Creating a simple home

simple home design ideas

By living without excess and surrounding yourself with just enough of the right things, you will feel an amazing sense of satisfaction.

Simple Home, by Mark & Sally Bailey

I think creating the style of home that suits you is a similar journey to curating a wardrobe – working out your most flattering cuts, colour palette, and consistency without following the trends that will quickly date… like a collection of clothes, a thoughtful home is not something you can create all at once, but a journey over time where you happen upon that perfect jacket/pair of jeans/throw blanket.

For me, there are a few elements that make for a simple retreat that is so nice to come home to, where you can hide away from the outside world to cook around a warm stove, listen to soft music, light candles and curl up in your comfiest clothes.

Continue reading “Creating a simple home”

A Sustainable kitchen

Simple home, sustainable homeRewind just 50 years when kitchens consisted of dry goods in jars, bulk meats stored in large freezer chests and imperfect looking fruit & veg – often grown naturally, and we begin to realise that Zero Waste is not so much a futuristic idea but more of a homage to a more simple era.

If we take this lens to our kitchens today it’s easy to see the steps to take just by asking yourself, what would my nan’s kitchen have looked like?

Continue reading “A Sustainable kitchen”

A sense of community

Outsource to live simplyThe other day I had a spare container and decided to pop into Donnini’s, a pasta shop I had walked past a hundred times on my way to the green grocers without ever stopping in… I’m not sure why not really, habits I suppose. Anyway I was making a pesto sauce and decided to buy a few nests of freshly handmade tagliatelle for us to have as a quick weekend lunch when I got home.

At just over seven dollars to feed our family lunch, I wondered why I had ever attempted to hand make pasta in the past… Why is it that we think the best option (particularly from a health/environmental perspective) is to make everything ourselves from scratch, when there are craftsmen nearby making much better food than we could, that we could easily buy from them in a sustainable fashion.

The pasta maker was more than happy to sell me the pasta in my own container, he even gave me specific cooking advice to ensure that the pasta he had perfected was going to be served al dente – just perfectly as he had intended. We exchanged thoughts on salting the boiling water, made a friendly connection and then I departed and told him I would no doubt see him again.

I think part of living simply and sustainably includes supporting local artisans in their craft – handmade pasta, breads, beef pies and lasagnes, rather than trying to do it all ourselves. I do make my own fresh pestos and things but anything more complicated I think is best left to others in the community.

The thing is that we’re tribal humans really – we were never made to be solo hunters – but rather to live together in a village, supporting one another, and eating & cooking together in large groups. To me this is sustainability in the truest sense of the word, and I think as a society we have sadly lost that sense of community – of supporting and relying on one another.

A simple guide to reusable nappies

A few years ago, back when I was single, I rented a house in Richmond with a girlfriend and convinced her that if we put a door on the formal lounge room we could get a 3rd housemate in to reduce our rent.

As fate would have it a gorgeous vivacious girl named Meredith came to rent that room.

Back then I wasn’t that eco-aware, beyond doing my bit to recycle and turn the lights off, but Mez always had the big Sukin bottles in the shower, and was always a little bit earthy.

Fast forward a decade and it was Mez who I turned to when trying to navigate the possibility of cloth nappies. Here’s the advice that she gave me after years of trial and error:

Continue reading “A simple guide to reusable nappies”

Slow living

Downsizing to a smaller place for a bigger life

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy – Graeme Hill, LifeEdited

Six months ago we started living closer to our values by moving from a big house in the suburbs to a narrow 75 square metre workers cottage just a few streets back from the beach that shared a wall with our neighbours on both sides.

Our families thought we were mad to downsize just as we were expecting the pitter patter of more little feet, but the way we saw it we were gaining so much with a more walkable bayside suburb, a tighter community and a smaller cost of living and environmental foot print.

In a lot of ways the move had been inspired by Canadian environmentalist Graeme Hill who I had been following for years, and today our lives are completely different… all the better for knowing Graeme.

We walk and cycle more often, we’re tighter with our neighbours – given that their front door is literally 5 metres away from ours, and Ol can now scoot with reckless abandon as there are few driveways to worry about and there is little traffic around.

On weekends, rather than mowing the lawns and cleaning the house we might take Ol to the beach, or to the park to kick the soccer ball, or down to the pub for an early dinner, where it’s likely we will run into another local family that we know from Ols kindergarten or who we might have met out the front of our tiny house whilst drawing trains on the pavement in chalk.

We have truly traded ‘stuff’ for community and by living in a smaller house we’re out more often, choosing experiences over ownership, and memories over things.

Simple thoughts on usage over ownership

Minimalist inspirationIt’s rare that I get the chance to sit and have a coffee alone, but the other day Sam fell asleep just before I was about to drop into the green grocers and I took the chance to sit for a few moments at the back of Husk in Hawkesburn Village.

I sat there admiring the newly-tiled courtyard, after having walked though the shop listening to the creak of the big wooden floorboards, in awe of the open fireplaces and white washed walls and thought… ‘one day I would love to have a house and a courtyard just like this.’

Why is it though that in order to enjoy something, our first thought is to ‘own’ it? For the cost of a four dollar coffee, I can enjoy it now, and every Saturday for the rest of the year if I wanted to.

I hope that one day we start enjoying things in that moment; appreciating that we already have it to enjoy, because really, isn’t that the key to having it all? Realising that you already do…

A simple guide to baby gear

It’s funny how you can know someone for years and never really connect, yet with others you meet once and become friends for life from that moment on.

My friend Gemma is one of those ones that I got chatting to one night at a party in my mid 20s and before long we were spending every weekend together; gossiping around The Tan on a Saturday morning, heading out together later that night and meeting up again for a roast of a Sunday afternoon.

I had always admired Gemma from afar; she was one of those girls who seemed to have it all figured out. She was beautifully spoken – a trait she gained from her mother and later honed as a journalist, and always seemed to be so well put together wearing ‘outfits’ rather than just clothes.

Anyway, Gem recently confined in me that she and her hubby were expecting later in the year, and asked about what baby gear she would need, which got me thinking about the true essentials.

You can actually get away with one tenth of the baby kit that so many of the parenting websites would have you believe you need. Here’s a quick list that I put together for Gem. Every baby is different, so if you find that you need extra kit beyond this list, you can always buy it once the bub arrives. Continue reading “A simple guide to baby gear”