nice two storey addition to a hundred year old cottage

I enjoyed reading about this cottage extension in today’s Courier Mail. Designed by owner/architect Stephen de Jersey, it is a two storey addition to a 100 year cottage. It has been cleverly designed to suit the Townsville heat without constant use of air conditioning.

Some of the key features are:

  • Lightweight tin and timber construction (corrugated mini-orb outside, plywood inside)
  • Huge overhang of roof to shade interior
  • Sliding doors for cross ventilation
  • Cool polished concrete floors
  • Toy storage under the stairs to maximise use of the living area

nice two storey addition to a hundred year old cottage

(Click photo to see inside as well)

a week at north stradbroke island

I spent the last week offline on North Stradbroke Island (~1 hour drive + ~1 hour ferry from Brisbane). The weather was perfect, mid to high twenty degrees celsius each day. It was like a little piece of summer resurrected in mid-autumn.

North Stradbroke Frenchmans Beach

My personal highlights were:

Swimming thrice daily at a variety of beaches including Cylinder, Deadman’s & Frenchman’s

North Stradbroke - Gorge Beach

Collecting shells on the beach

North Stradbroke - Beach Shells

Cooking on a wood fired BBQ overlooking Deadman’s Beach at sunset, eating fresh local seafood including whiting, ocean king prawns and sand crabs, all enhanced with hand-picked limes from our very own lime tree at the holiday house!

North Stradbroke - Lime Tree

Reading four books:

  • ‘On Writing’ by Steven King – great book that starts off with some amazing short stories about Steve growing up.
  • ‘Billy Straight’ by Jonathan Kellerman – detective thriller set in L.A. A really good story.
  • ‘City of Bones’ by Michael Connelly – not as good as Billy Straight, but not bad. Again set in L.A.
  • ‘Don’t make me think!’ by Steve Krugg (re-read) – the only semi-work-related book. Probably the best (and simplest) book on web usability available

North Stradbroke - Books

Listening to a variety of beachy music including Jack Johnson, Weekend Sessions, Ministry of Sound Chillout Sessions.

North Stradbroke - ipod

Playing a variety of games including:

‘Petanque‘ – Australian style, on the front lawn of our holiday house

North Stradbroke - Petanque

‘Carcassonne’ – a German board game involving placing land tiles and followers

North Stradbroke - Carcassonne

‘Uno’ – house rules – I just couldn’t win at this no matter how hard I tried!

North Stradbroke - UNO

Informal ‘Cranium‘ (no board, just cards) – Australian edition – found in the cupboard at our holiday house, a good general knowledge quizzing game with some obscure questions:

North Stradbroke - Cranium Question
(answer – d) pif, paf, pof)

Good times! Good times…

(not my) secrets of a super-slim wallet

I really enjoyed reading this post today. I like the fact that people spend time writing a post only to make others lives better and more enjoyable in some way.

life clever wallet

I myself used to carry around a fat (not p.h. phat!) wallet, but a while ago I adopted my own strategies to keep it slim (I don’t accumulate receipts, I only carry around essential cards, I don’t sign up for any new reward cards just because, I use my mobile phone to store important notes instead of slips of paper in my wallet, I try to use my debit card, else use only twenty dollar notes and I put coins in piggy bank at home).

To me, having a clear wallet means having a clear mind.

My wallet is not ‘super-slim’ though, it’s just ‘slim’. My slight case of OCPD means my wallet must be enclosed with a zip to ensure I don’t lose anything out of it.

tree clothes lines

One of the things I have missed since living in a apartment is having access to a clothes line.

You can imagine how annoyed I was when I saw these cool ‘tree’ clothes lines by Insitu Furniture. I ♥ the green, but maybe the contrasting white would look good in a lush (level five water restrictions?) backyard. Just as well they start at $600.

By the way, the Insitu site could be improved (a little bit of ‘search’ would go a long way and since when has a clothes line been a ‘accessory’?)

tree clothes line 2

tree clothes line 1

relaxed roof top living area

I recently saw this picture in Inside Out magazine. I really like the feel this roof top space creates, especially with the plunge pool and combination of natural elements (wooden deck, thatched divider, canvas umbrella). All that is missing is a mixture of delicious green succulents (drought friendly) in matte white pots!

Roof Top Pool

the paradox of choice

I recently borrowed and read ‘The Paradox of Choice’ by Barry Schwartz. In some ways I was anxious in reading about ‘choice’ in a modern world and its associated problems. The author was justified, to a certain extent, by providing ways to eliminate these problems to oneself. As a result of reading this book I am intent to embrace and appreciate ‘satisficing’. This is about not being a ‘maximiser’ and accepting choices that are ‘good enough’ as opposed to the ‘absolute best’.

The one statement in the book that stood out to me was actually about hapiness:

“What seems to be the most important factor in providing happiness is close social relations. People who are married, who have good friends, and who are close to their families are happier than those who are not.”…”Being connected to others seems to be much more important to subjective well-being than being rich.” (p.107)

Paradox of Choice Cover

maybe this is why i like writing

Roger von Oech’s recent post about ‘how creative ideas come from manipulating your resources, no matter how few and simple they are’ included the example of a clever 1960s National Library Week print advertisement.

At your local library they have these arranged in ways that can make you cry giggle, love, hate, wonder, ponder, and understand.
It’s astonishing to see what these twenty-six little marks can do. In Shakespeare’s hands they became Hamlet. Mark Twain wound them into Huckleberry Finn. James Joyce twisted them into Ulysses. Gibbon pounded them into The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. John Milton shaped them into Paradise Lost.

This advertisement made me think about my growing fascination with writing. Maybe the simplicity of resources in writing makes it so special to me. Maybe this is why ‘the book’ is always better than ‘the movie’. Maybe this is why I like surfing the net and reading blogs more than I like watching television.

writing (well)

When I was reading “Getting Real” by the folk at “37 Signals” I found the following statement thought provoking:

Hire good writers
If you are trying to decide between a few people to fill a position, always hire the better writer. It doesn’t matter if that person is a designer, programmer, marketer, salesperson, or whatever, the writing skills will pay off. Effective, concise writing and editing leads to effective, concise code, design, emails, instant messages, and more.

That’s because being a good writer is about more than words. Good writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They know what to omit. They think clearly. And those are the qualities you need.

I then realised that I have admired good writers in the past, but I didn’t quite know why.

the avalanches

one australian band(?) i have really been enjoying over the last couple of years is ‘the avalanches‘. i recently discovered the ‘unofficial web site’ which, after registration, offers some audio downloads. my favourite at the moment is the ‘some people mix’

‘Bobby delivers a laid back, cornerstone style, saturday afternoon mini mix. enjoy’

check it out. good times.

avalanches unofficial web site

to do, visit ‘twig on burton’ in sydney

after reading the article in todays paper about ‘twig on burton’ in sydney, it really makes me want to visit. i just love the outdoor modern garden in the picture. they sell “…furniture, soft furnishings, garden pots and plants, outdoor tables and chairs, china and glassware.” the address is 110 burton street, darlinghurst.

Twig on Burton SMH Article

mmmmm melbourne

we just spent a lovely four days in melbourne, what a great place! (to visit)

melb feb 2007

some of our highlights were:

dinner at tiamo’s in carlton, followed by an awesome italian dessert at the v. flash brunetti’s!

travelling through melbourne city by horse and carriage

horses melb feb 2007

some excellent laneway graffiti and stencil-art

melb graff feb 07

staying in a restored inner city woolshed, now hotel

rialto melb feb 2007

all the while travelling around on the third largest tram network in the world!

good times…

urban forest project

i am still really enjoying looking online at the banners submitted for the urban forest project. they were on display in New York’s Times Square for three months late last year.

Each banner uses the form of the tree, or a metaphor for the tree, to make a powerful visual statement. Together they create a forest of thought-provoking images at one of the world’s busiest, most energetic, and emphatically urban intersections.

there is an interesting story available for each banner by each artist (see links to each below)

some of my faves are:

“Aloha from Hell’s Kitchen, NYC”
by Marc Alt


“Street signs are already full of trees if you look at them the right way.”
by Michael Bierut


“We are one nature, let’s hold it together, together” by Futurefarmers


“I Love NY (knot)” by Kent Hunter


“Scattered Seeds” by Edwina White


… my all time favourite (after all, it does feature my favourite flower!) :
Ram Rahman


i ♥ pre-fabricated modular living goodness

as demonstrated in a previous post, i ♥ the concept of pre-fabricated modular living. here i will provide some developments in this field, sourced via the interweb.

loftcube project

this new German concept is about prefab cubes that are designed to sit upon existing flat rooved buildings (of which there are many in Berlin). the 40 sq. meter loftcubes have been designed to be light enough to be delivered by helicopter or crane. According to the official website, the loftcubes are now a reality. they look great inside, with an emphasis on minimalism, and are ‘adjustably translucent’. I believe they sell for about 55,000 euro (or about $AUD 90,000), and more designs will be continue to be built. Link

loft cube


“true modular, site constructed, pre-fabricated housing systems”, built in California (despite the Germaneque name). these can be built on site in a matter of days, and are v. ascetically pleasing. not sure of the price, because i think they are very much custom order jobs. Link

Kithaus 1

Kithaus 2

Kithaus 3

Kithaus 4

floating homes

these floating homes don’t actually float, but are rather designed to sit next to water (giving the impression of floating using lots of clear glass). the floating homes are still are in a concept phase as i don’t believe any have been produced. Link










five star fish mongers in mesmeric byron bay

oh how i love a weekend trip to byron bay. (especially when the weather is like it is)
Byron Bay
i couldn’t imagine a trip to byron without a meal at one of my three favourite eateries. today it was time to visit the original ‘fish mongers’. (the new sydney stores are also getting good reviews!)

what a lovely meal! 1/2 family box with grilled mackerel & a side garden salad.
Mongers Menu 1
Mongers Menu 2
Mongers Food 1
Mongers Food 3

minimiam (miniature people interacting with oversized pieces of food and fruit)

I love the minimiam site. It’s basically some excellent macro photography of miniature people interacting with oversized pieces of food and fruit. Each time i look at one i can’t help but make up a story, or at least some dialog about what is going on. I also really love how each scene starts as a close up, and that the second image reveals the full context.

I find that the site has some major navigation usability issues, so i have posted some of my favourite photos here to be easily enjoyed: