Hamptons Style Kitchen Inspiration

hamptons-kitchen

Well to say it has been a long time between posts is understatement.  It is all down to one thing…..The Lakehouse.

After spending months (6-7) talking to the one builder and architect (see the last post)  and having all our hopes in them, we were forced to pull the pin.  It just wasn’t working out the way we had planned and we needed to cut our losses while we still could.  The upside is we are now with a new builder!  Well actually not that new at all as they built our last house!!!!

Plans are done and we are now at the stage of making our final inclusions before we get the all important quote back.  Which leads me to this post!  As a project builder they have their own “Interior Designer” who helps us with our selections.  They were needing some inspiration from us about what our take on”Hamptons” style is.  Turns out it means lots of different things to everyone!

FARMHOUSE SINK

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We LOVE the Ikea DOMSJO Farmhouse sink with GLITTRAN tapware.  A great price and perfectly fits with the style of the kitchen.

SHAKER CABINETS

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The sophisticated and simple design of shaker cabinets.  Shaker cabinets are simply ” characterized by five-piece door with a recessed center panel.”   Of course our colour selection is WHITE on WHITE!

STONE BENCHES

Our builder includes 40mm Stone Benches in their standard inclusions.

Of course our selection again will be white, well close to it!  We love these…

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SUBWAY TILES

This has been a hard one!  Who knew that one type of white tile could come in so many different finishes and sizes!

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For us the decision is…..

Small

Gloss

White Grout

For a seamless, shimmery look.

PENDANT LIGHTS

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This is the layout of our kitchen.  I am hoping to add 2 pendant lights over the breakfast bar.  This is probably a part of the build we will organise ourselves.  We did this last time with our builder so fingers crossed we can again!  We sourced and supplied the lights and they installed them!

I have found lots of inspiration but sourcing them in Australia is a whole other story!

Temple and Webster

Temple and Webster

Lightworks Online

Lightworks Online

 

Interiors Online

Interiors Online

 These are the current front runners but the Temple and Webster light is almost a given!  Except would it match the rest of our chrome?

So that is where we are at with Kitchen Inspiration!

We would love your feedback about any of our choices, items you have seen that we might love or kitchen purchases you have regretted!

Stay tuned for some facade drawings very soon!!!

The Building of The Lake House –

Once upon a time a young newly married couple scoured South East Queensland looking for a good place to settle.  As fate would have it after only a few weeks in Brisbane they both scored jobs in the same suburb!  It was a rapidly growing estate.  It was small and bushy but held great promise.  They bought a block of land as big and as close to the lake as they could afford.

Over the years as every time they walked along the lake, they said to themselves.  “How good is this!  We can never live anywhere else!” The community grew, a shopping centre, parks, public transport, schools.  Now they had everything they needed and no need to ever move.  But as they walked each afternoon they dreamed of a block of land on the other side of the lake.  A little island surrounded by two lakes, that would one day be developed and connected by a road.

Life happened and the couple had three children.  The family grew but alas the yard didn’t.  The house was more than adequate but the title family dreamed of a pool and a bigger kitchen and of course that land over on the island.

They would drop in to the land office occasionally, to enquire on timeframes of the island being developed. 1 year, 2 years, 4 years, 10 years passed and then…….

August 2015

“Dear Prospective Buyer,  We are excited to announce that premium land within the “Island” estate is set to be released this month”

We were completely unprepared.  I wasn’t working, we had a house to sell, we had so much to do but we knew these things happen quickly and this land would go quickly if we didn’t jump on it.

September 2015

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The never ending list making of jobs to be done in preparation to sell.

A major decluttering and cleaning of the house.  We decide to prepare the house for the inevitable.  Selling.  For the first time ever (we have prepared the house for market before) I am not sad but excited.  We have real and tangible plans in place, making the lake house a possibility.  Its amazing that it took the sale of the house to finally finish some projects that we had intended to do for the last 10 years!

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Finally finished painting Master O’s bedroom!

 2nd October 2015

Crunch time.  We need to sell our beloved house.  We are worried about a shortfall and want to be realistic on what size land we can afford.  We interview  and choose the real estate agents.

9th  October 2015

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Preparing for the real estate photos

Photos of the house taken and spiel written, signs prepared.

 12th October 2015

We put out much loved first family home on the market.  We had been tempted to do this so many times over the last few weeks but this land was the perfect temptation.  We went with a local agent that we had known for years.  Open homes are scheduled and the pictures hit the internet and now we wait!!!!

Week 10 – 17th October 2015

The land is RELEASED! Yep 10 weeks after the initial panicked email! As we were buying in a new development it wasn’t as easy as looking for a block and buying it.  The process would be complicated but we had been through all of it 11 years earlier.  An email is sent showing all the prospective lots, their size, location and price.  That is it!  You can’t see the land or drive past it, nothing!  Luckily we had already been given a bit of a heads up from the developer.  We have to submit 3 preferences and even then you are not guaranteed your block.  Land is in high demand and it depends on what conditions you place on your contract and how long you have been on the waiting list as to wether you will secure the block you want. We chose with these priorities in mind;

  1. Price
  2. Bigger than what we have
  3. As close to the lake as possible
  4. Flat as possible
  5. Corner (for side access) is a bonus

Week 11 – 26th October

The land is ours!  We only had one preference and we got it.  We had a feeling we would as the odds were in our favour after being on the waiting list for 10 years! Its slightly bigger than our old block, flat, on a corner and ON THE LAKE.  Absolute Lakefront.  The catch.  It wa over budget.  We decided it didn’t matter and went for it.

November

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Making the most of the Cubby while they can!

Nothing but dreaming, planning and living in the never ending hell of selling a house whilst you have 3 children.  Did I say hell?  ABSOLUTE HELL.  I don’t think I could ever do it again. Lots of interest but no one with a serious price.

December

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Our last Christmas in the house.

Contracts start.  The Land contract is finalised with a registration date of April, and the contracts and negotiations start on our house.  Literally up to the end of 2015.

31st December 2015

Unconditional contract on the house signed.  We celebrated and commiserated. This is it, no going back.

January

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This little guy greeted us as we moved into the rental.

Now that the house is sold a new kind of hell begins.  Packing up a house you have lived in for 10 years, whilst returning to full time work for the first time in 9 years and getting prepared for back to school and of course how can I forget….finding a rental.   Not wanting to spend a lot of money but wanting to stay in the same suburb proved quite difficult.  We ended up renting a house that I had never seen! It has 4 bedrooms and 2 living areas but everything is small and cheap.  Most definitely built to be a rental, corners have been cut everywhere.

My husband had it in his head that we could move by ourselves but after a day of it we realised that was not going to happen. My amazing in laws came to the rescue and we moved the weekend after school started. This also happened to be the hottest weekend of the year!

February

I have quietly had a builder in mind the whole time so we organised a meeting with them.  We know that with this particular block and to get our dream home, we will require a custom builder.  We looked for someone with knowledge of Queenslanders in the hope they would “get” our design ideas.  We are wanting a hamptons/coastal/modern queenslander home.  Think white weatherboard and a sprawling front porch.  We met with the builder and his wife in their divine old Queenslander.  It was truly a blessing to find someone who was not only so easy to communicate our ideas to but who was realistic and honest.  They are willing to take on the job and we leave absolutely ecstatic.

March

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Lake House dreaming.

With a folder full of ideas we meet with both the builder and Architect. The Architect operates separately form the builder but also works with him to ensure we all create a design that matches our budget.  The Architect is also a mother and at this meeting she is a few weeks off giving birth to her third baby! I am hoping Mother’s practicality and commonsense will influence her designs.

April

 We are still waiting for the land to be registered. As expected their are delays with the developer.  We eagerly drive by on the other side of the lake trying to make out our blocks boundaries between the trees. Our street has also now been given name.  Can you see how desperate we are for any updates!

May

The block is registered!  Finance is approved.   On the 17th of May 2016 we FINALLY got to drive on our block.  I say drive as we had to be escorted by the construction manager as it is still a construction zone.  Our feet didn’t get to walk on our block but it was oh so good to see it with our own eyes!

June

New satellite images of our block are released and we get a clearer picture of where it sits in relation to everything.  The contract is finalised, the block is settled and finally ours and we have the mortgage to prove it! Most excitingly we could visit the block with the builder and the architect !  This turned out to be a debacle of a day and again we were only allowed restricted access and had to remain in the vehicle.  Our block has been turfed around the edges, roads are done, we have gutters and a footpath is busily being laid.   Now that the Architect has physically seen the block she can start drafting plans!

and that is where we are at……the architect is drawing, the developer still won’t give us full access and we are waiting, waiting, waiting and trying to not kill each other living in this rental.

Now that I am all caught up I hope to update you all more frequently especially as this is where things are now going to start getting really interesting!  For all of our house inspiration check out our Lake House Pinterest Boards and #thelakehouse on Instagram.

 

To Buy or Build? – The Essential List for Homeowners

 Deciding to become a homeowner is a big and very exciting decision.  Followed very quickly by another big question.  To Buy or Build?

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Each comes with its own unique sets of challenges and rewards.  As homeowners we have experienced both.  Our first home we bought an established property and our second home we built. 

TO BUY.

The Rewards.  

Lets start with the good news.  

Buying a property, is generally low risk.  You are purchasing a product you can see and touch. This also makes it easier to get a gut feeling about a property. To an extent you know exactly what you are getting.   With a bit of hunting around and a great pest and building inspection you do have a sense of security knowing al the details about what you have purchased.

Properties in all locations are more readily available than land.  Your ideal suburb is more likely to have established homes for sale than land.  Often land sales are limited to locations that are a little further from the “centre of town”  The area will also have established facilities including roads, parks, shops, schools and public transport. 

You can get an established property at a great price if you happen to find a motivated vendor.  People who have already built a home, can’t make repayments or a change in fmaily circumstances leaves some people desperate to make a quick sale at a low price. 

The Challenges.  

You may not get your perfect personalised home. You are actually buying someone elses design,  and it may be expensive to make any alterations, especially to the layout or size of the property.  Any renovations could uncover some unknown costs including electrical or plumbing problems.  It is very easy for renovation budgets to get blown out  leaving many homeowners wondering if they should have just built in the first place.   Renovating can also come with its own stresses especially if you are time poor or trying to renovate whilst living in the property.  

It is also hard to match up the perfect house and the perfect location.  You may find your perfect home but in a less than desirable street or the perfect street, with all homes out of your budget.  

Age.  An established property comes with “lived in” conditions.  It may need minor repairs, or at least it will sooner rather than later.  

Price.    If you don’t find a motivated seller, there is not much room for negotiation. What you see is what you get.  You may be able to get a great deal in a troubled market but their is not much room for negotiating.  You cant ask for the home you like but in a smaller layout, or tailor the home to suit your budget.  The home has generally already accrued equity and the owners are keen to get that back.  It is also harder to negotiate with owners who are selling their personal much loved property than it is to negotiate with a builder or large development company!  

TO BUILD 

Garth Chapman – Display Home – Stockland North Shore – Interiors by my lovely friend Anna at Ethos Interiors!

The Rewards.  

The biggest reward?  The one that had me at hello? You are getting the exact home you want.  You have the flexibility to create your own home layout and size to suit your families lifestyle.  Need 3 toilets, add it to the plan, don’t need a media room, take it off.  North facing, lets find a block like that.  You can make the most of the space and the environment. The colour pallets, floor coverings and even light fittings are all items you have chosen yourself essentially guaranteering you will love it all!  As you know we are already counting down to our next build!  We love building!

Location.  Ok for some this may have come as a negative.  As mentioned new land is generally released a little further away from the “centre of town”.  The benefit of this is that the developers can create “communities” and plan suburbs specifically around their target audience.  Their were many times we wondered if we had gone too far away from the city, but we have two playgrounds, bbq areas, a lake, a shopping centre and schools literally metres from our house.  The area is full of young families, creating not just a new suburb but neighbourhoods. We have loved growing with our suburb.

Price.  We got an amazing deal on our “built” home.  We could make the most of every dollar spent by doing some of the work ourselves (landscaping, mailbox, driveway) sourcing our own fixtures, and adapting the floor plan so that every space was usable. To get the finished product as an established home we would have at least paid an extra $50K. Because we got a new home at a great price the equity in our home has accrued very quickly! 

The Challenges.

Finding land, a house plan and a builder takes time.  You need to do your homework.  It also takes time to have plans passed through council and for building to actually begin.  Ask for specific build timeframes and get the builder to sign on them.

So we have watched the building horror stories on A Current Affair.  Building does have its risks. But remember for every dodgy builder there are a thousand great ones.  Ask around, word of mouth is the best way to find a reputable builder.  Visit display centres, meet with builders and trust your gut and a google search.  

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Want a new house but don’t want to go through the building process?  All developments offer house and land packages.  These plans have been approved by the council and many are already in the process of being built or are completed homes.  This saves huge amounts of time!!!!! If you are really lucky you can buy whilst it’s still being constructed and even have a say in the colour pallette and fixtures.  Most builders will have these homes “on display”.   Display centres offer you the opportunity to walk through an example of the builders work. An already built property will give you a feel of the layout and size.  You are also getting a finished, new home for one price with no hidden costs. Because the builder has made a deal with the developer for the land you can also get some great deals.  Have I mentioned I have a thing for wandering display homes!  We have been to nearly every display village in Brisbane!  I love to see the latest and greatest home designs, decor and fixtures at work and well….. dream! 

To buy or build?  Nobody has the perfect answer besides you!  You need to find the best option for your situation.  Weigh up the pros and cons, do your homework, look at your budget and then……go house hunting! 

 This is a sponsored post. You know how much I LOVE all things houses, well Stockland asked me to write about my opinion on buying or building.  This post is just that!  I was compensated for my time but not for my opinion!  If you would love to cruise a Stockland display centre click HERE and take some pics to show me!

Love that living room and kitchen?  That is the work of the amazing Anna from Ethos Interiors, remember she helped me with my living room?  Isn’t she talented?!

Finding The Perfect Floor Plan

What Type of Floor Plan is Best for Your Home?

We were lucky enough, many years ago, to build our own home.  One of the biggest deciding factors for us to build and not just buy was that we would get a floor plan, perfectly suited to our needs.  Once we found a block of land we found that our floor plan needs changed.  Not only would it need to fit our lifestyle but it had to fit on our block!  With a narrow lot we opted for a two storey design, in order to fit more house on our land and optimise space for a backyard.

 

Like houses, floor plans come in all shapes and sizes. The best one for your home depends on a range of factors such as your budget, block size, as well as your design preferences and size requirements. When building a new home with  a builder such as Coral Homes, there are a number of different house designs and floor plans available to choose from.

THE OPTIONS

 

Single Storey Floor Plans

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Single storey floor plans are the most commonly chosen floor plan for newly built homes. From a building perspective, they are often the cheapest to build as they suit many blocks of land. Because of the number of designs available, there are both large and small single storey plans with different layouts. Designs vary from simple rectangle floor plans, which may be small or large based on the amount square footage and the number of bedrooms required. Complex single storey floor plans may have separate wings extending from main part of the building.

 

Narrow Block Floor Plans

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As their name suggests, narrow block floor plans have a narrow width. They are primarily used on small blocks and those with a narrow street frontage, often in inner city areas. They usually have a sun room, front or rear porches, and almost always have a hallway. Because of their limited width, double garages may be difficult to accommodate in the floor plan on a narrow block. Depending on the overall size of the home, they may be more affordable to build than some other floor plan styles.

 

Split Level Floor Plans

 

Split-level floor plans are used in homes that have multiple floors but don’t necessarily have the same amount of space on each floor. Split-level homes are often well accommodated on sloped blocks, working with the contours of the land. On a block that slopes gently upwards, the lower level including laundry, garage and spare bedroom can partly be built into the hill, providing much of the support for the upper level. The majority of the living space is then accommodated on the upper floor. Split-level floor plans are often more expensive to build, especially if extensive earthmoving and site works are required.

 

Double Storey Floor Plans

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Double storey floor are often popular with larger families and those with older children. A complex double storey floor plan may have separate entrances on each level, as well as kitchen, bathroom and bedroom facilities to make each floor fully self-contained. Because of their size and the amount of materials used, double storey floor plans are always more expensive than single storey homes. It is a myth, however, that they are double the price.

 

Wide Frontage Floor Plans

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Wide frontage floor plans are suited to large and wide blocks of land, including corner blocks that allow two street entrances, as well as acreage or ranch style homes. Because of their size, they may be a long rectangle or U or L shaped. Wide frontage floor plans are suited to large families and those that like a lot of space.

The dimensions and size of your block will likely dictate the floor plan that you choose; however, within each category a number of different options and layouts are available. When choosing the right floor plan for you, it’s important to consider the position of certain rooms in relation to on another, their location on the lot, and their size.

 

Once you have a general idea of the type of your home you wish to build you can start considering other aspects of the floor plan.  How many bedrooms?  Bathrooms? Bedrooms to the rear of the plan?  Outdoor living space off the kitchen?  The possibilities are endless!

What would you prioritise in a new home floor plan?

All plans and images were taken form the Coral Homes website.

 

5 Tips For Renovating Your House

…….without tearing it down!

Last year saw big changes for our extended family.  We have had both our parents downsize and move into new houses.  Funnily enough, in two completely different states and towns, they both made a similar move.  Downsizing the size of the house, but also upsizing the size of the land.  For one family it was so that they would have room for a shed (to house retirement hobbies) and a For the other it was for more room to accommodate our grandparents.

 

For both families it meant one thing, RENOVATION!   So what can you do to bring your home into the 21st century and make it suit your needs? Before you bring in the wrecking ball, follow these five tips to help renovate your home without starting from scratch.

 

1. Create an outdoor living space

Oh how I dream of an outdoor Kitchen

Oh how I dream of an outdoor Kitchen!

Building a dedicated area for you and your family to enjoy the outdoors adds another space to entertain, relax and spend time in. You can lay concrete and cover it with a shade cloth to create a patio or erect a deck to overlook your backyard. An outdoor area that connects to your home creates a highly sought-after indoor/outdoor lifestyle that will add significant value to your home. Its also the perfect place for those big family gatherings and celebrations.

 

2. Add extra living space

Teenage Retreat? From Pop Blocks.

Teenage Retreat? From Pop Blocks.

Many homes have unused backyard space that can fit a separate area to work, live or even sleep in. For growing households, or those with a number of generations living under the one roof, modular buildings such as a granny flat can add significant living space and even be rented out separately. Expert companies such as  Pop Blocks  can erect a modular granny flat and other self-contained living spaces on existing land, adding much-needed square footage.

 

3. Renovate the kitchen and bathroom

Paint your tile splash back.

Paint your tile splash back. Great how to post HERE

For dwellings that need major renovations, the best rooms to start improving are often the kitchen and bathroom. These rooms have more utility per square metre. This means that your kitchen and bathroom may become tired looking faster than the other rooms in your house. Think about replacing old, peeling or dated bench tops and cabinetry with new doors and easy-to-clean surfaces. New tiles and splashbacks can also go a long way to make your rooms feel fresh and new.

 

4. Update your window furnishings

White Plantation Shutters, if only they weren't so expensive!

White Plantation Shutters, if only they weren’t so expensive!

It’s time to tear down the tired curtains or dusty roll-a-blinds and invest in some fresh, new window furnishings. Venetian blinds come in a variety of colours and materials, including timber, PVC and aluminium. Thick curtains afford privacy, and transparent window shears filter light into the room. Windows can make or break a room, so remember to match the window treatments to the style of your home and its existing decor. Always consider installing new window furnishings if existing options are damaged, faded or dirty.

 

5. Repaint

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Often your home gives away its age most in its paintwork. A fresh coat of paint can take years off and help to brighten both indoor and outdoor spaces. A more contemporary colour scheme can bring your home into the modern era; replace those oranges, browns and olive greens from the 70s with something fresh and current. In fact, after a real estate agent recently went through our own home (which is only 10 years old) she recommended we update our walls from cream to white as it was ageing our home!   Here I was thinking we were going for a classic look!
If the structure of your house is sound, the good news is that renovating your home really can be a delight—just like the real estate agent said! Happy Renovating.

School Bag Storage and Organisation

Last night on Facebook I pleaded with the flock for HELP! I have had many plans for School Bag Storage but none of them have “felt” right. Problem is DONE is better than PERFECT! I need something, before I trip over another school bag!

So here is where we were in JANUARY! Yep and that is still where we are AT!!!!

 

I must admit this is not my first “School Station”. Master O is about to start his third year at school! Please don’t ask how that makes me feel!

Our first station looked like this.

This area was set up especially for Prep – Grade 1.

Here is how the room looked as a whole.

and in that space that was supposed to be a clipboard station is now a giant pile of school/library/sheet/sport/swimming bags.

The drawers worked brilliantly, although his bag was a bit squashed in that bottom drawer I absolutely loved having those two top drawers for homework folders, library bags and everything that came along with going to school!

I also loved the Basket on top for our School File It Folder and storing notes.

THOSE TWO THINGS ARE A MUST.

But then…..once he got to Grade 1, the homework increased, and once he changed schools, it increased again. This area was simply too distracting for homework. It also meant I had three sets of stationery areas. One in the playroom, one in this area and one in the study for myself. So we moved Master O into my study. We set up his desk and noticeboard and stationery across from me in the study. In general though come homeowrk time we all sit at my desk together! I have a huge L shaped desk and three chairs. Little Miss A sits across from me and does some phonics practice, drawing, cutting or experimental writing. Master O sits next to me so I can talk him through what he is doing. He is a very self sufficient and independent learner but I love to know what he is learning at school and the best way to do this and to be involved in homework. The big desk is also great for doing projects (which seem to take up so much room and get bigger each fortnight!)

I digress! So those handy drawers moved into the study and I took them over as my own as my desk has no drawers in it. So we went through the last part of last year with a great space for homework but no specific place for storing school stuff.

and that my friend is where we are at!

What do I need this space to do?

Contain School Items
Be easily accessible and at a childs height but alos be neat and tidy
Be flexible in its arrangement for different children’s needs
1. So what do I need our School Station to contain;

  • School Bags x 2
  • School Hats x 2
  • Homework/message Folders and Planners
  • Library Bags x 2
  • School File It Folder x 2
  • Artwork Folder (Miss A)
  • Sheet Bag (Miss A)
  • Sports Bag (Master O)
  • Individual timetables/schedule

After careful thought I don’t want it to contain school shoes. School shoes and especially Kindy shoes have a habit of coming home full of sand. So they can stay in the garage!

How do I want to contain it so its neat and tidy, flexible and easily accessible?

I think I need a combination of baskets, shelves, drawers and hooks.
I dont want to hang the school bags. We have had bad luck with hooks in this house and I dont want any more damage to my walls.
I also want the end solution to be flexible. I am still thinking about moving this station to the study so whatever I use I want to be able to relocate it easily. As they get older they can also then move it to their own bedroom.
It has to be able to be configured in different ways for different children. Because my children are quite spaced apart in age (3+years and 4+Years) they are always going to have very different school needs. By the time Baby #3 starts school Master O will be starting High School!

So I think each child needs their own station. Master O’s will need to be able to hold sports equipment and Little Miss A’s, a sheet bag for Kindy.
It can’t be too tall. Little Miss A needs to be able to open and close everything herself.
After writing all this I am automatically thinking of my old friends IKEA Expedit and Trofast. The fact that the Trofast has both drawers and shelves and comes in a variety of heights has me thinking it may be the answer! Although the frames are both a similar price, it is much cheaper to buy the Trofast drawers and shelves (around $5) than buying baskets or drawers for an Expedit (between $10-20).

What will work in the space?

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So this is where I am thinking. It is where everything else organisational is located and would make the space feel complete. I do worry as this space is at the opposite end of the house to the garage (where we enter the house) and the study (where we do homework). But for now I think its worth a try! It is a tall and skinny place so those STUVA Drawers won’t work.

So let’s get planning!!!!

I am such a visual person that I had to literally piece it all together in pictures.

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I am off to IKEA today to check out a few different ideas including this one!!!

What Do You Think???

 

 

 

Creating a Morning Routine

Our mornings are BUSY!  Thank goodness we are early risers as we have so much to get done before we leave for school in the morning!  Add to that, the fact that we will have two children, at two different locations in opposite directions!  Thankfully we are easing into the routine with Little Miss A only attending Kindy on a 5 day fortnight roster. 

WE have always had a before school routine, but whilst Master O was little, I still had to assist him with each task so i didnt think there was a need for any charts or printed reminders.  Last year however, his uniform became simpler for him to do and he became more independent so i found myself sending him upstairs to get ready by himself. 

Let me tell you, distraction is the art of 6 year old boys.  I found myself constantly reminding him of what he had to next, what had he done already, and generally being a yelling, nagging mother.  Not pretty.  So this year I am determined to change things.  Little Miss A is less distracted and a real busy bee who loves to be in the midst of everything.   She is extremely independent, determined and self sufficient and always has been!  She even toilet trained herself!  This also means she knows what she likes and what she doesn’t which will be very interesting when this year, with a uniform, there will be less flexibility in what she wears or how she does her hair.  Tantrums they are a coming.  Be afraid, be very afraid.

This year, I don’t have time for chaos!  With a new baby arriving there will be many morning when I am stuck feeding, changing, dressing, settling a baby and My Pigeon Pair will need to get themselves organised the best they can!  We need a routine and a CHART!!!! 

We need an illustrated, MORNING ROUTINE CHART and it needs to be;

  • Visual (especially for little Miss A as she is a pre-reader)
  • Timed (for Master O as he needs very specific timeframes)
  • Can track progress (what have you done already?)
  • Easy to reach and read.
  • Simple

I have made a MILLION routine charts in time but always for Preppies in a classroom!  Visual routines are of particular benefit to any child that likes routine and structure (which quite frankly is all children) but particularly children with ASD. 

How to create your own routine chart.

  1. MAKE A LIST. Firstly I wrote out what order I needed each thing done in the morning.  This may be different for each family depending on circumstances.  We have a two story house, with living areas downstairs and bedrooms upstairs. So we tend to group activities together depending on wether they are performed upstairs or downstairs.
  2. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?  I then gave each activity a time reference (how long it should take to complete) 
  3. DON’T BE LATE. Then I worked backwards from the time we need to leave the house.  This varies each day as it depends on whether we need to do two drop offs or if their are before school activities.  The earliest we need to leave is 7.30 so I worked from their.  If on other mornings we have extra time, BONUS! 

I then made a simple 3 column table in Word.  One column for Master O (with clock faces) a middle column for the activity in written form and the last column for visual reminders for Little Miss A.

Add your routine and print!

SIMPLE!!!!!

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I then printed out the routine and attached it to a clipboard. 

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Whats a hook without a little washi!

Using a 3M hook (that of course I had to washi tape) I attached it to the wall just inside their bedroom.

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Easily accessible right inside their bedroom door.

 I used a coloured peg for each child attached to the outside of the clipboard.  As they complete each activity, they move the peg to the next one, to help remind them of what they have already done and what they need to do next!

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A closer look at our routine!  The arrows are to symbolise, go upstairs or go downstairs.

This is a very simple routine and we only just started using it yesterday, as we wean ourselves out of holiday mode and into back to school mode! 

Would this routine work for you?  Would you like me to make it available to you?

DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND! It’s yours to print for free!

[download id=”13″]

This a free printable and I am more than happy for you to share the love with a friend!

This printable is not to be sold in any way. 

Cleaning Schedules – Living and Dining

 Yesterday I shared this picture on Instagram. 

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  It is of our Weekly Cleaning Schedule.  Due to bad health, we haven’t used it for a while. Our house and us as a family have been just surviving o and if the bench got wiped down and the floor vacuumed that was a huge bonus.   But this week I am desperately hoping to get back into routine and to stop letting the washing pile up and the dust accumulate.  By doing just a little each day, I find the house always seems a little tidier and cleaner. I love lists and routines so it was only appropriate that our house cleaning should have one too!

 Being sick has also made me realise that sometimes I need more specific lists of exactly what each job entails.  This helps if I need to get a cleaner in, or hubby is doing the job or even if the kids want to help!  They love to check it off the list!  So here is our a little more specific list for the first zone of our house, the Living and Dining Room.

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 This is one big open plan space.  Although it gets a tidy throughout the day I love to have one day a week where it gets a little more attention.

Wipe Down Couches:  We have WHITE leather couches.  People thought we were crazy getting them with young children, but seriously they are the easiest thing to keep clean!  Being leather you can simply wipe off a spill and I have even managed to scrub off lipstick and pink pen, thanks to Little Miss A’s artistic endeavours.  Being white means that they are colourfast.  If I have to scrub in a particular area, that area doesnt become faded, because it is white!  I simply wipe down the couch with baby wipes!!!  I also love Method’s Leather spray and once a month we give it the royal treatment with a leather care kit we have.

Wash Cushions:  If the weather is good (unlike yesterday!) I give our decorative cushions a wash.  I always look for covers that are removable and machine washable as grubby hands and faces love our cushions!!

Dust Wall Unit:  This one the kids love to help with!  I have a whole assortment of micro fibre cloths and they love to choose a colour and dust the unit!  Just be sure to watch them with the precious breakables!  Learnt that one the hard way!  Oh and they have a tendency to set up their own little displays including our current “Smurf Stampede”!

Wipe TV Screen:  At the moment I am using Glass spray but I would love for someone to recommend a great product for screens!

Declutter Magazines:  The magazine rack has a habit of attracting junk mail and brochures that do not need to be kept longer than a week!  

Dust and Wipe Down The Buffet:  Yet again a microfibre cloth and then a spray with Method “Wood for Good Daily Spray.”  Then Monthly I give it a good polish with Method “Touch Wood”

Dining Room

This is a quick one!

Wipe Down Chairs:  We have a kind of suede chair seat that I wipe over with a dmap micro fibre cloth.

The Table Runner gets thrown in the wash with the cushion covers and the table gets a clean with the “Wood For Good” 

I also love to use this time to give my decor a little rearrange!

All up this take me less than 40minutes!  Especially if I have little helpers!  We turn the music up and get cleaning!  

For more details on our Cleaning Schedule

or to download the FREE PRINTABLE check this out….. 

Cleaning Schedules

A Guest Room Makeover

School Holidays mean one thing in our house…..VISITORS! 

As most of our family live miles away, school holidays are the perfect time for a grandparent visit.  We are very lucky to have a spare bedroom which is the allocated guest room.  Unfortunately, as it is a room used only occasionally, it has been a little neglected on the decorating front.  

Oh the Before picture is very sad.  Although I had found quite a nice “comforter” a while ago it didnt come with any pillowcases or cushions.  I convinced myself when I bought it that I would eventually find some that matched. I ummed and ahhed over what colours would match together and my inability to make any decisions equated to…. eventually never coming! 

Whilst browsing Target (for something completetly unrelated) I found this “6 Piece Bed Pack”.  It was the same price it was going to cost me to buy pillowcases and cushions to  match the existing comforter (On sale for $60) and it was COMPLETE!  No matching or decision making required! 

Until now I had been put off buying quilt covers and had instead gone for a comforter simply because I hate trying to make lumpy beds.  

Finally someone (surely a woman) has had the good sense to put ties on the quilt that can be tied to the cover.  No more lost and lumpy quilt!

The bedside table was replaced with a tray table that we had downstairs gathering junk and dust.   

 Some favourite magazines, a cute owl plate to keep jewellery, tickets or your phone and a simple white bowl with some Cath Kidston Bath Products. ALL BOUGHT ON SALE!

With some new bedding, a refresh of the bedside table and repurposing some artwork from around the house we have given the Guest Room a whole new lease of life. 

Now she just needs some visitors! 

 

This post is in collaboration with Target as part of the Target Blog Hub.  Target has compensated me for my time and provided vouchers to help bring our tired guest room to life.  

Under The Kitchen Sink

There are some parts of our home that seem to be harder to keep organised than others. Under our Kitchen Sink is one of them!  We had a bit of a makeover this time last year but after a year of living and using it is was shambles!

So what I have learnt….

1. Limit the number of cleaning products.  

It is easy to get overwhelmed by a miscellaneous assortment of products.  I have 4 every day sprays (on the top shelf) with a fifth occasional wood polish.  From Left to Right – Dishwashing Liquid, Daily Granite, All Purpose and Daily Wood. Naturally they are all Method products.  

Daily Granite –  for our black granite bench tops. Never have they been left so sparkly clean without any residue! If you are anything like me you clean your kitchen bench about 10 times a day!

All Purpose – I use this for the stove top, appliances and cupboards.  It is an oil and grime fighter! This one is a new “flavour” and smells incredible!

Daily Wood – For our dining room tables.  We have a small breakfast table and then a lunch and dinner table that get a good work out!  

Dishwashing Liquid- In a handy pump bottle as you can see we love it!  I hand wash lunchboxes, tupperware and kids plastics. 

2. Get rid of packaging and replace with reusable storage.

I take all the dishwashing tablets out of their packaging and empty them into this tin.  We use Method “Smarty Dish” tablets. It keeps them out of sight of little eyes and means I can declutter 3 packets into one tin.  Great for buying in bulk.

3. Containerise.  

I use some small plastic baskets from Kmart to hold all of our cloths and occasional use items like gumption, leather cleaner etc.  I also use one for our “wipes”

4. Keep the items you use daily at arms reach.  

This helps to ensure they are easy to put back into the right place! The ones you only use occasionally can go on the bottom or at the back and if you havent used it in the last 6 months THROW IT OUT! 

5. Enter our METHOD Giveaway.

So you too can throw out the rest of your cleaning supplies! 

Enter via Rafflecopter below and tell us

What is under your Kitchen Sink?  

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This is a giveaway. Method supplied me with the products mentioned in this post.