As far as team-bonding office perks go, Friday night drinks are a bit blasé. Fruit bowls and hampers are so last decade. And no one really needs a foosball table in their communal area.

But well considered, desirable, effective initiatives that not only keep staff happy but also healthy are proving to be a winning strategy for home.byholly.

Founder Holly Komorowski is known for her love of fitness, never shying away from a physical challenge or a competitive pursuit. So when it came to devising a program of staff bonding, her passion led the way.

Five years ago, Holly began offering her team optional team building CrossFit classes at the CrossFit2600 gym in Kingston. “It was important to show my team that you need to step away from the desk, turn off the phone, and embrace your competitive spirit!” she laughed.

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Every now and then, a home comes along that’s anything but typical.

The Bolt house on Gidabal Street in Aranda, with its quintessentially modernist exterior, is an unassuming presence, abound with possibility. Nestled elegantly on an elevated block, the property’s roots are firmly grounded as one of Canberra’s most distinctive homes.

Designed by iconic mid-century modern architect Dirk Bolt and constructed in 1967, this home was one of many freestanding dwellings designed in the 6 years Bolt lived in Canberra.

Bolt’s stunning designs find the desirable middle ground between extremes and often create an effortless flow between contrasting materials and spaces, and this Aranda home is no exception.

Originally, designed for a public servant who was set to move to Canberra but who never actually arrived, the Aranda home was purchased by Anne Willsford in 1984. Anne’s appreciation for modernist design and love for the area meant she would occupy the home for the next 37 years.

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12 July 2021

Mid-century love

Home.byholly are in the business of connecting humans with homes, and we love it.  We love all homes, no matter the build, the vintage, the new or the old, we love finding ways to showcase each property’s story, creating narratives that are unique and empathetic.

Not surprising, each of us at hbh has a personal passion for mid-century homes in particular. These interests have endured for all our lives, and continue to be a personal topic of conversation around the table at the coffee shop. If you’ve watched any of our at home videos, you would have spotted that each of us covet and collect unique pieces of furniture, artwork, lighting and collectables. Actually, you have probably never met a group of people more collectively excited about a room full of 70’s wallpaper, or an original cast-iron balustrade.

The genuine excitement is obviously when we arrive to appraise a home and see its butterfly roof, an atrium, exposed beams, yellow kitchen benchtops, bold decorative bathroom tile, etched glass cavity sliders, the list goes on.

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I have a lot of buyers following me on social, and the most frequently asked question I receive is how to buy at auction.

I can understand why; auctions are an emotional event! Even though I sell the majority of my properties at auction, when I was looking to buy my first home and had to bid at an auction, I was a nervous wreck! I know that emotional buyers tend to push their budget, and yet there I was with that same surge of adrenaline, bidding from my heart, not my brain! In case you were wondering, I was not the winning bidder, and the post-auction depression kicked in hard.

However, there are a lot of reasons why I prefer to buy at auction.

Most real estate in Canberra is sold via auction. If you choose to avoid auction properties, you could be missing out on some of the best homes in the market.

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2021 has, so far, simply been one of the strongest years we’ve seen in real estate in Canberra for a very long time. We could speak to the days on market, the strength in sale prices or the sheer number of buyers that are in the market, but as you would expect from home.byholly there’s so much more to it than that!

Without peeling back the layers too much, and deep-diving into the experiences that the past twelve months have delivered, we can all understand and find a quiet moment to reflect on the place we want to be. Right here, right now, in our beautiful city, Canberra.

Last year we started a movement, a movement to support local, reduce our impact on the environment and celebrate the city we all call home. We are proud to say that our efforts are bearing fruit.

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Home.byHolly sales agents Ash Costello and Sally Strang first met 20 years ago and formed a firm friendship. They have now teamed up to create a specialised real estate service for the Black Mountain precinct.

Both women were born and bred in Canberra, and they are very serious about real estate sales and service. Their partnership within the Home.byHolly brand brings their considerable energy and passion for the job into a dynamic market where attention to detail can make a real difference on the final sale price.

“Teaming up with Ash was a natural progression,” says Sally. “She is smart, brave and an all-round overachiever.

“Ash is incredible on video and social networks such as Instagram, which helps us connect with our buyers on a more personal level. Together we offer a higher level of service to our clients. We bring great energy, are super competitive, and have so much fun along the way.”

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This delicious recipe was provided by Cris’ mum Orietta from Weetangera – A traditional Italian recipe. Orietta suggests making the stock from scratch for a tastier option. Cris – hbh collective.

Serves 4


  • 1 radicchio finely sliced
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • handful dried porcini mushrooms
  • 400 gms Arborio risotto rice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 4 or 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • Olive oil
  • Grated parmesan


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan and brown onion
  2. Add half radicchio and mushrooms and simmer for a few minutes
  3. Add rice and stir for a few minutes until translucent
  4. Pour in the wine and cook until it’s absorbed by the rice
  5. Add stock a little at a time, adding more as stock is absorbed.  Keep adding until rice is nearly cooked.
  6. Add the rest of the radicchio and stir until rice is cooked.
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If you have chooks this is a great way to use eggs. It looks tricky, but it always works out a treat! It’s the perfect summer dessert. I always make a quiche with the leftover yolks. Holly – hbh collective


  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 300ml thickened cream, whipped
  • 1 ½ cups chopped fruit of choice


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
  3. Place the whites in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
  4. Add small amounts of the sugar (around 1tbsp) at a time, beating well after each addition. When all the sugar has been added, beat in until the mixture is thick and glossy.
  5. Add cornflour, lemon juice and vanilla, beating until well combined.
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This recipe was provided by Sam from Barrio, which his kids love just as much as Barrio customers! A good recipe if you have chickens laying eggs in the backyard and everything else is probably already in the pantry. It’s a favourite at the Sam’s Braddon café. Ash – hbh collective


  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup almond meal (I suggest coarsely blitzing up whole almonds to get more texture)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
  • Coupla tablespoons of spices (cinnamon, ground cardamom, ginger etc.)


  1. Mash the banana, add the olive oil, honey, eggs, spices and mix.
  2. Fold through flour, meal and baking powder.
  3. Pour into a baking paper-lined loaf tin. Smallish loaf tin is best. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

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This simple lemon cake recipe from Sally is a go-to crowd-pleaser, perfect for family picnics or summer barbecues. For a seasonal twist that packs quite a punch, try mixing in a punnet of fresh blueberries or raspberries before baking. Sally – hbh collective


  • 125g butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 180g self-rising flour
  • A pinch of baking powder
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup milk, or as needed
  • ¼ cup icing sugar


  1. Grease and line a cake tin or loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and lemon zest.
  3. In another bowl beat together the butter and caster sugar, then mix in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with portions of the milk until combined.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
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