Category Archives: Learning

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!

The best board games to play this Winter

For some, the idea of playing a board game is met with thrill as the excitement of taking on an opponent is just too strong to pass up. For others, it dredges up dark memories of many a Christmas Day afternoon where monopoly got a little out of hand.

It seems the world of board games is springing back into life as there seem to be more and more games available to play and what’s more, they aren’t all competitive…in fact some of our favourites  promote collaboration amongst players.

Here are our top five picks.

 

Pandemic

Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out. Players must work together playing to their characters’ strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. For example the Operation Specialist can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases. The Scientist needs only 4 cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal 5. But the diseases are out-breaking fast and time is running out: the team must try to stem the tide of infection in diseased areas while also towards cures. A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose. As skilled members of a disease-fighting team you must keep four deadly diseases at bay while discovering their cures. You and your teammates will travel across the globe treating infections while finding resources for cures. The clock is ticking as outbreaks and epidemics fuel the spreading plagues and you must work as a team to succeed. Can you find all four cures in time? The fate of humanity is in your hands!

 

Power Grid

If you’re interested in board games that keep you thinking and reward strategic planning with a victory, then we highly recommend you consider Power Grid. The objective in Power Grid is to be the person who can supply power to the most cities in the network when the game ends. And the end of the game is triggered by the players. Keeping an eye on the other players, their progression, their city network, their power plants, and their resources is key to doing well in the game.

Players mark pre-existing routes between cities for connection, and then bid against each other to purchase the power plants that they use to power their cities. However, as plants are purchased, newer, more efficient plants become available, so by merely purchasing, you’re potentially allowing others access to superior equipment. Players must also acquire the raw materials (coal, oil, garbage, and uranium) needed to power their plants (except for the ‘renewable’ windfarm/ solar plants, which obviously require no fuel), making it a constant struggle to upgrade your plants for maximum efficiency while still retaining enough wealth to quickly expand your network to get the cheapest routes.

 

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is a cooperative deck building game for 2 to 4 players that, depending on which game you’re playing, could take 30 minutes, or well over 90 minutes.

Players are taken on a journey through the seven films adapted from the books. They span the years of Harry Potter learning at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, meanwhile encountering the likes of various villains and one particular villain who-should-not-be-named. Players achieve their goals through some pretty standard deck building mechanisms and combating villains with spells, items, and companions along the way. It is a wonderful introduction to cooperative games and deck building for new gamers.

 

Terraforming Mars

Think you have what it takes to make Mars habitable? Well well have we found the game for you!

In the 2400s, mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment is habitable. In Terraforming Mars, you play one of those corporations and work together in the terraforming process, but compete for getting victory points that are awarded not only for your contribution to the terraforming, but also for advancing human infrastructure throughout the solar system, and doing other commendable things.

 

Settlers of Catan

The Settlers of Catan is a highly rated board game that has won several awards and members of the Booko online community highly recommend. Between 3 and 4 people can play the base edition, but a 5 to 6 player expansion is also available if you want to play with more people. You can use multiple strategies to win, and there are lots of variations to the rules. Picture yourself in the era of discoveries and after a long voyage of great deprivation, your ships have finally reached the coast of an uncharted island. Its name shall be Catan! But you are not the only discoverer. Other fearless seafarers have also landed on the shores of Catan and the race to settle the island begins!

 

Enjoy!