• GEMS World Academy Switzerland Summer Camps 2018
  • Inlingua Genève

Below you will find a selection of the most recent entries from bloggers in the Your Home section.

To view the entries from individual bloggers, click on the links below:

Liz Forest - EMF Management
Liz Forest is the founder and owner of EMF Management, a Swiss-registered renovation project management company servicing the international community in the greater Lake Geneva / Vaud region. EMF handles the heavy lifting so clients do not have to learn a new trade, take time off work, or sacrifice family holidays or their sanity just to make their house a home.

Gareth Jefferies - Alpine Property
Gareth Jefferies left the West Yorkshire Police in 1999 to make a new life for himself and his wife in the mountains.  Responsible for marketing and technology at Alpine Properties, a French-registered estate agency with bilingual agents located all over the French Alps, Gareth is usually the first contact you will have the company. He is always happy to discuss your project with you, usually by email, suggesting various properties and making appointments.

Virginie Dor - Space of Mine
As founder of Space of Mine, a professional business specializing in residential organizing, Virginie Dor is committed to helping individuals and families better their lives, take control of their surroundings and time by creating organizing solutions that are individually tailored to each client. As a proud member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers), she is an expert in clutter control, work flow, space planning and time management.

Tara Lissner - Swiss Gardening School
An enthusiastic, self-taught gardener, Tara Lissner is passionate about gardening and eager to share her zeal and knowledge with other gardening fans. In 2012, she joined forces with Hester Macdonald, a British-trained landscape designer, to launch the Swiss Gardening School.

Aislinn Delmotte - Settling Here
Aislinn Delmotte runs Settling Here, a company which aims to provide practical help and advice to individuals, couples and families relocating to the Pays de Gex, a region where some of the customs are similar to those in neighbouring Switzerland, but where many aspects of living are entirely different.

Sophia Kelly - Sophia Kelly Home Design
Responding to the growing demand for home design services in the international community, Sophia Kelly provides a range of tailor-made services, which are perfect for clients who have just moved into a new home or who simply need help reorganizing one that they have lived in for many years!

 

 

elisabeth forest june blog
Photo credit: Gabrielle Ward

By Liz Forest, EMF Management

I recently read in a local expat group on Facebook a post by someone looking for a recommendation for an “honest carpenter”.

It turns out the person writing the post was actually looking for someone to install a custom wardrobe in their home. What ensued was a short explanation of the job (i.e., some shelves, a hanging bar, and a sliding door to hide it all) and the fact that the person had already received offers from two carpenters “for the same amount”. The person was clearly in search of a third offer significantly below this threshold. I read this to imply that both carpenters might be perpetrating highway robbery as the job was too simple for anyone to be paid such an exorbitant amount (NB: embellishment is my own).

These kind of posts are rife on FB. To be completely honest (in the spirit of the sought-after carpenter), they evoke in me a tiny bit of sadness followed in quick succession by incredulousness and a fair amount of frustration. Why?

Well first, as I run renovation projects for a living, I would normally be able to reply to such a FB post with the names of at least two or three truly honest carpenters with whom I have collaborated in the past and who do magnificent work.

Next, before replying, I have to ask myself if the writer means:

  • Honest = can be trusted when left alone in your home with your stuff
  • Honest = does not lie
  • Honest = does not cheat
  • Honest = performs the task as requested
  • Honest = does not try to take more of my money than I believe they are entitled to take for the job I want and need them to do

tara april 2018

By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

Wow! What a few weeks it has been. Gloriously warm temperatures, big blue skies, t-shirts and sun hats, winter a lifetime away – spring has really arrived, even though it feels like it could be summer. In Switzerland it this year it has been the warmest April for years and years, lucky us no? Or, perhaps not.

I’ve been having an amusing conversation with an Australian friend at the moment, I recently lamented that last weekend was just too hot for gardening (for me that is) and she just laughed and laughed, heat, she suggested, is what it feels like in the Australian desert! It is what we are used to I suppose but for me gardening a few weeks after Easter in 25c is just a little dramatic. I’d much rather a gentle increase in temperatures and enough time for me to acclimatize to the change in the weather. If nothing else this dramatic jump in “heat” leads me to think about the plants. There is a great gardening rule which is “right plant, right place” which means that every plant is a great plant so long as it is placed in its ideal spot, shade for shade loving, sunny for sun loving etc. Baking on my south-facing terrace this week has led me to think that I will give up on the lovely arrangement of cute little pots I’ve had there for the winter and only keep a few of the big ones. I promise to only plant heat tolerant, sun-loving beauties and shall retire the delicate plants and pretty small pots to the shed (sorry, cave) for the summer.

liz forest PM blog

By Liz Forest, EMF Management

Renovating can be a stressful and challenging proposition, especially when you are going it alone. Don’t have the time, know-how or speak French fluently? Already have a vision for your ideal space but need someone skilled to make it a reality? If you are considering working with someone to plan or manage all or part of your renovation project, here’s a list of what you should expect from any good project manager (PM):

  1. First and most importantly, it is not all about them! Beware if during your initial meeting you hear nothing but “I”—as in “I would definitely…”; “I despise …”; “I strongly suggest…”; or “I can’t live without….”.  Ditto for shameless namedropping or strong or otherwise intimidating statements about fashion, trends, colours, style—unless of course you ask!

  2. They prioritize your taste and needs. A truly talented PM is able to guide you in making well-informed decisions and putting aside their own lifestyle and decorating choices to help translate yours into an implementable vision for the project. However, if you have seen and fell in love with their home or office, don’t hesitate to say you want it cloned!

  3. They have excellent communication skills.  Without a doubt, these include active listening; regular, precise written communications; and fluency in at least English and French. They should also be able to clearly interact in person, by phone or email with you and all service providers on the job.

tara white crocus

By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

There is a softening underfoot, a warmth in the air and dare I say that feeling of spring abounds! It’s true we’ve been fooled before; a lovely gentle week in February followed by lots of snow and a wind chill that felt like -16c. But it will come, that light in the day, that stretch in the evening and that warmth in the air that means below zero temperatures are just a memory.

I do so love the optimism of March. Every DIY catalogue that comes through the letter box is packed with the promise of spring with bunnies and daffodils in almost every picture; lawn mowers and garden tools to make every job a breeze. Furniture catalogues encourage us to enjoy outdoor living with new patio furniture, parasols, coffee tables and sofas, to plan dinners and parties with friends. We the gardeners know that this is all just a sales tactic for it is far too early to even begin thinking about outdoor living, we are all preoccupied with outdoor working; beds to dig, mulch to spread, plants to grow, shrubs to prune and seeds to sow.

tara onions

By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

This perfect light, golden tones all around and cooler temperatures gently ease us into this new season of Autumn. The summer bedding is fading but trying to hang on continuing to perform in the sunshine, the summer veggie plot is almost at an end with the soft herbs going to seed and the green tomatoes fooling us into thinking that they may ripen on the vine (they will not), the lawn is showing signs of worm casings and a scattering of colourful leaves greets us ever morning – a time of change.

It has to be said that this summer was really fantastic, long days of warm sunshine, almost enough rain to keep the lawn green and that perfect blue sky. A hot summer like this reminds me to take a closer look at my garden. It brings to the forefront the areas I will need to concentrate on when the guests have departed and the rosé is finished. And so the list begins; add even more mulch to keep greater moisture in the beds, explore even more fully hardy but drought resistant perennials to reduce watering, reconsider the choice of planting for the vegetable plot when a holiday is planned – goodness I’m beginning to see a pattern, all of these issues revolve around water, the lack of rain and the need to irrigate. This may have something perhaps everything to do with the fact that I have a south facing garden on a hill with clay soil. Oh the work!