Residential Kitchens

Residential Kitchens

I read something recently about someone living in the kitchen, with a bed and everything, and all I can say is YES. Yes please, all the way. So many winters I’ve been loathe to go to any other room. It’s the whole reason I’ve dragged my comfy chair in there, even though that’s not the safest type of furniture to have in a room with naked flame. Don’t care, and I’m careful. If I’m making cookies or muffins, I want to be in the room at all times to make sure they turn out just right. I’m particular like that.

Companies that do kitchen design need to make this a major part of the services they offer, because I can’t be the only one. The kitchen is just, like…the place where all the good stuff is. The food is there, which is a huge plus. Also there is the means to prepare the food. And then modern home design has the audacity to make us move to a different room for eating, as if you needed anything else.

I guess my perfect apartment WOULD just be the kitchen. You’ve got a humongous kitchen island right in the middle, equipped with everything you need from aga to microwave. And then, arrayed around this island as if insignificant, are things like chairs, your bed, a wardrobe, or whatever you want that isn’t kitchen-related. You could call them kitchen apartments and they would take the kitchen designer scene by storm. Everyone would want them, and they’d be my idea so I’d get a cut of the profits, and that would be enough to actually get a kitchen apartment of my own.

It’d sort of be like a studio apartment, I think, except entirely based around the kitchen in a nice little circle. I guess your only concern would be the wires and gas pipes coming from the wall, but that could be dealt with creatively. Gosh, I’m good at this…I should do kitchen and bathroom design professionally. I’m sure my parents would be my only clients, and even then dad would want to redo all my hard work.

The Icemen Cometh

The Icemen Cometh

Alright, fair play: freeze rays are a popular method of world domination. When I was drafted into this secret science division I just assumed I’d be the only one who tried to create a giant particle gun that would cause a catastrophic seasonal unbalance that would freeze the entire world forever in the icy grip of an eternal winter.

Then I met my co-workers, and I was soon disabused of that idea. Gerry tried it, Leroy tried it, and Kelsey over there made a massive freeze ray that could freeze entire army platoons into ice blocks with pinpoint accuracy. So yeah…I’m not special. I bet my idea was the best of the lot, though.

Now we’ve all been put in a team working in Brisbane, air conditioning services in that area are the best in the business. It’s sort of like being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and the next day you go into work owning a milk bar. At least the air conditioning we have in here is good quality.

We all know that air conditioning hasn’t reached its peak. Give me an average air conditioning unit and I could adjust it so that it uses the same amount of power and also causes a small blizzard in the room, but that’s not what the higher-ups want. No, they’d like us to just improve the current air con technology, make it so that the units are able to maybe clear out some of the dust themselves, and make them more sturdy so that they need fewer repairs. None of that interests me in the slightest, but I’ll play their game, for now. We’ll make air con units so good, every single air conditioning repair company in Brisbane will remove ‘repairs’ from their list of services and just focus on installations! Just see if they can stop us!

It’s a decent enough challenge, for now. And after this…instant freeze drinks.

Swapping for Good

Swapping for Good

You know that show on channel 56, Boss Swap? Does anyone else think that it’s kinda…I don’t know. Vindictive? I feel like it’d be a much better concept if it was just the boss going undercover as a blue-collar worker, learning about his company, working alongside people and getting to know what they think of the company…

Except there’s this other side of it. All employees who work with the boss are told that he suddenly moved to the Maldives and this new person will be their successor. And of course, the blue-collar person is clueless.

Last episode had the CEO of an auto parts firm going and doing ground-level auto repairs in Hawthorn. It was pretty funny because he was obviously trying really hard, but for the last decade he’d gotten other people to collect his set of luxury cars and fix them, and now he’s trying to live up to his pretend resume by servicing an ordinary Corolla. The mechanics are being nice about it, eventually the boss learns how to service cars a little better, and everyone is better off at the end.

Meanwhile, at the upper corporate end, there’s mass panic as everyone thinks that the old boss has gone nuts and put a total novice in charge. Stocks plummet as the blue-collar person makes bad decisions, morale sinks around the office, and things are generally just a lot less…uplifting. To reiterate, a guy in a car servicing garage down in Hawthorn struggling and learning a lesson about his employees is pretty cool, provided everyone’s cars get serviced properly. The flipside…that’s a corporate nightmare.


Dim It Down

Dim It Down

Okay, I’m putting my foot down. I get that offices aren’t generally designed to be the most fantastically fun places in the world – in fact, if they were, it might get in the way of business. But there are certain basic inclusions that can go a long way towards making them less of a drag.

One of those things is natural light, which my office has in overabundance. A second thing, given the former being the case, is UV protective office window tinting. Melbourne can get surprisingly heavy with the damaging rays, and my desk is positioned so as to catch the brunt of them during the sunniest part of the day. It’s okay over winter – pleasant, in fact – but during summer, it can get a bit painful on the eyes.

It’s not only getting fried by the sun that I’ve had enough of. I’m also seriously over Ken from finance doing his physio exercise on the floor next to his desk everyday at 2pm. I get that he has to do it and I don’t really care that much, but he gets really embarrassed and repeatedly taps on the glass partition throughout the process, reminding me not to look at him. I’m not looking at you, Ken!

I guess the solution would be to swap the transparent partition out for one of those commercial, decorative glass partitions Melbourne bank offices and the like seem to love so much. I mean, there isn’t really anywhere else for Ken to do his thing that isn’t going to present the same problem. The only other option is for him to acquire the self-confidence to do his standing McKenzies without worrying about what his colleagues might think.

Rest assured, the only thing I’m thinking about how is my expensive, custom-made office chair is going to be affected by the solar rays streaming in through the window – the fabric is probably degrading as we speak. And don’t even get me started on what it might be doing to my skin.

Steely Conversation

Steely Conversation

The eccentric guy down the road – you know, the one with the neurotic chihuahua – sucked me into yet another one-sided conversation this morning. It’s not that he’s a bad person or anything. It’s just that his chosen topics of conversation are generally of little immediate interest to me, and sprung on me at inopportune moments.

For instance, this morning I was literally running for the tram when this guy sidled up to ask me if I knew where to get the best price on steel tubing. Melbourne trams, as I discovered, don’t wait while you pause to experience conversational bewilderment. Seriously, do I look like I know about metal supplies? I’m a finance consultant, for crying out loud.

 Given that I was going to be late for work anyway, I offered the answer that I know absolutely nothing about sourcing steel products. The guy responded by politely enquiring as to whether I, perhaps, had some leads on metal fabrication services. That gobsmacked me even more. I’d thought my answer to the previous question had clearly implied that I don’t know a steel beam from my left elbow, and have little interest in changing that.

 I’m intrigued to know what people make of all this. Melbourne based steel fabricators might be more frequently sought out than I’ve given them credit for. I mean, I’m sure that people in certain fields of work, like builders, would be familiar with this area and maybe even find it interesting. Surely, though, it’s not common knowledge… or did I miss the memo about the building industry being standard conversational fodder?

Regardless, I spent a further five minutes listening to old mate carry on about his preferences in steel lintels, beams, pipes and plates. By the end of it, despite myself, I admittedly had half a mind to engage in a bit of a handyman endeavour with regard to that roof issue I’ve been having. And, darn it, I spent my tram trip searching for residential structural steel suppliers.

A Pain in the Neck

A Pain in the Neck

I ran into Janine again today – she’s an old colleague from my legal days who I only ever seem to bump into at the grandkids’ soccer games. I thought she was looking a bit worse for wear and, after some subtle prodding, she told me that she hasn’t been sleeping very well due to some persistent neck pain she’s been having.

Honestly, I’m not surprised. That might sound uncharitable, but you should see the way she works – hunched over with her face about ten centimetres from her computer screen for hours at a time. She’s been working ten hour days for several years straight, and insists on wearing the highest heels I’ve ever seen. It was really only a matter of time before her body started protesting.

I wonder if she’s made time to see someone about it – perhaps a manual therapist like a physio. Cheltenham has a good clinic; I’ve been there a few times about my knee. If they can keep an old timer like me on my feet, surely they can provide some pain relief for Janine. I’ve also had good results from seeing a remedial massage therapist. Sandringham used to have a great mobile guy; is he still around?

I reckon all she needs is to make some changes to her lifestyle. It’s not rocket science – being sedentary in the same position for the majority of your waking hours isn’t going to do your body any favours. I’d say that to her myself, but I doubt she’d listen to anyone other than a professional. And, obviously, I can’t speak on behalf of the physiotherapy profession; there could well be more to it. I just can’t help but think it’s very likely she’s brought this on herself.

There’ so much more in the way ergonomics these days than there was back in the day. Now it’s acceptable to have dynamic workstations – standing desks and all that. It surprises me that more people aren’t taking advantage of these options.

And We’re Back, with Kitchen Design!

And We’re Back, with Kitchen Design!

At long last the second season of ‘The Great Australian Trade-Off’ is upon us. Thank goodness, because I was straight-up going nuts here. Watching old reruns on Neat-Flicks, reading every single magazine article on the subject, and of course spending hours and hours on the forums, trying to predict what challenges would be coming up, which will be new and the ones that would return…

So, new team of contestants, and I think I’ve figured out their one-note personalities from the first episode. Oh, and the very first episode was about custom kitchen design! What a dream! I’ve been saving up for that sort of thing forever, although there’s always some extra expense that stops me from getting my extra sink.

They changed the format up a little bit as well: first is a team round, where they’re given a half-finished project and have to finish it. This time they separated into two really big teams and ahd to renovate a giant commercial kitchen each.

After that it was the innovation round, where they were given parts and had to assemble a kitchen appliance of some sort. And the Final Challenge, which this time had them draw up the designs for their very own kitchen, then they had to direct a small team to create the kitchen of their dreams. First time they’ve done a challenge that took more than a day, and I think it’s a great addition to the format.

If you were into kitchen designs, this was the episode for you. I’m ALL about quality kitchen makeovers, so this premiere has me hyped. Plus in the forum sweepstakes I’m one for one. Next up I’m guessing…farm maintenance? It’s a bold guess, but I have faith they can pull it off.


I LOVE Orange Sofa, I Do, I Do, I Do

I LOVE Orange Sofa, I Do, I Do, I Do

The way of the future is very clearly becoming LESS professional. I think we hit the jackpot in regards to office life a few years ago, when everyone suddenly realised that wearing a tie made you look like a conforming penguin and the true key to productivity was originality.

We didn’t do it THAT well, to be fair. Everyone just started sticking orange sofas in everywhere, and all of a sudden all the offices just ended up looking the same. And yet, it was a start. We’re well on our way to creating the truly creative offices that we deserve, and I’d like to see that happen right here in Sydney.  Everyone knows that we’re a little bit ahead of most of Australia when it comes to basically everything, and the companies doing premium office design in Sydney and the surrounding areas are no exception. We’re having our office done right now, and while we’ve all been shoved into a cramped office space that hasn’t seen an update since the 90s, we’ll be returning to a lush office paradise.

I’m talking coffee machines lining the walls. I’m talking beanbag chairs for everyone. I’m talking carpets with kitten patterns on them! That one I’m pretty confident about. I sent the boss a discreet email a few weeks before we were due to get the office fitout, and inside were several options for kitten carpets. I liked number #2, personally…it was a light blue and all the kittens were wearing sunglasses. But I felt it’d be better for there to be options. If we were going to get in contact with some seriously dedicated and well-rated office design companies servicing Sydney, then we need to come at them with ideas. We need to prove that we deserve to work with them as much as they deserve to work with us.

Our fun, modern, hip and casual office designs are becoming a reality, and I welcome this new age of beanbags and caramel macchiatos on demand. It’s for added productivity, you see.


Antenna Antagonism

Antenna Antagonism

Curses on this midwinter nonsense! Not only do I have to have the lights on from 3 in the afternoon and either blast the heating or wear fingerless gloves at my computer, but the wind has been gradually chipping away at my roof. First it was a tile back in May, then another one in June. Now my antenna has fallen victim.  

I wouldn’t describe Melbourne as an especially windy city. It’s just that this house is an annoying combination of crumbling and heritage-listed, which means the owner is required to jump through a bunch of hoops in order to have it repaired. I’m getting the sense that motivation is lacking on that front, but it hasn’t been causing me too much hassle (yet).

I’m not especially concerned about a broken TV aerial, to be honest, aside from the fact that it’s dangling precariously over my car parking spot, intertwined with an overhanging branch from a nearby tree. The satellite dish is also positioned at a questionable angle, seemingly threatening to take a tumble into a neighbouring window. I’ve texted the real estate agent and they haven’t replied yet, so I’m thinking of calling in someone off my own steam and forwarding them the bill.

Who deals with tv antenna installation, Melbourne? I’ve never given it a passing thought. I don’t really watch free-to-air or cable tv, so it’s just not on my radar. I guess I’m starting to understand why owners of rental properties can appear so self-righteous – it’s because they’re expected to finance these kinds of repairs on a regular basis, when they’d rather be chilling out and making a passive income.

I get that. Organising antenna repairs are simply not on the list of things I’d be keen to sign up if I was to buy in the whole property shenanigan. Regardless, the real estate agent could at least get back to my text, rather than leaving me to figure out how to avoid copping a tv aerial through my windscreen and/or a satellite dish as an unwanted hat.

Kitchen Renovation = Stress Relief

Kitchen Renovation = Stress Relief

Renovating a kitchen is probably the best stress relief there ever was. Need to release all your anger? Kneel down and start ripping up some floorboards with your bare hands. I guarantee, you’ll be feeling a lot better by the end of it. I also quite enjoyed taking a hammer to the counter, which isn’t usually part of the process but this time had to happen because their tools weren’t working. I dunno, I just found it to be a lot more fun.

I could do this for a job. In fact, I bet if there are people who fit commercial ovens, they must all be incredibly chill. You have to wreck a lot of stuff before you even get close to putting in a kitchen, so at least they know that when they come into work, they always have that waiting for them.

Come to think of it, there are probably a few jobs of that sort. Imagine being in control of a wrecking ball…now THAT appeals to me. Or being the guy who presses the button that sends the buildings tumbling down, due to them being blown up at the base. Probably aren’t a huge amount of those jobs going, and maybe they have some sort of rota system that states who gets to press the final button, but dang…that’d be great.

Then again, renovations have that extra element of being able to not only rip up a whole load of stuff, but also to see the place when it’s shiny and new. I’ve enjoyed that part as well, even though I’m no professional. Such is the life of someone who does renovations and installs commercial deep fryers and all the big stuff: satisfaction in the morning as you tear out the old, and parental pride as you look upon the new. All done by your own hand.

Is it the best job in the world? It has to be in the top 5 at least, right behind the wrecking ball person.