Wednesday 27 November 2019

Top 8 Home Design Trends for 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 24 November 2019

An Easy Pyrex Festive Recipe for the Home Cook!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Predicting Popular Backyard Design Trends for 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 3 November 2019

Ways to be Water Wise in the Garden this Summer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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