Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Trend alert – Industrial style

Many might think industrial style is something that would be strictly relegated to a factory or warehouse. However, more people are embracing this eclectic and unique style which emphasises practicality in its reuse and reinvention of pieces. When it comes to industrial style think exposed interiors, sharp lines and contrasting textures. It draws heavily on integrating pieces that serve a purpose and can be used again and again such as large pendant lights, watering cans or filing cabinets and then contrasting by adding some contemporary flair.

So how to achieve the look? The trick is not to overdo it. The key is to first, plan a room then go looking for a specific piece. Start small with a few striking pieces that will make a statement. Overdoing the look can make a room look run-down, so start with one of the focal pieces and then think how you can enhance it or counter it. Create a sense of balance and ensure your pieces are not completely out of proportion with the room.

Remember to think about contrasting. Vibrant colours create an interesting and aesthetically pleasing contrast against the sometimes harsh metal and rust of industrial items.

The great thing about industrial style is that it allows for creativity and uniqueness. Have a think now about the all potential items you have in the home or garden. It might be an old lighting fixture or dining chair which could be reused and reinvented. It’s really a matter of looking at piece you have and giving them a new lease on life. Scratched or rusted items might in other cases be devalued, however this is embraced in industrial style. It also allows for personality and a certain quirkiness to shine through. Think exposed elements whether it be rope, bricks or cords.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sustainable House Day 2011

By: Johanna Grahn

With the world’s resources running out, sustainability is more important than ever. The three words of artist and surfer Jack Johnson come to mind, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. That’s what it’s all about really, reducing our waste and making use of what we have. In the housing sector the three words “Sustainable House Day” spread the message, and they are inspiring many Australians to follow the environmentally friendly path when building or renovating their homes.
For 10 years the event has showcased some of Australia’s most sustainable homes, and by doing so it has given ideas and tips to people on how to incorporate solar, ventilation, water harvesting, recycling, shading, thermal mass (materials that absorb and release heat), and glazing and window treatments into their homes.
This year the Sustainable House Day takes place on Sunday September 11 between 10am-4pm. Over 300 homes throughout the country will be open for inspection, so that visitors can experience hands-on the difference it makes when using sustainable products. Many of the homes will have architects, builders, and specialist service providers on site to answer questions and give advice, so make sure to put the date in your calendar. Remember, taking aboard some of the concepts of sustainable living is economically and environmentally friendly. In other words, it is all good!
Check out this link to find an open house near you: http://www.sustainablehouseday.com/house-locations.php

Thursday, August 25, 2011


The world of design is such an exciting and important place. Design touches our lives everywhere; it’s all around us, from our architecture, our cars and our clothing to our infrastructure and, of course, our furniture and furnishings. These are just some of the diverse areas of design.

Image: Corporate Culture
Designing requires consideration of the aesthetic, functional, economical and socio-political dimensions of the process and the resulting entity. It involves considerable thought, research, planning, modelling, revision, and often re-design before a final outcome is reached.
In the current issue of Luxury Home Design (volume 14 number 4) we lead you on a journey of design discovery, introducing you to many of Australia’s talented designers, taking you inside their world to find out who they are, what they do and how they work.
Image: Kelly Hoppen's London home. Photography: Mel Yates
We visit design hubs in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and enter some of the beautiful homes that the designers have created. We also visit the London home of renowned British interior designer, Kelly Hoppen, whose signature style has become a benchmark for design excellence.
Our featured houses and apartments are an outstanding selection including modernist design, classic beauty and contemporary splendour. Each home is a unique reflection of its inhabitants, created for comfort and sanctuary with the environment very much in mind. And Steve Freeth explains the finer points of the “smart” home, illustrating how technology is changing the way we live — while two exceptional case studies reveal the smart home in action.
Image: Project by Graham Jones Design. Photography: Chris Groenhout
We have selected an inspiring variety of glamorous and elegant, modern and practical, environmentally friendly and just gorgeous furniture and furnishings to temp you. And our comprehensive kitchen and bathroom feature covers everything from the latest fabulous appliances to finishes, lighting, gadgets and space-saving solutions.
It’s a wonderful voyage of discovery and enlightenment and one I truly hope you enjoy.

Kate St James, FDIA
Managing Editor

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The world's biggest homes and lots of renovating in Australia!

So what's happening in the news?

Two different sets of figures have been released over the last few days that have revealed some very interesting things in the Australian home market.

We all like things big in Australia and this first set of findings really proves it! A new report by CommSec has revealed Australia continues to build the biggest homes in the world. The average new home built in Australia is still 10 percent bigger than its counterpart in the US.

The average new Aussie free-standing home is 243 square meters - almost double the size of the average home in Denmark.

After steadily rising for the last 25 years experts however now think the average house size has peaked as more people favour smaller dwellings with increase energy prices.

The second finding has revealed, the effects of our love of reality home renovation shows.

An estimated $10 billion will be spent on home renovation in NSW this year and figures from the Bureau of Statistics show that the value of large alterations to homes has increased by 11 per cent between 2009 and 2010.

Although our love of reality home reno shows might be inspiring DIY enthusiasts, there is a risk factor involved for the home and the dabblers themselves.

Figures from the National Injury Surveillance Unit at Flinders University, Adelaide found DIY-related accidents are increasing. The most common injuries in 2009-10 were caused by falls from ladders, followed by roof falls, power saws and other power tools.

There is a reality behind the reality tv shows. Many people might undertake projects without realising the full implications and naturally that's where trouble can set in whether it be a burst pipe or budget blow-out.

So when you are renovating or building the world's biggest home, remember safety first.


With so much emphasis on sustainability in our vocabulary today, learning about architecture and the importance it plays in our lives is more essential than ever. The Australian Architecture Association (AAA) and Luxury Home Design (LHD) both recognise this and that’s why we’ve partnered, to promote and encourage public interest in this important part of our culture.

Project by Bark Architects
The AAA was formed in 2004 to promote architecture to the wider community. The founders of the association include Australia’s most prominent architect, Glenn Murcutt, and the late Harry Seidler, whose work, both in Australia and internationally, are widely recognised. Founding director Annette Dearing says, “We need to keep architecture at the forefront of people’s consciousness as it’s such an important part of our culture and heritage. It’s vital that people are given the opportunity to see architecture of the highest standard.”

The AAA runs a program of tours, talks and events throughout the year. Membership is open to all, not just architects, and a majority of the program is led by volunteers who are knowledgeable and passionate about architecture.

The Noosa Tour in September will take you inside some of the most interesting contemporary residential and public architecture on the Sunshine Coast, with architects John Mainwaring, from JMA Architects, and Lindy Atkin and Stephen Guthrie, from Bark Design.

Image: Viridian by JMA Architects
This is an all-day bus tour that includes lunch, commentary and coach travel. Why not take a detour from your regular weekend at home and join the AAA Noosa Tour, where you will meet like-minded architecture enthusiasts as well as have the opportunity to stay over in Noosa to enjoy the fabulous atmosphere of this beautiful Queensland enclave?

The AAA/LHD Noosa Tour will be held on Saturday, September 10 and costs $150 for AAA members and $175 for non-members, including bus transport, commentary and lunch.

For more information:
Australian Architecture Association
Website: www.architecture.org.au

Friday, August 19, 2011

A home in the hills

At Complete Home, we love to share the stunning homes and brillant architecture we come across and after casually doing some browsing on the internet we found a whopper!

Based in the Hollywood Hills this house's contemporary architecture oozes grandiose and style.

Nakahouse as its known, comes from XTEN Architecture and is a remodel of a home initially built in the 1960′s.

The architects kept the foundation and footprints, but decided to take full advantage of the breathtaking surrounding views and added outdoor terraces.

The colour scheme focuses on contrasting between black and white. However, splashes of colour are added, such as the gorgeous fushcia pink lounge that creates a element of fun and warmth.

The white open rooms and floor-to-ceiling glass windows that overlook the Hollywood Hills create an even greater sense of space in the already spacious home.

Check out our featured homes to find more designs that will inspire (and possibly cause a bit of jealousy too!)

- Ultimate oceanic
- Niceville
- Under the southern sky

Apple has some big plans in store

Apple's new headquarters is going to be huge - literally!

Just to follow up my blog on Apple's new headquarters I've come across some interesting information on the diametre for the new spaceship/office.

One website has compared the diameter for the proposed headquarters to that of the Pentagon. After some calculations it came to the conclusion that the new headquarter's diametre was roughly 1615 ft.

A circle circumscribed on the outside of a pentagon whose sides are 921 ft long has a radius of 783 ft. So a circle that would circumscribe the Pentagon has a diameter of 1,566 ft.

So if Apple's headquarters turned into the flying saucer it so resembles, and happened to crash land on Pentagon, it would just slightly cover the building. Wow - that's a lot of space!

Apple must have some big plans in store for the future. Although the designs have been released for the new headquarter's architecture, we're interested to see what exactly they'll do with the massive space. We'll be sure to keep you updated.

Uh-oh Sydney is now the seventh most expensive city...

It's the news we didn't want to hear. Sydney is now the seventh most expensive city -Yes, in the world. Even more surpising is that is has beat out international hotspots such as New York, London and Paris who this year, dropped down on the list. However, if you're in the market for a new home, are renting or even enjoy a coffee from your local barista even now and then, you no doubt already know how expensive Sydney can be.

The rankings, published in the annual Prices and Earnings report were calculated by comparing the cost of an average 'shopping basket' of 122 goods and services. The six cities that were ahead of Sydney were Oslo, Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Tokyo.

Sydney was the only Australian city to appear on the list. But don't start packing your bags and head off to live in another state just yet. The rankings revealed some positive news. Afterall, with Sydney's high living costs comes with higher wages.

Sydney finished second in a table ranking the domestic buying power of its citizens. This was calculated by comparing wages in each location with living costs.

Sydney's jump in the rankings can also be explained by the strong Aussie dollar and the depreciation of other world currencies such as the US dollar and euro. So although the ranking might not be the most welcomed news it is sign of a good economy.

What do you think of the rankings? What cities were you suprised to see on the list?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why does Google want Motorola?

Why does Google want Motorola?

Three reasons come to mind:

1. Save the android platform from increasing ‘patent taxes’ that would stall its growth potential. Microsoft along with other companies have been levying royalties from handset OEMs (original handset manufacturers) by accusing them of infringing on patents. Prior to the Motorola acquisition, Android was the weakest platform acquisition in terms of its patent portfolio which meant Google was unable to defend OEMs from escalating ‘patent taxes’ levied by competitors with strong intellectual property portfolios.

2. So as to offer a ‘horizontal +’ play – Google can now license a complete software + hardware + industrial design + patents ‘stack’ to handset OEMs. This could be termed an "Android Experience licensing" program by
a. reducing time to market even further,
b. helping smaller ODMs produce better industrial designs and
c. better optimise hardware for software without relying exclusively on chipset vendors like Qualcomm.

The Motorola acquisition is in no way representative of a vertical OEM play as it does not help Google sell more ads (to justify the Motorola price tag).

3. To develop a complete reference design for home media devices & TVs which run Android, and thereby speed up the time to market and also impose strict compliance requirements that include hardware and DRM (the latter are musts for getting the Android platform endorsed by the TV studios and distributors).

In summary, when Google bought Andy Rubin’s team back in 2005 they never considered that Android was going to be 10x more strategic and cost-heavy than they ever imagined.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Apple's new headquarters take it into the future!

We all knew that Apple's new headquarters were going to be nothing short of amazing and boy did they deliver!

Cupertino City Council released the plans for the new headquarters that are sure to take Apple (further) into the future!

The headquarters will be built over 175 acres. The building will be a massive 2.8 million square feet and will boast a 1,000 seat corporate auditorium, a fitness centre, research facilities and I'm sure some very cool office space that will epitomise modern design.

The most striking part of the project is naturally the building itself - a huge four-story circular structure, that some comparing to an alien mother ship. However, Apple's futuristic architecture reflects its forward thinking. Plenty of green initiatives are also to be implemented such as an on-site, low carbon power plant and plans to reuse water and cut down on car travel.

Apple's 12,000 employees will also be able to gaze out through the glass walls into the woodlands. The location will have 6,000 trees and plenty of indigenous plant life including apricot orchards. Jealous much?

The new headquarters are set for completion in 2015.

Tell us what you think of the new proposed new headquarters. Has the sight of it made you now want to run off and work for Apple or do you think it looks like a flying saucer that has crash landed on some woodland?

Monday, August 15, 2011

New lease on life

There is a new housing trend in Sydney that is playing a dual role preserving our heritage and changing the way we think about apartment living.

The idea of recycling long standing buildings and turning them into modern, beautiful apartments has seen people now start to call the old flour silos in Newtown, The Royal Women’s Hospital at Paddington and Walsh Bay wharves, home.

Reusing is a growing trend, especially in our increasingly environmentally conscious society and it makes sense. What better way to give a building a new lease on life by giving it a new purpose? It beats having it razed to the ground. This way we can maintain a piece of history and the hertiage architecture but also integrate it into modern living.

Here are few of the many examples of restored and recycled buildings that are now stunning apartments.

Caritas, Darlinghurst
This restored Georgian-style sandstone block is located at the old Caritas site in Darlinghurst. It was originally built as a halfway house in 1867 for people with mental health, alcohol or social issues. It later turned into an office and now has been transformed into six apartments. The buildings will maintain their heritage feel but with added modern conveniences.

St John's Church, Paddington
This church dating back to 1845 is soon to be given over to retail and café space. The new manse will become a large, Torrens-titled house. Traditional stonemasons have been working on the exteriors and windows to restore the building to its former glory.

News for the housing market from the June quarter

Recent data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics has shown some interesting facts when it comes to the housing market from the June quarter. Although it may seem like doom and gloom there were some positive trends among the data.

Firstly, the data revealed that while Sydney housing market remains subdued, buyer activity has stabilised over the past few months due to the growing confidence in the marketplace. This growing confidence has created an encouraging atmosphere for the market.

June saw the number of owner-occupied home loans taken out in NSW fall by 4.6 percent compared to the previous month. However, it was not all bad news seeing as home loans rose 19 percent during May.

The number of home loans taken out during the June quarter was 8.3 percent higher than the same period in 2010. The average value of home loans rose to $325,300, the highest monthly figure on record.

Although the number of properties on the market remains higher than June 2010 quarter, the rate of growth of new listings is falling.

Analysts are predicting interest rates to stay on hold for the rest of the year. However, the chance of the rate rise toward the end of the year is possible depending on economic activity.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Your guide to rose pruning

There's just two weeks left of winter this year. Now, before you start rejoicing, just remember winter is a season that has it's benefits. It's the perfect time for rose pruning.

Ideally roses should be pruned twice a year at least. They can be done in summer, when spent flowers can simply be chopped off a few centimetres below the flower and during winter. Rose pruning during winter is a great way to help improve new growth in the coming months.

If you live in the colder parts of the country, August is the ideal time to start rose pruning so the frosts don't knock back the new shoots. So what are you waiting for?

What to look for when rose pruning
When it comes to rose pruning, generally you'll want to cut about 50 percent off the top of the bush and into a rounded shape. Here are some more tips for rose pruning. There are a few things to be on the look for:

Thorns (most obviously!) - invest in some good quality gardening gloves and a long sleeved top to protect your arms.

Remove old growth to make way for new: Cut off old grey wood from the base of the plant and leave the young shoots. Remove weak, spindly or dead stems. If you have an old bush you might need to get out a pruning saw to remove thicker, older wood.

Don't be afraid to prune and remove large sections of the rose bush. Doing this every couple of years will help rejuvenate new growth.

In general, try to open up the centre of the bush, to ensure more sun and air comes through. ut at about a 45 degree angle, sloping away from the bud. This will prevent rain and dew from collecting in the area where the bud forms onto the stem and will help stop fungal disease.

When you've finished, dispose of the clipping clippings and fertilise. There are plenty of options to choose here. Lime sulphur or organic mulch will help your roses thrive and keep out weeds.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Some important points for you to increase your company presence on Facebook

Some important points for you to increase your company presence on Facebook

There are a host of tactics that can help you grow your fan page, including:

1. Starting a blog and growing an audience can take a year or longer. Expect the same with a FB fan page, and be clear about your expectations from it. It might not be worth it for some businesses. For others it's a great investment with real returns. Look at other companies like yours. Do they have fan pages, how are they doing, are they just spewing up uninteresting information and small talk or real information and value, which one's are doing well and which aren't?

2. Remember, if you want it to go viral you have to give people things that they can share. So if you aren't a humour content company it is going to be tricky…aim to give people knowledge that they will want to share, things that empower them as authorities within their communities.

3. Reach out to people already within your community via email or your company website (registered users) and start with your loyal base, then reward them for coming to your FB fan page: deals, new info, whatever you can offer and incentivize them to share this experience with their friends through greater rewards. Don't make it hokey and about money or cheap giveaways, give something of real value.

4. Reach out to like communities elsewhere on the web and tell them about your fan page - bloggers, other social networks and websites. Expect it to take some time.

5. To get to a critical mass, consider investing in Fan Ads (Like Ads). The most commonly cited benchmark is $1.07 per fan acquired by ads (which also puts some real value to the above noted efforts…ie it is worth putting the time and energy into the above because fans acquired via 'organic' ways means you're not paying for them.There have been examples of companies driving the CPF to around .70 and sometimes lower…and then two things happen…for every three or four paid fan ads, you will see an additional organic fan and as you get critical mass, you should see around 1% per week organic growth.

6. This may sound obvious, but make sure you include a prominent link to your Facebook page in all of your regular communications with potential fans: your website, your newsletter, any other email communications, your signature for web forums, your Twitter profile, etc. You're already interacting with people who may be interested in what you're saying, so make it as easy as possible for them to connect with you on FB, too.

7. Think about running contests to encourage your current fans to post comments or photos on your page. Their actions will show up in their friends' Newsfeeds, giving you exposure to new people who are not unlikely to be interested in what you're offering, since their friends already Like you.

8. Look at "Sponsored Stories", a new type of ad that Facebook launched recently. It takes your fans' actions (such as liking your page or liking one of your posts) and puts it in an ad that it shows to their friends. I feel these are much more effective than traditional FB ads for acquiring new fans.

9. Tagging people and pages in posts on your page wall. Combine this tactic with asking a question and the people tagged will likely respond. In order to respond, they have to like your page. The tagging, as well as any engagement from the tagged person/page, appear on the wall of that person/page which exposes your post to any people who view their wall…n.b. you can only tag people who you are friends with or pages that you already like.

10. Tag photos on your wall. People love to look at photos of themselves and if you are at an event that supports your business, take photos and post them to your page. Tag anyone you can. Encourage them to tag their friends who appear in the photos (as you can only tag people you are friends with). Same principle as above - people will come and look, and in order to comment, will have to like the page.

11. Ask questions - but questions facilitate engagement which helps your posts to linger in the news feeds of people who like your page. And, when they engage with your page, it increases the possibility that friends of likers made comments on your page post.

12. Encourage your fans to "Suggest to Friends" your page. This strategy will work best if you have built up a level of trust and your fans feel like they get something from your page. I don't suggest you ask this of your fans without having built up social capital with them first. But, if they feel like they can give something back to the page for all that they have gotten from liking it (great ideas, great content, etc.) this kind of request can be well received.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where did the ‘i’ in ‘i-mac’ or ‘i-phone’ come from?

Where did the ‘i’ in ‘i-mac’ or ‘i-phone’ come from?
1997, Steve Jobs returned to Apple as interim CEO…Apple was 6 months from full insolvency, company morale was at all time low. Warring faction, personal fiefdoms, internal groups vying for each other’s blood – each assigning blame for Apple’s slow but apparent demise.
Steve spent 1st few months getting rid of irrelevant products, projects, partnerships…he streamlined the group to a Spartan group of products. Painful process…stark change.
Steve identified two important products to focus on – the Mac product line & the Power Book product line. Both had lost their way and lost their significance in the market.
Steve selected a project that was an extension on very 1st Mac.
o Radical design which saw a departure from anything else in the market – a translucent, all-in-one stand alone computer, no internal access, no ability to use add in cards.
o Adoption of a new communication standard at the time – USB
o No 3.5 inch floppy drive – instead sitting in centre was translucent door of the CD Rom drive. At the time, CD Roms were highly expensive and not considered the standard for software distribution.
No name for the product at this stage. Steve knew it was going to be very important to have a Mac name. At the time TBWA\Chiat\Day was creating the defining marketing campaign for Apple, “Think Different” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thi...). Think different was Steve’s way of setting Apple apart.
Ken Segall was driving genius behind this campaign. Ken had been brought over to Apple from Next where he had a great working relationship with Steve. Initially Steve rejected all the ideas and was leaning towards “MacMan” (http://gizmodo.com/5447804/the-b...). Ken was suitably horrified at this suggestion and set about trying to convince Steve to see another name as the one to go for. I think even Steve will admit that no genius is an island and even he misses the mark at times.
It was almost by default that the name ‘i-mac’ was chosen. Steve suggested that they just try to silk screen the name Ken wanted on the front of his new computer…and that was that!
August 15, 1998…launch date looming, it was clear that Apple were going to stick with ‘i-Mac’. http://kensegall.com/naming2.html
Steve had a clear vision of what the computer stood for: "It's a full-powered Mac, so it can do a lot of things. But first and foremost, it will get you onto the Internet in 10 minutes, even if you've never used a computer before."
The Apple Team & Agency chose the ‘i-Mac’ with the clear focus on the ‘i’. The ‘i’ stood for internet, individual, imagination, i as in me, etc…it was also going to do a good job of laying a solid foundation for future product planning.
The ‘i’ concept has caught on and become so pervasive that Steve is the iCeo

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Growing potatoes

Who doesn't love potatoes? You can enjoy them as a creamy mash, crunch on their crispy skin when roasted or boil them and toss them into a good curry.

The good news is that growing potatoes is a fairly easy process. Discover how you can enjoy the rich flavour of home grown potatoes in your own cooking!

Growing potatoes in your garden
There are lots of potato varieties available including Kennebec, King Edward, Russet and Idaho to name a few. Before planting, think which type will best suit you. If you're planning on growing potatoes to last you a few months you’ll want a variety that stores for a longer period of time. Some varieties are better for baking and others for boiling. So when it comes to growing potatoes firstly think, how do you like yours?

Once you've made that decision you can tackle the steps for growing potatoes. Begin by buying the “seed” potatoes to plant. These can be purchased from the supermarket or nursery. Be sure the potatoes have lots of ‘eyes’ (the bumpy growths on the skin). Cut your seeds into halves and make sure they have at least one eye and a significant amount of flesh on them. Cutting the seeds a few days before planting works to prevent the potatoes from rotting once they are underground.

Plant your seeds eye up and give them some distance, placing them roughly 30cm apart and cover with soil. Some also recommend using a blend of straw with old manure, blood and bone and compost. Then, water generously. When flowers appear, you'll know your potatoes are getting close to maturity. Ensure that the soil always covers the plant up to the base so they don’t get exposed to sunlight and continue to water moderately. Remember not to go overboard as too much water can cause the potatoes to rot. When the plants begin to die back and yellow, the crop is ready for harvest.

This is just one of the many different ways of growing potatoes. There is also the no dig or straw method way of growing potatoes. In this method, the growing area is prepared and a mulch added to ensure weeds do not get through. The "seeds" are then placed on the area and covered with straw, blood and bone and manure layers until 40cm deep.

Remember to be patient when growing potatoes. In general, potatoes take 16 to 20 weeks to mature. However, the first sight of shoots out of the soil can take might take up to two months based on the time of year and variety you are growing.

Growing potatoes in Australia is easy as long as you choose the right time of the year. In frost prone areas plant between the last frost and December. In warmer areas, July to October and January to February are the best time of year for growing potatoes.

So now you know the secrets of growing potatoes. Start planting and enjoy the endless supply of mash you'll reap!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Growing frangipani trees

When we think of the fragrant frangipani tree chances are we immediately conjure up an image of a tropical paradise with white sandy beaches and beautiful sunny weather. However, the frangipani tree doesn't have to be limited to something you only see in a resort or spa, depending on where you live in Australia, this tree can thrive in your own backyard.

About the frangipani tree
The frangipani tree, Plumeria rubra is native to Central America, Mexico and Venezuela. Frangipani trees are known for their vibrant colours which range from lavender, red, pink, yellow and white. Frangipani trees can be pruned so they remain small and easy to manage. However, as trees they can grow up to heights of 8 metres.

Where do they grow?
As mentioned, frangipani trees thrive in warmer areas. In Australia, they flower in warm coastal climates. In the particular they can grow well in Queensland, the north coast of Perth and Sydney. It is recommended that they receive around 5-6 hours of direct sun each day.

Don't despair if you live in a colder climate. It is still possible to create the correct climate for your frangipani tree indoors. Ensure you take your plant indoor during the colder months to protect them from snowy and frosty weather conditions. They should be exposed to the morning sun, by perhaps placing them on a window sill or covered balcony. In the summer months, keep them in warm spots to ensure they get as much sunlight as possible.

What to be wary of
Frangipani trees in Australia have experienced a new disease in recent years known as plumeria rust in which yellow pustules appear on the underside of the leaves. The top of the leaves also become brown. This can be passed on to other plants so ensure any fallen leaves are disposed of. Spraying your frangipani tree with a copper based spray or fungicide can also help prevent this.

When growing frangipani trees it is essential to keep in mind heat, light, moisture and fertilisation. Extra TLC when it comes to your frangipani tree will ensure you reap the rewards of the beautiful flowers and their tropical scent.


Having a house by the beach is a dream that many people have, but the price for a property with views of the ocean is not affordable for everyone. It is lucky then that the concept of a beach style home can be applied to any house, anywhere. All you have to do is think about the ocean, and match the furniture and decorations accordingly.

To me, the perfect beach house assembles all the elements that I enjoy when I go to the beach. It makes use of the colours that are found on the coast; the shades of blue from the ocean and the sky, white from the clouds and the breaking waves, green from the palm trees and the surrounding vegetation, coral and pink from the reefs and the shells, and beige and brown from the sand and the driftwood.
Above: The Coastal collection from Boyd Blue. www.boydblue.com

The beach means different things to different people, so it is important to isolate the elements of the beach that you want in your home. My ideal beach house has light walls, white or beige, with single walls in darker shades of blue, or brown. Blue and brown might not be the most common combination, but together they capture the warm, deep mood of the sea and the sand. The white gives an airy and fresh feeling, and it allows you to match with colourful decorations.

In my ideal beach house the lounge is white or beige, with plenty of cushions in soft shades of blues and pinks, inspired by the water and the shells on the beach. I would choose a dark timber for all the wooden features in the house, and it gives a more unique beach feel if picture frames are handmade from driftwood. Feel free to use natural decorations found on the beach when decorating your home, such as shells, rocks, and pieces of wood. Play with the images you have from the beach, so choose a carpet in a sandy colour, and a palm tree to have in the corner. Choose art work inspired by the sea, anything that has to do with waves always belong in a beach house.

By Johanna Grahn, intern at Luxury Home Design magazine

Friday, August 5, 2011

Keep it Together

The Renovators, The Block, and Top Design – how many more DIY programs do we need? These shows all specialize in creating architectural masterpieces out of derelict buildings. With so much media dedicated to converting the plain, boring bedroom into a modern, technologically advanced crib, we have forgotten how to do the simplest of things. In a bid to match our skills to the likes of The Block contestants, we seem to have lost our basic training in DIY.
We look at kitchens and bathrooms that are designed, planned and created in the space of a week. Don’t get me wrong, it is possible. But are our renovation expectations too high? We don’t have the resources or the time to commit to a project like the contestants on these shows. Most of us will do the odd paint job on a Saturday afternoon, or assemble the furniture in the evening after work. The important thing is not to rush! Yes, having a paintjob done in a week is possible, but it’s just not feasible. In the mean time, let’s brush up on tips and tricks to help get our (simple) DIY done and dusted:
1. Plan your Project – Is now the right time to start a project? Give yourself enough time (and energy) to finish it. It isn’t a good idea to start painting the guest bedroom a week before the in-laws come to stay! It should be an enjoyable experience, and rushing will only leave you feeling unsatisfied with the outcome.
2. Budget – Don’t just throw money into a project without knowing how much it should cost. Paint, sealing glue, tiles, furniture etc can all add up pretty quickly. Think about how much you would like to spend – do those lamps necessarily need to be purchased if they’re more expensive than the sofa you just bought?
3. Buy a decent toolkit! – This precious bag will take you far with a DIY, and in future ventures. There’s no point digging through that pile in the garage to find a hammer or a monkey wrench, so buy a bag of tools to make you an official handy man/woman. It will allow you easy access and make life a lot easier.
4. Don’t Stress – During a DIY, a lot of things can go wrong and it is important to accept this before you undertake the journey. The trick is not to stress; there is always someone who will be able to help you. A handy option is to have a carpenter, painter, plumber and electrician on speed dial just in case.
5. Enjoy! – This is your vision, your project. Enjoy the ups and downs, and relish in the experience of taking your home into your own hands. This could open the doors to many other DIY projects in the future!

By Caitlin Chander - intern at Luxury Home Design magazine.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Renovation Reality TV Shows Good for Ideas…… but the money is in the planning.

Australian home owners have been urged to take off their rose coloured glasses when watching DIY Reality TV Renovation home shows and look behind the scenes.

Part demolition of a property ready for renovation Archicentre, the building advisory service of the Australian Institute of Architects today advised that whilst Reality TV Renovation shows have a positive impact on getting people thinking about renovation and providing ideas, they do not reflect the reality of renovation.
Archicentre State Manager ACT & NSW, Ian Agnew said, there is a big difference between some cosmetic renovations such as painting or patching plaster and building work involving structural design, building permits and health and safety territory.
Mr Agnew said the big difference between the Reality Renovation Programs and the real renovation is that the Reality TV Renovation is being driven by entertainment needs where contestants and renovation activity are packaged into a production.
"In the real world renovators are faced with designing a renovation well beforehand, getting planning and building approvals and mapping out the construction program."
Mr Agnew said the success of any renovation is in the planning of the project and in the quality control of the actual building and finishing.
"With the likely increases in energy costs, more than ever sustainable design is going to have a major impact on reducing the cost of running a home in the future. Sustainability needs to be built into the design - it is not an add on."
Mr Agnew said, "people renovating properties for resale and investment purposes should realise that they could devalue their properties with poorly planned and constructed renovations."
Some tips for renovating a property for maximum return include:
• Purchasing a property that is structurally sound.
• Assessing the financial potential with a design and cost analysis before purchase.
• Checking the local development controls to avoid costly design delays.
• Ensuring the design finishes and fittings do not over capitalise the property.
• Utilising design to deliver lifestyle requirements being demanded by the market.
• Obtaining competitive building or sub contract prices

Renovators wanting find out more about renovation can book into a free design workshop or get a free Cost Guide at www.archicentre.com.au

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Colour of Feng Shui

by Caitlin Chander

Colours are really ‘in’ right now: in fashion, in makeup and now it’s moving to the home. To move with the season, we are choosing hot red tones for our living rooms and luminous yellows and greens for the bedroom. But do we know what these colours actually mean to us?
I recently read an article about the belief of Feng Shui and how it can contribute to your attitude, and life around you. It was so interesting to discover that the colours you choose for the rooms in your humble abode can seriously alter the atmosphere in them. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!
So before we start painting the odd feature wall here and there, we must understand what colour our personality is attuned to. According to feng shui, colour can strongly affect the personality of a person in the room. While some tones can make you feel spritely and energized, others can make you feel calm and relaxed. Feng Shui also suggests that in order to lessen the intensity of a block colour in your room, it is necessary to use a monochromatic colour (i.e.light blue with a darker blue). It is vital that you carefully consider the meaning and the effect of each colour. Let me break it down for you:

Colour: Claire Wayman for Dulux, Forbidden Palette 4

Red: This colour denotes a strong, active and warm atmosphere. It can also give anger or ambitious feelings.
Yellow: Like the colour of the sun, it gives off energy and life. Yellow is often compared to gold, it can also denote luxury and prosperity – so it is a recommended colour for the study. Be aware, that too much yellow can also cause anxiety.
Blue: Ideal for the bedroom, blue is the colour of the ocean and the sky. It represents calm, peace, comfort and protection.
Purple: Denotes passion and also gives off more spirituality and mental healing.
Orange: Energising and stimulating, this friendly, social colour is ideal for the dining room. It can also spark creativity, and increases organization.
Green: This colour often has natural connotations, providing a quiet, relaxed and refreshing atmosphere, although it can reduce productivity.
Brown: Like green, it can be viewed as a natural colour, giving off a feeling of comfort, intimacy and warmth. Chocolate is a perfect colour for a large room to avoid feeling cold. Suitable for a living room.
White: Neutrals and beiges represent cleansing, innocence and purity. It is suitable for the kitchen, however too much white can lead to poor judgment and a lack of clarity.
Black: A strong, bold colour, black can be seen as elegant and majestic. But be careful not to use too much black, as it is known to remove energy from a room.

Colour:Clair Wayman for Dulux, Forbidden Palette 4

Colour does not necessarily have to be restricted to paint of course. If you are not comfortable picking up a paintbrush at painting your bedroom cobalt blue, other features are acceptable. For example, introducing aqua green lamps in your living room, or having a burnt orange table setting in your dining room is sufficient enough to achieve good feng shui in your home.
While there are many different interpretations of feng shui colours, it is only you who can decide how each colour makes you feel. So give it a go!

For more info: