Our New Vintage Home and Garden

Our New Vintage Home and Garden

Bosch Header imageWalking through a home wares store the other day, I was struck by the “Spring Sale” banner and the Christmas tree in the background. Where did this year go?

Only a short time ago I was in the USA, then moving back to find a new place in Melbourne, now I’m watching the blossoms come out and planning what the holidays will bring.

A large part of my seasonal excitement comes from having a new vintage home to play with. Its charms and quirks are many, causing us both delight and frustration, but always filled with the pleasure of making a house a home.

my vintage home melbourne

I returned to Melbourne in the depths of Winter, and while it doesn’t snow here, it is cold. As in, you can see your breath in the air while still in bed, cold.

After spending three months in the USA where they have a much better handle on interior climate control, it was a shock to our systems.

We first started looking for a new place to live around the city in Melbourne, but all the apartments and town houses seemed so small and devoid of romance. I had a hard time envisaging them as our new home.

As luck and a little Googling would have it, we stumbled across a small three bedroom house just a few blocks from where we’d been staying. A short walk later and we knew, this place had our names written all over it.

I could barely wait to get inside.

my vintage home melbourne

There is a wonderful feeling that comes over you when you just know something is right. That’s the kind of joy we felt walking through the light filled rooms.

Priority number one on moving day was having the heating turned on, so we knew that even while we waited for the furniture to arrive, we could sit like happy polar bears on the ducted heating.

Every day here has brought new ideas and surprises, simple things like how great the old-fashioned window sills are, the perfect height for Lola to stand at and watch visitors on approach.

my vintage home melbourne

vintage home

We’ve watched the garden turn from what appeared to be a lot of sticks and overgrowth, into stunning plumes of wisteria and lilac bushes.

my vintage home melbourne

my vintage home melbourne

As the sun has now finally started to come out with regularity, I’ve been extremely glad to turn off the heating, (a bit of nasty bill shock there). Unlike the majority of the world, and certainly the wonderful hydronic radiator heating we’d had in Philadelphia, the gas ducted is a bit vintage technology I can live without.

According to the team at Bosch, Australia and California are the only two places that still predominantly use gas ducted heating, while the rest of the world has figured out the comfort and health benefits of hydronic heat systems.

Hydronic heating provides a lovely, unobtrusive form of heating by channelling heated water through either pipes in the floor slab or through radiator panels on the wall. The heat from the water radiates through the room space creating a warm and cosy feeling.

Having a few lovely hydronic radiators installed under our windows might have taken up a little more space than simple vents in the floor, but I would like to be consistently warm instead of alternating blasts of hot air and dust then going back to freezing in various rooms.

Nana rugs are nice, but having to wear them in my ‘work from home’ office isn’t the most motivating situation.

camberwell market shopping

Weekend trips to the Camberwell market have yielded some fantastic treasures including a wonderful set of vintage china for my regular coffee treats. Touches like these in regular rotation go a long way to making our guests feel special and add something memorable to a simple afternoon tea.

I’ve also taken this opportunity to look at investing in my home wares more wisely, finding things that not only serve a purpose but require little maintenance and save me more money in the long run. I’ve even tired to pick more hardy plants in an effort to waste less money with my “thumb of death”.

Once the next few weeks calendar has settled, I plan to get out the sewing machine again and knock up some new insulating curtains to keep the summer heat out.

This time I’ll be ready for the season and can save my money for a little more Christmas cheer.


This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.

Hydronic Heating is a method of heating utilising heated water to distribute warmth throughout a building. It offers superior comfort, operational efficiency and silent operation and is also known to minimise the negative effects to allergy sufferers caused by circulation of airborne particles, such as pollen or dust, that occur in ducted heating systems.

Your Future is in Your Hands

Your Future is in Your Hands

This post is bought to you by Nuffnang and VicSuper

VIC super 2

Have you ever felt as if finance was a game for maths wizards and genius “grown ups” – like an exclusive club you’ll never be invited to join?

That’s how I felt for years, until just recently. I finally realised how dysfunctional my relationship was with money.

I’m not talking about over spending or shopaholic behaviours. The real problem was believing that I didn’t control my financial future.

For years, I felt as if my money wasn’t “mine” and that, as someone with a dubious grasp of mathematics, I’d never be able to win at finance. Instead, my financial future would always reside in someone else’s hands.

From the outside this sounds ridiculous. How could a 38-year-old entrepreneur who’s launched and grown two businesses believe finance was beyond her skill set? And yet I did.

There’s been a seismic shift in my life this year. One that has given me an immeasurable sense of control, both of my own destiny and to make smart decisions along the way. How I will live in the future is a direct result of the choices I make right now.

In my early twenties I read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” with stars in my eyes and mental images of myself aboard a yacht counting my stacks of money. Then I went out and bought more shoes.

Numbers on paper can seem so unreal. The $1 million I wanted to make was an abstract concept, but the $100 in my wallet was real (and so were the killer heels I bought with it). I could feel it and use it right away.

Every time I got a pay cheque and saw the deductions for super, I’d cringe, feeling my pockets empty. Why couldn’t I get my head around what that money really was? It was the savings I wasn’t doing every time I reached for my purse and a shiny pair of shoes.

Over the years I largely forgot about my super, the neglected child of my financial family. I thought about my property and my bank balance, and even joked about my vintage collection being my real super.

Even when I started my own business, I kept telling myself I had to take charge of my super, but it still seemed rather ‘beige’ at the time. It didn’t have the instant gratification appeal of going to the ATM and getting that High Roller thrill on payday.

Have you ever held a million dollars?

No? How about $800,000?

I did.

In cash.

And it’s all mine. (Or at least it will be.)


As I stood there weighing the heavily stacked piles of notes in my hands, I had one thought: I want more.

That $800,000 was the reality of the cash I could have in superannuation by my retirement. I just need to care about it.

And there are no shoes, no fancy dinners and no bargains I want more than that pile of cash.

I’ll be honest with you. I’ve let my super become something quite off putting in my head. Something that’s for grown ups, and there’s this weird feeling that if I somehow started to give a damn about it, then I must be old, boring and I’d need to know a heck of a lot more about finance.

It’s amazing where your mind goes when you have that much cash in your hands. How intensely my inner Monopoly competitor arises and wants to win.

In a simple game of “How many pairs of shoes I don’t need”, I realised I could transform life for future me with one simple act. Saving a few extra bucks here and there, not losing fees to multiple funds because it was “too hard” to find all the paper work, will mean the difference between living on cat food or caviar. (I joke… maybe?)

How crazy does it sound that the biggest pile of cash I have right now, the biggest investment next to my property, is one that I’ve been ignoring?

I don’t even have a handbag big enough to carry that much cash.

What’s next? I’m selling most of the shoes that would have left me a hobbled old lady anyway and adding that cash to the pile. I’m proving to myself and my daughters that winning at the finance game isn’t nearly as hard as we’re often led to believe.


From today, VicSuper are giving YOU the chance to physically hold you superannuation balance in your hands – head to www.getsuperactive.com.au to see your super as cash and for more info

Fast Money Tips -5 Top Op Shop Finds

Fast Money Tips -5 Top Op Shop Finds


I’ve been a keen op-shopper for so long I can’t even remember when I first started.

I have clear recollections of an original pair of Winkle Picker shoes in all their pointy, polished glory, making their way home with me and into regular rotation until their seams gave out.

There was a 1960’s leather trench coat with pencil pleating I scored for the grand sum of $10 and the multitude of tweed skirts I’d buy to emulate what I imagined was the feeling of a girl going of to boarding school. (I was obsessed with Girl’s Own Annuals at the time.)

When the money I had was only a tiny bit of pocket change, I’d unknowingly begun to develop my own fast money tips.

It has been a life time’s habit, one that did not always make me popular and certainly well before the term “vintage” ever entered our vernacular. It was just how I did things.

Fast forward more than thirty years later and I’m still at it. A habit which I attribute many of my keen shopping skills to, to say nothing of my money saving ways.

I realised recently just how much cash I save every year by choosing to make the op-shop my first port of call for many of my regular buys, things I would rarely, if ever, pay retail for.

Op shops are an absolute gold mine. Even now that many have put their prices up to much higher amounts in certain areas, there are still bargains to be had.

If you want to save cash quickly and regularly, these top 5 buys might just be the baby steps you need to set you on the right path.

[/vc_column_text][dt_gap height=”20″][vc_single_image image=”15828″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”large”][dt_gap height=”30″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”0″ padding_left=”40″ padding_right=”40″ bg_position=”top” bg_repeat=”no-repeat” bg_cover=”false” bg_attachment=”false” padding_top=”40″ padding_bottom=”40″ parallax_speed=”0.1″][vc_column width=”1/1″][dt_vc_list style=”1″ dividers=”true”]

Picture Frames

What to look for:

  • Solid, stable frames with no fractures at the joints
  • Frames with matting still intact
  • No cracks in the glass

How to fancy them up:

  • Spray paint
  • Gold or silver foiling
  • Glitter glue bath

*Hint: Check out this stunning transformation and DIY instructional from DreamGreenDIY. I’m in love![/dt_vc_list][dt_gap height=”10″][vc_single_image image=”15821″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”large”][dt_gap height=”30″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][dt_vc_list style=”1″ dividers=”true”]

Tupperware and other storage containers

What to look for:

  • Matching lids with no warp and a tight seal
  • Plastic that hasn’t suffered any melting or microwave burn

How to fancy them up:

  • Vinyl stickers or labels as DIY decals

*HINT: search for Meyercord Decals to find original vintage decals![/dt_vc_list][dt_gap height=”10″][vc_single_image image=”15818″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][dt_gap height=”30″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][dt_vc_list style=”1″ dividers=”true”]

Serving ware

Pyrex, casserole dishes, silverware (plated or otherwise)

What to look for:

  • No pitting in the plating as this will quickly lift or corrode
  • No cracks or major chips
  • Matching lids
  • Matching sets or complimentary colours

How to fancy them up:

  • Silver or metal polish – easy to use and makes a big difference to the overall appearance.
  • Glass or china wear decals

*Hint: Check out this fantastic post by Dans leTownhouse on restoring and cleaning pyrex[/dt_vc_list][vc_single_image image=”15815″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][dt_gap height=”30″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][dt_vc_list style=”1″ dividers=”true”]

Timber Furniture

What to look for:

  • Sturdy legs – no cracks or loose joins
  • Well running drawers (these can also be fixed with a good sanding and a bit of baby powder if they stick)

How to fancy them up:

  • Spray paint – enamel auto spray paint is a cheap buy and gives a great finish. Just make sure to sand properly in between coats
  • Re-upholster – often very simple of timber furniture with upholstered seats.
  • Add moulding panels

*Hint: This impressive timber stool makeover from The Red Thread blog has total DIY instructions.[/dt_vc_list][dt_gap height=”10″][vc_single_image image=”15817″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][dt_gap height=”30″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][dt_vc_list style=”1″ dividers=”true”]

Cushions & Throw Pillows

What to look for:

  • Size – does it fit the purpose you have in mind
  • Overall condition – cleanliness
  • Don’t worry about the cover or pattern, you can make you own later

How to fancy them up:

  • Make your own cushion covers
  • Add fancy trim, like fringing or braiding to the existing cushion cover
  • Add buttoning for a more expensive look

*Hint: This Spotlight tutorial has the instructions on how to make DIY cameo or silhouette cushions[/dt_vc_list][dt_gap height=”10″][vc_single_image image=”15820″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][dt_gap height=”30″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]These are some of our most shopped for decorator items and sometimes the dollars add up very quickly.

If like me, you prefer to save your money and invest it elsewhere (like paying off bills or supporting local artisans and buying handmade shoes), these tips will set you on the right path.

It’s a healthy habit to get into both for your wallet, the environment and for the creative part of your brain that gets a chance to flex its muscle.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”15808″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]