Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Trend Forecast: Making Your Backyard Staycation Ready!

The past few years has created unprecedented change in the way we live, but nowhere more so than in our homes - how we interact with them and what we require from them. We need our homes to seriously multitask – multiple living zones, cooking and entertaining spaces, spaces to come together but also to have privacy, zones for work, and play.
For many people travel is still both a distant memory, and a far-off dream, so bringing that holiday feeling to your own backyard is more important than ever. According to design expert Melissa Bonney from The Designory, your outdoor space is the most versatile room in your house. The connection between the indoor and outdoor areas has always been important in our Australian climate but in a post pandemic world it has also become critical for people’s wellbeing and ability to stay connected and grounded. It’s the little additions to our outdoor areas that can make all the difference.

Central to a great backyard design is the fire pit. The ambience a fire pit brings is worth the investment alone. Adding a fire pit will provide an immediate feature for the garden and become a natural gathering spot for socialising and entertaining and provides warmth as well as a great cooking source. People are naturally drawn to the campfire-like atmosphere.

New from Glow Heating is a collection of fire pit styles designed to work into a number of different style gardens, backyards and courtyards. Here, Melissa Bonney, shares her design ideas to help turn your outdoor room into the ultimate destination offering a space you can relax in and enjoy on a daily basis.

Keep It Simple
One of the best things about having so many wonderful freestanding fire pit options is that it’s an easy addition to any space. For an extremely low maintenance and stress free outdoor area, keep the backyard simple and landscape the garden incorporating a premium grass, a generous paved or pebble area for entertaining, and compliment with heat loving plants such as succulents, which add texture and colour to the space. Choose one striking centrepiece.

For homes fortunate to have a larger backyard, the Glow Kadi Fire Bowl (RRP $599) is a hero piece. Featuring an exotic, traditional Indian style bowl, it’s low to the ground and sums up the relaxed feel of a coastal sanctuary. With a generous bowl size and striking weathering steel designed to naturally oxidise in Australian conditions, the Kadi is also the perfect sculpture in your garden when not in use. The Glow Kadi Fire Pit is available from independent garden centres and hardware stores.
An Architectural Statement
Creating structure or zones in the backyard is a great way to work the space effectively, with areas for playing, eating, cooking and relaxing. Think about all the areas you have available from the front fence to the back. Defining these zones using fencing, plants or materials such as pavers, pebbles or decking, can give each space its own impact and character as well as defining the purpose.

For a polished landscape look, choose a fire pit design like Glow Pittsburgh Fire Pit (RRP $359). With its sleek, modern defined shape, Pittsburgh is an architectural statement. Constructed from heavy gauged steel with an oiled finish that oxidises over time, it’s the perfect outdoor lifestyle ‘feature piece’ that becomes the heart and soul of the garden year-round. Pittsburgh is available from Mitre 10 and Home Timber & Hardware stores nationally.
Small Spaces Big on Style
Even the smallest of spaces can be big on style and used to create conversation areas and spaces to gather to share stories, share a drink or toast marshmallows. For backyards and terraces looking to maximise their outside space, think smart with solutions such as multi-purpose pieces and in-built seats. A timeless Glow fire pit design that strikes a brilliant balance between size, design, and finish, the Tambo Fire Pit (RRP $79) is perfect for more intimate areas such as terraces and patios where space is at a premium.

The Tambo Fire Pit features a 56cm wok, with the deeper bowl delivering maximum fire for smaller spaces. It is complete with log storage for when not in use and finished in weathering steel that will deepen in colour over time when exposed to open outdoor Australian conditions. 

According to Mel, a top tip for a smaller backyard with fences that make the space feel hemmed in, is to plant an evergreen hedge in front to create the illusion of complete privacy, as well as providing a year-round structured look, adding a splash of much needed green during the colder months. Tambo is available from Bunnings stores nationally.
Year-Round Entertainment
As a nation of entertainers, Australians are constantly looking for new ways to take their outdoor space to the next level. With a little planning and creativity, any exterior space can become a therapeutic sanctuary that offers an escape from the day to day. Identify how you would like to use your outdoor space, then design around those needs. Add a beautiful backdrop with plants of various heights in layered tiers, outdoor seating with cushions, beautiful pots and décor to add pockets of interest.

The Cellar Fire Pit from Glow (RRP $199), offers a refined, industrial design perfect for a contemporary setting. With its stylish black minimalist look and deep drum style bowl, Cellar is not only a heat source but includes a cooking grill for those who love to entertain.

The laser-cut weave pattern encourages greater airflow and is reminiscent of a traditional winery basket. Perfect for creating a cosy space in winter, Cellar can easily convert to some fun summer entertaining ideas as well with its barbecue options. Cellar is available from Bunnings stores nationally.
Starting the Spark
Starting a fire in a firepit can be tricky, especially if the fire pit bowl is quite large. Glow’s new Fire Mate (RRP $29.98) provides the teepee structure to start as the base for placing your timber, and promotes air flow throughout the duration of your fire.
Logs are the foundation of your fire and will keep it burning long into the night. The best type of firewood includes varieties like river red gum, jarrah, ironbark, grey box and sugar gum. Make sure that they are properly seasoned and stacked before using. Fire Mate is available from Bunnings stores nationally.

When deciding on the best fire pit for your home, remember safety comes first. Ensure appropriate clearances as per recommended guidelines, and never place the fire pit on a combustible surface. Glow Fire Pits are available from Bunnings Warehouse and selected independent hardware stores nationally. For more information, visit www.glowheating.com.au.
Till next time... which is your favourite fit pit design?

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Top Tips: Increase Your Laundry Efficiency This Winter!

Winter is setting in and as we move inside from the cold and rain, so too does our laundry. Unfortunately, this leads to cranking up the heat and endless tumble drying to get wet clothes dry and ready to wear, increasing energy usage.

According to Christian Rechichi, Hills Product Manager, the laundry is one of the essential areas within the home, requiring a combination of practicality and functionality. Now, more than ever, Australians are looking for compact drying solutions that are easy to use, built to last and will most importantly, dry their laundry quickly and efficiently. Hills’ latest range of indoor drying products perfectly combine drying efficiency and stylish design, seamlessly blending into your home décor when in use, while also being compact enough to be stored out of sight.
Getting back to basics and air drying your clothing is an easy change and environmentally friendly option that can help dramatically reduce the cost of your household energy bill. Investing in a well-designed airer will guarantee you can dry as many clothes as possible, efficiently, within the space available at home. Laundry specialist, Hills offer these top tips to optimising your laundry organisation.

Keep your clothes mobile
Mobile airers allow you to move your drying around the home. If there’s no one space for your airer, look for one with wheels such as the Hills 3-Tier Mobile Tower Airer (RRP $70.00). They can be moved from room to room with ease. Offering 60 clothes hanger hooks and 19 meters of drying space, this lightweight option is perfect for those who need to make the most out of a smaller space. Adjustable drying racks provide complete drying flexibility, especially when drying larger garments, while the easy glide wheels can be moved around the home and locked in place. Two pivoting frames also allow the airer the placed flat against a wall halving the space required, and when the washing is dry it folds away flat for easy storage.
Use the elements
One important element to improve drying efficiency is airflow. For smaller loads, spreading clothes out across a few extra racks will help air pass between items and carry away moisture, reducing drying times. Hills airers also utilise extra wide drying rails to maximise drying efficiency, even when all rails are in use. Look for a suitable ‘hotspot’ in your home where you can easily set up a portable clothes line or airer. This could be in front of a window where the light and heat from the sun can reach the laundry or between open windows to enable fresh air to flow freely into rooms and create ventilation, to speed up the drying time.

Make the most of your drying space
When deciding on a clothes airer, it is important to first understand the space available in your home, and then the types of items that you dry most frequently. An airer that is too large for a space will make doing the laundry a lot more difficult, and conversely an airer that is too small will not give you the amount of drying space you actually need.

Hills offer a number of different clothes airers that are suitable for different size spaces and drying requirements. The 27m Extendable Winged Airer (RRP $75.00) is a great choice offering features to maximise your drying ability, but also flexible enough to fit lighter loads into a smaller space. With an innovative drop-down arm that makes it easy to hang bath towels and large items, as well as two foldable wings for smaller garments, the 27m Airer is the ultimate clothes drying solution for households big and small.
Keep Clothes Neat and Organised
For best laundry organisation and efficiencies, avoid clothes clutter by allocating a hamper or basket storage area. For a lightweight option, use the stylish Hills Foldable Bamboo Laundry Basket (RRP $31.95) which has a 35L capacity and can hold 8kg load of washing. Available in navy and charcoal, the baskets can be placed in shelf spaces in the laundry area, folded down for easy storage, or can be left out as a contemporary accessory.
With a focus on combining quality and functionality with stylish design, another option for being organised is the Hills Bamboo Hamper (RRP $44.95) which is made from a waterproof polyurethane fabric with a bamboo frame, making it easy to hold multiple wash loads and available in matching navy and charcoal. Streamline the washing process and minimise mess throughout the week by pre-sorting your dirty laundry. Label each section of the hamper with categories for clothing types, such as whites, darks or delicates. This system will make the process faster and easier.
Hills 3 Tier Mobile Tower Airer is available at Mitre 10 and Big W. The Hills Winged Airer, Baskets and Hampers are available through Bunnings Warehouse stores nationwide. To find out more about Hills and stockists, visit www.hillshome.com.au.

Till next time... optimise your laundry organisation!

Thursday, 21 April 2022

How To: Top Tips on Selecting Curtains To Add Style!

There is a long-standing idea that every room in a home should have the same type of window covering to create a consistent look, but that’s not always the case. The windows on south- facing facades – for example - will need something very different to those on west-facing facades, and the product most suitable to use over doors versus windows can also vary greatly. Apart from functionality, window coverings can help enhance the mood or style of an overall room, whether it be a relaxed vibe or a touch of formality.
According to Luxaflex® Brand Partner and Interior Design Expert, Neale Whitaker, when planning window coverings, you need to consider the style of the room and what function the window covering needs to perform. People rarely consider how a space should feel. It’s one thing to choose an interior style, but if your space doesn’t suit that style in terms of light or proportion, it simply won’t feel right. By all means seek inspiration, but don’t be afraid to create your own style. Bring your own personality to a space and don’t be afraid to express different styles in your home.

Curtains are a great way to transform the interior design of your home as well as delivering on functional benefits such as light blocking and thermal insulation according to Neale. They can help create the illusion of more space, and by mixing and matching colours and textures, can add depth and focus to a room.

With a choice of fabrics from plain to patterned to elegant linen looks and blends, whatever your style there is a fabric available to create your own personal look. Here, Neale Whitaker shares his tips to selecting curtains to add style and flair to your interior spaces.

The Classic look suits both traditional and contemporary interiors. Timber-based furnishings may range from blond through to dark, so when choosing curtains, select a colour palette that includes softer tones such as ivory and the ‘muddier’ yellows, browns, blues and greens. Off-white is a popular shade choice for traditional styling, while crisp cool-toned whites offer a more modern take.

For a more layered feel, Neale Whitaker suggests opting for a woven linen fabric, such as the Luxaflex® Kori Linen range. Variations in the yarn add depth and texture while pastel tones create balance and harmony.
The Contemporary look is subtle, sophisticated and minimal, with clean lines and textures. Less is more. Curtains to complement the contemporary look include the raw, organic character of 100% linen fabric, or the popular mid-weight linen-look fabrics, sometimes referred to as ‘faux linens’. These versatile fabrics have become the go-to due to their ability to easily pair with many different interior styles. Consider adding an extra dimension with a statement sheer fabric such as Luxaflex® Arlette which delivers impact via the use of two colours of fine yarn in the weave.
Heavier curtain fabrics with textures, jacquards and embroideries will add the finishing touch to a more opulent style of interior that includes luxurious details, ornate finishes and plush textures.

Hanging Tips
Once you have selected your curtain fabric, consider the length and how they will be hung. How you hang a curtain will greatly impact the look and mood of the space. There is a general understanding that curtains should create the illusion of height, so go wider and higher wherever possible. Consider extending the track over small windows to create a sense of space. Choosing wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling curtains or sheers can add visual luxury and dramatic impact to a room, according to Neale.

Fabric length - whether hanging just below the window, clearing the floor, skimming the floor or ‘puddling’ - will be guided by the type of fabric you have selected and the interior look you wish to achieve. Take time to consider the options. As a rule of thumb, longer curtains suit more traditional interior styles, while a shorter, more streamlined effect suits contemporary styles.
For more information on Luxaflex® curtains and fabric ranges visit: www.luxaflex.com.au.

Till next time...

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

A Special Mother's Day Giveaway!

I’ve teamed up with Haven Candles and Thermacell to give one deserving mama and her awesome BFF the chance to win...

2 x Hamptons scented candles each
2 x cocktail hour scented candles each
1 x Thermacell Mini Halo in Graphite each

This is perfect for the mum who loves candles, loves to decorate, loves to entertain, lives for gardening and loves outdoors activities but HATES mozzies! 
- Like this photo on Instagram
- Follow @raniengineer, @havencandles and @thermacellau on Instagram
- 1 entry for an awesome mama or mother figure you would share this prize with!
- 1 additional entry for sharing this post to your story

The contest begins today, Wednesday, 20 April.
The contest closes Tuesday, 26 April.
The winner will be announced on Instagram on Wednesday, 27 April.

Open to residents anywhere in Australia. This giveaway is not sponsored or endorsed by Instagram

Till next time... Good Luck! Let's show one deserving mama some LOVE!


Saturday, 16 April 2022

How To: The Ultimate DIYers Guide to Paint Preparation

The increased amount of time we’ve been spending in our homes has naturally resulted in more wear-and-tear both inside and out. Whether it’s cracking or accidental scratches, faded paint over time or just a dated colour painting a wall, fence or a piece of furniture provides a chance to freshen up your space in a simple, quick and budget-friendly way.While the preparation for painting can sound intimidating, the expert team at Trojan, have designed a range of tools for the task.

It’s All In The Prep
The finished result is only as good as the preparation and time taken prior to painting. Begin by cleaning the area of any debris that may be sitting on or in front of the surface, cover any surfaces to avoid accidental splattering, and for outdoors jobs such as a fence, ensure the grass is mowed and there is no foliage obstructing you.

To achieve a great result, start by scraping of any old or flaking paint with a paint scraper. Painting over flaky paint can result in bumps and will prevent the new coat of paint from sticking to the surface. The Trojan 75mm Paint Scraper (RRP $7.49) is the perfect tool for the job, ideal for removing old flaky paint, silicones and sticky residues. Made with a durable stainless-steel blade, the handle is made from a soft rubber grip that aids comfort when working. Essentially, by not skipping the prep, your new paint work will look better and last longer.
Sand Away
The key to a smooth finish is sanding any uneven surfaces. To apply a perfectly smooth coat of paint to ceilings, interior or exterior walls, woodwork or a fence, you must start with a perfectly smooth surface. Using the correct sanding sponge will help level out the surface and flatten any ridges that may have occurred during the scraping process or after natural wear-and-tear. When picking the sanding sponge, the higher the number on the sponge, the finer the sanding finish will be.

This simple task is easily done with a high-quality sponge such as the Trojan 120 Grit Angled Sanding Sponge (RRP $6.96). The 120-grit coarse surface and abrasive technology, provides a versatile yet fast cutting and long-lasting product. Suitable for surface preparation, between coat sanding, and ultra-fine sanding, it can be used wet or dry, and on a variety of surfaces including plasterboard, paint, metal and plastic. When sanding is complete, wash the surface with Sugar Soap to remove any grease or grime.

Pro tip: To sand hard to reach areas such as decorative wood, corners or edges, use an angled sanding sponge instead of the standard block sponge - it’s angled shape can easily get into tight corners and crevices.
Fill In The Gaps
Once your selected surface has been scraped, sanded and washed it’s time to fill in any gaps and holes using a gap filler and a paint scraper. Pour the gap filler or compound into a bucket or tub and add water until you reach a slightly thick consistency, or use a ready to apply Gap Filler.

Using a paint scraper like the Trojan 75mm Paint Scraper (RRP $7.49), apply the filler to any holes, cracks or chips on the surface, ensuring to overfill the area. Once dry, lightly sand over the surface for a smooth finish.

Pro tip: To allow for cracks and holes of all sizes to be easily fixed, use different sized paint scrapers. The Trojan

Paint Scraper is available in four different sizes, 25mm, 50mm, 75mm & 100mm, meaning no job is too small or big.
Time To Paint
Now it’s time for the exciting part, painting. To ensure an even colour and consistency, it’s important to stir the paint before you begin as well as every now and then whilst painting, as the ingredients can often separate. To mix the paint easily and thoroughly a mixer such as the Trojan 100mm Paint Drill Mixer (RRP $11.50) is perfect for the task. Made from a durable heavy-duty steel and designed with moveability in mind, this lightweight mixer means it can be easily transported as you paint. Fitting any standard drill with a chuck of at least 10mm, this paint mixer can be used on 5-20 litre paint cans.

Pro tip: Make sure you don’t pull the drill mixer out of the paint tin until it has stopped spinning to ensure surrounding surfaces aren’t splattered with paint.
Clean Up
Once you’ve finished painting, thoroughly clean all the brushes and rollers before they dry. To assist you with cleaning the paint tools efficiently and quickly, use the Trojan 6 in 1 Multi Paint Scraper (RRP $8.65), featuring a curved surface that can be used to squeeze out excess paint from rollers.

By removing as much excess paint as possible, the roller or brush will be easier to clean.

Pro tip: Scrape your excess paint from the roller directly back into the paint tin so it can be used next time.
Trojan tools are available exclusively through Bunnings Warehouse nationwide. For more information, visit: www.trojantools.com.au

Till next time... which DIY project will you be tackling this Easter weekend?

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Trend Forecast: The Humble Brick Gets A Stylish Makeover!

Perhaps it’s the sleek modern look or a nod to the memories of Australia’s brick architectural heritage – contemporary brick homes are increasing in popularity, matching the design desires of architects, designers and homeowners alike.
Where once brick was associated with older homes, the humble brick has been updated with a facelift that sees a new designer range of concrete bricks emerging as a top choice for homes offering striking looks, functionality and versatility.

According to Nathan Martyn from Adbri Masonry, concrete face bricks can make a statement with stunning design elements. They provide unrivalled design flexibility with an on-trend range of colours, as well as elegant finishing and textural options that can be used both internally and externally. Their newest series of coloured concrete brick products are 100% colour-through, which is a game-changer in maintenance as it will reduce the appearance of chipping and provide longevity to a home’s exterior.
As an exterior building product for homeowners, concrete bricks are a perfect choice to create a number of looks from mid-century to contemporary. From a design perspective, bricks can be utilised to bring many a design style to life. Curved architectural detailing shows no sign of slowing down, rather, there are increasingly innovative ways to adopt the trend into our homes, according to Nathan. From shapely furnishings, to softly curved walls, round windows, arched doorways and stairways, fluid design not only brings a point of difference to an exterior and interior’s architecture but promotes a sense of calm, beauty and grace, in fitting with the way we are choosing to live in our homes.
Used internally, exposed face bricks can embed a sense of permeance, security and style. With their multi-design options, a homeowner can showcase their personal style by introducing speciality laying patterns that will provide the opportunity to showcase one’s inner design aesthetics, such as creating a feature wall, a fireplace or highlighting an entry point. Using concrete brick within the exterior and interior design of the home creates a cohesive, modern look throughout.

Texture and colour are important elements within design trends for building materials. Adbri’s premium concrete bricks allow the creative possibility of blending different brick colours and textures while offering excellent symmetry to achieve a high-quality finish.

There’s such a wide range of profiles, textures and colours available in concrete bricks that the aesthetic outcome is only limited by the users’ imagination. Texture plays an important part when designing a home and can help showcase a unique personalised style. A smooth rendered look and finish suits a modern contemporary home, a lightly textured shot-blast finish is perfect for a raw and natural finish, or a highly detailed exposed aggregate honed finish that offers a luxurious crushed stone appearance can completely change the look and feel of a wall.
With new colours ranging from stunning white to moody dark greys and blacks, as well as a made-to-order option, there’s a colour to suit all styles of houses from the clean lines of contemporary minimalist to the relaxed style of modern coastal.

On a more functional level, being energy-efficient, durable and requiring little to no maintenance, their strength helps guard against a range of environmental elements that homes face today and provides a stunning curbside appeal. The added advantage is the availability of product. Adbri Masonry’s range of concrete bricks are Australian made, making them a good option for building or renovating projects.
For more information or product samples, visit www.adbrimasonry.com.au.

Till next time... is your home made from bricks or is it a weatherboard home?

Friday, 1 April 2022

Trend Forecast: Outdoor Living Essentials

Despite summer ending, extreme wet weather and flooding over recent weeks caused by La Niña has resulted in a surge of mosquitoes and potentially increased the likelihood of mosquito-borne diseases like the Japanese Encephalitis virus (JE) and Ross River virus spreading. Like the majority of insects, mosquitoes thrive in warm wet conditions, laying eggs in and around water, meaning the more it rains the more opportunities mosquitoes have to multiply. According to Mitch Connon, Product Manager, Electronic Insect Control for Gecko and Thermacell, research and experts show that while we tend to associate mosquito season with summer, these recent perfect environment conditions for mosquitoes mean we are likely to see a peak in March and April compared to previous years.

Whilst it’s unclear the extent the recent weather conditions will have its always best to be prepared and take steps to reduce the likelihood of getting bitten. Aside from actions like avoiding going outside during peak mosquito times and wearing protective, long clothing, an effective way to protect yourself without any harsh chemicals.
Indoor Insect Control
Mosquitoes are generally associated with being an outdoor problem, however, with open entryways and windows and the growing popularity of indoor-outdoor spaces, it’s important to protect ourselves indoors as well as out. An ideal solution for indoors in areas including the living room, bedroom, kitchen or study is the Gecko Bionic Insect Trapper (RRP $49.00), which attracts mosquitoes using a CO2, UV light, heat and moist air – termed bionic luring. It mimics human breath by releasing Carbon Dioxide as well as moist warm air. With its clever, contemporary design, it not only looks great, but offers radius of up to 10 metres.

Another great indoor option is the Gecko Sticky Glue Trapper (RRP $33.00), versatile and ideal in covered alfresco entertaining spaces, this trapper includes three non-toxic sticky glue boards – meaning no messy chemicals or sprays. Easy to use and move, the glue trapper can be placed on a flat surface or wall mount letting it blend in seamlessly with your indoor decor.
Outdoor Protection
When it comes to outdoor protection there’s a number of mosquito killers and repeller options available. If you’re after an easy to use, simple and effective product, the Gecko 40W Insect Killer (RRP $84.00) is the perfect answer for medium-sized, suburban backyards. Covering a 30m radius of protection, this lantern is weatherproof and comes with a self-cleaning vertical grid and a catcher tray.

If you’re after a discrete design that co-ordinates with your decor, the Thermacell Mini Halo Table Top Repeller (RRP $52.95) provides invisible, continuous protection from mosquitoes, creating a 21m2 zone. Light weight, compact and portable, the small size is easy to use, and its contemporary, sleek design allows it to also look great on patios and decks when entertaining.
Camping Out and About
Despite mosquito season being extended well into the popular camping period of March to May there’s no reason to not enjoy your time in the great outdoors. With a 98% effective rate, the Thermacell Scout Lantern (RRP $79.95) successfully repels mosquitoes and insects by creating a 21m2 zone of protection. Its smaller portable size, bright 220-lumen light with 40 hours runtime, hanging clip, and outdoor design make it perfect for camping, caravanning or simply when out in the backyard, or deck. This scent-free, DEET-free lantern means you can say no to messy chemical sprays and lotions, making life more comfortable and enjoyable.
Gecko and Thermacell products are available from leading Hardware Retailers and select Camping and Caravan Outlets. For further information, visit www.thermacellrepellents.com.au and www.geckoinsectkillers.com.au.
Till next time... have a 'bite' free weekend!

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

6 Tips For Making Your Kitchen Look Modern And Trendy

The kitchen is the heart of the home, which is why most of us like to keep it functional and looking great. Of course, with so many yummy meals and sweet memories being made in this space on a regular basis, it can start to look a little worn. 

A complete makeover is expensive and disruptive, so how do you give this important space a boost without committing to a complete transformation? With just a few adjustments and smart purchases, you’ll soon have your kitchen looking modern and stylish.
Ditch The Dirty & Decrepit
One of the easiest ways to instantly improve the look of a kitchen is to get rid of items that bring the aesthetic down. Think old tea towels, grubby scales, manky sponges, and a fridge covered in bills.

To address this, recycle or bin anything that’s broken. Deep clean anything that’s dirty, and replace any broken parts of things that are otherwise beautiful. If your cookware has seen better days, update it for a stainless steel cookware set. With all these tactics combined, you can expect an instant kitchen beauty boost with very little effort.
Paint Your Kitchen A Lighter Colour
Lighter colours brighten any space, especially if the current walls are a little bit worn and faded. Painting your cabinets is another easy way to brighten up your kitchen, especially if they look a little dated and could benefit from a new look. 
Add Some Art
Art is transformative for any space, and it’s an easy way to modernise your kitchen, especially if you’re renting and you can’t switch much up.

Try transforming the space with some gorgeous nature-based images like serene landscapes, botanical diagrams or photos of tropical leaves. This could even boost your health as science tells us that natural scenes can be healing and reduce our stress levels. 
Style It Out
Sometimes, the base of the kitchen design is modern and stylish, but there is something missing in the overall look and feel of the space. This is where styling comes in. It’s a cheap and clever way to instantly make a space look more modern and updated, and one you can change depending on current trends, the seasons, or even how you’re feeling on the day. Think flowers, plants, fresh fruit, and bright, beautiful tea towels. If you have a seating area, you could also add fresh and modern cushions and throws. 
Let The Light In
The way you play with light in your kitchen can totally transform how it looks and feels. Recessed lights, strip lights and hanging lights are just some examples of unique lighting styles used for different uses and to create different moods.

In the daytime, let natural light flood in. Natural light is known to be a health boost and it also ensures your kitchen looks as large and illuminated as possible. 
Splash For A New Backsplash
A new backsplash can be an easy win when it comes to making your kitchen look more modern and stylish. There are lots of ways to do it cheaply – you can even use peel-and-stick tiles for maximum effect and minimum effort. 
Hopefully, the ideas above have inspired you to make your kitchen look more stylish and modern. With just a few small changes, you can enjoy an updated space that gives you the welcoming vibes all dream kitchens should.

Till next time... how will you transform your kitchen? 

Image source: Pinterest

Thursday, 3 March 2022

How To: Create a Coastal Holiday Vibe with Three Birds Renovation

According to the Three Birds trio Bonnie Hindmarsh, Lana Taylor & Erin Cayless, creating a coastal oasis within your home can be achieved by focusing on the aesthetics of your interiors, pulling together a cohesive look that champions light and the ease of moving through spaces. The Three Birds Renovations team recently completed a stunning coastal cool dream home with open living spaces, a family-friendly kitchen, alfresco dining area and four bedrooms. This bright and breezy home incorporates all of the Three Birds team's signature styles and a focus on utilising natural light to add visual character to a room.

The Three Birds team wanted to champion light without using too many lamps or overhead lights so, unfiltered natural light was a goal. They love how curtains and window dressings, such as blinds and shutters can achieve a “soft light” and provide a certain mood to a space.
As with all of the Three Birds Renovations' interior designs, the entrance of this home makes a dramatic statement - with a spectacular curved stairway leading up to the second floor with stunning windows framing the space. To create a relaxed vibe, one of the trademark looks of coastal style is the use of shutters.
To add a touch of simplistic elegance Luxaflex® PolySatin® Shutters, were chosen as they can be custom-made to fit windows of various shapes and sizes. The Australian dream modern coastal home features a bright and open downstairs living area for relaxing with family and friends. To create an atmosphere that feels like a calm oasis, soaring windows that fill the space with light were implemented. To create a sense of softness in the room, without detracting from the flow of light, Luxaflex® Curtains in Chloe Mist, were chosen.
As the top of these super-scale curtains is high up within the void, the team opted for PowerView® Motorisation so they can be opened and closed with the simple touch of a button. The same curtains are used in the dining room to create a seamless look throughout the living areas.

With the importance light has on the feeling and how you live in a home, the Three Birds team wanted to give the home- owner an elegant, yet functional design that allows for them to harness and beautifully diffuse natural light to their exact preference. Luxaflex® Silhouette® Shadings in Nouveau Candid Coconut was chosen for the spacious Great room and Media room. A clever blend of on-trend design aesthetics and practicality, the innovative material used allows you to see outside, whilst restricting the view from the street for privacy.
The unique design bounces incoming light up onto the ceiling and naturally brightens the room - a perfect solution for a room that’s naturally a little dark.

The main bedroom is one of the most luxurious spaces in this dream home - a hotel-style retreat with vast ensuite, walk-in robe, sitting area and private balcony. Soft furnishings such as bed linen, rugs and window dressings are effortlessly layered to add textural depth and dimension. To add softness and style Luxaflex Curtains in Zion Raw were chosen to compliment the blockout Luxaflex® Duette® Shades in Apollo Truth, to ensure the space is ideal for sleeping. The blinds bottom-up operation means they can be pulled up and sit neatly at the top of the French doors when not being used.
As well as adding an element of style, Duette® Shades play an important role in helping moderate the temperature in the bedroom. Their unique honeycomb structure traps air, which provides a layer of insulation that helps keep the home's interior warmer in winter and cooler in summer. The balance of light control, privacy and the energy-efficient qualities that Duette® Shades provides, make it perfect for an Australian home.

For any family home, creating dark and peaceful spaces for rest and relaxation is essential. Luxaflex® Duette® Shades with LightLock™ in Bamboo White truffle was selected for each remaining bedroom. As well as providing all-important insulation, the LightLock™ feature ensures total darkness, for a good night's sleep.
Throughout the space, the casual yet timeless elegance of shutters work in any room and create a sense of unity throughout the home. The PolySatin® Shutters are an ideal option for wet areas as they are impervious to moisture, and won't blister, peel or fade. The shutters offer the look of painted white timber without the splinters, and they require a lot less maintenance than wooden shutters. The shutters in both bathrooms are paired with the ClearView operation giving unobstructed views.
Nothing completes an Australian modern coastal home than an outside area to entertain, play and relax. So much time is spent outdoors, so it’s important to have a space that can function, no matter what season it is. Window coverings play an important role in the exterior of a home, especially to shade areas designed for outdoor entertaining, or to protect a home's interiors from the damaging effects of the sun. Maximising living space with a seamless indoor-outdoor transition has been a key trend over the last year and shows no signs of slowing down this summer. Outdoor awnings remain hugely popular as they offer advanced sun protection and airflow for a more enjoyable entertaining space, whilst providing the added benefit of helping maintain the internal temperature.

It’s ideal to have an awning that blends in with the homes’ style and doesn’t detract the overall look. That’s why the Three Birds team chose to cover the BBQ area with Luxaflex® Evo Pivot Arm Awning in Dickson fabric, with PowerView® Motorisation, so it can be easily opened or closed - even from inside the home, and it complements the overall aesthetic. By incorporating these contemporary elements that ‘coastal holiday feeling’ was achieved throughout the entire home.

For further information, visit www.luxaflex.com.au and have a look at all their options.

Till next time... which is your favourite 'go to' window dressing? I might be a tad bit in love with those shutters!

Friday, 25 February 2022

Trend Forecast: The House of 2022 - Beautiful Simplicity and Purposeful Hubs!

Closed borders, lockdowns, and working from home for much of 2021 increasingly helped Australians identify where they want to live and what they want from their homes. As well as greater consideration for locations outside of metro areas, Australians are identifying the benefits of creating purposeful, separate hubs around the home.
Increased savings, low interest rates, and government grants have contributed to the urgency for real estate, resulting in a fear of missing out or paying too much. According to James Hardie’s Marketing Director, Cathleya Buchanan, the quality of Australian home design suffers with such urgency in the market as there’s a gap between what homeowners value most and the homes that are being built. Australians want a place where they can be safe, relaxed, connect with family and make memories - it’s important that the home is designed to be light, bright and spacious. Home builders need to think about orienting living areas toward the North, where the light comes from, and including large windows and openings. Living areas should be open plan and connect to outdoor areas.

As well as a focus on aspect and open planning, Buchanan notes that purposeful hubs around the home will be increasingly sought after in the House of 2022. 
The pandemic has shown us that home is more than a shelter notes leading architect and James Hardie Ambassador Joe Snell. According to him, the home of 2022 must be flexible and not as stagnant as they once were. Homes need to provide for entertainment, eating, working, exercising, and retreat. Work is now ever-changing, but the home remains the hub with flexibility the key.

Below, Cathleya Buchanan and Joe Snell outline the design features of the House of 2022.

Exteriors and Design
On house exteriors, James Hardie believes the House of 2022 is best summed up by the words “beautiful simplicity”. Homeowners are inspired by clean lines and pared-back designs with achromatic colour palettes. Profiled cladding products like Linea™ Weatherboards are being painted crisp white and contrasted with black window frames, black fascia and guttering. Hardie™ cladding with modest details like Axon™ Cladding, which looks like vertical joint timber or large format panel Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding, a fibre cement wall panel embedded with a fine texture to create a modern aesthetic, are becoming a canvas which highlights homes with simple shapes and hidden rooflines. Timber screens and integrated greenery feature strongly as they pop from a receding dark coloured cladding background. 
Joe Snell notes that the Hamptons style is ever popular, but due to the pandemic, the housing look is trending more towards functionality, with houses becoming what they need to be for owners; not what owners think they should be. According to him, essentially it is lifestyle creating the form, not the form dictating lifestyle. Snell notes two trends that will be present in 2022 include resort-style for home holidaying and Scandinavian inspired functionality. Resort-style homes with similarly designed pools, a fresh weatherboard beach look, and a pergola, with no need to add further decoration, will help create a year-round holiday aesthetic. Those seeking more of a pragmatic, industrial working house will opt for the Scandinavian look. It’s pure and highly practical with a clean aesthetic and will suit a lot of people working from home.

According to Joe Snell, homes with little architectural shape can be enhanced by varying lines, textures and colours. Here, the mixed cladding look can reflect a well-known style or a unique personal one. By incorporating a larger range of materials, the look opens almost endless design possibilities, perfect for people who have rediscovered their creative sides during lockdowns.

A Warm (and Safe) Welcome
The pandemic has changed home design. We’re now conscious of preventing the virus entering our homes and we want to feel safe when we’re socialising with friends and family at home. These considerations will influence new home builds as well as renovations. 
We can expect oversized front entryways and covered porches coming into home designs, where couriers delivering packages or visitors dropping-off children for a play date can be greeted. Entry ways will increasingly become a welcoming hub in the home with design opportunities for textured cladding, lighting, and seating to set the right mood. Snell also notes The House of 2022 may include second-living spaces allowing for a getaway from the main living area, which are becoming a big request. 
People have a clearer idea of what they want in floorplans. One example of this is an expanded master bedroom to include a lounge for reading. Working a ‘retreat’ space into the floor plans lends itself to the resort style of home.
The proportion of people working from home was about 8% in 2019 but was estimated to be around 38% in 2021. Working from home has identified the real need for dedicated work spaces that are not bedrooms or living rooms. It’s important to have work and non-work zones to create separation and allow family members to decompress from increasingly busy, long, and stressful work; especially, when we don’t have the commute to put distance between the two, notes Buchanan. Dedicated sound-proof ‘Zoom rooms’ for online meetings are increasingly being identified as needs rather than wants.

Joe Snell notes working from home is now not just one person needing space, but multiple people needing spaces. The traditional open plan layout with study nook is out. Now that the whole family is working from home, a study nook is not fit for purpose, Another trend Snell observes is the home office increasingly being placed in the first room at the front of the house. If you are welcoming work-related visitors, you don’t want people walking through the house to get to the office. He also notes some home offices are including a separate entrance for better access.
One in five (20%) Australians experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress in June 2021. As an antidote to constant connection with work or family while locked down, and improving mental health, the need for quiet alone time become apparent to many Australians. Home designs should consider tranquil, private slow spaces which can be indoors or in a covered outdoor space. These calm, quiet spaces are used to unplug, decompress, or even meditate. Lockdowns made many feel cooped-up and craving a connection with the outdoors, so outdoor spaces need to be integrated with the house for an easy indoor-outdoor flow.
These spaces should be minimalist and uncluttered with an organic feel. Include plants, soft lighting, rich textures and careful colour selection such as neutral, earthy paint colours to aid relaxation. 

Till next time... to find out more about how to build or renovate your own dream home, from inspiration on the latest look to advice on modern materials, visit jameshardie.com.au.

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