Sep 29, 2011

Where to Go When Your Home Is Being Renovated

So you have finally decided to add that extra bit of much needed space to your home and hired renovators to do extensive work to improve your house. What you maybe didn’t think about was where you and your family will go while all this is happening. If you don’t find a comfortable alternative for you and your family to stay at in the meantime, you may start to feel displaced, scattered and unorganized. Here are a few ideas as to how you can continue on with life like normal and keep doing what you need to do even after having your home invaded and pulled apart.

Have a home away from home
There is no reason why you can’t still have all the comforts of home while you are having your house remodeled. There are more than enough options for
serviced apartments in Sydney, Melbourne and apartments in Brisbane as well as any city in-between that will provide all the luxuries of your home in a neat little unit. Not only will you feel at home and be able to continue business-as-usual, but also you don’t have to worry about utilities and general maintenance for the duration of your stay in the apartment. Apartments are generally located in central and convenient locations so you can still be close to work, your friends and other amenities of your daily life.

Set up in a hotel
If money is an issue, a good alternative to the apartment is to find a nice hotel that is in a good location. Often hotels will give a discounted rate on long-term stays, and you will feel like royalty with convenient services such as room service and a daily cleaning service. If you have a large family, however, then serviced apartments may still be the best option so that everyone can have their own room.

Stay with family or friends

If you are lucky enough to have friends or family with a sizeable house (and don’t mind being imposed on), why not crash there for a few weeks? This is a great opportunity to spend some quality time hanging out and catching up, and you can all take turns with the housework. Just make sure you remember to invite them over to your new and improved home for a barbie to show them how much you appreciated their hospitality.

Go on a holiday
Being displaced from your home during a renovation can have its benefits. This is the perfect opportunity to finally go on that holiday you’ve always wanted to go on. If you’ve always wanted to take the family overseas, but didn’t have anyone to look after your home, now is your chance! Have you ever wanted to go on a cruise or is it time to finally visit distant relatives you haven’t seen in while? Take advantage of having this kind of freedom, because you never know when you will get the chance again!

Having your home renovated doesn’t have make your life more difficult, use this time to sit back, relax and let the professionals do all the work.


Sep 26, 2011

An Old Lady

A candid shot. During on the way to Bandung (West Java, Indonesia) yesterday, we dropped by a while at one rest area. My husband parked the car right on the right side of the benches. This lady sat on one bench. I was interested with the hair rolls on her hair. Cute!

Sep 24, 2011

Reviving the Past: Tips on Renovating a Heritage Home

People today are succumbing to the charms of heritage-listed homes and there are a number of great heritage listed areas in Sydney, ranging from Eastwood and Arncliffe to Strathfield and Parramatta. However, there can be a lot involved in renovating or restoring a heritage home, from finding experienced builders in Sydney, to installing the right flooring and, most importantly, knowing what changes you can and cannot make to a heritage listed home.

Outlined below are some of things you need to be aware of when looking to fix up a heritage home.

Tip 1: Know Your Property and the Laws

If you’re looking to buy a particular heritage listed property, or if you have already purchased one, it’s essential that you know the historical background of the property.

Get in touch with the local council and a heritage adviser to find out the historical significance and value of your home. By knowing the historical relevance of the house, it will help you decide on what is required to restore it back to its original period, or if you want to renovate and incorporate some modern fixtures.

It’s also essential that you research the laws regarding heritage listed properties and any specific regulations that apply to your residence. Familiarise your self with the EPBC (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation) act of 1999, which will help explain the parameters of the changes you are allowed to make to a heritage home.

The reason why you need to familiarise yourself with the property’s history and the heritage conservation laws is because homes that are heritage listed often have restrictions placed on them. These restrictions ensure that renovations or restorations have no negative impact on a place’s heritage value.

Tip 2: Developing a Management Plan

When renovating or restoring a heritage home you have to write up a development management plan of all your intended changes to a home. This plan also has to be submitted to the appropriate government officials so it can be determined if your plans are going to have a damaging effect on the properties heritage value.

When developing a management plan enlist the aid of professionals, such as a local historian, construction builders, interior designers, flooring specialists etc. so that they can help you ensure that your renovations are viable and not going reduce the heritage value of the property.

A good development management plan (in combination with the advice of professionals) can also help you establish a budget. The budget will provide a rough idea of what your renovations are going to cost.

Tip 3: Hiring Experienced Professionals

When getting a group of professionals on board, such as builders, interior designers and flooring specialists, make sure that they have had previous experience in working on a heritage home.

Renovating a federation or heritage listed home requires a certain finesse and knowledge, because you’re essentially working with foundations, fixtures and a structure that can be over a hundred years old. Heritage homes require more care and can require specialised materials or knowledge of older building practices.

Tip 4: Don’t Be Afraid to Modernise

Whilst some heritage homes cannot be changed much, many heritage homes do allow for the inclusion of modern fixtures and features.

Owners of a heritage home shouldn’t have to feel that are constrained to the historical period of the house. A great home can be established that retains the old world charm of its period and yet incorporates a number of necessary and comfortable modern features.

Modernised bathrooms and kitchens can complement an old federation home well. The installation of modern floor materials (such as heated tiles) can also bring style and warmth to an older home.


Inside a Mosque

Many praying places, whatever the religion is, have great building structures, such as this old mosque (Sunan Ampel Mosque, Surabaya, Indonesia). It's the part of original building that built in 1421.

The Weekend in Black and White

Sep 23, 2011

8 Reasons You Should Build a Kit Home

There are many reasons you should build a kit home. Kit homes are a fantastic option instead of building a conventional home. They have all the benefits of a normal home except you can save yourself a lot of money. There are many designs to choose from and styles to suit your exact location. You can also still include all the usual extras that you might have on any other house, such as patios, verandas, solar panels or rain water tanks. There are kit homes in Victoria being built all the time, including other states around Australia. Kit homes are being increasingly popular.


A kit home is a very cost effective way of building a home. The materials to build the home will be delivered to your property all at once, along with comprehensive instructions as to how to build it. The home will come complete so that you can build it to lock up stage. You will usually still then need to do the plastering, the electrical work, the plumbing, fit out the kitchen and bathroom, put in the flooring and paint. Despite this it is still a cheaper way to build a home. You can have a builder construct your home for you, but to save even more money you can build it yourself.

Quick to Build

Once the materials have been delivered to your property the home is relatively quick to build. If you worked on it every day you could build your new kit home in as little as eight weeks. It is likely the procedures would be slowed a little when it comes to waiting for different tradesmen to do things like the plumbing or electrical work. You also might lose time due to bad weather.


With many kit home companies you have the flexibility of altering the floor plans of different home designs to suit your lifestyle. Some companies will also include the kitchen and bathroom if you wish. You can sometimes have the choice of a home built with a timber framework or one constructed from steel. You can choose to either build it yourself or have a builder do it for you, or you might use a builder for some parts of the construction.

Owner builder

The fantastic thing about kit homes is that you can build them yourself, in the meantime saving yourself a lot of money. It could be a fantastic project for you and your partner to complete together.


There are many different kit home designs to choose from, different sizes and styles to suit many different locations.

Steel frame

Another advantage of building a kit home is having one with a steel framework. They are easy to put together and are very strong but light weight. They also have the benefit of being termite resistant and will survive a bush fire better than a timber framed house.

Choose your own kitchen and bathroom

If your kit home comes complete to lock up stage only you have the advantage of being able to design your own kitchen and bathroom completely from scratch.


With a kit home you can have all the usual additions that you might make to a conventional home, such as a veranda, a patio area for entertaining or you might install solar panels or rain water tanks to make your home more eco friendly.

Sep 22, 2011

Accidents You Should Insure Against Your Home

It is important if you own your own home that you take out home insurance. The unexpected does and can happen and even if you think it is unlikely there is still a possibility of things like fire, storm damage or even a flood occurring. When you take out home insurance you should also consider contents insurance as your home insurance will not cover your personal belongings like your furniture, your clothes, jewellery, electronic equipment, your Westinghouse fridge or other appliances.

House fire
House fires can start quickly and more easily than you would think. Common causes of house fires include faulty wiring, lit cigarettes being left and forgotten, candles being left alight and setting fire to curtains or furniture, or fires that start on the stove top. House fires can spread quickly and your whole house can be alight before you realise. Your insurance will cover you for any damage caused by a fire.

The unexpected floods in Queensland early this year are evidence that water can do an incredible amount of damage. Flash flooding is destructive and can leave people homeless. Creeks and rivers can rise quickly and as the population grows many houses are being built on land that was once swamps, therefore during periods of heavy rain they naturally start to return to that wet state, and people living in these areas find they are subject to floods. Protect yourself by insuring your home which will cover you against flood damage.

Storm damage
Storms can cause a lot of damage to a property. Wind and heavy rain as well as hail can break windows, cause trees and branches to fall across houses, lift up tiles and tin roofs and also cause localised flooding. The cost caused by a storm may be small or it may run into the thousands of dollars. Don't take the risk by not having home insurance. Your insurance company will cover any damage that an unexpected storm might cause.

Not everyone would be having to worry about cyclones. If you live in the northern half of Australia then cyclones may be an issue. Tropical Queensland, the coast of Northern Territory and in the north of Western Australia are all areas where cyclones occur. A large scale cyclone can completely flatten a house and the cost of replacing your home is likely to be something that would be impossible to do. If you live in an area prone to cyclone your insurance will cover you against property damage.

Australia is fortunate enough not to be sitting on a fault line, but there are parts of Australia that have felt minor quakes such as Korumburra in South Gippsland, which experienced several minor quakes earlier this year. Any damage from these sorts of quakes is more than likely to be minor but it pays to be covered.

Bush fire
If you live in a rural area, particularly in the bush, it is wise to have home insurance due to the possible threat of bush fires. As well as taking steps to protect your home from bush fire, such as clearing trees and foliage from around your home, you should also have insurance that will pay if your home is damaged or destroyed in a bush fire.


Sep 21, 2011

5 Must Have for Moving Out of Home Students

You’re about to move out of home for the first time. There is so much change happening around you that you may not realise what you need to set yourself up in for the first time in your new home.

Moving out of home to study is often a rushed time. You’ve just found out that you’ve been accepted, and are expected to be ready to start just a few weeks later. Once you’ve tackled the rental market and found somewhere to live, you need to furnish your new place.

Whether you’re renting alone or sharing a house with friends or even strangers, you need the house essentials to set yourself up. Regardless of your style, budget or location, there are 5 basics that you need in order to set yourself up to study successfully:

1. Quality
doona, sheets & mattress

When you’re finally ready to sleep after studying all night or working late at your part time job, you want to be comfortable. When you’ve found time to sleep, you need to make the most of it. This means that you need a good mattress, sheets, doona and pillow. You’re going to be busy balancing your new commitments, so when you’re resting, ensure that your body gets the best treatment.

2. Car

You’ve left home and no longer have access to your parent’s car. You also no longer have personal taxi drivers to ferry you around. But that hasn’t changed your need to get from A to B. In fact, your need to get around has probably increased.

You need a car to get you from study, to home, to your part time job, to your friends and of course back to your parent’s place. If you need a
car loan, there are loaners out there who’ll support you.

3. Study desk and chair

You’ve committed to study. Now you need the equipment to enable you to succeed. You’ll need a good desk and chair that will help you study for hours on end. When looking for your chair, ensure that its height is adjustable so that it can match the desk height. This will help you to find the perfect height that will be comfortable but will also care for your body, specifically your posture, whilst studying.

4. Kitchen equipment

You’ve left home and that means that you are now responsible for yourself. You’re the one who needs to cook in order to eat. Try to avoid slipping into bad eating habits. Resist the urge to live off noodles or take away food by investing in some cooking essentials. Buy a frying pan, pots, kettle and toaster. With these tools at your fingertips, you’ll have no excuse to not treat your body well. Give it the sustenance it needs by using this cooking equipment.

5. Computer

When studying, you need to be up to date on the latest technology. Set yourself up for the best academic grades by having the best technology available to you. For example, you might want to consider investing in a laptop that you can take to university. This will allow you to take electronic notes during class and will also mean you won’t have to fight with other students for a computer during breaks between classes.

With these 5 studying must- haves, you’ll be set up for success! 

Sep 20, 2011

Preparing Your New Home for Young Children

Congratulations on the purchase of your new home! There is nothing more exciting than signing the papers and knowing that in a few short weeks you will get the keys to your new home and have the opportunity to start fresh with your young family. It is the security you need, to know you now have a stable place for your family to grow in, and somewhere to create memories.

But ensuring all the memories are good, means making sure you have prepared your home as much as possible, for the arrival of your young family. This means considering any areas that may pose potential risks to safety, and fixing them up before you move the kids in.

1. Safety for your babies and toddlers
Safety for very small children can be difficult, as at this age they are curious, and everything is a new and potential adventure for them. There are a range of safety devises you can get to help you out. These include child safety locks on things like your cupboards and fridges, so they can’t get into them and find hazardous toys and chemicals, as well as locks on draws so they can’t pull them open and hit themselves, and fridge door locks. In addition, you can purchase blocking devices for stairs and doorways, so you can restrict the children to a certain part of the house, for easier care.

2. Pool safety
If your new home has a pool, this will be a great opportunity in the future for your kids to learn to swim and become water comfortable in the meantime. It can also be dangerous if not looked after correctly. Ensure your pool has adequate – and legally required – fencing. This could save your children’s lives. Also head to a
pool supplies outlet and purchase equipment to keep it clean so disease and bacteria don’t increase.

3. Outdoor safety
Again, your front and backyard are adventure playgrounds for kids. Preparing them, means fixing up all garden areas, so they are not over-grown and hidey holes for snakes and other dangerous creatures. Also check your fencing to make sure there are no sharp areas, or pieces missing that the kids or pets can escape through. Your front fence and gate are particularly important as it is what is between your children and the road. A
fencing contractor will be able to help you put a new fence up and advise on your best options.

Check the backyard for any areas where leftovers from building or development may be stored – either fence them off or get rid of them. In the meantime, check for any wires, sharp things, unstable bricks or other building supplies that may fall, or be pushed over.

Check your garden shed. First to make sure the door is sound, and there is no way in except for the door – no little holes or breaks in the walls. Ensure all poisonous items are stored up high, and sharp items, such as the blades on your lawn mower are out of reach of children. A locked cabinet for anything very dangerous is a great idea as then you can be assured your kids can’t get into anything too nasty, if you aren’t around.

In general, think about everything as though it is to be explored and from a knee-high perspective!

Sep 19, 2011

Kids and Games

During holidays, their parents allow them –my niece and nephew- to play games every day. Look at them. They can be in the same position for hours!

Sep 17, 2011

The Ceiling of a Mosque

The original Sunan Ampel Mosque (Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia) building was built in 1421. The ceiling of this mosque looks complicated. The ladder can be climbed to reach specific room above for people who want to pray devotedly in more peaceful and quiet environment.
The Weekend in Black and White

Sep 16, 2011

How to Make Your New House a Home

Have you just moved into a new place and are now trying to work out what you can do to make it feel like home? New places can often seem really foreign and be difficult to adjust to; sometimes you might even start to doubt whether this new move was even a good idea at all. There’s no need to worry however, because it is easy to turn any place at all into a cozy home in no time.

1. Unpack straight away.
This might seem obvious, but you’ll find while starting the process of unpacking is easy, it can also be very easy to procrastinate on finishing unpacking: suddenly more than a few weeks have gone by and you are still living out of boxes and suitcases. This will only serve to make the move and transition more difficult. It’s not the most exciting of jobs, but invite a few friends over and get the wine flowing and you’ll have everything out in no time.

2. Add ‘homely’ touches as soon as you can.
Hang up your photos, put out your favourite cushions, stock your
Westinghouse fridge up with the food you love. Surf the Internet and look through sites like tumblr, etsy or pinterest for creative ideas on how to make your new home stand out from all others. Once you have both familiar and new touches out and about, the more content and ‘house proud’ you will feel.

3. Get to know your new neighbourhood.
This is one of the most exciting aspects of moving somewhere new: check out where the nearest supermarket and closest ATMs are, and start the search for your new local café and bar. Explore the restaurants and test out the take-out menus. This can be a fun and exciting project to do with your friends over the period of a number of weeks.

4. Invest in home essentials.
Does your new house have a good shower? Do you need a
Bosch Dishwasher? Are you going to need to purchase a heater? Maybe you would prefer a front loader washing machine to the top loader it has come with. Household appliances such as these play a significant part in making your home life easier and happier, so it is best to try and sort these from the outset.

5. Have a housewarming party and get to know your neighbours.
Don’t delay – getting your friends over as soon as possible so that they can give you many compliments on your new home will make you feel great.It will also pay to get to introduce yourself to your closest new neighbours. You don’t have to become best friends, but having established the contact will come in handy if you need someone to feed your pet for the weekend, or you get locked out and need to get in through the backyard. It’ll also make it easier if you ever have to ask them to keep the noise down or want to warn them about a party you are having. A little groundwork laid now will go a long away.

Sep 12, 2011

Jagir Dam

One interesting spot -captured from inside a car- in Surabaya city (East Java, Indonesia). Jagir Dam that far behind looked small.


Sep 10, 2011

At a Hospital

This hospital alley captured a few days ago. After being hospitalized for about one week, my father came home yesterday.

Healthy Home

Our home and family are where we should believe most comfy in the world. They establish how you create your life decisions; they form your manners, your consciousness, your confidence. A healthy home life is clearly an essential element in the search of a significant life.

Consider three key elements : the connections between family members, the environment of the home itself, and the way the home is run.

When a family distributes principles and values, they develop together. The home becomes a base for the family’s shared sense of purpose while providing a facilitator for each member to chase his or her own goals.

Make your home becomes alive and becoming a source of love, energy and hope. Create the environment that allows each family member talking one-to-one about what’s on their minds. Children crowd around grandparents to listen to stories. Your teenagers discuss significant issues with each other and with their parents. The whole family gets together -- and not just on holidays!

Sep 6, 2011

Wandering the City

I captured this yellow truck in the night before The Feast Day; in my husband's home town. Those young men were wandering the city to celebrate it.


Sep 2, 2011

Trying to Stand

One bright afternoon, his mother -my SIL- let him to play ‘dirty’ with the gravels in the front yard. He’s still learning to stand. I was in the right position to capture the moment.

Could Disposable E Cigs Be the Best Solution for Smokers?

Disposable e cigs are designed with a specific segment of the population in mind: smokers who go to places where you can’t smoke. Think about it. If you want to use the ecig to quit smoking, or to start taking nicotine without having to also inhale tar and benzene and all the other god awful constituents of actual cigarette smoke, then you buy a rechargeable electric cigarette that will last you for as long as possible. Cost effectiveness alone says that doing anything else is more than a little daft.

So what’s the point of disposable e cigs? Surely you either smoke cigarettes, or you quit them and smoke the ecig instead?

Not so if you are a cigarette smoker who (for example) goes to a club in London, where you can’t smoke inside and aren’t allowed out for a cigarette (it’s true: I’ve been to several and it sucks, especially when you’re drunk). In this situation the disposable option is ideal. It doesn’t cost anything like as much as the rechargeable version (and so it shouldn’t, otherwise there really would be no point at all) so you can safely go out, get a few drinks down you and “smoke” your ecig without worrying that you’ll have lost your £80 investment in the morning.

The disposable e cigarette, then, has a very particular market. In a free country where smoking tobacco is still legal, of course, there is nothing to stop you being a confirmed smoker. I’m one myself. The legalities of smoking indoors can make it impossible for a confirmed smoker to have a good time when he or she goes out. The disposable ecigs, on the other hand, ensures that someone like me can get out and about without getting grouchy, nervous or feeling like the whole world is out to get them.

In other words: the disposable e cigarette redresses the balance for people who have no intention of quitting tobacco, or who just haven’t got around to it yet. And the world is full of people who haven’t got around to quitting tobacco yet, I can tell you.

People who hate going on ferries or planes can use a disposable electric cigarette (provided of course that modern security lets you board an aircraft with a liquid capsule and an atomiser, which looks less and less likely with every passing day) to give them that calming nicotine jolt when they need it. I’ve always thought it funny that nicotine, which is a stimulant, should calm you down, but there you go.

The disposable e cigarette comes in a plastic pack, looks like a pen and gives around 500 hits. That’s the same, according to the ecig manufacturers, as a couple of packets of cigarettes – or in other words, equivalent to a single charge on a normal sized non disposable ecig.

Logic, then, would dictate that anyone who only needs an electric cigarette for the length of one normal charge, should be fine with a disposable e cigarette. If you know you will use the ecig regularly for longer than that then the disposable is not for you.

So apart from getting drunk in clubs and going on planes, what’s the point? Well, anyone who is thinking about making the transition from tobacco to the e cig would do well to buy a disposable one first. That way you can try without having to spend the much more significant money on a full starter pack.

Sep 1, 2011

Planting Trees inside the House

There’s nothing wrong with this idea, right? It’s still probable to plant trees in the house, since paying attention to some issues relates to the growth of the tree itself and the interests of residents.

No doubt, plant has many benefits for home health. Starting from a natural oxygen supplier, giving shade from the sun, until soothing sight for tired eyes, all provided by green foliage plants.

In fact, the presence of a large tree in the house was done in some houses, like in an architect's house in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. In the back of his house, a durian tree allowed to grow so that its top passes through the roof.

For the continuing growth of the tree, notice the pavement which was built around the tree. Trees will continue to grow, so does its roots. Make sure there is enough space for this growth. Conversely, taking into account if there are roots that will lift the floor surrounding the tree.

For smaller trees that are planted in pots, make sure the need for adequate sunlight. For that, remove the pot regularly once a week. Doing crop rotation is also a solution. Enter one potted plants into the room, while one other pot placed outside the chamber. After a week or 2 weeks, exchange the position of the two plants. In this way, the tree will continue to be fresh and you can derive optimal benefits.


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