Tuesday 29 September 2020

Transform Your Garden with The Thrill, Fill and Spill Method!

With warmer weather and the outdoor entertaining season upon us, it’s the ideal time to spruce up your outdoor area with an eye-catching potted plant display. 
According to Melissa King, Horticulturalist and Northcote Pottery Ambassador, an easy way to get the look is with the ‘Thrill, Fill and Spill‘ planting method.  

To begin, pick out the star of the show – the perfect pot. Consider the colour of your home and garden décor. Don’t go for anything too small because the pot will need to accommodate a few plants.

Next, choose a ‘Thrill’ plant - the Prima Donna of your display. The plant should be bold and appealing, with a bit of height so it can be positioned at the back of the pot. Colourful, strappy leafed plants such as Burgundy Cordylines or Phormiums work well.

The ‘Fill’ plants are the supporting cast. Look for smaller, rounded options to fill the majority of the container. Don’t be afraid to add a splash of colour here with brightly coloured foliage or flowers.

Finally, ‘Spill’ plants are the finishing touch. These are trailing beauties that tumble over the edge of the container and complete the look to create the perfect potted picture.

For bigger pots, venture out and use more than one Thrill, Fill or Spill plant. Remember to combine plants together that enjoy similar growing conditions. 

Rustic easy-care potted combination
Create enviable potted combinations with Northcote Pottery’s Irondale Cup Planter (RRP $60.90). This lightweight pot exudes rustic country charm and works beautifully with bronze, orange, burgundy and gold foliage tones.
For a rustic easy-care potted combination, you will need:

1 x Northcote Pottery 52 x 38cm Irondale Cup Planter
1 x bag of Premium Potting Mix
1 x Leucadendron ‘Sundance’
1 x Cordyline ‘Electric Flash’
1 x Carex Testacea
1 x Euphorbia ‘Baby Charm’
1 x Carex ‘Frosted Curls’
1 x Aeonium
1 x Sedum ‘Gold Mound’
First, fill the Northcote Pottery Irondale Cup Planter with quality potting mix. Then position Leucadendron ‘Sundance’ towards the back of the container. Plant the variegated Cordyline ‘Electric Flash’ to the side and frame both plants with bronzed coloured Carex Testacea and Euphorbia ‘Baby Charm’. Soften the base of the Leucadendron with silvery Carex ‘Frosted Curls’. Complete the picture with a chocolate coloured Aeonium and a splash of Sedum ‘Gold Mound’.

“I like to jam-pack the pots to get an instant effect, so you get a wow factor that lasts for months,” says Melissa. “If the plants begin to look overcrowded, I simply trim them back or pop some into the garden. You can even refresh the look by replacing plants from season to season.”

Modern cottage garden combination
Liven up your garden with Northcote Pottery’s Glazed Jardin Planter. Its bold and smooth texture is perfect for a happy collection of plants.
For a modern cottage garden combination, you will need:

1 x Northcote Pottery Glazed Jardin Planter
1 x bag of Premium Potting Mix
1 x Leucadendron ‘Purple Haze’
1 x Olearia ‘Sweet and Small’
1 x Convolvulus Cneorum
1 x Carex ‘Frosted Curls’
1 x Candytuft

Start the potted combination by filling the Northcote Pottery Glazed Jardin Planter with premium potting mix. Place the Leucadendron ‘Purple Haze’ near the back of the container. Frame ‘Purple Haze’ on both sides by adding a pretty Olearia ‘Sweet and Small’ and Convolvulus Cneorum. Soften the base of the Leucadendron with silvery Carex ‘Frosted Curls’. Finish it off with a splash of white flowering Candytuft.

“To enhance the modern cottage garden look, combine classic beauties like compact- growing daisies and Candytuft with striking bronze, silver and purple foliage,” says Melissa. 
Northcote Pottery is offering garden lovers a chance to win a gardening pack worth over $300. Simply visit their website www.northcotepottery.com and enter your details to be eligible.

For more information, visit www.northcotepottery.com and @northcotepottery on Instagram.

Till next time... transform your garden with the Thrill, Fill and Spill method!

Monday 21 September 2020

SOUL Home: a Holiday Home That Takes Care of Your Wellbeing!

Interior designer Simone Mathews of SOUL Home had a clear vision when embarking on The Pause journey, to create a unique take on an Australian Coastal retreat for guests to enjoy. Drawing inspiration from the Bahamas, a touch of the Singaporean classic style with a smattering of Balinese villa, Simone created a home away from home that encompassed a blend of styles suited to the New South Wales South Coast vibe.
The goal was to design a home that blurred the lines between holiday home and hotel, ensuring guests had that holiday feeling as soon as they pulled up to the property. According to Simone, the key to creating the getaway sanctuary was all in the styling and choice of building materials required to get the look.

“When styling, I try to stick to a specific 70/20/10 rule. For The Pause, it was based on a style that revolved around 70% organic, 20% minimal with a final 10% classic layer to bring it all together.
So, fusing an organic, minimalist, classical style,” says Simone. “How a house makes you feel is important when designing a home. With this in mind, I chose materials that had a natural and understated finish, you’ll notice there is a mix of timbers, and concrete with a neutral palette. I wanted the home to have a feeling of space and a sense of calm.”

The stunning front façade instantly catches the eye with wide verandas and a textured weatherboard exterior finished with natural wooden doors and shutters. Cemintel’s ‘Balmoral’ weatherboards were selected by Simone and Ben to achieve the desired design aesthetic and ensure the home matched its coastal surroundings. Importantly, the cladding needed to withstand the salt in the air.
The interior is a warm white, supported by brass accents that offer a sleek, clean and understated look. An open-plan kitchen and living area provides a sociable place for guests to commune, with an outdoor dining area that can be enclosed if necessary, becoming an extension of the indoor space.
What was equally important to the look, though, was the durability of the building materials. “Holiday properties can’t be precious, and with The Pause, we wanted it to be a family friendly getaway so selecting hard wearing materials was at the forefront of my mind. We used Gyprock Superchek plasterboard throughout the whole house. Being a holiday rental property, durability and noise control were of utmost importance. As Gyprock Superchek is three times tougher than regular plasterboard, we knew it could withstand the impact of children running around and would offer resistance to dents, scuffs and scrapes. Most importantly though, Superchek guaranteed less noise transmitted between the rooms which allows guests to have their privacy,” says Simone.
Throughout the home, curves have been used as a stunning design element. In each of the guest bedrooms, arches were incorporated allowing for rooms to be broken into areas, and providing both a decorative feature and additional functionality. “The arches were the hero of the guest bedrooms. They were made to create different zones such as the bedroom, the wardrobe area and the ensuite while also giving the sense of space. Using Superchek made the job really easy as you can just cut the plasterboard to the shape,” Simone says.
Moving into the kitchen and dining areas, the most important aspect for Simone was to keep an open plan space where guests can come and congregate. Initially planning on breaking the space into three areas, kitchen, dining and living, Simone and Ben decided to build an oversized concrete island, combining the kitchen and dining areas. “The kitchen and living areas were quite limited in terms of space, so it was important for us to give the feeling of less is more. Pairing strong statement lines with soft curves in the wall achieved using Gyprock Superchek, the style incorporates classic coastal, minimalist and organic themes,” says Simone.

One of Simone’s favourite aspect of the build was the feeling of opening the antique timber doors, overlooking the oversized hallway and instantly feeling calm like you’re on holiday. “We’ve really tried to adapt a simple approach as the design of the build and the styling is enough to give it that ‘wow’ factor,” says Simone.
Ultimately, The Pause offers a retreat where guests can do just that, pause. Championing the understated approach, the home strips away any unnecessary noise and clutter and provides a place of relaxation and enjoyment.

Till next time... have a wonderful new week!

Photos 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7: The Palm Co
Photo 3: Mitch Fong

Sunday 20 September 2020

Hot Home Trends For Illuminated Style!

A couple of weeks ago, along with a few other amazing home stylists I was asked to reveal my top top tips for adding a fire pit to an outdoor space to create something truly special. Read on and and discover how you too can create a sanctuary in your very own backyard. Hope you enjoy this article. 

Outdoor spaces are a reflection of our life and style as much as home interiors. As we break into Spring, backyards, gardens and patios can be uniquely created to make the most of the longer, but still cooler evenings.

Here, four top home design experts across a range of popular aesthetics, explain how their Glow fire pits by Northcote Pottery ignited their imagination and give their top tips for achieving an aspirational outdoors.

Family Friendly Safe Fun
Smartly planned backyards have infinite potential for family adventures. The best, provide for a variety of ways to play, from campouts to parties to playdates. Fire pits, when installed properly and used with supervision, will encourage children and adults alike to engage more with the outdoors. 

Former, The Block contestants and contributors to Channel 9’s exclusive “Location, Lifestyle, Living” series, Kim and Chris, recommend using a childlike imagination when creating fun and functional family spaces: “It’s important to include engaging features, such as vegetable gardens, insect and animal-friendly plants, and playground equipment if you have the space. 
Encourage different forms of sensory play by adding a sandbox or a water table,” says Kim. 
“When styling our backyard, we incorporated things that would grow with our kids, as well as benefit the grown-ups. We did this by adding a Glow Acheron fire pit,” she adds.

Available in Bunnings stores mid-October.

At Home In The Hamptons
Hamptons inspired style is an enduring trend in Australian home design because of the look and lifestyle it embraces. Principle at Indah Island and leading design expert in this glamourous aesthetic, Natalee Bowen, explains: “Merging interior and exterior spaces is a central tenant of Hamptons style. Signature features such as alfresco areas, outdoor dining and entertaining areas are designed to encourage a form of fluid indoor/outdoor living. Adding a fire pit at the center of your exterior space instantly creates a social focal point and extends a warm, inviting atmosphere.

“Fire pits are the heart of any backyard, alfresco or garden that can elevate your exterior décor, even when not in use. They also provide an opportunity to carry your interior colour palette through to the garden and no tones are more Hamptons than whites and greys, making the white terrazzo bowl of the Carla, Glow firepit, a must have. It’s cooking grill plate and safety lid also make it a great way of adding a cooking space to outdoor areas that can’t accommodate a separate kitchen area.”

Uniquely Urban
For many, city living means inherently less square footage. Home décor expert Rani Engineer, who specialises in urban dwellings, applies her expertise to overcome this: “With a little planning and creativity, any exterior space can become a therapeutic sanctuary that offers an escape from the hectic city. Identify how you would like to use your outdoor space, then design around those needs. Add insulation and a beautiful backdrop with a vertical garden by cultivating lush plants of various heights in layered tiers from the floor to the canopy.”
“As you would in an indoor room, add a focal point that has a ‘wow factor’, for which a fire pit is ideal. A stylish fire pit will instantly become the focal point of an outdoor space. It creates a relaxed and intimate cocoon making it ideal for entertaining and looks beautiful even when it’s not in use. 

The Vineyard Fire Pit is perfect for the centre of a landscape project and creates a versatile centrepiece which adds to the ambience when used.” 

Available in Bunnings stores mid-November.

Cosy with Modern Country Style
Australia’s countryside has inspired a broad range of classic looks, from farmhouse to Queenslander. Ali Jacks, homes stylist and creator of Home & Things, used a modern interpretation of the country style as the inspiration behind her own Hinterlands home: “Drawing its signature elements from the landscape, country style focuses on the natural surroundings and is defined by organic materials, raw surfaces, and practicality.

“Décor should have character and charm, inspire nostalgia, and impart a sense of cosiness. Its defining shades are cream, russet and whitewash, with textures and pops of bright colours preferable over prints.

“A country escape would not be complete without nights spent under the stars, gathered around a fire. The Carla fire pit perfectly suits this aesthetic because of its terrazzo finish. To complete this look, I recommend styling your fire pit on a pebbled surface surrounded by rustic bench top seating.”

Adding a fire pit makes any outdoor area a true extension of the home, with style, practicality and interest. Glow fire pits are designed with an extensive diversity of aesthetics, from simple and rustic to innovative and artistic options, to perfectly fuse with individual style while adding fun with function.

Till next time... there's nothing better than lounging by a beautiful fire on a cool evening!

Sunday 13 September 2020

How to Get Inspired on Your Next Display Home Tour

Buying a new home is an exciting adventure, and building a new home is an even more exciting one. It's hard not to get lost in the endless possibilities that come with customizing a home from the ground up. This is why it's a good idea to visit a display home, or several display homes, to help you get an idea of what's compatible with your lifestyle. If you are new to display homes and not sure what to expect, keep reading for ideas on how to get inspired on your next display home open house.

Know what you need in a house
When arranging a display home tour, you should already know what you need in a house. Not every home will fit your needs, lifestyle, and family. Take the time to consider your priorities and jot them down. 

Key priorities to keep in mind include:
  • How much usable square footage do you need? 
  • What are the minimum and the maximum number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need? 
  • Are there additional features that you need i.e. an office, spacious garage, large closets, a wide stairway, or dedicated gun wall? 
  • Does the flow and functionality of the house suit your lifestyle? 
  • How much house can you comfortably afford?

Create a checklist and take notes
Once you identify what you need in a house, create a checklist to take along on your display home tour. Make sure the checklist includes your needs, any questions about furnishings and fittings, and any questions you have for the builder or real estate agent. Take notes during your open house tour that will help you remember key points and assessments when you start to debrief.

Debriefing will help you determine if the display home is the right place for you. You should review your checklist shortly after finishing your tour while your brain is fresh. Assess the important details you noticed about the home and how they fit with your home needs. Using a checklist will help you keep your buyer priorities in check.
What to pay attention to during a walkthrough
There are certain features to pay attention to during a walkthrough. In addition to making notes on your checklist, take note of the home's layout. Your home is your paradise where you spend time with family and friends. Pay attention to the layout and flow of the home and make sure it aligns with your lifestyle. Do you prefer the kitchen and outdoor living areas to be close to create an entertainment space? Do you prefer to have bedrooms on one side of the house? Is an open concept better for your family or do you like a division of living areas?

Perhaps one of the most important things to notice about a display model is the quality of construction. The first things you will notice about a home are the finishings and fixtures. Once you take in the presentation of the home, take a good look at the quality of construction. Notice if the doors and windows are level and free of gaps. Pay attention to the quality of building materials, appliances, fixtures, and brands used in the home. These details will give prospective buyers an idea of craftsmanship.

Potential buyers in the market for an extravagant house can find the ideal display house for sale with Dennis Family Homes. Their luxuriously styled homes have won numerous awards for quality and design excellence, customer choice awards, and recognition from industry groups like HIA and MBA. Not only will prospective buyers attend a stylish, clutter-free open house but every home is sustainable and energy-efficient. It's important for potential buyers to get an accurate story about a home builder, which is why you can learn about awards, sustainability, the building process, and testimonials at dennisfamily.com.au

Till next time... Follow these suggestions on how to get inspired on your next display home tour and feel like a pro when shopping for your new home!

Is Buying a Display Home a Good Investment?

Companies that build homes may construct a display home they use when building in a new area. Potential buyers may tour the display home, and it can also be used as the builder's sales office. A display home, also known as a show house, offers potential homeowners the opportunity to get a sense of the home's layout and features. Touring show homes can help individuals make an informed decision when deciding to buy a new build.

Once most or all the homes in an area are sold, the company may put the display home up for sale. If you can purchase a display home, here are some things to consider to determine if the purchase is a good investment.

Pertinent Questions
When you tour display homes for sale, you should ask questions to establish how it has been used. Show homes may double as a sales office for several months. This means that kitchen appliances and bathroom facilities may have been in use during that time. When you are enquiring with Dennis Family Homes about show homes for sale, be sure to ask how the property was used and how long it has been in use. This information can help you determine if potential wear and tear should be factored into the purchase price.

Show Home StandardsBuilders typically construct show homes that feature extensive upgrades. This could include high-end cabinets and counters in the kitchen, heated floors, lighting, and crown molding. If you can get details about the typical floor plans and features included in other models, you can determine which items in the show home have been upgraded. Purchasing a show home can be an opportunity to enjoy upgrades you may not have otherwise been able to afford.

Outdoor SpaceBuilders do not construct show homes on small lots. They focus on both the interior and exterior features to impress potential buyers. This means you may be able to secure a home with extensive outdoor upgrades, such as a pool, landscaping, a fire pit, or a patio.

Choosing a RealtorSome builders have restrictions on those interested in buying a show home. If you sign any paperwork before you acquire a realtor, you may not be allowed to use your real estate agent. It's important to remember that your agent represents your interests. Agents who work for the sellers represent the interest of the sellers. This means you may have a more challenging time getting the seller to agree to your terms when negotiating the purchase.

PrivacyThe purpose of a display home is to show the home to potential buyers. This means there may have been hundreds of people who walked through the home you're thinking about purchasing. Show homes that double as a sales office may be left open so that individuals can wander through the house and explore it. This means those who toured the home could post photographs of the house on social media. It also means that potential burglars could have toured the home and made notes about the floor plan and access points.

SecurityDisplay homes are usually vacant overnight, which makes them vulnerable. Individuals may try to squat in the home. Empty homes may also be targets for teenagers looking for a place to party. Check crime reports to ensure there have been no break-ins or vandalism. It's also a good idea to check local crime reports to determine how safe the neighbourhood is before you make an offer.

If you purchase a show home, you may enjoy several potential benefits. The upgrades may compensate for any concerns you have. However, you should also remember to check with your insurance company and compare the rates for the show home. Added features, such as pools, can affect your insurance costs and property taxes. While you may get a good deal initially, you must consider the hidden costs that may be associated with your purchase.

Till next time... consider all the options before you buy a display home!

Top Tips on Planting for Wellbeing

With the family home full time and a need to keep everyone busy, it is the ideal time to plant a seed to a healthier lifestyle. Tuscan Path Product Manager Sally Laing, shares her expert top tips on creating healthy, green, fragrant spaces, educational hot spots and edible gardens.

Green the house to lift your spirits
There is no better time to bring the outdoors in, so why not fill the house with greenery to help lift your spirits? When you decorate your home with indoor plants, you’re not just making a style statement; research has shown that they make you happier and more relaxed. They are also nature’s air purifiers, which means greening a room increases air quality, helping us all to breathe a little easier.

Transform your living space into an urban jungle with big, bold foliage plants, like the Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata), to bring a sense of drama to your space, or the Swiss Cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) with big tropical-like leaves in a Tuscan Path Spencer Pot (RRP $30).

Introduce greenery from ceiling to floor with gorgeous hanging plants like Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum) or Chain of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii) which look beautiful in smaller, heavier pots like Tuscan Path’s Granada Self Watering Pot (RRP $21.98).

Grow hanging beauties where they can cascade down over bookshelves and benchtops, or display them in indoor hanging baskets.

Hands-on learning
Planting is a great way for kids to learn firsthand. The Tuscan Path Reactive Glazed Pot (RRP $17.98) is ideal for growing varieties that excite little green thumbs, like Silverbeet ‘Rainbow’, with its brightly coloured stems or heirloom radishes that come in shades of yellow, red, pink, white and black. Get creative and make cute signs out of old icy pole sticks, plastic plates or ice cream lids. Use water-proof markers to see what fun designs you can come up with! You might like to get the kids to record the growth of their vegetable seedlings on a graph.

Make your home a haven
More than ever, we are coming to understand the value of our home as a place to escape. Take this time to transform your indoor space. Include cheery splashes of cool season colour like pansies, violas, polyanthus and cinerarias in pots and containers, such as the Tuscan Path Cora Pot (RRP $17.98). Fragrant plants are another highlight for the spring season. The Winter Daphne (Daphne odora) is the perfect choice for dappled shade. Enjoy its beautifully scented pinky-white flowers indoors and perfume an entire room. You’ll also love the Brown Boronia (Boronia megastigma), an evergreen Australian plant with pretty spring flowers in shades of yellow and brown that is famous for its sweet citrusy scent.
For more information, visit www.tuscanpath.com.au.

Till next time... transform your space into an urban jungle!

About Tuscan Path
Tuscan Path has been proudly supplying the finest range of pots, pavers, pebbles and garden décor to the Australian marketplace for over 40 years.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

Spring Cleaning Your Home Made Easy!

With a decrease in consistent rainfall, and ongoing water restrictions throughout many parts of the country, the ability to limit the amount of water we use is crucial to a sustainable future. One commercial cleaning solution that is gaining popularity with homeowners, is the pressure washer. 

According to DEWALT, the power tool experts, cleaning with a pressure washer is 10 times faster and 10 times more water efficient than cleaning by hand.

Recently we pressure washed our house and by we, I mean my husband. It was amazing to see the dirt that had accumulated over almost a decade just easily wash away from the weatherboards on the first floor. The result was amazing, however it did use a whole lot of water. With water and time savings in mind, DEWALT has launched a new pressure washer that uses smart, auto stop start technology, reducing water usage, running costs, wear and tear and controls noise, while making tasks such as cleaning paths, washing down outdoor furniture and maintaining courtyards, quick and easy.

The 3400 PSI 9.4 LPM Pressure Washer, featuring 3,400 PSI of cleaning pressure with a water flow rate of 9.4 LPM, is an industry-first pressure washer exclusively engineered with patent PressUReady Technology, an advanced battery-operated electric starting system with auto stop/start trigger control.

After initial set-up, the pressure washer is activated by simply squeezing the trigger. Releasing the trigger will prompt the machine to shut down after 10 seconds, while remaining at the ready for instant re-activation. The washer’s premium design includes an innovative smart control panel with built-in LED diagnostic screen. This panel provides an easy read on the washer’s modes, including “ready” and level of water flow.

According to Greg Wright, Pressure Washers Category Manager, Mayo Hardware, more and more homeowners are putting the “green” into having a green thumb with an increased focus on saving water and helping the local environment. There is an increased interest in reducing water usage. Additionally, jobs such as cleaning the driveway or deck take an incredible amount of time by hand, up to half a day, whereas using a pressure washer will get the job done in about an hour.

Some of the most common projects for cleaning around the outside of the home include washing mossy paths, removing mould off walls, and everyday dirt, dust and weather sediments from outdoor furniture, around pots and flower boxes as well as the home’s façade. It can also be used on fences and house exterior for paint preparation, as well as to wash the car, caravan or bike. Rather than labouring through the chores, a switch to a pressure washer is a great way for homeowners to do their bit for being water wise whilst reclaiming their weekend.

Sharing his top tips, Wright also mentions that when cleaning fences and walls, start at the top and work down horizontally – spray into the sides of posts as they meet the fencing to avoid splashback. If it’s a driveway, once again, start at the top so the water runs away from where you are cleaning. There’s also a range of different optional accessories, including surface scrubber, turbo nozzles and second storey soap nozzles, which make it four times faster than using a standard petrol pressure washer yet again.

If you have a large space to clean, the best way to back off pressure from a pressure washer is also to just point further away as it reduces pressure the further it shoots but it also increases the width of spray to allow you to work faster when less pressure is required. If you are moving furniture and obstacles the PressUReady technology stops the washer to reduce running costs and water wastage. It is much faster than cleaning by hand, cheaper to run and far more efficient than any other petrol pressure washer.”

The pressure washer comes fitted with a 7.6m long steel braided high- pressure hose for extra durability and resistance to kinks and abrasions, and an ergonomic spray gun designed with a 360-degree rotating handle and side grip for practical use, comfort and control. Taking all the steps we can to ensure we are doing our bit to lead sustainable lives is fundamental to our health, life and environment. By thinking about water and how we can preserve it, we are protecting our most valuable resource.
The DEWALT 3400 PSI 9.4 LPM Pressure Washer is available from Total Tools and is RRP $1,399. For more information, visit totaltools.com.au

Till next time... it's time to get your home Spring ready!
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