There is no doubt that the New South Wales market has slowed significantly recently, and buyers are currently at favour. Even in these situations, there are advantages to making the most of your property. With interest rates at the lowest they have been in years, now is a great time to borrow and increase the capital worth of your home, while enjoying the benefits of your updated investment. If you are thinking of improving your home, it’s hard to go past a new kitchen or bathroom. It is important to consider when renovating these rooms that their styles are compatible with the rest of house – however, modern kitchens and bathrooms are more likely to appeal to the majority of buyers. The addition of more living space and extra bedrooms is another area that can potentially make a significant difference to the feel, and also the value of your home. Open plan...

With the all the wet weather we have experience this summer, many Australians have missed out on our beloved barbeques and outdoor entertaining which brings me to this months topic. It’s nice to spend more time outside, so I thought this month I would talk about outdoor entertaining areas. The best living spaces are those that flow from the inside to the outside, which will help make the most of ‘alfresco’ living which can be just as good as and a lot cheaper than extending your living room. Continuing with the same colour scheme inside and out with help blend both areas together thus creating a larger grand effect. Many people incorporate outdoor kitchens and fireplaces in their designs so they can enjoy the space anytime of the year. Imagine in winter sitting around a cosy fireplace, enjoying a drink with friends. Another fast growing trend in outdoor living is pizza ovens. Australia has...

This month I would like to make a few suggestions on the best way to create an outdoor entertaining area. One suggestion I would like to make is that joining your indoor entertaining areas with your outdoor areas is very popular at the moment. By using bi-fold doors or large glass panes between your indoor and outdoor areas, you are able to expand your living space and create flow between the two spaces. This is ideal for the warmer months, which are approaching fast. If you are wishing to create flow between your entertaining areas, a good way to do this is by matching the colour schemes and designs of your indoor living spaces with your outdoor entertaining area. Do this is by using the same coloured paint, lighting and same flooring, such as tiles or timber between the two areas. Using similar furniture combinations and cushions between your indoor and outdoor...

With emergency services in NSW being on high alert for bushfires, I think it is relevant that I outline a few simple tips to help protect your homes this bushfire season. Before the fire season beings, it is important to start preparing the garden and natural bushland around your home. Start by clearing dead branches and leaves from your garden, gutters and around your house to help prevent a build up of litter which could fuel a potential fire. Prune tree limbs which are situated less then 2 metres from the ground or overhanging your home. Cut long grass within 20 metres of your home and remove bark, heavy mulch, wood piles and other flammable materials. It’s also a good idea to fit a gate valve to water tanks; a 38mm storz coupling will assist the RFS in the case of an emergency. Consider installing a sprinkler system on your roof and/or...

Cement render is a quick, easy and affordable way to renovate an old home or a great way to save money when building a new one. Following the excesses of the eighties, home makers are opting for no-fuss finishes, easy to clean surfaces and environmentally-friendly building materials. In line with this view, cement rendering has become a quick, easy and affordable way to renovate an old home or a great way to save money when building a new one. The look that is achieved is sleek, modern and can be completed fairly quickly. Render is a popular method because it can update the home quickly and easily, and the outlay is exceeded by the increase in market value to the home. With the render complete, the house can be painted with a special concrete external paint. I would suggest painting the render rather than adding coloured oxides as they are not UV resistant...

It’s been a long and cold winter, but with summer fast approaching, its time we consider preparing our pools for summer.  There are five simple steps to consider with preparing your pools and now would be a good time to get on top of them. If you use a solid cover over your pool, first drain off the water, but ensure that it doesn’t run off into the pool/. Sweep the cover and clean it. If you want to remove stains from the cover, BioGaurd Stow Away is a great option. Once the cover is clean, store it in a dry place that’s free of debris and a place protected from sun and weather damage. Next, fill your pool. Your pool needs to be filled to the middle of the skimmer opening for it to properly circulate.  Once the pool is filled, check the Pump, Skimmer Basket and Filter. You need to make sure...

When renovating, the kitchen is usually on the top of our to-do lists, but a lot of the time it requires vigorous saving and months of tight budgeting. This month I thought I would highlight some ways to renovate your kitchen on a budget. You don’t necessarily need replace everything in the kitchen for it to appear new and fresh. You can use the current cupboards and draws but replace the bench tops, cupboard fronts and handles. There are many modern different styles to choose from and are available from most leading hardware stores. If you like the cupboard doors, then try painting them in a nice modern colour. This will instantly transform your kitchen for minimal cost. Simple changes like these can give the kitchen a completely different look. Choose your kitchen appliances before you start designing your kitchen as the spacemay not work. You should design your kitchen around the appliances so the style...

Working in the building industry, I often see trends in home design come and go, yet one trend that has really caught my attention and offers a lot of benefits is building a granny flat. The benefits of a granny flat are numerous, including providing accommodation for your extended family or for generating rental income. Building for accommodation can provide you with some much needed privacy and space, while renting the flat out will significantly assist and reduce the loan repayments on your property. When building a granny flat, the primary requirement beyond building and planning regulations, is to ensure that there is sufficient space. The most common conversions that I have come across in the industry includes garages and garden sheds, which often become one or two bedroom units with bathrooms. Granny flats can also provide a favourable return on investment, assisting in increasing the value of your property and pay off...

I have noticed that louvre windows are once again becoming increasingly popular on the market and I believe it’s such a great trend to be recycling again. Louvre windows are suitable for all homes, are more weather proof, easier to operate and are now manufactured from far better materials then their prototypes, so this month I thought I would share some benefits of installing louvre windows in your home. What I love about louvre windows is their energy efficiency. This may come as a surprise, but louvre windows reduce your homes energy use. These windows are a great alternative to exhaust fans in your bathroom, as they not only allow steam air to escape but also help avoid moisture build up, which often results in nasty mold. Implementing louvre windows in other areas of the home will increase ventilation and cooling, which will minimize the needs to fans or air-conditioning. There...

Tiling can be one of those projects we least enjoy as getting the lay out and pattern right may seem overwhelming. I have found careful planning and research can really make the project much simpler so I thought this month I would offer a few tips when tiling. Firstly, when you have picked the tile you would like for your project, shop and purchase them using their batch numbers on the box. This is will ensure you avoid buying variations of colours and size. There are many different ways to lay tiles, which you may have never considered. Below I will offer a few different styles to help you capture the look you are after. Straight or stack bond tiling pattern is probably the most common style. The tiles are laid in straight lines so the grout lines make a grid like pattern. I find this style works best with square tiles. Diagonal tiling...

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