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

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


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:

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

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!

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.
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!

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, &

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


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
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