Category Archives: Homes

The top books that can help us slow down

Balance. Apparently we’re all meant to find it, embrace it and have it all of the time. The problem is, when we are busy it just ends up being yet another thing added to our ever-growing to do lists. The slow movement is one that isn’t new. There are cultures around the world that do not embrace being busy and rushing about and certainly don’t consider the idea of being stressed as a badge of honour. When we slow down we can take time to reflect on what’s important, see the bigger picture when we have problems, and find things that truly make us happy. 

In a effort to help you find a moment to yourself we have scoured the internet and collated a number of great books that all discuss the notion of slowing down. So pour yourself a cup of tea and find somewhere comfy to sit for five minutes for a readyou never know, it may be just what you need. 

Rushing Woman’s Syndrome by Dr Libby Weaver

In this book, nutritional biochemist Dr Libby Weaver explains the true cost of constantly rushing and the impact this can have on our health. Through these pages you’ll learn how and why your body interprets constant rushing as a ‘stress’, how an imbalanced nervous system may be causing you to gain weight or disrupting your sleep, why you feel tired but wired and how to identify if you have adrenal fatigue, whether stress might be behind your sluggish thyroid, how daily stressors may be affecting your sex-hormone balance and contributing to issues such as PMS, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, infertility, and debilitating menopause symptoms, why stress could be at the heart of your bloating, cravings or unpredictable appetite and how your emotional landscape holds the key to leading a fulfilling life without the need to rush. This book offers real solutions to restore your health, so that you can stay productive, healthy and energised in today’s world. Don’t let it take a health crisis to wake you up to change the way you’re living and get to the heart of what’s driving your rush, allowing you to live a more meaningful life that you love.

The flourish formula, and overachiever’s guide to slowing down by Courtney Pinkerton

Courtney Pinkerton reveals a simple yet comprehensive process that will help you slow down and accomplish and savour more of what is important to you. Courtney shares eight powerful mindset and mind-body techniques to help you break out of the “busyness fog” so you can contribute your unique professional and creative gifts and thrive in your personal life. The Flourish Formula is a bit of a self-care manual that every overachieving woman should read. Every page offers fresh insights about how to lean back before you can lean in. 

It’s about time by Valorie Burton

Our culture makes it so that even the most organised and efficient among us feels the pressure of the ticking clock and the possibility and regret of missing out. Modern life has evolved in a way that sets us up for stress, pressure, and overload. New norms and attitudes tap into deeply-wired psychological impulses that make it harder than ever to take control of your time. On top of that, many of us also have innate personality traits that make the struggle even worse. No wonder time can become a tyrant that leaves us chronically stressed and discontented. In It’s About Time, you can unlock an approach to life that bestselling author Valorie Burton calls “living timelessly.” You will come to understand the gradual changes that have led us to a place where having too much to do and too little time to do it is the norm, the vision for what it could look like if you were free from the stress of time and how to blast through the obstacles to those possibilities, and the practical steps to choosing the meaningful over the urgent so that your life is unhurried yet purposeful and reflects the values and impact that are unique to you.

It’s About Time helps you reimagine a life that is meaningful, at a pace that is natural, with a load that is doable and equips you with the tools to make it happen.

Ostro by Julia Nishimura

For some of us the way to slow down is not by sitting still, it’s by doing something…something meaningful. If you’re one of those ‘active slow downers’ then Ostro is for you. Since launching Ostro online in 2014, Julia Busuttil Nishimura has gained a strong and loyal following for her generous, uncomplicated, seasonal food. As an Australian of Maltese descent and a fluent Italian speaker, who is married to a Japanese man, Julia and her food represent everything that is good about modern Australian eating. She deftly brings together a broad range of cuisines and culinary influences using the very best produce on offer. This truly is good food, made by hand. Julia guides us through the uniquely satisfying experience of making pasta or pizza dough from scratch, clearly explaining the processes and demystifying the reasons behind them. She also shares plenty of simple, flavourful salads and one-tray bakes for days when time is scarce. Baking and desserts, too, needn’t be overly complicated – as Julia shows us, some of the best go-to recipes are the ones passed down the generations. But we also need the odd show-stopper on standby for special occasions! This is simple food that is comforting and generous in spirit. Slow down, take your time and enjoy it.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany: Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to a happiness project. With humour and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Rubin didn’t have the option to uproot herself, nor did she want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her — and what didn’t. this is a great read. You can check out Gretchen’s other work here

The Art Of Simple by Eleanor Ozich

This book has the potential to be life changing. I read this in a day and absolutely loved it. When Eleanor Ozich moved to the outskirts of the city with her husband and young family she set about enjoying a much calmer way of life. Shedding unnecessary clutter and adopting a simpler style of living, Eleanor found herself with more time and energy to appreciate her family and friends and the natural beauty that surrounded her. In this, her third book, Eleanor shares recipes and ideas she has embraced in her quest to cherish life’s simple pleasures. Alongside recipes for nourishing meals you’ll find practical ideas to declutter your home, get your children to sleep and bring order to your day. There are also instructions for making natural beauty products and household cleaners, which promise to cost you less and be kinder to you and the environment. The author of My Petite Kitchen and My Family Table, in this book Eleanor unlocks the secrets to a more fulfilling life.

Enjoy!

Interior design and decoration books that will inspire your inner stylist

When the weather gets colder and the days shorter, there’s nothing more satisfying than being inside, snuggled in your favourite chair under a woolly blanket with candles flickering and a good book to read. While this may feel super cosy for those of us here in chilly Melbourne, on the other side of the world the heavy throw blankets are being boxed away, velvet cushion covers changed to lighter linen counterparts and fresh cut flowers popped into vases as the joy of Summer looms close.

It’s fun to change up your home a little each season and look to nature for inspiration for colours and textures and the occasional gem. Changes don’t have to be expensive or dramatic (so you can put down that paintbrush and roller), sometimes it’s just moving the furniture, a new fragrant candle or piece of art that can make a world of difference.

We’ve been devouring the latest books on interiors and have come up with a great list of our favourites. So make yourself a cup of tea/ glass of rose/mug of hot chocolate and settle in for some inspiration. 

The Natural Home by Hans Blomquist

The Natural Home is a place where natural materials and motifs are the key elements of a decorating style that is a joy to live with and a joy to behold. Influential art director and stylist Hans Blomquist starts off by exploring the essence of his style. Firstly, Plants and Flowers celebrates the beauty of nature, botanical prints and pictures, and the cycles of the natural world. Display reveals Hans’ passion for creating vignettes that showcase treasured pieces, while Colour presents his favourite earthy palette, which provides the perfect muted backdrop for hits of brighter natural hues. In Texture, he revels in the textures and patinas of natural materials; scuffed wood, frayed rope, beaten metal and bare stone. Finally, Hans shows how to use Fabrics to bring warmth and softness to any interior. In the second part of the book, The Natural Homes, through a series of case studies, Hans explores houses and apartments that showcase the beautiful simplicity and elegance of the natural look.

It’s Beautiful Here by Megan Morton

Interior fulfilment can be fleeting. Linen cupboards crash from a ten to a two in a blink and couch cushions need to be eternally fluffed. It’s Beautiful Here attempts to capture the moments of domestic paradise without making the mistake of thinking they are permanent, but hoping hard they might be. With her trademark wit and enthusiasm Megan Morton let’s us peek into the abodes of the people who have by luck, chance or determination nailed that ever elusive interiors je ne sais quoi. From Paris to New York and even Adelaide, we meet a motley crew of renters, Barbie Dreamhouse owners and accidental interior heroes and learn that a beautiful home doesn’t rest on great design alone it’s shaped by the people who live there. One of our team attended Megan’s Styling masterclass and has all of her books on her coffee table so we know you’ll just love this title too.

The Foraged Home by Joanna Maclennan

Anyone can create a beautiful home by foraging, and salvaging what they find. Whether a box of rusty nails or a disused armchair missing a leg, discarded objects can be restored, recycled or repurposed to fill the home with personal style. Artful interiors are born from curiosity, creativity and imagination, yet many of us fail to see a potential curtain rail in a bamboo stick or a hidden kitchen worktop in an old carpenter’s bench – let alone knowing where to find such objects. Presenting the techniques and philosophies of a wide spectrum of experienced foraging homeowners, this book showcases unexpected and inspiring interiors from all over the world, from an upturned boat in France to an Australian beach house. Such diverse locations each demand a different approach to foraging and, as a result, each home has a distinct sense of style. In an era when self-sufficiency, living off grid and saving our planet have never been more important or appealing, The Foraged Home will provide guidance and inspiration for all those looking to go beyond the world of mass-produced flat-packs.

Homebody by Joanna Gaines

In Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, Joanna Gaines walks you through how to create a home that reflects the personalities and stories of the people who live there. Using examples from her own farmhouse as well as a range of other homes, this comprehensive guide will help you assess your priorities and instincts, as well as your likes and dislikes, with practical steps for navigating and embracing your authentic design style. Room by room, Homebody gives you an in-depth look at how these styles are implemented as well as how to blend the looks you’re drawn to in order to create spaces that feel distinctly yours. A removable design template at the back of the book offers a step-by-step guide to planning and sketching out your own design plans. The insight shared in Homebody will instil in you the confidence to thoughtfully create spaces you never want to leave.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith

More Style, Less Stuff. Cozy Minimalism isn’t about going without or achieving a particular new, modern style. Nope. It’s simply a mindset that helps you get whatever style you love with the fewest possible items. You want a warm, cozy, inviting home, without using more resources, money, and stuff than needed. Why use more if you don’t have to. In Cozy Minimalist Home, accidental stylist and bestselling author Myquillyn Smith guides you step by step on making purposeful design decisions for your home. You’ll have the tools to transform your home starting with what you already have, and using just enough of the right furniture and decor to create a home you’re proud of in a way that honours your personal priorities, budget, and style. No more fretting when it comes to decorating your house! In Cozy Minimalist Home, Myquillyn Smith helps you realise your role as the curator of your home who makes smart, style-impacting design choices.  A pretty home is nice, but a Cozy Minimalist home goes beyond pretty and sets the stage for connection, relationship, and rest.

Restoration House by Kennesha Buycks

Restore peace and joy to your home as you create a space that gives your loved ones a comfortable place to connect. In Restoration House, designer and lifestyle guide Kennesha Buycks shows you how to curate and decorate your home (even on a small budget!) and create mindful spaces that give life to all who enter. How many times have you felt discouraged as you scrolled through Instagram or Pinterest at impeccably styled home decor that your family would destroy in moments? Designer and decor aficionado Kennesha Buycks is here to help you love the home you have and design spaces to welcome others.Home is more than a mere space to be filled with pretty pillows and beautifully ordained walls,” Kennesha says. Restoration House is about creating a home filled with places and spaces where people can feel secure, connected, revived, and renewed. Restoration has been a consistent theme and message throughout the lifespan of Kennesha’s blog, Restoration House Interiors. Now she guides you to create a more mindful, peaceful, restored home while finding joy in the process.

Three Birds Renovations by Bonnie Hindmarsh, Erin Cayless, and Lana Taylor

We love Three Birds. So much so we have completed their course, pre bought their book and watched every single one of their renovation videos (you can binge watch them here). When best friends Erin, Bonnie and Lana ditched their corporate careers to start Three Birds Renovations, they were rookie renovators with big ideas. Today, with many incredible house transformations under their toolbelt, they’re a power trio turning neighbourhood ugly ducklings into swans. If you lust over images of beautiful homes but feel stuck when it comes to your own space, these ‘birds’ have your back. The book is packed with gorgeous details from their projects, friendly words of encouragement and more than 400 reno tips to help you avoid budget blow-outs, manage trades and timelines, and style without stress. Whether you’re starting small or going all-in with a whole-home reno, this is destined to become one of the most useful books you own. Turn your reno dreams into reality!

Enjoy!

The best books to help you care for your house plants

The seasons are changing. Here in Melbourne, Winter is well and truly knocking on our door. The mornings are a little crisper, the days seem shorter and the nights are getting nippy. It’s a time when we pull on our slippers, bring out the wooly blankets, salads take a back seat as we begin to cook slow roasted dinners and we all retreat inside. 

One thing that doesn’t change, however, is our love for the humble indoor plant (and their popularity is on the rise). Whether it is the benefits of fresher air, colour in the room or the joy of watching something grow, most households have a pot plant. It’s also the one thing people tend to be pretty grim at keeping alive. So we have rounded up some of the best titles on the market that all aim to help us look after our indoor gardens. 

How To Raise A Plant by Morgan Doane

Aimed at a new generation of indoor gardening enthusiasts, this book is a perfect guide for anyone keen to see their plant offspring thrive. Plants have found popularity in the small home, and are being proclaimed the new stars of Instagram. This attractive little book is ideal for the novice ‘plant parent’, providing tips on how to choose plants, and above all how to care for them and keep them thriving. Indoor-plant experts and Instagrammers Erin Harding and Morgan Doane bring the subject to life alongside their beautiful photographs of happy plants in the home.

The Little Book of House Plants by Emma Sibley

House plants are having a moment. Inexpensive to purchase, easy to care for and a statement in any space they inhabit, growing these plants is virtually foolproof. The Little Book of House Plants and Other Greenery is a source of green inspiration for small-space gardening, featuring a directory of 60 of the most popular varieties of foliage to own. From dramatic palms and tropical leafy wonders to beautiful ferns and flowering potted plants – this book covers everything you need to know about nurturing and growing your own. Each of the 60 plants is accompanied by luscious photography and an easy-to-follow breakdown of all the essential requirements for that variety. This includes details on size, growth and flowering, along with any extra tips on caring for that specific plant.

Wild at Home by Hilton Carter

As the owner of over 200 plants, Hilton feels strongly about the role of plants in one’s home – not just for the beauty they add, but for health benefits as well: ‘having plants in your home not only adds life, but changes the airflow throughout. It’s also a key design element when styling your place. For me, it wasn’t about just having greenery, but having the right variety of greenery. I like to see the different textures of foliage all grouped together. You take a fiddle leaf fig and sandwich it between a birds of paradise and a monstera and. yes!’ You will be armed with the know-how you need to care for your plants, where to place them, how to propagate, how to find the right pot, and much more, and most importantly, how to arrange them so that they look their best. Combine sizes and leaf shapes to stunning effect, grow your own succulents from leaf cuttings, create your own air plant display, and more.

Leaf Supply by Lauren Camilleri

Flowers are great – everyone loves receiving them. But inevitably they’re already on the way out the door (and into the trash) by the time they arrive. Plants, living, breathing, life sustaining plants are where it’s at! Authors Lauren and Sophia really want you to fall in love with indoor gardening and growing. They provide specific care instructions with each of the listed plants, ensuring you learn and grow as your plant grows. But more than a plant guide, Leaf Supply also gives styling advice on choosing the rights pots and making the most of your indoor greenery.

Decorating with Plants by Baylor Chapman

Whether it’s a statement-making fiddle-leaf fig or a tiny tabletop succulent, a houseplant instantly elevates the look of your home. But where to begin? In Decorating with Plants, Baylor Chapman walks readers through everything they need to know to bring houseplants into their home. First, there’s Plant Care 101: from how to assess light conditions to tricks for keeping your plants alive while on vacation, Chapman gives readers the simple, foundational info they need to ensure their plants will thrive. Then she introduces us to 28 of her favourites — specimens that are tough as nails but oh-so-stylish, from the eye-catching Rubber Tree to the delicate Cape Primrose. Finally, she guides readers through the home room by room: Place an aromatic plant like jasmine or gardenia to your entry to establish your home’s signature scent.” Add a proper sense of scale to your living room with a ceiling-grazing palm. Create a living centrepiece of jewel-toned succulents for a dining table arrangement that will last long after your dinner party. From air purification to pest control, there’s no limit to what houseplants can do for your home and Decorating with Plants is here to show you how to add them to spaces big and small with style.

Plant Parenting by Leslie Halleck

No matter what kind of plant fan you are, it’s easy to make more of your favourite plants. Plant Parenting is a beginner-friendly introduction to plant propagation. Leslie F. Halleck details the basic tools necessary, demystifies seed starting and saving, and shares easy-to-follow instructions for the most practical techniques for cutting, layering, dividing, and more. She also provides additional information on controlling pests and diseases and transplanting seedlings and cuttings. Charming, richly illustrated, and accessible, Plant Parenting is for anyone looking to make more of their favourite plants.

In Bloom by Clare Nolan

This one is for those of you that just love flowers a little more.

Being able to step out of the back door and pick a single stem for beside the bed or pull together a posy for a friend is a joy. In this beautifully designed book, brimming with inspirational photographs, Clare Nolan reveals her secrets for growing a bountiful harvest as well as styling spectacular homegrown displays that will fill your home with colour and the gorgeous scent of the garden year-round. She takes the mystique out of what to grow and guides you through the entire process – from choosing the plants to suit both your garden and home decor and laying out your cutting patch, to planning ahead so you get your perfect palette of colour, texture and shape to play with at the right time. A whole chapter on arranging will inspire you to create spectacular arrangements for your home without the need for complicated floristry techniques.

Enjoy!

Styling your home; getting your property ready for the market

The traditional Spring selling season is in full swing here in Melbourne and while it may not be the strongest property market for everyone, first home buyers are set to snap up a bargain. However, with the finale of The Block on Sunday night (a renovation reality show for all of our non-Australian readers), inspiration to renovate looks rather appealing. 

Whether you’re getting your home ready for sale, fancy a little spruce up, or are scouring the market for a new home we have a few titles that may make the process a little easier and certainly more fun!

 

The House That Pinterest Built by Diane Keaton

This book is a go-to reference for all those seeking to embark on the creation of home. The House that Pinterest Built defines what home and house mean to the celebrated movie star, who is known for her love affair with houses and design. Filled with ideas that reveal a personal yet engaging aesthetic, this volume includes compelling photos from Keaton’s past homes and those she admires, as well as a multitude of details from every corner of those spaces and objects that excite and inspire the house designer and dreamer. Dramatic staircases and magical light fixtures, film stills and book covers, pottery and art drawn from the visual treasure trove known as Pinterest and Keaton’s private collection, as she creates and designs her newest house. Beyond the interior, she explores curb appeal and environmental sensitivity, always with an eye to making home the way it should be: a place of tranquillity, a place where one is restored, and where one returns to dream again and again.

 

Homebody : A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave by Joanna Gaines

In this beautiful book, Joanna Gaines walks you through how to create a home that reflects the personalities and stories of the people who live there. Using examples from her own farmhouse as well as a range of other homes, this comprehensive guide will help you assess your priorities and instincts, as well as your likes and dislikes, with practical steps for navigating and embracing your authentic design style. Room by room, Homebody gives you an in-depth look at how these styles are implemented as well as how to blend the looks you’re drawn to in order to create spaces that feel distinctly yours. A removable design template at the back of the book offers a step-by-step guide to planning and sketching out your own design plans. The insight shared in Homebody will give you the confidence to thoughtfully create spaces you never want to leave. 

 

Make the Home you Love by Fiona McPhillips

After completing her own home renovation and extension, Fiona McPhillips, author, journalist and interiors fanatic, was inspired to bring together everything she learned along the way. In collaboration with three award-winning architects, Fiona provides you with the most holistic approach to your design and build. A practical step-by-step guide to surviving the transformation of your home, taking the reader from the design stage, through the planning process to building, decorating and finishing touches. The balance of personal stories and professional advice makes this an accessible and inspiring guide to renovation. Filled with photographs of real homes, this books is bursting with great ideas and will no doubt inspire you to make the home you love. 

 

Renovating for Profit by Cherie Barber

At last a highly illustrated, practical book that renovators will love – Renovating for Profit reveals property expert Cherie Barber’s secret methods for renovating property to turn a profit. Covering budgeting, time-saving plans, timelines and successful use of colour and space, Cherie shows you how to avoid all the common mistakes. She uses real-life examples and before-and-after pictures, to explain they key areas you need to address (and those that you can ignore as they won’t influence a potential buyer). Cherie’s proven, step-by-step approach is shown over 90 renovation projects, featuring all types of homes from flats to houses to cabins. 

 

Home Staging That Works by Starr Osbourne

Want to sell your home at a premium price? Never mind simply tidying up: an amazing 91% of real estate professionals say professional staging is the way to go. But sure enough, hiring a staging consultant will cost you. Thankfully, you can now get all the secrets and techniques the pros don’t want you to know, from one of America’s most successful staging experts. Home Staging That Works shows you how to turn any home into a showpiece that buyers will be fighting over. With specific recommendations on what to do, keep, chuck, fix, paint, replace, avoid, update, show, hide, highlight, and more, you’ll learn how to: Focus on your potential buyers’ tastes (not your own), create curb appeal, drive Internet interest with photos that flatter your home, de-clutter and pre-pack at the same time, clean and repair your home without spending a fortune, and keep your home sale-ready―without being afraid to live in it. Complete with photographs of real-life before-and-after transformations, Home Staging That Works offers strategies for each room in your home, as well as conceptual approaches to bring the parts together beautifully. 

 

Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves by Emily Henderson

It’s easy to find your own style confidence once you know this secret: While decorating can take months and tons of money, styling often takes just minutes. Even a few little tweaks can transform the way your room feels. At the heart of Styled are Emily Henderson’s ten easy steps to styling any space. From editing out what you don’t love to repurposing what you can’t live without to arranging the most eye-catching vignettes on any surface, you’ll learn how to make your own style magic. With Emily’s style diagnostic, insider tips, and more than 1,000 unique ideas from 75 envy-inducing rooms, you’ll soon be styling like you were born to do it.

 

How to Buy a Home : From Debt to a Deposit by Emily Power

When Emily Power declared online, ‘I am 33 and my parents give me pocket money,’ she started a national debate about personal finances and the challenges of breaking into the property market. The Pocket Money Savings Plan has empowered Emily to move out of stifling debt and start scouting for her first property. It’s a radical solution that won’t work for everyone, so Emily, who is now editor of Domain magazines, has interviewed experts to devise other savings methods and household budgets to suit your situation, whether you’re single, or planning to buy as a couple or a family. How can you escape the debt trap? What is stamp duty? And where are the right suburbs to buy property? In the plain and motivating language of someone who’s been there and done that, Emily takes you through; how to save your pocket money, how to be a cheapskate and keep your friends, how to read the market like a pro, how to find the one and how to win the keys. Along the way, you’ll get tips on building a budget wardrobe, cooking healthy recipes on a shoestring, cheap and effective skincare products and economical wines. Before you know it, you too will be stepping over the threshold of your new home.

 

Enjoy!