Your Handy Hints

Your Handy Hints

In the mix: Sometimes simple solutions are the best for tackling problems around your home . This post provides tips/ and tricks to help you cope with problems you may see everyday, Simple solutions are given for various problems from a very simple problem to more complicated ones for example: how to deal with dusty chalkboard, how to store and maintain seeds, how to a tennis ball can help with washing machine.

CHALKY SOLUTION

A great way to clean a dusty chalkboard is with lemon oil. Apply a few drops of the oil to a clean cloth then simply wipe the board. It doesn’t leave any streaks or stains. A lint-free cloth soaked in cola soft drink works, too. Just make sure you let the board dry before using as writing on a wet chalkboard can cause the chalk to stick! LILY MAY JOHNSON, ALEXANDRIA, NSW

Lemon oil is a good solution to deal with a dusty chalkboard

Lemon oil is a good solution to deal with a dusty chalkboard

SHELF LIFE

Protect kitchen cupboard shelves and drawers from scuff marks and stains by lining them with offcuts of vinyl sheeting. It’s inexpensive and durable. JUDITH CAINE, DONVALE, VIC

Kitchen cupboard shelves and drawers

Kitchen cupboard shelves and drawers

SPUDS AWAY!

To remove the orange stain from your hands after handling a pumpkin, peel a potato, cut it in half and rub hands with the spud. KARLEY DUFF, ROBINA, QLD

Seeds sorted!

If your seed packets are spread throughout the garden shed, here’s a way to get organised. Find a storage box, make dividers from cardboard and label each with the season or month, then simply sort your seed packs into their ideal section. CHELSEA COOPER, WHYALLA, SA

Tennis ball trick

Pop a couple of new tennis balls in the tumble dryer next time you do your laundry (especially towels and quilt covers). The balls increase the space between the items allowing more air to circulate, which decreases drying time and increases the fl uffi ness of the clothes. Just make sure the temperature isn’t too hot as the balls could melt! CARMEN FOSTER, POTTS POINT, NSW

HERE’S A GREAT recycling tip: WHEN YOU NEXT BUY A SHEET SET OR DUVET, KEEP THE plastic packaging. IT’S ROBUST, TRANSPARENT AND THE PRESS-STUD CLOSURES ARE EASY FOR KIDS TO OPEN AND CLOSE. USE TO HOLD JIGSAWS, CRAFT ITEMS, GAMES YVETTE DENNING, OCEAN GROVE, VIC

THE DARK SIDE Wear dark clothing when cleaning mirrors. The spots and smudges show up easily when you are looking at a dark-coloured reflection.

MONIQUE BROCK, GREENSBOROUGH, VIC Banks Round mirror in Oak (83cm), $299, Freedom.

PAPER TRICK

Remove grease or oil from clothing by placing a sheet of kitchen paper towel over the stain and gently ironing over the top. The heat from the iron draws the oil into the paper towel. JESSICA SWINFEN, MACKAY, QLD

WRITE IN TO WIN!

If your hint is published you could win a prize. This month’s writers each win a Shine Shine “Obama” cushion from the Emily Ziz Style Studio, valued at $90. Visit Emilyziz.com for more cool and creative textiles. See page 161 for details on how to write in.

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A House to relax

A House to relax

A relaxed decorating style

The use of raw, earthy materials combined with a relaxed decorating style makes for a warm & welcoming family home.

A relaxed house decor

A relaxed house decor

THERE’S A SOLIDITY and authenticity to Georgia and Justin Letschert’s new-build home that belies its youth. Thick solid stone walls ground the house to its environment, and the interior design is more relaxedrustic- country than anything new or contemporary.

Materials to build a house

For the Letscherts, the choice of material in the build of their home was obvious and singular – concrete. As a result, you won’t find tiles, screed or a lick of paint on the exterior of the house, just cement and granite. “We wanted to use honest materials that would age well,” Justin says. “With time the garden will claim the house anyway and further entrench it in the environment.”

Choices of materials to build the house

Choices of materials to build the house

The couple wanted to create a family home with a good-sized garden for their two young boys – Leo, 6, and Milo, 4. But the wish list for their new home was not an easy one to fulfill. It included a large block of land with a fl at lawn – which would double as a soccer pitch – and a 20m pool. When the couple eventually found the perfect plot they worked with a designer to create their dream home.

“It sounds cliched but our brief was for a house where form follows function in every respect,” Justin says. The generosity of space was a critical requirement and so wherever possible the need for walls was done away with. This was as much a nod to the needs of the children as their love for the luxury of space.

Structure of the house

The house is laid out over three floors with the living areas with luxury table and chair sets, kitchen, Georgia’s study and kids’ playroom all on the ground floor, with verandahs leading out onto the garden. The bedrooms, Justin’s study and a family TV room are on the upper floor.

Kid playroom is added to the house

Kid playroom is added to the house

“The most commonly walked route in any home is to the kitchen and so we measured it, placed the staircase centrally and made every room equidistant to the kitchen,” Justin explains. To counteract less light later in the day, there’s a sequence of skylights, picture windows and a large central sky window above the stairwell.

What the result is

The house is relaxed, organised and the creative haven the couple craved. “Nothing is here just because it looks good,” says Justin, who spent months thinking over every aspect of the house. The interiors endured the same scrutiny from Georgia. “We were lucky in that the eclectic decor could have gone quite wrong if it wasn’t supported by such a raw, architectural structure,” she says.

But, in the end, the couple’s incredible collection of art, furniture and personal possessions has succeeded in complementing rather than competing with the eloquent architecture and the magnificent setting. The house was designed as a place of monumental yet intimate spaces that easily satisfy the practical and aesthetic needs of this dynamic couple and their two children.

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Natural By Design; A homewares designer and her husband decorate their apartment with a nod to nature and a generous dose of Nordic flair

Natural By Design; A homewares designer and her husband decorate their apartment with a nod to nature and a generous dose of Nordic flair
Home interior 3D rendering

Home interior 3D rendering

Natural factors form the basis of a home’s interior

As a teenager, homewares designer Hanne Berzant loved hiking and spent all of her spare time outdoors. The colour combinations, structures and textures of nature provided her with such inspiration that, years later, these natural elements form the basis of her home’s interior.

“I guess you could say that I am deeply in love with nature,” Hanne says. “Throughout my childhood and into my adult life it has been a constant factor – a place where I find peace, inspiration and happiness.”

In 2007, Hanne and her husband Soeren, along with their three daughters, Josefine, 16, Emma, 14, and Anna-Frida, 4, moved into a luxurious 240-sq-m apartment in a leafy neighbourhood. “It was 100 per cent renovated and ready for takeover,” Hanne says of the apartment, which although newly updated, was in desperate need of a vivacious family such as this one to bring it to life. The home has beautiful whitewashed timber floors, elegant stucco ceilings and white doors and floors that feature decorative mouldings.

“The original stucco ceilings lend a great atmosphere to the home,” Hanne says. “But at the same time, they are a beautiful contrast to our collection of modern furniture and accessories.”

The interior is simply decorated with Scandinavian influences, where light, clean lines also create opportunities for darker, more unrefined contrasts. The furniture pieces are timeless and are complemented by soft furnishings and accessories that Hanne designed for By Nord, the homewares business she established with Soeren in 2008.

The colour

On a base of white, the colour palette consists of soothing greys, taupe and hits of black, reminiscent of a Nordic winter landscape. “Unconsciously, I always used nature’s colour palette in my previous work as a graphic designer, whether I was creating a magazine cover or a company’s brand identity program,” Hanne says. It’s only natural, then, that these hues would appear in her own home, too.

To add to this scheme and enhance the natural Scandinavian look she loves so much, Hanne blends a variety of materials such as fur and printed cotton with pale raw timber and only a few touches of metal.

… And Furnishing

The couple furnished every room in their home with a combination of mid-century designer “investment” pieces, as well as treasured hand-me-downs, such as an armchair and a recliner chair that Hanne inherited from her grandparents. These modern elements, with their natural materials and finishes, look right at home in the traditional apartment.

“I feel I’ve been able to create a good balance at our place,” Hanne says. And that goes for daily life as well as decor. “Finding time for everything can be challenging, but I feel that our family, home and business are all evolving well,” – which means Hanne can still squeeze in a few hours, here and there, to spend outdoors exploring nature.

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