Search This Blog

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Sophisticated Wood Floor Options

Hardwood Flooring
If sophistication is what you are after, then choose Hardwood flooring for its timeless elegance. Trees such as teak, rosewood, beech, oak and walnut are called hardwood and are advantageous because they are tight-grained, dense and resilient. Naturally, you would expect to pay more for Hardwood than you would for say, laminate flooring.

But you get value for money. Well laid hardwood flooring can last for centuries. Nothing short of fire and floods can destroy a well-cared for hardwood flooring.

Hardwood floors can completely transform the interiors of a room, giving it a welcoming and a rich tone. You can choose hardwood floors with variety of patterns and colour of wood since wood is naturally diverse in design. Hardwood floors have been used since time immemorial for obvious reasons. If you are considering installing hardwood floors, you have made a smart choice.

Besides creating elegant interiors, hardwood floors offer great health benefits and despite the slightly higher the benefits outweigh the investment.
Hardwood Floors Vs. Carpets
Hardwood floors have indirect health benefits. People generally fail to realise that carpets are a haven for dust mites and harmful bacteria. During the winter season, a carpet may keep your feet warm, but they also provide the perfect environment for the microbes to thrive. With hardwood floors, you can keep your feet warm without breeding pathogens.

Hardwood floors are poor conductors of temperature, which is why they are ideal for cold climates. If you have children, pets or both living with you, hardwood floors keep the fur and dirt at bay. Moreover, hardwood floors don’t retain pollen and other allergy-causing irritants that pose a threat to asthmatics and allergic patients. Your living space will smell clean as the treated hardwood floors don’t absorb or give out unpleasant odour like carpets do. It is also hard to stain hardwood floors. 

Caring for your Hardwood Floors
Your hardwood flooring hates it when you let spills sit. Get rid of spills immediately. Mop with a damp cloth. Soft rubber pads beneath any heavy furniture are your insurance to any lasting damages to your hardwood floors. Dragging heavy furniture around is a big no-no. If you must move the furniture, place the furniture on a thick padding of old rug and pull the rug. This ensures minimal or zero damage to your hardwood flooring.

Tracking mud and grime into the house should also be avoided. Teach your family to dust their feet on the mats placed outside the door. It may be annoying initially, but think of the damage to your beautiful hardwood floor and you won’t really mind it.
Easy Maintenance Of Hardwood Floors
Cleaning and maintaining hardwood floors is very simple. Unlike cleaning a carpet by using various chemicals and scrubbing hard, hardwood floors only require sweeping, vacuuming or a light mop. Avoid using too much water to mop as this can warp the hardwood floors.
To leave a long-lasting fragrance, use a pleasantly scented cleaning liquid to clean your hardwood floors. The durability of hardwood floors don’t cause them to wear out quickly.
If you miss the carpet while using hardwood floors, throw in a rug. Graceful appearance combined with health benefits makes hardwood floors a must-have flooring option.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Brief of your Building Requirements

Along with some plans or sketches, it is important to draw up a "Brief".

Building performance - space specification

The building performance specification is an expanded brief that describes what the various spaces of the building will be expected to provide. The performance specification of the building may start off very general in its requirements and become more detailed as the project develops. Such as in the example below.


  • This area should be large enough to greet and organise a group of 5 visitors at a single time.
  • The entry needs to have a space for the side table that is 400mm x 1200mm which needs to be centred on a blank wall.
  • A cupboard is required to accommodate visitors items as well as kids school bags and shoes.
  • From this space you should not be able to see any other area of the house.
  • A powder room should be located directly off this space.


  • Lots of bench space, good lighting directly over work areas (sink, cooktop, coffee making area).
  • Space for a window seat for homework time with the children.
  • Space on bench for kids laptop.
  • Large pantry that can house the existing fridge as well.
  • Pot drawers everywhere with soft closers and lots of space to store appliances such as the bread machine etc.
  • An appliance cabinet to house jug, mugs, coffee and tea as well as toaster - the cabinet needs to have 2 double GPO.

Bathroom/powder room

  • Two sinks.
  • Large mirrored wall so there is no fighting for mirror space a teeth cleaning time.
  • This space needs to contain: 1 toilet suite | 1 porcelain urinal | 1 hand basin 
  • In addition this room needs to be visually and acoustically private.


  • Large shower so kids can shower at the same time 
  • One freestanding bath
  • One toilet suite
  • Tiles to the ceiling
  • Needs to be roomy and all in one open space


  • Should be located directly off entry space and requires acoustic and visual privacy from the rest of the home.
  • The office will require 3 telco. lines for fax, phone, and Internet. 
  • Must have excellent lighting. 
  • Space for a computer desk with 1000mm layoff space either side of computer space and a separate layoff area that is 3000mm wide
  • Possibly area for a small lounge is also needed

Main bedroom

  • The entrance needs privacy from noisy areas such as the family room. 
  • To accommodate a king size bed with 1200mm of circulation space on both sides. 
  • Two areas of wall that can accommodate a dressing table and a large painting. 
  • Put a double GPO. in each corner of the room. 
  • The en-suite and walk-in robe should not face directly onto main area of the bedroom.
  • The ensuite needs to be acoustically private from the bed space.
  • Batt insulation surroundings the walls and well ventilated.
  • Ensuite requires 1 pedestal basin, 1 toilet suite, 1 porcelain urinal, 1 heated towel rail, 4 mirror cabinets, shower space and perhaps a bath.
  • Dimmer lights.  


  • Needs to be roomy enough to sort family washing into colour piles.
  • A small drying space is required. 
  • Washing machine requires close external access
  • Room needs to be naturally ventilated. 

Bedroom 2

  • Minimum area of 12 metres square.
  • Space for a double bed with 1200mm circulation space on either side of the bed.
  • Space for a small double lounge and tv.
  • Walk in Robe.
  • Bedroom 3/guest bedroom.
  • Enough space for double bed.
  • Small cupboard only required


  • To be acoustically cut off from family space and preferably located near main bedroom.
  • Picture the needs: TV, Music, Seats, Open Fire.
  • Requires easy access to kitchen.

Family space

  • Open to kitchen with direct access to the main veranda and backyard and enough space for one 3seater lounge and two one seater armchairs.
  • Room for Lego playing and wrestling
  • Enough space for a large rug 2500mm x 4200mm.
  • Easy to clean floor.
  • Lots of built-in storage required


  • Dining table 1800 x 1800mm - allow 1000mm around table for chairs.
  • A feature pendant lights need to be centred over the table space.
  • Close to kitchen that can be physically cut-off from family and kitchen area


  • Entry to be protected from the weather and be 6000ss square in area and well lit.
  • Veranda to house a 6 seater table and 2 sun lounges.
  • Garage - a double carport with security light sensors

Monday, 11 June 2012

Improvement ideas in preparation for selling

The best way to start any home improvements is by taking a good look at your house from the street perspective. Try to be totally impartial and make out you have never seen this house before. What is it that you like or dislike? How does it compare to the houses around you?
While this image may not be your house, nevertheless it is a home that provides a roof over someones head somewhere.

It  isnt hard to see that this home could do with a little improvement.

Most of us are so busy in our lives, we seldom take the time to see what a passerby sees when they look at our house. One of the reason we dont want to see is because it requires work to fix. How much easier it is to arrive home, open the door and go inside without looking round. 

If you are thinking about selling, its time to be critical with yourself about your house. If you find it difficult to be critical ask a friend, they will be very open about giving you ideas as to how you can make some changes. The external view of your house indicates to passers by what the internal looks like and as such, people form their own idea about whether they are interested to look inside or not. 

Landscaping is one of the most important aspects of your house frontage and surrounds. By spending a little time to redesign a nice landscaping job will make your property stand out in a nice way and it improves your home value.
An important note is to fix the problems you can see before you fix the problems you can’t, such as plumbing or insulation. Interior improvements are not immediately visible to prospective buyers, but many are unlikely to even consider a house that has an unattractive exterior.
Be sure to look for damages on your roof each spring. Besides obviously-damaged shingles, remove and replace any shingles that have blistered or begun to curl at the edges. Fixing minor roof problems right away can prevent more major and costly problems down the road.
New flooring might be needed in some areas so chose what type you are going to use - Timber or Tiles .
New timber floors can look very good and are now the same price as ceramic tiles. Rather than choose cheap, go for what looks better. 

Sometimes it is necessary to upgrade your appliances. Doing this does a lot for the perceived value of your house. No matter what appliance you choose to replace, installing new ones will really improve your quality of life and also increase the value of you home.
You should have the final say on everything. You can hire a contractor to guide you, but be sure that you make the final decision. Remember, the true objective from any contractor is to make money first, by giving of their advice. So, take that advice to heart and then work it in with your needs and finances. The best contractors are ones who will listen to your needs. Be sure to ask loads of questions as to why they are offering particular advice. 

Also, be sure that any contractor you are considering has the proper licensing your state requires. You can easily check for licensing information through your state’s government website or by placing a call. If you find a contractor that does not have a license there is always a reason why they have lost it. Its a clear signal for you to be weary. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Laminated Wood Flooring

Looks good and is virtually hassle free
Laminate floors are durable, easy to clean and require very little maintenance. They are a great cheap alternative to hardwood flooring. Let’s face it, floors are the part of your home that take the most abuse. Installing laminate flooring is not rocket science and you can easily get your laminate flooring in place without messing up and having to redo it. So, what if you have never done it before?  Give it a try!

How to
maintain Laminate flooring 
One of the best things about laminate flooring is that it is not affected by sunlight and although it is  slippery when wet, it does not scratch as badly as hardwood floors. Water does not affect laminate floors unless you let it pool. Cleaning is as easy as sweeping or vacuuming first to remove any dust or debris and then using warm water, a very mild cleaning solution and a sponge mop and clean with smooth even strokes.

Wring out any excess water. Remember your laminate floor hates pooling. Make it a rule to always clean spills immediately. Once this becomes a habit, cleaning won’t be a tedious chore and your choice of flooring will last longer if you don’t drag around metal or heavy wooden furniture.

Laminate Floor Installation
Installation for laminated floors is by a method called floating floors. Previously, all wood floors had to be nailed down and ceramic floors had to be attached to the sub floor using mortar. Laminate flooring does not require any such specific skills to install. You can install a laminate floor on virtually any surface. If you can fix a kid’s jigsaw puzzle, fixing cheap laminate flooring will be almost as easy. Laminate floors expand in response to humidity therefore a few millimetres of space between the laminate flooring and wall allows for this expansion.

Laminate Or Tiled Flooring
Laminate or tiled flooring comes in various patterns and designs, and can be visually appealing. It creates an instant feel of cleanliness as soon as it is cleaned. These flooring options do not contain fibres to soak up moisture or stains, and are resilient against rough treatment.

Tiles flooring is also a great way to provide a hassle free floor medium

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Sketch design your own home

Hand drawn sketches are good to get you going in the early stages of designing your project. If you want to be accurate in design and precise, and want the facility to sketch some ideas for yourself, the Internet has now made it possible. 

Free software is available to help you. Just by  going to google and typing in "free house design software" will lead you to many different sites, including this one.  Once you have the software that you want, it will help you with drafting the initial design drawings of your project which you can then print and take to a building designer so that they have a clear idea of what you are aiming to achieve.

Drawing at a scale of 1:100 is the usual practise because it is big enough to understand, and you can use a regular rule (1cm = 1m) or a scale ruler 1:100 meaning that 1cm =1000mm or 1 m.

The initial design will be a combination of plans, elevations and form drawings or whatever best explains the design and how it works. The plans should be easy to understand and will be the starting point from where the initial design drawings may change before they become the "developed design drawings". Remember to ask for feedback from family and friends, another point of view is often helpful.

In turning the Design Diagram into a Sketch Design, one of the main tasks is to think about the functions of each area and providing spaces which can accommodate them. Depending on the buildings spaces, you may need to analyse some areas individually and in-depth.

For example: Furniture or equipment layouts for a home office in order to discover room shapes, door and window positions, and other features which will ensure spaces are designed well and for their intended purpose.

What's next?

Fully developed plans for building approvals are next and this will require a qualified building designer like Michael King, Projects Consultant for the Nova Group.