Monday, 21 September 2020

SOUL Home: a Holiday Home That Takes Care of Your Wellbeing!

Interior designer Simone Mathews of SOUL Home had a clear vision when embarking on The Pause journey, to create a unique take on an Australian Coastal retreat for guests to enjoy. Drawing inspiration from the Bahamas, a touch of the Singaporean classic style with a smattering of Balinese villa, Simone created a home away from home that encompassed a blend of styles suited to the New South Wales South Coast vibe.
The goal was to design a home that blurred the lines between holiday home and hotel, ensuring guests had that holiday feeling as soon as they pulled up to the property. According to Simone, the key to creating the getaway sanctuary was all in the styling and choice of building materials required to get the look.

“When styling, I try to stick to a specific 70/20/10 rule. For The Pause, it was based on a style that revolved around 70% organic, 20% minimal with a final 10% classic layer to bring it all together.
So, fusing an organic, minimalist, classical style,” says Simone. “How a house makes you feel is important when designing a home. With this in mind, I chose materials that had a natural and understated finish, you’ll notice there is a mix of timbers, and concrete with a neutral palette. I wanted the home to have a feeling of space and a sense of calm.”

The stunning front façade instantly catches the eye with wide verandas and a textured weatherboard exterior finished with natural wooden doors and shutters. Cemintel’s ‘Balmoral’ weatherboards were selected by Simone and Ben to achieve the desired design aesthetic and ensure the home matched its coastal surroundings. Importantly, the cladding needed to withstand the salt in the air.
The interior is a warm white, supported by brass accents that offer a sleek, clean and understated look. An open-plan kitchen and living area provides a sociable place for guests to commune, with an outdoor dining area that can be enclosed if necessary, becoming an extension of the indoor space.
What was equally important to the look, though, was the durability of the building materials. “Holiday properties can’t be precious, and with The Pause, we wanted it to be a family friendly getaway so selecting hard wearing materials was at the forefront of my mind. We used Gyprock Superchek plasterboard throughout the whole house. Being a holiday rental property, durability and noise control were of utmost importance. As Gyprock Superchek is three times tougher than regular plasterboard, we knew it could withstand the impact of children running around and would offer resistance to dents, scuffs and scrapes. Most importantly though, Superchek guaranteed less noise transmitted between the rooms which allows guests to have their privacy,” says Simone.
Throughout the home, curves have been used as a stunning design element. In each of the guest bedrooms, arches were incorporated allowing for rooms to be broken into areas, and providing both a decorative feature and additional functionality. “The arches were the hero of the guest bedrooms. They were made to create different zones such as the bedroom, the wardrobe area and the ensuite while also giving the sense of space. Using Superchek made the job really easy as you can just cut the plasterboard to the shape,” Simone says.
Moving into the kitchen and dining areas, the most important aspect for Simone was to keep an open plan space where guests can come and congregate. Initially planning on breaking the space into three areas, kitchen, dining and living, Simone and Ben decided to build an oversized concrete island, combining the kitchen and dining areas. “The kitchen and living areas were quite limited in terms of space, so it was important for us to give the feeling of less is more. Pairing strong statement lines with soft curves in the wall achieved using Gyprock Superchek, the style incorporates classic coastal, minimalist and organic themes,” says Simone.

One of Simone’s favourite aspect of the build was the feeling of opening the antique timber doors, overlooking the oversized hallway and instantly feeling calm like you’re on holiday. “We’ve really tried to adapt a simple approach as the design of the build and the styling is enough to give it that ‘wow’ factor,” says Simone.
Ultimately, The Pause offers a retreat where guests can do just that, pause. Championing the understated approach, the home strips away any unnecessary noise and clutter and provides a place of relaxation and enjoyment.

Till next time... have a wonderful new week!

Photos 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7: The Palm Co
Photo 3: Mitch Fong

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Hot Home Trends For Illuminated Style!

A couple of weeks ago, along with a few other amazing home stylists I was asked to reveal my top top tips for adding a fire pit to an outdoor space to create something truly special. Read on and and discover how you too can create a sanctuary in your very own backyard. Hope you enjoy this article. 

Outdoor spaces are a reflection of our life and style as much as home interiors. As we break into Spring, backyards, gardens and patios can be uniquely created to make the most of the longer, but still cooler evenings.

Here, four top home design experts across a range of popular aesthetics, explain how their Glow fire pits by Northcote Pottery ignited their imagination and give their top tips for achieving an aspirational outdoors.

Family Friendly Safe Fun
Smartly planned backyards have infinite potential for family adventures. The best, provide for a variety of ways to play, from campouts to parties to playdates. Fire pits, when installed properly and used with supervision, will encourage children and adults alike to engage more with the outdoors. 

Former, The Block contestants and contributors to Channel 9’s exclusive “Location, Lifestyle, Living” series, Kim and Chris, recommend using a childlike imagination when creating fun and functional family spaces: “It’s important to include engaging features, such as vegetable gardens, insect and animal-friendly plants, and playground equipment if you have the space. 
Encourage different forms of sensory play by adding a sandbox or a water table,” says Kim. 
“When styling our backyard, we incorporated things that would grow with our kids, as well as benefit the grown-ups. We did this by adding a Glow Acheron fire pit,” she adds.

Available in Bunnings stores mid-October.

At Home In The Hamptons
Hamptons inspired style is an enduring trend in Australian home design because of the look and lifestyle it embraces. Principle at Indah Island and leading design expert in this glamourous aesthetic, Natalee Bowen, explains: “Merging interior and exterior spaces is a central tenant of Hamptons style. Signature features such as alfresco areas, outdoor dining and entertaining areas are designed to encourage a form of fluid indoor/outdoor living. Adding a fire pit at the center of your exterior space instantly creates a social focal point and extends a warm, inviting atmosphere.

“Fire pits are the heart of any backyard, alfresco or garden that can elevate your exterior décor, even when not in use. They also provide an opportunity to carry your interior colour palette through to the garden and no tones are more Hamptons than whites and greys, making the white terrazzo bowl of the Carla, Glow firepit, a must have. It’s cooking grill plate and safety lid also make it a great way of adding a cooking space to outdoor areas that can’t accommodate a separate kitchen area.”

Uniquely Urban
For many, city living means inherently less square footage. Home décor expert Rani Engineer, who specialises in urban dwellings, applies her expertise to overcome this: “With a little planning and creativity, any exterior space can become a therapeutic sanctuary that offers an escape from the hectic city. Identify how you would like to use your outdoor space, then design around those needs. Add insulation and a beautiful backdrop with a vertical garden by cultivating lush plants of various heights in layered tiers from the floor to the canopy.”
“As you would in an indoor room, add a focal point that has a ‘wow factor’, for which a fire pit is ideal. A stylish fire pit will instantly become the focal point of an outdoor space. It creates a relaxed and intimate cocoon making it ideal for entertaining and looks beautiful even when it’s not in use. 

The Vineyard Fire Pit is perfect for the centre of a landscape project and creates a versatile centrepiece which adds to the ambience when used.” 

Available in Bunnings stores mid-November.

Cosy with Modern Country Style
Australia’s countryside has inspired a broad range of classic looks, from farmhouse to Queenslander. Ali Jacks, homes stylist and creator of Home & Things, used a modern interpretation of the country style as the inspiration behind her own Hinterlands home: “Drawing its signature elements from the landscape, country style focuses on the natural surroundings and is defined by organic materials, raw surfaces, and practicality.

“Décor should have character and charm, inspire nostalgia, and impart a sense of cosiness. Its defining shades are cream, russet and whitewash, with textures and pops of bright colours preferable over prints.

“A country escape would not be complete without nights spent under the stars, gathered around a fire. The Carla fire pit perfectly suits this aesthetic because of its terrazzo finish. To complete this look, I recommend styling your fire pit on a pebbled surface surrounded by rustic bench top seating.”

Adding a fire pit makes any outdoor area a true extension of the home, with style, practicality and interest. Glow fire pits are designed with an extensive diversity of aesthetics, from simple and rustic to innovative and artistic options, to perfectly fuse with individual style while adding fun with function.

Till next time... there's nothing better than lounging by a beautiful fire on a cool evening!

Sunday, 13 September 2020

How to Get Inspired on Your Next Display Home Tour

Buying a new home is an exciting adventure, and building a new home is an even more exciting one. It's hard not to get lost in the endless possibilities that come with customizing a home from the ground up. This is why it's a good idea to visit a display home, or several display homes, to help you get an idea of what's compatible with your lifestyle. If you are new to display homes and not sure what to expect, keep reading for ideas on how to get inspired on your next display home open house.

Know what you need in a house
When arranging a display home tour, you should already know what you need in a house. Not every home will fit your needs, lifestyle, and family. Take the time to consider your priorities and jot them down. 

Key priorities to keep in mind include:
  • How much usable square footage do you need? 
  • What are the minimum and the maximum number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need? 
  • Are there additional features that you need i.e. an office, spacious garage, large closets, a wide stairway, or dedicated gun wall? 
  • Does the flow and functionality of the house suit your lifestyle? 
  • How much house can you comfortably afford?

Create a checklist and take notes
Once you identify what you need in a house, create a checklist to take along on your display home tour. Make sure the checklist includes your needs, any questions about furnishings and fittings, and any questions you have for the builder or real estate agent. Take notes during your open house tour that will help you remember key points and assessments when you start to debrief.

Debriefing will help you determine if the display home is the right place for you. You should review your checklist shortly after finishing your tour while your brain is fresh. Assess the important details you noticed about the home and how they fit with your home needs. Using a checklist will help you keep your buyer priorities in check.
What to pay attention to during a walkthrough
There are certain features to pay attention to during a walkthrough. In addition to making notes on your checklist, take note of the home's layout. Your home is your paradise where you spend time with family and friends. Pay attention to the layout and flow of the home and make sure it aligns with your lifestyle. Do you prefer the kitchen and outdoor living areas to be close to create an entertainment space? Do you prefer to have bedrooms on one side of the house? Is an open concept better for your family or do you like a division of living areas?

Perhaps one of the most important things to notice about a display model is the quality of construction. The first things you will notice about a home are the finishings and fixtures. Once you take in the presentation of the home, take a good look at the quality of construction. Notice if the doors and windows are level and free of gaps. Pay attention to the quality of building materials, appliances, fixtures, and brands used in the home. These details will give prospective buyers an idea of craftsmanship.

Potential buyers in the market for an extravagant house can find the ideal display house for sale with Dennis Family Homes. Their luxuriously styled homes have won numerous awards for quality and design excellence, customer choice awards, and recognition from industry groups like HIA and MBA. Not only will prospective buyers attend a stylish, clutter-free open house but every home is sustainable and energy-efficient. It's important for potential buyers to get an accurate story about a home builder, which is why you can learn about awards, sustainability, the building process, and testimonials at

Till next time... Follow these suggestions on how to get inspired on your next display home tour and feel like a pro when shopping for your new home!

Is Buying a Display Home a Good Investment?

Companies that build homes may construct a display home they use when building in a new area. Potential buyers may tour the display home, and it can also be used as the builder's sales office. A display home, also known as a show house, offers potential homeowners the opportunity to get a sense of the home's layout and features. Touring show homes can help individuals make an informed decision when deciding to buy a new build.

Once most or all the homes in an area are sold, the company may put the display home up for sale. If you can purchase a display home, here are some things to consider to determine if the purchase is a good investment.

Pertinent Questions
When you tour display homes for sale, you should ask questions to establish how it has been used. Show homes may double as a sales office for several months. This means that kitchen appliances and bathroom facilities may have been in use during that time. When you are enquiring with Dennis Family Homes about show homes for sale, be sure to ask how the property was used and how long it has been in use. This information can help you determine if potential wear and tear should be factored into the purchase price.

Show Home StandardsBuilders typically construct show homes that feature extensive upgrades. This could include high-end cabinets and counters in the kitchen, heated floors, lighting, and crown molding. If you can get details about the typical floor plans and features included in other models, you can determine which items in the show home have been upgraded. Purchasing a show home can be an opportunity to enjoy upgrades you may not have otherwise been able to afford.

Outdoor SpaceBuilders do not construct show homes on small lots. They focus on both the interior and exterior features to impress potential buyers. This means you may be able to secure a home with extensive outdoor upgrades, such as a pool, landscaping, a fire pit, or a patio.

Choosing a RealtorSome builders have restrictions on those interested in buying a show home. If you sign any paperwork before you acquire a realtor, you may not be allowed to use your real estate agent. It's important to remember that your agent represents your interests. Agents who work for the sellers represent the interest of the sellers. This means you may have a more challenging time getting the seller to agree to your terms when negotiating the purchase.

PrivacyThe purpose of a display home is to show the home to potential buyers. This means there may have been hundreds of people who walked through the home you're thinking about purchasing. Show homes that double as a sales office may be left open so that individuals can wander through the house and explore it. This means those who toured the home could post photographs of the house on social media. It also means that potential burglars could have toured the home and made notes about the floor plan and access points.

SecurityDisplay homes are usually vacant overnight, which makes them vulnerable. Individuals may try to squat in the home. Empty homes may also be targets for teenagers looking for a place to party. Check crime reports to ensure there have been no break-ins or vandalism. It's also a good idea to check local crime reports to determine how safe the neighbourhood is before you make an offer.

If you purchase a show home, you may enjoy several potential benefits. The upgrades may compensate for any concerns you have. However, you should also remember to check with your insurance company and compare the rates for the show home. Added features, such as pools, can affect your insurance costs and property taxes. While you may get a good deal initially, you must consider the hidden costs that may be associated with your purchase.

Till next time... consider all the options before you buy a display home!

Top Tips on Planting for Wellbeing

With the family home full time and a need to keep everyone busy, it is the ideal time to plant a seed to a healthier lifestyle. Tuscan Path Product Manager Sally Laing, shares her expert top tips on creating healthy, green, fragrant spaces, educational hot spots and edible gardens.

Green the house to lift your spirits
There is no better time to bring the outdoors in, so why not fill the house with greenery to help lift your spirits? When you decorate your home with indoor plants, you’re not just making a style statement; research has shown that they make you happier and more relaxed. They are also nature’s air purifiers, which means greening a room increases air quality, helping us all to breathe a little easier.

Transform your living space into an urban jungle with big, bold foliage plants, like the Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata), to bring a sense of drama to your space, or the Swiss Cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) with big tropical-like leaves in a Tuscan Path Spencer Pot (RRP $30).

Introduce greenery from ceiling to floor with gorgeous hanging plants like Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum) or Chain of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii) which look beautiful in smaller, heavier pots like Tuscan Path’s Granada Self Watering Pot (RRP $21.98).

Grow hanging beauties where they can cascade down over bookshelves and benchtops, or display them in indoor hanging baskets.

Hands-on learning
Planting is a great way for kids to learn firsthand. The Tuscan Path Reactive Glazed Pot (RRP $17.98) is ideal for growing varieties that excite little green thumbs, like Silverbeet ‘Rainbow’, with its brightly coloured stems or heirloom radishes that come in shades of yellow, red, pink, white and black. Get creative and make cute signs out of old icy pole sticks, plastic plates or ice cream lids. Use water-proof markers to see what fun designs you can come up with! You might like to get the kids to record the growth of their vegetable seedlings on a graph.

Make your home a haven
More than ever, we are coming to understand the value of our home as a place to escape. Take this time to transform your indoor space. Include cheery splashes of cool season colour like pansies, violas, polyanthus and cinerarias in pots and containers, such as the Tuscan Path Cora Pot (RRP $17.98). Fragrant plants are another highlight for the spring season. The Winter Daphne (Daphne odora) is the perfect choice for dappled shade. Enjoy its beautifully scented pinky-white flowers indoors and perfume an entire room. You’ll also love the Brown Boronia (Boronia megastigma), an evergreen Australian plant with pretty spring flowers in shades of yellow and brown that is famous for its sweet citrusy scent.
For more information, visit

Till next time... transform your space into an urban jungle!

About Tuscan Path
Tuscan Path has been proudly supplying the finest range of pots, pavers, pebbles and garden décor to the Australian marketplace for over 40 years.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Spring Cleaning Your Home Made Easy!

With a decrease in consistent rainfall, and ongoing water restrictions throughout many parts of the country, the ability to limit the amount of water we use is crucial to a sustainable future. One commercial cleaning solution that is gaining popularity with homeowners, is the pressure washer. 

According to DEWALT, the power tool experts, cleaning with a pressure washer is 10 times faster and 10 times more water efficient than cleaning by hand.

Recently we pressure washed our house and by we, I mean my husband. It was amazing to see the dirt that had accumulated over almost a decade just easily wash away from the weatherboards on the first floor. The result was amazing, however it did use a whole lot of water. With water and time savings in mind, DEWALT has launched a new pressure washer that uses smart, auto stop start technology, reducing water usage, running costs, wear and tear and controls noise, while making tasks such as cleaning paths, washing down outdoor furniture and maintaining courtyards, quick and easy.

The 3400 PSI 9.4 LPM Pressure Washer, featuring 3,400 PSI of cleaning pressure with a water flow rate of 9.4 LPM, is an industry-first pressure washer exclusively engineered with patent PressUReady Technology, an advanced battery-operated electric starting system with auto stop/start trigger control.

After initial set-up, the pressure washer is activated by simply squeezing the trigger. Releasing the trigger will prompt the machine to shut down after 10 seconds, while remaining at the ready for instant re-activation. The washer’s premium design includes an innovative smart control panel with built-in LED diagnostic screen. This panel provides an easy read on the washer’s modes, including “ready” and level of water flow.

According to Greg Wright, Pressure Washers Category Manager, Mayo Hardware, more and more homeowners are putting the “green” into having a green thumb with an increased focus on saving water and helping the local environment. There is an increased interest in reducing water usage. Additionally, jobs such as cleaning the driveway or deck take an incredible amount of time by hand, up to half a day, whereas using a pressure washer will get the job done in about an hour.

Some of the most common projects for cleaning around the outside of the home include washing mossy paths, removing mould off walls, and everyday dirt, dust and weather sediments from outdoor furniture, around pots and flower boxes as well as the home’s façade. It can also be used on fences and house exterior for paint preparation, as well as to wash the car, caravan or bike. Rather than labouring through the chores, a switch to a pressure washer is a great way for homeowners to do their bit for being water wise whilst reclaiming their weekend.

Sharing his top tips, Wright also mentions that when cleaning fences and walls, start at the top and work down horizontally – spray into the sides of posts as they meet the fencing to avoid splashback. If it’s a driveway, once again, start at the top so the water runs away from where you are cleaning. There’s also a range of different optional accessories, including surface scrubber, turbo nozzles and second storey soap nozzles, which make it four times faster than using a standard petrol pressure washer yet again.

If you have a large space to clean, the best way to back off pressure from a pressure washer is also to just point further away as it reduces pressure the further it shoots but it also increases the width of spray to allow you to work faster when less pressure is required. If you are moving furniture and obstacles the PressUReady technology stops the washer to reduce running costs and water wastage. It is much faster than cleaning by hand, cheaper to run and far more efficient than any other petrol pressure washer.”

The pressure washer comes fitted with a 7.6m long steel braided high- pressure hose for extra durability and resistance to kinks and abrasions, and an ergonomic spray gun designed with a 360-degree rotating handle and side grip for practical use, comfort and control. Taking all the steps we can to ensure we are doing our bit to lead sustainable lives is fundamental to our health, life and environment. By thinking about water and how we can preserve it, we are protecting our most valuable resource.
The DEWALT 3400 PSI 9.4 LPM Pressure Washer is available from Total Tools and is RRP $1,399. For more information, visit

Till next time... it's time to get your home Spring ready!

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Top Tips for Plant Hydration and Maintenance!

With warm weather settling in and plants sprouting new growth, Spring is the time to revitalise your garden 

Today Alyce Rigby, Nylex Product Manager shares her top tips for ensuring your outdoor area is hydrated and well maintained without wasting water this season.

Water for longer, but less often 
Instead of watering plants a little every day, it is more effective to give them a good soak less often, but ensure that soil is saturated and not flooded. To keep your garden hydrated, use the Nylex Flextreme 20m x 12mm Garden Hose (RRP $46.90). It is lightweight and offers unparalleled flexibility, so it can be easily manoeuvred around trees and obstacles. The Flexible Hybrid Polymer inner tube material is lead and BPA free, so it’s safe to water herbs and vegetable patches.

Use Self-Watering Planters
With one in ten Australians living in apartments, self-watering planters have become increasingly popular as they suit limited growing spaces. They encourage healthy root growth and lessen weed problems while giving more control over moisture, sunlight and temperature. The new Nylex Modular Raised Garden Kit (RRP $149), which has a modular design, making it ideal for balcony gardens and renters. Its flexible design allows multiple configuration settings, plus a drip watering system and two-hour mechanical tap timer to ensure no water is wasted.
The kit includes three planters and two legs, making it the perfect size to hold a variety of plants and flowers. Without a permanent fixture, this means users can adjust the kit to their preference and adapt it within a small living space. The kit is UV resistant, meaning it can handle the harsh Australian sun.

Know your soil
It’s important to know the different types of soil and how to maintain them to allow optimum growth for your plants and minimise water use. Soil can develop a hard crust if it becomes too dry, so water will run off the surface. Push a broom handle a few centimetres into the soil to create reservoirs around the plants prior to watering to ensure you reach the roots. If your garden contains a lot of clay, water will filter through slowly, so a deep soak is only needed once a week.

For sandier ground, soak it twice a week. To make watering simple, use the Nylex Oscillating Sprinkler Plus (RRP $32.90). It is an extremely versatile sprinkler with its adjustable flow, length and width so it can suit your watering needs no matter the area you need to water.
2016 Census of Population and Housing

Timing is everything
The optimal time to water plants is early in the morning at the root zone. Wet foliage particularly overnight, can encourage fungal disease and attract insects. Conversely, the middle of the day is the hottest time and water will evaporate before it reaches the root, reducing moisture for plants. An easy way to avoid overwatering is using the Nylex Electronic Tap Timer (RRP $85).
The timer has 16 pre-set programs, one of which is an easy to use AM/PM program that automatically waters at sunrise and sunset – the best time to water!

For more information, on plant hydration and maintenance products and tips, visit

Till next time... get your garden spring ready!

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Six Tips To Get Your Backyard Ready For Spring

The weather is warming up, and new life is suddenly everywhere. New leaves, new flowers. It’s enough to encourage most of us to get out into the backyard and start getting it ready for this fresh and hopeful season. To help you spruce up your garden and prepare for spring, take a look at these six handy tips.

Start With A Blank Canvas
One of the most important parts of a spring backyard tidy-up is getting rid of all the clutter and debris that has built-up over winter. Start with the biggest jobs like tree removals, car removal, junk and clearing out any large containers of rubbish amassed during the colder months. Then move on to taking out weeds, drain debris, and any broken or old toys and planters you no longer want.

Complete Any Repairs
Once your backyard is straightened out, it’s a good time to repair anything that has broken over winter. Be meticulous in checking your yard, looking over all areas including:
The irrigation system
Planters and pots
Barbecues/ ovens
Sheds or other storage
Large tools and maintenance appliances
Paving or tiling
Pool or spa

It’s better to repair anything that is broken now so that the yard is safe and beautiful for spring. 

Get Plant Maintenance Started
It’s important to support all the plants in your garden so they can thrive during spring and summer. You’ll want to prune your roses and other shrubs and trees before any buds start to show. Now is also a good time to start fertilising your plants to support their growth during the warmer months. 

Prepare Your Veggie Bed
More than half of all Australians grow some of their own food. It’s a great way to save money, minimise your carbon footprint, and enjoy fresh food that tastes delicious. In spring, you will want to start planting seeds and preparing your vegetable bed for summer crops. Here’s a rough guide to suitable produce for different climates:
Subtropical - Beans, celery, cucumber, eggplant, leek, tomato, beets
Wet & Dry Tropical - Artichoke, celery, cucumber, eggplant, tomato, radish, pumpkin
Dry Inland - Pumpkin, melons, sweetcorn, basil
Temperate - Chives, beans, cabbage, carrot, okra, radish, sweet potato
Cool & Southern - Cauliflower, English spinach, radish, silver beet, turnip, tomato
Mediterranean - Zucchini, apples, pears, tomatoes, parsley

Start Caring For That Luscious Lawn
Spring is the time your lawn will quite literally spring back to life, which means it's time to give it some love and attention now. You will want to clear it, aerate it, take away the weeds, and start a watering schedule. Learning how to properly maintain your lawn will pay off when the warmer weather flows in.

It’s Time To Get Some New Gear
Nearly 65% of Australians own a barbecue, but if you don’t have one yet, spring is the best time to grab one. You might be tempted to buy all the new summer equipment and accessories mid-summer. The problem with doing that is the timing. This is when they cost the most and you’ve already had most of the good barbecuing days pass you by.

Instead, it makes sense to purchase items like furniture, cushions, cooking equipment, and toys in spring. That way, you can pick them up at a better price, and you’ll get the most use out of them.

Using these tips above you can transform your backyard into the perfect backdrop for plenty of memory-making this summer. 

Till next time... get your backyard spring ready!

Friday, 14 August 2020

House Envy: From 1950s Surf Shack to Stylish Byron Beach Abode!

Much loved Australian television personality and presenter of The Block, Shelley Craft, embarked on an ambitious project with her husband, Christian Sergiacomi, completely transforming a dated fibro surf shack to a beautiful family home, and delivering the ultimate renovation on a budget in just nine weeks. The unique coastal pad, affectionately nicknamed ‘The Little Blue House’, held true to some of its original elements while completely stripping others.

Pacifico Cottage was built in 1950 and although Shelley is a huge fan of ‘retro’, there is always a level of comfort and modern living that needs to be considered when renovating. So the choice of colour and styling is a nod to mid century design style in 2020.

Colour played a major role in the design of the home, while natural accents helped bring the vision to life. The home was a striking blue colour when Shelley and her husband bought it and they wanted to have some fun this time around, so they’ve chosen to stick with that colour palette but opt for a more subdued blue. The beachside chic colour scheme is complimented internally, where Shelley plays with the pastel colour palette in the bedroom, kitchen, dining area, and special breakout quiet zones.

Taking into account the age of the property, and the fact it was fibro sheeting, Shelley chose wisely when it came to the type of cladding she used to replace the old she gets. To keep the cottage looking as original as possible, they chose to reclad the exterior frame in Cemintel and add the battens to recreate the 1950’s style.

As they had a really limited budget, they were plesantly surprised at the cost effectiveness of the Cemintel cladding. So much so, that they could now afford to do the exterior of the adjacent garage as well, all within budget. Removing old fibro can certainly have the ability to scare people off a renovation project, but knowing that you can reclad your home with a superior product within a tight budget is amazing. 

What is also significant about this particular renovation is the importance of using the right type of building materials internally and how it can drastically impact the livability of a home. According to Shelley, until you start to look into renovating, most people believe all plasterboards are the same. However, they are not. It is therefore essential to think about the long term wearability, liveability and longevity of your hard work when you build or renovate.

According to Shelley, one of the key challenges for Pacifico Cottage was due to it being a small home, with one open plan living area and shared common walls for all bedrooms, there was a significant need to ensure that sound travelling and unwanted noise was reduced as much as possible. Therefore, finding the right plasterboard product that provided the solution to this was imperative, and helped deliver a sense of privacy for everyone residing in the different rooms.

Shelley chose leading plasterboard supplier, Gyprock, for its superior range of plasterboard options for walls, ceilings and wet rooms like the bathroom and laundry, knowing that each product suited the purpose of how the room would be used. From Superceil for the ceilings to Superchek for the walls and Aquachek in the wet areas, Gyprock had the project covered.

Having spent some time in the house now, the use of Superchek plasterboard throughout the house has been one of the decisions having the biggest positive impact on the house for Shelley. Superchek and its sound dampening, acoustic qualities has created a cocoon like feel to the whole home. The density of the sheeting gives an extra sense of strength to the build and a very solid feel to the property, handling bumps and dings much better than the standard.

Throughout the house there is a wonderful brightness, which carries from the bedrooms out to the living areas. Here, Shelley kept the walls clean and white, letting in an abundance of natural light and staying true to the overall Byron aesthetic. In keeping with the overall style, natural timber was added throughout the home and brought particular warmth to rooms such as the dining and living area. These elements came in the form of floors, tables, seating and cabinetry. The use of indoor plants, textured throws and different level seating in the lounge area also added another layer of softness and comfort to the rooms, achieving a highly functional living space for the whole family.

When it comes to Australia’s renovators, Shelley Craft is one of the only people that could pull off such a tight timeline. Thinking outside the box and utilising an array of building skills, Shelley and her husband achieved show-stopping results in this quirky, stylish and vibrant build!

Hope you enjoyed this house envy home tour!

Till next time... think outside the box when it comes to renovating or building!

Thursday, 13 August 2020

The Secrets to Modern Scandinavian Barn Style Living

Australia’s love of angular, simple modern design has seen the Scandi Barn style take on a more contemporary look that draws inspiration from traditional Nordic homes, with the addition of sleek finishes and modern materials. In line with modern design, this style is about simplicity, shape and refined palettes. Here, architect and James Hardie Ambassador Joe Snell describes how The Kew House, an Edwardian period property in Victoria, now exemplifies the Australian Modern Scandi Barn style, as designed by Rebecca Naughtin.

Pitched Gable Roofs
The diagrammatic house shape is a must for any Scandi Barn. This is achieved with steeply pitched roofs that slope downwards at an angle of 35 to 45 degrees, creating a gable below. Born out of necessity, this feature was first designed to help homes shed snowfall in Scandinavian winters.
These roofs can be added as a beautiful, contemporary update to conventional Australian architecture. On The Kew House, the pitched gable roofline is extended out beyond the wall line to create a hooded affect. However, unlike a traditional eave, this protrusion is continued along the wall line, creating the diagrammatic house outline that’s essential to the style.

Exterior cladding is key to taking the Scandi Barn out of the field and placing it in Modern Australia. Traditional barn style facades are distinctive for the provincial craftsmanship of timber lines and mixed panelling. For the Modern Scandi Barn, it’s essential to add to the overarching diagrammatic shape, not distract from it, so the right wall finish is a must. Too much detail and the home will look cluttered, while too little will leave the home looking plain. Updating an exterior with large panel cladding will immediately strike the right balance.
Vertical profiles, such as James Hardie’s Axon cladding offer a pared back reference to barn siding by mimicking the fine detailing of vertical joint timber, but has geometric lines and a smooth finish that allude to pared-down Nordic simplicity.

A balance between The Kew House’s heritage and the new Scandi Barn style was created with James Hardie’s Matrix Panels. This cladding harmonised with the façade's original antique materials, but scaled back the detail due to its minimal joints, while allowing for a simple dark grey finish to create impact.
It is also possible to mix cladding styles in an ode to the traditional, board-and-batten variation. James Hardie’s Linea Weatherboard is designed with the traditional look of timber, with crisp, structured lines and deep shadows that give a rich texture to exteriors. As with all James Hardie cladding products, they’re durable and resistant to warping, flaking and damage from moisture and fire, making it ideal for the Australian climate.

Interiors x exteriors
Scandi Barn inspired interiors refine the rustic look while incorporating the Australian love for indoor-outdoor lifestyles. The basis of this style is organic textures and clean traditionalism anchored in practicality, with a deep connection to its natural surroundings.
The modern interpretation takes the comfortable, relaxed barn style and focuses on creating fusion between indoors and outdoors to make the design feel effortless. Interior spaces are created for open plan, connected living with light-filled spaces.
The modern Scandi Barn interiors are defined by the steeply pitched gable rooves as they create high vaulted ceilings. Infuse interiors with v-groove wall panelling, such as James Hardie’s HardieGroove, which perfectly captures the timber look with vertical joint panels, grooved ridging, and modern geometric lines.
To create a consistent look, use colours such as bright whites, warm wood tones, and dark accents, such as grey and charcoal. The Kew House completed its exterior Matrix boards, which are pre- primed and ready to paint, with Dulux Black Caviar on the front façade and accents of this were carried into the living space to create continuity.
From construction to colour, The Kew House is a perfect example of how to transform traditional builds with updated materials to capture the modern Scandi Barn trend.
I love that the interiors mimic the exteriors and reflect the Nordic aesthetics through colours and materials while accommodating the modern Australian lifestyle. The perfect marriage!

Hope you too enjoyed this Nordic inspired home tour. 

Till next time... find out how to get the Scandi Barn look for your home at!

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