Friday, July 29, 2016

Working With An Architect: 6 Tips On Effective Collaboration

[Image Credit: Pixabay]

Architects take our vague ideas and create something that is practical, functional and beautiful. This is incorporated into the surrounding area to build a home that is both unique and in harmony. New build properties are on the rise, with more people opting for a bespoke living space. Therefore, working with an architect has never been more important.

There are many advantages to new build properties. If you are thinking of taking the plunge, here’s how to get the most out of your working relationship.

1. Credentials And Qualifications

Anyone using the title, architect in Australia must be registered with the Architects’ Board. This requires the completion of a recognised graduate programme and two years practical experience. Always ensure that prospective architects are registered. They should also be affiliated with reputable trade bodies.

It is also worth asking what Continuing Professional Development courses they are involved in. And also, what their areas of interest are.

2. Experience

In addition to qualifications, it is important to work with someone who has significant experience. Creating residential architecture designs and managing projects is a vast area. Look for someone who specialises in the type and style of property you’re looking to build.

[Image Credit: Pixabay]

3. Gather Your Information

Before the initial meeting, gather as much information as possible. Make a list of your requirements. Include what you’re looking to achieve and why. If certain features are impractical, understanding your reasons will help them suggest alternatives. Be prepared to answer lots of questions and ask questions of your own.

It is always a good idea to provide photographs of similar ideas and styles. This makes it much easier to visualise. Rough sketches are also useful.

4. Draft Sketches

In the early stages, the architect will take your ideas and requirements and put together some rough drafts. This will open up the conversation and allow you to provide feedback. It is important to look over the sketches in detail and make notes. Ask questions and raise any issues you have. If there is anything that you feel doesn’t fit in with your requirements, let them know. This is a collaboration and partnership.

Sketches can be difficult for the layperson to understand. So, ensure you set up a meeting to go through them in detail and ask questions. Once the drafts have been approved, a final plan will be drawn up.

5. Planning And Permits

Obtaining the necessary planning permission and permits can be daunting. There is a lot of technical and legal information to understand and digest. Your architect is an expert in this area and will guide you through the process.

6. Site Visits

Ensure your architect carries out regular site visits. This may add to the final bill, but will ensure that the designs are interpreted faithfully. It will also provide consistency in the project.

The relationship you have with an architect is vital to the success of your building or renovations. Working with someone who shares your vision is, therefore, essential. They will bring your ideas to life. And on a practical level, they will navigate the process for you, saving time and money. Do your homework and find someone with relevant skills, qualifications and experience.


Five Tips For Making A Home Move Straightforward

Moving home is all about making the most of your resources. When you have so much to do, an entire life to transport, any shortcuts are going to be welcomed. There are plenty of little space and time savers that can make the process easier.
1. Clothes Are Packaging Materials
If you don't want to spend frankly obscene amounts of money on bubblewrap you will use once and discard, use what you've got. Clothes can be wrapped around precious items to keep them safe, adding a free layer of protection. You can use belts to secure the wrappings together, too.
2. Play Tetris With Moving Boxes
Credit: Flickr
So many moving boxes end up having endless amounts of space in them to accomodate oddly shaped items. Think about things that can go into the space, even if it makes for some strange box-fellows. For example, your TV can be joined by packets of sauce and stir fry mix from the kitchen, rolled up to slot into awkward space. There's an extra layer of cushioning with this method too, so everything wins.
3. Clothes Rails
Credit: Pixabay
For the clothes that you've not used to protect ornaments and other precious items, consider a movable rail. Rather than packing a box, sealing it and then reversing the process, you just sling things on the rail and transport it intact. This is best if you are using a moving van such as those provided by Able Removals, so there's plenty of room for a fully erect rail.
4. Vacuum Seal Bags
While not a new phenomenon, it seems there are still plenty of people who have not wised up to the ease that vacuum bags offer. The principle is simple: you insert soft items into the bag. It's ideal for things like pillows, cushions, duvets and comforters. Then attach a vacuum hose and remove the air, making cumbersome items into small, easily liftable packages. Do this for anything soft, including children's toys and towels.
5. Have A Box Of Essential Items
Moving is one of the more gruelling processes you'll go through in life, and you just want it over with. So you'll want to get everything into the property as soon as possible before putting it all away. Make sure that anything you may need at a moment's notice during the process is packed into one box which is readily accessible. Things like convenience food, medication and any essential appliances go in this one. Put it in the removal van last.
When you've got everything in to the new house, the job isn't over. There is finding space, putting everything away and tidying up to be done, so it can go late no matter how early you started. Your daily routine can easily go out the window, but remember that things will inevitably go slower if you're hungry or in pain.

So as much as you may want to rush things, do remember to eat, take on water and use pain relief at regular intervals throughout the day. And even if you normally avoid takeout food, this might be the time to compromise on that.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

How Can You Avoid a Home Disaster When You Are Away on Vacation?

So picture the scene. You have just arrived home from a summer vacation. You are happy with your tanned skin are now just dreading the amount of laundry that you will have to do. You drive into your neighborhood and then you see that you no longer have a home. It has all burnt down! Talk about a vacation nightmare! How did this happen? How did no one tell you about it? One of the first things you need to do is tell your close neighbors that you are going away on vacation. If they can, have them stop by every so often, to check on things. They could bring in your mail and check on things like the electrics. Then a disaster like a house fire could be completely avoided. So, a pretty extreme example there. But what other disasters could happen when you are out of the home?


Imagine trying to get the laundry done and then all of a sudden your washer breaks and floods the house. You could just decide to make the home a large swimming pool. But that won’t get the laundry clean, will it? So having some emergency numbers handy is so useful. Flooding can stop electrics from working, so it might be difficult to use the home internet or the home phone. So have backups to hand. Then you can call someone in as soon as you need to. This goes for all plumbing related things. If you need to fix your blocked sink or toilet, you want it to be dealt with pronto. Leaving things like that will just become stinky and gross. So have a list of handymen and plumbers that you like to use. That is, of course, if you don’t know how to fix these types of things yourself.


If you are away from home for a few weeks, you could start to get a build-up of mold or mildew on the walls. This can be especially true in the winter months. So how can you combat this? If you go away a lot, you need to have some helpful and trustworthy friends. You will be relying on them to help you out a bit again. If your home is susceptible to this kind of thing, then make plans before you leave. Getting a dehumidifier is a great idea too. Have your friends or neighbors put that on for you every few days. Then it can take lots of the moisture out of the house. The rooms to focus on are in the basement in particular. Then just other rooms depending on what the weather is like. Lots of rain when you are away, equals lots of use of the dehumidifier!

Most of all, just make sure that you have home insurance. So if the worst thing does happen, you can deal with it in a quick and relatively inexpensive way. Have you ever had an unforeseen disaster at home? If so, how did you deal with it?


5 Mistakes To Avoid When Paiting Your Interior

Painting is one of those jobs that looks easy, but it’s definitely not.

Anyone who’s ever picked up the brush can attest to that. If done correctly, painting is a fine way to freshen your home and make it feel brand new. If done incorrectly, your walls and ceilings can quickly deteriorate into a sloppy, discolored mess.

So, to help you avoid this situation, here are five ways to do it incorrectly, so you know to avoid them. Brushes at the ready!

Mistake 1: Getting paint on the floor

That expensive carpet you laid down can quickly turn into a mess if you’re not careful. There are a couple of reasons why you may be doing this, and it’s important to wipe them out.

The first is that you’re loading your brush too much. As a result, paint is dripping off the brush and onto the floor. Obviously, you’ll want to put less on your brush to negate this effect. Secondly, make sure the floor is covered, and the paint surface is not glossy. Both these can result in a colorful floor!

Mistake 2: Using the wrong kind of paint


There are a lot of different paints for a lot of different situations, and to be fair, it can get hard to chose the right one. If you’re painting inside, you’ll need some interior paints, so make sure you don’t choose exterior paints.

You can get paints that are glossier than others too, so beware of these. Most of us wouldn’t want our walls to have a slight sheen! Glossy paints are best used on features like banisters, to accent a space.

Mistake 3: Painting when it’s dark

This could mean you start painting too early in the day, or you start too late. Even if you paint in high daylight, you must ensure that the room is well-lit. If it isn’t the color of the paint will not come across as naturally as you’d like.

Additionally, if you paint in low light, you can miss patches of wall that you forgot to paint. You will also miss other imperfections, like slight bumps, which can impact how the paint looks. Buy some spare lights if you must - just keep the room well-lit!

Mistake 4: Painting over gloss

Painting over gloss is a surefire way to ensure your paint does not stick. The paint needs some sort of friction to stick itself to, and gloss has precisely zero friction. It’s important that you sand the area down first, to give the paint something to hold onto.

Mistake 5: Moving the brush in different directions


This means that you’re waving the thing around like it’s a magic wand. It’s important that you keep all your brush strokes flowing in the same direction. This will make your walls and ceilings look better, because you won’t be able to see all the random stroke lines.

So if you start to paint downwards, keep it that way for the whole job. If you start to paint to the right, keep painting to the right. If you forget which direction you’re headed, double check the most recent patch you painted and look for stroke directions.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

More fun selections

Following up from my last post about my super fun job selecting finishes for our new house, there were a few final things I had to choose, these are a little more mundane and not as beautiful but really important to the finished product. I know all my posts recently have been new house related, sorry about that, but I love this stuff so want to make sure I'm spreading the joy just a little, the world really needs it right now. Rest assured though this is my last house post for a little bit because tomorrow we head off on our New York I'm scared! I know it will be great but I just need to get there already so I can relax!

So doors.....I really dislike door selections, there are limited options and they are kinda dull, we just went with a flat door on the inside, including a few cavity doors. Our sliding wardrobe doors are frosted glass which will be beautiful. Our builder tried to make us do mirrored, no way! Way too many finger prints meaning way too much thanks! Front doors on the other hand, this is my dream...

This is what we're getting (in stained wood)...


Lever handles are going on the doors, maybe a little higher than standard so little hands can't reach them and scare mum and dad in the middle of the night ;).

We have gone with the colour Woodland Grey from Dulux on our window frames. We did that with our last house and I quite liked it, simple but it stands out quite a bit.  I like small features standing out rather than an entire feature wall.  Hopefully they stand out really well with the wall colour, hanging out to see the finished product......hurry up already!

We are having ducted heating which is amazing, although it is in the ceiling. I have never had ceiling heating before and I'm not 100% convinced that it is what I want but we don't have a choice with the house on a slab. Will need to get used to it but I'm sure it wont take very long.

Our contract includes an air conditioning allowance. We will be getting split system air conditioners both upstairs and downstairs. I have been really confused about placement of the air conditioner upstairs. Basically you walk up the stairs and see 4 doors, 2 bedroom doors, a bathroom and a toilet door. That's it, there is barely a hallway connecting all of them so where to put the air conditioner??? We are getting something like the ones available at, I think what we might have to do is get 2 smaller air conditioners to go in the bedrooms upstairs, if we put one big one in it would be facing a wall and would really be ineffective. I'm not about to waste money on something that won't work very well.  Downstairs the air conditioner will face the living and dining area which will also spread into the 2 bedrooms downstairs. I think that one is sorted, we just need to get the builder on board with the upstairs systems.

So what else.......We didn't need to select handles for our kitchen, we are having the push to open doors and drawers for a super sleek design, otherwise I think that's it. I think all my selections are done and anything I've missed can wait until the end.

So now I'm off to finish my packing and get ready for bed before getting up super early to head to the airport. I'm so exhausted already and I have 24 hours of travel ahead of me still, argh I can't wait to get there already and get settled in. I also can't wait to share our new adventures with you and the beautiful apartment we're staying in, now that I am excited about!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My favourite part of the build

I spent the day today driving around the eastern suburbs on Melbourne with our builder doing one of my favourite things. Can you guess what it is..........

If you read my last post you will see that we are about to embark on an incredible journey and move to New York for a few months. Because we are doing this we need to make any and all decisions and selections about the house in our backyard before we go. So today was spent doing exactly that, selecting all fixtures and fittings. Oh it was so much fun! I had done a heap of research and knew exactly what I wanted before I even set foot in each of these shops. You will have to excuse the terrible photography but I took photos of some of our options in the factories but hopefully you get the idea.

First place was flooring, we are having floorboards throughout the living areas and carpet in the bedrooms. We are looking for something super versatile that will work with our furniture, wall colour, any cabinetry and of course the abundance of toys that grace our floors on a daily basis. Because of this we decided to stick with something pretty neutral but beautiful at the same time. I am super excited about our floorboards, I am not a fan of floating floors, I really dislike the plastic look and feel that you get when you walk on them. We decided that we wanted to spend a bit more money on the floors and actually get wooden floorboards, I can't wait to see them in the house.

The carpet that we chose is pretty neutral too, just a basic grey nylon carpet that will ensure the wrath of toddlers, pretty basic this one.

Our next stop was kitchens, I love white kitchens but my husband thinks they are a bit cold, he is totally right but there are so many ways to warm them up so that was my goal today. Get my beloved white kitchen but warm it up the hubby with something I know he loves.  So here are the selections we made.... The wood grain will be the cabinets that run along the roof, the white will be the drawers that run along the floor and the white/greyish stone will be the bench top. The bench top will run along the back and then a waterfall bench on the island. There are so many things that this house will bring to us that is completely new. In each of our houses we have never lived with an island bench, simple but exciting. I have also never had a walk in robe......pretty freaking excited about that! Will make sure I buy enough clothing while we are in New York to fill it up.

Next stop, the tile shop! We had seen some beautiful bathrooms on Houzz that we loved so I ran with that theory. We are having floor to ceiling tiles so I wanted to make sure we has a special feature wall. So here are our bathroom tiles....The grey tile with the grain will run along the floor and up one of the main walls as a feature. The tiles will run horizontally in both bathrooms. We already have high ceilings so we don't need to add any more height, or the perception of height. Then the white subway tile is slightly longer than your standard but I love it that little bit longer. Those tiles will cover the rest of the walls. The vanity will be a wood grain with a white top to add a bit of warmth to the room. Add some towels and some funky accessories and you have a beautiful bathroom. I am so pumped to see this finished.

I still need to make the bathroom selections done. I can check them out online but I really like these shower heads. They add so much class to the bathroom so I can't go passed them. I will get matching taps any towel rails so that they all work well together. After all of these selections are made all we need to worry about is the doors and door handles. We are going to go with some standard finish flat doors in white with maybe satin finish lever handles. We have always had satin finish silver handles but I'm just a bit worried about the lever style, they might not look right right satin, maybe gloss is the better option. Hmmm so many options. We're almost there. I'll be sure to share part 2 with you once we have finished our selections.


3 Reasons Your Why You Are Failing At Selling Your House (And How to Fix Them)

Let's be honest, selling your house isn't the easiest thing in the world to do. If you're reading this article, you probably know that already. To stop you tearing your hair out trying to sell your abode, then see what you can do about it below.


It's way too cluttered

The first rule of selling your house is to get rid of all your junk. While you might think that your 80’s lucky troll collection is the bomb, you may be surprised to find out that not all potential buyers will share your view.  You are trying to create a blank canvas so that the buyer can imagine their life in that home. Excessive knick knacks family photos and overfilled rooms will only work against you.

Even before you get the agent round to take pictures, you are going to need to be ruthless and trim those rooms down to their bare minimum. Make sure you get the balance right, though. You want modern and simple not prison cell chic!

It's hard work, moving furniture around and tidying up the garden. If you are feeling a bit overcome with it all, lighten the load by using affordable rubbish removal services. Letting someone pick up the stuff you have cleared out will save you time and help you not to become too exhausted with the moving process.

It doesn't smell as nice as it could

Another issue sellers have when putting their house on the market can be a bit of a delicate one. That's right the smell of your house may prevent a sale. No one wants to put all their hard earned savings into a new home that smells like wet dog, smoke or damp.

Make sure that Fido waits outside while people are looking round your place, so it smells good. Don't smoke in the house and get any damp sorted before your try and sell. Use these freshen up tips to help you. Some people goes as far as to recommend going bit ‘Better Crocker.’ Bake some cookies or bread, to give off a nice inviting smell to potential buyers. Just try to not to eat them all before they arrive!

Your taste is avant-garde

Another problem sellers come across is that their home is, well, uniquely theirs. What we are trying to say here, in the nicest possible way is that someone's taste is just so unique that potential buyers won't always understand it. Neon walls, black carpets or other furnishings are not going to get the buyers beating down your door. You might want to consider a bit of redecoration before your sell.

Boring as it is, buyers like white walls and cream carpets. They like to know they can move straight in without spending buckets of money and time on the place to make it livable for them. Do yourself a favor and pop down to the hardware store and grab and few tins of hogsbristle paint.



Sunday, July 3, 2016

So many more reasons to catch up

There is some super exciting things happening under our roof at the moment that I really just couldn't wait to share. In my last catch up post I wrote about the house in our backyard and the work being done on the outside of our current home. That is all still progressing nicely and we are still planning on selling our house in the next few months, however something else pretty big has been thrown into the mix.

I don't tend to share this information much, mainly for privacy and security reasons, but my husband does a little bit of travel with his job, and by travel I don't mean Sydney, Brisbane, Perth etc, I mean Switzerland, France, USA, Italy etc.  Lucky man I know! I have written posts in the past about the travel that myself and my eldest daughter have been lucky enough to do with him. We have been to some amazing places and feel very lucky to have had the opportunities that we have had. The next opportunity that has been sent our way is basically packing up our family for a few months and moving overseas.  I was a bit nervous about the location, it changed a few times before they decided where they needed my husband to be, luckily for us they decided on NEW YORK!!!

Thats right, our little family of 4 are going to be moving to New York for a few months. I feel like it is just the right amount of time for our family to be away from everyone we know. If it was going to be 12 months or more I would probably be a bit more uncomfortable but right now I am just excited. We are getting some help to find accommodation and I can't wait to see where we stay. Hoping for a 3 bedroom apartment somewhere but I know that could be super expensive so will just have to wait and see what we end up with. I am also super excited to see the inside of an American home, whilst it is just another home the USA do things a tad differently. They tend to use really dark woods and lots of granite. Every home that we have looked at is quite small for a pretty large price tag but that doesn't really bother me, we are only going to be there for a few months. The kitchens look quite small as well, my kitchen is not very big either but they squeeze a lot into such a little space so they must be great at using whatever space they have and being really practical. I'll be sure to share the photos when we find a place.

My husband is a little bit worried about me in the USA though, I already have a list of items that I can't wait to buy, things in the USA are a little cheaper than they are here in Melbourne, Australia. I love scrolling the Pinterest pages, reading blogs and watching youtube videos and most of the people I follow are American. The products that I find on these pages and love I often find are not available in Australia, or they just don't ship that far away. I am definitely going to need to send a few boxes home with all of my purchases, may have to get my Christmas shopping done while I'm there as well. Oh I hope we stay near some shops!!!

I do love shopping but at the end of the day, I really hope our accommodation will have beds to sleep in, a kitchen to cook beautiful food, a grocery store nearby and a park wouldn't hurt either, otherwise we can work with anything and have fun. I can't wait to share to photos of our little journey with you when we get there, which is in July I might add so not far away! Can't hold my excitement for too long...


Freshen Your Home The Easy Way With These Tips

Do you ever come in from a run around the park and think “oh my word, what is that stink”? There have probably been times when you just can’t figure out what that unappealing smell might be that lurks around the house. And then you remember you’re entertaining that evening. You don’t want to be embarrassed by something less that pleasant hitting them in the nostrils!

Bad odours accumulate so easily in the house. They come from cooking, they come from the bathroom, and they even come from outside. Because the air is quite still indoors, these less than fantastic aromas just can’t escape. The first thing to do when you don’t like how the house is smelling is to open the windows and let the wind blow it out. This fresh burst of air will also help you feel better. New air rushes in, pushing stale air out. How refreshing!

Of course, there are times when those whiffs have a deep, dark, and scary source. Do you have a cat? Have you ever had them bring in a small feathered playmate, get bored of it when it stopped moving and then left it there under the sofa? After a few days, you will definitely know about it! Pets also have a nasty habit of having toileting accidents. Sometimes you have to just sniff it out to find it and dispose of it. Then comes the joy of cleaning up!

Our fridges are full of strong scents too. Leftovers and open packets can build up into quite a symphony of smells in no time. That’s not to say they’re unpleasant. But maybe as an ensemble, the whiff can be a bit overpowering! Some people like to leave a bowl of lemon juice in the fridge. Others use bicarbonate of soda. The idea is that they will absorb the excess smells, so when you open the fridge, they won’t fill the kitchen.

After replacing the stale air in the house with fresh, why not scent the air with something more appealing? Scented candles are excellent at perfuming a house with any delicious scent you fancy. And you can even buy 1 kilogram scented candles for a longer burn time. They look stylish in the room too, as they come in different colours, sizes, and patterns. There’s something quite mesmerising about staring at the little flame on the top too.

Bathrooms can harbour odours that are very difficult to get rid of. And I’m not referring to the toilet! Your bathtub often remains damp for hours as we wait for them to air dry. But the extra moisture in the room starts to make the walls, ceilings, mats, and towels damp too. Mould and mildew can build up in the grouting and around the seals. Not only does it look horrible, but it can smell damp and yucky too. It may be noisy, but using your extractor fan greatly reduces the risk of this happening. Unless you want to dry your tub and walls with a towel? Bleach doesn’t smell great either, so try to use cleaning products that protect against buildup. Stay fresh!


Why You Should Take The Plunge & Build Instead Of Buying A House

As you will know if you follow my blog, I am currently in the process of having a custom-made house built. It’s taking time to complete, but it’s well on the way to being the most beautiful home. A lot of people ask me why we opted to build and not buy, so I thought I would share the benefits of building instead of buying. If you’re in two minds about building, these should give you the push you need to take a leap of faith.

building house 3.jpg

You can create the house of your dreams

Of course, one of the most common reasons people choose to build instead of buying, is so that they can design the home of their dreams. When buying a house, often you have to compromise on certain factors, such as the location. However, when you opt to build, you can have everything just how you want, as you are designing the building from scratch. You get to choose every last detail, from the materials you build with to the layout of the property.

It can be cheaper


A lot of people don’t realize it, but building can work out cheaper than buying. This is because when it comes to building, you get to pick all the materials that are used. You aren’t paying for features other people have put into the property, just things that you want. Plus, in the long-run, you’ll save money by building. You see, all the materials used will be brand new, this means that for a few years, they’ll be under warranty. This means that any problems with your property, such as the boiler breaking down, you won’t be responsible for.

Your home will be ultra modern

Your home will be designed and created using the newest methods, ensuring that it’s as structurally sound as possible. Because it’s being made to your exact specifications, you can opt to design a home that’s ultra high-tech. This will make it worth more, should you ever opt to sell. Many home design companies, like Derbyshire, offer not only all the newest features but also the option of sustainable design. This means that your home would be built in a sustainable way, helping to keep running costs as low as possible. So if you’re a fan of living green, building instead of buying is most definitely worth considering.

You can pick the ideal location

new house 2.jpg

If you’ve got a certain location in mind, building can be a fantastic option. Instead of having to wait until a suitable property becomes available, you can build one in your area of choice. Of course, there needs to be a plot of land available, but as long as there is, you can build your dream home in the perfect location.

So there you have it, a guide to the benefits of building a home instead of buying one. It might take longer to move into, but there are lots of benefits that make the wait worth it. Especially if you’ve got certain ideas about what you want your home to be like.