Tuesday 28 May 2019

7 Ways to Make Your Home Office More Eco-Friendly

There are many benefits to working at home, but one that you might not have considered is having an eco-friendly office. While you don’t have much say over the state of a traditional office environment, at home you have complete control over the layout and design, your office supplies and even the temperature and lighting of the room.

And while this means you’re footing the bill for your work environment now, by taking just a few simple steps, you can make your home office an environmentally friendly haven that reduces the impact your work has on the environment – and your wallet.

Scale back temperature control
In a traditional office, it’s hard to come up with a single energy-saving action that’s more effective than moving the thermostat a degree or two. At home, though, it’s entirely up to you – and while you might be tempted to fiddle with the thermostat constantly, you could be hurting the environment more than necessary.

This is especially true if you’re the only one around while working from home. Moving the temperature a degree or two to make your office more comfortable causes the system to heat or cool your entire house – whether you’re using the other rooms or not. To combat this, find ways to regulate the temperature more precisely. Use a fan or open windows in the summer, and close vents to rooms you aren’t using when you need to use the thermostat.

You should also raise or lower the thermostat slightly past your comfort level and put on a blanket or a comfy sweater – after all, you’re in charge of the dress code at home. Working from home is a sustainable move, but you’ll still have to put some effort in.

Use efficient office products
Going out and replacing all your office supplies immediately isn’t a sustainable move, as it takes energy to make any new goods, green or not. But when you do find yourself in need of an upgrade, buy efficient, sustainable office products from a reliable source.

This can include more efficient electronics for office work and responsibly sourced recycled paper for printing needs. Nowadays, eco-friendly office products are usually priced comparably to their more wasteful counterparts. And as for electronics and other long-lasting items, these can save you money over the long term by using less energy.

See the light
While relocating an existing home office might be tricky, you should always consider how much natural lighting a room receives when choosing a space in your home for work. In the Southern Hemisphere, choosing a north-facing room will ensure that your office receives abundant natural light, especially if the room has large windows.

If windows are lacking in your office, a skylight can be an excellent solution for providing more light during the day without having to switch on electric fixtures. And you’ve heard it a million times, but as for the lights you do need, make sure they’re fitted with energy-efficient bulbs like LEDs. These last longer and save money while providing plenty of light for you to work in.

Organise sustainably with reclaimed wood
A typically useful piece of office organisation advice is to add in wall-mounted storage – primarily shelving – to keep your clutter corralled. But while this is a good idea that will do your home office many favours, buying brand-new shelves isn’t the most environmentally responsible move you can make.

Installing shelves made of recycled (or preferably reclaimed) wood reduces environmental effects from manufacturing while also adding a more rustic look and character to your office. In fact, you can use reclaimed wood for many things around your office if you use your imagination. If you’re handy, for instance, you can make bookshelves or even desks out of discarded wood.

Shop for second-hand furniture
Outfitting a brand-new home office can often get expensive, but a good money- and earth-saving move is to give an old piece of furniture new life. If you’ve ever bought anything second-hand, you know by now that “used” doesn’t necessarily equal “worn out and broken.”

Often, companies will go through redesigns, or people will just find that they don’t need particular pieces. Those perfectly good pieces of furniture – from desks to office chairs to cabinets – then become available to you at a much lower cost. Getting your desk, tables, shelves, and other furniture from second-hand sources will both save you a heap of money and eliminate the impact of buying a newly manufactured piece of furniture.

Get green (plants)
It’s hard to get more eco-friendly than nature, and adding some to your office can make things greener in more ways than one. The clearest and possibly most important impact is that plants can help freshen up the stale air that accumulates indoors, especially during winter months. While this improves the smell of your office, it also comes with the very real benefit of boosting your overall health and reducing illnesses, thus upping your happiness and productivity. Add to that the fact that plants are just plain nice to look at!

Paint the room green
Repainting is an easy way to liven up your home office before you move in – or even to reinvigorate the space if you’ve been working from home for a while.

When you do this, though, take care to cover your walls with green paint – not in terms of colour, but in eco-friendliness. There are several motivations for not using traditional paints on the walls in your office – and elsewhere in your home.

This includes the fumes they release (and that you’ll breathe in while repainting your walls) and the chemicals that might harm the environment if the leftovers aren’t disposed of properly. Buying eco-paints is an easy step to take. It lets you beautify your home office without sacrificing the environment!

Till next time... why not make your home office more eco-friendly?

Friday 17 May 2019

Tap-ping into the Latest Trends!

Modern or classic, chrome or matte black, choosing tapware can be a true test. Whether you’re doing a complete home renovation, or just fixing up the fixtures in your bathroom or kitchen, here’s a summary of the latest trends to tap into and tips for choosing your tapware from Nick Swan of leading tapware and shower brand, Methven.

Hot Tap Trends
Organic, round styles and shapes continue to be the most popular designs as compared to the more geometric, sharper designs. What is increasingly becoming more popular is the combination of the two with a square foundation softened at the edges and complemented with curves. Such a soft square design has greater versatility in design as it has the ability to complement both round and square aesthetics.

Small, petite tapware is having a moment as trends move to a more minimalist aesthetic which demands simple, subtle choices.

Chrome continues to be the most popular finish followed by Matte Black. However, what we are seeing is almost a blending of these two most popular finishes with Graphite and Gun Metal growing in popularity and demand.

Stainless steel is proving more and more popular not only for the industrial finish and design, but also for its sustainable properties. Long-lasting and hard-waring, stainless steel can be re-purposed for reuse and reconditioning and devoid of any lead it also helps preserve water.
[Waipori Basin Mixer]

Statement Styles
A high-rise or vessel basin mixer over a stand-alone basin can make a real statement in a bathroom. It also gives you the opportunity to get creative with tapware placement. Traditionally the tap would be placed at the back of the basin – however with a high-rise/vessel mixer you can place it to the side of the basin.

Wall mounted basin tapware can be an easy way to create a statement in a bathroom. With it being wall mounted, the tapware is typically positioned higher and closer to the eye line – catching people’s attention and drawing their curiosity.

When selecting kitchen tapware, look for pull-out or pull-down sink mixers which add a touch of class to the space. Inspired by industrial kitchens, these types of mixers provide a higher degree of moveability in and around the sink as-well-as looking striking. Look for the Culinary range from Methven.
[Culinary Gaston Pull Down]

Tapware To Last
A round minimalist design in a chrome or metallic finish will stand the test of time. Chrome and metallic finishes will always be the most popular finishes as they pair with everything – meaning you can update your bathroom design and styling without having to change your tapware. Look for simple classic shapes which are unlikely to date as trends change. For example, Glide & Blaze tapware collections from Methven.

3-piece tapware can be another safe option, heralding back to a traditional style of tapware. It can also save time if you don’t want to re-arrange plumbing fixtures you can always retro-fit to existing pipework with new spindles and tapware to refresh a design.
[Waipori Wall Top Assemblies with Basin Spout]

Top Tapware Tips
Gather options together, take your time and do your research. Create a mood board or a scrapbook of design ideas and products. Then go and find those (or similar) products on display so you can feel the quality and get a sense of how the product feels as you use it.
Once you are happy with the basin tapware selected, it will be part of a family or range which you can use to complete your bathroom so the design looks cohesive. The basin mixer is typically the foundation of a tapware collection.

Once tapware has been decided upon, look for complementary showers and accessories to complete your look. Add a touch luxury with shower spray technologies such as Aurajet®, VJet® or Satinjet® from Methven.
[Turoa collection]

Perfect Pairings
A free-standing basin will require either a wall mounted tapware set or a hob(deck) mounted high-rise/vessel. A wall mounted tapware set can be a great way to keep your vanity bench top clear & allow space for other items.

Consider the spout length of the tapware selected in regards to the basin itself. If the spout is too long or too short, it can result in water splashing out of the basin. Ideally, water should be directed towards the waste/drain. Getting this marriage of basin drain and spout length right can be troublesome, so look for mixers and spouts which have adjustable stream aerators. These allow an extra bit of water direction control to reduce the chance of splashing.

If you are selecting a hob or deck mounted basin mixer, ensure the fixing underneath is solid. Look for ‘twin-stud’ mounting as opposed to ‘single-stud’. Single studs can easily loosen after use.
[Minimalist Basin Mixer]

Think about the size of both basin and the tapware. If possible, they should be selected together so they can be proportionately sized to match each other.

Till next time... will you be tapping into the latest trends?
About Methven
Methven Limited is a subsidiary of GWA Group Limited and is a market-leading designer and manufacturer of showers, taps and valves. Our business is headquartered in Auckland where we design, develop and manufacture many award-winning products and technologies. Our international operations see our products distributed in Australia, China, UK, Middle East, USA and Europe in addition to our home market of New Zealand. In 2016 we celebrated 130 years of innovation.

Sunday 12 May 2019

A Modern Tone for the Future of the Average Australian Home

Do you love the romantic notion of living in a historical architecturally rich home? Well, according to the findings of a James Hardie survey, Australia’s younger home owners are preparing to end the country’s love affair with brick houses.
The findings of the study indicates that of all the people surveyed who have built their home in the past five years, or are currently planning to do so, only one third preferred the traditional brick cladding or veneer facades found in quintessential Aussie properties. Meanwhile 44% preferred to use a mix of cladding types and styles including horizontal, vertical and panel arrangements. This trend clearly points toward a preference for modern, seamless design.
According to Cathleya Buchanan, Australian Marketing Director at James Hardie, data shows that almost one in three (31%) new builds are being undertaken by people under 30. These younger home owners are most likely to want a contemporary appearance that mixes a number of building materials and profiles to ensure their home doesn’t look dated in the near future. 
However, unlike other styles such as Queenslander and Hamptons, this modern movement encompasses a number of looks. The term modern is used in housing in the same way that pop is used in music, it’s not just one thing and is constantly evolving. The term is used for anything from updated versions of established trends like ‘modern coastal’ and ‘Mid-Century Modern’, through to ‘Minimalist’ and ‘Designer Mixed Cladding’ aesthetics. There is a clear preference leaning to clean, angular lines, monochrome palettes, cantilevered second levels and open plan spaces, while moving away from detailing such as eaves and balustrades. These basic tenants of modern design drive toward new materials like Premium Fibre Cement Cladding, which can be used to create strong, striking shapes. It’s also lightweight making it suited to large open-plan spaces and second stories and overhangs.
While the market is softening following the 2015 building boom, there are still a large number of new builds compared to historic standards. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures there were a record number of homes under construction in NSW in 2018, while Victoria was marginally below its own construction record so while numbers have and will likely continue to fall, there are still a considerable number of projects being planned or finalised in 2019.
The trend, which will affect approximately one million new build homes is being driven by higher value projects, with more home owners working with an architect or designer (61%) requesting an individualised modern look, compared to a those using a volume builder (44%).

When asked to choose the most important factor of their project four out of five (80%) prioritised the look of their property over the cost (70%). However, it’s important to know how to communicate your aesthetic to your architect or builder.

According to Cathleya, we all want a home that reflects our tastes and lifestyles, which is why it’s important to know how to communicate what you want, for example the research shows that what most home owners call ‘modern’ is referred to as ‘contemporary’ by architects and building professionals. It’s also important to specify the right materials, with two thirds (65%) of young home owners citing this as an important part of their project.
The move away from the brick look is being driven by a preference for building products that help create architectural design motifs. Modern looks require more design variation using modern materials, such as James Hardie’s range of Premium Fibre Cement Cladding, including the large panel format of Matrix Cladding, or the vertical lines of Axon Cladding. Combining these and other profiles can deliver striking features like floating walls, overhangs, and protective cantilevers that define a contemporary style.
Considering the longevity of the property when defining your vision is also very important. It is important to avoid focusing on the finished home, without thinking about its longevity. No one wants to deal with ongoing maintenance, which is where Premium Fibre Cement Cladding adds another benefit as it resists flaking, warping or swelling, as well as fire and damage from termites and moisture.

If you would like to read more about renovating or re-building your own home from scratch, read this blog post: Beyond Renovation - When to Consider a Knock Down Rebuild Project!

Till next time... what do you prefer? A romantic old brick building or a modern build with trendy cladding?

About Scyon
The Scyon™ brand is owned by James Hardie Technologies™ Ltd and was invented in the research and development facility at James Hardie Rosehill, NSW. Launched in 2006, Scyon products are made from sand, cement and cellulose. Scyon is manufactured at plants in Rosehill, NSW, Carole Park, QLD and Pernose in Auckland, New Zealand.

Sunday 5 May 2019

Mother's Day Gifts for the Green-Fingered Mum!

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and if you’re wondering what to get your mum come Sunday 12th May, look no further!

While a bunch of flowers is a great gift, a plant and a perfectly chosen pot is the perfect present with permanent presence, so your mum will feel appreciated on the day and many more to come. Whether it’s indoor or outdoor plants that send they like, get them a garden-related gift to remember, with our top Mother’s Day pottery picks!

For the stylish yummy mummy
A stylish addition to the much-loved Tuscan Path range, these lightweight European style pots feature a beautifully textured, contemporary, on trend design to stand out in any home. Available in a range of colours from deep blue and charcoal tones to soft pink, these pots will complement any home style from minimalism to modern Scandi and the Hamptons.
[Tuscan Path Abbey Fibreglass Pot (44 x 37cm), RRP $92]

For the outdoor entertainer
The perfect addition to any garden, these stone art eggs add a modern touch to any outdoor decor. These lightweight, frost and UV resistant pots come complete with a built-in unique Water-Minder(TM) reservoir that re-hydrates plants as needed, so mum can focus on entertaining.
[Tuscan Path Rust XLarge Stone Art Egg (55 x 45cm), RRP $99]

For the Mediterranean Mum
This lightweight, on trend, rustic metal looking planter will add character and charm to your garden area. Create a statement with this weather resistant pot, which looks stunning with lemon trees, lavender or olive trees.
[Northcote Pottery Irondale Cup Planter (52 x 38cm), RRP $57.98]

For succulent sweethearts
Part of the Tuscan Path range, Scheurich ceramic indoor pots offer the latest in plant and home design trends, straight from Europe. With a range of colours available, from bold and bright to subtle and earthy, there is a pot to compliment any decor or inspire a new look for mum this Mother’s Day. Simply pop in an indoor succulent or other plant of your choice for an instant gift.
[Scheurich Corteza Ceramic Pot (14 x 13cm), RRP $12.48]

For the outdoor obsessed
This on-trend mint, lightweight outdoor fibreglass pot will make a marvellous addition to any garden, porch, decking or balcony area. Rust-proof, shatterproof and frost-resistant, this stylish pot will make your siblings and the neighbours jealous.
[Tuscan Path Mint Arlo Fibreglass Pot (22 x 19cm), RRP $20.40]

For the minimalist mum
This two-tone stone look pot is perfect for the mum who likes to keep her look clean and simple. Despite its strong, heavy aesthetic, the fibre clay pot is extremely light making it easy to manoeuvre into the perfect position. If black isn’t her thing, this stylish drum is also available in a number of colours and concrete look finishes.
[Northcote Pottery Precinct Lite Maxim Drum Planter (42x36), RRP $62.20]

No matter what you choose, hope you spoil mum this Mother's Day with sweet surprises, thoughtful gestures and lavish her with love! 

Till next time... wishing you all a fabulous Mother's day!

Tuscan Path has been proudly supplying the finest range of pots, pavers, pebbles and garden décor to the Australian marketplace for over 40 years. Since its humble beginnings in 1977, the brand has evolved from the design and manufacture of Italian pottery and ceramics, to become Australia’s largest importer of pots, pavers, pebbles, garden décor and garden tidy products. Tuscan Path is wholly committed to finding functional and stylish products at the lowest prices, seeking out the world’s best to ensure that every item that bears the Tuscan Path brand is on-trend, without the hefty price tag.

All Tuscan Path, Scheurich and Northcote Pottery pots are available at Bunnings Warehouse nationwide.
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