Wednesday, 8 December 2021

A chic and cheerful Christmas – Festive season styling for the modern home

A chic and cheerful Christmas – Festive season styling for the modern home

Apartment Living Chronicles Part 9




In spite of the covid cloud that has hung over us, this year has just flown by and its already time to prepare for Christmas! Let’s make it an uplifting and elegant experience this year as we look to a brighter 2022. One of the key elements of a style-conscious festive season is keeping Christmas clutter free and firmly adhering to the saying 'less is more'.

This year, think chic and cheerful. It’s usually best to begin by deciding on a colour palette. Try a base of white from which to build your perfect Christmas look. Accessorise with sage green, pale pink or soft blue. To fully embrace our antipodean location, make this a cool, calm Christmas that honours our coastal summer. Subdued greens and sand washed blues take inspiration from the coast will work perfectly to create a Southern Hemisphere scheme.

 
 

   

Traditional green, red and gold tends to look very dated but you can use them with style by replacing the gold with a rich cobalt blue and using a few beautifully crafted, minimal pieces such as blown glass baubles and wooden nutcracker soldiers.




Once you’ve decided on colours, look through what you already have and get rid of whatever is dated, falling apart or doesn’t fit harmoniously into your Christmas vision. If you have a tree already, make sure it is not looking worse for wear and will fit in with your look. If you don’t have a tree, I don’t think you can beat the real thing. Having a real Christmas tree not only looks divinely natural, it also gives your home the fresh, evergreen, piney scent that smells like the holidays. And remember, a new tree each year does not take up precious storage space.

Still keen to deck the halls? Olive branches work beautifully as wreaths and for placing around the home. Also, the organic, earthy smell of the branch adds to the clean, calm vibe. Or try winding strands of delicate foliage around handrails and curtain rods, but just remember – don’t go too OTT to avoid looking messy.

When choosing decorations, curvaceous, organic shapes will best suit our chic vibe. And less is always more. Wooden, glass, metal and matt porcelain ornaments will look elegant and organic. Beautifully scented candles will also go a long way to complement the Christmas vibe and a gorgeous feather or simple branch decoration can add a signature piece.

 

Don’t forget to wrap gifts in beautiful quality paper and wide ribbons in colours that complement your chosen theme. Gorgeously wrapped Christmas gifts will get everyone excited and make a style statement of their own. If you decide to forego a tree, they can be elegantly piled to create your Christmas centrepiece.





All of us here at Cramer wish you a wonderful, relaxing, chic and cheerful Christmas and the best holidays you’ve had in years.


Monday, 29 November 2021

The Sydney suburbs that are a foodie’s paradise – the food fest continues… Marrickville

The Sydney suburbs that are a foodie’s paradise – the food fest continues… The Marrickville Edition

Apartment Living Chronicles Part 8


There are several Sydney suburbs that have it all in the way of artisan providores and grocers, where produce is treated with the utmost of respect and food is fun and fantastic. As such, Marrickville and Surry Hills get our vote as joint winners of Sydney’s Foodie Capital. Recently we walked the streets of Surry Hills in search of our food nirvana, and now we’ll take a look at all things gourmet in Marrickville.

 
 
First stop is the Paesanella Food Emporium, which carries with it a 60+ year history. The Italian founder brought Sydney one of its first tastes of the best cheese in Italy, and now the Emporium stocks freshly made buffalo mozzarella and ricotta, along with cookbooks, pasta and imported delicacies. And if you are after a choice cut of meat or the best pate this side of Paris, try Whole Beast Butchery.



Then for the freshest groceries in the West, you can’t go past Panetta Mercato. Located in the Marrickville Metro store, the cheeses, meats, sundried tomatoes, olives, dips and much more, mean we are spoiled for choice. Create your own grazing table that will stand up to any Tuscan mid-summer spread. There are also Vietnamese green grocers offering best of Asian produce to invigorate and vary your meals.

 

Leading the way in building ecosystem health and biodiversity, Feather and Bone butchery sources from local farms. Pick up a copy of their book, The Ethical Omnivore, and learn how you can eat meat and still feel like you are doing the right thing by our planet. From crumbed lamb loin cutlets and goat and lemon thyme sausage to smoked Aylesbury-Pekin duck breast and paleo boxes, you will get your iron up at one of Sydney’s very best butchers.


If you are looking for the real McCoy in New York deli bagels, you can’t go past Brooklyn Boy Bagels Drive-Thru. With a bagel to satisfy any taste, choose from onion, blueberry, sesame and gluten free to the exotic rainbow, pumpkin and famed everything bagel. Generous tubs of luscious cream cheese come in plain, jalapeño, lox with capers, garlic and chive flavours. There’s even something for the vegans among us, with the almond ‘cream cheese’ version. You can even pick up the quintessential toppings such as lox and pastrami. If you are really not one for bagels at the end of all this, fear not, as Brooklyn Boy also make a mean sourdough, challah or rye bread or pushcart-style pretzel.




No meal is complete without a good coffee (at least in my book) and The Wood Roaster will live up to any coffee aficionado’s standards. Using their one-of-a-kind air roaster, their wood-fired artisan roasting technique is second to none. For a drop to wash it all down, pop into Where’s Nick Wine Bar and Shop (see image below) proponents of the natural wine movement who primarily source from sustainable and organic winemakers. And with Marrickville the home to Sydney’s best craft beers, pick up a bottle (or a dozen) from Sauce Brewing Co, Batch, Stockade, Wildflower or Bucket Boys Crafty Beer Co.

Wheres Nick Marrickville

For certified organic, super-fresh produce, there is no better place to shop than the Marrickville Organic Markets. An Inner West institution, loyal Sydneysiders make the Sunday pilgrimage to the markets from all over the city. You can find almost anything here, from vintage goods, to seasonal fruit and veg, to fresh honey and seafood. Located at the Addison Road Community Centre, there is plenty of lawn to have a picnic after you’ve grabbed exactly what you’re craving from one of the many market stalls.



If you want to make life easier by having the best grocery stores and providores just around the corner, check out Toga's incredible village development, Wicks Place, Marrickville, being sold exclusively by Cramer Property. 

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Designing outdoor spaces for maximum liveability and lovability

Designing outdoor spaces for maximum liveability and lovability

Apartment Living Chronicles Part 7


With the weather warming up, the urge to spend more time outside is mounting. And some new accessories or items of furniture will allow you to make the absolute most of your outdoor area. So why not take the time to get your balcony space in ship shape and rejuvenated with a few of the great ideas listed below.



If you have an outdoor dining table or even a café table for two, brighten up for a beautiful summer with new seats pads (test them out for comfortability). Or looking for a super comfortable new outdoor seating arrangement, consider one in corner format to allow you to maximise on space and include your outdoor dining table as well. Wood is usually most space effective, but if you have a bit more room you may opt for wicker. Whatever you choose, add some super cosy cushions to the mix.


 

Summer’s colour scheme ideas to work with are pale pink offset against teal, cobalt blue and grass green (forget blue and green not working – they team together to brilliant effect), brass gold and charcoal, white with magenta and turquoise or moss/forest green and tan. Really though, colour is always uplifting and your favourite schemes will be perfect simply because you love them and they make you feel good. 


For the ultimate in relaxation, if space allows, consider putting up an outdoor hammock/swing seat. The rocking motion of hammocks and swing seats is guaranteed to lull you into a state of supreme serenity. Placed in a balcony corner or along its edge, this will provide you with a mini retreat space ideal for reading, a warm weather nap or contemplating life, love and the universe. Highly recommended! And if hanging seating isn’t your thing, a daybed is an awesome multi-purpose piece of furniture that will give you another place in which to retreat.

Love a good barbie? No matter the size of your outdoor area, there is a BBQ that is right for you. Choose from a large selection of gas, electric or charcoal barbies and always be sure to think safety first. If your BBQ has shelves or magnetic tool holder, all the better! Do check with your body corporate to ensure BBQs are allowable before you run out and buy one though.



Lighting is also a critical yet often overlooked element to your outdoor space. Just as you use them to set the mood indoors, don’t neglect to have some beautifully scented candles for use outdoors. The best ones for this purpose are ones that are semi enclosed, so wind won’t extinguish their beautiful ambient light.

 

Need somewhere to put outdoor bits and pieces? Look for treated wooden shelves in which to house candles, BBQ tools and pot plants. You can even set up one of the shelves as a mini bar equipped with outdoor glasses, your choice of alcohol and mixers. Also don’t discount metal shelves as there are some really beautiful designs available that bear up well to whatever the weather throws at you.

Want year-round balcony enjoyment? You may be able to apply to your body corporate to glass the space in with sliding windows to allow an open vibe if weather permits. This way you create a wintergarden multi-seasonal space. If you are not permitted by your body corporate, you can consider mounting a small outdoor heater and you will be amazed at how much it will warm the space. There is a wide variety on the market, including gas or electric models, so you can find the perfect one for your space.

And finally, plants add the natural beauty, tranquillity and oxygen that will complete your balcony to perfection. Remember to choose your plants based on the amount of sun that lands on your balcony and the time it shines directly upon your space. Choose herbs and berries to get the added benefit of being able to use them for your cooking. Our favs are Rosemary, Basil, Parsley, Coriander, Thyme, Raspberry, Blueberry and Strawberry. Best sun loving plants that thrive in pots and planters and pack a powerful colour punch are Agapanthus, Bougainvillea, Lavender, and Petunias. Geraniums prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. Always check with your local nursery as to how they will grow in your particular space. 


If all these ideas have got you dreaming of an apartment with a great balcony, see our divine selection below. These outstanding properties feature generous outdoor spaces and being off-the plan, will give you some extra time to save for your dream home:



Read more about this property here

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Food fest - The Sydney suburbs that are a foodie's paradise

Food fest - The Sydney suburbs that are a foodie's paradise

Apartment Living Chronicles Part 6


There are several Sydney suburbs that are any food lover’s dream, where even the most finicky foodie will be able to eat to their heart’s content. Replete with artisan shops and grocers galore, Marrickville and Surry Hills get our vote as joint winners of Sydney’s Foodie Capital. This week we will start by taking to the streets of Surry Hills in search of gourmet fare. 

Long known as the one of Sydney’s hippest suburbs, here the foodie revolution steams ahead in full force. With a plethora of artisan providores, the quality and array of foodstuff on offer is outstanding. Cramer are big on supporting small business, and never has it been so important to shop small as now, as we are on our way out of lockdown. 


For the best in cheese, try Formaggi Ocello. One of the widest ranging cheese selections in Australia, there is something here for everyone. They also have an outstanding range of cured meats, handmade pasta, olive oil, nuts, condiments, biscuits and wine.



For ready-made pasta extraordinaire, visit Pasta Emilia where you can pick up organic pasta and sumptuous sauce. We recommend the truffle cream sauce with either the beetroot and chevre or pumpkin and ricotta house-made tortellini, but as there are ten varieties to choose from, you’ll find the one for you. Then for the perfect bottle of wine to complement your meal, Osteria Emilia offers an outstanding selection of Italian and Australian wines. And before you leave, be sure to pick up a jar of the Peperoncino Chilli Conserve and tub of Beef Ragú. 



The Soul Deli is a greatly morish café/deli. This little Korean powerhouse offers a range of products, both fresh and packaged, and gorgeous homewares make by Korean community members. With a vast collection of pickles, sauces, kimchi and home BBQ packs, you will not be able to leave this cool little deli empty handed. 



If you are in a rush and want a one stop shop to get all your delicacies, try Crown Street Grocer, where the selection is mind bogglingly good. Surry Hills has a number of really cool little grocers. The family-owned Maloney’s Grocer, New Indian House Surry Hills or Lucky Bamboo Asian Grocery are all stocked with excellent, exotic and exciting produce that will add spice, variety and excitement to your home menu plan. 



And don’t miss the Surry Hills Markets that take place on the first Saturday of every month. The 60+ stalls offer a fantastic array of artisan foodstuff, and you can even get in early and start Christmas shopping once they reopen. An important part of the community since 1981, shopping at this market not only provides you with fantastic produce and specialties, it allows you to support the makers directly.

Then if all else fails to please, we can’t go past the original Bourke Street Bakery without being drawn in by the wholesome, ‘Mama loves you’ smell of the baked goods that beckon. The Red Wine and Mushroom Beef Pie; Bacon, Gruyère and Leek Quiche; humble Green Olive and Rosemary Flatbread; and Ginger Brûlée and Chocolate Ganache Tarts are all mouth-wateringly good.




With covid turning even the least food obsessed of us into would-be gourmet chefs, having the best grocery stores and providores on call is now more important than ever. So, to live in the midst of the foodie action, check out our incredible village development, Surry Hills Village.


Thursday, 30 September 2021

Mood boosting must-haves for your home

Apartment Living Chronicles Part 5

There has never been a better time than the present to look for ways to boost our mood. Even the most stoic among us have lockdown fatigue, and the rest of us are going positively stir crazy. Creating a peaceful yet uplifting atmosphere in your home is the perfect foil for lockdown blues.

Smell is one of our most powerful sense, though few of us give it much thought unless we discover an unwanted parcel left by the dog or that tuna casserole from three nights ago is well past its use by date. However, we can use our sense of smell to help calm our mind or invigorate it – whatever the mind’s need at any time, aromatherapy can work wonders. 

If you don’t already have one, invest in an oil burner and a few essential oils, or spoil yourself with a scented soy wax candle. Most of us have experienced the calming effect of lavender and rose, but there are so many other peace-inducing oils out there that we can let our nose take its pick, no pun intended! Rosewood, Ylang Ylang, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Camomile, Frankincense and Jasmine all have long been used to calm a busy anxious mind, and there are combination oils on offer that will have a number of these ingredients. All these oils are great to burn in the evening when we are trying to wind down, or if we are feeling particularly uptight during the day.

If you are in the mood for a joyful and uplifting aroma, you can’t go past the citrus family of oils, especially Orange, Lemon, Tangerine and Grapefruit. Peppermint, Myrrh, Basil, Rosemary, Lemongrass, and Sandalwood are also very uplifting. Most of these also assist with mental alertness and clarity. Bergamot is very good in the morning if we wake up a bit sluggish from too much Netflix. It helps fight tiredness and can provide us with an energising boost. 

Affirmations are hugely powerful, so now is a good time to look to the internet and find one or more affirmations that really resonate. Then either print them up or write them down and post them somewhere in your home where you will see them regularly. Say them to yourself whenever you are feeling overwhelmed or down, no matter how mechanical it may feel at first, because they really work.

Make a ‘sacred spot’ in your home where you can retreat and either just zone out to some beautiful music or use one of the myriad of tools we have at our disposal for calming the mind. If you’ve never tried meditation, now is the perfect time to start, and if you used to do it sometime, get back into it. There are many apps that offer guided meditations so shop around until you find what best works for you. Everyone needs mental time out to boost the mood, and there is no better way on earth to do this than meditation.


If you haven’t already, set up a spot in your house where you can exercise. Ideally it would be a different place to your ‘sacred spot’ as your subliminal brain is a powerful thing and quickly associates a particular spot with an activity you repeat there and recalibrates your mood accordingly. So, find a designated area that you return to each time you want to exercise. Think about putting a small chest there to house your weights, resistance bands, skipping rope, pilates ball, yoga mat or anything else you may need to get your blood, dopamine and endorphins pumping.

Also hugely important, if you have a balcony or an outdoor area, embrace any direct sunlight on as much skin as you dare. The Vitamin D in sunlight is a hugely effective mood booster and has the added benefit of boosting the immune system. And if you live near a park or green zone, make sure you take daily walks to get some sun, exercise and the positive mood boost of being out and about. 

Happily, there are some must-have mood-boosting items in the food department as well. Wonder why you crave chocolate, it improves emotional health if you have the dark variety and eat it in some moderation. Dark chocolate is rich in folates, as are green leafy vegetables, blueberries and camomile or lavender tea. Also look for magnesium rich foods – again our hero dark chocolate, avocado, nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. So do your mood a favour and make a salad of spinach, avocado, seeds and nuts to have with your lunch, then round it off with a nice chuck of dark chocolate and a healthy handful of blueberries. Your mind will thank you for it. 

But most of all – hang in there. Make your home as beautiful and mood-boosting as you can, because your surrounds really affect how you feel. And remember, this will end and life will move on from this covid craziness. Meanwhile, keep on keeping on in the best way you know how.

 

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Design Trends 2021

Apartment Living Chronicles Part 4

With home now so much more than just our base, we feel the time is ripe for applying some of 2021’s styling trends into the rooms where you are spending the majority of your life. If now isn’t the time to give your home a new lease of life, I don’t know when is. Not only will the addition of some new pieces revitalise your spaces, but the latest trends will create a sense of peaceful harmony that we all need at the moment. 


When choosing something new, focus on instilling balance and calm into your spaces. Almost all the world’s leading styling trendsetters are tending closer to the organic, sculptured and subtle than ever before. Colours are warm, soothing, natural and gentle on the eye – beige and bisque are no longer boring, the softest shell pinks and sage greens make the heart sing and the occasional forest green and charcoal grey can be introduced to create depth. 


Mindful shopping is very much 2021, with designers recommending buying local, organic and sustainable materials where possible. And bring the outside in with indoor plants that will soften and lighten the atmosphere in any room and boost its oxygen content. Even if you don’t have a large budget, it is amazing the difference a few well-placed plants and some new sculptural homewares can make to your space. 
Soft, subtle paint colour is featuring on walls, with skirtings, cornices and door and window frames in a crisp white or exposed timber. Brush Box with its pinkish hue, and the blonde shades of Ash and Oak timber are featuring heavily in the best designers’ repertoires as are natural stone and blown glass. Heavy, natural textures in furnishing are being used to up the organic factor. Wallpaper is making a comeback, especially of the textured, botanical or impressionist varieties. 

Furniture pieces appear sculpted and create incidental works of art in the home. Curved wood is design of the day, along with tan leather and anything that looks as though it could integrate into a landscape with ease. Vintage and antique pieces are being employed to add character, particularly Mid Century Modern. These pieces also avoid the over designed look where everything is new. 


So give your home a warm, soft, relaxing lift by introducing some of these ideas into your space. 




Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Life in lockdown - Making your home more important than ever

One thing is certain during these strange covid times – home is of the most paramount importance. Many of us have now been staring at our own four walls for so many months that the cracks are both literally and metaphorically starting to show. I believe that the increasingly urgent desire to upgrade our home and location is largely what is fuelling the property market at present. More and more of us are wanting to find a home that works for us on many different levels – as a beautiful, well-designed, flexible, conveniently located place to be. A place where we can engage with our community even given the current restrictions. A place where we feel safe and sound and happy to spend the days/weeks/months inside that these lockdowns dictate.

It is incredible how the aesthetically beautiful and architecturally sublime can lift the spirit. Perhaps it is this reason why luxurious, beautifully finished properties are in high demand at present. Increasingly, buyers are choosing properties that are a pleasure to inhabit, that feature intelligently designed spaces that allow us to thrive now work is increasingly becoming the office and school room. 

Purchasers are increasingly seeking out new, state-of-the-art homes that are a pleasure to inhabit. Light, natural tones with bursts of colour create harmony while lifting our mood. Things around the home that function well make life easier and give us more time to focus on what’s important. Where only a few years ago, homes we could renovate proved all the rage, now the prospect of renovating a home seems overwhelming to many. Many are now looking for streamlined, beautifully crafted and flexible properties, driving off-the-plan property sales. Another added benefit of off-the-plan is these properties allow us to plan, prepare and save more while only requiring a 10% deposit. And anything that helps us to stress less is of benefit at the moment.

Properties that offer everything we need all in one place are also proving incredibly popular at present. Properties that are close to public transport and in burgeoning, exciting and popular locations attract buyers who are yearning for a sense of community and looking to the future when lockdowns will be a thing of the past. Masterplanned precincts in coveted or burgeoning locations are proving incredibly popular, as residents have an instant village with excellent restaurants, cafes, boutique shopping, gymnasiums, and common work and landscaped spaces at their immediate disposal.  

So, if you are looking for a newer, better way of living - a gorgeously designed home where you can have all the amenity of urban life while enjoying a village atmosphere - check out our superb properties below. Surry Hills Village offers a full dining precinct, exquisitely landscaped residential park and commercial precinct featuring gym, yoga, work spaces, art and cultural hub.