Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Building A Home That Grows With Your Family!

Whether you're working from home or just trying to cope with the situation, hope you're all well in these uncertain and extraordinary times. I thought I'd put together an article to take your mind off the stress and anxiety of COVID-19. The following article is about getting the foundations and fundamentals right when building or creating your forever home, something positive to dream about till normal life returns and you can actually start working on the dream.

With research revealing Australians to be holding onto and staying in their homes for longer, increasing this ownership period by a third since 2005, homeowners are looking to build properties that are versatile, adaptable and dynamic in both design and functionality. These homes are built for the future, with flexibility at the forefront of mind and an understanding of the need to grow with a modern family and their ever-changing needs as opposed to the family outgrowing the home itself.

Creating a ‘forever home’ takes careful forward-planning and thought. Whilst a room may be initially designed to meet a specific performance requirement at that time, it may not serve that same purpose a few years. Those with young families require durable play and activity spaces, which could be re-purposed into a home office, guest room or media room as children grow. Alternatively, a home office may need to transform into a baby’s nursery, or second living space transformed into an Air Bnb space. It is important you work closely with your builder to develop strategies and solutions that facilitates and welcomes versatility in a ‘forever home’ from the foundations.

Sound it Out
Every contemporary home needs a versatile living space for occupants to do just that; live. Playing video games, play dates with friends, toy rooms and even practicing musical instruments, these living or rumpus rooms are ideal for modern day families made up of varying personalities and interests. However, they need to be both durable and sound resistant to ensure the whole household isn’t involved in the process. CSR Gyprock ®Superchek™is a fantastic choice for plasterboard, reducing noise transfer within your home as well as effectively resisting damage caused by soft and hard impact.

The sound reducing and durable characteristics of the plasterboard make them easily repurposed as your family needs change. An entertainment hub is the ultimate relaxation zone and on many home-owners’ wish-lists.

However, modern sound systems have the potential to noise-pollute the entire house. Walls lined with Superchek™ provide a 15% reduction in perceived loudness compared to standard plasterboard, meaning you can keep noise in its place whilst enjoying your favourite blockbuster.

Multipurpose the new Open Plan
Embracing and enhancing free-flowing spaces has been a hot trend in recent years with the adoption of the open plan format. However, 2020 and 2021 will see this trend evolve into a more multipurpose style of living, allowing homeowners to maximise their space more practically. Whilst common open plan layouts are kitchen and dining rooms, those who entertain frequently may look to expand this further to incorporate outdoor areas. Seamless transitions can be achieved through the use of a continuous wall from the inside, out. Gyprock Aquachek™, a moisture resistant plasterboard, is ideal for use on walls and ceilings in these areas. The core, face and back of Gyprock Aquachek™ are treated to make it resistant to moisture and humidity without compromising integrity, making it perfect for kitchens and protected external ceilings such as verandas.

Another multipurpose room trend emerging is the on-flow from living areas into bedrooms, especially in smaller houses. Adaptability and flexibility are achieved through the use of folding walls and doors, allowing rooms to be opened up for additional meters, or closed off for privacy. Superchek™ plasterboard on walls dividing living and bedroom areas boasts strength and sound reduction, making the most of a dynamic floorplan.

Protect Walls in Growth Spurts
Quality walls are durable, but in high-traffic areas, like living rooms, family rooms and hallways, the susceptibility to knocks and bumps is higher, requiring a stronger product to withstand the bumps of everyday living. Whether it’s coming through the front door with the shopping, children’s indoor play or pushing the pram down the hallway, walls may come under some scrapes and nicks.

With its reinforced core, Gyprock Superchek™ makes maintaining that new-home interior and keeping up appearances easier. Whilst holding the soundproofing characteristics of Soundchek™, this superstar premium plasterboard also blends the qualities of the strong, highly- durable Impactchek™, including the heavy-duty paper liner which increases density and board strength to improve the level of durability of walls against knocks and scrapes or more serious damage much more than a standard 10mm plasterboard. Investing in Superchek™ during the building phase will allow your home to withstand the growth spurts of your family, staying stronger and fresher for longer and keeping maintenance, down.

I'll be posting more updates on what to consider when building your forever home on the blog and I'll be posting daily updates on Instagram. If you are on Insta, follow me (@raniengineer) and drop me a DM so that I can follow you back. Let's connect!

Till next time... stay home, stay safe and stay connected!

xox
Rani

For more information about Gyprock, visit www.gyprock.com.au.

Friday, 14 February 2020

How to Bring Your Personality Into Your Kitchen

Cooking can be quite a personal ritual. From the dishes we make to the composition of our spice racks, we all cook in our own ways, and these ways have been largely shaped by our loved ones and most definitely by our cultural backgrounds as well. If you enjoy expressing yourself through food and want your kitchen space to be functional and expressive, here are a few handy tips for kitchen coordination!

Update your kitchenware
With kitchenware becoming smarter and more efficient with every passing year, keeping your kitchen supplies up-to-date is essential for every budding chef. Sourcing quality kitchen supplies in Melbourne and other large cities is all about thoroughly researching the options available to you online prior to making any purchases. Use all the reviews and videos that are at your disposal to ensure that the food processor or pressure cooker or any other big-ticket appliance that you may be looking at, is perfectly suited to your needs - both functionality and overall design.

Modernise your space
Modernising your space also means freshening it up to give it a more contemporary kitchen feel and look, a feat which can be achieved with just a bit of design thinking. A well-curated space considers both functionality as well as aesthetics. If you’ve chosen to update your kitchen’s fixtures to a more premium material like chrome or brass, then it may also be time to revisit other aspects of your space, like your kitchen’s colour scheme or the organisation of your benchtops, and any decor that occupies the space, functional or otherwise. It’s all about paying attention to detail and ensuring that all the distinct design elements of your kitchen space fall into a sense of harmony.

Organise your pantry
When it comes to designing your dream kitchen, your storage options is an area that often requires a lot of trial and error. There is a myriad of storage solutions out there and each one has its fair share of testimonials, but you usually don’t know what truly works for you and your space until you try it. And kitchen design has never been about following trends alone. It’s about taking the time to find what works for you. It’s recommended that before you take on the reorganisation of your pantry, you take stock of the ingredients that are most likely to occupy that space and plan around these key occupants. Without a plan, this task is going to be longer and messier than you had anticipated. For instance, you could use dedicated Tupperware containers to store your front-and-centre dry ingredients like cereals, rice, and other grains, and then use containers of different shapes and sizes for all your other secondary ingredients, like lentils, beans, and seeds. If you want to make the most of your pantry space, it may also be a good idea to invest in some hanging shelves for your pantry door.

Space for herbs and veggies
Finally, it must be said that your kitchen’s design can also greatly influence your cooking habits as well. For instance, if your kitchen has allocated space for fresh fruits and vegetables, then you’re more likely to eat these foods. For this reason, a lot of families are incorporating small herb and veggie gardens in their kitchen space to ensure that food scraps can be reused, and that leafy greens never go forgotten at any meal!

No matter what changes you decide to make during this process, it’s worth remembering that at the end of the day, your kitchen is always going to be a highly functional space, so feel free to prioritise usability above all else. 

Till next time... bring your personality into your kitchen!

Friday, 6 December 2019

Are You On Top of Your New Year Planning?

Whether you’re planning the office Christmas gifts, that enviable summer holiday, or you’re already filling up your schedule for the New Year, plan everything ahead of time with one of Collins Debden’s diaries. Their latest range perfectly encapsulates both style and sophistication. 2019 also marks the Bicentennial of Collins, as they celebrate 200 years of passionately curating stationery and diaries that are world renowned for their quality, creativity and innovation.

Perfect in time for Christmas and the New Year, Collins Debden has a diary that caters to everyone’s tastes and needs.

Candleriggs – Limited edition
To commemorate their 200th Anniversary, Collins Debden have released their limited edition tartan diary – Candleriggs; reflecting the heritage and ambition of their Scottish history. Officially registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans, the Candleriggs diary features the blue and white of the Scottish flag, while the smooth, leather cover alludes to the maroon cloth that was used in the early production of Collins diaries. Owners of this enviable limited edition product will notice that the colour palette is enhanced with a touch of green within the Tartan-themed spine and inner pockets, reflecting Collins Debden’s support for environmental sustainability and eco initiatives.
RRP $89.99

Vanessa
This diary is perfect for those looking for that classic style, with a new twist. Available in both desk and pocket sizes, Vanessa is ideal for those constantly on the move, with double wiro binding and a leather-like, dual- tone colour finish. It’s available in six colours and includes internal storage, card slot holders and pen loop. RRP from $8.99

Elite 
The Elite range is the ultimate organisation tool for the working professional! Packed with a range of practical, convenient and sophisticated features, it includes a notepad, mylar-tabbed monthly pages, expenses summary, a 2-year pull out banner, business card pockets and a removable address book. With cream paper and a smooth finish, it is available in cherry red, navy and black.
RRP from $33.99 - $114.99

Legacy
Featuring a soft to the touch cover with a matching elastic closure band, this slimline diary can be taken with you, wherever you need it to go. Never lose track of your important dates or documents again, with an internal ribbon marker for easy access and an expandable inner pocket to keep all those New Year resolutions handy! Available in six colours.
RRP from $12.99

Enchanted 
Looking to add a pop of colour to your desk? Well, look no further than the brand-new Enchanted diary collection. Adorned in three foliage-themed, fabric colours and an eye-catching date stamp, Enchanted is the quintessential diary for managing the most hectic of schedules. With a day to a page format and flexible board covers, don’t head into any situation in 2020 without this colourful companion by your side. 
RRP $28.99
Serendipity
For the eco-friendly minimalist in your life, set them up for the New Year with the charming B6 week to view Serendipity diary. Externally, the textured and trendy cover is made from a water-resistant durable Kraft paper and internally it features cream Kinmari Japanese paper. Don’t leave it up to chance – buy this range now before they inevitably buy it for themselves! 
I have this and I absolutely love the beautiful paper!
RRP $25.99

Plan + Note Pro 
The Collins Plan+Note Pro is the perfect Christmas present for that special someone in your life who is obsessed with staying organised, in a stylish way! From the outside to inside, the Plan+Note Pro does not disappoint, with a week to view diary, a notes and do-to list section, hidden business card holders, pockets and elastic wrap closure. Available in a deep blue, grey and mustard yellow.
RRP $33.99

Lifestyle
Whether 2020 marks the start of a new job role or just a new chapter in your life, be inspired and captivated with this B5 week to view Lifestyle diary. Completely unique and fully curated, this holistic diary is essential for anyone heading into a big year. With specialised planning pages that offer health, wellbeing, personal/professional tips and self-care encouragement, achieve your goals in 2020 and know that anything is possible!
RRP $32.99

Metropolitan
Stay ahead of the curve with the stylish and minimalistic Metropolitan diary series. Inspired by major cities around the world, the London, Sydney, Melbourne and Glasgow ranges are available in an array of colours and textures.

· The Sydney and London bonded leather diaries have been crafted with the professional urbanite in mind. Available in B6 size and with a vertical week to view format, these two distinct styles come in a tactile (Sydney) or smooth (London) finish. RRP $37.99 - $52.99

· The Glasgow and Melbourne vertical week to view diaries are available in B6 size and feature smooth, Kinmari Japanese paper – allowing you to dawdle, daydream and jot down every thought. RRP $26.50 - $32.99

Edge
If you’re looking for that office Secret Santa gift under $25, look no further than the Edge A5 Diary. Available in three colours with a sophisticated and smooth leather-like finish, this professional diary will add a pop of fun into your recipient’s daily schedule. Featuring a range of crisp, easy to read graphics, a comprehensive information section and slick ivory paper, don’t break your budget this Christmas and get your colleague something they’ll use every day! Available in both day to a page and week to view layouts.
RRP $17.50 - $22.99

Spectrum 
Whether it’s your wife, sister or friend, avoid the stress of not knowing what to buy that lovely lady in your life. The Spectrum range is the most accessible and female-friendly diary in the 2020 portfolio! Designed to bring the very best out of its owner, Spectrum A5 week to view diaries come in pink and blue iridescent covers with a silver shim gilt edging. Shine your way into 2020.
RRP $25.99

The Collins Debden range is available at Officeworks, newsagencies and quality stationery stockists across Australia, or online atwww.collinsdebden.com.au or https://diaryshop.com.au/

Till next time... get on top of your New Year planning!

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

How to Achieve the Ultimate Luxe Bathroom for Less

Our bathrooms play a vital role in our daily lives; it helps invigorate us in the morning, and wind us down in the evening. This space should never be neglected and has so much more potential than just functioning as a practical place. What’s more, through small changes, it can be transformed into a refuge of relaxation and recuperation that doesn’t have to result in extortionate bills.

In 2018, the average cost of a major bathroom renovation in Australia was $17, 522, however this cost is due to varying factors and can fluctuate depending on your circumstances and needs. While a renovated bathroom can add nearly $20,000 to the value of your home, a few cosmetic changes and DIY jobs are really all it takes to get the luxe bathroom you’ve been dreaming of. Group Head of Design and Innovation, Andy Grigor, from leading designers and manufacturers of showers and taps, Methven, explains how you can create an inviting oasis without it costing the world.

Update your shower and tapware
Showers and tapware can define the theme of your bathroom. Combined with functionality, choosing a shower and tapware that looks stunning will transform your bathroom into a room you can’t wait to use.

Firstly, gather options together, take your time and do your research. Create a mood board or a scrapbook of design ideas and products. Then go and find those (or similar) products on display so you can feel the quality and get a sense of how the product feels as you use it. By simply replacing your tapware and shower you will transform the feeling of your bathroom.

According to Andy, remove the old and replace with matte black for a modern look. The Methven Aio Aurajet® Twin Shower in matte black is the epitome of imagination with its minimalist appearance and its uniquely engineered Aurajet® technology, it creates an efficient, luxuriously wide and even fan-like spray which will transform your showering experience,.

A lick of paint never hurt anyone
If budget is tight, there are some very simple aesthetic changes you can make to immediately upgrade your bathroom. Painting your tiles may sound strange but it is a very cost effective and simple way to completely and quickly refresh your bathroom. There are many tile paints available if you like to DIY, or you can hire a professional to do it for you.

Opt for light colours such as tonal aqua to make the room feel bright or more spacious offering a serene and refreshing ambience, or select a deep colour such as emerald green for a dramatic and modern finish that encourages nurture and regeneration.

Replace your vanity
Removing your old vanity and replacing it with a new one will instantly make your bathroom feel like it’s had a full renovation. A wall mounted floating vanity will also open up the feel of a small bathroom space by adding more floor area.

However, if your budget doesn’t allow for a purchase of a new vanity, then look to ways to repurpose your old one or even an existing piece of furniture. Keep in mind the size of the area and plumbing needs.

Sometimes the simplest tasks are the most rewarding 
According to Andy, you can renew your bathroom and give a sense of a complete upgrade, just by re-grouting your tiles. If your tiles are still in good condition, they may simply need to be re-grouted in order to make them seem brand new again and brighten your bathroom, as discolouration can show the bathroom’s age.

Add the spa-like touch
Decluttering your bathroom and adding storage where possible is key. Once you have a fresh canvas, adding little accessories, a few baskets for towels, fancy soaps and decorative accents is a great way to add your personal touch.

Incorporate plants and create your own indoor oasis, which will all contribute to the overall look of your ‘home spa’.

Till next time... are you looking to upgrade your bathroom?

xox
Rani

Methven products are available through Bunnings Warehouse, Reece, and plumbing stores and showrooms nation-wide or check out www.methven.com.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Top 8 Home Design Trends for 2020

Twenty-twenty might see the end of the ‘offical’ kitchen area and the rise of cheeky leftover spaces; it’s certain to see terrazzo move to a foundational material in a home, and metal will definitely clothe the most fashion-forward homes. Read on to see what else Houzz is betting will be big in interiors and architecture in 2020.

The ‘unkitchen’ kitchen
As the most popular room to renovate in the home, according to Houzz Research, the Australian kitchen will continue to evolve. We’re starting to see on Houzz that contemporary kitchens are beginning to integrate small touches of furniture-like elements that reflect the rest of a home’s more personalised decor. At the extreme end, we will see kitchens that disappear completely into bespoke cabinetry, so all their functionality is hidden away when not in use.

The cheeky extras
Got an extra 1.5m space at the end of your kitchen renovation floor plan? We’re starting to see homeowners on Houzz no longer decide between a pantry or more bench space if they have spare meterage. Instead they are extending into the space, building in integrated study nooks, kitchenettes and banquettes. We saw this trend beginning in 2019 with study nooks searched on Houzz 26 per cent more than the previous year.

The rise of curves and arches
Curves and arches will emerge as an interior design trend in big ways next year. We see designers and architects on Houzz introducing that curves add a feminine touch and create softness in spaces otherwise filled with hard surfaces. Architectural elements of the home will embrace rounded edges through circular windows, arches and curved walls as advances to technology allows architects to challenge structural boundaries.

The reign of terrazzo
Increasing 28 per cent in Houzz searches in 2019, the emergence of terrazzo will turn into a full-blown royal reign in 2020. Terrazzo, a composite material that can be poured in situ or pre-case and formed of chips of marble, quartz, granite or glass, has mostly been seen in bathroom splashbacks but in the new year, we can expect to see it used in benchtops & homewares, with the chips becoming larger and colourways becoming bolder.

The popularity of metal cladding
With an increasing focus on technological innovation, the desire for greater sustainability, the need for safety and always-changing realisations about wellbeing in the home - one of the biggest trends on Houzz, the rise of metal cladding. With recent issues with combustible materials, already we are seeing professionals on Houzz readjust to these new demands, so goodbye rendered brickwork and timber slats and hello copper, zinc and steel.

The colour trends
Beige, stone, soft eucalypt greens and earthy browns will be strong interior colours in 2020, following their popularity on Houzz in 2019. They’re hues that are seen in natural materials such as sisal, jute, hem; the colours of unbleached, undyed wool, natural clay colours, natural stone.

There is some solace for those that love colour. Our colour professionals on Houzz tell us that strong colours with added shading will be on trend, such as merlot, peacock blue and spicy pink.

The homewares made of biomaterials
The common concern about climate change, sustainability, the harm of single-use plastic and environmental pollution will push professionals to innovate even more in the years ahead, developing new recycled and recyclable materials for homewares & decor. The 2019 Houzz & Home Australia study found that integrating “green” materials was a high priority for 22 per cent of renovating homeowners - a 3 per cent increase from 2016.

The primacy of wellbeing and biophilic design
Lamps that adjust their intensity according to natural circadian rhythms, decor that seriously integrates plants, soothing palettes and low-VOC paints, architecture designed for wellness… these will grow in importance and as a design conversation in 2020. Already we are seeing this pop up as many designers and homeowners introduce natural light from windows and skylights; exterior views and access to nature; and using water sources as fountains, ponds and water features, that can be seen, heard and touched.

I have to say I'm loving the Terrazzo trend! A feature piece in Terrazzo like a kitchen benchtop, a feature wall or a vanity counter will be just divine!

Till next time... which one is your favourite design trend for 2020?

Sunday, 24 November 2019

An Easy Pyrex Festive Recipe for the Home Cook!

Whether you’re looking to prepare ahead and build on your kitchenware portfolio, or after the perfect Christmas gift for the avid entertainer, Corelle and Pyrex have you sorted. The brands 2019 must have list includes the all-new Deep Dish family, bringing loved ones together, Divided Storage collection for those yummy leftovers, bespoke Corelle Signature range, perfect for mixing and matching to create the ultimate table setting, Celebration Simply Store bowls for serving up those delicious recipes and the Wooden Storage collection, designed to stand out and display. Crafted from non-porous glass to prevent the absorption of food odours, flavours or stains, the Corelle and Pyrex range is microwave, oven, dishwasher, and freezer-safe to simplify cooking and cleaning, allowing you to prep, cook, serve and store your favourite festive meals easily and efficiently. Today I'm sharing a Pyrex recipe in my favourite Pyrex range... the Pyrex deep dish.

Pyrex Deep Dish
Perfect for bringing family and friends together this festive season, with more room to load up delicious desserts, layer mouthwatering lasagnas and account for bigger meals - the all-new Pyrex Deep Dish is the deepest Pyrex glass bakeware collection in the history of the brand. Holding up to 50 percent more than standard Pyrex dishes, Pyrex Deep Dish gives home cooks more room for yummy goodness, including more fillings, bigger roasts and extra space for those mouthwatering sauces and desserts.

And did I mention that the Pyrex Deep Dish and Tiramisu are a match made in heaven! This is the perfect sweet ending to a long and filling festive lunch.
Ingredients (Serves 8-10)
  • 6 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 1 ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 225g mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold brew coffee
  • ½ cup coffee liqueur
  • 400g ladyfinger biscuits
  • Unsweetened cocoa power and unsweetened chocolate and berries, to garnish
Method
In a small saucepan, whisk eggs and ¾ cup sugar. Over low heat, whisk and add 2/3 cup milk and bring to a boil, whisking continuously for 1 minute until thick. Remove from heat and cool completely.

In a large bowl whisk together heavy cream, mascarpone and vanilla extract until medium peaks form. Fold in egg yolk mixture until there are no streaks.

Combine coffee and liqueur in a small bowl and dip each cookie into the mixture. Layer the bottom of your Pyrex Deep Dish with coffee-soaked cookies until completely covered. Add a layer of the filling so that it completely covers the cookies, about ¼ cup of the filling. Smooth out with the back of a spoon.

Repeat with remaining biscuits and filling. Place in refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight, to set.

Serving
Before serving, take the remaining egg whites and whip to stiff peaks, adding remaining ¾ cup sugar gradually until light and fluffy. Dollop top of tiramisu with the meringue and dust with cocoa powder. Top with berries. Using a vegetable peeler, shave chocolate and serve.

Pyrex Deep 8"x 8 Square Baking Dish from RRP $18
Pyrex Deep 7" x 11" Rectangular Baking Dish from 3L from RRP $18
Pyrex Deep 9"x 13" Rectangular Baking Dish from 4.7L from RRP $22

You can find the Pyrex range at David Jones, Harris Scarfe, Peters of Kensignton, Corelle Brands Factory Outlets and other independent retailers.

Till next time... shoutout if you give this delicious and easy festive Pyrex recipe a go!

xox
Rani


About the company
The Pyrex brand story starts with equal parts of American invention and creativity. The heat- tempered glass that is the foundation of the Pyrex brand was created years earlier by Corning Glass scientists charged with developing lantern glass for railroads. By 1913, the glass was used in a number of industrial applications. But it found its way into the kitchen when Bessie Littleton, wife of a Corning scientist, asked her husband to bring home some glass to use in place of a broken casserole dish. He gave her the sawed-off bottoms of some battery jars. A cake was baked, an iconic brand was born and, as they say, the rest was history. For more information, go to www.pyrex.com.au

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Predicting Popular Backyard Design Trends for 2020

The coming year is shaping up to be an interesting year for backyard design trends. With many traditional elements, such as steel verandahs in Melbourne and the surrounding urban and rural areas, coming back into popularity, some trends point to new directions and exciting opportunities towards making backyards more practical yet organically aesthetic spaces.

Take a moment to read on about some of the innovative new ideas that will make 2020 a great year for backyard design trends. Many of these trends provide multifaceted benefits that will help save money and protect the environment.

Let’s look at some of the essential backyard design trends that you need to be aware of as we move into 2020.
Green And Sustainable
Next year, you can expect that eco-friendly and sustainable options will play a central role in backyard design trends. Some trends to watch out for include drought-tolerant foliage as well as less turf-grass. These types of outdoor décor are becoming increasingly popular due to a huge shift in consumer preferences.

However, there are also economic, in addition to environmental, reasons for this change. There are great opportunities to save money on low-maintenance gardens that require less attention. You can do your part for the environment in a pocket-friendly way.

Multipurpose Gardens
While many already enjoy the bountiful harvest that a backyard garden can provide, you can expect that the trend towards more practical garden trends will continue into 2020. Expect to see less ornamental plant arrangements and more rows of fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs.

Not only is this a great way to add character to your backyard, but it can also save you money on your monthly food bill!

Fowl Features
Beyond the conventional plant garden, you can also expect to see more macrofauna in backyards across the country. There is a growing trend to incorporate chickens, and their coops, as well as beekeeping setups in household backyards. If space permits, you also cannot go wrong with adding a few fruit trees to your property as well. Beyond their practical value, they add a nice touch to any garden.

Water Features Will Flow
There is a cycle to the popularity of water features in backyards. In 2020, you can expect to see the return of many simple water features in backyards throughout the country. These might include portable fountains or, for those with a larger budget, a water wall to add character to any backyard arrangement.

Low-Maintenance
Beyond the mere matter of going green, many homeowners will continue the trend towards low-maintenance gardens and landscapes in the coming year. Perennial plants will are gain popularity for their ability to naturally regenerate each year.

To make your backyard as low-maintenance as possible, try removing elements that provide little ecological value to your property. If your budget permits, you might also try adding an irrigation system to let you water the area using recycled water.

Try to choose elements for your yard based on their quality and sustainability. As compared to the last few years, 2020 will be a minimalist and practical year for backyard designs.

Choose What Works For You
Naturally, the choice of what to do with your backyard design is a matter of personal aesthetic taste. Following the trends outlined above will allow you to keep up with the Joneses, but, if these designs do not work for you, then they are not worth the money spent.

Till next time... do you have an inspiring vision for your backyard?

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Ways to be Water Wise in the Garden this Summer

Being water wise has never been more important, with reports of current droughts being the worst to hit Australia in 800 years and water restrictions reaching level five 2 in some areas. I've put together some great water tips from TV personality and Horticulturist Melissa King on how to prepare your garden for water restrictions this summer.

Make time to Water
Restrictions dictate that watering should be done before 10am or after 4pm. Set customised schedules easily with the Rain Bird 8 Station Outdoor WiFi Controller ($379). Its WiFi connective ability lets you control your sprinklers through your mobile, no matter where you are. Create several watering settings according to the needs of each section of your garden to ensure that plants stay healthy while paving and walls stay dry.

Move with the rain
Rain sensors prevent unnecessary watering, providing savings of up to 20%. The Rain Bird Wired Rain Sensor ($87.55) easily connects to most irrigation system controllers and automatically shuts your sprinkler system off when it rains, leaving you worry free whether at home or away.

Get hands on
Hand watering is another great way to care for your garden and allows you to tailor your watering to the needs of specific crops or plants. It also provides an opportunity to get up close and personal with your plants, so you can detect any issues early and get on top of them quickly. Water restrictions state that all hoses must have a trigger nozzle, like the Nylex Premium Spray Gun ($28). It has seven different functions for all your watering needs and most importantly, allows you to easily shut the water on and off with its simple to use click control design, effectively minimising wastage.

Carry the can
Watering cans are also a great water-saving option. But regular watering cans can be painful to carry and may distribute water unevenly. The Nylex Watering Can ($10.98) however is far from ordinary. Peppered with small holes that give you an even distribution of fine water droplets, it lets water soak deeper into the roots while the two handles make it easy to hold and control, creating a more pleasant watering experience.

Pick a perfect pot
When every drop counts, the right pots can really make a difference. If you love the look of classic terracotta, look out for pots in Northcote Pottery’s CottaSEAL collection, which are treated with a water-resistant sealant that helps to prevent moisture loss. If you’re after a more modern look, turn to plastic pots. They’ve come a long way in recent years and now come in a range of fantastic designs, colours and finishes to suit any garden. I always suggest keeping darker pots in shaded locations as they can build up heat in the sun, leading to unwanted evaporation. Additionally, look for plastic containers that are UV and frost resistant as they stand up to all weather conditions and hold their colour beautifully.

Gardens and lawns are often the first areas to suffer in dry conditions, but all that it takes is some common sense, a little creativity and the right tools to conserve moisture and keep your plants happy and healthy.

Till next time... be water wise this summer!



About the company
AMES Australasia develops, sources and supplies innovative products that help enhance the homes, landscapes and lifestyles of all Australians. The company owns a range of iconic lifestyle brands including Cyclone, Hills, Nylex, Northcote Pottery, Rain Bird, Tuscan Path, Westmix and Kelso.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Making Sense of the Modern Movement

‘Modern & Designer’ homes make up more than half of new build detached properties, but do we really understand what the term means? While popular home trends such as The Hamptons, Country and French Colonial have clear definitions, Modern is used to describe a number of styles that share common elements, but require specific considerations. 

According to James Hardie ambassador, Joe Snell, the modern trend features clean lines, confident shapes and minimal ornamentation. They are all rooted in the works of visionaries such as Mies Van Der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright and Alvar Aalto, and out of institutions like the Bauhaus.

There is a focus on form and function, but a number of different design trends such as coastal and Scandi have added to the style, each based on their own influences and principles. It’s important to make distinctions between these and understand the specifics of your preferred version of Modern to make it work. In this article we discuss and define the five current modern home styles and how to get them. 

Mid-Century Modern
An influential example of Mid-Century Modern is Philip Johnson’s Glass House. This style is all about being connected to nature by using large expanses of glass and revealed structure, creating buildings that have simple silhouettes that are very aware of their surroundings.

To achieve this look it’s important to reveal how the building was constructed by exposing elements like steel beams and cladding boards, which need to be beautifully crafted. The shadow line of Stria cladding premium fibre cement boards can be used to add detail horizontally to add breadth.

Minimalism
It could be argued that Minimalism is the opposing stance to Mid-Century. While it ostensibly uses the same pared back design, the focus is more on looking within, and being at peace with oneself. The minimalism school of thought aims to remove distractions and has become popular in Japan for its alignment with the Zen philosophy of mindfulness and tranquillity.

Achieve the aesthetic by removing joins and lines with concrete floors and large panel cladding such as Matrix, as well as expanses of glass for natural lighting. Monochrome palates, with a focus on blank white spaces are essential. This can be accented with natural elements in a controlled manner, for example, a wooden table with minimal detailing and a simple finish works well, but avoid artificial colours and complex organic shapes.

Mixed Materials
A popular device to add variety to the look of a home, the mixed materials design has been used in many neighbourhoods to reduce the blandness of rows of identical homes. It can be hard to get right as there are a lot of elements to balance, so over- complication can be an issue here. The key is to approach the property with one idea or story and stick to it. For example, it could be creating the entrance as the hero, or making the building appear broader or taller. By having a clear idea of your design goal, you avoid a cluttered and disorganised look.

Minimalism and Mid- Century often focus primarily on the repetition of a limited palate of materials across the whole home, a play play between heavy and light components. Mixed materials can go either way, with heavier materials such as masonry and brick at the base and graduate to lighter profiles as you go up. Stria Splayed boards have a larger bevelled edge to create more dramatic lines, while Axon can imitate vertical joint timber, and both are more durable and require less upkeep than traditional materials.

These Premium Fibre Cement boards are also well suited to second floor additions and cantilevered extrusions, as they are light weight, making them easier to install on top of an existing building, while offering a range of profiles.

Modern Coastal
The central themes of Modern are not constrained to metropolitan areas and Australia’s shorelines show how the trend can be combined with the coastal aesthetic. The key here is being true to both aspects, which means that this look has the biggest opportunity to create softer curved shapes.

While the on-trend Hamptons style incorporates beautiful detailing with eaves returns, balustrading and more, the Modern version remains simple and clean. The large expanses of macro detailing and clean shapes remain, but there is also a lean toward embodying the coast. This is done through the use of blues, greys and warm wooden tones.

One key component of both modern and Hamptons designs is Linea Weatherboard, which creates a similar shadow lines to timber boards but, like all Premium Fibre Cement cladding, stands up to the Aussie elements as it is resistant to flaking, warping or swelling and damage for moisture. This means you can create your vision and keep it longer without maintenance.

Scandi Barn
Another look that combines tradition with modernity and is well suited to Linea Weatherboards is the modern interpretation of the Scandinavian Barn. This style is typified by steeply pitched rooves, which were a necessity to stop snow collecting in the Scandinavian winters.

While many may think of light and bright colour palates for Scandi Barns, they have also have the potential for dark and brooding exteriors in greys and blacks with minimal window use. The basic tenants of the movement lend themselves to modern styles and include hooded windows and a strong diagrammatic house shape.

Whatever your modern aesthetic, it’s important to know the specifics of your look and how to achieve them. Generally speaking, the basics of clean lines, strong shapes, modern materials and simple colour palates remain the same, but it’s how you build from there that will bring life and personality into your home.

Till next time... find out how to get a modern look for your home at www.sycon.com.au.
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