Friday, August 31, 2012

Beach House Decor Styling Your Home For Sale

Hello Desirables
Ready for a little Beach House Decor?  You've seen the outside, now here's the in!!!!!

Today we are talking styling your house for sale or if you're not selling, styling to enjoy it to the max.

What I'm going to say is so obvious, you know it already, but it is surprising how many open homes I attend and these simple measures, which can make a big difference, are not followed through.  The house I am showing you today gets it right big time.
Lets start with the bedrooms

Here I always advise my clients to go with white linen.  If you are going to invest any money in styling your home for sale, I always say that good linen and cushions for the bedrooms are a good place to invest.  It's relatively inexpensive and easy to put together.  It looks crisp, makes the room look bright, calm and more spacious.  A throw or layers of folded quilts, can be used as a pop of colour at the end of the bed and tie in with layered cushions against the bed head or wall.  Infact cushions are a great way to give the impression of a bed head, if you don't have one.

Bedside lighting and furniture need not match.  You can use vintage chairs and candles as an alternative, if you are not up for buying new lighting or furniture.  Even a high stack of beautiful interiors or vintage books beside the bed, with a light or candle can look lovely.  And colour code your books as well.  I recently did this with a client and she is still raving about it.

For styling vignettes, try and keep to a colour and always style in odd numbers.  I think clusters of 3 or 5 are best.

I think for boys rooms you can't go past red, white and blue for effect.  Include bunting and cute art work and style shelving with cute toys that are in good condition and interesting. Use layered cushions in kids rooms as well.  A cute little mat from Ikea is a good way to add layers of interest and colour to the room.

Outdoor areas

This is perhaps the most important space in Australian homes, considering the weather is usually good enough to live and dine out here for about 8 months of the year.  They should flow from living areas through wide open doors and provide a variety of shaded and sunny options.

A beautiful day bed styled with cushions and books is so inviting and evokes feelings of 'must have' amongst prospective purchasers.

I also love the standard candelabras and chandeliers in the external areas of this home. 

A built in BBQ with marble bench tops and simply styled with candles and shells is just so inviting and neat.

A couple of candles and an interesting piece of driftwood collected from the beach is an affordable and effective table dressing for an outdoor area.

Even a straw hat tells a lovely story and again encourages purchasers to see this as their home.

Something as simple as a shell door stopper can look fab too and give a beachy feel in keeping with the location of the house.

Other ways of styling your outdoor areas include, grouping collections in beautiful containers

If you have a large back yard, which will appeal to young families, make sure you give your cubby house a lick of paint.  Stringing up some bunting and adding some simple art or pot plants can be very appealing to a future owner, looking for a kiddo friendly home.

My kids adored this backyard and were kept very busy with all the installations out here.  Giving me time to have a good look around unhindered.

Just some simple cushions on an outdoor seat can add style and indicate the house is cared for.

I thought this was a very cute storage idea for a carport.  A large cupboard to store mowers and tools, which is as neat as a pin when closed up.

Art Work

Art work should be subtle and in character with the home.  It need not be expensive, but should be there to add to the relaxed feeling of the home.

I love this mantra and totally agree with it.  Roll on Summer!!!!

It lets a buyer know they are in the right place.

The kitchen

Perhaps the most important room in the house....for a woman anyway.  I always say go white here, if at all possible.  If you have dated cupboard doors and they are easily painted...... do it.  They will look much better.  I once bought a house with my parents with brown cupboards and a lime green bench top. Can't believe that became fashionable again a few years back.  Believe me ours was the true 70's article and complete with nylon carpet, it was totes revolting. After we ripped up the carpet, we painted the cupboards white and kept the lime green bench tops, as the cost to replace them was not in the budget..  We added blue accents and it looked great actually for the little we spent on it.. We spent $26,000 renovating the whole house, that included a new bathroom and sold it for $355,000 more than we bought it for a couple of years later.

Apart from brightening the kitchen up.  The main thing here is to keep benches as decluttered as possible and it must be spotlessly clean.

A new trend in Sydney, which I have lately seen at open houses, is a spread of coffee, drinks and cake for the attendees.  Has that been something Americans have done for a while?  I'd be interested to know.  The idea is to get you to linger longer, take a seat and imagine this as your future house, which is the name of the game.  The Beach House Brats got stuck in, which was a good excuse for them to stay outside too.

The Living Room

It's important not to over crowd these spaces if they are small, but there also needs to be enough seating for all the family members in the house.  It can be a dilemma, but always remember less is more.

These to rooms were both spacious and got the seating levels right.

Love this cute little nook styled on the landing

Styling a bathroom requires a selection of beautiful bath products strategically placed on the vanity and in the shower/bath area.  A bath rest can look lovely with some lovely products and rolled hand towels.

Other things to include are fresh fluffy towels, used only for the open house, candles and a small vase of white flowers on the vanity.  My 'white advice' applies here too, so if there's anyway you can achieve a quick white over with paint again, I suggest it be done.  Even tiles can be painted white.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Funny Comment From a Reader in France and a Fig Tart Recipe from a Provincial Garden

Hello Beach Dwellers

 I so want this guy for a guest post.  He's an old friend of Mr Beach House, now living in Paris, but with a family home in Provence. 

The Beach House Dwellers (minus one, as she wasn't born yet) and Malcolm (right) out to lunch in the Loire Valley 
Here's what he had to say on my last post about the strawberry and apple crumble.   And he's got a lovely fig dessert recipe from the Pays Basque for you as well. I love his method for the recipe.....had me laughing. The shots are just random ones, I took in the south of France 5 Years ago.

Malcolm says:

The French find crumble very trendy. BTW next time you're over here, go and have a drool at this cookware shop - been around since 1820 - from the time when Les Halles was a huge market - since been moved to Rungis about half an hour out of Paris. here

Oh yeah - it's pronounced "Lay Al" - not "Les Halls" - he's a Country & Western singer. 

This shop is way better for cookware than "Monoprix" (pronounced "Mono Pree" not "Mono Pricks").

The town of Pierre Longue in Haute Provence.  One is warned against drinking from public fountains in France, but there you go, Mr Beach House will not be told.  Apparently he is special.  

Malcolm's comment continued:

We are making the most of the figs growing in the Provence house. We use them in a sauce for barbequed meat - especially good with pork. But here's a dessert we're doing tonight - "Gâteau Basque Aux Figues Fraïches" (Basque-style Fresh Fig Cake from down the South Coast past Biarritz) 

Pastry - 2 cups/250g Flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup/150g sugar, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon rum, 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons/150g butter plus more for the pan, 1 egg mixed with 1/2 teaspoon salt for the glaze.

Fig Filling - 12 ounces/330g fresh figs, 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar or to taste, 2 tablespoons/30g butter, 1/4 cup/60ml Port, 1/2 cup/60g raspberries or 3 to 4 tablespoons raspberry jam.

9inch/23cm round cake pan

A cafe in old Vaison La Romaine.  I love the light in the South of France

Make the pastry - sift the flour onto a work surface and make a well in the centre. Put the salt, sugar, egg yolk and whole egg and vanilla or other flavouring in the well. Pound the butter with a rolling pin to soften it, add it to the other ingredients in the well and work with the fingers of one hand until thoroughly mixed and the sugar is partially dissolved [Now you can take a slug of chilled Rosé or your bevvie of choice]. Using a pastry scraper, gradually draw in the flour from the sides of the well, then work the dough and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. [Chill out yourself with another hit of chilled Rosé]

For the filling, discard the fig stems and cut the figs into large chunks. Toss the figs with the sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter in a frying pan over high heat (don't burn the bastard). Add the figs and cook, stirring constantly with one hand while drinking another glass of Rosé with the other. Stir until caramelized and very tender - about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the port and flambé it. Have another drink if you manage to successfully flambé without setting your hair or the kitchen on fire. Add the raspberries and continue cooking until the filling just falls easily from a spoon - 2 to 3 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly. Taste, adjust the amount of sugar and leave the filling to cool. Voila! You're done. Now go chill the Champagne. And some clotted cream. 

Carolyn: Not sure how the pastry and figs come together here. I assume you're meant to line a greased pie dish or the cake pan mentioned with the pastry and blind bake it for 15 minutes or so and fill with the fig mixture and serve it with the cream.  Anyhoo!!!! The good cooks amongst you will work it out.  Have some Rose....I find it usually helps solve just about anything!!!! 

Deep in the South of France Old Town Vaison La Romaine ????

And my reply to Malcolm's comment.

So they find it trendy ha? I doubt because it's English. Possibly more about the fact that oats and fruit are good for you, or that the French like things of beauty that taste good. Do tell!!!!.

I so want you for a guest post on here. Come on, you must be heading back to Paris soon, as Summer is on the wane. How about a post on a day on your life in Provence and then another one in Paris? You could show us some of the less well known areas like that canteen under La Madeleine, which served great food, but was really a charitable thing for the homeless et al.  It was closed for the month of August so we didn't get of my greatest regrets.

That recipe looks fab and with your own figs too. Man you had me at "The Provence House"

From one Mono Prix to another

So what do you reckon peeps? Wouldn't you like to hear more from a funny Australian in France?  I know I would.

The village of Tillac where we stayed in Gascony, part of the Pays Basque.
Today I am linked here
Wow Us Wednesday
52 Mantels
Live Laugh Rowe
Transformation Thursday
Potpourri Friday
Feathered Nest Friday
Show and Tell Friday
Sunday Scoop
Sunday Showcase
Tabletop Tuesday
Coastal Charm
Take A Look Tuesday
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Monday, August 27, 2012

Strawberry and Apple Crumble and the Great Food Debate

Strawberry and Apple Crumble

It seems almost criminal to cook strawberries I know, but beach dwellers, my motives are pure.  I want to get my kiddos eating more oats, a super food and more dairy. Strawberries are so affordable right now, that it just seemed the way to go.  I use all sorts of trickery and tom foolery to get these kiddos eating well.  They are picky and I am impatient.  Not a great combo around the dinner table here at the beach house!!!!  With my hatred of cleaning, it is not unusual to find all sorts of dried food under the kiddos table, days after it has been lovingly served up, as what I thought was a delicious meal.  But apparently not, a point which is made crystal clear to me, as I prize dried lamb and once beautifully cooked, but now shrivelled up old vegetables from the floor boards!!! 

So yes dear reader, I hide food they wont eat, amongst food they will and  here's my latest version of  trickery, in the great and seemingly everlasting beach house food debate.

As I still have a preschooler and like to eat spicy low fat food myself, I am still in that parallel universe were I cook 2 different meals per night. One for the kids and one for the adults. Crazy I know, but that's where we are.  It's also a timing thing.  Motherhood means that most  freedoms and pleasures from my single and childless lifestyle are lost to the past, but eating my dinner at 5pm is a concept I will never be able grasp.  To me it doesn't feel civilised sitting down to dinner, in what I still consider to be the afternoon.

So as I am endlessly cooking, a past time which I actually enjoy.   Any dish which is easy to prepare and healthy, is a keeper in my book and this is one of those.  Oh and if strawberries are not so affordable in your region right now, substitute any fruit your desire.  For example a bunch of rhubarb or any fruit that cooks up well, such as pears.

Strawberry and Apple Crumble

2-3 punnets of strawberries hulled and halved.  Reserve one or two to cut and garnish
4 apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2/3 cup white sugar for the fruit
4 tablespoons water
200 grams butter
150g rolled oats
150g plain flour
150g brown sugar for the crumble
Cooking spray for greasing

Over a low heat  combine fruit water and sugar in a large saucepan and cook for 20-30 mins so fruit is soft.  As there is alot of water in the fruit it may bubble over so that's why you need a large saucepan.
Set aside to cool.  After 10 minutes drain off water and use the juice to make strawberry milkshakes.  I made some, but forgot to shoot them before they were downed by the Beach House Brats and friends.

Place the fruit into a small baking dish, which has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil.  If you don't have any spray lightly grease with butter.

Meanwhile. combine the butter, oats, flour and brown sugar in a large bowl and rub together with your fingers until it is well combined.

Spread the crumble mixture evenly over the fruit.

Bake in a moderate oven 180 C/ 350F for 25 -35 minutes or until golden brown.  The fruit may bubble up through the crumble, which just adds to is rustic nature!!!!  Serve with low fat yoghurt, ice cream or cream and enjoy.

I serve this for both dessert and as a breakfast alternative.

Have a wonderful week.  I am making an appearance at a little car boot sale next weekend, so have lots of things to get ready.  I'm making a few of these surfboards to sell as well.
And for all my other baking recipe go here
What tricks to you use to get the kiddos eating well?
Today I am linked up here
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Beach Cottage Love and Inspiration

Hello Beach Dwellers

Yesterday as I dropped the Beach House Brat off for a play date in on of these gorgeous cottages, it occurred to me that we hadn't had any posts on here about Beach Cottages lately.  It was like a Summers day here in Sydney yesterday, so I grabbed my camera, sourced my favourites and found myself leaning over strangers' fences. 

There is lots of inspiration here on how to dress the entrance to your home.  If it's window trims, picket fences with sandstone inserts, carports,  screen doors  or just how to style your porch that you are after, this is the post for  you. As renovation seems to be an Australian national sport, there are many works in progress to show you at a later date too.  I give you the classic Australian Beach Cottage !!!!!  Enjoy!!!

I'll show you the inside of one of these Beach Cottages next week, as it's on the market and we have pictures.

In the mean time have a wonderful weekend.  I hope yours is warm and fruitful.

Today I am linked up here
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