I was reminded of the photos of our flat we sold last year that I decorated on a budget and in a hurry, as I’m now in the process of helping a client get their property ready for sale. The property hasn’t had the best tenant in it for a few years – it was a classic case of oversized furniture and unnecessary clutter, which was making the space appear smaller than it was. The second bedroom was also set up as a (messy) office, which is really not a good look when selling a two bedroom apartment. After the tenant had moved out and the clutter had gone, there was also unfortunately a layer of grime. I believe a clean home is one of the most important factors when selling, and if budget allows – I would choose a professional to carry this task out. I immediately jumped on to the website Airtasker, which I’m pretty new to – it’s an online marketplace that allows you to ‘post a job’ that you need doing, you then receive offers from trusted workers in the area, and you are able to choose the best person for the job. The cleaning I’m suggesting is more than a quick dusting and vacuum: you need to consider things like washing windows inside and out, wiping down insides of kitchen cabinets and wardrobes, cleaning bathroom tile grout and wiping down walls. It’s also a good idea to have carpet professionally cleaned too. These are all tasks you can list in your job description on Airtasker. Basically, don’t leave a stone unturned, which is why a professional cleaner is always a good idea.
Here is a general guide I’ve compiled with a few tips that I believe will help get your property looking beautiful and ready for the market:
REPAIR: Don’t overcapitalise and plan any major renovation before a sale (unless it’s something that might fail a building inspection), but make sure elements like light switches are working, taps don’t leak and things such as cracked windows are replaced, and cracks on walls are filled. It’s important the house looks like it’s been cared for over the years, as any sign of neglect could reflect badly. I’ve suggested my client also post a small list of their odd jobs on Airtasker, as they also have an extensive range of Handymen on their website.
DECLUTTER: And declutter some more. Store excessive furniture and decorative accessories for the duration of the sales campaign. Rooms that have ‘less stuff’ feel bigger, and easily allow the buyer to imagine their own furniture in the space.
REMOVE PERSONAL ITEMS: Pack away the trophies and framed rugby jerseys, religious artifacts, and any excess of family photos. You want potential buyers to imagine their own lives taking place in the home, and not feel as if they’re walking around your personal space.
STREET APPEAL: Ideally, the outside of your home should be looking as good as the inside. First impressions count, and you don’t want a potential buyer doing a drive by and never returning. This means ensuring things like the lawns are looking neat and trimmed, the garden beds have been weeded and paths and bricks have had a good gurney.
DECORATE: If you’re time poor, or simply can’t be bothered – consider completely ‘home staging’ the property, and decorating the space with hired furniture and accessories. This is definitely the way to go if it’s an investment property and it’s either empty or you’ve had renters in there. If the property is styled well, you’d make you’re money back and more (you only have to watch a few of those lifestyle shows to know that). Just remember to keep things fairly neutral. The secret behind a great hotel interior is that the room will always appeal to a wide set of tastes, keep that in mind when styling your home – things like sofa colours, bedlinen and artwork choices should be kept fairly safe (and tasteful).
PULL OUT ALL STOPS ON THE DAY: On the day of the open house do the usual: dot the home with vases of fresh flowers, light scented candles in the bathrooms. You could also turn on all the lights (especially in darker rooms or on overcast days), and make sure all doors in the home are open, making the flow of walking through easy for potential buyers. Tidy up all evidence of your family’s morning: beds made beautifully, laundry put away, dishwasher emptied, insides of wardrobes neat and surfaces clean. Most importantly, make sure any family pets are out for the day, along with any evidence of dog/cat toys and beds. And, cross your fingers that someone will fall in love with your home!
I hope you all had a lovely weekend,
If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen that I shared a few snaps of my beautiful niece’s birthday party that I styled recently. Georgie Abay asked me soon after if I could share some photos of the day on her beautiful blog, The Grace Tales. Georgie also interviewed me, so I thought I would publish a few of my answers here:
What was the theme for this party?
“Clementine lives in Apple Tree Flat, (in country NSW, Mudgee) on a beautiful farm – her parents are Peter and Hannah Logan (my sister), of Logan Wines. Hannah and I thought it would be sweet to bring some country elements to her first birthday party in our older sister’s lovely backyard for all of Clementine’s Sydney based family. We had Kindifarm baby animals, a bit of classic country check (picnic rugs and table cloths) and a touch of the over riding red apple theme, which started with a sweet emailed invitation designed by our cousins, who own the letterpress invitation business, Lion & The Huntsman. Good food was also a focus of the day, we organised lunch with Simmone Logue Catering, and then had some fun with the treats table. The day was a family effort.
What do you love about styling children’s parties?
The fun part for me is coming up with the theme and sourcing/crafting all of the cute elements. The reward at the end is to see a backyard full of kids having a great time. Nothing beats seeing the joy on their (sugar loaded) faces.
What are the key elements to a successful children’s party?
Hope for good weather on the day, as kids obviously love to be outside, but choose a venue where there is a wet weather option. If you don’t have a big enough space at home, I’ve organised a few parties at community scout halls, which work really well. Instead of giving kids free reign at the treats table, individual lunch boxes are always popular. Pack them with some healthy elements, as well as a treat or two. When in doubt, bubbles and balloons are always a hit with the under 2’s, and consider things like face painting and themed entertainment for the older kids. I’ve heard some great things about the Sydney based entertainment company, Stardust Kids. Oh, and of course the other kind of bubbles for the big kids. Lastly, when coming up with the theme, get feedback from the child. I had a vision for a cute Mexican theme party for my daughter’s third birthday this year, but she is insisting on a ‘pink princess’ gathering. I’m going to have to put my stylist thinking cap on for that one!”
Georgie also shared my ‘little black book':
Petting zoo: Kindifarm
Clementine’s dress: Tinker & Belle
Clementine’s shoes: Seed
Clementine’s hair bow: Branche Kids
Wine: Bibendum Wine Co Clementine Rose
Honeycomb balls: Factory Direct Party
Cardboard lunchboxes for the children: Vintage Baby
Apple cupcakes and apple ‘smash cake’: The Classic Cupcake Co.
Green glass plate stand: buy similar here
Apple cookies as take home favours: Hello Naomi
Tassel yellow balloons: The Bespokery
Gourmet doughnuts: Woah Nelly Bakes
Felt crowns: Lark Store
Paper cups, paper napkins and straws: The Base Warehouse
Bamboo plate ware and timber cutlery: Manly Freezers
Invitation: Lion and the Huntsman
Gingham yellow tablecloth: Shop Inside
Gingham picnic rugs: Amazon
I hope you all had a great week,
There is definitely a chill in the air which means it’s a great time to talk about Kip + Co’s AW15 collection, Hibernate. The trio of ladies from Melbourne behind the label with a passion for colour and pattern are Hayley Pannekoecke, Kate Heppell and Alex Van der Sluys. Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly buy another cushion or pillowcase, along comes this launch! It’s full of bold prints, textures, velvets and printed European linen for adult, kids and babies. There is also the usual range of blankets, towels, beanbags and home accessories to complement all the new stuff. Kip & Co’s big news is they have also launched KIP BODY, which includes a really cute range of comfy cotton jersey lounge wear and sleepwear. I’ve got my eye on this set for Winter. You’ll also find the new products for all the cute babies in the world on their website under the Tiny header. I’m in love with this Tartan baby blanket with pom poms.
I asked the girls a few quick questions for the blog recently:
What inspired/ influenced the designs for the latest collection from Kip & Co?
Alex: We try not to follow trends but are always influenced by the everyday things around us – the change in the weather (expect to see piles of texture on texture to wrap you up snug as a bug all winter), something one of the kids has doodled, a colour we are all drawn too, or something we’ve picked up at a flea market.
What’s your favourite shop?
Alex: Tough! I’m going to say third drawer down, its the closest cross over between toy shop / gallery / interiors design that I have ever found and the one in Fitzroy is right around the corner from lots of my favourites restaurants.
What are you reading?
Alex: I’m just getting ready for work so doing my standard read of all the papers!
What are you looking forward to?
Kate: India in June. The food, the steamy 40 degree weather … I can’t wait!
What’s your favourite item from the latest Kip & Co collection?
Kate: I am loving the sketch beanbag, the baby nap wraps and I can’t wait for a big cord quilt cover! And I’ve actually never owned linen sheets before so a set of those too please.
What does a typical day for you involve?
Hayley: Get the kids ready for school and kinder, ride to school, then grab coffee and toast with a few girlfriends post walk or exercise, then home or office to get stuck into the emails and work for a few hours before its time to grab the kids and head off to some after school activity.
What’s been a career highlight so far?
Hayley: Seeing each range come to fruition in our shoots is always a highlight for me!
What’s your favourite restaurant?
Hayley: Anywhere that serves super fresh shucked oysters… memorable meals and oysters at “Fish” in New York, I love Chin Chin Restaurant in Melbourne also.
Thanks ladies, I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next! Briar x
PS. Now all I can think about is flying to Melbourne and having dinner at Chin Chin Restaurant.
Getting in to the spirit of Easter, I wanted to share an easy and inexpensive treat idea for Easter that is an easy recipe to make with young ones, and a tasty indulgence for both kids and adults to enjoy over the break.
Easter Chocolate Bark
Line a tray with baking paper and pour melted chocolate of your choice, spreading it around until the slab is about 1cm thick. I chose a mixture of milk, dark and white chocolate. Don’t worry about getting chocolate all the way to the edges of the tray, a bit of mess is ok:
Here’s the fun part! Decorate the melted chocolate with your choice of ‘topping’. I chose crunchy m&m’s (that look like easter eggs), sliced up bounty bar and sprinkles. I then topped it off with splashes of melted white chocolate. Place the chocolate slab/tray in the fridge for over 4 hours, until the chocolate concoction is set, rock hard:
Break up the chocolate in to ‘bark’ pieces with a knife. You should be able to pierce the slab with the tip of the knife, allowing the cracking to happen naturally, giving you a much nicer finish than actual slicing:
I packaged the chocolate bark in to striped paper bags I purchased from a $2 shop. I made the bunny ear shape by simply cutting the shape with scissors and securing the top of each scrunched bag with some bakers twine. Seriously, too easy:
Enjoy – and make sure you let me know if you make this at home, would love to see how your version turns out!
Five things I’m loving lately…
Besides the cutest accessory seen here on our couch, the chill in the air has recently had me add two more things. I’ve never been a faux fur kind of gal, but for some reason I couldn’t go past the oversized Grobi Bear Throw from Freedom, that is pictured above with a Cubus Cushion from Country Road.
When it comes to clothes, it’s common knowledge that it’s worth investing in quality. The two long sleeve tops for Sunday pictured above are from Oishi-m, and are going to be so handy (and cute!) in the cooler months. I can tell from feeling the fabric that the tops are going to be indestructible for toddler play time, and I love the ‘hand made’ vibe from the eclectic mix of fabrics used in the range. The brand also stocks the cutest range of footwear for little ones, such as these Adidas classics.
Chocolate milk has never been so tasty! We were recently sent a little sample pack from Fanks – it’s a Milk Mix with no artificial nasties, gluten, nuts, eggs, wheat and yeast. A treat sweetened with 100% natural Natvia that is perfect for little ones – and I found it delicious too!
I recently had my make up done for a shoot in my home (more on that exciting day later), and I was introduced to the magic of the Napoleon Auto Pilot Skin Primer. I’ve since learnt that Napoleon says: “Not to Prime is a Crime!” True dat! My skin feels hydrated and smooth, giving it a really good base for foundation.
Kate from Maurice + King was one of my first online ‘blogging friends’ made 5 years ago, when I first launched Sunday Collector. I now keep in contact with Kate via Instagram, following her travels from Australia to now see her settling in the UK with her sweet little family. It was happy mail time yesterday when these cute paper napkins arrived all the way from H+M in London town – Kate clearly knows my taste too well.
I hope you are all having a great week,