Thursday, February 28, 2013

Presenting property prices on maps

I came across an interesting post on Google Maps Mania blog pointing to a French real estate website with quite a novel approach to presenting property prices. While in Australia commentators focus only on median prices for capital cities, the French show the information at individual land parcel level (or close to it). Not to mention that they use “price per sqm” statistics - a much more useful measure for comparison and estimation of property values. The property prices map is a great example of presenting a huge volume of data in a very accessible and easy to digest format.  

The closest we came in Australia to such a map was a simple mapping app published by Fairfax on but unfortunately the map is no longer available. Creating a map similar to what accomplished would  be possible in Australia if you have access to price estimates as well as a full profile of each property – something only RP Data can afford in this country. In the past, I mapped property sales statistics for postcodes in Melbourne and Sydney but the information is not available on regular basis. So, in Australia, serious property hunters doing market research are limited to reading listings on real estate portals or buying property sales reports for individual suburbs.

Related posts:
Map of Melbourne house prices
Sydney house prices
WA housing affordability index
Aircraft noise maps
Mapping sun position anywhere

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Your Brain on Potato Chips

Or, more accurately, a rat's brain on potato chips.  Last week, PLoS One published a very interesting paper by Dr. Tobias Hoch and colleagues on what happens in a rat's brain when it is exposed to a highly palatable/rewarding food (1).  Rats, like humans, overconsume highly palatable foods even when they're sated on less palatable foods (2), and feeding rats a variety of palatable human junk foods is one of the most effective ways to fatten them (3).  Since the brain directs all behaviors, food consumption is an expression of brain activity patterns.  So what is the brain activity pattern that leads to the overconsumption of a highly palatable and rewarding food?

Read more »

Flat Track Day at the Ace Cafe

On Sunday 24th Feburary the Car park of the Ace Cafe was taken over by Sideburn Magazine along with Co-Built and Red Max for Flat Track Day. It was bitingly cold and I actually only got one sketch done on the day, despite having two pairs of trousers and sock on and a Michael Jackson style fingerless scribbling hand. Here are the results along with a load of photos for those who didn't brave the cold for what turned out to be a fun day out.

BSA Thunerbolt 650 Flat Tracker

(ink & watercolour)

Simplicity and beauty all wrapped up in one black sexy package.

CFH Honda C70 with YX140cc Stomp engine

(ink & watercolour)
Sketch done in the warmth of the studio.
Corpses from hell is the brainchild of Maxwell P. The CFH Honda C70 has recently had a new addition of the rear wheel disk. Maxwell was also sporting his newly completed custom lid:

To find out more about CFH go to the blog:

Or Follow on Facebook:

CFH Facebook

 Co-Built were also in attendance jumping round the car park, with joy but also to keep warm.

Making a fleeting visit Ornamental Conifer stopped by on his tracker. Mr Conifer is an incredible sign writer, visit his site to see what a steady hand can do:

 This incredible Hercules was Riden in by Rory D Blofield 

 Grahams Z Sled

"The Swindler" Steve's Norton 961 Street Tracker

 Harley XR750

 Short Track Yamaha circa 1972
 Mile and Half Mile Yamaha '74/'75
 Red Max Goodness

 Low Side Drifter
 Guy S' R100 with Co-Built pipes
 Last but by no means least Sarah Bradley's Hog

Race Retro, Stoneleigh Park 2013

Another huge Race Retro Show at Stoneleigh Park again this year. There is so much to see and do at this show I always enjoy covering this show. From rare racing bikes through to super rare racing cars and anything in between Race Retro seems to cover all bases. I always find myself in the smaller hall which contains all the bikes and stock cars. I think this is down to the wider variety compared to the larger hall that is mainly full of top end historic cars. For more on the show itself please visit the website:

1960 Bond Formula Junior

(ink & watercolour)

Designed by Lawrence Bond better known for the Bond micro car this was the first racing car to utilise a monocoque chassis. It's powered by a 1098cc Ford 105e engine. Only 2 remain in existence, so I definitely couldn't pass this opportunity on.
The Car is now run by Andrew Tart Motor Engineering, to see more of the car and other vehicles in Andrews garage please visit the following website:

1952 Manx Sidecar Outfit

(ink sketch)

Whilst sketching this outfit I met (for the second time) the infamous Stan Dibben, a man who has not only ridden sidecar outfits in the TT but has been a test rider for Norton. In 1949 he assisted the development of the infamous featherbeds and also competed in the Manx Grand Prix on a 350 Manx which he built himself. He also built the first ever Dominator racer and went on to race it in 1952. So who was I to argue when Stan pointed out that this outfit was not 1952 as the streamlining on the front was not used until the mid to late 50s. To read more about Stan go to the following link:
Or even better read his biography such a great read the film editor at Saatchi and Saatchi made a short film about him after reading it:

1971 500cc 4 Valve Velocette

 (ink & watercolour)

Built by Eric Stanbra to compete against water cooled Japanese 2 strokes. This is a very unique build based around a Jim Lee frame it uses a huge amount of bespoke parts. The bike has been continually raced and still retains all the original parts making this an extremely reliable machine. In 1978 at the Shell Sport 500cc Championships at Donnington the bike finished 12th against a top class field including 12 RG500's, 4 TZ500's 4 Spartons and only one other 4 stroke.

Here's some more highlights from my day at Race Retro:

 The historic rally section had some great entries. I'm guessing this is a lotus of some sort but I may be wrong.

 Tri-Jap Sprint Bike


BRISCA Heritage had another great collection of heritage stock cars on display

The Norton Owners Club had a great display of Manx Nortons alongside the Sidecar outfit:

DC Row House Main Living Room Before & After

If you are on Instagram or follow along with my instant pics on the sidebar of the blog, you may have noticed that yesterday was an especially rewarding day:  We finished another project installation.  This project was different from most of our projects in that it was implemented over time.  We created a full design plan for our clients a year or so ago (I think??) and as the project entailed a lot of time & expense, our clients decided to implement the project in phases.  What I love about this approach was that my clients didn't sacrifice anything.  They got everything they wanted exactly as they wanted it because they were really patient & willing to wait.  They began with the paint, the built-ins, and then moved onto lighting, curtains and rugs.  The final installation (of furnishings!!) happened yesterday and I'm so excited to share it with you.  Here's what the living and dining space looked like before:

My clients decided they didn't need the additional dining area (we've got a breakfast nook in the kitchen) and so we turned it into an additional seating area with a 4- chair arrangement for playing games, reading and chatting.  Here's what the room looks like now:

Yesterday, I styled the bookshelves with all of our clients' own things and got the room feeling nice and lived in...

The childrens' books are mixed in with their parents' books and their is tons of storage for games & crafts hidden throughout the built-ins.  

I connected the spaces with two overscale lanterns which you might recognize from my previous post.  (The Morris Lantern from Visual Comfort ;) ;)

Because there's a small nook for the sofa in the TV-watching end of the room and not much room in it for end tables, we went with pivoting wall sconces on either side of the sofa.  I was excited about showing off their pretty silhouettes against the hand-block-printed Le Gracieux curtains:

{I snapped this pic as we were hanging art}

My clients wanted a really warm, cozy and energetic-feeling home.  They are some of the nicest people I've ever met and I really feel like their home matching them in warmth.  My client herself looks especially beautiful in the house becomes it complements her hair and skin tones so well.

Here's a close-up that shows the coffee table, which I love:

{The pillow is in my "Filigree Chevron" in Autumn}

 Here's a "before" picture of the fireplace wall, which faces the TV:

...And here is is now:

{The oranges & yellows & pear greens were pulled straight from the rug}

My clients have the "go ahead" to collect more green pottery on their travels so we can fill up these shelves!! ;) ;)

We're putting a fiddle leaf fig in the right nook that will look like this:

This photo shows you how the TV fits:

The 4 chairs are all on swivels so if they want to, they can swivel around and become a part of the TV-watching area or enjoy the fire...

I'm off for the day and hope you enjoyed!! I also had to share this Instagram pic of me with Dave on the way home...  There's nothing more fulfilling than getting to work with this guy every day:

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.