Friday, July 29, 2011

Carbon Debate Puts Immediate Focus on Housing Design


Pergolas can be precisely designed to block the summer sun, and still allow the desirable winter sunshine to penetrate and can be planted with deciduous vines or creepers.
Design by Architect:Terence Nott


The current carbon tax debate is placing an immediate focus on housing design and energy saving products as prudent people considering purchasing a home or carrying out a renovation will increasingly begin to factor in the cost of running a home and using building products that are less energy intensive to produce, said Archicentre, the building advisory service of the Australian Institute of Architects.
Pergolas can be precisely designed to block the summer sun, and still allow the desirable winter sunshine to penetrate and can be planted with deciduous vines or creepers.
Design by Architect:Terence Nott Archicentre State Manager ACT & NSW, Ian Agnew said considering the carbon tax is planned to be introduced in July 2012 it is prudent for people to consider its impact when planning a building project which can take up to twelve months to commence.
Mr Agnew said, "As carbon pricing will impact both on materials used and on the running costs of the home, the major area for home buyers and renovators to create a winner is at the design stage.
"Ultimately the cost saving starts with the design and siting of the home including making provision for natural light in the main living areas and the orientation of the home to gain the maximum benefit for passive solar heating and provision for water harvesting.
"This is the stage where all of the ideas are assembled and thought through to ensure the best design for the budget is worked out.
"This stage can also be the most expensive time for new home builders or renovators, if they make a mistake on the original design and have to undertake costly variations, the greatest reason for cost blow outs on projects."
Mr Agnew said the proposed carbon tax is a catalyst for people to look differently at housing and encourage smaller and better designed homes, and being more careful in material selection as a major strategy to cope with Australia's housing affordability.
Archicentre undertakes over 20,000 reports each year and its Design Concepts consider climatic conditions, prevailing local conditions, site orientation, the zoning or location of the rooms in the home, materials, construction techniques and the building cost.
Mr Agnew said the first step in orientation is maximising the northern aspect, where exposure to the sun is best controlled. Eaves and pergolas can be precisely designed to block the summer sun, and still allow the desirable winter sunshine to penetrate.
"It is important to prioritise rooms based on access to views and solar orientation. An open-plan kitchen and living area, for example, should have top position, while bedrooms or bathrooms require less daylight, as they are largely used for short periods of time, or at night.
By zoning the home, unused areas can be closed off, and cooling and heating appliances can be designed for maximum efficiency and minimum use.
Mr Agnew said the carbon tax introduction will have a major impact on reinforcing sustainable housing design across the market in new homes and renovations.
Archicentre Checklist of Improvements to the Home
• Insulate the ceiling
• Weather seal windows and doors
• Fit blinds, curtains or drapes
• Buy high star-rated appliances
• Install solar panels
• Replace single flush toilet cisterns with dual flush cisterns
• Upgrade your heating system to a more efficient design
• Install a rain water tank
• Upgrade your hot water service
• Fit a grey-water diversion system
• Upgrade your windows using double glazing or other high tech. glass
• Build a pergola or verandah to provide shade when needed
www.archicentre.com.au

Bathrooms on The Block




Bathrooms on The Block


We here at Complete Home love watching The Block, and were excited last week to see the reveal of the four couples’ fabulous bathrooms. As always, we are constantly searching for ways to maximise space and style in the bathroom, one of the most-used rooms in the house, and were thoroughly impressed with the winning couples’ choice of innovative products to achieve this.


Josh and Jenna’s ensuite was noted as the best room on The Block so far, and we think it had everything to do with their clever choice of materials. The winning design featured a Mirastar splashback, giving the illusion of space and a custom-made cabinet with mirrored doors. While their oversized tub and double shower proved luxury in a tight space is possible. Using a sleek frameless showerscreen enabled them to separate the wet area, and a custom glass-door to the entrance of the ensuite opened up the space beautifully.





By positioning the mirrored splashback behind the bath, Josh and Jenna achieved the illusion of space.
Rather than using a standard internal door, Josh and Jenna chose a framelessv Matelux door for a more cohesive finish.


Taking a different approach, Rod and Tania’s bathroom featured a floating benchtop and custom-made bathtub, with gorgeous Stegbar custom panelling on the walls. Like Josh and Jenna, they chose a frameless shower screen and mirrors to maximise space. Custom-glass panelling, which is usually available in a range of colours, is a great way to create a sophisticated surface, with minimal cleaning requirements.



The black glass splashback adds a sophisticated edge to Rod and Tania’s room.



A sponsor of the show and well known for their innovative products, we spoke to JELD-WEN about the final results. Marketing director, Bruce Tosello said, “The bathroom renovations we have seen on The Block this past week have shown one of the biggest challenge facing renovators – creating a space that can adapt to suit the needs of every member of the household, while also being a reflection of their personal style.” He was also impressed by their use of some of the most popular bathroom trends. “Glass panelling has emerged as the modern and contemporary alternative to tiles in more than just a bathroom in a home and it proved the winning advantage for Rod and Tania.”


And on a tight budget, the couples on the Block have had to keep costs down - something, Bruce says, that doesn’t need to impact on style. “Stegbar’s range of frameless, semi-frameless and framed showerscreens offers everyone a solution. A frameless showerscreen can instantly add a touch of luxury and elegance to any bathroom.”



Tania and Rod’s frameless shower screen is a sleek addition, opening up the wet area seamlessly.


Keep your eyes peeled for the following JELD-WEN products on The Block 2011 (Chanel 9, 7pm weeknights, and 6:30pm Sunday),


 Corinthian internal doors & cavity slider doors
 Corinthian designer entry doors
 Stegbar cedar and aluminium windows
 Stegbar cedar and aluminium bi-fold doors
 Stegbar showerscreens and mirrors
 Stegbar wardrobes
 Stegbar Aurora & Mirastar designer glass panel splashbacks



Thursday, July 28, 2011

MILJO PRESENTS an exhibition by designer ANNA WESTCOTT

MILJO is a highly edited lifestyle design store with an emphasis on sourcing and supporting products still made from their place of originality.
Although there's a clear Scandinavian influence, they also support other local and
international products / designers.
Rather than focusing on mass production, MILJO look at the merit of good design with
sustainable or interesting production methods with an emphasis on quality and
attention to detail.

Starting with Anna Westcott - MILJO plan to hold a series of design exhbitions and events that showcase and promote emerging local talent / products made + designed locally to increase local awareness and interest of creative talent in Australia.
Fresh off the back of an eventful few months, fashion designer Anna Westcott will try herhand at a multi-media art installation to be showcased within MILJO's light and airy Scandinavian inspired retail/gallery space.
Handpicked from her graduate year to show at the 'RAFW INNOVATORS 2011' show,
custom costume making for 'THE GRATES' and various awards & accolades from industry
have kept Anna busy. However she will kick off the first in a series of design
events/exhibitions to be held in store at MILJO.
Alongside a video installation & photography exhibit will sit sculptural pieces illustrating the inspiration behind her SS12 debut collection 'PHOS'. Centred around the idea of refraction: how light refracts through water & creates distortion. Using surrealistic digital prints, the exhibition, as does Anna's collection, plays with movement, scale & colour.


EVENTS: FREE ENTRY
MILJÖ SHOP 23C CURLEWIS ST. BONDI BEACH
www.miljoshop.com+61 2 9130 6445

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

COPENHAGEN DESIGN WEEK 2011


For the second time, Copenhagen Design Week is ready to welcome international architects, designers, heads of companies, researchers and students for six days of conferences,seminars, talks, exhibitions and events. From Thursday 1st September to Tuesday 6th September, much of Copenhagen will be buzzing with design events and debates that will focus on Danish design and design solutions under the theme, “Think Human”.
The theme “Think Human” makes Copenhagen Design Week different from the other international design weeks. Denmark has a unique approach to design and design
solutions, which other countries can learn from for both local and global challenges.
This is why Copenhagen Design Week 2011 has chosen a theme reflecting the humanist traditionthat invites politicians, planners, designers and architects to put the user, the individual, and the human being at the centre of their thinking.
The week’s conferences and specialist arrangements go deeper by focusing on “Think Human” inrelation to architecture, sustainability, design process, choice of materials, production methods, and not least the sensory experience of the consumer or citizen. So Copenhagen Design Week is about much more than just seeing new design in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen Design Week brings together activities from the world’s biggest design award, INDEX, to specialist arrangements from the Danish Design Centre (DDC), the Danish Design Association (DDA), the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC), the Danish Design Museum, Copenhagen Business School, design and architecture schools, etc.
At the heart of the week will be a special “Think Human” design zone on the pier where Ophelia Beach is open every summer next to the Royal Danish Playhouse. The zone will have exhibitions, a press centre, an information point, and recreation areas. You will be able to see exhibitions and architectural installations, get export advice from the Foreign Ministry’s local representatives, and
hear international speakers on how the humanist way of thinking can make a difference in a world that needs change.
INDEX will also have an exhibit on the pier – with the winning projects from this year’s INDEX Award, which will be presented in the presence of HRH Crown Prince Frederik and HRH Crown Princess Mary at a big gala show at the Opera house on 1st September. And there will be many other activities all over the city in the form of open showrooms. You can already register on the website, which shows the provisional programme. You can also follow the design week on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Copenhagen Design Week was created on the initiative of the Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs and is run by the Danish Design Centre in collaboration with a number of partners. It is a biannual event, held for the first time in 2009.
INDEX: Award Exhibition features the finalists for INDEX: Award, representing less than 10 percent of the total number (966) of nominations for the world’s biggest design award and will be displayed on Kvæsthusmolen at the Royal Danish Playhouse in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Highlights from the programme:
• The Design Zone (Kvæsthusmolen) – with Think Human exhibitions, installations, talks and an information point for all activities
• INDEX: Award – gala show with the selection of winning projects as well as exhibitions and conferences
• CODE11, Copenhagen Design Fair – trade fair with furniture, lighting, design, textiles and home fittings
• Exhibitions – e.g. Challenge Society (DDC) and How to make a livable city? (DAC)
• Conferences – e.g. What keeps you up at night – how can design help? (DDC), Co-creating future markets (DDA/CBS) and How Public Design? (MindLab)
• Open showrooms – in all the Copenhagen’s design shops and showrooms

http://copenhagendesignweek.com

Have you seen the top challenges on Top Design?

Despite the fact that the reputation of Australia’s renovation shows is sliding at an alarming rate, I gave Top Design a go. The show hosted by Jamie Durie aired on Channel Nine and was surprisingly good.

While your common renovation shows are building, designing and styling rooms and homes to be bought and lived in by ordinary people, I felt that Top Design was setting challenges that really were just that- a conceptual challenge. Yes, one could argue that any renovation is a challenge because let’s face it, it is, but Channel Nine’s Top Design weekly challenges are that cut above the rest. I love that the challenges are just that touch different, quirky and often need the contestants to think outside their comfort zone.

On the first episode of Top Design Australia, Jamie Durie had the contestants solving the issues that the confined spaces of your conventional bomb shelter provided. Congratulations Top Design Australia, that really is a challenge you don’t see every day. The commercials for Top Design streaming on Channel Nine in the lead up had my brain bouncing around the confined space of my head! Trying to fathom how one would transform something more easily defined as a box into a living space. And that is how Top Design got me hooked.

Jamie Durie’s design brief had partners tearing down walls, building up towers, inventing unconventional furniture and expanding out with sweeping decks. Nearly every Top Design couple had planned a different approach and it was truly fascinating to see how these mere ideas transformed into reality.

It was easily concluded that some Top Design contestants were being too tricky. Sure, this would impress Jamie Durie and the judges with their outlandish and daring bold statements — but not if it’s not properly. Robert’s pulley bed system had my dad yelling at the TV; even with his self-trained carpenter skills, even he could conceive methods of simplifying the concept.

Top Design’s Dee undoubtedly had a rebellious take on interior design with her hand painted walls, mix-match styling and mastery over colour palettes. She had me one step away from adding her on Facebook and pursuing a long-lasting relationship where we intimately discussed fashion, interior design and art. Just quietly, even in these early stages, I am confidently backing Dee as Top Design Australia successor of 2011.

Anyway, back to what I gained from this Channel Nine’s Top Design as a designer:
1.Sometimes simple is stunning: Stephen and Lisa extended the living space cleverly by expanding out to the deck was loved by Jamie Durie and the judges of Top Design. While the concept wasn’t overly complicated; it truly turned this box into an inviting and habitable space — unlike the pulley bed or rooftop deck. It was an achievable goal and a space that can continue to be adapted to altering styles.

2.Invite a burst of colour into your home: Stephen definitely comes across as a bright character and his splashes of paint added something special and unique to the couple’s design of the bunker.
3. It is important to have a switched on project manager: Craig was one of the first eliminated on Top Design due to his inability to control the project. Too much blame was placed on this teams trades men, when really what they were lacking was strong site management.

4. Add a design theme: Dee was who Jamie Durie labeled the first weeks ‘Top designer’ as her bunker encapsulated a masculine theme that stylistically drew out the bunkers historical purpose with an old English army feel.
5. Stick to your budget: Steve and Lisa blew the budget set by Top Design Channel Nine by almost $5,000. It is easy to get carried away (admittedly easier when it’s not your money) but excessive spending may lead to unfinished projects or even unfinished rooms within your own home.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A VISIT TO FALLINGWATER


Australian Architecture Association volunteer tour guide and achitecture student, Robert Morley recently visited Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece, Fallingwater. Robert kindly agreed to share his story with readers of Complete Home's Blog.

Words and photos by Robert Morley.

No self-respecting admirer/lover of architecture should live their life without making a pilgrimage to Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most wonderful architectural achievements. I had been telling myself that for most of my adult life, yet until mid-June this year I still had not made the trip. The excuse was always due to its location - it is somewhat off the beaten track, lost in heavy woodland at Bear Run, Pennsylvania, some 90 minutes by car from Pittsburg. There are little, if any, other places of interest for travelers requiring less than several hours in a car, so a visit is quite an undertaking.

Arriving at the gate to Fallingwater I had a mixture of great excitement and some apprehension. This house is so lauded, so photographed, so analysed, so widely known… would it live up to the massive expectations I had in my mind? In a nutshell, yes, and then some. It is, simply, wonderful. A splendid vision lost in the woodland, modernist, beautifully proportioned, poetic and it put a massive grin on my face.

The house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and completed in 1935 for the Kaufman family, proprietors of a successful Pittsburg department store, as their family weekend retreat. It is situated deep in a valley and over the waterfall of Bear Run, a cascading creek which provides a wonderful rushing sound. Wright positioned the house over the waterfall and incorporated a natural rocky platform within the living room – the Kaufman’s liked picnicking at that rock and sitting atop the falls, so to Wright it was the only place to situate the house. Wright designed the house and all its contents, with the exception of Mrs Kaufman’s own rustic Austrian dining chairs.



In the 1960’s Edgar Kaufman, Jnr bequeathed the house to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Association and it has been open to the public ever since. The Association offers regular tours of the house, which are often sold out.

My tour commenced to the immediate south-east of the house, on a bridge affording a view of its various levels, the expansive terraces, steps descending to a landing suspended above the plunge pool and of course the creek. On entering the house I was struck by the series of transitions Wright had conceived. He was a master at creating spacial quality by leading you through a series of spaces…small spaces, larger spaces, smaller spaces, then outside. Small corridors, small rooms and a series of turns give way to living spaces which appear larger than they really are, because they are larger than the preceding spaces.

Visitors on my tour were astonished at the small bedrooms and low ceiling heights, in what from the outside, appears as a massive house. Wright is said to have been dismissive of tall people - ceiling heights in some sections of the house are a mere 2m high. Even lower bulkheads create further transition between the inside and the outside, and to other rooms. The overall effect is that whilst you know the house is generous in its entirety, you have the sense of a series of intimate and cosy spaces.

Another aspect of the house which really struck me was the way the outside had been brought into the house. You felt you were semi-outside when inside. Stone walls continue in from the outside, remaining un-rendered on the inside. Window panes are set directly into the mortar between the stones, without framing to that edge. The effect is that you do not notice the window pane, the inside space merges with the outside. This was a requirement in the brief for the house, for the Kaufman’s to be able to be as close as possible to nature even when inside.

I could easily write at length about Fallingwater. My visit is unforgettable. I urge you to take the journey to the house and experience the masterpiece for yourself.

For more information about Fallingwater visit:www.fallingwater.org

CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF DESIGN EXCELLENCE

Luxury Home Design magazine wishes John Croft Design a happy 30th!




One of Brisbane's best-known and best-loved interior design firms, John Croft Design, turned 30 this year. John and his team of talented designers from this multi-award-winning company have been creating unique and colourful designs for their clients in Queensland and around Australia, many of which have featured in Luxury Home Design magazine.
From early beginnings it was John’s goal to open his own interior design business — something he achieved while still quite young. He started John Croft Design from his Indooroopilly home at age 26 and a few years later he expanded by opening a small shop in Toowong.
“I persevered bit by bit, then I bought my first building in Spring Hill, Brisbane, in 1987 which was double the size of my previous shop,” related John. This is when his reputation began to grow and as his design skills and name became recognised, business flourished. In 1999, John bought a much larger premises in Fortitude Valley, where the company is still based today, with 10 experienced and professionally trained staff including six interior designers.
John said he was strongly influenced by famous British interior decorator and designer David Hicks, known for his employment of bold, shockingly vibrant colours, as well as mixing antique and modern furnishings and contemporary art for his famous clientele.



“I was fascinated by his work,” said John. “He worked on big projects, such as for the royal family. He mixed mostly contemporary patterns with traditional furniture; it was a very eclectic look.”
As a member of the Design Institute of Australia, John describes his style as “dynamic, exciting, not in a box and, most importantly, fun”! His projects are a demonstration of his passion for bright colours, which create excitement in any interior. “Even if we do traditional interiors there’s always a zing, something that makes our clients a little excited. Even if they have formal rooms, there is still a friendly, welcoming feel. I think colour is coming back in classic furnishings. The retro/classic combo is here, with fun. We need it; everyone needs a little excitement in their lives.”
We asked John what was the secret to his success over such a long period. He replied that providing exemplary service was the key and he was proud to say that most of the company's work comes from existing clients all over Australia, whether it be new work for themselves or from referrals to their friends — which is always a good testament to any company's success.
John thanked his staff and suppliers for their 30 years of inspiration, creativity and dedication and, most importantly, gave “a big thank you” to his clients “for allowing us into their homes and lives”.
The team at Luxury Home Design thanks John Croft Design for its ongoing support and wishes John and his team a very happy birthday.

For information about John and his team and to view some of his projects, visit: www.johncroftdesign.com.au

Monday, July 25, 2011

Googe Plus vs Facebook

Google plus is definitely getting a lot of attention at the moment, which is a good start...there have been varying reports about the number of users ranging from 10 - 20 million. Most of the attention, however, has been from heavy weights in social media...so not a fair representation of the population then! Google plus needs to convert a section of the population referred to as the 'Early Majority'.

The challenge they face is the 9x effect as noted by John T. Gourville. This theory details the psychology of people when they are faced with prospective adoption of new products. People think in terms of what they gain and what they lose. The 9x rationale is as follows:

  • consumers will overview the incumbents' offerings by a factor of 3
  • innovators will overview their product's offerings by a factor of 3
Question here: will the 'Early Majority' (34%) see a clear benefit vs. Twitter/Facebook?

Immediately...no, I don't think so. In terms of photos, games & the stream of conversations, Google plus pales in comparison to Facebook for the average consumer. Facebook had all of this already. Why would they need to leave Facebook for it? If your friends are happy to keep engaging on Facebook, why would you make the change? You go over to Google Plus and who is there for you to interact with? Social media titans?

Features & interface...yes, these are great...but are they 3x greater in terms of why consumers use Facebook or Twitter?

A few things can shake up this equation however.

  1. Google is actively courting celebrities to join Google Plus. This will increase participation from the 'Early Majority'. This did wonders for Twitter.
  2. The red notifier on the Google top menu bar. Plus the easy to use share box. Currently it shows up on Google's search pages, Gmail, Google docs, Google Finance, Picasa Web Albums & Google Reader...its not on YouTube yet, but I won't be surprised to see it there soon.
The red box is a Pavlovian engagement tool. You see it, you want to click on it. This gives Google Plus a tremendous built-in advantage for awareness & adoption.

Hope this has been informative :)



Common problems when renovating or decorating

A question that I have been dealing with a lot lately...what are common problems that are associated with renovating or decorating?

Myself and my fiance are about to embark on a journey of wills and I am guessing what will amount to be an emotional rollercoaster. We are going to do an extensive renovation on a property that we are about to purchase!

Two common pitfalls are:
i) setting an unrealistic budget
ii) being in too big a hurry

It is so important to have a real plan in place for the entire space and to have a true understanding of what you can afford. Planning is key and so often overlooked. Have a clear concept of your budget and map everything out in as much detail as you can.

People will make snap decisions to buy things quickly and on a whim. I am guilty of that...if I see a sale on, it will too often result in me making a major purchase that will not really add to design of the place...rather at the time it was a bargain and it was 'just fine' or 'good enough'.

Another common issue:
iii) emotional stress

Having witnessed my parents go through a number of renovations I feel I am well placed to say that this is a stressful process. No matter how well you plan it out or who you delegate the work to, it will still cause arguments! There is no way around this unfortunately. People do not fully understand how emotionally stressful this process can be.

I have heard that it can also be a huge strain on marriages. The reasons range from differences in aesthetic preferences; the stress of living in chaos for the duration of the renovation; the financial stress of the remodeling exercise.

These stressors are really common...but if you go in aware of these common issues you can contextualise them appropriately...then you wont feel like your life is falling apart :) Things will get back to normal when it's all over...albeit the room you are sitting in will look a little bit better.

What issues have you faced when renovating/decorating?

For more renovating tips, advice and products visit http://www.completehome.com.au/Renovation

Friday, July 22, 2011

Want to paint bold like they do on The Block?

I just got a Dulux Colour Consultant to visit my pad. It was possibly the best few bucks I've ever spent, and you get it off the purchase price of the paint when you go and buy. So, why are we so frightened by colour that we need a consultant to help us choose?

When I see bold colours being used on The Block I think "yeah - fire engine red feature wall - way to go", but when it comes to doing that in my own place I chicken out. Chances are most of us only renovate a few properties in a lifetime, so making choices that you are going to live with for the next 10 years freaks you out. Getting a colour consultant to visit your place and help just makes sense.

So - did I chicken out? No way! The colours are a mixture of warm and cool - its a palette I'd never have the guts to choose on my own. I got some good advice on lightening dark spaces, adding vibrancy and just getting the best effect. Some of my spaces are dark, and can't be helped by colour - so it was just about accepting that and going for cozy atmospherics.

As a student I lived in a flat that was a physiotherapy practice before we moved in. It was MBF blue throughout and nearly drove us all crazy. Fortunately the landlord didn't like it either and welcomed our efforts with newspaper and a spraycan. You're going to have to live with it - so get a consultant to help.



Who are your favourite interior designers?

This is my top ten!
1. Vincent Wolf – clean look that has managed to stay fresh over time http://www.vicentewolf.com/associates/info/biography
2. Clodagh from Ireland – earthy/cosmo flair http://clodagh.com/
3. Juan Montoya from Colombia – stunning textural minimalism http://www.juanmontoyadesign.com/
4. John Saladino – artist’s http://www.saladinostyle.com/#/section/sdg%20interiors
5. Michael Graves – postmodernism at its best http://www.michaelgraves.com/architecture/home.html
6. Anouska Hempel from the UK – her command of light and pattern is quite amazing http://www.anouskahempeldesign.com/residential/
7. Bennett & Judie Weinstock from Philadelphia – playful richness http://www.architecturaldigest.com/architects/100/bennett_weinstock/bennett_weinstock_profile
8. Tricia Guild from London – quirky colour sense http://www.designersguild.com/about-us/
9. Diamond Baratta – masters of colour http://www.diamondbarattadesign.com/home.html
10. Mario Buatta - http://www.architecturaldigest.com/architects/100/mario_buatta/mario_buatta_profile
Who are your favourite designers?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Design Dilemma: Wallpaper VS Paint

With regard to this question that has been asked by one of our website visitors…well I’m inclined to go with paint. Someday your mind will change…you will get sick of the wallpaper and in my experience, some contractors won’t even quote a price for trying to scrape it off. I have heard some horror stories where friends have had to steam and scrape off the wallpaper. Instead, to be safe, I would stick with paint. Modern primers are pretty good – even painting over a dark colour is pretty easy.

High quality paint, in a tasteful color skillfully applied, is always classy and adds value to your property. Wallpaper rarely adds value no matter what you do. I find wall paper to be quickly outdated. As stated before it is a terrible mess and headache to remove.

It might also depend on the social world you move in. I lived in New York for about 5 years and I have been to quite a few apartments on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, the core of the richest neighborhood in NYC, and 95% of them were at least partially wallpapered and it looked very nice; elegant, tasteful, just very old world, which is not really the way I would want to live.

Another reason to use wallpaper is functional. My parent's house has walls that are literally held together by over 100 years of wallpaper. Even attempting to remove any of that would probably damage the structural integrity of the walls at this point. So every 10 years or so my mum has her paper guy put another layer up. Painting is just not an option.

It is not recommended to cover over with more wall paper. The more layers the harder to remove. If you have textured walls the texture will always show through. Not to mention how busy almost all of the prints are. With paint, it is the art and furnishings that define a space.

What are your thoughts on this question?

Design Dilemma: When decorating should I start with fabric or paint first?

Select the finishes that are easiest to change last, so match your paint to fabrics and and paper patterns. But to start the ideas flowing gather all of your potential finishes and fabrics together in one place, making it far easier to visualize the end result.

Find fabrics that you love, then it will be much easier to find the paint that goes with them than attempting it the other way around. If you're upholstering furniture and you live near a design center, go there to find fabrics, rather than a retail outlet. You will find a wider selection of higher quality fabrics. They will be more expensive and you'll have to buy them through a designer or a buying service, but you'll be much happier with the results in the end.

Select the Fabric first followed by the paint colours; there is an infinite number of paint colours available, while the supply in fabrics in limited. Therefore it makes more sense to start with the fabric first, and pick paint colours accordingly.

What are your thoughts on this?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Space Saving Furniture Ideas for Studio Apartments

i) Create separation between the living and the sleeping area by using a few tall shelves in a series that serves as a dividing line

Example: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalo...

ii) Buy a corner desk or table that doesn't take up much space

Example: http://www.overstock.com/Home-Ga...

iii) Also check these websites for some cool ideas:

http://shoeboxdwelling.com/
http://www.swiss-miss.com/design...

iv) Utilize space upwards…use a series of hooks, shelves at the eye level around the kitchen walls & large shelf at top of your arms reach.

v) Use a wall-mounted drop leaf table as a standing desk and a kitchen table.

vi) The New York Times had a great story a few years ago about a small apartment in Hong Kong, "24 Rooms Tucked Into One".

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/1...

What are your thoughts? Any ideas on maximising space in small apartments?

What distinguishes an interior designer from a decorator?

This is a question that has been asked by one of the visitors to our website. In response my answer will consider not just the difference in degrees, but areas of study & practice, on the job duties and so forth.

With the influx of renovating shows on television nowadays, it seems this question is going to pop up more and more. Well a quick response would be the following: interior design is the creation or manipulation of space. On the other hand, decorating is the creation or manipulation of the elements within that space. Simply put it boils down to creation vs decoration.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Another take: design vs execution might be an alternative way to look at it? Design, from a holistic approach to the space in question, versus execution with regard to the sense of choosing and deploying the specific items (pillows, tables, carpets, sofas etc) used within the space to realise the overall vision.

What are your thoughts on this question?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Zip Industries

· World leader in instant hot water systems

· Zip Industries is proudly Australian & manufactured in our own factory.

· Zip Industries has been synonymous with instant hot water systems for more than 30 years.

· Zip Industries maintains a national network of more than 300 comprehensively-trained service technicians and service providers.

· Zip Industries offers a standard 24 month warranty with the option to extend to 36 months for residential models installed in residential kitchens.

Zip Industries Product range

Zip Industries has expanded beyond the instant hot water systems & developed a broad range of products including chilled filtered water systems. Zip Industries is now considered a world leader in instant hot water systems & filtered water systems.

The benefits of installing a hydrotap in your workplace.

One of the company’s signature products, the Zip HydroTap®, has transformed the idea of a kitchen tap forever! The Zip HydroTap® is better thought of as a kitchen sensation with major savings for individual households. Not only does it save valuable time in your busy life, it also saves water and energy making it an obvious choice in a world that is becoming more and more environmentally conscious.

The new residential range of Zip HydroTap® models deliver instant boiling filtered water and instant chilled filtered water, and because it saves time, water and energy the Zip HydroTap® is now being specified by architects and interior designers for inclusion in a growing number of home kitchens as well as in offices and other commercial projects. Install a Zip Hydroptap in your workplace and you will see the benefits.

Optional colours and finishes

This trend has led to increased demand for distinctive colours and finishes, so Zip® now offers Zip HydroTap® in bright chrome, brushed chrome (a better match for stainless steel), black chrome (very striking) and authentic gold plate (for sinful opulence).
If you are building a home or renovating your kitchen be sure and check out the full range of Zip HydroTap® models and options.

For a free brochure, call Zip® on 1800 42 43 44.