Four ways to add value to your home


Renovations can be a fantastic way to increase a property’s value. Breathing new life into your living space can also give you with a sense of satisfaction and have flow on effects for your lifestyle. The following tips are some of the simplest ways to add value to your home!

1. Patio

Make the most of your outdoor space by adding a patio to your house. It’s advisable to go with a specialist patio and deck builder, as specialists are licensed, trained, and use high-quality materials. Some specialists, such as Additions Building, provide cost-free consultations. Don’t underestimate the value of a consultation; choosing the right roofing and design will ensure you get maximum use and comfort out of your new living area.

Once your patio has been built, start decorating! Pick up outdoor furniture at a local retailer or charity shop, then add plants and cushions to compliment the exterior of your house.

2. Paint

Improve the look and mood of your home by giving its interior a fresh coat of paint. Doing the painting yourself, while challenging, can be quite inexpensive and is one of the best ways to save money. If you’d rather not paint, cleaning your house can be nearly as refreshing as a new paint job, so give doors, windows and skirting boards a once-over with a multi-purpose cleaner.

3. Kitchen

Upgrading your kitchen is a given when it comes to adding value to your home. However, if you’re on a tight budget, there’s no point worrying about major renovations. Simply keep your kitchen up to date by adding some new appliances such as a dishwasher and stove. You can also spruce your kitchen up by fitting new taps. For added cohesion, purchase taps with the same design as the others fitted in your home.

4. Lighting

Upgrading light fixtures is an incredibly simple and cost effective way to add value to your home. If you have old-fashioned lights, replace them with down-lights and use them to highlight your favourite pieces of decor. If you’re looking at selling your property, install energy-efficient lighting—it’ll make your home more appealing. Add some lights to your patio, and consider yard lighting too. Homes suitable for outdoor entertaining are valued highly.

These tips only scratch the surface of home renovation. Get creative and make changes that resonate with the vision you’ve always had for your home. It’s amazing how much value some small adjustments can add.

Image from here.

Douglas and Bec – the father and daughter company goes global


What started in 2006 as a collaboration between designer Bec Dowie and her father, furniture maker Douglas Snelling, has grown into an award-winning company with a global following.

The New Zealand based company, Douglas and Bec, recently designed feature lighting at The Ritz Hawaii and the new Marriott Hotel in Portland, Oregon. In Paris, the Panache Hotel features the Line Pendant 04 and popular Folding Stools, while at Singapore’s newest upscale restaurant, Whitegrass (images below), Douglas and Bec’s iconic Y Series chandeliers hang above a gorgeous communal table.

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Meantime, here in Australia, Douglas and Bec worked with designers Arent&Pyke to build bespoke furniture for 74 thoughtfully designed spaces at the Alex Hotel in Perth.

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The interior of KOOKAÏ’s South Yarra boutique feature Douglas and Bec’s Cross Brass and Folding Stools. The conceptual idea was that the store should represent an intimate apartment interior. The sumptuous textural combination of timber, brass and leather, and the subtle femininity of these stools were a perfect match for this project.

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Over the past 10 years, Douglas and Bec has grown from a retail-focused company into an award-winning design studio with global clientele. Amid the excitement, founder Rebecca Dowie is still deeply passionate about local manufacturing and the company’s retail spaces.

“Supporting our industry is important to us and brings clear advantages, such as the immediacy of local suppliers. From a retail perspective having that face to face contact with our clients keeps us in touch with their needs. It gives us a better ability to make special, customised pieces,” says Bec.

Douglas and Bec now has four locations – a studio, workshop and office in Auckland, and a showroom in Melbourne – with a growing staff of talented individuals. Douglas, now 72, remains at the heart of the production process, alongside a network of local makers who are integral in manufacturing Douglas and Bec’s collections. Bec explained:

“We have a great network, which has taken a bit of refinement. We like to work with companies of similar scale and usually we share similar values.”

“Everyone is really excited about the direction we’re heading in, especially with the international growth. We have great staff across the business and we recently took on a former boat builder and a new workshop manager to keep up with demand.”

As they reflect with pride on recent successes, Douglas and Bec has its sights set firmly on the future, presenting a range of new and updated products for 2016. Recently released is a new Camel and Brushed Chrome colourway for the acclaimed Line Collection. New additions to the Line Collection include the Compact 04, a pendant light showcasing the brand’s signature mouth blown glass in a compact arrangement. Also, the Line Wall Light 2.0, an evolutionary design based on simplicity and the combination of beautiful materials.

New pieces have also been added to the furniture range. Bearing the initials of its designer, Rebecca Dowie, The RD Table features minimalist lines and expert craftsmanship, designed and made to be in your family for generations. The stunning Semi-Circular Floor Mirror is a timeless and functional piece designed with nostalgic sentiment. Completing the release is an elegant all black colourway for the definitive All Circle Mirror and classic RD Chair.

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Explore the online store here!

Images from Douglas and Bec’s website.

Love maps and interiors? Meet Mapiful!


I first came across Mapiful a year or so ago and immediately shared it with my family. Having grown up in England and emigrated as a family to Australia, we have a strong connection to and love for our birthplace and former home; Oxford. We love maps and the stories that they bring out.

So, fast forward several months, and the guys behind Mapiful reached out to me. I think they were pretty excited to find out that I’d already heard of their start up, which they only launched in March 2015 and promoted in Sweden. Proof that good things travel fast!
Edvin, Anders, Johan and Nils-Erik have known each other for years and worked together as clients/customers to the others’ businesses. They soon realised that they each shared a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a vision of how future companies could be built more efficiently.
With their combined backgrounds in design, marketing, code, accounting, and law – all in the tech industries – these guys were well covered when it came to setting up their new business.
The seed was planted when the four were sharing lunch at a restaurant in late 2014.
“We had been talking for a while that we should try and build something together and see if it is possible to build a fully automated business working on a global market. We thought of it kind of like a bizarre challenge,” explains Edvin.
“The fascinating thing about maps, that eventually evolved into Mapiful, is that it is basically just generic informations about roads, streets, coordinates and stuff. Pretty much like a huge spreadsheet, but visualised.
“Each and everyone will have different emotional connection to different places in the same map – where they live, went to school, met their spouse or where they used to play some ball as kids.
“We had seen that maps had been a popular in interior design for quite some time. But it was always the same places, London, Paris, New York, San Francisco figuring on the posters… we knew we could do something different and better.”
Since the launch, the four say it has been “kind of crazy”. They’ve sold posters to customers in about 85 countries and thousands of Mapifuls are now proudly hanging in people’s living rooms, nurseries and offices as well as in public spaces.
In fact they even told me:
“Most of our marketing efforts so far has been focused on Sweden, but (obviously since you’ve heard of us) it has spread outside our own reach.”
 So take a look at how this smart and beautiful brand uses technology to evokes memories in us all…

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Explore Mapiful on Facebook and Instagram or start building your own.

Ethnicraft: bringing us the timeless beauty of solid wood

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I’ve been eyeing off the pieces by Ethnicraft ever since I turned into a ‘grown up’ and started lusting over furniture. Those solid pieces of functional and timeless wooden furniture are what I’m all about!
But I was surprised to hear that Ethnicraft employs more than 2,000 people and is sold in more than 50 countries! With offices in Belgium, France, Singapore and Hong Kong in addition to production facilities in Indonesia, Vietnam and Serbia, the Ethnicraft label has evolved into a truly global brand.
The company has been around for 20 years now, with its roots in Belgium. But its mission remains the same from day one:
using authenticity, simplicity and impeccable craftsmanship to create sustainable pieces full of character.
Delve into their range and you’ll notice a very small variation of materials used. In fact, it’s either teak, oak or walnut. Why? These are woods that are durable and, when used to craft furniture, create pieces that will last for years to come.
Ethnicraft is also committed to a constant drive for innovation. But how exactly? The team test and revise (and then again!) each new design; every curve, every texture and every line. Each piece must meet their discerning standard of design.
So what does this result in? Take a look!
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See more Ethnicraft goodness over on their website here!

Why timber is my go-to and should be yours too


I have a little challenge for you today. You know how our mood can change after going on a walk in a park or along a beach? I don’t know about you, but I feel such a huge sense of calm when I escape into nature and just slow life down for even just 20 minutes at a time.

But have you ever considered how you could use the effect that nature has on us right here in our homes?

Australia’s Beyond Blue found that “there is growing evidence that access to the natural environment improves health and well-being, prevents disease and helps people recover from illness”.

So we’d be crazy not to make an effort to bring a little of the outdoors, in.

One way of doing this is with timber. Walk into my place and you’ll see very few pieces of furniture built from man-made materials and instead a LOT of timber. How about trying a touch of your own DIY and making some ‘floating’ timber shelves for in the study or living room; a rustic farmhouse bench (great in the entrance hall for keys and umbrellas) or a minimal wooden clock?

Or why not choose some gorgeous pot plants for around your home (I have a small rainforest going on in mine!). You can also start to think about choosing natural fibres when you’re investing in throws, rugs and cushions.

Of course, you don’t have to limit timber to just inside your home. Timber decking provides such a warm and timeless aesthetic, it’s a fail-proof choice for your outdoor living space.

In fact, ‘freestanding’ decks are quite the rage now! Think of a floating floor, but in this case it’s outside and sits at the same level as your home, while your garden sits down below it.

Timber-made decks allow you to enhance the natural elements of your own backyard. And of course, companies like Thomsons Outdoor Pine Sydney can manage the whole project from design to installation OR you can choose their DIY options if you’re feeling ambitious.

And make sure you choose some timber furniture to match with not clash with your flash new deck!

So here’s your challenge: next time you choose a piece of furniture, decor or fitting for your home, consider whether it’s going to bring the outdoors vibe, in.

Image from here.