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! 


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

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


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

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.
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.

Renovating a Home for Modern Living

With the focus on the home being bigger than ever before, renovating is at an all-time high as homeowners are choosing to stay put and transform their property. Thanks to an array of DIY design blogs and home improvement television shows, like The Block, owners are provided inspiration and design education on using quality building materials and the valuable investment that will benefit them long-term.
Older style homes hold a certain fascination for many, with homeowners willing to go the extra mile to hold onto their charm. While it’s encouraged to keep the traditional facades intact, large contemporary extensions can be added with open-plan living extending effortlessly into designer backyards, offering a marriage of old with new that works for modern living.

An open-plan kitchen, living and dining area is the true heart of the home, perfect for a family that enjoys entertaining and socialising. These days, the hardest-working rooms in the house are so much more than simply a serviceable space in which to cook and clean-up. For most of us, the kitchen is the epicentre of our abode. It’s the ever-on-show and in-use domain where we congregate whilst preparing daily meals for our family and friends.
When renovating, there’s some key elements to consider that can add to the look, functionality and value of your home, taking it from simple to stunning. “Adding an architectural feature can make a room special, and this is where we see curves being used as a design element, adding visual interest to a room,” says Sara Vale, interior designer, Vale Group. “The continued softening of interiors with curvy shapes and organic, rounded edges, is a way of embracing the relaxed lifestyle we enjoy in Australia. Carrying the fluid shapes through your home with a hero wall, a staircase or arches on doorways, as well as with furnishings and lighting gives a sense of design continuity and adds a wow factor.”

“Consider clever use of building materials such as Gyprock Flexible, which is the perfect plasterboard to see a more curvaceous vision come to life. Versatile and easy to install, the thinner-than-usual boards can be layered on top of one another to create unique shapes while maintaining strength,” says plastering expert, Mick Williams from Mick Williams Plastering. “Feature walls can then be painted or have additional finishes such as wooden battens to highlight the beautiful shapes chosen.”
The secret to achieving the perfect laid-back living room and kitchen is in the detail, so carefully balancing individual elements is essential. Mixing timbers and fabrics with soft natural hues and accent colour, pared back with the subtle clean lines of integrated cabinetry will ensure a casual, relaxed and modern living space, while making the more fluid shapes the hero focus of the room.
Taking overhead kitchen cupboards to the ceiling or enclosing the space above kitchen cupboards with a bulkhead helps define the kitchen area by adding greater dimension to the space. A Gyprock Supaceil plasterboard bulkhead around the kitchen, reduces the visual impact and makes the kitchen appear recessed into the wall rather than thrusting into the space. The bulkhead can also be practical hiding unsightly services, such as wiring, pipes, plumbing, air-conditioning as well as masking changes in ceiling heights.

In high traffic areas such as the kitchen and living rooms, consider upgrading to a quality plasterboard on the walls, such as Gyprock Superchek, to keep your home looking good and reduce maintenance from daily living. Superchek combines high impact resistance, high- level acoustic benefits and high recycled content.
“Renovating to allow natural light into your home can make an enormous difference to how you enjoy a room,” says Sara. A skylight allows more natural light into the home to make the space brighter and more welcoming, as well as creating a feature that allows you to see the sky and make the room feel bigger.

Keep in mind that the humidity experienced in many parts of Australia can cause ordinary plasterboard ceilings to sag. Gyprock Supaceil is a lightweight plasterboard with Optimised Core technology designed
specifically for use in ceilings and for all conditions, and ideal to create a show-stopping ceiling with a standout stunning skylight.
“Taking time when renovating or building to thoroughly research and consider all options, and understanding the importance of using the right type of building materials and how they can impact the liveability of your home is really important,” concludes Sara. Ensure that you allow for enough space and storage, a highly-efficient layout, include accents of colour, patterns and textures, and, of course, fixtures and finishes that are both stylish and designed to withstand everyday use. Above all, the living spaces of your home should be warm and welcoming whilst reflecting the needs of your family and lifestyle.

Gyprock is made in Australia and available at Gyprock Trade stores, Gyprock resellers and Bunnings nationwide. For more information on Gyprock, visit

Till next time... it’s all about the integration of fluid shapes, standout features and textured finishes!


About Gyprock
Australia's leading manufacturer of gypsum-based products, CSR Gyprock has been Australian for plasterboards 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.

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