Friday 29 October 2021

The Hottest Summer Must-Haves for This Year!

Nothing says summertime in Australia like long days spent in the great outdoors. especially since life is getting back to a post covid-normal. Whether it’s firing up the barbeque, relaxing with friends and family or creating your own special space, we have the ultimate summer must-haves. From handy grillers to gorgeous hammocks, to smart ways to keep buzzing pests at bay, we've got your summer sorted. Below is a round up of our hottest summer must haves for 2021!
Swing Into Summer
The perfect addition to any outdoor space, Two Trees Macramé Single Hammock (RRP $37.95) lets you hang out in comfort and style. In a flashback to the 70’s, macramé is once again popular in a range of home décor products. With natural colour tones and handmade intricate fringing along the hammock edges, the macramé hammock is the perfect accessory for lazy days.

If you want to hang out with a friend, Two Trees Double Hammock Kit (RRP$107) comes complete with double hammock and adjustable frame for easy setup in any location, whether at home or away. Made from a quality blended cotton, the Two Trees Double Hammock kit is available in a classic stripe design. Two Trees Hammocks are available at Bunnings Warehouse nationally.
Elevate Your Grilling Game
The go-to for a good BBQ cook up, Char-Griller has all the tools and grillers to make at-home entertaining a success. The new Char-Griller BBQ Smoking Tube (RRP $12.98) is the perfect accessory. Designed to add an authentic smoky flavour to your cooking, whether you’re using a charcoal or gas barbecue.

Constructed from durable stainless steel, the perforated design allows wood and pellets to stay lit, providing constant smoke. If you regularly host friends and family for delicious barbecues then you’ll understand the importance of a good clean after every use to ensure your BBQ is performing at its best. The Char-Griller Triple Head Grill Brush (RRP $12.65) makes cleaning easy, with its strong and durable stainless-steel coils, it can safely and effectively remove grime from your barbecue grill grates. The triple head design means you can clean a larger surface area, while the scraper is designed to remove built up grease and grime from the grill – meaning your BBQ will be around for years to come. Char-Griller products are available from Bunnings Warehouse nationally.
Setting Boundaries
Nothing ruins a summer social event quite like uninvited pesky mosquitos. To be prepared, consider mosquito repelling options such as the new Thermacell Perimeter Mosquito Repellent System (RRP $89.95), a high-tech solution that is both functional and portable. The Thermacell Perimeter Mosquito Repellent System is the ultimate backyard defence against mosquitoes. This multi-unit system creates a perimeter of up to 21m 2 protection per repeller to stop mosquitoes before they can bite you. With flexible mounting options, Perimeter is perfect for entertaining areas and backyards. Turn it on... mosquitoes gone! Thermacell is available at Bunnings Warehouse nationally.
Scents to Set the Scene
Set the summertime mood inside or out with the new collection of candles from Haven and Haven Luxe.
Understated chic, Haven Luxe Hamptons Getaway Soy Blend Candle (RRP $25) will set the scene for your next coastal holiday. Featuring three wicks, and scent notes of Amber and Tobacco, the fragrance is inspired by spontaneous getaways and deserted white sandy beaches. Hamptons Getaway is available in a range of coastal designs, with an etched timber lid.
The Haven Luxe Cocktail Hour Scented Candle (RRP $25) is infused with notes of Vanilla Tonka and influences of warm summer sunsets. With a wide three wick design, a debossed metallic lid, Cocktail Hour is available in two colours, pale blue or pink. The Haven Gypsy Beach Scented Candle (RRP $15) is relaxing, sensual and dreamy. Inspired by secret coves and moon lit nights, the candle contains scent notes of Bergamot and Patchouli for a truly beautiful fragrance. Available in white or muted navy, with a timber lid. The Haven range is available in Woolworths stores nationally.
What's your favourite summer must haves? Share with all of us in the comments below.

Till next time... have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Are You Investing in Your Outdoor Room?

With homeowners looking to make better use of limited outdoor space due to increasing pressures of urbanisation and lockdowns, the popularity of an outdoor space is growing rapidly and is predicted to become the most valued room in the house!

According to Charlie Carp ambassador, Jason Hodges, the outdoor room is the most versatile room in the house and there has never been a better time to invest in yours. Not only can an outdoor room increase the value of your home, but the health benefits of spending time outdoors are undeniable.
The backyard is quickly taking over as the favourite gathering space for cooking, entertaining, relaxing and spending time with loved ones. Whatever size outdoor space you have, there are countless ways to create an exceptional place to entertain, relax and spend time with family and friends, and it starts with getting the foundations right – the garden and the lawn.

Here, Jason Hodges offers some tips on creating the most impact in your outdoor family room;

1. Grow your Garden
Your garden is the foundation for a good outdoor room. It sets the theme for the whole space and can determine the look and feel. Mature trees can be a starting point for building a scheme. They block the glare of the sun and can also be used as an anchor for shade sails, a hammock, pendant lights or hanging decorations. Trees are fantastic as a habitat and food source for wildlife and as a source of carbon capture. They also give structure and architecture to a garden.

Make sure you regularly feed your trees. The best choice for fast results in the garden is liquid fertiliser as it’s quick acting, allowing the plant to absorb both the micro and macro nutrients through the foliage quicker than any other fertiliser. A good one to try is organically based lawn and garden fertiliser, Charlie Carp as it’s a complete, all-purpose fertiliser, so can be used on your trees, garden and lawn. Being an Australian brand, it’s also made for our environment and conditions and uses the whole Carp fish, so in turn, provides an almost perfect balance of vitamins and minerals for plants, soil and grass.

The best garden designs start with structural plants infilled with smaller plants. Use evergreen shrubs at the end of each border and as punctuation along the way. Include small shrubs such as box balls, or large evergreens for bigger areas. Once you have this frame, fill the gaps with pretty flowering plants. In entertaining areas, try using palms and tropical plants for a more resort and relaxed feel.
2. Get your lawn into shape
A lush green lawn is a great asset, especially in summer when you want to be outdoors sharing your garden with family and friends. Green lawns help to reduce outdoor temperatures as they don’t absorb and hold heat as do hard surfaces such as paving. A lush lawn also provides a comfortable, safe space for children and pets to play.

If your lawn is looking lacklustre, consider the four tenets of sunshine, fertilise, water and soil aeration. Cut branches back to keep excessive shade away. Fertilise to help grass grow stronger and less prone to disease and pests, and to keep it healthy and surviving through a hot summer. Water once a week early in the morning. For aeration, take a fork to your lawn and poke lots of holes.
3. Plant edible gardens
Urban edible gardening and farming is set to increase, with people enjoying the appeal of home grown, free of chemicals and fresh from the garden to the dinner plate. Vegetables, fruits and herbs are the most common, and don’t need a large space. This is also great activity to get the kids involved in with you.

While edible plants can be susceptible to diseases, make sure you fertilise regularly to keep plants strong.
Choosing an all-natural fertiliser with no chemicals such as Charlie Carp Organic Concentrate, is ideal for veggie patches and edible gardens, and is like a one-stop-shop for your whole garden. It’s safe to consume and will help every plant. Edibles not only provide healthy eating; many will also beautify your landscape.
4. Transition indoors to out with paving
The key to ongoing utilisation of an outdoor space is to make it easily accessible, through a seamless transition from the indoor living rooms to the outdoor living area. Connect spaces with bifold or French doors, run the internal tiles into external pavers. According to Jason, by ensuring your paving is the same level as your indoor flooring, you can blur the lines between the interior and the exterior of the property. Paving can completely transform the look and feel of any space, and is perfect for entertaining spaces and barbeque areas.

5. Add furniture to create zones
To choose the right furniture start by considering your lifestyle and how you anticipate the room will be used. Choose pieces that are multi-functional, flexible and can be easily moved around to create an alternative setting are popular. An outdoor family room with seating facing each other will create an environment where conversation and interactivity will thrive.

6. Outdoor ambience
Not only will a feature firepit make a statement in the outdoor family room, it also ensures you can make the most of the space by using it all year round. Fireplaces add warmth and ambience to the outdoor room as well as creating a focal point. Also gaining popularity is the outdoor pizza oven which adds an element of fun to entertaining.

An alternative to a firepit is introducing a water feature to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your space and provide a simple focal point. Water features can also serve a functional purpose such as blocking out noise from traffic or neighbours and add a peaceful ambiance to the garden.
7. Lighting the way
Lighting not only adds another aesthetic to the outdoor living area, it also enables these spaces to be used day and night. Soft mood lighting created by small discreet LED or solar lights hidden under or above ground, spotlighting outdoor features such as trees, plants or sculptures can really help set the scene.

The outdoor room is a truly personal space in which homeowners have the opportunity to imprint their own personality. No other space in your house can be so multi- functional or offer so much opportunity to contribute to the wellness of your family as well as provide a major contribution to the value of your home investment.Charlie Carp fertiliser products are available from Woolworths stores nationally and include Charlie Carp Concentrate (1 Litre RRP$10.98, 5Litre $47.98), Charlie Carp Organic Concentrate (1Litre $11.28) and Charlie Carp Hose-On (2.2Litre $10.79). For more information visit
Till next time... get some sunshine and invest in your outdoor room!

Monday 18 October 2021

Clever Kitchens and Brainier Bathrooms!

From entertaining guests at dinner to alerting homeowners to leaks, smart tech has the potential to reimagine the way we live. Once the domain of the ultra-wealthy, new affordable and scalable home automation options are opening up the potential of all homes, including better bathrooms and clever kitchens.
According to Clipsal, Offer Manager, Tim Fant, for the first time, true home automation is affordable, easy to use and simple to install. Basic options include products like plug timers, or smart lights, that control one element of the house. Alternatively, complete systems like Clipsal Wiser TM Smart Home combine control of lighting, air conditioning, appliances and almost anything else in the home, from the tap of a phone, a movement, or a simple phrase.

By connecting to power points, light switches, sensors, blinds and other devices wirelessly, Clipsal Wiser can be installed without special cabling needed to be installed into the walls, so homeowners can choose what and when they upgrade to reimagine the way they live.

Here, Tim discusses opportunities for two of the rooms where smart tech can make a real difference to family life.

Three brainier bathrooms automations
Home automation offers a lot more than asking a smart speaker to play your favourite song in the morning. From setting the scene to watching for leaks, the right set-up can create a more calming experience.

Keeping on schedule: The ability to schedule activities is great for making daily life easier. For example, turning on heating, heated towel rails and lighting to a soft shine to create a comforting environment in winter, or a bright light and air conditioning in summer to help you feel energised. A good system will allow you to set different times for different days, perfect for weekend lie-ins.
Water warning: If you’re worried about the bath overflowing, or kids splashing around too much, a water leakage sensor is a must-have. It can be set to ping your phone if it detects excessive water so you can assess the situation. Humidity sensors can also trigger extractor fans and heated mirrors automatically should the room become too steamy.
Combined control: Smart systems allow you to combine multiple functions into one ‘Moment’. With simple ‘Automation’ functions, that can be set to happen at a certain time, or when a sensor is activated. This could include lighting, heating and music set to come on before you head to your morning shower.
Three clever kitchen hacks
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the home automation system is its brain. Often connected to dining and alfresco areas, the kitchen is a place to come together with family and friends where smart use of home automation can make for a more effortless experience.

Getting everyone to the table: Smart sockets allow homeowners to control anything they plug in via their phone, from turning on the kettle, to more complex moments. The latter could include adjusting heating, lighting, and music under one ‘dinner’ moment and even a command to turn off TVs and gaming consoles to get the kids to the table.
Lighten up (or down): Motion sensors are great in kitchens or butler's pantries when your hands are full or messy from cooking. Connected smart speakers allow you to turn lights, heating and appliances on and off with a simple spoken command.
Wiser about water: Much like bathrooms, kitchens can get steamy and there are concerns about overflowing water. Humidity and leak sensors can provide an early warning to any issues helping homeowners avoid damage and mould.
Home automation has an almost unending number of applications to make life easier so families can focus on what matters most, being together. Thanks to its scalability, Clipsal Wiser Smart Home is available through trained Club Clipsal Wiser Approved Installers and affiliated builders who can help homeowners create spaces that work for them and their lifestyle today and simply upgrade as their needs change in the future. For more information visit

Till next time... have a great new week!

Saturday 16 October 2021

Fabulous and Functional - Creating a Child’s Dream Room!

Renovating continues to be at an all-time high as Australian homeowners are increasingly choosing to stay put and transform their properties into their dream ‘forever’ homes. Forever is a long time, however, when it comes to children’s rooms, they will require quite a number of updates along the way.

Luckily when it comes to designing a room for your little one there is a lot of scope, with many opportunities to capture the imagination and inspire creativity. Creating a haven for your child to grow into should be a fun and rewarding process.
South House by Sara and Hayden
Former Block winners, Hayden and Sara Vale, have recently completed their latest project, ‘South House’, transforming an old South Coast house into a luxury home. Sara loved creating the kid’s bedrooms, taking their little personalities into consideration, while ensuring there was some cohesiveness that worked within the house. With careful planning she was able to deliver rooms well suited to the children’s current needs with scope for updates as they grow.

Each striking room encompasses a highly-efficient layout with plenty of storage as well as desk nooks that will take the kids through from their pre-primary to high school needs. A mix of a softer colour palette in each room is accented by touches of pattern and colour presenting a balanced, yet luxurious feel.
Taking time when renovating a child’s room to thoroughly research and consider all options, and understand the importance of using the right type of building materials can really impact the longevity. They used Gyprock Superchek™ for their plastered walls because they knew the kids would be knocking about and it’s a hard-wearing plasterboard. They also knew we wanted to create a quieter environment. The increased density of the plasterboard reduces the sound transmitted between rooms, so even with young children this can have a big impact.
According to Renee McGinty, General Manager of Marketing for Gyprock, kid’s bedrooms and entertainment rooms are typical areas that need to be considered for noise transfer. With some basic understanding of building acoustics and careful consideration of the room use and layout you can create quiet zones where you need them and keep noise contained.

The Block 2021 House 5
Kirsty and Jesse, 2021’s Blockheads from House 5, stole the limelight recently with their presentation of a stunning little girl’s bedroom. They have achieved a whimsical aesthetic with a palette of muted pink and white, creating a look that is both fresh and dreamy.
Opting to paper a feature wall in a stunning floral pattern that pairs back to the finishes, has assisted in creating an overall feeling that is both sophisticated and childlike. With a practical reading nook at the far end of the room, the space can easily be converted from tea parties with well-loved dolls to Tik Tok dance parties with friends.

Adding further to the sophisticated appeal, Kirsty and Jesse have selected Gyprock’s Concerto™ cornice which balances perfectly with the other interior design features of the room, providing an attractive finish at the junction of the wall and ceiling.
Refresh with Cornice
For a modest upgrade investment cornice can make a stylish impact that suits the changing needs of a child’s bedroom. It’s an important feature of design that can instantly frame a space. The gentle curves of the Concerto make it one of the most adaptable styles in the Gyprock cornice range, choosing to paint it a contrasting colour to the walls can have a bold, dramatic or whimsical effect. In contrast the smooth, streamlined profile of the Aria™ cornice is subtly elegant and perfect for an upgrade to a slightly older space.
Top Tips by Gyprock
Gyprock shares its top tips, demonstrating that with careful consideration at the planning stage you can create a child’s dream domain that is as fabulous as it is functional:

 - Planning is important when it comes to updating interiors for children, while the space should reflect individual preferences, ease of design modification is key as interests develop and change.

- Opt for decorations that are easy to install and remove or simple and cost effective to modify. “Cornice is an excellent consideration when decorating a child’s bedroom as it can offer a myriad of functional and aesthetic benefits that are relatively easy to achieve,” says Renee.

- Think about the child’s needs relative to their age and interests. An older child will need a designated homework or computer station so be sure to consider this when you are planning the layout of the room.

- Alongside decorative finishes, durability is an important consideration. The walls are going to see a lot of change and experience many scuffs and scrapes throughout the years, so they will need to be durable.

- Noise transfer is also important when it comes to designing a space for growing, playful kids.
For more information, visit

Till next time... have a wonderful weekend!

Friday 15 October 2021

Making Water Wise Choices that Don't Cost the Earth!

Did you know that Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth and yet despite this scarcity of water, Australians are among the highest consumers of water per capita in the world?

Along with this, climate change is making rainfall less predictable and, in many cases, much lower than long-term averages, so saving freshwater where we can has never been more important.

From 18 October to 24 October, the Australian Water Association is asking Australians to think about how best to conserve water and reimagine our water future. National Water Week examines different actions we can take to protect one of our most precious natural resources. An easy way to achieve water conservation within our own homes is to install taps and showerheads that reduce water consumption.
Methven, an innovative leader in the design and manufacture of showers, taps and valves has developed an extensive range of stylish showerheads designed to lower water usage and utility bills - without compromising on the water experience. Methven is passionate about designing intelligent stylish products, that allow homeowners to make water wise choices that don’t cost the earth.

By using water efficient products, Australians could save approximately 185 billion litres by 2026 so it is encouraging that over half of the nation now consider water saving as a key factor when deciding what shower to purchase. By replacing a standard showerhead that flows at 15L/min with a shower at 6L/min, a family of four would save 105kL and $315 each year on their water bills.

Recently launched, Methven’s new Kiri Low Flow MK2 range of Four-Star rated showerheads combine an elegant droplet shaped rose, with innovative water dispersion technology. According to Andy Grigor, Head of Design and Innovation at Methven, the Kiri Low Flow MK2 was designed using Methven’s Satinjet® technology, and requires just 5.5 litres of water per minute, compared to the conventional nine litres.
Unlike conventional showers, Satinjet® uses unique twin-jet technology to create optimum water droplet size and pressure, with over 300,000 droplets per second. The result is an immersive, full-body shower sensation that transforms your regular shower into an experience like no other!
According to Andy, if you still have old non-restricted fittings, it’s highly recommended that you swap them out to new efficient fittings if you’re looking for quick ways to save water. Upgrading a shower is relatively easy and most shower upgrades are simple DIY jobs!

Installation typically involves screwing off the old hardware and screwing on the new fitting as all shower outlet plumbing and fittings are largely universal. Upgrading a shower also doesn’t require that taps are isolated or water access turned off, before swapping fittings, where a plumber would be recommended.
Methven products are available through Bunnings Warehouse, Reece and plumbing stores and showrooms nation-wide.

Till next time... make water wise choices that don't cost the earth and remember to conserve water during National Water Week!

Thursday 14 October 2021

How to Keep Your Home Cool and Save on Energy Bills This Summer!

With many Australian families staying at home over the holidays, the lead up to summer is the perfect opportunity to consider how to make the most of your home and outdoor areas. Making your available space as versatile and comfortable as possible with stylish shade solutions will keep the heat out and reduce costs on energy bills at the same time.
Most of your home’s energy is lost through windows, with research revealing up to 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost and up to 87% of heat gained in your home occurs through uncovered windows. By keeping the heat at bay, window furnishings, blinds, and shutters can offer a sustainable solution and enhance the performance of existing windows, helping to keep your home cool throughout summer without increasing electricity bills.

According to Vera Meharg, Marketing Communications Manager, Luxaflex®, maximising living spaces with a seamless indoor-outdoor transition has been a key trend over the past years, and shows no signs of slowing down. Making your home design more versatile, outdoor awnings offer an extension of your living space and provide advanced sun protection and airflow for a more enjoyable entertaining area. Not only does it help reflect harsh Australian UV rays, it provides the added benefit of helping maintain a home’s internal temperature.
Stopping the heat of the sun from entering your home in the first place is much better than letting it in and cooling it down afterwards, Evo Awnings, are proven to reduce cooling energy costs by up to 60%. When combined with Luxaflex® Spectra Sunscreen’s ability to eliminate up to 95% 3 of heat from solar radiation, the Evo MagnaTrack Awning can bring you long term savings and help you feel comfortable all year round. It has been designed to provide timeless styles and practical solutions for outdoor spaces.

When selecting an awning, Vera also notes that the colour of the awning will impact the heat and glare.
Darker colours are best for reducing glare, whereas lighter colours are more effective for heat control.
According to Vera, when it comes to spending time indoors, insulation is key to maintaining room temperatures. It’s important that homeowners can manage the temperature by keeping hot air out, and a few small changes can help make a home energy efficient and keep the bills down. Recognising which types of window shades are insulating, sustainable and beneficial for long-term use will assist when making window covering decisions.
Honeycomb blinds are one of the best choices in interior window treatments for keeping the heat out during summer. 
Luxaflex® Duette® Architella® Shades are the most innovative honeycomb shades in Australia and one of the most energy efficient window coverings on the market. With a contemporary sleek look, the shades feature a unique honeycomb-within-a-honeycomb cell structure which traps air and acts as an insulation barrier for windows. When closed, it can keep the heat out in summer and reduce heat loss in winter. These distinct air pockets have the ability to reduce the heat transfer through a window.
Another way to keep your home cool during summer and adding a design element is with Luxaflex® PolySatin® Shutters. The Australian made shutters are the modern alternative to traditional wooden shutters and combine timeless grandeur with practical and durable design. They bring relaxed elegance to any interior with the soft, matte lustre look of freshly painted wood and have a non-porous surface that makes them the perfect choice for wet and high humid areas.
Homeowners can achieve precise control of light and privacy with shutters, allowing natural light in while maintaining the concealment by positioning the louvres to suit the desired view through. PolySatin® Shutters are UV-stabilised, meaning they can last for years even in the harshest climates.
Best of all, they are different from traditional window coverings, energy efficient and environmentally sustainable, bringing the cost of your energy bills down by saving on cooling and heating requirements. Design wise, they add a wow factor to your window treatments that make them a perfect choice for the contemporary Australian home!

Till next time... visit for more information on the latest technology on blinds and keep your home cool and save on energy bills this summer!

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