Five simple ways to freshen up the kitchen

It’s often said that bathrooms and kitchens sell the house, but anyone who has had renovations done recently will also know that renovating these two rooms can be very expensive. Here’s some simple ways to give the kitchen in your house a lift that won’t break your budget and you might think about doing yourself.

  1. Cupboards

There a number of ways you can change the whole look of a kitchen by altering the cupboards. You can change the fronts completely – from old battered laminate to stylish woodgrain or glass panels. Overhead cupboards can be replaced with shelfing, giving an entirely new look to the kitchen and opening up the space. Shelving is a great option for not only storing kitchen items but can be a way of displaying attractive or unique kitchen accessories and tableware.

  • Ceiling

This is an often forgotten element to many rooms and especially the kitchen. Feature walls are often utilised to make an impression, in the same way, a splash of colour on the ceiling can provide that same impact. This is also a very economical and speedy way of achieving a difference to the room.

  • Living features

Many of our posts on giving spaces fresh looks mention how plants can provide colour and life to a room, and the kitchen is no exception. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a potted plant – herbs work well in the kitchen area, and having thyme, oregano and chives (which all grow well indoors) not only provides some marvellous ‘kitcheny’ aromas but can actually be added to your pot!

Playgrounds in Mentone

One of the reasons Melbourne continually tops lists of ‘the most liveable cities’ is the opportunity we have to enjoy the outdoors. Every suburb has a range of outdoor spaces that makes spending time outdoors, whether with or without children, easy and enjoyable.

Mentone is fortunate enough to be beachside, so a walk along the sands is a great way to get outdoors. For those who are not beach-lovers or for when the weather is not ideal for the beach, these are our favourite spaces in Mentone.

Southern Road Reserve Playground

Located on Southern Road between Broome and Acacia Avenues, this is a family friendly venue which also provides a small area of off-the-leash fun for your fur children. A playground which is fenced off with a lockable gate is great safe play for the littlies, while a picnic are with a table and BBQ will keep the dads busy.

Phillips Street Reserve

At the end of Flinders Street and right on the train line, this little playground is great for your fans of Thomas and friends. They can wave to all the trains and drivers as they rush between Cheltenham and Mentone stations. The playground is completely fenced off and the trees provide shaded areas for rest breaks from hectic playing.

Mentone Racecourse Reserve

This is a gem of a park – one with the lot. It’s a huge space with play equipment BBQ facilities and there is even a lake with ducks and fish. As the name suggests, the area was once a horse facility and this explains the horse theme throughout. The play equipment includes slides, swings and climbing frames – perfect for hours of fun for the little (and bug) kids. There are other options too with a basketball court and football and soccer goals. The picnic area offers a BBQ with shaded and unshaded areas.

The Bank Of Mum And Dad

Making the first step on the property ladder seems more and more daunting. For many young people just setting out, the idea of the great Australian property dream seems just that – a dream. There are initiatives to help first home buyers but even then a first purchase seems a long road to hoe. This is where many are heading to the bank of Mum and Dad.

Research in 2018 (Data Finance Analytics) placed the Bank of Mum and Dad as Australia’s 10th biggest lender. They also report that of first time property purchasers, 55% say they receive help from their parents with the finances. With the royal commission into banking resulting in the tightening of lending standards, this Mum and Dad Bank might attract even more customers.

Of course, not every parent has thousands of dollars sitting doing nothing just ready to be loaned to a child. Fortunately, there are other options which still makes supporting your children a reality. It is well documented that the current generation are living at home longer than previous generations and while this may be difficult to put up with at times (for both parents and children), the long term result of having minimal rent can be a great opportunity to put away enough for a deposit. A colleague of mine put all the money his son paid on board into a savings account and presented it back to him when he had enough to begin serious house hunting, giving him a greater initial deposit.   

As well, most people with children old enough to be looking to buy property will have accrued considerable equity in their own home, and they can use this to assist their child’s purchase. This equity could be used as a lump sum contribution to a deposit, or in instalments to lessen regular payments.

Individual situations usually determine whether the money is gifted, loaned without interest or formally loaned with agreement to pay back with interest. Any way it operates, the Bank of Mum and Dad can be a great way to help your children realise their property dream.

Accrue Real Estate have been helping Melbournians buy property for years. They know the Melbourne market and have the expertise to assist you in all your property needs. Check out Accrue Real Estate South Melbourne on

Wonderful beach & Coffee – life’s perfect in Seaford.

Wonderful beach & Coffee – life’s perfect in Seaford.

Having lived in Seaford in the late 80’s, it was a nice surprise on returning recently to see the development of the suburb. I always thought the Seaford beach was the best Melbourne suburban beach by far and a real hidden gem – Friday night fish and chips with the family was only ever crowded by seagulls, and now I find there’s also some first class cafés serving great food and coffee. While I haven’t had opportunity to visit every café in the suburb, here’s a few that are well worth the trip down Nepean Highway.

The Beach café, 1/10N, Nepean Highway

Who doesn’t love a beach view and had this little gem been there back in the 80’s, my visits to the beach would have been more frequent! With views right across the bay, this is the perfect venue in any season to watch the weather and the ships go by.

The view is one reason, but so is the friendly service. The food arrives quickly and always with a smile. I haven’t worked my way through the entire menu yet, but everything I have had is tasty and presented with class. My last visit was at breakfast – I highly recommend the Spanish Poached eggs! They also make a decent coffee – very important – which arrives hot (a must for a decent coffee).

The Shed Café, 8 Station St

Great spot for a lazy Sunday morning brunch. The staff here are super friendly, big smiles every time you visit. The food always arrives quickly and everything is delicious. My chai loving friend (‘the chai hard’) tells me The Shed makes the best Masala Chai in Melbourne. Personally, I’ll stick to my flat white with an extra shot.

You can’t go past one The Shed’s freshly made bagels, but we were a large group ordering everything from Vegetarian lasagne to a ham and cheese croissant, and there weren’t any complaints from any of us.

Cafe Crackerjack 4/1n Nepean Hwy (Above the Bowling Club)

When I lived in Seaford the bowling club was for my grandpa and his friends. Not anymore. This is my favourite breakfast location but having also lunched there, the food is good at any time. The service is really first class, efficient and friendly, and the food always looks amazing. The view is pretty spectacular, but that’s one thing that’s always stayed the same about Seaford. Crackerjack is very family friendly – even if your family is of the furry variety: they even offer dog treats.

Make a rental feel like home

Perhaps it’s because a number of us now have children old enough to have moved out of home into rental properties that our lunchtime conversations turned to the days when we were renting ourselves. A major theme of the discussion was how difficult it was to make your own stamp on the house / apartment without painting or drilling or any other major work. This is our list of the best ways we found to make our rental property feel more like ‘our home’.

Move the garden inside

The greenery and colour of indoor plants can really brighten a space, and the immense variety available means there is always something for every taste. Adding plants is especially important for apartments that may not have access to any outdoor space.

Floor it

Colour doesn’t just have to be on the wall. You can make a real statement with a rug that adds sparkle to the room. There is a wide range of fabrics, sizes and styles available, so the rug doesn’t just have to be for the main living area. You can really stamp your personality on your rental by using rugs and mats throughout.

Let there be light

A simple way of adding atmosphere to a rental is experimenting with the lighting in the different rooms. Brighten a dark space or change the mood with cool lighting. This can be done simply with globes and if you are more daring, try the app controlled globe systems, like Phillips Hue.

Don’t weigh yourself down

Key to making the space feel your own is your ability to change to with your mood. You can’t do this with wall paint but, if your furniture is modular or easily moved, you can reconfigure a room when it suits you.

Wall to wall

While you may not be able to hang pictures or change the colour of the wall, there are a large range of removable wall decals that provide you the opportunity of creating a feature wall that is both colourful and reflects your impeccable taste and personality! These are reasonably inexpensive for the effect and come in all types of designs from the highly artistic to the quirky.

Lining up

The inside of cupboards or drawers can be lined to create a ‘clean and brand new’ feel. This one is probably more relevant if you are renting an older home or apartment but it can work anywhere. Liners can provide colour but, if you are using ones that are also offer antimicrobial protection they have a practical use as well, preventing the growth of mould or mildew.

Home among the gumtree

One thing that wasn’t available to us when we were renting was Gumtree. This can be a great resource to pick up the rugs, mats, modular furniture or anything else you might want to turn your rental into ‘home sweet home’.

Brunswick Cafe Scene

Brunswick has long had a reputation for being ahead of the game in terms of cultural diversity and it has been a mecca for foodies for decades. Styles change and the nationalities shift, but Brunswick still has some of the finest eateries in Melbourne. Here’s a few of our favourites.

Code Black

This bustling café is highly regarded for its friendly and efficient service. The menu offers a variety of delicious foods and the café caters for customers seeking vegan, and gluten and dairy free options. The size of the café makes it a popular meeting place for mums with prams. The real attraction is the coffee, roasted on site, and the baristas make coffee-making into a real art form. Coffee lovers keep returning to Code Black, which is a great recommendation.


This one has been around long enough to be called a Brunswick institution, but it is still going strong. Choukette is known for its wonderful cuisine – in the words of the menu: “a little piece of France close to you”. Quiches, croissants and cakes are very popular but the menu also features savoury dishes and pies. There are vegan and gluten free options, and for those really seeking a French experience, you can arrange French lessons! As you would expect, the ambiance is decidedly French, and the service is efficient and with a smile.

Miss Marmalade

A very popular breakfast spot, this café is also licensed, making it a great place for a relaxed lunch with family and friends. The extensive menu provides vegan and gluten free options and the kids’ menu makes it a popular family venue. Their home made fresh juices are an extremely popular choice. The weekends are always busy at Miss Marmalade; a weekday visit will give you more time to relax and enjoy the ambiance.

A1 Bakery

Not the trendiest or catchiest of names, but this café is another Brunswick institution. It highlights the diversity of Brunswick, that this is a little slice of Lebanon, and the menu offers a wonderful array of Lebanese dishes. The pizzas – manoushe – are a specialty and among the most popular items but you will find many other delicious choices if pizza is not your fancy. The service is always friendly and, even in the busiest of times, the wait is not too long.

Colour your world

Whether you are living in a Niddrie apartment or a Mentone townhouse, every residence can benefit from the addition of a bit of colour. They say a change’s as good as a holiday, and a simple spruce up of your home can be the holiday you and your home need. It’s also a great way of shaking off all the cooler weather and getting ready for the party atmosphere of summer. Here’s some ideas to help you keep up with the latest trends.

Warm it up

You don’t have to stick to a neutral colour (50 shades of white, anyone?), you can find warmer colour combinations – try matching some of the darker beige shades with a warm grey (Dulux: Tapestry beige with Dieskau, perhaps). These shades can create a warm and comforting look and are growing in popularity. This may in part be because these tones match up very well with certain items of Scandinavian furniture, also very popular.

Summer’s here

While a room completely painted in lemon would look like it belonged in a theme park, a feature wall in ‘fruity’ or ‘citrus’ shades (Dulux have shades wonderfully named Citrino, Apple Slice Half, Citrus Delight and Golden Orange) can make you feel like summer whenever you look at it. These colours can be introduced into a room without grabbing the paintbrush – try some cushions or curtains to brighten the room.

Be bold

Again, overusing colours such as read and green can produce an undesired effect, these colours are experiencing a resurgence. They especially work well in living and dining areas, which tend to have a strong abundance of natural light. As with our citrus colours, if you are not brave enough to go for a whole room or wall, introduce the colour through cushions, a rug or even indoor plants in coloured pots.

Let’s be natural

If you prefer an earthier look, and don’t want to make a bold statement, more natural greens can provide a comforting and calming effect (try Dulux shades Green Spruce or Backyard). These colours work especially well with natural timber.

If a colour change isn’t enough and a move is needed, or if you are looking to add to a property portfolio, then speak to the team at Accrue Real Estate.