Friday 31 August 2018

Renovation Revival - Creating a Stylish Home

With television shows such as The Block and House Rules gaining immense popularity in recent years, it comes as no surprise that the renovation bug has bit hard in Australia. No longer are homeowners content with the decor left from the past, and are instead putting all their disposable money, time and effort into creating a stylish home. There are many reasons why people are renovating, whether it be lack of satisfaction with where they live, or sprucing up a house for sale.

According to Brisbane architect Stephanie Skyring, “a beautifully renovated home will add more value”, and considering the property values are already increasing, an exponential profit may be earned. Unfortunately, while some homes look incredible after renovation, others look disjointed. The combination of old and new rids the house of a specific style, and leaves it looking unfinished. So we've put together four ways you can avoid this and create a stylish home.

Get the big jobs out of the way
A huge aspect of renovation is determining what the necessary changes are, and instituting them first. You need to create a solid foundation in order for your home to be perceived as stylish. Surface renovation without a solid base can create many problems in the future, so take your time to get these things fixed first.

This may be a fresh coat of paint on the walls, fixing any plumbing issues, or even updating some parts of the house for a stylish version. This could mean a new kitchen, counterweight garage door or even a fresh driveway! All of these things will make a huge difference to your overall style. Do a thorough check of your home and make a list of things that need to be fixed. Contact the appropriate people and get on your way to implementing a solid foundation.

Know your budget
The housing renovation market in Australia is worth a whopping $32 billion according to a report by the Housing Industry Association in 2017. The number of renovations each year is forecasted to increase, so it is important to make a budget that you can stick to. With redecorating becoming hugely popular, it is very easy to get carried away and needlessly spend money.

Know your timeline and budget but be flexible. There are always hidden costs, and unexpected roadblocks that you may have to pay for. Consider these early, and set a budget accordingly. Another important thing to consider, is your budget of time; renovation is greedy, and will attempt to suck all your time away. Proceed with your plans at a steady rate, not too quick that you burn yourself out, but also not too slow that you lose momentum. It won’t be over overnight, so be ready for the long haul.

Keep it simple
This is a great way to make your renovation last through style changes and crazy trends: keep your base simple. In the past, patterns were a huge trend. Patterned wall, rugs, furniture, all of which created a cacophony of colours and noise which somehow represented houses in the latter half of the last century. Reduce the noise and opt for a simple and neutral colour scheme that will stand the test of time. Partnering a simple base with accent pieces will create a stylish and modern finish. For inspiration, visit the Dulux website, they have many wonderful examples of stylish and modern homes. Alternatively, browse Pinterest for some great ideas!

Make it yours
Your home belongs to you, and should reflect who you are. Don’t be afraid to go against the trends, and break the rules every once in a while. If you would like to paint your front door a crazy colour, do it! Be brave, be bold, and recognise that your space does not have to appeal to everybody. Coco Chanel said “in order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” Allow your home to reflect your individuality and irreplaceability. That is the true essence of style.

So, there we have it, four ways to create a stylish home. Renovating a home is quite an undertaking, so be ready to embrace the challenge. If you have any tips or questions, do share with us in the comments below.

Till next time... create a stylish home!

Tuesday 28 August 2018

How to Make Moving Home a Positive Experience!

Moving to a new house is such an exciting time. I love the opportunity it brings to reorganise all of my things, declutter drawers and closets, and begin daydreaming on redecorating in a new space. But let’s be honest, moving isn’t all filled with positive emotions. Stress, anxiety and even dread are emotions that may come up for some when the topic of moving house is brought up.

If you are about to move to a new home and are feeling a bit stuck on how to move forward with a positive attitude then this article is for you. Read on for top tips on how to make moving to a new home a positive and fun experience.

The Actual Move
Moving into a new home would probably be a far more positive experience if you didn’t have to actually move all of your stuff into a new home. I should know, I have moved countless times in the last twenty years. Four of those moves being International. The last time we moved we did something that I now know I cannot live without - we hired removalists in Melbourne.

I can’t think of another service that is so worth the money. I did all the organising and planning, and someone else came in and packed up all my stuff then unpacked it on the other side! I am still in shock of how enjoyable this made the whole moving experience.

Seize the Day
Maybe you are like me and find yourself moving often. Or maybe you have been in the same house for 30 years. Regardless of your situation, try to view moving as the golden opportunity to tidy up your life. Set aside a lot of time to go through your things and declutter. Receipts you have been holding on to for a decade, a flyer from a nature cruise from three years ago, a shirt that you haven’t worn in five years - toss or donate these items. Your new you in your new home with your perfectly organised drawers and closets will thank you!

Moving Day Survival Kit
This is something I did on the most recent move and it was such a hit! Often moving day is a bit chaotic and all of your stuff is, well, packed up and you can’t use it! You would be surprised how many times during moving day you will try to reach for something only to remember, yet again, that everything is boxed and packed. Here enters the moving day survival kit. Pack a kit with things like toiletries, snacks, drinks, cutlery and plates if needed and a phone charger. And cold beer, obviously you are going to need a way to get beer cold for this survival kit or a bottle of red!

Start Early
Preparation is key! If I had to move in the next couple of months, the old me would look at that as heaps of time to prepare. But the seasoned mover knows that I will need those two months to adequately prepare for a smooth sailing moving day. My preparation begins now, and I would tackle each corner of the house until everything left in the old house is a total necessity in the new house. 

If a new house is on the horizon, then don’t wait until the very last minute to get the ball rolling. Moving day doesn’t need to be full of stress and anxiety. Just the opposite. It should be full of opportunity and excitement. Planning, preparation and hiring the right help on the day will see you floating effortlessly into your new abode.

Till next time... make moving home a positive experience!

Monday 27 August 2018

DIY Friendly Paving Patterns For The Perfect Home Exterior!

With spring around the corner, now is the perfect time to spruce up your outdoor entertaining area. The best place to start is from the ground up and for that, things like pavers, turf and pebbles are key. Pavers are a key element for both design and practicality – creating a solid foundation and starting point for your backyard.
While the ease of installation is one thing that makes paving a great choice for DIY projects, it also gives you the ability to get creative with different patterns. For variety, style and impact for your home, the flexibility that pavers provides is hard to beat. According to Adbri Masonry’s Brand Ambassador Jason Hodges, with any one paver, you can create four to six different paving pattern styles allowing you to find the right match for your home.

Another important consideration is the colour and texture, as this will set the scene for the entire area. Consider which paving colour will best complement your existing space by matching them with roof tiles, guttering, bricks or render.

Here, Jason shares his tips on paving and an array of DIY friendly patterns.

When laying a paver, it’s important to leave a 3mm gap between each paver – this is for jointing sand that is swept over the surface once you’ve finished the job. This sand will help to avoid the pavers from rubbing and chipping.
The most important element for those looking at DIY paving projects is the fact that some areas and paving patterns require half pavers to fill gaps and this involves cutting. According to Jason, some paving patterns will require cuts via the use of a brick saw which can be hired from Bunnings or a local hire shop. While the hiring is easy, the operation of the saw requires caution and all of the required safety gear, so take your time or better still, engage the help of a tradesman.

If you are using pavers that will be cut, there’s one great tip Jason recommends to help ‘hide’ the smaller paver throughout the overall space; “I like to run a header course around all of my paving which means you won’t end up with a little paver on the edge.”

Stretcher Bond
Stretcher Bond is the most common paving pattern as it’s DIY friendly, requires minimal cutting and leaves little wastage. It’s a traditional pattern that replicates the classic look of brickwork and can easily hide imperfections in the pattern.
This pattern is an excellent choice when paving feature spaces such as entertaining areas and patios where the finished look is important. Stackbond is a great paving pattern choice for large format pavers and can make smaller layouts appear bigger – a great design hack. The pattern is simple to install by carefully laying each paver down by one corner, once laid you will see that all four corners of the pavers will meet. Keep in mind that lines do have to be straight, as this pattern will show up any imperfections. 

The Herringbone pattern is a savvy design choice that is making a stylish comeback. Using a smaller format sized paver, interlock the pavers on a 90-degree or 45-degree angle. It’s an eye-catching pattern that will make a great first impression.

Basket Weave
The Basket Weave pattern is a design that adds character, dimension and complements existing brick surfaces. To achieve a Basket Weave pattern, simply lay two pavers the same way each time, swapping in direction every “set” of two pavers and repeat. When choosing a paving colour, be sure to take a close look at the bricks in your home, as they will be flecked with a few different colours. You need a rectangular paver to achieve this.

Mixed Euro Stone
This is a new trend for both residential and commercial applications that incorporates mixed pavers of different sizes and colours for a modern paved look. It’s a great option for families as the colour variation can easily hide any stains as opposed to one solid colour.
So which one's your favourite style of paving? Do yo have pavers in your driveway or your backyard? If you're looking to pave, here's a great DIY paving pattern video
Till next time... pave your way to the perfect home exterior!

About the company
Adbri Masonry is Australia’s leading masonry manufacturer supplying quality concrete bricks, blocks, pavers, retaining walls, erosion control products, architectural masonry solutions and reconstituted stone veneers throughout Australia’s East Coast, South Australia and Tasmania.

Friday 24 August 2018

The Renter's Revisions - A Guide to Upgrading Your Rental Property

As any landlord can attest to, a high turnover of tenants can be a huge drain on your bottom line. Property left vacant for weeks or even months, is simply money down the drain. For this reason, retaining long term tenants, those who pay on time and maintain a property in an respectful fashion, are gold to property owners.

A recent ‘softening’ in the rental market has meant that tenants with solid references and rental history are able to bide their time to select the best possible rental deal. By initiating a few affordable upgrades, property owners can go a long way to luring desirable tenants to come and stay a while…

So, what are some affordable upgrades landlords can implement to retain tenants and ensure a long and successful rental partnership?

Getting a good reception
Research has shown that, as a nation, we spend more of our leisure hours watching television than being on the internet. In fact on average, we dedicate around eighteen hours per week to watching the television.

At every level of the rental market, tenants demand good television reception; devoid of pixelation, static interference or signal loss. No matter how high-end a tv is, picture quality will suffer without an functioning, quality antenna. A TV antenna in Melbourne, among other things, must:

● Have solid digital reception
● Be manufactured from durable materials to withstand our extremes of climate
● Boast superior reception range
● Be strategically-placed by a professional installer to optimise reception

Methods which can be implemented by experienced installers to optimise reception include:
● Detection of any potential interference issue (LTE/4G) that may disrupt digital TV reception
● Identifying signal impediments, including physical obstructions such as trees or buildings, which can cause interference
● Remedial work on damaged or poorly fitted antennas
● Identifying optimal mast height for unimpeded reception

Connectivity - Wi-Fi
Running a close second on Australia’s favourite pastimes list, is internet use. Research indicates that we spend an average of thirteen hours per week on the internet, outside of work. Many tenants will spend some percentage of their home life working and with the rise of remote offices and work from home options, demand for high speed internet is increasing at a rapid pace.

This means that fast, functional and reliable internet connectivity is almost mandatory for anyone hoping to attract and retain long term tenants.

If NBN Broadband Access Network is available in your area, contact them to discuss the types of equipment and technology required to enable connection to your premises.

Creature comforts
New legislation is currently under consideration which will see landlords obligated to provide adequate heating in rental properties. If your property currently has no sufficient heat source, it may be time to investigate safe heating options. It pays to do some number crunching here. A stand alone gas heater can cost upwards of $2,000 whereas ducted heating with 6 vents can be as little as $3,000 to $4,000.

As any leasing agent can attest to, tenants list ducted heating as a priority when looking for a rental home and will pay a premium to get it. This is particularly the case if they are elderly or have young children in their care.

Not only does adequate heating benefit the tenant, proper heating and ventilation reduces the risk of mould and dampness. Alternatively, reverse cycle air conditioners which have both heating and cooling capacity can be an attractive option for tenants - particularly in warmer states.

No matter which neighbourhood your property is located in, security will be a high priority for attracting tenants. New laws are being considered which will see deadlocks becoming mandatory in rental premises. Video surveillance cameras or alarm systems can also be an asset, particularly for those with families or in areas recognised as having a high crime rate.

Landlords neglect tenants at their peril. Attracting and retaining quality tenants should be a top priority for those seeking to invest in real estate for a secure financial future. By providing tenants with simple and affordable conveniences such as those mentioned above, you are giving yourself an edge to achieve a stress-free, successful tenancy. 

Have you ever rented an apartment or a house? Or have you ever rented out a property? What has been your experience? Do share with us in the comments below.

Till next time... have a great weekend!
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