Harcourts wins gold for Quality Service in real estate sales
The annual awards are decided via a robust survey by market research agency, Catalyst. Fifteen hundred respondents were asked to nominate a service provider in up to 41 categories, including real estate sales. To qualify to vote on a category, respondents must have used a service provider from that industry.
Harcourts CEO Chris Kennedy says we are humbled that Harcourts clients compliment our service with average star rating of 4.7 out of 5. Winning the award is a great validation of the high value our sales consultants place on offering great service to clients, culminating in a great sales result, and of the hard work they do to achieve that. “It is really satisfying to know the public recognise the expertise and high service offered by our team.
The Gold Quality Service Award sits nicely alongside the Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Award we’ve held for six years in a row, 2013-2018.”
Readers Digest says it is confident that the results of this annual poll are the truly accurate measurement of New Zealand consumer sentiment in 2018, continuing into 2019.
Survey respondents were asked to rank their experience on the listed companies according to the survey questions which focused on customer experience, and whether the customer’s expectation was met and, even better, exceeded.
Avoid expensive store-bought decorations with these DIY ideas
Add some festive cheer to your home this Christmas with these DIY crafts that are quick, easy and look far more expensive than their price tag.
If you’re looking to save money over Christmas but still want your decor style to have that designer feel, you’re in luck. We’ve rounded up our favourite festive DIY projects that look more expensive than they really are.
The best bit? You don’t need a degree in DIY.
Create individual crackers for the table – your family and guests will love the thought you put into choosing something just for them. The key to making these crackers look luxe is the paper – we used a gold mock-croc wrapping paper from Whitcoulls.
Cut the paper into six pieces 32cm x 15cm.
Place a cracker tube, toilet roll tube or sections of a wrapping paper tube in the middle of each sheet.
Wrap paper around the tube and use double-sided tape to secure.
Slot in your customised gift then tie each end of the cracker with a 50cm length of ribbon.
Cost: $30. | Time: approx 30 mins.
Everyday bottles can be turned into stylish candleholders by removing the labels and adding some greenery. We used Antipodes water bottles and a packet of candles from Look Sharp.
Select thin fronds so they will fit through the tops of the bottles.
Fill bottles with water once foliage is in place and pop a candle in the top.
Leave a small gap between the water and the base of the candle.
These are lovely grouped on a table or sideboard or would look equally enchanting as a Christmas table centrepiece.
Cost: $20.| Time: 5 minutes.
To make a beaded wreath take a 25cm galvanised metal ring (ours was from Spotlight) and cut the join so you can bend it open.
Thread beads onto ring in a pattern of your choice; ours was 1 big bead then 3 small (37 beads in total).
Bind the metal ends together with sticky tape, once the ring is full. We wrapped it around about 5 times for a strong join.
Take a length of wide ribbon about 75cm long, tie it over the join to disguise it, tie the loose ends together and hang.
Cost: $10-15. | Time: approx 10 mins.
Washi gift tags
Cut out gift tags from white card.
Hole punch a hole at the top of each card.
Thread through ribbon/twine or cord.
Cut Washi tape into different shapes and patterns, peel away sticky backing and secure.
Cost: $10.| Time: 15 minutes.
Fabric gift bags
If you have time and a sewing machine, whip up some luxe fabric gift bags in navy linen and gold-flecked velvet fabric. While the fabric is more costly than wrapping paper, these bags are part of the gift and can be reused by your recipient. They’ll love the effort you’ve gone to!
Select fabric that doesn’t fray easily. Cut out a generous rectangle a little wider than you want your bag to be and twice as long.
Fold in half so the patterned side is turned inwards and sew a 1cm seam up the sides.
Turn right side out, place your gift inside and tie a ribbon or gold string around the top.
Cost: $25. | Time: 30 minutes.
Art deco block decorations
These art deco-style blocks make neat little tree decorations and were inspired by the stylish print shown in the photograph. Their colours really pop against the black tree.
Drill a hole through the middle of each block (you may need to use a vice for the smaller blocks).
Paint blocks in your three chosen colours. We used testpots of Resene ‘Santa Fe’, ‘Springwood’ and ‘Rhino’. Apply 2 coats per block, leaving them to dry between each coat.
Cut cord to desired length for hanging. Double cord and poke through painted blocks (mixing the different shapes) to make a loop at the top. Secure with a knot at the bottom.
Hang on the tree. How good do they look!
Cost: $25. | Time: 1 – 2 hours.
Linen napkins look impressive but they can be expensive – some retail for more than $10 each.
Cut each napkin in half (turn over the cut edge by 2cm and sew along). To make ours we took $3 fringed blush linen tea towels from The Warehouse.
Fold and place in napkin rings and voilà: linen-style napkins with fringed ends.
Cost: $1.50 per napkin. | Time: approx 20 mins.
The beauty of a wreath is that it’s Christmassy but also super-versatile. To create this feathered version simply wrap two navy feather boas around a polystyrene ring and secure them at the back with glue.
Take a 35cm-diameter polystyrene ring and glue one end of the first feather boa to the back.
Wrap the boa around the wreath and glue at the back.
Take the second boa and follow the same process until the ring is completely covered.
Tie a length of gold twine or ribbon around your wreath and hang.
Cost: $26. | Time: 15 minutes.
7 tips to ensure your pot plants’ survival
Pot plants are all the rage but getting lush results takes a little planning. Here’s how to create a perfect potted garden.
7 tips to ensure your pot plants’ survival
With outdoor space at such a premium these days, many of us are gardening in containers. And why not? Pot plants are perfect for those with limited space or time, renters, beginner gardeners and children. You can move containers around to catch the sun, use specific soil mixes for your special plants, and choose from a huge range of things to grow. However, while gardening books and blogs might tell you it’s easy to grow stuff in pots, success rates will be better if you follow our savvy tips.
1. Water wise
While lack of water is a common problem with container plants, too much water is almost as much of an issue. Unless they’re checked regularly, drainage holes can easily become blocked, resulting in waterlogged roots and dead plants.
Another common mistake? Relying on rain to keep your pots watered. If they’re positioned against a wall, a lot of rainwater may get deflected. If the wall is north-facing, the potting mix can also get very warm. Likewise with hanging baskets; in hot summer weather you’ll need to water them every day (a little less if they’re planted with succulents). Adding water-retaining crystals to the potting mix will help, as will grouping containers together for easier watering. Mulch the top of the potting mix with pebbles, bark or compost to keep that moisture where it’s needed.
2. Hot spots
Cacti and succulents are ideal for hot courtyards and balconies, as are many drought-resistant natives such as Poor Knights lily (Xeronema callistemon), corokia and Marlborough rock daisy. Other sun-loving varieties include plants and shrubs from Africa and the Mediterranean such as pelargonium, strelitzia, leucospermum, lavender, rosemary and santolina.
3. How to choose
Containers can be costly so it’s important to select shapes that complement the form, texture and colour of the plants in them. Consider the big picture, too – will the pots work with the overall design of your home? If you’ve gone for a minimalist vibe indoors, one or three sleek metal or resin pots on the deck, either left unplanted or filled with elegant reeds or succulents, will look great. A cute cottage? Fill pretty pots with flowering annuals and place at the front door and on garden steps.
4. Health benefits
Container planting is an excellent way to grow plants that might need a little more TLC than your average garden specimen. The soil is warmer in pots, making them ideal for heat-loving plants, particularly if you live in a colder area. If your garden soil is poor or unsuited to the types of plants you want to grow (eg acid-lovers like azalea) you can choose from a range of different growing mediums for pot cultivation. Containers are movable (buy castors for big pots) so they can be positioned where the best sun or shade is at different times of the year and moved to shelter when it’s frosty.
5. Suit the site
Whether in the ground or in containers, plants will always perform best if they’re chosen to suit the conditions of your site. Sun, shade and wind are the biggest factors to consider but also remember that the soil in pots will dry out quicker than in the garden, and nutrients will diminish faster. This means regular irrigation and feeding will be essential. If you’re not an avid plant grower, avoid potting up hungry or moisture-loving plants such as ferns, annual flowers and most vegetables.
6. In the shade
Shade-tolerant plants come in two main categories: those that prefer dry soil and those that like moist (but not boggy) ground. Try to emulate these conditions with your container plants. Ferns, hostas, rhododendron, impatiens, fuchsia, helleborus, many begonias, and lush subtropicals such as calathea or stromanthe all prefer the latter type. On the other hand, aspidistra, clivia, dwarf palms, hippeastrum, mondo grass or ctenanthe love drier shade, eg under trees or on sheltered sides of buildings.
7. Potting up
- The number-one rule when potting or repotting container plants? Use the best mix you can find. It’s a false economy to opt for cheaper mixes as plants won’t thrive and you’ll end up spending the money you saved on fertilisers and plant boosters, not to mention sprays to combat the pests and diseases that attack unhealthy plants.
- A good potting mix will contain materials such as pumice to aid drainage and soil that is not too heavy or easily waterlogged. It will also include an even balance of nutrients and water-retaining crystals so the mix won’t dry out too quickly. Avoid using garden soil in pots as this is usually too heavy (ie it won’t drain well) and can harbour pests, diseases and weed seeds.
- Don’t fill pots right up to the brim – leave a gap of 5-10cm to make watering easier. And to reduce the amount of repotting required, don’t choose fast-growing species.
How to spruce up your interior (and increase your home’s value)
Whether it’s a complete kitchen makeover or simply painting your front door, these interior tips will make you happy and boost your home’s value in the process
While the thought of completely transforming your home is pretty exciting the reality of the cost, time and effort involved can dash your dreams quicker than you can say “D.I.Y.” The truth is, not all renovations are made equal. So, to help you navigate this tricky territory we’ve rounded up four ways to get the biggest bang for your buck. Whether it’s a full kitchen makeover or simply painting your front door in a bright colour, these interior tips will bring you joy and boost your home’s value in the process.
It doesn’t matter if you have a degree in DIY or you’re a total newbie; a splash of paint is an easy and inexpensive solution for most tired interiors. Whether you’re looking to stay or to sell a freshly painted space will add value to your home. Even just covering up scuff marks, stains and general wear and tear will go a long way to achieving that new-home feel.
Paint has the power to set the scene and create an atmosphere in your home. Neutral colours will always be a safe bet but there’s a trend towards warm, muted colours inspired by nature, think pillowy seafog, earthy terracotta and thundery blues. This ties in nicely with New Zealand’s beautiful natural landscape. If you’d prefer to go bold think luxe hues where greens become emerald, blues turn to navy and reds transform into ruby.
You could even rethink the feature wall by painting a section instead. This is perfect for the bedroom as it helps to frame your space and is a stylish alternative to a headboard. Adding a glossy white paint along skirting boards and around door frames will also instantly lift your interior, giving it a luxurious feel.
For the ultimate curb appeal, give your exterior a new coat. Even if you don’t do an extensive paintjob smaller projects like retouching your fence and window frames will make a huge difference. One trend we can’t get enough is bright coloured front doors. The sunny pops of colour against a neutral exterior is sure to make you smile every time you come home.
When it comes to transformations that make a difference you can’t look much further than your kitchen. Central to the flow and function of everyday life, kitchens play a major role in your home. Even a simple update to a tired kitchen will give your interior and your mood a boost. A kitchen reno is also a worthwhile investment if you decide to put your home on the market – as Your Home & Garden Editor Kristina Rapley says, “Kitchens sell houses.”
Small improvements can go a long way to make your kitchen feel new again. Paint the cabinets, change the handles, switch your splashback or redo your benchtop. Statement fixtures are also a budget-friendly way to make your kitchen feel modern, with matte black, brushed brass and gunmetal trending on the tapware scene.
If you’re angling for a major makeover, functionality is key. Getting your layout right is important but it’s only successful if it works with the space you have – so try not to just copy a look you’ve seen on Instagram. Think about what your dream result is. Is it seeing the kids doing homework while you’re cooking? Having room to entertain dinner guests? Or having an efficient space with lots of storage?
Once you have a layout in mind, you can start making decisions about the fun style elements like colour, cabinetry and fixtures. Look to the rest of your home and even your wardrobe to get inspiration for your kitchen style. You want a design that will stand the test of time but also shows off your personality. Chat to an expert about the best options for you.
Just like kitchens, a bathroom renovation is also a worthwhile investment. Not only can it make a difference to your everyday life but it’s also a smart way to increase your home’s value. As our lives get busier, we’re seeing an increasing trend towards turning functional areas like the bathroom into a space of relaxation and comfort. Luxury style is no longer reserved for day spas and luxury hotels, with companies like PlaceMakers making it simple to get a high-end feel at home.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or just want a little refresh, quality products and materials are central to nailing your bathroom transformation. Especially because they’ll survive the wear and tear that comes with a high-traffic area like the bathroom. Even if you’re on a budget or just looking for a little update, you can add a designer-feel to your space with luxe tapware and a stylish towel rail.
To help get you dreaming, here are 10 of our favourite bathroom trends to try:
- A Scandinavian-inspired palette of grey, white and wood.
- A white base punctuated with a black bath, black basin and black tapware.
- Wet area showers.
- Wall-hung vanities in bold colours.
- A retreat style bathrooms with a freestanding bathtub and indoor plants
- Nature inspired materials like stone and wood.
- Black tiles teamed with gold or brushed bronze tapware.
- A black and white statement tile to one section of the bathroom.
- The combination of marble tiles and gold tapware.
- On-trend tile shapes like diamond and fish scale.
Laundry and Wardrobe
You know what they say: tidy home, tidy mind. Busy family life calls for storage and you can’t beat the satisfaction of an organised and clutter-free space. Not only does considered storage make you feel good but it’s a valuable update for your home, especially if it’s on the small side.
Adding modular storage to your wardrobe and laundry is a simple and cost effective way to make your home work smarter not harder. We recommend shelving like Rubbermaid as a practical and cost-effective solution for your laundry. It can be set up in number of configurations giving it the flexibility to fit into any space.
Your wardrobe, on the other hand, will need something a little more sophisticated to bring some calm to the chaos. You’ll need a thoughtfully chosen combination of shelving, drawers and high- and low-hanging rods. A good option is GetSorted – a stylish modular system which can be tailored to your wardrobe space.