Monday, June 20, 2011

Top tips for Better Kitchen Storage Storage

While the amount of storage space you need depends on your lifestyle, there are some general principles that should be adhered to when planning the storage space in a kitchen says Patrick of Wonderful Kitchens.

Consider what needs to be stored and then divide it up into storage areas according to use. Non-perishable food, for example, should be stored in one area, pots and pans in another and crockery in another. Look at how often each of these areas is accessed. For example, a dinner set that is used daily needs to be easily available, whereas a ‘best’ set could be stored away from the heart of the kitchen. Look also at the practicalities of storage. For example, pot drawers should be close to the oven and you generally need a fair bit of space near the dishwasher for loading and unloading utensils. Crockery should be stored near the dishwasher and cutlery should ideally be near the kitchen table or main serving area. The key to clever storage is focusing on how you get around in your kitchen.


Where should you put your kitchen accessories? A good rule of thumb is that the items you use most often should be positioned just above or below bench height, while the things you use the least often should be placed at the very highest and lowest points in the kitchen. Those you use only occasionally can be stored outside the kitchen altogether.

.· Avoid bending and stretching for the items you reach for all the time. When you’re planning your kitchen storage, base it around the height of the person who uses the kitchen the most often.

· Remember that kitchen storage doesn’t stop at cabinets – it also includes hooks, racks, containers, drawer dividers and more. Many are cheap and easy to incorporate into your existing kitchen.

· When assessing your own storage potential, think vertically as well as horizontally. Store awkward items such as pot lids, extra plates and baking trays in wall racks or vertical slots within your cabinetry.

· Make things easier to reach by reversing traditional positions. Why not put frequently-used ingredients under the counter where you’d traditionally store saucepans.

· Rather than delving into your storage, ideally it should come to you. The current trend replaces traditional cabinets with fully-extending drawers and pull-out systems that come direct to you.

· Don’t overlook ergonomics. Look for wide-opening hinges, smooth-closing doors and soft closing drawers that are a pleasure to use.

· Lighting is important – you should be able to see into all the dark recesses of cupboards and drawers. Look for under-cabinet lighting strips to brighten benchtops and lights that turn on automatically when a cupboard door is opened.

Wonderful Kitchens only uses BLUM the market leader in perfecting motion and innovative kitchen hardware as shown in their range of soft close drawers, doors and lift up systems. For more information and great advice visit Wonderful Kitchens at completehome.com.au

Friday, June 17, 2011

5 Ways to create more space in your bathroom

Creating enough space in your bathroom can be something of a challenge. Whether you’re living alone or with a family of five, most of us wish we had more space for storage and showering or bathing. Luckily, Rosemary from Hollywood Bathrooms says there are several things you can do to create more space in your bathroom, or to simply make the room appear larger.

1. Choose light colours

When choosing new tiles or painting your bathroom, opt for pale and soft colours. Pastels work well, as do off-whites and other neutral tones. These will reflect light and make your bathroom appear larger than it would if you had bright or dark colours.

2. Choose larger tiles

Bigger tiles can create a larger perspective of the room, making your bathroom look more spacious, while smaller tiles will shrink the room visually.

3. Add more lighting

Having additional lights in your bathroom will add a feeling of openness. Make sure any windows are kept clear so that as much natural light as possible can enter the room. If your budget permits, consider installing a sky-light. Choosing higher wattage bulbs and clear glass light bulbs will also enhance the lighting in your bathroom and create a feeling of space.

4. Use mirrors

Adding mirrors to any wall will make a room appear larger, and the bathroom is no exception. Mirrors reflect light, giving an immediate illusion of space. Horizontal mirrors will make the room look wider, while vertical ones can add height. If you have enough wall-space, you can even place two mirrors facing each other and let them reflect off each other.

5. Consider wall cabinets

Replacing floor cabinets with wall cabinets or a pedestal sink frees up lot of floor space, letting the eye drift across the floor to the back wall uninterrupted. If you keep a lot of things inside your vanity, consider installing floating shelves in your shower or above the toilet and moving some objects to these areas.

Other quick tips to create more space in your bathroom:

  • Put hooks on the back of your bathroom door to hang towels or robes.
  • Choose a clear glass shower screen instead of frosted or tinted.
  • Install a sliding door.
  • Keep toiletries and beauty products inside cabinets rather than having them sitting on your vanity. A cluttered area will make the room look smaller, so keep this space organised and tidy.
Of course, the only way to truly create more space in your bathroom is to knock down a wall or two. However, by following the above suggestions, you can use your existing bathroom space more efficiently and enhance the perceived size of the room.

For more great bathroom renovation tips visit the Hollywood Bathrooms listing page, or visit www.hollywoodbathrooms.com.au

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why choose a container garden?

Do you have a small garden? If you do, don't despair that you will never have the space to cultivate and grow your very own beautiful garden. The good news is, container gardens are great way to allow you to embrace plant life in even the smallest spaces.

Container gardens are versatile and functional. Find out why -

- Container gardens are ideal for smaller gardens. They also require less maintenance. However, they still do require some form of attention. Regular watering is essential. In general, indoor plants and small containers need less water than larger plants.

- Be water wise and minimise water evaporation from your container garden by using premium quality potting mixes.

- Some plants that are difficult to grow or are short-lived in the garden may do better in pots where greater attention can be paid to specific requirements. E.g. drainage.

- Some garden plants such as gardenia will flower for longer in a pot place in the right position in the garden, such as gardenias.

- Container gardens and pots can be used inside the home or in the garden. They can be classic or add a contemporary look.

- When choosing pots for your garden opt for different shapes, sizes, colours and textures. You may prefer a Grecian style urn or rectangular stainless steel planters for a more contemporary look. There are a variety of materials to also choose from including cast and dry pack concrete, terrazoo, GRC (glass reinforced concrete), stone, plastic, ceramic and metal

- Larger pots need to be made of solid material that will be strong enough to cope with the soil contracting and expanding at the root growth of the plant.

- Plastic pots are beneficial for moving around the garden

- Give old pots a new lease on life. Get creative with the kids and give them a new paint job or use old tiles to create a mosaic pattern.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Stunning Fire Pits by Tavoli Design

Throughout my adolescence the chill of many winter nights were spent roasting s’mores over an open fire in the backyard. The crackling flames flickering towards the night sky, hands stretched outwards, embracing the warmth that only a genuine fire can provide. In those long gone days, perched upon empty milk crates and old park benches, the barrel of a broken washing machine made the perfect fire pit. However a sense of style and sophistication has developed since those days rendering this an unsuitable option.

Fortunately, Tavoli Designs have the answer with a range of beautifully designed pits to suit any taste. With a standard range and a custom design service the possibilities are endless. Unlike my unfortunate parents, there is no need to sacrifice your backyard’s stunning visual appeal with a molten, ash-filled, metal lump.

A Tavoli Design fire pit can improve the aesthetics of your backyard, or even become a stunning focal point. Enjoy the crackling sound and immense heat that only an authentic fire can give you.

In recent years fire pits have become very popular on patios, porches, and backyards, as more and more people enjoy the warmth that a fire pit provides. These superbly crafted fire pits are the perfect solution to make the most of your painstakingly landscaped backyard (without the risk of hypothermia.)


Visit Tavoli Designs or the Complete Home Fireplaces and Heating Pages for more great winter warmth ideas.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Growing herbs

My last post talked about the benefits of creating an edible garden and how herbs are a great place to start. I personally love herbs - whether it be thyme, parsley or sage. I also get a huge confidence boost when my herbs thrive without me putting much effort in! Herbs are easy to grow, make wonderful additions to your cooking and add brilliant colour, texture and fragrance to a garden.

So if you are looking into starting a herb garden here are some things to consider:

Herbs for the garden
A herb garden can serve a number of purposes. Herbs with coloured foilage such as thymes or golden marjoram can enhance your garden. Use herbs around paved areas, as edging or as a border plant for a path for a unique look. Their fresh scent will also add a wonderful aroma to your garden (and cooking!)

Where to grow your herbs?
The great thing about herbs is that many of them are drought tolerant, especially those from the Mediterranean. This makes growing herbs a water wise choice. Many herbs prefer well drained and relatively dry soil and do well in the sun. Most annual and perennial herbs can be easily planted as seeds or can be grown in pots and troughs. For example, thyme, parsley, bay, chives and basil all thrive in pots. Keeping potted herbs near the kitchen on the windowsill makes it easy for you to grab a handful of leaves when you need it. Otherwise, a more comprehensive herb garden can be grown at side of a vegetable patch.

If you aren't really sure where to start, some easy herbs to grow include parsley, coriander, oregano, basil and sage.

Maintaining your herb garden
You herb garden will need maintenance in the form of trimming and pruning to keep them in shape and ensure they remain confined to their designated space. Your herbs may also need regular applications of liquid fertiliser in the growing season.

Picking herbs
When harvesting your herbs, pick only a small amount at a time. Sufficient time must be allowed for the plant to regrow. Remember to very gently pick the leaves to avoid uprooting.

And lastly, enjoy! Use your fresh herbs in your cooking and enjoy their fresh smell in the garden. You

Monday, June 6, 2011

Creating an edible garden

Growing your own produce is a fun and rewarding way to take advantage of all your garden has to offer. However, some of us still need a bit of convincing when it comes to setting up a garden. Here's some reasons why you should get into the garden and grow your own produce!

Space: Although many of us would love to have a lush expansive backyard, the reality is that we are unfortunately not always blessed with such space. However, don't despair. There are plenty of different gardening options to try. If you a small backyard you probably won't be able to fulfill that dream of having an expansive corn field, but why no opt for a courtyard garden or balcony garden? Herb gardens are also easy to manage and ideal for smaller spaces. Community gardens are also growing in popularity as a way to people in your area and take advantage of an area you wouldn't usually have access to. If you are blessed with a big backyard, scout out the ideal spot in your garden for the vegetable patch.

Maintenance: If you are opting for an edible garden maintenance is naturally required. Regular watering is essential, and you might want to consider pest control, fertilising options and so on. Don't be put off. The extra effort will be worth the fresh produce you will reap.

Get the kids involved: Kids will love getting involved in the garden. It's an opportunity to give them some responsibility and will also give them a wonderful sense of accomplishment as they watch their produce thrive. You might even consider creating a vegetable patch just for the kids and let them decide what to plant and how to maintain it.

Different plants for different times of year: Once you have your garden space sorted, the question that arises is, what to plant? Be sure to check you are planting your fruits and veggies at the right time of year. If your mangoes aren't growing in the middle of July it's because they are tropical plants and need lots of sun - It's not that you aren't blessed with a green thumb! Some plants thrive in summer, others in winter.

Winter is officially here, so why not try planing some veggies such as broccoli, tuscan kale, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broad beans and cauliflower. These make wonderful additions to a hearty, winter's dinner.

Cutting grocery bills: Although you may not be able to replace all the fruit and veggies you buy at the shop with your own produce it can still make a difference to your grocery bills. You'll also love the convenience of walking into the garden, picking some fresh parsley or lemon for tonight's dinner rather than having to get into the car and drive to the shops.

And to top it all off, a recent study has found that gardeners have a better quality of life. So what are you waiting for? Get gardening and start your edible garden today!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

10 Kitchen Design Rules


Want the ideal kitchen? Wonderful Kitchens has this failsafe guide for the best kitchen design results.


1. Streamline Surfaces

Think smooth and seamless. Cupboards should reach the ceiling or run flush with a bulkhead, doing away with dustcatching wasted space.Benchtops should be streamlined with few visible joins. Go for under-bench sinks that sit below the benchtop so you can’t see the edges


2. Integrate Applicances

In a quest for open-plan bliss, appliances are making themselves scarce, hiding behind closed doors for a clean look that blends with the living area. For fridges, it’s a matter of fitting a door in the same material as the cupboards. Disguise your dishwasher with an integrated front panel.


3. Get a Smart Splashback

Want to show off some flair with colour or texture? As the design focus of modern kitchens, the splashback is the best place to do it. Natural, clear glass splashbacks are still high in the style stakes, as are mosaics, or choose the same material as your benchtop for a seamless look.


4. Flaunt benchtops

For a modern benchtop, choose natural textures like marble or matt granite. Stone composites, polished timber and poured concrete are also beautiful. Design-wise, it’s all about chunky slabs with deep edges. For a price-smart option, apply a thick edge to a thin slab.


5. Opt for an island

A well-designed island bench is essential for entertaining. Fit with a sink, cooktop or chopping boards, so the cook can face family and guests. A benchtop overhang makes it comfortable for people to sit. Or if you prefer to keep mess out of sight, a raised edge will hide the lot.


6. Clue up on colour

Create calm by choosing neutral colours. All-white, cream or pale grey are foolproof design classics. Dark tones make an impact, but can overwhelm small spaces, so use on the bottom row of cabinetry. Keep bursts of colour to feature spots, like splashbacks or the front panel of island benches.


7. Choose the right layout

No matter what your style, budget or space, every kitchen layout should be designed around what experts call the ‘Golden Triangle’. This involves placing the main work areas – fridge, sink and oven/cooktop – close to each other, positioned at three sides of a triangle. Regardless of kitchen size, these activity zones should be no more than three metres apart, so you can move easily between them.


8. Switch to clever lighting

Light up your kitchen with pendants or halogens, plus over-bench lights for brighter work spaces. For extra atmosphere while relaxing, fit ceiling lights with dimmers, or just leave on the over-bench lights.


9. Look, no handles

Cupboard handles are best kept low key. Choose invisible angled ‘finger pulls’ cut into the top or side of the cupboards. Or, if you want handles, go for no-fuss designs in matt chrome or stainless steel.


10. Maximise storage

Drawers maximise storage space, making it easy to access your kitchen’s darkest corners. Extra-deep options are perfect for pots and pans. Shallow, extra-wide varieties are great for storing cutlery.



For more great kitchen tips head to Wonderful Kitchens' listing