvements at the start of the valuation process and then point them out once the valuer has moved inside the property.For properties that have been recently renovated, Higgs suggests owners mention the improvements at the start of the valuation process and then point them out once the valuer has moved inside the property. Photo: Jessica Shapiro

Highlighting improvements which might be not immediately visible, such as solar panels, is also a good idea, Higgs says.

For properties that have been recently renovated, Higgs suggests owners mention the improvements at the start of the valuation process and then point them out once the valuer has moved inside the property.

Higgs says being on-site during the valuation not only allows owners to provide relevant information to the valuer, it also helps them to understand the process.

Metropole Brisbane Director Shannon Davis meets valuers on-site to point out improvements as well as to provide information about comparable properties.Metropole Brisbane Director Shannon Davis meets valuers on-site to point out improvements as well as to provide information about comparable properties. Photo: Peter Riches

“For the owner, it’s always beneficial for them to be on-site because they can get an understanding of what  the valuer has done while they’ll out there,” Higgs says.

“If they’re there with the valuer at the time, and if there are issues that they want to raise, that’s the best time to flag them.”

Metropole Brisbane Director Shannon Davis meets valuers on-site to point out improvements as well as to provide information about comparable properties.

And he’s not afraid to challenge a valuation that’s nowhere near his own research.

“There can be some valuations that are way off. We’ve challenged valuations before, especially near the turn of the market,” he says.

“You might have someone who’s just out of the odds who brings it in $20,000 or $30,000 under, but we’re at the market coalface day in and day out.”

One such valuation, Davis says, was a valuer who missed one bedroom entirely and therefore came in about $70,000 below the expected value.

Insisting on an on-site rather than kerbside or desk-top valuation could help to reduce mistakes and also potentially improve the end result, Davis says.

“I think wherever possible, it’s worthwhile to meet the valuer at the property and show them through the scope of works and bring a list of comparables as well,” he says.

“Also (challenging a valuation) might cost a little bit more… but spending money to get access to more money can be really worth it if you’re acquiring an appreciating asset.”

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14 June 2017
By portermathewsblog


Jane Eyles-Bennett via domain.com.au

You’ve made the decision to sell your home, but do you leave it as is or give it some renovation love? I work with clients every week who battle this question.

They are often worried that dollars spent could be dollars down the toilet. Where exactly is the happy balance between adding value and appeal to your home in order to attract buyers and the best price, and spending money unnecessarily?

The answer, unfortunately, is different for every property. However, after having helped hundreds of home sellers prepare their properties for sale, I have learnt a number of things. Here is a list of the most common mistakes I’ve seen:

You've made the decision to sell, but do you leave your home as it is or do some renovation?You’ve made the decision to sell, but do you leave your home as it is or do some renovation? Photo: Simon Potter

Renovating the bathroom

This is a controversial one. I wrote an article recently called Renovating to Sell; You’re doing it wrong. In it I claim that the most important areas to get right when you’re preparing your home to sell are, in order, the exterior, kitchen, living spaces and then the bathroom.

The bathroom should get a little bit of loving, but do not splurge on this area if the exterior and kitchen aren’t in good shape. Sometimes a bathroom does need a major overhaul, but in many cases they’re no worse than the exterior and kitchen, which can be deal breakers for potential buyers.

If you need proof that a bathroom doesn’t necessarily need an overhaul, check out my client’s renovation, where he did almost nothing to it and still made $343,000 when he sold.

Totally transform the interior

Aside from costing an arm and a leg to completely gut and renovate the interior of your home (and risk not getting your money back, come time to sell), completely changing the design of an interior can be a dangerous move to make, especially if it doesn’t tie in with the style of your home.

Be it a Federation style, a Queenslander, an 80s brick house or something else, there’s nothing worse than a home with a super slick modern interior and no link to its original style. Creating a modern version of your home is the best way to go. Update old elements with new ones, in a way that complements and blends the original period with the current one.

The before shot of one of Jane Eyles-Bennett's projects. The before shot of one of Jane Eyles-Bennett’s projects.


Paint feature walls

In my opinion, feature walls are an absolute no go when selling a property. If you have them, my advice is always to get rid of them.

These days, the trend is to add impact with furniture, rugs, artwork and cushions. Decorating in this way will give the perception of a larger space. This is because the focal point is in the centre of the room. The more a feature wall or ceiling is focused on, the smaller a room can appear.

Render a brick exterior

I’ve seen so many homes unnecessarily rendered prior to selling. This is such a waste of money. Many assume that they will add value to their home automatically by rendering it but this is not always the case. An earlier article I wrote for Domain explains this in more detail.

Suffice to say, if you own a brick house, you usually don’t always need to render it to make it look great. Simple tricks with trim colours, new focal points and landscaping can work absolute wonders.

The after shot of one of Jane Eyles-Bennett's projects. The after shot of one of Jane Eyles-Bennett’s projects.


Don’t forget to clean and tidy your home

While you do need to clean and tidy your home, it’s essential that you also declutter. This includes getting rid of any items that make the home specific to you. Things like family photos, Nana’s crochet blanket, kids artwork and trinkets – all need to go.

Pare back your space, but leave enough visual interest so the house isn’t boring. The intention is to create a blank canvas for buyers to imagine themselves living there. Be sure to leave enough room for their imagination to fill in the gaps.

Jane Eyles-Bennett is one of Australia’s leading home renovation and interior design experts. She is an award-winning interior designer with more than 25 years’ experience designing the interiors and exteriors of homes; specialising in kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces.

 

For more information about what might suit for your own property gives us call on 9475 9622 or email us at mail@pmmetro.com.au

Tags: Advice, Home, Moving
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14 June 2017
By portermathewsblog


You’ve got your bedroom looking cosy and the kitchen has been overhauled. Now it’s time to turn your attention to the living room. Luckily, the lounge is one of the easiest rooms in the house to redecorate: a lick of paint, a new sofa (or cover) and some cleverly chosen ornaments, throws, and cushions are often all you need. The following rooms cover all styles, from minimal Scandinavian-inspired design to upcycled boho, and will inspire your next living room revamp. It’s time to start hoarding paint samples!

1 Palm Tree Accents1.PNG

2 Pastel and Wicker2

3 Moody Blue
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4 Teal Touches
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5 Cherry Pop
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6 Cosy and Chic
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7 Colourful Eclectic
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8 Dark and Dramatic
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9 Grey Days
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10 Bold Gold
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11 Cobalt and Lilac
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12 White and Gold Marble
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13 Midcentury Music Fans
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14 Salvaged Chic
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15 Pastel Pink Perfection
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16 Upscale Pastels
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17 Classic Linen
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18 Retro Revival
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19 Colourful Crafts
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20 Ladder Shelves and Houseplants
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21 Statement Furniture
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22 Fashionista Greys
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23 Pink, White, and Cosy
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24 ’60s Orange
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25 Blue-Grey and Bold
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26 Pastel Sofa and Statement Rug
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27 Shades of Beige and Brown
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28 Let the Light In
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29 Retro Woods and Pops of Colour
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30 Greyscale Chic
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31 Cosy Cream
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32 Pops of Pink
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33 Textured Layers
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34 Bringing the Outside In
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35 Bowie and Velvet
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36 Grey and Copper (and Cats!)
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14 June 2017
By portermathewsblog


Ugly window treatments are the thorn in almost every renter’s rear. Plastic mini blinds — or worse, vertical blinds — are automatic aesthetic killers, but they can be remedied for a shockingly small amount of money. The key to making dirt-cheap window treatments look like a million dollars is as easy as knowing where to shop and mastering the designer tricks for hanging them properly. This foolproof formula will instantly elevate the look of any room — we promise!

Start With the Classics: White Linen Curtains + Black Curtain Rods

You cannot go wrong with white linen curtains and black rods with simple finials. Think of it as the tuxedo for interiors, only a tux that plays well with any style, from formal traditional to California casual. This pared-down colour palette also grants you permission to go bananas with colours and prints in other places in the room and you won’t get sick of your choice halfway through your lease.

Find Affordable Versions of the Classics

Absurdly cheap price point aside, these Ikea Lenda curtains ($29.99 for a pair) are actually beautiful in person and well-loved by design bloggers. You can add Ikea’s black-out liner to create a thicker, heavier drape, which can make them look even more formal, or leave them as is if you want them to filter (not block) light while adding privacy. They also come with heading tape along the top back of the curtains, which makes it easy to create pleats with hooks and curtain rings.

Use Curtain Rings:

Using curtain rings makes opening and closing curtains a cinch, but designers also prefer their polished aesthetic. Adding rings creates neatly pinched pleats that keep curtains looking beautiful, open or closed.

Know How to Hang Your Curtains:

Create the optical illusion of sky-high ceilings by hanging your curtains as close to the ceiling as possible. You’ll be amazed by how drastically this shifts the look and feel of a room.

  • Extend drapery rods out about four to six inches (not including the finial). This will make your window appear wider and allow you to enjoy the full spans of your window when the curtains are open.
  • Hang curtains so that the bottoms barely touch the the floor or have one or two inches of fabric on the floor. If your curtains are longer, you can have them hemmed by measuring and pinning them to the desired length once you’ve hung them. If they aren’t long enough, you can add more fabric for a cool colourblock look, no sewing needed!
Image Source: Studio McGee
Tags: Hacks, Home, Lifestyle
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14 June 2017
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

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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
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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
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30 May 2017
By portermathewsblog


Modiefied via houzz.com.au

Embrace the new season by making your home a cosy and comforting retreat you won’t want to leave.

There are plenty of things to love about winter – soft, woolly blankets, hearty vegie soup and cosy, candlelit nights in, just to name a few. Consider these simple ways to prepare your home for the cooler months ahead and you will love it even more.
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24 May 2017
By portermathewsblog


via reiwa.com.au

State Treasurer Ben Wyatt today announced the $15,000 First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) for newly built homes will be cut back to $10,000 on 1 July 2017.

Mr Wyatt said the previous Liberal Government’s decision to increase the FHOG by $5,000 in December last year was not an effective mechanism for stimulating additional construction of homes.
photo-new-build-homes
“Given the disastrous state of the finances which we have inherited, we need to remove any ineffective spending.

“Ceasing the boost early will allow the State Government to fund higher priority areas while ensuring Western Australian first home buyers continue to be eligible for generous Government assistance,” Mr Wyatt said.

REIWA analysis shows that the introduction of the grant in January 2017 did little to stimulate activity levels in the new-build market.

At the time of the grant increase, REIWA President Hayden Groves said the Institute was concerned the $5,000 boost would widen the gap between established and newly built properties for first home buyers.

REIWA Councillor Suzanne Brown said now that the FHOG is returning to $10,000, REIWA hopes this will help to even out the playing field, albeit marginally, between the established and newly-built market.

“However, there is still work to be done to help first home buyers purchase an established property as the gap remains significant,” Ms Brown said.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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04 May 2017
By portermathewsblog


With an increasing number of lifestyle movements like hygge advocating the joys of a cosier, more laid-back way of life, we’re spending more and more time in the comfort of our homes. Staying in is made all the sweeter however, when you’ve got creature comforts to indulge in, one of which is a reading nook.

Every bibliophile knows there’s no greater joy than a calm, quiet space where they can fully escape with a book in hand. And the good news is, you don’t need to have oodles of in-house space to make it a reading nook a reality. We spoke to Chris Carroll, editor and interior stylist of The Life Creative, to get the (very easy) how-to.

1. Make the Most of Your Living Room
Picture 1

 

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria del Rio

You don’t always need to have a dedicated corner in the house or home office to make a reading nook work. According to Chris, the living room is a growing increasingly popular as the space of choice. “Especially if you’ve got one of those L-shaped sofas, putting an armchair diagonally across from that L-shape will make the room feel quite resolved,” he says. “A living room like that is a really good example where it’ll not only function well because you can sit and get cosy, but visually, it makes the room make more sense because it’s quite balanced in terms of the furniture in the space.”

2. Grab a Chair (a Very Comfy Chair)
Picture2
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria del Rio

For reading nooks, the best kinds of chairs are literally, the kind you would never want to leave. Ones with nice upholstery work best, and avoid hard woods or leathers. “Look for chairs that have a high back — a wing back is a really good example of a particular type of armchair you’d want to cosy up in,” says Chris. “There are a lot chairs on the market that don’t have arms on them, I’d avoid those — you want something that’s going to hug and hold onto you, and that you can sink into as well.”

3. Opt For a Small Side Table
Picture3Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria del Rio

“I always recommend going for a round side table — something to put a drink on, or your books or glasses. If you have it on tripod legs or similar , it gives the illusion of more legs and air flows through, so it makes it feel a little bit fresher,” says Chris.

4. Pick the Right Lighting

Picture4Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria del Rio

Nothing’s worse than getting to the end of a thrilling chapter and realising you’ve been squinting your through it, so having the right lighting is key. “To nicely light up the space, I’d gravitate towards floor lamps that have a directional head of them you can point toward you.,” says Chris. “Avoid things like lamp shades because they don’t actually cast enough light down onto the nook itself.”

5. Layer, Layer, Layer!
Picture5.jpgImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria del Rio

This is all about amping up the cosiness factor. “Putting on some throws, chunky knits, faux furs — adding some different textures and softness to the armchair,” Chris says.

 

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