Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Say Goodbye to Mis-Match Colours

Have you ever stumbled across the perfect colour for your new walls? Only to find that a photo on your smart phone and a quick PMS comparison bear no resemblance to the colour you once saw?
Have you ever had to match the colour of a wall that had been scratched? Accidentally ditched the paint can ages ago and forgotten the swatch name?
Well believe it or not, there is an app to solve this colour-matching dilemma.
A new smartphone application enables you to capture any colour you see and store the information in your phone in as much detail as the human eye. The creators describe the SwatchMate as a "real-life eyedropper tool".

SwatchMate, from the bright minds of by Paul Peng, Rocky Liang and Djordje Dikic, is a small cube device that accurately identifies and captures colours on real-world surfaces. It uses Bluetooth to send the colour data to a smartphone or into Photoshop.
This application is revolutionary for designers, home renovators, and other creative minds to ‘measure’ colour values. Awarded the 2013 Sydney and Melbourne Design Award, Swatchmate allows users to instantly scan any surface and digitally match its colour to paint libraries. The idea is to make the colour world more interactive so that colours can be properly documented.

If the project reaches its funding goal, the SwatchMade will be manufactured in Victoria by June 2014.  

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Lighting Solutions

Lighting is a crucial element for any home. It can alter the mood as well as the appearance of your walls and furnishings in a particular space.

Different lighting for different spaces
Bedroom: Think about mood lighting, dimmer switches, wardrobe lighting, dressing table and bedside table lamps.
Lounge room: Accent lighting works well in a lounge room. It is recommended that you use up-lighting (floor lamp or wall lights) which offers a purer quality of light through refracting off the ceiling.
Kitchen: Your kitchen cabinets can showcase your treasures and collectibles with feature lighting. Recessed downlights and task lighting are also great in kitchens.
Get the right light bulbs
There are numerous light bulbs on the market: energy efficient, halogen, LED, fluorescent, incandescent – the list goes on. 
Light bulbs come in a variety of shades – from warm to cool light tones, or bright white, to blueish, to yellowish. This is the ‘colour temperature’ of light measured in degrees Kelvin. 

The lower the Kelvin the more yellow the light and the higher the Kelvin the bluer the light. A warmer globe is generally preferable in a home setting but a cooler globe may be more suitable for applications such as strip lighting in bulkheads.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sticky Doors

Sticky doors are a common problem that arise in Australian homes, but they are relatively easy to repair. Sticky doors are generally caused by loose hinges and unsealed top and bottom of the door which causing swelling of the timber. Sometimes a sticky door can also be an indication of more serious foundation issues, such as subsidence.

If you do not address a sticky door in a timely manner, the door will gradually become harder to open, which causes severe damage to the hinges and handles. 

By following a few simple steps, you can easily repair the problem of a sticky door:

1.       Plane the door down to its correct height. Plane it from one side to centre. Then again from other side to centre so you get an even surface. The ideal gap between the door and the door jam is 2mm to 3mm.
2.      Sandpaper the perimeter of door giving it a smooth round edge.
3.       Seal it up with some paint, to stop moisture getting inside the door so that it will remain stable.

4.       If re-hanging the door by yourself, put your hammer down on the floor parallel to the door. At a 90 degree angle, place your chisel over the top of the hammer and under the door. You will have created a foot-operated lever which will make it a lot easier to lift the door up and down by yourself.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Energy Saving Roofing

Engaging in the re-roofing process allows you to increase your energy efficiency whilst also reducing the cost.

Cracks and missing tiles can contribute to the development of water leaks. This also results in cooler temperatures inside the home, which leads to additional energy consumption and more money attributed for heating purposes.

Re-roofing will improve insulation and ventilation, generally making your home more comfortable.

The re-roofing process also offers the opportunity for the installation of sarking, a flexible membrane that is laid under the roof battens that provides increased thermal insulation.

When selecting a material for a replacement roof, terracotta roof tiles are the premium choice for Australian homeowners. This is because they are resistant to the effects of frost during the cooler months. They also act as an additional barrier against dust and condensation.

Colourbond is the other main contender offering a cheaper alternative and a sleeker look. This is paramount in the design phase. 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Bathroom Design Trends

The most recent bathroom design trends of 2013 are all about water efficiency, the spa experience, and overall aesthetics.


Water efficiency is now one of the primary considerations for Australian home owners. Companies such as Raymour are now supplying six star WELS rated basin mixers that use as little as 4.5L of water per minute with toilets also saving significant amounts of water with four star WELS rating.

Toilets have also evolved somewhat with wall hung and wall faced models increasing in popularity in recent times. These models have concealed cisterns and wall-hung designs are suspended above the floor for a clean and uncluttered look.

Spa Experience

Bathrooms are no longer seen as being a simple wash room but a home spa and a domain where people can unwind. Showers now deliver up to six shower patterns - from a refreshing light spray to a dense, massaging rain shower.

Kohler offers BubbleMassage baths that take up the same footprint as a conventional baths yet deliver the spa experience with thousands of warm-air-filled bubbles that massage and support the entire body.


Bathrooms have now become a representation of the homeowner's personal style. Earp Bros is pioneering the trend towards textural stone finishes, organic timber planks and coloured mosaics. All of these features are the product of the very latest in ceramic tile technology.

Moreover, dimensional and tessellated tiles have also become a huge trend in bathrooms where the tiles have an innovative 3-D appearance.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tessellated Tiling

Tessellated floor tiles involve a combination of ceramic pieces that form a geometric pattern to suit any space required. Their use in commercial and domestic architecture in the 19th century was due to their strength, durability and diversity of design. Due to the nature of tessellated patterns they offer good slip resistance and can be used in wet areas.

Tessellated patterns are supplied as loose pieces (not on sheets). This is done to ensure that the product is aesthetically pleasing. Joint sizes between tile pieces can vary from 1mm to 3mm. This enables the tiler to open and close up the joints to ensure patterns and borders fit seamlessly together.

It is important to employ a tiler experienced in tessellated tiling as it involves time setting out the pattern effectively, and understanding of how to turn borders correctly.

· Pre-sealing: This is recommended for red vitrified clay ONLY. Prior to exposing the red vitrified clay to water, pre-seal the top surface to prevent watermarking. This will also help to reduce efflorescence (salting which can result from the mix of water, sand and cement).
· Acid Wash: After the tiles have been laid and grouted, wash them with a phosphoric acid cleaner to remove any excess cement and grout residue.
· Neutralise: Rinse the floor thoroughly with water to remove all acid
· Penetrating sealer: Apply penetrating sealer to provide resistance from staining and oil.
· Cleaning: Tessellated tiles can be cleaned with scrubbing brushes to remove any built up dirt

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Things to consider before renovating your kitchen

       Research your design elements

It is important to research and collect samples of the materials and colour schemes you plan to use for the project. This will enable you to create a "mood board" that will allow you to visualize how the various design elements will look together. 

              Embrace innovative trends

Contemporary interior design trends are dynamic. Do your research! This could help make unique additions to your kitchen space. Magazines such as HomeLife or Grand Designs Australia provide great insight to interior design ideas.

           Attention to detail

Attention to detail can make or break the appearance of a new kitchen. Make sure you consider styling features such as splashback choice, undermount or top skins, draining solutions, and edge detail selection to create a space that represents your lifestyle.

        Design around your appliances

It's important to research your choice of appliances such as oven and cooktop, dishwasher and microwave as their dimensions will play a fundamental role in the overall layout of the kitchen. Be sure to allow for just the right amount of space to avoid frustration when your new fridge doesn't quite fit in its space.


It might be tempting to keep costs down by opting for cheaper appliances and materials but it's important to think long-term. A renovation is an investment that adds value to your home. Using products from reputable brands creates a quality finish that will appeal to future potential buyers.