Covering Ground

'I found a line and I followed it a little'- Sam Holt

I found a line and I followed it a little  
Sam Holt

Spring has well and truly sprung here in Sydney.  Things are starting to thaw out slowly in my head and limbs after a long winter!  It started with a slow trickle- I realised I didn’t have to don a heavy coat in the mornings anymore to walk Chilli and the sun has started to burst in the windows with more gusto.  This trickle will soon louden to a rush that I’m sure will carry me in a current quicker then I would have liked to Summer, Christmas and the conclusion of another year.  Last week was a special one not only because it was the first week of Spring.  I got to catch up with some dear friends and family, see some sights in and out of Sydney and spend quality time with Grace who is going over to China with her grandfather at the end of this week.


Lonsdale Street Traders


Lonsdale Street Art Posters

My mate Sam and I made a pilgrimage down to our Nation’s capital to catch the J.M.W Turner exhibition before it closes up this week on Sunday 15th.  We did it all in one day, which was a bit of an undertaking especially considering I can’t drive a stick so certainly couldn’t help out driving Sam’s trusty hilux ute.  Several Maccas hashbrown stops & photo taking stops and we made it.  It was well worth it- Turner’s paintings are luminous, broiling, heaving things painted in pursuit of the sublime, which in aesthetic theory is understood as some elusive element of greatness in art, music and literature.  Turner’s works have the power to draw you in- squinting to make out the finer details of figures and movements- and then expel you back out again, like the ocean, to reconsider his whole composition, how the multitude of oil paint strokes make the ships in the harbour shimmer, or the Venetian turrets gleam.


The Harbour of Brest


Disaster at Sea




View from St Peter’s Basilica

Sam is a painter himself.  He works with large oil canvases in an abstract expressionist style and recently has started branching into some more landscape style painting.  He was looking at Turner’s skies and clouds, his brush strokes and use of blissful pastel colour combinations.  I was looking at his people, the way three or four crude marks could suddenly form the face of an adoring mother or squalling infant.  The ease with which the emotion is rendered.  Sam is planning a solo art show for later in the year, I’ll keep you posted on that.  His paintings in this post are from an earlier exhibition at Janet Clayton Gallery in Waterloo. You can follow him on insty (@samholtart) or read a bio on him here.

'Immersed in the unfamiliar'- Sam Holt

Immersed in the unfamiliar Sam Holt

'Release' - Sam Holt

Release Sam Holt


From Sam’s sketchbook

The next day Grace and I ventured over to the north side of Sydney to visit our friend Davina who is home from NZ for a short break from skiing.  Davina is a very busy girl training for something really exciting and you can follow her journey here.  We had lunch at the Boathouse, Palm Beach and I was expecting it to be super posh and la-dee-dah.  But it was the most perfect, chillaxed spot to have a mid week lunch.  We want to go back soon and do the walk up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse which you can see from the Boathouse back deck- more info about that here if you are interested.

Lunch at the Boathouse with Davina

Lunch at the Boathouse with Davina

On our drive back Dav took us on the scenic route around all the beautiful Northen Beaches viewpoints- at one point you can see all the way up to the central coast!  After we dropped Dav off I jumped into the sea pool at Dee Why.  Grace said I was crazy but the water was actually warm (ish) and the car heater afterwards was even warmer 😀

Dee Why at Dusk

Dee Why at Dusk

In amongst all of this I also squeezed in (in no particular order):

  1. Late afternoon sun and a strolls in beautiful Centennial Park.
  2. Working at the Apple Spiral Stall for Real Food Projects at Dress Up Attack kids fest in Marrickville.
  3. Delicious dinner at Hartsyard, Enmore Road.
  4. A bit of spring cleaning, clothes chucking & spring cleansing.
  5. Getting really behind in all of my uni work.
  6. Reading
  7. Watching Julia Child make croissants and hollandaise and cracking up laughing doing impressions of her (bless!)
  8. Making said hollandaise and consuming on top of Eggs Benedict for a lazy sunday brunch- scrumptious.

You can see why I called this post covering ground 🙂 This week is shaping up very differently with a multitude of deadlines and tasks and plenty of prep to be done for Gracie before she jets off to China.

Til next time kiddos!

Em x

Po Boys at Hartsyard, Enmore Road- delicious

Po Boys at Hartsyard, Enmore Road- delicious

Organic Blood Orange Cordial from Real Food Projects

Organic Blood Orange Cordial from Real Food Projects

Free Range Eggs

Free Range Eggs

Iced VoVo Pie @ Hartsyard- ridiculous !

Iced VoVo Pie @ Hartsyard- ridiculous !


Nothing says spring like strawberries

Afternoon in Centennial Park

Afternoon in Centennial Park

Centennial Park with Federation Pavilion in  the background

Centennial Park with Federation Pavilion in the background

Pathways in Centennial

Pathways in Centennial

Light in Centennial Park

Light in Centennial Park

Fresh Lemonade at the Dress Up Attack Festival

Fresh Lemonade at the Dress Up Attack Festival

Apple Spirals- whodathunkit

Apple Spirals- whodathunkit

Kids Parade at Dress Up Attack

Kids Parade at Dress Up Attack- too much cuteness



If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places.

Fred Kent

Bike Friendly Clovelly + Better Block (the Video!)


Still's from Elin's video

Still’s from Elin’s video


Stills from Elin's video

Stills from Elin’s video


Things are starting to gain pace on the Better Block Clovelly planning front.  The event date is set for the 27th of October with a lot of planning, logistics and meetings to happen before then.  Our next gathering is this Sunday 3pm at the Creativity Unlimited Studios Clovelly Road.  In the meantime I’d like to share a beautiful video of our first meeting made by Elin Bandmann.

Elin runs the cool bike friendly blog PUT THE FUN BETWEEN YOUR LEGS and has become super involved in bike friendly initiatives all throughout Sydney. I love the tongue-in-cheek title of her blog- literally putting the fun back into cycling daily for all her readers.  

Look out for familiar faces in the video below, including mine and Grace’s!

Elin (just because she hasn’t been amazing enough already) has also designed this excellent logo below to promote cycling for fun and transport throughout the Eastern Suburbs and Clovelly.  The idea is that the logo can be made into stickers, displayed on bumpers, poles and in cafe and shop windows to generate awareness around cycling and even incorporate a discount for patrons who used their bike to get to the cafe/shop/event/business.  It is an excellent initiative and as it is being rolled out at the same time as Better Block I’m hoping that Bike Friendly Clovelly will be able to piggyback off some of the exposure and publicity we generate in the lead up to the event.

Elin Bandmann's logo for Bike Friendly Clovelly

Elin Bandmann’s logo for Bike Friendly Clovelly


Til next time!



Compact Living- a Fonzie Flat for Life?

The Fonz himself


We all know Arthur Fonzarelli did many things well.  His hair, girls, tight t-shirts, his motorcycle, zippo lighters, that pesky vending machine- but is the legendary Fonz set to become the poster boy for compact living and flexible housing options as well?

The term Fonzie Flat is now cemented into the Aussie vernacular, even being named word of the Month in January 2013 by Oxford University Press Australia.  Although the name calls to mind a greasy den of deferred Italian adulthood the Fonzie Flat is being championed by planners, property developers and housing affordability researchers as a viable accommodation option for a variety of expanding housing needs.  These include stay-at-home twenty somethings (guilty!), ageing parentals and grand parentals, out of towner rellies, Air bnb trawlers, paying international students, home businesses, start up companies, boutique showrooms and of course my mate Laura (artist and full time Law & Order viewer).  All of these uses potentially function as a neat little appendage to a larger dwelling, with only the occasional SOS light switch morse code sent out to the mainland house during a chronic milk or toilet paper crisis.

But what if the Fonzie Flat model could be amputated from the mothership of the Australian dream mega-pad and strike and on its own?   As many a resident of an  Inner West workers cottage will tell you, compact living isn’t exclusive to apartment dwellers and can come in many forms.  We just need to start ensuring these forms are available, permissible and economically viable in Australia.

Image from the Dwelle website

Image from the Dwelle website

UK company Dwelle, based in Manchester are busy designing and constructing micro building prototypes which fit the Fonzie Flat model nicely, with one main difference.  They are carbon friendly, fully transportable and can be knocked up in a matter of days. AND they look good.  They feature solar panels, rainwater harvesting, low energy lighting and fully integrated electronics and appliances.  With the more luxe model featuring floorspace of 64m squared they are not much bigger then your average inner city one bedder but of course as many of my architect friends tell me, space is both physical and psychological.

In other words the A-frame roof, abundance of natural light and clever storage layout mean that you may not necessarily feel like you are being strangled by your own claustrophobia in a Darlinghurst bedsit.  You can also add more space by playing with optional extras and additions (like Lego!) and customise the cladding to respond to the surrounding environment.  Compact living is about letting go of the stuff that demands to be housed, stored and gathers dust until eventually it gets turfed and goes into landfill and living smarter.  This little project tells that story nicely:

Screen shot 2013-08-07 at 11.53.15 AM

Image from the Dwelle website

Image from the Dwelle website

Which brings me to another great point, and one which I thought of whilst gawping (as I often do) at The outdoor rooms and landscaping opportunities become key to the success of these little homes.  Less house = more block.  Yes they are small, tiny even, but that fact serves as extra encouragement to get outside, get walking, gardening or exploring, or just sit back and take it all in which- one of the original motives for the broad Aussie porch or verandah.  So much of the future lies in our past doesn’t it?  The cabin typology is back, but with an eco bent and in Australia we just happen to have the perfect set of climactic criteria to support it.

Scott Meivogel Cabin

Image from Cabin Porn, submitted by Scott Meivogel

At this stage Dwelle-ings aren’t available in Australia however a wide variety of granny flats, sheds and backyard studio buildings are being offered by many companies as all the different needs I mentioned before continue to grow.  The challenge is in realising that small flying solo is also ok, and that even a Fonzi-sized flat or house can potentially do its part in reducing energy consumption.  Also I feel like Arthur Fonzarelli would be pleased that I’m mentioning his pad, as well as the words ‘cabin porn’ in the same post.

Until next time- I’ll be taking some measurements of my Dad’s beloved shed!


Dad's Shed

Dad’s Shed