Thursday, 9 September 2021

8 Unbreakable Design Rules of Living Large in a Small Space!

When designing the layout of a small space there are a few rules a property owner must follow to ensure the space is not just loveable, but liveable, according to a recognised housing affordability expert.
Ian Ugarte, a recognised housing affordability expert, a smart design layout will always determine the quality of the experience a tenant will have living in a property, regardless of the property’s finishes and décor. Whenever you’re designing a small space, even minor design decisions will be amplified and have a heightened impact on the liveability of that space. Since we convert four-to-five-bedroom homes into affordable micro-apartments for our investor clients, it’s important we employ proven design practices to ensure our clients’ tenants live large, even while living small. Over the many years we’ve carried out these conversions, we’ve fine-tuned the process and developed some tried and tested rules that - regardless of the size, shape and layout of the space – are integral to the ease of finding and keeping a happy tenant. 

Below are Ugarte’s eight design rules to make even the smallest spaces comfortable:

Position the bed first
When planning the layout of a micro-apartment or small space, Ugarte said his first decision was always where the bed should sit, since that one decision would dictate where most of the other furniture was likely to go - including the television (which he maintained should always sit opposite the bed).

According to Ugarte, find the best position in the space that will accommodate a queen-sized bed, since it’s longer than a double bed and allows for someone who’s tall to fully stretch out. 
Place the remaining furniture relative to the bed
After selecting the best position for the bed, Ugarte said he then scans the remainder of the space to determine the best placement for the rest of the furniture, including where on the wall to affix the television (at least a 32 inch), so it is able to swivel to allow viewing from the bed, sofa and kitchenette.

Once you’ve positioned the bed, you can gauge the size and position of everything else, in particular the two-seater sofa and the dining/kitchen table with two or more dining chairs.

We’ve found that when creating a co-living environment, proximity to the main kitchen is far less important than the location of a tenant’s own kitchenette. That’s why, wherever possible, we carve out a separate room for a kitchenette to create the feeling of a fully fitted out one-bedroom apartment.

It’s also important in this planning stage to earmark the best positions for power points and TV and USB outlets to service the electrical and technological needs of the space.
Always consider how noise travels
To avoid likely noise complaints, Ugarte stressed that property owners should never install a television on an inter-joining wall, regardless of the degree of insulation or sound proofing.

According to Ugarte, foreseeing potential issues around noise so you can avoid them entirely, or implementing potential fixes in advance, will help minimise headaches for both the tenants and you.
Always ask one question before opening your wallet.

While a natural inclination to aim for superior fixtures and finishes, Ugarte insisted clients exercised restraint by asking a single question before paying out any extra cash.

Before outlaying anything more than originally budgeted for, we ask our clients if the additional expense will result in additional rent.

More often than not, their response is ‘no’, so we encourage them to settle for mid-range fixtures and fittings that heighten the comfort factor for tenants, to minimise emotive decisions that are likely to leave them out of pocket.
Use a neutral colour palette
Ugarte always recommends using a safe neutral or black-and-white colour palette for a rental, to avoid alienating tenants who might have otherwise wanted to live there.

It’s naïve to believe that using a, perhaps, on-trend, but strong colourway to decorate a space won’t put off some potential tenants.

According to Ugarte that also goes for considerations around colour options for splashbacks and benchtops too, where we tend to select an easy-to-clean laminate benchtop in a neutral colourway and install simple white cabinetry to create an even greater illusion of space.
Pick comfort over style
When it comes to the key driver behind decisions around design and fixtures and fittings, Ugarte believes the only consideration that matters is the degree of comfort the space will afford the tenant. The biggest mistake investors make when going it alone comes from trying to make the space luxurious, when the most important consideration for a prospective tenant is how clean the property is, and how comfortable they will be living there.
Bathroom size doesn’t matter
In terms of size, Ugarte maintains that the size of the bathroom is probably the least important factor when designing for a small space.

Prior experience shows that tenants have been equally happy with a bathroom that’s just 800mm x 1800mm (without a basin) as a bathroom that’s 2400 x 900mm and complete with a vanity, toilet and shower.

Of course, while the latter will always be our preference, installing a smaller bathroom might be the right decision for owners working with a smaller space.
If you’re going to splurge on something, splurge on access
While Ugarte’s team can only work with the policies that apply to the State they are working in, he maintains that the one thing he advises clients to include wherever possible, even if it costs a little more, is external access from their micro-apartment.

We always advise our clients to pay the extra cost of installing a sliding door, as it’s generally money well spent.

So, instead of adding a window on a ground floor micro-apartment, we urge our clients to put in a sliding door to give tenants access to their own small courtyard, or even the bigger yard, since this bonus feature is always in high demand.
Hope these designs ideas inspire you too! 

Just a quick note to say that I share a lot of interior design content on Instagram- product reviews of amazing lifestyle, home utility and home decor brands and design ideas to inspire you, so feel free to click here and join me.

Till next time... have a wonderful day!


Photo source: 1, 2, 34, 5, 6, 7, 8

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Home Design Inspirations : Expert design tips for achieving THE LOOK!

The designs of Australian properties have been influenced by the diversity of global trends, but what makes our homes uniquely ‘Aussie’ is how we use distinct design and style to make the most of where and how we live.

According to Joe Snell, Architect, with Australian blocks and backyards getting smaller, the style of modern homes is now focused on form and function. The best home design ideas are inspired by your vision and how you want to use the space as well as being a reflection of how it makes you feel.

Homeowners planning their dream renovation or new build scour social media and magazines for inspiration and to help form their vision and brief for their designer or builder. However, familiarising themselves with the correct terminology to describe their ‘look’ and the hallmarks that define it are crucial during those early conversations and throughout the build. James Hardie has launched a new Australian Home Design Guide to help homeowners who are looking for inspiration when renovating or building. Here, Architect and James Hardie Ambassador Joe Snell shares the main elements to consider to define your home style and achieve the look you want.
Make a bold statement with shape
The shape of your home can give it curb appeal and make it stand out. What is the impression it makes? Does it have character and reflect the suburb? What will it look like in a couple of decades? The Box Modern house style is a distinct look, and uses multiple box shapes and cantilevered upper storeys to create interest and façade articulation. Keeping elements of the home sharp and square gives the illusion of more space and a truly modernist feel with design flexibility. An alternative modern style with equally bold street presence is the Scandi Barn look, with its diagrammatic house shape achieved with a steeply pitched gable roof. To add detail to clean shapes, choose cladding. Use Axon™ Cladding to show craftsmanship with the appearance of vertical joint timber or Matrix™ Cladding to create square and rectangular geometric patterns that complement or contrast the shape of the building.
Add uniqueness to your design style with colour
Colour palettes add personality to your home style and can really help define it. Bold, monochrome colours accentuate facades and create a strong contemporary feel, which is perfect for the clean lines of the Mid-Century Modern look. Whereas, using crisp white is perfect for a relaxed lifestyle, well suited to the Modern Coastal look.
Create interest with texture
Textures can add depth, individuality and interest to the home aesthetic. A trend that has become increasingly popular is to mix cladding styles on the home façade to create an architectural feel. This Mixed Cladding look offers clean lines and a contemporary finish, and can easily be achieved by combining any number of fibre cement exterior products. Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding provides a modern-render and minimalist look due to its embedded texture. Choose a low-sheen paint that works with the texture to give your choice of colour a contemporary matte look. When combined with Linea™ Weatherboard for its deep shadow lines, the cladding creates an interesting façade and streetscape. Both lightweight fibre cement products provide long-lasting beauty for homes as they are resistant to fire, impact, termites, rotting and warping - whilst delivering the look of cement render and timber with minimal maintenance required.
Bring atmosphere with light
Light plays a crucial role in your home’s atmosphere. The orientation of your home is essential for maximising natural light. Consider gabled roof lines and high ceilings for rooms which allow for bursts of light. Incorporate skylights or extensions to increase the amount of open space and natural light in the home. This can affect mood or alter the perceived size of a room.
Offer flexibility with open plan indoor-outdoor living
Modern design embraces open plan living that bridges the divide between the surrounds and the home. It focuses on a more outdoor lifestyle by creating an extended, cohesive space and a seamless transition between the interior and exterior. When designing this space, take note of the prevailing winds and where there are opportunities for shade. With Australians spending so much time outdoors, the home is the backdrop to many life memories, so the home’s exterior is important. By using durable fibre cement exterior products, the design possibilities are endless and you can enjoy your home for many years to come.
Which tip have you followed in your home design? Is your home bright and airy or maybe it offers the flexibility of open plan living? Share with us below.

For more information and inspiration, visit www.jameshardie.com.au.

Till next time... hope you were inspired by the above expert tips to achieving THE LOOK!

Friday, 23 July 2021

Top Tips to Make the Best of your Garden and Outdoor Space!

During the winter months, it’s easy to assume that there isn’t much you can do to your garden. While it may be tempting to take a step back from gardening, winter is the perfect season to complete smaller design projects and prepare your garden to ensure it’s maintained and blooming come spring. 

Here, Tuscan Path's National Account Manager, Jason Taylor and Cyclone Ambassador and World Champion Axeman, Laurence O’Toole share their top tips to ensure your garden is thriving when the warmer months roll around.

Create your own secret garden
Our gardens and outdoor areas are our own sanctuaries to relax and enjoy nature. Create a sense of privacy with screening panels, that can be used for decorative purposes, creating shade as well as for zoning areas in your backyard. Screening panels are extremely functional and help create a stylish, warm and inviting entertainment space.

According to Jason Taylor, to achieve a unique outdoor space, a variety of screening panels can be used including Tuscan Path’s Fiscus, Geometric or Leaf Screen Panels, depending on the style and look you want (RRP $99.00). The rustic weathering steel finish creates a great backdrop for any backyard and features as a wind blocker for you and your guests. For an extra touch of warmth to your entertaining space in winter, add some back lighting to the screens. Come summer, the screening panels can be used as a roof on a pergola to provide dappled shade and make your outdoor space really come to life. For the gardener, screening panels can provide a decorative alternative for climbing plants or vegetables.
Prune away
While many plants are resting this season, pruning dormant plants such as deciduous plants and trees is ideal to rejuvenate the plant and promote growth and structure. Larger deciduous trees will benefit greatly from a decent prune when you can get a good look at their framework. Pruning removes any dead wood that wasn’t visible during the warmer months and reduces the chances of the branches getting congested inside the canopy.

According to Laurence O’Toole, who is not only a World Champion Axeman but a professional Arborist as well, to remove hard-to-move dead stumps, you should ideally use a durable axe. Hardened and tempered for strength, Cyclone’s 2kg Polished Axe (RRP $71.80) is ideal for felling, removing stumps and chopping and trimming small trees in the yard. When removing stumps, start a few inches away from the main tree and cut all the roots. Then dig under the stump to pop it out.
Utilise firewood to keep warm
According to Lawrence, there is no better season to make the most of firewood than winter. A handy tool for this task is Cyclone’s 2.5kg Heavy Duty Blocksplitter (RRP $62.00). The axe is ideal for splitting hardwoods and is a heavy duty blocksplitter that features a unique impact absorbing industrial grade collar. When splitting wood ensure you’re using a chopping. block so that you’re working off the ground and avoid damaging the head of the axe. It’s better to cut and split the wood when it’s green before it dries out, as it gets harder and tougher as it dries.
Feed your lawn
Give your lawn a helping hand by nourishing its soil. Although grass blades may be growing slowly in winter, the roots are photosynthesising. While the top layer of the lawn can be affected by frost, and cold wind, the temperature in the roots is mild. Feed soil by applying a hose-on seaweed or organically fortified lawn product. This will help build strong grass blades, replace weak or dead roots and help them grow deeper into the soil. Come spring, the roots will be flourishing and able to support the stronger lawn growth above.

Build a vegetable patch
Build on crops by planting a variety of winter-friendly vegetables this season. The cooler months are perfect for planting frost-friendly plants like cauliflower, cabbages, swiss chard, peas, carrots and radishes. These vegetables are hardier and work well for most regions in Australia.

To ensure vegetables grow healthy and strong, cover them with suitable mulch. Keep an eye out for insects and pests by regularly monitoring them and use a non-harmful insecticide. To prevent exposure to more extreme weather conditions, consider planting vegetables in a pot or raised bed.

For more information, visit www.cyclone.com.au and www.tuscanpath.com.au.

Till next time... make the best of your garden this winter!

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Take Your Laundry Organisation to the Next Level

The laundry may be one of the smallest rooms in our homes, but it’s most likely one of the hardest working spaces where practicality and functionality go hand in hand. Along with this, backyard sizes are decreasing, and more people are living in apartments, making space saving laundry ideas a priority. The iconic laundry solutions experts, Hills, offers some smart ways to get clothes on the line in the cold and wet winter months.
According to Natasha D’Cruz, Home Living Category Manager, AMES Australasia the iconic Hills Hoist is a household name synonymous with durability and practical design. Now, more than ever, Australians are looking for compact solutions that are easy to set up, increase laundry efficiency and will help avoid high electricity bills.

Utilise an airer to save space and energy
Compared to a machine dryer, not only is air drying clothes more environmentally friendly because it uses less energy, but it also prevents static cling on fabrics and increases the lifespan of clothes. If you’re limited on space, use vertical airers to make use of the room’s height. Options such as the Hills 3 Tier Mobile Tower Airer (RRP from $60) is ideal as it has 19 metres of drying space and 60 dedicated clothes hang hook slots. It also features an adjustable configuration to suit various clothes types and its robust design means it can even fit in the shower.
Identify a ‘hotspot’
Look for a suitable ‘hotspot’ in your home where you can easily set up a portable clothes line or airer. This could be in front of a window where the light and heat from the sun can reach the laundry or between open windows to enable fresh air to flow freely into rooms and create ventilation, to speed up the drying time.

Hang clothes systematically
A systematic approach to hanging clothes can make the process more efficient. If you are hanging sheets, towels and clothes on the same clothesline, begin with sheets, then towels and finish with clothing. This makes the most efficient use of the space. For racks that are closely stacked, hang smaller garments such as underwear. If all the railings are occupied, place additional clothing on coat hangers and position them on the outer rails of the airer or clothesline. This saves time later on, as they can be placed straight into the wardrobe once they’re dry.

For those with a balcony or smaller indoor space, use the innovative Hills 21 metre Portable Clothesline (RRP $199) which bridges the gap between conventional outdoor clotheslines and indoor clothes airers. Its 1.8 metres long lines are perfect for towels and sheets while the 21 metre drying capacity is ample for large washing loads. The portable clothesline is easy to manoeuvre and folds up reasonably flat for storage when not in use.
Speed up the process
A smart technique to speed up the drying process is to place your racks near an air vent, heat source or dehumidifier. Ensure there is space between the clothesline or airer and the surrounding walls. This can also ensure the room’s humidity is minimal to avoid mould growth. Another method is to rotate your garments occasionally to make sure that the notoriously hard-to-dry areas such as pockets and cuffs are getting heat attention.

Designate a laundry basket storage section
For best laundry organisation and efficiencies, avoid clothes clutter by allocating a hamper or basket storage area either hanging vertically or placed horizontally in shelf spaces in the laundry area. For a lightweight option, use the stylish Hills Foldable Bamboo Laundry Basket (RRP $29.95) which has a 35L capacity, and a foldable frame for storage convenience.
Another option is the Hills Premium Aluminium Laundry Hamper (RRP $36) which is heavy-duty but also has a lightweight frame, making it easy to hold multiple wash loads. Label each hamper or basket with categories for clothing types, such as hand-dry, dark and delicates. This system will pre-sort your laundry and make the process faster and easier.
Hills indoor laundry and clothesline range is available through Bunnings Warehouse stores and independent retailers. Hills 3 Tier Mobile Tower Airer will be available in Big W in late July.

Also, here's some great news- I'm doing a laundry related giveaway sponsored by Hills on my Instagram feed in the next couple of days, so make sure you follow me to enter when the post goes live! You can see a sneak peek of what you could win on my Instagram right now! Trust me this innovative laundry drying product is absolutely amazing! It actually makes doing laundry fun!

Till next time... is your laundry well organised?

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Tapping into the Top Trends for 2021

Innovative or sophisticated, statement or subdued, choosing tapware is a personal choice that takes time and consideration. Whether undertaking a complete home renovation, or replacing bathroom and kitchen fixtures, the latest trends and tips from leading tapware and shower brand, Methven, can help narrow down those difficult decisions.

Black is Back
Black is making a comeback and will be a must-have for details and fixtures within bathrooms and kitchens. Working well with a variety of shades and colours, black can be paired with vibrant colours to make a bold statement. Matte surfaces are on the rise, meaning the modern and sophisticated Methven Aio Basin Mixer can work perfectly in contemporary complement to any style.
Changing Shapes
While sharp, geometric forms have ruled interior spaces in the past couple of years, design trends are now shifting toward soft curves, and rounded edges. This trend inspires the feeling of comfort, and encompasses a sense of welcome.

Embracing this idea of elegant, rounded shapes, and blurring the lines between hard and round edges, the Methven Minimalist Gooseneck Sink Mixer features intersecting cylinders blended with strict geometry, enhancing any room with its graceful forms.

For those who don’t want to abandon the geometric trend completely, the Methven Waipori Basin Mixer takes traditional shapes and subtly tapers them for the modern bathroom.

Conscious Choices
People are becoming more environmentally conscious than ever, which is influencing their decisions when it comes to home design. Factors for these choices start as early as manufacture, with many people looking for products that have been made with less chemicals involved in the process. The Methven Tūroa collection is crafted from 304 machine grade stainless steel, which is low in lead, therefore preserving water quality and product longevity whilst the finish provides texture to create a stylish and handcrafted look.
Perfect Pairings
A free-standing basin will require either a wall mounted tapware set or a hob (deck) mounted hi rise tap. A wall mounted tapware set can be a great way to keep your vanity bench top clear and allow space for other items.

Consider the spout length of the tapware selected in regards to the basin itself. If the spout is too long or too short, it can result in water splashing out of the basin. Ideally, water should be directed towards the waste/drain. Getting this marriage of basin drain and spout length right can be troublesome, so look for mixers and spouts which have adjustable stream aerators. These allow an extra bit of water direction control to reduce the chance of splashing.

If you are selecting a hob or deck mounted basin mixer, ensure the fixing underneath is solid.

Look for ‘twin-stud’ mounting as opposed to ‘single-stud’. Single studs can easily loosen after use. Think about the size of both basin and the tapware. If possible, they should be selected together so they can be proportionately matched.
Tap into the look first
The basin mixer is typically the foundation of a tapware collection. Once you are happy with this choice, select your shower set, towel rings, soap dishes and other accessories from the same range to complete your bathroom and create a cohesive look.
When planning on updating your fixtures, gather options together, take your time and do your research. Create a mood board or a scrapbook of design ideas and products. Where possible, find your chosen products on display, so you can feel the quality and get a sense of how the product looks in real life.

Methven products are available through Bunnings Warehouse, Reece and plumbing stores and showrooms nation-wide.

Till next time... have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

The New Look of Water Conscious Style

Stylish, sensory showers needn’t cost the earth, with the launch of a new range of Four-Star rated showerheads, designed to lower water usage and utility bills. Created by industry leading kitchen and bathroom hardware experts, Methven, the Kiri Low Flow MKII range of three shower products in glistening chrome, combine an elegant droplet shaped rose, with the latest water dispersion technology, Satinjet®.
Requiring just 5.5 litres of water per minute, compared to the conventional nine litres, Methven’s Satinjet® technology uses specifically positioned twin jets to collide streams of water, creating 3,000 droplets per second for a truly unique showering experience. According to Andy Grigor, Head of Design and Innovation at Methven, Australians are the greatest per capita consumers of water, using an average of 100,000L of freshwater per person each year. So, there is a great opportunity to be more water wise and reduce our utility bills at the same time. The innovative, intelligent design of the Kiri Low Flow range, allows homeowners to make water wise choices while creating stylish showers.

Adding to the existing range of showers, taps and mixers, the new look Kiri Low Flow MKII designs offer clean lines and strong dynamic forms that will stand out in any bathroom. Comprising a wall shower (AUD $261), a handset (AUD $187) and a shower rose (AUD $165), the new line is created to be easy to maintain and long lasting.
Methven is committed to creating high quality, stylish products that reduce the amount of water we consume. From the shower rose and handset, which can be screwed onto an existing unit by hand, to the wall shower, there’s an option for any home to enjoy their shower experience with the peace of mind that they are reducing their impact on the planet.

Methven products are available through Bunnings Warehouse, Reece, and plumbing stores and showrooms nationwide.

Till next time... are you water-conscious?

Monday, 12 July 2021

Styling Your Outdoor Space this Season

Backyard fire pits are becoming increasingly popular as we look to utilise the outdoor space in winter with functional landscaping features. Essentially, a fire pit is the new water feature; it’s a great addition to the backyard, transforming the outdoor area into a cosy and inviting space - perfect for those winter evenings and bringing outdoor moments to life.
The ambience a fire pit brings is worth the investment alone, providing an enjoyable feature for the garden and a natural gathering spot for socialising and entertaining. It’s a great focal point and people are naturally drawn to the campfire-like atmosphere.

No matter what size your backyard is, you can add style, personality and flair and there are many options to make the most of your garden space. Whether you have a small courtyard or a large-sized family backyard it is all about making the most of the space you have.

Here are some tips from Glow expert and National Outdoor Heating Product Manager, Jacqueline Hughes, for styling an outdoor space:

Smart thinking for small spaces
Generally, the size of Australian backyards is becoming smaller. For backyards and terraces looking to maximise their outside space, think smart with solutions such as multi-purpose pieces and in-built seats. A timeless Glow fire pit design that strikes a brilliant balance between size, design, and finish, the Tambo Fire Pit (RRP $69) is perfect for more intimate areas such as terraces and patios where space is at a premium. The Tambo Fire Pit features a 56cm wok, with the deeper bowl delivering maximum fire for smaller spaces. It is complete with log storage for when not in use and finished in weathering steel that will deepen in colour over time when exposed to open outdoor Australian conditions.
Creating structure
Creating structure or zones in the backyard is a great way to work the space effectively, with areas for playing, eating, cooking and relaxing. Defining these zones using fencing, plants or materials such as pavers, pebbles or decking, can give each space its own impact and character. For a polished landscape look, choose a fire pit design like Glow Oakridge Fire Pit (RRP $299). With its sleek, modern defined shape, Oakridge is an architectural statement and is the perfect outdoor lifestyle ‘feature piece’ that become the heart and soul of the garden year-round.
Coastal chic
We all have fond memories of a holiday by the sea or aspirations to retire by the coast. Creating a coastal style garden is one way to enjoy your personal coastal sanctuary all year-round. Landscape the garden using hardy plants and nautical props to create that beachy feel. Light coloured decking and pebbles are a great way to enhance that beach vibe whist adding texture and light to the garden. Add a fire pit such as the rustic Tambo Fire Pit to help set the scene.
Gardening landscaping
If you want to enhance your space with variety and different levels to draw the eye in your garden, incorporate a garden screen to create the height change and then add shrubs and plants of different heights. They will give a splash of much needed greenery in winter, as well as providing the ideal backdrop for your entertaining area. Glow Aurora Fire Pit’s (RRP $199) durable rusted finish and unique geometric designed base offers a striking structured look, with the idea that less is more. Its elevated design is best suited for a larger backyard, creating a real winter entertaining space and presence.
Light it up
As we settle into shorter winter days, a well-lit garden is essential if you want to continue entertaining into the night. The product options in outdoor lighting offer different styles to create a range of looks for entertaining. Consider combining the natural light of a fire with warm string lights around the parameter of the area. For smaller, intimate entertaining consider using fairy lights throughout the garden and around vertical poles. For more formal entertaining, consider festoon lighting which will completely transform the look and feel of your area. Whatever you decide, do not underestimate the value in stronger, practical lighting around the outdoor dining table, as no one likes eating in the dark!
When deciding on the best fire pit for your home, remember safety comes first. Ensure appropriate clearances as per recommended guidelines, and never place the fire pit on a combustible surface.

Till next time... transform your outdoor space into a warm and inviting oasis this winter!

Source: Photos 1, 2, 3, 4, 56

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Top Tips for Creating your Functional Dream Kitchen

Today’s kitchens have to be supreme multitaskers. It is the kitchen where the energy resonates, where families gather to cook, eat and share their day and where we can entertain and socialise with our friends. With all this activity happening in one room it is important that the space is multi-functional and the layout works with how it is used.
As our palates and culinary skills have become all the more sophisticated our hunger for innovative appliances has expanded and modern kitchen design serves to reflect this, enabling creative and enjoyable spaces through sleek aesthetics and innovative appliances that integrate with personal cooking styles and preference.

Inspired by the requirements of leading professionals and top chefs, Gaggenau, the luxury professional-grade kitchen appliance manufacturer, says appliances should meet your own personal needs in order to create excellent food, so it’s important to take the time to understand how you cook, and what types of appliances offer features that will most benefit you and your lifestyle.

Colours, cabinetry and splashbacks all contribute to the personal style of the kitchen but it’s important to take into consideration the large appliances that will feature, such as ovens, dishwashers and fridges. These appliances are usually integrated within the cabinetry, so it’s crucial that the kitchen’s design and layout incorporate the style and size of each appliance.

For Tony Tan, one of Australia’s most respected chefs and culinary teachers, precision and organisation is his philosophy behind functional kitchen design. He shares the main considerations when making the exciting journey towards designing a dream kitchen.
According to Tony, once the layout is under control, the design process naturally flows. Each vital consideration should work in a harmonious synergy, as they are all interconnected. If a kitchen is not laid out effectively, you will end up wasting time moving between spaces to get what you need. It becomes less enjoyable, and can certainly affect your cooking results as well.

Here are Tony’s top tips to crafting the perfectly functional kitchen:

Layout
Alongside quality appliances, layout is a key consideration in modern kitchen design as both can have a big impact on productivity. Layout will determine how you use the space, and exactly how functional your kitchen will be. Designing an effective kitchen ‘work’ triangle configuration will give you easy access to work surfaces, appliances and the sink, which means your all-important cooking efficiency is maximised.
Benchtop
The second thing to consider when designing your kitchen is your benchtop. How your benchtop is going to be configured in terms of cooktop, sink and working space is connected to the layout stage. Keeping these elements together helps create an efficient and harmonious environment, saving time when preparing food and cooking. Everything within your kitchen will develop from these initial plans.
Storage
The next most important consideration when designing a functional kitchen is the storage. A good kitchen will have plenty of storage, with easy access to everything that you need while cooking. As long as you utilise the space to maximise your storage, you will ensure that you have room for everything – from your ingredients, to plates and utensils, cookware and anything else you need on hand when cooking amazing food.
Finishes
The finishes you select for your kitchen need to find the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality. In a home kitchen there is a need for clean, functional benchtops and sufficient work surfaces that are hygienic.
Appliances
If you’re someone who is serious about your cooking, you will need to look for appliances that are the highest quality and are time efficient. The reason top-of-the-line appliances are so highly coveted is that you can rely on them to last and to work effectively for many years to come. It’s important to consider the effect of an appliance and how it relates to the room, ensuring both its technology and aesthetics are as advanced as possible. Once found only in professional kitchens, the combi-steam oven was introduced by Gaggenau into the private home 20 years ago. Its latest 400 series combi-steam oven allows the private chef to master steam, free from constraints to enhance the cooking experience. The enlarged cavity, cleverly lit by indirect lighting, conceals a full surface grill behind glass for ease of cleaning and aesthetics.
When needing things done fast, it is ideal to have appliances that offer a combination of different cooking methods such as Gaggenau’s multifunctional Combi-Steam Oven. According to Tony Tan, his Gaggenau combi-steam oven allows him to roast and to steam, achieving amazing results in a single appliance. Vastly expanding cooking options by combining humidity (steam) with convection (dry heat circulated by fans), this innovative appliance cooks more evenly while retaining the essential nutrients of your ingredients. Perfect your kitchen design and you can create a space that is smart with excellent flow where every meal is a pleasure to cook. For further information visit Gaggenau.

Till next time... have you renovated your kitchen recently or do you have plans to?

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Taking a Playful Approach to Decorating Kid’s Bedrooms!

Children’s bedrooms are a place for fun and excitement, a magical space to inspire creativity, to express personality and where whimsical patterns can capture their imagination. When it comes to decorating a room for your little one to play and grow in, the scope seems limitless and the experience of choosing designs for different ages and personalities should be a lot of fun.
Paula Taylor, Trends and Design expert at Superfresco Easy recognises the huge impact that a room’s aesthetic can have on a child’s overall mood. According to Paula, when looking to create a fun and peaceful environment, walls are a big consideration as the tone and pattern can influence mood, thoughts and emotions. While soft tones might be well suited for a nursery a more bold and playful design can appeal to toddlers and older children.

Creativity and a playful approach are key when considering the ‘fun’ elements of a child’s bedroom, optimising the space for good sleeping is also a priority. Just as any bedroom should be a sanctuary, it is especially important for children. A child’s bedroom should be a haven, a space they love to spend time in, in contrast to the often fast-paced and overstimulation of their every day.

It’s important to choose a design that evokes calmness and relaxation in your child’s bedroom alongside elements that are fun and carefree. Striking the right balance between a space that captures the imagination and appeals to our little ones’ inner calm can be achieved through the careful selection of tone and texture on the walls. Soft designs and soft colours go hand in hand in creating a peaceful haven, while bright and whimsical designs can inspire and uplift an overall mood.
Neutrals and cool shades tend to give off a sense of calmness and relaxation, while warm, bright colours often feel energetic. Light colours help to visually expand a space, while dark colours can feel cosy and enveloping. The right pattern is equally important in achieving the balance. From fluffy clouds to polka dots in a range of blues, pinks and yellows Superfresco Easy’s designers have created some stunning wallpapers suitable for kids of all ages giving endless options to create stylish and unique havens.

Sky’s the Limit
Superfresco Easy’s cloud wallpaper brings the outdoors in and is a great stylish solution to bedroom walls. A calming and comforting print that reflects a vast, open sky available in on-trend tonal yellow, soft pink and soothing navy. $95 per roll.
Fly High Butterfly
Superfresco Easy’s pink butterfly wallpaper will add irresistible fun and brighten up any space. In a beautiful pink, purple and white butterfly design, this wallpaper brings a touch of playful style. Use it to create a feature wall or style it across the entire room for wow-factor appeal. $95 per roll.
Seeing Stars
From a much-loved nursery rhyme to your child’s bedroom walls, a starry theme can instantly capture the imagination while soothing your little one towards a good night’s sleep. Whether featuring on an accent wall or decorating the entire room, this style can easily transcend from the nursery to an older child’s room. Superfresco Easy’s Superstar style features large star motifs across a white background in pink, silver and black and white, $95 per roll.
Going Dotty
A fun print such as polka dot can introduce a cheery aspect to the bedroom. Superfresco Easy’s dotty styles are available in a bold fresh multi-bright colour combinations or stylish Dotty Polka Silver, ideal to add a modern touch in the nursery. Also available in warmer tones such as rose gold and yellow to create a relaxing vibe. $95 per roll.
Kids grow up quickly and all too soon you’ll have fast forwarded from decorating the nursery to arranging a teenager’s hang out den. Luckily Superfresco Easy’s ‘Paste the Wall’ technology allows a quick application of wallpaper, which can be peeled off by hand without damaging the wall underneath, opening up the possibility to update your kid’s bedroom just as fast as they hit their milestones.

According to Paula, historically, wallpapering and its removal have been considered tricky jobs best left to the professionals, however, papers with non-woven backing allow you to hang dry wallpaper directly from the roll to a pre-pasted wall. This means that the dry paper is far easier to handle, less likely to rip or tear and will trim more easily than when wet. In addition, non-woven wallpapers can be removed from the wall in minutes without needing to steam or scrape.
Superfresco Easy is available across Australia at Bunnings Warehouse and Independent Hardware Group stores, with prices starting at RRP $60 per roll. For more information and further products visit Superfresco.

Till next time... select the right tone and pattern for your children's walls!

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Top Tips on Sustaining a Healthy Garden in Winter!

Who doesn't want a lush, green font or back yard? Especially in winter when everything looks a bit brown, grey and dry or dead. Well according to Landscape and Garden Expert, Jason Hodges, feeding your garden and lawn with an organic based all-purpose liquid fertiliser is as important as feeding children healthy food. Plants, lawns and soil benefit from the range of nutrients available, helping them to survive and thrive. Organically based lawn and garden fertiliser, Charlie Carp, is an innovation in garden care, as well as playing an integral role in helping to stabilise Australia’s natural ecosystem and sustain a healthy environment.
Charlie Carp fertiliser is made in Australia from the invasive and destructive European Carp fish, an introduced species that destroys Australia’s delicate river ecosystems and displaces native fish. European Carp lay over one million eggs per year, that is, three times that of native fish. They damage rivers by muddying waters and destroying native aquatic vegetation, and complete with native fish for habitat.

Helping to clean up the unique waterways of Australia, like the Murray River, Charlie Carp utilises the whole fish in the manufacturing process ensuring nothing goes to waste and, in turn, providing an almost perfect balance of vitamins and minerals for plants, soil and grass.

According to Jason Hodges, the best choice for fast results in the garden is liquid fertiliser as it’s quick acting, allowing the plant to absorb both the micro and macro nutrients through the foliage quicker than any other fertiliser. The result being plants grow bigger, stronger and less prone to disease and pests. It also keeps them healthy during winter, thriving in spring and surviving through a hot summer – it’s a complete, all- purpose fertiliser.
Being all natural with no chemicals means Charlie Carp is ideal for veggie patches and edible gardens. Think of it like a one-stop-shop for your whole garden. It’s safe to consume and will help every plant. You can even use it at half-strength for native gardens. Improving soil quality also helps in replenishing older soil saving money, time and labour.

Fertilising your garden is an important step in preparing for spring. According to Jason, working in the garden during the cooler months is ideal as it’s not too hot, so you can work for longer and accomplish more. And there’s nothing better than being able to step back come spring and marvel at your handiwork! 

Here’s Jason Hodges’ top tips for preparing your garden for spring to ensure your outdoor space is a thriving green paradise in no time:

1. To help your soil reach optimum levels come spring, fertilise anywhere between every six weeks and every three months for ultimate growth. Charlie Carp is perfect for any garden or lawn type.

2. Mulch, mulch, mulch! Mulch insulates soil and acts as a buffer from cold temperatures. It also helps to retain water and keep roots moist.

3. Remove any damaged branches that you can see on your deciduous trees.

4. Prune your trees and bushes so they have the best chance to bloom in spring.

5. Pick up fallen leaves regularly so your lawn gets as much sun as possible.

6. Winter is a great time to start a herb garden. Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, basil and lemongrass are hardy and very easy to grow, whether you have a balcony apartment, quarter acre or acreage. Start with herbs and then add vegetables. 
Not only are you looking after your environment at home, you’re also looking after our environment as a nation and helping to preserve our most precious resource – water.

Charlie Carp fertiliser products are available from Bunnings stores nationally and include Charlie Carp Concentrate (1 Litre RRP$10.98, 5Litre $47.98), Charlie Carp Organic Concentrate (1Litre $11.28) and Charlie Carp Hose-On (2.2Litre $10.79. For more information visit www.charliecarp.com.au.

Till next time... start on your garden now and it will be healthy and strong for Spring!



Photo source: Photo 1, Photo 3.

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