Very crispy Canberra mornings recently would certainly have exposed how homes are performing from an energy perspective this winter.
Canberra’s housing stock is principally divided into two main camps: those built during the pre-energy efficiency rated era and those after.
Melinda Jamieson and Suzy Piani, of Sold On Styling, are regularly called into stage homes for sale and know just what it takes to present a welcoming, warm and cosy atmosphere.
Jamieson says there are simple steps that can warm up even the coldest old govie.
“Curtains really do prevent heat loss, particularly when windows are not double glazed as with most old homes,” she says.
“Update window treatments with thick, textured linen curtains.”
Older homes lose warmth around windows and doors and simple door snakes are enjoying a revival in design style.
Jamieson is also a big fan of soft, textural throws, rugs and cushions to cosy-up living rooms and bedrooms.
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“Chunky woollen throws, faux fur and velvet not only look great, they are high on the snuggle meter,” she says.
If you’re living in a home with EER five stars or above, there are some practical and styling tips that can further improve the cosiness rating, accoding to Piani.
“Zone off little used areas like spare bedrooms or living spaces,” she says.
“Encourage more family time; turn off the TV and play a board game. Not only will you save on heating, but more people in one room generates body heat and more warmth!”
Piani also suggests repositioning furniture around a coffee table or a fire place.
“Avoid leather sofas – they’re cold in winter. If you have them for practical reasons, think about a large throw to make them more inviting,” she says.
While residential sales can take a dip at this time of year, Dan McAlpine, of Belle Property Kingston, says there are plenty of tips that sellers can incorporate to maximise interest in their homes.
“It all starts with the kerb appeal – ensure all leaves are swept and raked to provide a low maintenance appeal,” he says.
“Use potted colour or evergreen plants in pots to assist in overall appeal and a sense of arrival at the front door.”
McAlpine says potential buyers respond to a home that presents as cosy, especially during winter.
“If you have a fireplace ensure that it is clean, stoked and lit to create ambience,” he says.
“Heat the home to 24 degrees during inspections as it will cool quickly with doors open.”
Jenny Edwards, director of Light House Architecture and Science, says three relatively low-cost measures homeowners should consider include insulation, draught-proofing and well fitted heavy drapes or snug-fitting cellular blinds.
“Air leakage is one of the biggest sources of heat loss for older Canberra homes,” she says.
“The good news is that thermal performance can be improved through relatively modest investments.”
Edwards recommends topping up ceiling insulation to R5 and retrofitting insulation into walls if they have none.
“The next step is to tackle the variety of points in a house where warm air can escape and cold air can enter,” she says.
Common leakage points include wall vents and skylights, recessed lights, doors and around plumbing and electrical penetrations through the plasterboard lining.
“Effective draught sealing around each of these areas can make a significant difference,” she says.
- INSULATION: Bring the warmth back – top up ceiling with R5 and retro-fit insulation to walls if you have none.
- DRAUGHT-BUSTING: Air leakage is the older home’s worst enemy. Draught-proof vents, skylights and around plumbing and electrical penetrations.
- DRAPES: Believe it or not, heavy drapes and pelmets can make a big difference in slowing heat loss and cold air ingress.
Styled for winter market
After moving out of a Farrer architectural gem, Rod Harvey, above, decided the home really needed to be styled for its sale period.
“It was looking very bare, very empty and was a long way from presenting as comfortably as when we lived in it,” he says.
“We invited Suzy and Mel from Sold On Styling to add their touch and pretty much gave them free rein to weave their magic.”
The stylists had a great canvas to work on: a Dirk Bolt architectural modernist masterpiece from the 1970s.
“The interior of the house is highlighted by an extensive use of timber that gives it a kind of Scandinavian or Japanese minimalist feel,” Rod says.
“Suzy and Mel complemented that with an inspired selection of retro furniture pieces and neutral soft furnishing with welcomes pops of colour.”
Rod says the home now feels warm, cosy and lived in.
“They’ve done a fabulous job,” he says. “The home feels much more lived in.
“In fact, when I had my first look, I thought I was in somebody else’s home.”
The house at 6 Werribee Crescent, Farrer, will be auctioned on Saturday, July 8, on site.
Contact Mario Sanfrancesco and David Stokes from Peter Blackshaw Manuka on 0412 488 027 or 0410 598 463.
There is nothing like an open wood fire to communicate winter cosiness and this Deakin gem has full-on charm to burn.
Solid wood floors, timber sash windows, picture rails, french doors to the entertaining space and even the original wood-fire oven in the kitchen add to a wonderfully intimate cottage feel.
This north-facing home sits on a manageable 648-square-metre block, surrounded by landscaped, low-maintenance gardens with plenty of play areas.
Entry leads into a small timber-floored foyer with formal living and dining to one side, highlighted by an open fireplace with a welcoming blaze.
The dining room, which has access to the rear deck, leads into a light, bright kitchen with plenty of timber bench space and quality appliances. A nostalgic link with yesteryear has been retained with the incorporation of the original wood-fire oven.
There are three large bedrooms with built-ins and a remodelled family bathroom featuring white tiles.
The rear deck provides plenty of space for outdoor entertaining while a single brick garage at the rear of the block offers opportunities for, perhaps, a studio conversion.
Auction: Saturday, July 15, 12.30pm. Inspect: Saturday, July 8, 11am-11.45am. Agent: Dan McAlpine, Louise Harget, Belle Property Kingston 0401 005 282, 0412 997 894.