Monday, 30 November 2020

Summer staycations: Elevate your garden for a holiday at home this summer

There’s nothing like a global pandemic to turn summer holiday plans upside down! COVID-19 and the associated social distancing and travel restrictions mean we’re approaching a summer that will be unlike any in living memory. While some travel is likely to be back on the table, the cost of flights and restricted availability in hotels means most of us will be holidaying at home this summer.

So here are some tips from Eddie Lloyd, Director at Theralux for easy ways to elevate your garden so you can get the most from your staycation.
Perfect pool
According to Eddie, nothing says ‘resort living’ more than your very own mineral pool. Sunny days spent sipping cocktails and splashing around. Bliss. With overseas travel out of the question for the foreseeable future, pool builders are seeing record enquiries.

Now you can take the hassle out of owning a pool with easy-to-use pool automation products such as Theralux’s Pool+Manager. This latest tech allows you to control your pool and garden lighting from your phone and integrates with all existing pools or spas so you can bring the holiday vibes right into your own home.

Also consider lighting around your pool. Installing lighting around the perimeter of your pool area will improve the functionality and aesthetics of your outdoor space. Lighting can be used to highlight feature elements of your pool such as a water feature, stone wall or sculpture, or draw attention your attention to surrounding foliage. A well-lit pool area will also enable you to take in your garden and pool from inside your home in the evening.
Sensational seating
No staycation is complete without a daybed. Create your outdoor haven with luxurious furniture that is not only beautiful, but sustainably & ethically produced by a small Australian owned business such as Osier Belle. When choosing a daybed, look for pieces that can withstand a wet environment, and if you’re choosing a daybed with a cushion, opt for one with quick dry foam and covers designed to be used outdoors. If you want to alternate between sun and shade, choose a daybed that’s easy to manoeuvre.

On the subject of seating, if you’ve got the space you’ll be sure to want to consider an outdoor dining space. “Opt for easy seating such as benches that can accommodate several people and wet bums. As with the daybeds, look for outdoor furniture that is built of componentry that will wear well with exposure to water and harsh pool chemicals,” says Eco Outdoor
Fantastic foliage
For truly tropical vibes, you can’t go past lush green plants. Every garden will have its own needs so it’s best to consult a professional when choosing plants that will thrive in your own garden. Bunnings offers a ‘Perfect Plant Promise’ so even if you don’t have green thumbs you can feel confident you can find something that will suit your garden perfectly.

To recreate the beauty of Bali, Matt Leacy from Landart Landscapes recommends, flowering plants, palm trees and large leaf foliage like Alocasia and Helliconia combined with open and airy spaces, and natural tones such as timber and limestone with oversized earthy clay pots or water bowls. 
Make the most of your own backyard this summer and enjoy a fabulous holiday at home.

Till next time... are you staycation-ing this holiday season?


Image source: 1234.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Repurposing Underutilised Spaces in Your Home

2020 has presented a number of changes in our lives, including how we live in our homes. With more people now working from home, and an increase in multi-generational living, it’s a good time to think about how to make the most of your home by transforming forgotten or underutilised areas into useful spaces.

According to the Housing Industry Australia’s latest report, nearly half (48 per cent) of home buyers are now looking for homes where there’s spaces such as home offices or study nooks for them to work from home, and another 28 per cent have a preference for additional living spaces. It’s also true that about one fifth of people in Australia live in a “multi-generational household”, and more than 40 per cent of children in their early 20s – and almost 20 per cent in their late 20s – are still living at home, or have returned home because they can’t afford to live elsewhere.

There are many ways homeowners can turn a forgotten area into a space worth spending time in, including home extensions, attic conversions, reclaiming unused space in or above a garage, as well as simply changing the function of an existing unused room, or thinking of smart options with furnishings to allow more space.
Here are some helpful tips to consider when looking to adapt your home to accommodate life’s daily activities:

Convert a wasted space
A well-designed attic room will create extra habitable space to help free up a busy household and introduce extra living space into your home. Depending on the space you have to utilise, you can also make it self-sufficient by adding a lounge, bathroom, bed and a small kitchen. It's a really clever alternative to an extension that could increase your property's value, and is perfect for guests, grandparents or as a teen’s retreat.

To ensure the conversion not only looks great, but feels comfortable and can stand up to the knocks of everyday living, it’s important to think about the building materials you choose, with impact and sound resistant benefits front of mind. Gyprock Superchek plasterboard offers sound dampening, acoustic qualities that reduce noise transfer within the home, as a noisy ‘upper level’ is the last thing you want. Supercheck is also three times tougher than standard plasterboard with enhanced resistance to dents, scuffs and scrapes meaning less maintenance in the longer term.
Let there be light
To bring new life into a dark or drab room, think about whether you can add windows or skylights. Taking time to think about the size and position of your windows is an important aspect of a renovation or attic conversion design. As a general rule, glazing should make up 20 per cent of the roof area if you're keen to maximise natural light. The position of the windows will often be dictated by the shape of the roof; however, skylights can easily and quickly be installed in both flat and pitched roofs. Skylights in raked and sloping ceilings can offer a stylish yet unobtrusive design element as well as allowing an abundance of natural light into the room.

Gyprock Superceil plasterboard sets the standard for plasterboard on ceilings. Designed specifically for use in ceilings and for all conditions, the lightweight plasterboard made with fibreglass to increase strength, prevent sag and reduce glaring light issues is a good choice for creating show-stopping ceilings with standout skylights.

Other tricks to help make a room feel lighter and larger include choosing paint colours and furnishings with a light-coloured scheme. Try to pair lighter colours with warm woods and the occasional soft furnishing in a deeper shade to ensure the room feels cosy and welcoming.
Transform your garage
If you don’t have a car or can rely on street parking, converting your garage into a spare room or home gym can make a big difference. Garages often provide ample space for a generously sized extra bedroom, ensuite and kitchenette to create a self- contained studio or granny flat. As an added bonus, bumping up your bedroom count might also increase the value of your property.

If you don’t want a permanent transformation then a home gym is easy to install and remove and provides an additional personal space for family members and can add value to the work life balance.
Rethink your rooms
Many homeowners who have formal living and dining rooms rarely use them. Similarly, breakfast nooks, and spare bedrooms go underused - space wasted most or all of the year.

Rethinking and rearranging your rooms to live more comfortably makes sense. Consider changing a formal dining room into an office. Having one room in the house with well-arranged desks, lighting, seating, monitors and office supplies, where family members can contain their work helps promote calm in the rest of the home.
An unused bedroom could be converted into a playroom or games room, offering an area for kids to enjoy some time out without disturbing the rest of the family.

For renovations that require a tradesman, it’s important you work closely with your builder to develop solutions and choose building materials that allows for versatility in your home as the initial room plan may not serve that same purpose a few years down the track.
Gyprock is made in Australia and available at Gyprock Trade stores, Gyprock resellers and Bunnings nationwide. For more information on Gyprock, visit www.gyprock.com.au.

Till next time... repurpose that under-utilised space in your home!

xox
Rani

About Gyprock
Australia's leading manufacturer of gypsum-based products, CSR Gyprock has been Australian for plasterboard; since 1947, transforming the building industry with the introduction of paper-faced plasterboard, further advancing lightweight construction methods. The most reputable producer of plasterboard and cornice, as well as compounds, adhesives, specialty plasters and associated finishing materials and accessories, Gyprock supplies a comprehensive range of high-performance products and systems for many applications to meet fire, acoustic and thermal requirements across all segments of the construction industry.

Gyprock actively supports plasterboard recycling both to help the environment by reducing waste going to landfill and also because it is often a great way for builders to save on waste tipping fees and site clean-up costs as well as improve site safety with better resource management. Proudly made in Australia for Australian homes.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Mindful Waters - Improving Meditation at Home

Meditation and mindfulness practices have a wide range of benefits from reducing back pain and insomnia to making us more compassionate. It has also been shown to reduce anxiety and help people become more resilient to stress.

Defined as the practice of thinking deeply in silence to make the mind calm, regular meditation provides a low-cost, achievable way to improve overall health and wellbeing. According to Eugenie Pepper, Psychotherapist and founder of Key Mindfulness, setting aside as little as five minutes a day to clear your mind has a number of proven benefits over time. Consistency is key, so it’s important to set aside time and space to practice.

Creating a sanctuary in the home can help ward off distractions, while providing a calming surrounding to help clear the mind. Try to consider the senses when making a meditation space. According to Eugenie, water features are a great option, especially in summer, as the sound and sight of water movement can be a great focus for the mind, while the evaporative cooling they provide can help freshen hot days.
When deciding on a place to meditate, it’s important to understand what you hope to achieve in the practice. Slow, ambling water can be very calming, while fast, crashing water may feel more invigorating.

Northcote Pottery offers a range of water features for different styles of homes, which create their own unique water displays and sounds. The tall faucet and two basin design of the Irondale (RRP $149.00) is a perfect fit for any country garden and creates a more complex multi-fall sound. While the Balinese, tropical inspired Moana (RRP $299.00) sees water arc up from the fish’s upturned mouth to splash onto the bronze basin below.

For more subtle sounds, the Australiana styled Windslow (RRP $249.00) reflects a simpler time and its unfussy faucet and metal basin create the familiar sound of water running into a bath. For an East Asian take, the organic hue of the Samsara (RRP $399.00) combined with the soft sound of water flowing over its stone pedestal will create a relaxing resort feel.
According to Eugenie, clearing your mind is a skill you build up over time and it’s quite common to have thoughts pop into your head. When this happens, simply let them float off and bring your attention back to your focus, be that your breath, the sound of water or the sensations in your body. To get the most out of a meditation space, it helps to look at other ways to build the mood, whether you’re sitting, standing or lying down, make sure you’re comfortable in your position and with the surface you are on. This could be as simple as lying down in bed or on a patch of grass. Additionally, try and bring a calming scent into the space.

Inspired by Balinese interior design, the Ashanti (RRP $299.00) is a perfect water feature for contained areas as its vertical profile takes up relatively little floorspace, while the flat, dry top is ideal for placing candles and incense to bring in scents to suit your mood. The unique flow of the water over the front of the doors and into the bottom draw of the feature tightly contains the water, avoiding extinguishing any candles around its base.

Easy-to-use without the need for plumbing, each design includes a basin that is filled up to an easily identifiable level, avoiding the large volumes needed for ponds and pools. Once full, simply plug it in to instantly transform any space and tap into your inner calm.

According to Eugenie, our minds don’t define the imaginary and the real, so using our learned associations with elements like water movement, flickering flames and soft textiles help us imagine ourselves in more tranquil settings. For example, the sound and cooling feel of running water could transport us to a babbling brook under dappled shade.

Setting up a sanctuary that works with you, will help bring you back to your practice every day and build the habit until meditating becomes part of your life, like brushing your teeth. From there you will be able to explore mindfulness and feel the benefits of a healthier life.

Northcote Pottery products are designed for easy installation and operation and include with a pump and power cord. They are available in Bunnings stores Australia wide and further information is available at: northcotepottery.com.

Till next time... create a space in your home for mindfulness and meditation.
xox
Rani

About Northcote Pottery
Established in 1897, Northcote has been the market leader in the Australasian garden industry for more than a century. Northcote Pottery is the leading brand of pottery and garden décor products in Australia and New Zealand.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

No Mess or Stress with SuperFresco Easy!

A new range of innovative wallpapers is taking the mess and stress out of updating interior décor. The Superfresco Easy ‘Paste the Wall’ technology allows quick application of wallpaper, which can be peeled off by hand without damaging the wall underneath. 
According to Superfresco Easy Trend and Style Expert, Paula Taylor, Superfresco Easy’s new ‘Paste the Wall’ technology completely changes the way we think about wallpaper, not only for homeowners, but renters too. Forget tiring or dated patterns, you can now update your walls in a fraction of the time of traditional wallpaper application, whenever you want!

With its innovative non-woven backing, Superfresco Easy puts an end to tireless pasting of wallpaper, messy application and misaligned patterns. Simply paste the wall and hang the paper straight from the roll, smooth it down and trim. The simplified and time saving technique removes the need for decorating tables making it easier to use in smaller rooms. What’s more, it removes the need for steaming and scraping when it comes time for a new look.
With Australians living in their homes for longer and one in four of Australians living in private rental properties 2 , the desire to change up the style of the home frequently is popular. Whether it be children outgrowing their themed bedrooms, or updating a Landlord’s tired decor, Superfresco Easy allows anyone to create their personal style.

According to Paula, Superfresco Easy makes it possible to change your wallpaper as often as you change your soft furnishings. It’s also a quick way to keep up with trends and create a fresh look, as there are 70 designs to choose from.
People are also considering how to create their homes around their families, with a need for versatility and the ability to stand up to the rigour of daily life, from messy pets to creative kids. Superfresco Easy is washable, durable and colour fast, plus it covers minor wall imperfections making it perfect for today’s busy homes.

Superfresco Easy is available across Australia In Bunnings Warehouse and Independent Hardware Group stores, with prices starting at RRP $60 per roll. 

For more information visit The Superfresco Easy Brand Page at Bunnings online.

Till next time... get decorating!
xox
Rani


About Superfresco Easy
The Superfresco Easy brand is introducing new innovative ‘paste the wall’ technology to make wallpapering easy and accessible for even the most novice DIY-er. Superfresco Easy wallpapers use non-woven technology, that encourages users to paste the wall not the paper. By simply pasting the wall, the roll can be placed at the top of the wall and allowed to drop, creating easy vertical placement. Once in place, the paper is simply trimmed at the ends, halving the time needed to decorate and with no pasting tables or waiting for paper to soak.

The wallpaper can be painted or washed, making it easy to maintain and it can be removed from the wall just as easily as it was put up. It strips off in one piece with no need for steamers or scraping, allowing homeowners to easily change the wallpaper depending on design preferences. Superfresco Easy can be found in Bunnings Warehouse and Independent Hardware Group in Australia and Bunnings Warehouse, Guthrie Bowron and Colourplus in New Zealand.

Friday, 6 November 2020

First Impressions Count!

You know what they say; first impressions count. So, when it comes to designing the face of your home, it is important to consider the contrast of the tones, textures and colours that will bring it to life, greeting your guests and welcoming you in after a long day.

Furthermore, the street presence your home demands can increase the value of your property substantially. A façade, or cladding choice, can change your home’s story and audience entirely – from its history, to the feeling it ignites, and the audience you attract in the buyer’s market. 

Below stylist, decorator, renovator and The Block 2019 favourite, Deb Saunders, shares her expert advice on choosing façades for your home to put your best face forward.
Consider Your Style
As we’ve seen on The Block this season, choosing an appropriate façade for your properties history, heritage or location Is key – especially if your home is heritage listed (you’ll want to touch base with the local council for that one). Georgian, coastal, Australian colonial, country-chic – the theme you choose to design your property around will play a big part in its façade. 

Daniel and Jade’s 1930’s house three, for example, was deemed “glamourous” and “dramatic” on first-sight by Block expert, Shayna Blaze. The couple’s choice of Australian made CSR Cemintel Balmoral board presented a modern take on a timeless weatherboard. Casting distinct, stylish horizontal shadow lines, the weatherboard enhances the traditional elements of its era, beautifully, lifting it into the modern day. 

Paired with a classic white paint finish, bold, charcoal features, a touch of shrubbery and a contrasting timber verandah, the home, fondly named ‘The Mayfield 1930’, is a perfect example of classic-meets-contemporary Australian style.
Let’s Talk Budget
Affordable and approachable – two words we love to hear in building and renovating, but words that we, often, fear are too good to be true! When drafting up designs and mood boards, you need to keep sight of your budget. You can still achieve the dream without the price tag, but you need to do your research. Products designed for the Australian market, specifically, or that are Australian made, will be cheaper and more readily available, and the same, if not superior in quality. 

Similarly, when it comes to maintenance, durability is key in keeping costs down. Choosing a fibre cement façade is easier to clean, holds paint better and won’t swell or crack the way timber does. So, plan for what you can afford. Look locally. Be open minded. Think outside the box.
Location
The location of your home will play into your choice of theme – both in aesthetic and function. The façade should both complement and protect from local surrounds, so you need to think about the material as well as its finished effect. If you are on the beach or in a coastal area, and want to keep to a traditional Australian look traditional look, a fibre cement cladding, like CSR Cemintel Headland, will help to protect from the salty air and will outlast traditional timber siding options. 

Similarly, fibre cement cladding is ideal for use in bushland and rural areas, made from a non-combustible solution and proven to aid in protection from heat and fire. 

The Block’s Sarah and George chose Cemintel Headland for use on their 1940’s property, paired with a modern take on traditional brick to add to that quirky 40’s flair. Like Shayne Blaze, Deb, too, loves the modern shiplap in the weatherboards, and thinks the muted paint tones work beautifully with the pop of colour throughout the brickwork. Remember, if you’re building a new home, you will need to check in with the developer to ensure your colour scheme fits their guidelines!
Get Creative
Make your mark – the theme your home encompasses does not need to stop at the façade. Why not think about echoing your exterior by bringing the outdoors, in? Whilst weatherboard makes for a stunning external finish, it can also be used as a striking feature wall on the inside of your home, adding texture, colour and flow. 

For example, an open-plan kitchen and dining could span beautifully through bi-fold doors and out onto an entertainer’s deck, tied in with a fluid weatherboard feature wall that runs from the inside to out. Innovative in design and function, it is also great for built-in bed heads, in bathrooms, on ceilings. The opportunities are endless, you just need to find them in your own home’s story. 
For more information about Cemintel, have a look at their website.

Till next time... Façade matters!
xox
Rani


About Cemintel
Part of the CSR Building family, evolving from a traditional fibre cement manufacturer, Cemintel has transformed into a creative hub of premium lightweight building products backed by design and technical support. Delivering prefinished solutions Cemintel provides architects, builders, designers and homeowners with the freedom to create iconic designs. With a range that has expanded to include external facades, internal linings, flooring and ceiling systems Cemintel’s team will continue to deliver product solutions that assist designers in achieving real points of difference in their residential and commercial projects.

Monday, 2 November 2020

Enjoy the Great Outdoors Insect Free this Summer!

Australia is home to more than 300 species of mosquitoes and with summer just around the corner, now is the time to starting thinking about how best to protect yourself against these pesky insects. The great news is that there are a number of products available to help keep bugs at bay when indoors or outside.

As the brand that pioneered citronella-based products to Australian households, Waxworks offers a complete outdoor mosquito repelling solution while also providing contemporary ambience for outdoor settings.

The range includes citronella candles, sticks and coils, torch oils and accessories.

Waxworks Leaf Design Concrete Pot
For the outdoor lover, stylish and natural protection from mosquitoes is a must-have. The Waxworks Monstera Leaf Design Concrete Pot (RRP $8.95) is blended with lime and citronella essential oil which functions as a natural repellent against mosquitoes. It’s tropical textural design and scent is sure to bring a little slice of paradise to your backyard.
The Waxworks Leaf Design Concrete Pot (RRP $8.95) will keep the pesky bugs away while you enjoy balmy summer evenings. The candle combines neutral on-trend design with citronella essential oil, pomegranate, and cranberry fragrance for a fruity, sweet aromatic experience. Waxworks is available in Bunnings Warehouse.
High-tech Indoor Gecko Bionic Mosquito Trapper
Gecko’s innovative new indoor Bionic Mosquito Trapper (RRP $49.00) is compact, unobtrusive, and near-silent in operation. This clever unit is one of the latest high-tech mosquito trappers and produces low levels of carbon dioxide, combined with heat and moisture to mimic human breath. An on-board near silent fan draws in attracted mosquitoes to an internal capture basket. The stylish Gecko unit keeps you comfortable indoors and can be used in the living room, kitchen, study or bedroom. The Gecko Bionic Trapper is exclusive to Bunnings Warehouse.

Mosquitos be gone!
“More and more consumers are concerned about applying topical repellents and instead prefer repellents that create a barrier,” says Daniel Jaegers, Insect Control expert at Thermacell Australia. The Thermacell Mini Halo Repeller (RRP $49.95) is a lifesaver for the outdoor lover. This butane-fuelled device uses a heat-activated, repellent infused mat to drive away mosquitoes providing a 21-metre square zone of protection. No messy sprays, oily lotions or open flame makes it perfect for when entertaining outdoors, picnicking in the park, or campsite fun. Available in blue or green at Bunnings Warehouse, Mitre 10 and Independent Hardware retailers.
Let there be light and no mosquitoes
The Thermacell Bristol Mosquito Repellent Lantern (RRP $45.95) is a two-in-one mosquito repeller and light, that operate independently or together. The lighting is powered by LEDs. Light and portable, it’s ideal for a patio, backyard or when gardening, camping or fishing. Like the Thermacell Mini Halo Repeller, it works by creating a 21-metre square zone of protection effectively repelling mosquitoes, black flies, and other biting insects. Available at Bunnings Warehouse.
A good idea is to have a multi-faceted mosquito repelling strategy with a few natural favourites such as the citronella-based products that can provide functionality as well as atmosphere along with more high-tech options to provide additional protection as well as portability.

For further information, visit thermacell.com.au, waxworksworks.com.au & geckoinsectkillers.com.au

Till next time... banish those pesky mozzies this summer!

xox
Rani

About Mayo Hardware
First established in 1928, Mayo Hardware Pty Limited is proudly recognised as a supplier of value to the retail, trade, government and commercial markets in Australia, New Zealand and selected export markets. Mayo Hardware hold a market leading position in outdoor lifestyle, safety, security and hardware categories. We work with our customers and end-users to create value that can be captured and shared. This is achieved through superior product offering, customer support and working closely with partners to fully understand their requirements to create the best programs to meet their needs.

DIY Home Improvement Tips to take Your Renovations to the Next Level!

DIY home renovations can almost feel like a primal urge; a deep desire to decorate your nest and make your space your own. With all the necessary materials readily available at our fingertips, home makeovers and revamps have never been easier.

Whether you’re looking to freshen up a room or remodel your whole home, here’s just a few DIY ideas to spark some inspiration, while also ensuring your project is completed safely. 
Small home improvement projects
Turning your home from drab to fab doesn’t have to cost the world. These projects might be small in scale, but they can help make a big impact and turn your house into a home.

Paint a feature wall
Perfect for a bedroom, playroom or study, all you need is a brush or roller, a tin of paint and a couple of spare hours to create an eye-catching feature wall. Safety should always be your highest priority, so gloves and eyewear are advised. Also, don’t forget about any nearby furniture which could become damaged if it catches a drop of paint.
Bring the outdoors indoors
Indoor plants can bring life into an otherwise bland and sterile space. If your thumb is more brown than green, choose succulent plants which are known to not need a lot of water to stay happy. 
Entertain outdoors
Even if it feels like you have the smallest balcony in the block, the addition of a few small trinkets, plants and cushions can liven up your outside space. If your fortunate to have a larger outside space, why not consider the opportunity to entertain, and grab yourself an outdoor setting or bbq.
Hang mirrors
The simple act of strategically installing mirrors in your home can seriously increase both the amount of light and the feeling of space. Hang the mirror opposite a window to maximise light, and position wall lamps either side to minimise shadows.

Time-focused & larger home improvement
If you’re preparing to invest a little more time and money, you could potentially transform your home (and add real value to it) with these more ambitious projects.

Give your bathroom new life
Freshen up your bathroom by regrouting tiles and resealing the wet areas. If you’re open to a more comprehensive renovation, consider luxurious features like multiple showerheads or an indoor spa. Professional help is advised for these installations.

Play with light
Use light to create a mood in a room, or to put a spotlight on statement pieces like paintings or sculptures. Take the opportunity to switch all of your lights to energy-efficient LEDs, which also last an incredible 50,000 hours. As above, you may need to employ a qualified electrician for these jobs.
Go self-sufficient
Growing produce can motivate even the most hesitant gardener. Find plants that are easy to grow, like rosemary, mint, basil, potatoes, chillies and tomatoes, and create a veggie patch!

Be smart with your storage
Use clever storage solutions to create a feeling of tidy, minimalism in your home. Certain beds and sofas offer storage space within their frames while installing subtle cabinetry in bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms and studies can hide all of your odds and ends, opening up your space. Be sure to watch your fingers and be careful with your power tools if you do choose to install anything.
DIY renovations are limited only by your imagination...and budget; but hopefully, these ideas serve as a springboard for you to jump from. Keep in mind that all DIY projects have an element of risk, so you should do all that you can to keep yourself safe.

Till next time... what are your favourite DIY improvements tips?


Images 1, 2, 3, 5, 6: source
Image 4: source

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Essential Things to Consider Before Visiting a Display Home

Many people dream of the day when they can afford to either buy a home or build their dream house. It can be easy to get caught up in the initial excitement when it’s time to start looking at homes, especially if you’re thinking about investing in a new build. Homeowners who build have a chance to choose the colors and designs that suit their tastes, which means they won’t have to worry about renovations after moving in.

If you’re thinking about building or buying a new build, you will probably plan to visit one of the builder’s display homes. Before you do, there are some essential things to consider.
Purposes of Display Homes
Display homes, also known as show homes, are constructed to entice buyers to invest in a new home. Potential clients can tour the show home to get a sense of the layout before entering a contract to build a house with the company. Sometimes, display homes are also used as a sales office for the builder. 

Builders typically construct show homes that feature multiple upgrades. When you tour a show home, you will not be looking at the basic model. For example, show homes may include upgraded cabinets, countertops, flooring, and outdoor areas. They may even feature a pool or patio. It’s important to review which features are included with the standard package you are considering. That way, when you are visiting a DFH display home, you will have a clear understanding of how the home your purchase will differ from the display home.
Bringing Your Realtor
The builder employs the sales team, which represents their interests. Although they can sell you a home and handle all of the paperwork, their priority is getting the best deal for the company. A buyer’s real estate agent represents the buyer, and their priority is to get the best deal for you. It’s a good idea to bring your agent with you when you tour a display home to represent you if you decide to negotiate a purchase. Do not sign anything when touring a show home to ensure that you do not forfeit your right to be represented by your agent. 
Research the Area
Understanding the local real estate market can help you negotiate the best price. If homes in the area tend to sit on the market for a long time before selling, that means they’re overpriced, there’s low demand, or there’s an issue with the area. These conditions favor home buyers. However, if houses sell quickly for asking price or over asking price, the conditions favor the sellers, and you may not have much room to negotiate. Familiarize yourself with the prices of comparable homes in the area and take time to learn about the crime rate and community features. Is there public transit? Are there parks nearby? Do the schools have good reputations? These factors can help determine whether purchasing in the area will be a good investment and meet your family’s needs.
Determine Your Budget and Priorities
Have a clear idea about your budget before you visit a display home. This can help you temper your expectations because you will know what you can afford. If your budget doesn’t allow for all the featured upgrades, you can prioritize which upgrades you want to include. Having a clear understanding of how much money you have to spend and what’s most important to you will keep you from being persuaded to increase your budget beyond what you can afford. Although it can be tempting to spend your maximum budget, you should also consider your needs and do your best to come in below budget. 
Research the Builder
Builders with display homes are established companies. In some cases, they may have been operating for decades, and they may have already constructed hundreds of homes. These builders will have a track record of excellence and a history of satisfying their customers.

Websites such as the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List may be able to provide information about a company's reputation. Building a home is a significant investment, and you will want to be sure you are entering a contract with professionals who will ensure your home meets your expectations. Identify other neighborhoods where the builder has constructed homes and join their community groups on social media. You may be able to get direct feedback from homeowners who dealt with the company, which can assure you that your choice to build with this company is a sound decision.
Till next time... consider the above tips before you visit a display home!

Photos 1, 3 and 4: source
Photos 2, 5 and 6: source

5 Energy Saving Tips for Your New Home Office!

If you're suddenly working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, you're likely having to adjust to a lot of new variables in your routine and workflow. Whether that means wrangling a child during at-home schooling or upgrading your desk chair to be more comfortable, there are all sorts of tasks to complete in order to work more effectively at home. That being said, one of the most important considerations to make while transitioning to your new home office is the amount of power you consume. After all, the last thing you want to deal with is an increased electricity bill because of the pandemic. Here are five energy-saving tips to keep in mind as you adjust to working from home.
When in doubt, compare electricity providers
One of the best ways to cut costs is by looking at different utility providers and finding the company that can reduce your energy rate without sacrificing quality in service. Often times, many people try to nickel and dime themselves with behavioral adjustments before they address the root of the problem, and a simple electricity comparison is one of the most efficient ways to reduce your monthly utility costs year over year.

It can be difficult to weigh the pros and cons of different electric companies in your area, but thankfully the internet makes it easier than ever to compare different providers. For example, with an online tool like iSelect, you can input your postal code and look at a variety of electric suppliers in your area capable of servicing your home while reducing costs. You can even find contact information and whether they're capable of addressing your renewable energy concerns, too, making iSelect an invaluable resource for any consumer looking to cut costs this year.

Replace overhead lights and desk lamps with energy-efficient bulbs
Switching your bulbs to consume less power and use energy more efficiently is another must if you're looking at reducing the impact your home office has on your electric bill. The chances are high that your bill is relatively low if you've been working forty hours a week at your office, since your lights stay off when you're at work. A simple swap of lightbulbs can thus reduce the effect that having overhead lights on during the day has on your bill.

Turn off your laptop or computer when you're done with it for the day
This may seem obvious, but many people keep their laptop plugged in and charging even when it's fully charged or don't turn off their desktop computer when they're finished with work. Anytime an electronic device is plugged into an outlet and turned on, it's consuming power, so make sure to turn these devices off when you're truly finished with them. This is particularly important heading into the weekend when you won't need to use your computer for work.
Keep the lights off if you get a lot of sunlight
One nice thing about working from home is the ability to position yourself in a room in your house with more natural sunlight. If you do have a home office with more light than other rooms in your home, consider turning on your lights only when it's necessary. Of course, in wintertime, you'll likely have the lights on more, but for the summer, spring, and fall months things are different. You can save on your electric bill by eliminating the need for lights at all and just counting on Mother Nature!

Adjust your air conditioning
If you're home more during the day, you may find yourself using your air conditioner more than you would when you're at the office. While it's important to be comfortable at work, it's just as important to keep things reasonable or you'll end up with major energy usage spikes. There are a variety of ways to reduce your dependence on air conditioning, from scheduling routine maintenance to using blinds to block sunlight.

Till next time... be energy efficient! 

xox
Rani

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Designing the Great(er) Outdoors!

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home, but with Australia’s beautiful weather and outdoor lifestyle, an outdoor room might just be the space that really captures the heart. This area that bridges the divide between interior and exterior can be an alfresco with a barbecue or pizza oven one moment and transform into a relaxation destination the next. With shrinking block sizes, the trend for outdoor rooms is a modern solution for modern homes.
With so many opportunities to enjoy an outdoor room, it’s important to consider how multiple functions can work together in one cohesive style says architect and according to James Hardie Ambassador, Joe Snell, traditional design often dictated that we use a garden to present the home like a trophy, surrounding it and emphasising the outside from the interior. Conversely, popular Modern design embraces open plan living that bridges the divide between the surrounds and the home, creating a more outdoor lifestyle by creating an extended, cohesive space.

Below are some important considerations for making, not just an outdoor room, but a destination that will feel like an escape in your home.

Start with the look
To achieve a Modern outdoor space, it’s important to understand the look of your home, a controlled Zen garden will fit perfectly with the minimalist elements of a Scandi Barn Look or Box Modern Look home due to the focus on encouraging the occupant to be mindful and look within. Alternatively, a natural style planting would be better suited to a Mid-Century modern aesthetic as the movement was built on embracing and connecting to nature. A Modern Coastal Look encourages native coastal plants, possibly with a hammock between some native palms. Meanwhile, using more bold, man-made architectural features would tie into a Mixed Cladding Look where vertical and horizontal lines are interrupted with organic shapes. It’s also important to consider the history of your look, a Modern Scandinavian barn usually won’t suit a tropical garden for example.

Once you know the style of your home, begin to incorporate this look into your exterior beginning with the façade, for example, Linea Weatherboards create a relaxed vibe with a simple shadow line that adds texture that’s reminiscent of beach huts and Hamptons homes, making it a perfect backdrop to a Modern Coastal garden.
Create continuity
By creating continuity across your interior and exterior, blur the lines between the two spaces, making the transition less jarring. To do this it’s important to have one idea or visual story that is brought together with consistent motifs and colour choices. An easy way to create consistency is through materials that appear to be the same. Painted vertical joint timber internal walls are popular. James Hardie’s exterior Axon Cladding works well as it provides a similar vertical joint look on the inside and can continue through to the outside. The result is a seamless connection between the indoors and outdoors. Despite having the look of crafted timber, the Premium Fibre Cement is resistant to flaking, warping or swelling and damage from moisture.
Less is more
All modern home trends share common themes that need to be adhered to in the garden to create a cohesive and continuous design story. Chief among these is the focus on form and materials over finery and ornamentation. 
Every aspect of your garden should be planned with a purpose. If it’s not necessary to the core theme of the home, take it out. This is especially true of pools, which often end up working against the design of the space than forming part of it. Don’t just stick your pool in the middle of your garden taking up valuable backyard cricket space. Instead bring it closer to the house if not into it!

Remember pools are much more than just for swimming, they are an important landscape design element. A good guideline here is to align the shape and dimensions of the pool to that of the all or part of the building to create a balance of form.
Know your zones
As with the interior, you need to know your space. If you’re building a new property visit the site throughout the day and take note of the prevailing winds and where there are opportunities for shade. Take a look at the views you want to capture and note the lay of the land.
With this information in mind, think about the life you want to create and lay out your exterior space to facilitate that vision. You may decide to put up a screen to shield against an afternoon southerly, or put a  children’s sand pit under a tree that provides shade during the middle of the day.

Decking can be a great way to differentiate areas. Use it to create an alfresco or pergola area that ties to your internal flooring or rear façade. HardieDeck works well here and is particularly well suited to areas around pools in place of timber as it is resistant to damage from moisture. No matter your modern home style, it’s important to enjoy your space by creating it with your life and style in mind. By keeping these two basic tenants at the fore you will be able to define your look, continue it into your outdoor room, take out what’s not needed and create areas that suit the way you want to live.

Find out how to get more outdoor with Hardie Deck and James Hardie Premium Fibre Cement cladding at jameshardie.com.au.

Till next time... are you wishing for an outdoor room too?

xox
Rani



About James HardieTM
Founded in Melbourne, Australia in 1888, James HardieTM has become a global leader in the production of interior and exterior building products, with operations in North America, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Europe.

With research and development and manufacturing in Australia, the innovative company created Cellulose Fibre Cement in the early 1980’s. This durable and versatile building material is used to this day to create board and sheet products such as HardiePlankTM weatherboards, HardieFlexTM cladding, HardiePanelTM Compressed flooring and VillaboardTM wall lining. Further modernising the category, James Hardie developed Premium Fibre Cement, which it uses in a number of ranges, including its ScyonTM range of low-density, thicker and lighter weight products, that have been designed to help consumers, builders and architects create homes that offer the best of style and liveability.


Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Top Tips for Water Conservation in the Garden

Australians are being encouraged to reimagine their water future this National Water Week (19-25 October) as part of the Australian Water Association’s annual initiative to inspire people to do their part in conserving this precious natural resource.

According to Corinne Cheeseman, CEO of Australian Water Association is one of the driest populated continents on earth, Australia's freshwater resources are under pressure to meet the demands of a changing climate and growing population.

Making simple changes and taking easy steps will help reduce water consumption, decrease water bills, and protect our precious water resources.

On average, around 40% of household water is used outdoors, so it is important to reuse and recycle this commodity as much as possible. According to Alyce Rigby, Nylex Product Manager here are two ways to better manage water usage, first is to use recycled water, which is either taken from rain tanks or has been cleaned with chemicals at a treatment plant and then provided back to homeowners via taps identified by their lilac or light purple colour, in accordance with Australian standards (AS/NZS 3500.5:2000). The second, is the use of Grey Water, this waste water is taken directly from showers, bathroom sinks or washing machines in the home to use in gardens and lawns.

To help homeowners do their bit at home, Nylex is proud to support National Water Week as a major partner and has launched new products into its range of lilac recycled water hoses, sprinklers and timers which are ergonomically designed and UV treated to survive the Australian outdoors.

While the range’s lilac colour helps homeowners identify them for use with recycled water, they are also suitable for use with mains water if required. Additionally, the brand offers a number of products that can be used with Grey Water.

Utilise Grey Water
Reducing freshwater usage around the home not only saves vital community water supplies, it can also decrease household water bills. Purpose made hoses can be connected to washing machines and other outlet pipes to redirect Grey Water to your lawn as well as garden beds and veggie patches. Before using Grey Water in your garden, check what type of washing liquid or powder you use, as some chemicals will be harmful to plants.

To start utilising Grey Water, use a Grey Water hose and fitting to connect to your water source and then divert it to your outdoor area. The Nylex Grey Water Dispersion Hose 22mm x 2.5m (RRP $11.40) is designed to prevent pooling by evenly dispersing Grey Water along its length, which minimises the risk of harmful bacteria forming.

Water smarter, not harder
Be smart with how you set up and water your garden. Planting water-intensive plants on higher ground and plants that don’t need as much water on lower ground means you can water from the top and simply let it flow down to the less water-intensive plants below.

To reduce water usage in your lawn, garden bed, ferneries or vegetable patches, use the Nylex Recycled Soaker Hose (RRP starting at $13.80) available in different lengths (7.5/15/30m). It has fine holes on one side, which when faced upwards, create a fine spray pattern in a multi-directional stream in an even ‘strip’ style watering pattern. When faceddown, the hose deep waters plants close to their roots, keeping plants hydrated without unnecessary over-spray and evaporation. An average tap of 200kPa sprays about three to four metres across.Use water-efficient sprinklers
It’s important to make sure your sprinklers and irrigation systems are water efficient to ensure you’re not over-watering your garden and wasting water. “An easy way to be water-efficient is by using the Nylex 3 Arm Sprinkler (RRP $16.50), which is suitable for small to medium lawns and gardens. The adjustable arms and rotating sprinkler head create even water distribution and work well for slightly windy conditions. It has a 200kPa low pressure operation and is sturdy with its weighted base, so it’s built to last. Alternatively, the Nylex Recycled Dome Sprinkler (RRP $17.90) is great for smaller areas.
Save time
An easy way to save time while conserving water is by using a tap timer. Once set to a specific length of time, it can be left unattended and will automatically turn off, so you can get on with your day without accidentally overwatering your lawn.

The Nylex Recycled 2 Hour Mechanical Tap Timer (RRP $22.90) works just like an egg timer. Twist the dial to the desired watering duration up to 120 minutes and the timer will turn itself off. The mechanical operation requires no batteries and makes this one of the easiest and quickest timers to use.

For more information on the full range of Nylex Grey Water and Recycled water products, visit
www.nylex.com.au.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Top tile trends Aussies are loving in 2020

Australian style has transformed this year as Aussies are throwing out the rule book and forging a new path in home designs. This trend has been slowing growing since the 1980s and has experienced a boom since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across the last 60 years, Australia’s largest tile retailer, Beaumont Tiles, has had a distinctive vantage point in witnessing this design evolution. With an over one-hundred-thousand-strong online community who frequently share their completed renovations, Beaumont Tiles has seen the emergence of exciting grassroots design trends from the homes of local Aussies over the years.

In the past, Australian design has been highly influenced by international style, but since the 2020 design evolution, Australians have increasingly been introducing their unique personality into their styling choices. 

Beaumont Tiles design specialist Christie Wood says that home design has been significantly influenced by Australia’s unique array of cultures and stories.

Throughout the last year, Aussies have begun paying homage to their diverse range of cultures in the design aesthetic of their homes, with heritage playing a significant role in the selection of colour palettes, finishes and furnishings.

Aussies are really starting to dance to the beat of their own drum in terms of design and approach! According to Christie, every year Beaumont Tiles extensively search for the latest looks and trends at home and around the globe, though what is the most fascinating is looking at how they translate into Australian design.

Mad for Mosaics
One significant tile trend this year is around mosaics. This artistic style pays tribute to classic designs of ancient Greece and Rome, which nods to Australia’s diversity in culture and design.
Mosaic tiles everywhere at the moment. Traditionally used on bathroom floors and as splashbacks, Aussies are increasingly using mosaics as feature walls or table coverings to create a statement that’s long lasting and beautiful.

These intricate tiles capture the glamour of decades past while maintaining that stylish appeal in a contemporary home.  Bathrooms featuring square or finger mosaics are becoming popular as the sharp edges foster a refined modern feel. 
Beaumont's social community are especially loving the rustic look of the Haifu White Gloss Mosaic with a grey grout. This finger style feature often pairs well with terrazzo floor tiles and gold tapware to really pull the look together for a Country Chic or Contemporary inspired project.
Zellige
Influenced by North African rustic charm, Zellige builds a unique style with blended colour. Most popular between 100x100mm to 150x150mm size ranges, but also sought after in a subway format. Zellige tiles are quickly becoming a staple in many Aussie homes.

There is a surge in Zellige square tiles being used as splashbacks and feature walls this year, especially in classic blue or sea green hues. This look is perfect for some of Beaumonts ‘What’s my Style’ design categories such as Retro Vintage or Coastal, this enchanting tile is becoming a real competitor to the Aussie-favourite subway style. 
Beaumont's gorgeous Atmosphere White in 120x120 is the perfect Zellige tile to generate a Coastal bathroom while the Atmosphere Mint in 120x120mm pairs well with wooden accessories for a Retro Vintage look.

All about colour
Colour brings light and fun into any design it touches. Australians love to stand out from the crowd and colour is how Aussies are loving to express themselves this year.

As predicted at the beginning of the year, greens and pinks are the most popular among the online community. Although, an aspect that wasn’t predicted was the alternative ways Aussies would experiment with this colourful trend.
Previous trends have been dominated by herringbone, while this year there is an emergence of vertically laid tiles to create a colourful look. Some are even starting to experiment such as using grey grout to surround their pink subways. 

According to Christie, a lot of people want to experiment with colours but aren’t sure how to make the look flow together with such a feature. Beaumonts have free online consultations where customers can discuss different styles, including colour options with experts.

Beaumont Tiles also offers the option to order three full size samples of any of their tiles so customers can check out how these tiles will match their space and feel confident in their decision.

Till next time... which one is your favourite? Mine has to be the Haifu White Gloss Mosaic with a grey grout!

About Beaumont Tiles
Beaumont Tiles is Australia’s biggest retailer of tiles and bathroomware with 116 outlets across most states. An innovative market leader, Beaumont Tiles buyers travel the globe to bring back the best in tile designs. Beaumont Tiles has company owned and franchised stores servicing trade, home builders and renovators, and the commercial sector.  www.tile.com.au





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