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Family

Solutions to An Expanding Family

The world’s population is approaching eight billion, but the distribution isn’t balanced out. China recently reversed their one-child policy an Denmark is promoting baby-making vacations, while many third world countries are actively pursuing birth-control initiatives. On a smaller scale, families expand every day through a variety of methods.
With the global economy still in a hole, adult kids are moving back in with their parents, sometimes bringing spouses and children with them. At the other end of the spectrum, elderly parents are moving closer to their kids, both for emotional support and practical assistance. Sometimes they move next door, other times they take the next bedroom.
Then of course there’s the regular expansion model – having a partner and making (or adopting) babies. Whatever the reason is for your family’s expansion, you need more living space, and if you can afford it, you have several viable options. They all involve money, and lots of it, plus a good deal of licensing and planning.
 

Renovate your home

If you’re a home-owner in a reasonable neighbourhood, you can expand your house. This depends on the size of your lot and any restrictions from your local government or housing association. You’d have to think about what new features you need. Is it a nursery for the new baby or an extra room for your older parents? It may even be a self-contained unit for your adult child or sibling and their family, or a guest wing for in-laws.
If you want a complete ‘home’, you could convert the garage, attic or basement, complete with its own bathroom and kitchenette. An en-suite nursery can be converted into a room for elderly parents. The adjoining door will be helpful if your new resident is ailing.
A childhood room can be expanded by splitting external walls and stretching the room’s square footage outwards. A section of your living room or dining room could also be closed off to create additional living space. Make sure you get all the required permissions from your regulatory authorities, and don’t forget to warn the neighbours.
 

Buy a bigger house

Plan B is to move house. You could sell your current home or rent it out for additional income, then buy a new place, if your finances allow it. Make a wish list of preferred neighbourhoods, access to work and schools, and price range. You should also include more practical concerns, like the number of bedrooms, a yard, or a pool.
There’s usually a trade-off between location and amenities. If you pick a suburb further from your CBD, you can get more square footage, both inside the house and in the surrounding yard. However, it may translate to a longer commute and more home maintenance in terms of hygiene and landscaping. You may also be limited by proximity to relatives.
If you’re not ready for suburban living, you might buy adjoining apartments. This can be helpful if part of the family requires partial independence and privacy. Siblings with families of their own may pool their limited resources and buy flats next to each other, though the stable family will take up the bulk of the cost. You could also rent out the house next door for your family members, until they get back on their feet.
 

Park a tiny house

An interesting alternative is to fix up your garden shed and turn it into a residential space, if your community allows this. It will require insulation, electricity, and running water, though these services can be shared with the main house. You can partition the shed into a sleeping area and an entertainment area, and put in relevant furniture
Do a complete audit and resolve any issues like leaks, gaps, rodents, lighting problems, and security issues. Alternatively, buy or construct a tiny house and park it in your yard. There are plenty of commercial designs available, and if they need to, your family members can simply drive it away when the time comes.
The advantage of a tiny house over a refurbished shed is the utilities are already structured. Tiny houses have their own lines of pint-sized electronics and accessories, including compost toilets, mini cookers and sinks, tiny fridges and washing machines, and convertible multi-purpose furniture. They can be constructed in 2 to 3 months by the average DIY enthusiast.
 

Install a granny flat

Wheeled homes aren’t for everyone, so you could go with a granny flat instead. In Australia, the regulations are quite specific. It has to be self-contained and can’t be more than 80 square metres. Fortunately, you can buy a pre-fab granny flat which can be assembled and erected in less than a day. It can be as big as two bedrooms, with a bathroom, and kitchenette, and even a porch. It’s perfect for grandparents, recent college graduates, or adult families that suddenly find themselves back home.

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Home and Garden

Feng Shui Tips for Your Granny Flat or Home Office

Everyone’s reason for adding a Granny Flat to their home is different, but typically they all have one thing in common: they are looking to add more space to their living area to create more calmness and harmony in the home overall. Today we’ll take a look at how adding some elements of feng shui to the design of your Granny Flat (whether you’re using it as a bedroom or home office) can make your bedroom more peaceful or make your home office a more productive space to work in.
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of placing objects within a room to create an optimum flow of energy. Feng translates to “wind” and Shui translates to water, as wind and water are associated with good health in Chinese culture and thus, the practice of feng shui is meant to bring you good health and good fortune. Feng shui dates back over 6,000 years and incorporates elements of philosophy, astronomy, and astrology.
One important concept within feng shui is the idea that everything has chi or energy. A second important concept is the idea of yin and yang or the balance of opposing forces or energies. Overall the idea behind feng shui is to create balance and positive energy within a room so that you feel at peace in the space.

1. Limit Electronics

If you’re using your Granny Flat as a bedroom, try to allow as little electronic devices in as possible, or use cabinets or drawers to hide them away when not in use. According to the principles of feng shui, these items take away positive energy from the room. They also allow stresses from your work and social life to enter the room, making it more difficult to relax and sleep. The same goes for exercise equipment-if possible, keep it out of the room. You’ll associate it with high energy activities, making it harder to sleep.
If you’re using your Granny Flat as a home office, it will probably be more difficult to limit electronics. However, it’s still useful to have a place to hide your devices out of sight if you need to take some time to think deeply to work out a problem while offline.

2. Fresh Air

Maintaining a good flow of air throughout the room generate positive energy in the space according to the principles of feng shui. Whether your Granny Flat is a bedroom or home office, make sure you can easily open a window to let in fresh air. Essential oils are also great for freshening and energising the air in your room, just make sure they are true essential oils and not fragrance oils, which often contain harsh chemicals.

3. Placement of Bed or Desk

In any room, there is a position of power that should be reserved for the room’s inhabitant to observe the entirety of the space. Whether it’s a bed or desk, you’ll want to place it opposite of the room’s entrance. The entrance of the room is where energy flows in, so you don’t want to block the stream by placing the bed or desk too close to the door.
Wherever possible, you should also strive to orient the bed or desk so that there is a solid wall behind it. Feng shui notes that a wall of windows behind the power position can make the room’s inhabitant feel like they are vulnerable from behind, and thus lacking control in the room. If it’s not possible to have a solid wall behind the power position, a headboard or high-backed chair will do.

4. Colour

The colour of your room will have a big impact on how you feel inside it. For a home office, soft yellows, pale green, or blue-green are great colours to calm you and keep you free from distraction. White can help foster mental clarity, while earth tones can help to ground you if you are easily overwhelmed. For a bedroom, earth tones, especially those in the range of human skin tones, are recommended to help ground you as you fall asleep.

5. Visuals

In a home office, you don’t want your desk to face a blank wall, as this can cause you to feel that you are constantly facing insurmountable obstacles in your work. Instead, hang up text or images related to your work ethic or what you are working to accomplish. Some family photos are ok, but too many can invite in distractions from your home life that prevent you from excelling in your work. More photos of family and personal interests are fine in a bedroom setting, just be sure not to create too much clutter on the walls
Finally, make sure to choose furniture with rounded corners and choose soft but adequate lighting to reduce stress and avoid eye strain.

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Home and Garden

Décor Ideas for Your Granny Flat

Granny flats have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the surging prices rent and owning a home. If you can’t afford to move out, then move into a granny flat! It’s the perfect combination of independence and comfort – but how do you make your little flat feel like a home? We’ve wrapped up a list of some of our favourite décor ideas for styling small spaces such as a granny flat.
 

Going green

Indoor plants are a fantastic way to improve the air quality around your living space and brighten up a room. Houseplants absorb a certain amount of carbon dioxide, meaning they have a natural ability to clean the air. This is a wonderful benefit to small living spaces in particular, as the cleaning effect will be stronger and more recognisable.
Selecting a variety of indoor plants with different sizes, leaves and pots will add interest to any room. You can really get creative with your choices as there is such a large variety of greenery on offer, so choose a plant that reflects your personality and tastes.
Studies have actually shown that the sight of indoor plants actually improve a person’s mood and reduce their stress levels – which can never be a bad thing!
Lastly, choose an indoor plant that you know you’ll be able to maintain. Many plants only require watering on a weekly or even a monthly basis, which is a wonderful low maintenance option.
 

Open and airy vs warm and cosy

Small living spaces can be decorated in more ways than you might expect, but it’s a good idea to pick a design theme before purchasing furniture and decorations. A warm and cosy design is perfect for the cooler months – think faux-fur throws, plush cushions and luxurious satin sheets. Dark mahogany colours and wooden textures are perfect for recreating a cosy ski chalet look – you can curl up on the sofa at night with a book and feel like you’re in your own secret haven!
During the hot summer months, you’ll want to give the impression of open, airy spaces – even if your space is limited! This can be achieved with several techniques. Keep colour to a minimum -indoor plants will provide a splash of green, while brassy accents will add a modern luxe touch. An all over bright and white look will create the illusion of a continuing space between the floors and the walls, while sheer curtains will allow the natural light to radiate throughout the room. Keep all fabrics light in colour and thickness – think pure cotton and linen rather than heavy leathers and textiles.
 

A work of art

Even if a granny flat isn’t your final destination on the property ladder, purchasing some key ornaments and paintings is an investment that you can take with you across a number of homes. Do your research into the artists and styles that best reflect your interior tastes and preferences. Maybe you enjoy and relate to landscape ocean-side paintings, or perhaps an abstract piece has more complex levels for you. Your taste in art might change over time, but it’s important to hang something on the wall that you actually like to look it – so don’t be convinced to take on any hand me downs when it comes to artwork, unless you really like them!
It’s not just wall art that brings a place to life – ornaments and homewares also play a very important part. It can be easy to accumulate a lot of junk over the years, so try and keep your decorations and trinkets to a minimum. That way, you’ll only purchase items that you truly like. A $500 ceramic bowl will last a lot longer on your shelf than a cheap and tacky ornament! Plus, a few key decorations can really tie a room together – especially small spaces in a granny flat. So, next time you’re in a homeware store, make sure you give that “must-have item” some thought before you make an impromptu or lacklustre purchase.

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Home and Garden

Alternatives to Timber Fencing to Consider for 2018 Renos

Oh. My. God. My 2017 renovations were a freaking nightmare. The guy that we hired to do project management turned out to be a slacker. We had issues with all sorts of contractors. The whole project ran seriously over time and over budget – we’re talking months and 10’s of thousands of dollars.
Now, I know that this isn’t exactly an uncommon story. I’d heard colleagues at work talk about it plenty of times before. My supervisor chatting about how her tilers put down the completely wrong tiles and managed to crack a bunch of them, too. That the height of her second floor was wrong – dear god. Or how about my best friend’s extension was supposed to be completed in March last year and then haven’t even put the slab down yet? I guess that’s what happens when you have 2 children under 4, a husband who works very long hours, and the council keep rejecting your building applications. Maybe they’ll have it finished by 2020! Who knows!
Anyway, the only thing that seemed to go right with my own home renovations was the front fence. At least my place looks alright from the street front, it’s got that going for it!
After so many slip ups from the project manager I decided to go out and find a fencing company myself that’d do the job. I just couldn’t trust this guy not to put me onto someone cheap and dodgy and then upcharge me for it anyway.
At first I was thinking about going for timber fencing because I’ve always loved the look of it. However, after doing some reading of some blog posts and experiences that other people has had with wooden fencing I decided against it. Wooden fencing needs more upkeep and doesn’t last as long – which isn’t really my vibe. I want to put something in and have it last! I’m not that kind of person who find doing house upkeep sort of like meditation – although I know that many people do.
So instead of wooden fencing, I settled on tubular fencing. This type of fencing is those upright metal type posts. Combined with a lower brick fence this can look really classy and homely – not like the metal fences I’d imagined earlier.
I mean, of course there are other options too. You have the full brick wall. This one is good if you would like a lot of privacy – obviously, because people can’t see through it unless you have x-ray vision! Privacy screening is kind of a mix between the two. You can’t see in unless you are really looking. But those are the main three types of fencing that are available for homeowners.
While hubby seemed to think a full brick wall would be nice, I decided in the end that it wasn’t a good idea. A full brick fence obscures the front of the house, which means that if thieves go to get in they’re also obscured while doing so. My neighbourhood isn’t exactly the Bronx, but it’s also not the safest in the world in terms of break ins – yes I’ve looked at the stats, I do my research. So I nixed that idea.
Anyway, the company that I decided to go with built an amazing, sturdy, tubular aluminium fence that looks great and I’m very happy with it – unlike the ongoing issues that I have with some of the rest of the renovations that we had done. But hey! What can you do? My tip? It takes effort but engage contractors yourself and do your research in advance before doing anything.

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Home and Garden

Some Stylish and Secure Fencing Options for Your Business

When you’re talking about the façade of your business, you want to make it look appealing, even when you’re not even open. This ensures that your current customers still think your business looks great, and potential customers walking or driving by will be drawn to your business rather than repelled by it. However, you still want your business front to be secure. So, how can your turn your business into Fort Knox without having it look like an actual prison? Well, one of the options you have available is to install a stylish but secure property fence.
Security fencing doesn’t have to be dull and boring. It should serve as a deterrent to get closer to your business but not look nasty and ugly. Most security fences are comprised of thin upright aluminium posts, spaced around 20cm or so apart. These are arranged in sections and reinforced by thicker vertical sections, as well as top and bottom horizontal bars for each section.
The height of the fence depends very much on how you would like the profile of your business to appear. The higher the fence, the less attractive it can look to the outside world. It creates an image that you want to keep people out – which you do, but you don’t want it to look that way.
So, how can you both have a higher fence as well as an attractive fence, too? Well, one way to go is to put in a shorter concrete fence that is topped by a security aluminium fence. You can then get the height that you need, while your fence still looks attractive. The height of your concrete walling is really up to you – however you should take steps to ensure that the concrete walling itself is attractive. This means rendering with a matching coat of paint or tuck pointing (if you decide to go for brickwork) nicely – to make sure that it has a stylish look to it.
You might be wondering, “Well, if I add a concrete wall to it, then people will be just able to climb over the top”. Technically, this could be completely true. It also depends a lot on the caps that you have on top of your aluminium posts.
You can choose to cap your security fence posts with a range of option. They can be square caps, rounded caps, or even spiked caps. Spiked caps are the best deterrents to people climbing over the fence. There are also plenty of different spiked cap designs that you can take a look at. Some look like a spade, whereas some look more like just a simple triangle.
The other thing to think about is the colour that you want your fence to be. If you’re going for style, then make sure to carefully consider colour. The least obtrusive security fences are often painted (generally Powder coated, or in Colorbond colours already on the aluminium, actually) in a light neutral colour like a sand or beige colour.
Getting your business’s security fence just right is something that few businesses think about properly. Without a visually appealing security fence, your business can look dull, lifeless, and unapproachable – something that you really want to avoid at all costs!
Don’t just go for the cheap option. A security fence will last many years so get it right by thinking about style – as well as security. Look for a company that offers plenty of options when it comes to security fencing so you can lock down a design that is both style and substance at the same time. You owe it to your business to get it right.