Archive for the ‘Exterior Design’ Category

Finding your Style: 7 Classic Australian Home Designs to Consider

Australian home buyers enjoy a diverse spectrum of architectural options reflecting the influences that have shaped our real estate through the years. This overview of residential architecture introduces the most common Australian home styles and a bit of the history of each. Perhaps you’ll feel a connection with one or two, and that might lead you to a home that fits your unique sense of style.

The Queenslander

If you want an iconic Australian design, this is it. Some place the origin of this style as early as the 1820s, and new homes in the Queenslander style are still built, though the style has tapered off since the 1980s. Classic characteristics include:

  • Raised construction for ventilation and protection from monsoonal rains
  • Large and numerous windows
  • One or two storeys
  • Timber siding
  • Large verandas often wrap around the home, especially in older models
  • A roof of corrugated iron, slate or tiles with a notable peak
  • Originally built without garages, though a detached garage has often been added

The Queenslander design is ideal for those who enjoy spending time outdoors or staying visually connected with it through the many windows. Buying a Queenslander has been called “a labour of love” due to the high maintenance demands and costs of timber homes and verandahs.

Victorian

victorian-style-1647594_640This elegant style dates to the 1860s and the reign of Queen Victoria for whom it is named. Victorian architecture was used on homes of all size to give them an air of class and respectability. The homes are marked by:

  • Stucco exteriors, often with a decorative coating
  • Appointed with cast iron lacework and/or balustrades
  • Double-hung windows with an arched frame
  • A roof of slate or galvanised iron sheet
  • No garage or a detached garage built later

While the Queenslander has a timeless charm, the Victorian is distinctly a period home. For some, it has classic appeal; others think it’s looks are simply dated.

Boom Style

The Gold Rush of 1875 to about 1890 was the inspiration for this bodacious design. Lavishly decorated to reflect the riches gained in pursuit of gold, Boom Style homes are truly an Australian classic. Common elements include:

  • Several complementing colours of brick used
  • Slate or scalloped tile roof
  • Artistic parapets
  • Double-hung timber windows, often with small pillars and brick arches
  • Verandas
  • Attached or detached brick garages, often with elegant timber doors

The elaborate brick construction was expensive, and these homes sell at a high price today.

Bungalow

Some say this style was imported and call it the American bungalow. It began appearing in Australian suburbs in during the First World War when houses were downsized due to a shortage of tradesmen. The bungalow remains one of the most popular architectural styles. These homes often feature:

  • Low-sloped, tiled roofs
  • Brick, stucco or rough-cast render
  • Front verandas with robust columns supporting the overhanging roof
  • Small garages with plain garage doors

These homes were quite plain compared with Victorian or Federation homes, and the style remained popular up to the Second World War.

Art Deco

When introduced in the 1930s, art deco architecture had a distinctively modern look that many embraced while others steered clear of. This style, influenced by the German Bauhaus School of Modern Design features:

  • Mainly square and rectangular facades
  • Two-storey construction
  • A hipped roof without gables, often covered in tile
  • Brick, stucco or weatherboard siding
  • Matching garages incorporated into the design or detached, with paneled garage doors

This unique and interesting design drives up demand for these homes, and they sell quickly and for a good price.

Contemporary

First built in the 1950s, homes with contemporary style are plain without being austere. Contemporary homes are noted for:

  • An exterior of brick, brick veneer, cement or weatherboard
  • Large windows
  • Low-pitched roofs of steel or corrugated metal
  • A garage included in the structure, often with a European-style door of simple but stylish design

Contemporary homes are often grouped together in suburbs, and the style has held up quite well.

Modern

large-home-389271_640Modern architecture began appearing in the 1990s and remains a popular style for new construction. Notable features are:

  • Sophisticated designs incorporating steel and glass
  • Clean exterior lines
  • Single-storey design
  • Open floor plans
  • Incorporated garages with sleek lines to match the home’s architecture

This design style is likely to remain popular because it emphasizes the use of sustainable materials and makes good use of interior space.

Finding your Style

Whether you want a home with a long history, one that really tells a story, or you prefer something up-to-date, you’ve got a wealth of diverse options. Take time getting to know Australian architectural styles through photos, walking or driving by good examples of each or looking through homes for sale in the style you’re considering. As you do, it’s likely that one architectural design will impress itself upon you as the one that appeals to your sense of beauty. Once you’ve found a style, you are well on your way to finding your next home.

Bring Life Into Used Outdoor Furniture

image 8The furniture you might have on your patio or garden could be hard to take care of, because the weather and time will gnaw on it. You can prevent it from being destroyed completely but it will be important to take the right precautions, otherwise you might have to throw them away. Bear in mind that while some furniture is meant to be outside all year round, some you will need to take inside, when the weather gets cold.

Keep Your Furniture Clean

One of the most important things to do is clean your furniture, whether you have it inside or outside, it will need to be cleaned regularly. Not only can you protect it from any harm, but you can notice early signs of deterioration and take the necessary steps to make it stop. The more you pay attention to your furniture, the longer it will last, and you will not have to spend a lot of money on it.

Wicker Furniture

Problem with wicker furniture is that it will often lose its color or start to look like it is centuries old. This will be due to some of the oils evaporating from the material. In order to transform your wicker gone wild, you will either have to get some store bought oils, make them on your own, or repurpose the pieces. Luckily, wicker furniture is versatile and will allow for easy repurposing. Then again, recolouring can help add a protective layer so that it can last longer.

Wood Will Fade Out

image 3Your wooden furniture will no doubt lose its vibrant colour and will start to look like it is fading away. Once again, it will be due to the oils inside the wood slowly evaporating and because the sun is drawing the colour out. However, if you apply a wooden seal and add protective coatings of paint and varnish, you can make your furniture glow with glee once again. These will be simple weekend projects you can do on a budget as well.

Remove Rust

Rusty metal pieces on a furniture look like they have been dug up from a junkyard, and in order to get rid of it, you will have to get chemical. Be sure to stay away from industrial rust removers, unless necessary, as they might ruin the rest of your furniture, or leave a bad odour. You can use homemade ingredients which will be able to combat rust just as effectively, and help protect your set.

Time for a New Set

Eventually, time and weather will eat up your furniture and try as you might, there will be nothing else you can do but to replace your outdoor furniture. Though, now you can apply your gathered knowledge on how to protect it from the elements, and what to do when it starts losing its colour or looks like rust will take over. Bear in mind that simple caretaking can go a long way, and that your furniture will survive longer, even if being left outside.

There are cheap and easy ways to take care of your furniture, whether you leave them outside all year round or if you bring them in. But, you can do only as much, because over time, they will be worn out and their integrity will wane. Refreshing the look of your furniture might work a few times, but after some time, you will have to admit defeat, and find a new purpose for your old furniture. In the end though, you can replace your worn-out pieces with new ones, to have a complete set.

 

How To Create Your Own Basketball Court

basketball-cityThere are many things that go in favour of sports activities, but this article will not discuss them. The crucial thing for sports, however, we will. The basic thing you need if you want to practice basketball at home is the court. Many people decide to use their driveway as an improvised basketball court because they do not have enough space in the backyard or they simply do not want to put any effort into it. If you are one of those who want to convert their backyard into a home court, here is what you should do.

What you will need

The basic things you are going to need if you want to make a home basketball court are the following:

  • Tape measure
  • 1 or 2 basketball pole hoops (depending on the size of your court – if you want to make the entire court, you are going to need one for each half)
  • Shovel
  • 4 stakes
  • Spray paint
  • Concrete

How to make it?

Once you have everything, we will now go through the process step by step.

  1. Make a plan and the size – The first step is to measure the surface of your yard that is going to be turned into a court, and then to make a plan. Since NBA courts are 94 ft x 50 ft and high school 84 ft long, you can divide these numbers in half for a half and adjust them to the size you have at your disposal. Take the four stakes and mark the dimensions of the court so that you know where to dig and set up the hoops.
  2. basketball-linesLevel the field – Before you start digging, go and purchase the hoop(s) that will be size-appropriate to your court. Once you have cleared out the area, you can dig the dirt and start levelling it – by moving it from one place to another so that it becomes smooth, without lower or higher areas.
  3. Make the foundation – Put the pole hoop(s) at the preferred location before you make the concrete. Once you establish the weather is (going to be) nice and dry – it will take it 36 hours to set. It would be best if you asked professionals for help in this step.
  4. Paint the lines – Once the concrete is set and dry, you can start painting the lines. You can also ask professionals for help, such as Sydney-based line marking service, so that you can be sure they are well done. And if you are open for experimenting, you do not have to use white paint but different colours, especially if you have small kids who will love it.
  5. Accessorise and enjoy! – Once you have everything done, you can consider adding surfacing to your court, such as rubber flooring that your knees will be grateful for. There is also the possibility of adding containment fences (while you are pouring the concrete) so consider every option beforehand. And do not forget to set the nets to the hoops.

basketball-sunsetAs you can see, the process of making a home basketball court is quite easy. All you need is basically some good will and some time (for the concrete to dry), and almost in an instant you have your own basketball court. However, if you already have a concrete surface in your front or back yard, all you should do is to find the hoop, attach it to your house for example, paint the lines on the concrete, and there you have it – a perfect basketball court in almost no time!

How to Turn Your Back Yard into a Relaxing Paradise

How to Turn Your Backyard into a Relaxing ParadiseLiving Space

Making your back yard a relaxing paradise to enjoy year round can be less expensive then you imagine. One of the first basic steps to making your back yard into a relaxing paradise starts with making it a livable space. Ideally starting with a covered deck or patio is best, but grass and dirt also have workable solutions. Start with comfortable seating and make it a bit cozier with a couple of smaller tables, these provided a place to set your morning coffee, a favorite book or perhaps a few romantic candles. Personalizing the space will relax you.

Plants

Surround yourself with flowers and plants. If you’re limited on ground space, perhaps a container planting will work best for you. Whether a garden is in ground or above, there are so many additional features to consider. Bird baths, bird houses, wind chimes and windmills, small and large fish ponds or any water feature is always an added bonus. A large water fountain can be a focus point or a simple smaller waterfall can be effective also. Being outside and hearing the sound of water can relax your mind and ease stress. You can easily find all of these and many more ideas at the local Garden Center.

Lighting

Nothing sets a mood better than lighting. Installing a few colored flood lights give a wonderful glow to any environment. Solar lights are inexpensive and virtually no maintenance at all. Placed down low will define a walkway, high light specific areas, as well as outline any boarders or edges. Another option is a simple string of tiny LED lights intertwined and strung among the flowers or herbs can look magical.

Fire Place

With cooler seasons, a unique and cozy way of keeping warm is easy with a fire area. There are above ground self-contained ones, or you can opt for basic in ground type. Watching a fire is mesmerizing. The warmth of the flames relaxes your mind and melts the day away. Depending on what type you choose they also provide an alternative way of cooking.

Hot Tub

Of course the ultimate item for any back yard paradise is a hot tub. Nothing is more relaxing, than being massaged by warm wet water in a tub such as those with BullfrogSpas.com. Relaxing in one can melt even the worst day away. Just imagine, soaking in your own private tub, under the stars, while you relax and enjoy your own secluded back yard paradise.

 

Caring for Decorative Concrete

decorative concrete tilesYou have decorative concrete in some part of your home, whether it is outside or inside, and now that you have put the money towards a stylish addition you want to keep it well maintained. With something as beautiful as decorative concrete, it is worth putting the time and effort into keeping it looking fantastic. How do you take care of your decorative concrete?

First off, once you have installed the concrete it should be sealed to protect it from any danger. You should seal the concrete regularly, typically every two or three years, depending on where the concrete is and what it is exposed to. If you wait longer the sealer will not be able to protect the decorative concrete as best as possible, which could lead to fading colors and stain build up. The concrete should be completely dry before a sealer is applied or it will not work properly.

Clean the concrete routinely as well. If it is outside, you can easily clean the concrete with a garden hose or a power washer. Dish soap and a bristled broom will help remove any outside residue after scrubbing and rinsing thoroughly to remove everything. If the concrete is inside you can clean it by using a mop or a steam cleaner to scrub away any stains.

Just because a surface is stain resistant does not mean it is stain proof. Stains need to be removed as quickly as possible so that they cannot get into the surface. Decorative concrete is chemical resistant when sealed but it is not damage proof. If a chemical does get onto the concrete, it should get diluted properly so that it does not harm the surface.

If the concrete is outdoors, during the winter months all snow and ice should be removed so that the effects of freezing and thawing are minimal. Do not use deicers that contain ammonium sulfate or ammonium nitrate as they can deteriorate the concrete surface very quickly, ruining the decorative concrete.

By taking proper care of your decorative concrete you will have many years to enjoy the beauty of the concrete, no matter where it is around your home. Your home can feel more stylish and modern by using decorative concrete, and it only makes sense that you would have to maintain the concrete in order for it to stay in pristine condition.

Flat and Fancy is pleased to bring you this article on caring for your decorative concrete. If you are looking for decorative concrete in Colorado Springs, be sure to visit their website at http://www.flatandfancy.com/

Landscape design ideas

landscape design

One garden does not fit all. A trip to any home and garden show bears that out – and adds to the confusion. So, let some things be your guide:

• Invest in landscaping software or downloads. Inexpensive, it will help intelligently plot a design in form and color. Some even let show the future by aging the plan.

• Green, water-saving designs are commonplace now. The continent is divided into Horticultural Zones which recommend the plants best suited to the geographical area. Selecting the next zone south offers more drought-tolerant choices.

• Consider non-organic materials, including wood, river stone, gravel, crushed granite, water, flag stone, and sand. Non-organic materials add color and texture to complement or offset a display.

• Make the design move with “grasses.” This is a broad class of plants with a range of colors, textures, and heights. Some bear flowers and all move with breezes.

• Curves can get too busy. Keep curves to a minimum in small places, and let the plants crowd over the paths to create curves. Lay subtle curves in large space paths that echo the shape of nearby floral beds.

• Find a point of focal entrance. Determine the most photogenic item in the garden: a gnarled oak or weeping willow, a wishing well or fountain, a small bridge or koi pond, a gazebo or small patio, a bench or large planter. Select plantings and color to direct eye to this point of interest without crowding or smothering it.

• Build a meditation garden in a small place. Set it in the corner of a house or behind some tall growth. Meditation does not invite distraction, so keep aroma, bold colors and harsh textures at a minimum. Include a stone lamp or soft-ringing chime and a comfortable chair.

• Plant fragrant herbs near windows and doors or in clusters among flower beds. Most herbs have color and flowers at different times of the year.

• Plant with season and maturity in mind. Assemble plants and trees that will provide color throughout the seasons.. Pick plants for their growth, color, and size three years down the road. A 1 gallon planter now will likely be a 5 gallon plant next year.

Anything done, in terms of shape, color, or design must feature the house. Landscaping is not meant to distract or cover up, but good landscaping can frame and accent the house. Make it a presentation!

Article is written by Rebecca from texaspatiobuilder.com. Summer is coming, please do not forget about pool safety!

Benefits of Retractable Screen Doors

door handleA retractable screen door can provide your home with many benefits that you would otherwise not have without one. As an affordable addition to your home, you can experience all of the benefits of this type of screen door efficiently. What are some of the many benefits that retractable screen doors have?

Retractable screen doors are available for any type of home on any door. Entry, French, patio, sliding, in-swing, out-swing, terrace are some examples of the types of doors that a retractable screen door can be installed on. They can be custom made to fit your doors perfectly, ensuring that they retract in a compatible way as well.

Your home will be kept naturally cooler with retractable screen doors. Energy bills can be reduced significantly with the help of a screen door allowing quality air flow. They also are useful in keeping insects out and allowing the sun to come in while in use.

Retractable screen doors are custom made to fit your doors. This provides you with a smooth and easy sliding open and close that will fit any doorway as you enjoy the benefits of the door. They retract into an area that is hidden well.

Unlike fixed screens that need to be taken down, repaired and in the way at times, retractable screen doors are easy to fit anywhere. These doors retract back into their housing, out of sign and out of the way.

These types of doors are affordable and easy to do-it-yourself or have it installed professionally. It’s simple and easy to do while you are providing your home with a beautiful new addition as they vary in colors, finishes, mesh types and other options that cater to your desires.

One of the biggest benefits is that retractable screen doors don’t take away from your views. They are often called “disappearing” screen doors because they retract away, not distorting the feel of your home. You are able to continuously enjoy your beautiful views while obtaining sunlight and a comfortable temperature. When your door gets in the way of you enjoying the great outdoors, retractable screen doors are able to be used for that enjoyment.

Whether you want to install retractable screen doors in your home or not is not a tough decision when you consider all of the benefits. These “disappearing” doors are very efficient and effective in your home. An affordable and easy installation process makes retractable screen doors ideal for every home.

 

Illinois Retractable Screens is pleased to bring you this article about retractable screen doors. They focus primarily on retractable screens in Chicago and sliding screen in Illinois. If you are interested in learning more, check out their website today.

Designing a Garden With Limited Space

dandelionGardeners need not be discouraged by a scarcity of space because creating the perfect patch can still be accomplished, even if all you have is a lone window sill. With a few strategic tips on how to make a small garden seem larger, your plants — and your imagination — can thrive. Here are five ways to have a box perfect garden.

Detailed Entry Point

Even if you feel that your outdoor space isn’t big enough for a trellis, you can create the same effect by creating an arched entry by weaving strong but thin branches together. Tie them to posts on either side of the entryway and adorn them with vines for a sublime first view of your property.

Use Colour To Create Dimension

If you’re trying to make a small gardening space feel larger, try putting the most vibrantly-coloured flowers in the front while filling in the rest with rich greens or whites. This will add not only contrast but also depth to your garden, making it feel more vast than it really is. Beautifully designed gardens make use of color incredibly well, so try and spend some time thinking about colour schemes.

Keep lighting gentle

Soft outdoor lights create a relaxed mood and often make a small garden seem more warm and inviting. Intrusive large wall lights make gardens appear the size they are and we don’t want this when designing a small garden. The same interior design concept works with rooms to, dim lights create rooms filled with ambience and atmosphere while bright ceiling lights create the opposite.

Flexible Furniture

You may not want to take up so much of your precious space with patio furniture, but you can play around with the layout if the table and chairs are easy to move around. Consider a sole hammock or a small plant stand with a few folding chairs to create a seating area that doesn’t feel tight.

Grow a garden in a box

And even those homeowners with a small front garden have a space that many city dwellers only dream of. If you’ve only got a window sill to work with, you can still have plant life around to brighten your day. Use organic potting, such as hollowed-out coconuts, to plant varieties that grow well in small pots, such as African violets or cacti.

Luxury Metal Railings: The Modern Way to Protect and Beautify Your Home Garden

Today, homeowners take gardening seriously. It is habitual for a home gardener to spend long hours tending to flowers, fruits or vegetables in their garden. Taking into account, the time and effort put into bringing the crops to perfection; a gardener’s natural response to treacherous intruders that spoil their harvest is “revenge.” Although many homeowners install garden fencing and a gate to protect their investment, gardening experts prove the strategy inadequate. On the contrary, many building experts say the disadvantage lies in the material a homeowner uses to fence the garden.

Photo by Railing Dynamics, Inc.

There’s no reason to deny that a home that features a garden with admirable garden décor improves the exterior realm. With this in mind, it is all-important to install the best garden railings to protect and give merit to your design. These days, it is no longer challenging to find exquisite railings to smarten up and protect your garden. Metal railings are the preferred decorative solutions for many gardeners and homeowners; because these are extremely reliable. When homeowners use metal railings to match with the home’s architectural design; the outcome is admirable. To make certain that your garden décor is creative and embrace your personal style; installing attractive, durable garden rails is a tactical approach to show off your decorating skills. This does not mean a homeowner should overwhelm the garden with tasteless accessories; because this is the gateway to a disastrous masterpiece. Some reliable options are out, and with cautious decision-making; the remodeling technique should give praiseworthy results. A note to garden lovers is that every design requires continuity to create a mesmerizing atmosphere.

A deck space facing a garden, with well-appointed metal balustrades that complement the home’s architecture is a lovely setting to entertain your guests. Homeowners who choose such an approach towards decorating should find it stress-free to tailor the garden decor to suit. The railing systems that fit the garden depends on the garden style. Does your garden space feature a spontaneous, classic or contemporary design? Depending on your answer, be sure to pick decorative solutions that match your garden style; because this determines the merit-worthy aspects of your design. The reputation your garden earns after the remodeling is complete, singularly depends on your choice of materials. Some homeowners think that every remodeling project necessitates for a large investment, but this is false. The money a homeowner invests primarily depends on his or her budget-management skills, when shopping for building solutions. An excellent way to make sure you buy the best quality metal railings for your garden is to do business with a reputable railing works manufacturer. In addition, an experienced consultant is apt in recommending lucrative solutions to improve your garden décor.

I’m Joe Russell, a building solutions specialist and the customer service manager at Railing Dynamics, Inc. I’m an expert when it comes to recommending investment-worthy railing solutions to revamp your commercial or residential space. If my thought-provoking home garden remodeling idea stimulates your mind, and you’d love to discover more exclusive options; check out all the ideas on http://www.rdirail.com/, or go get some ideas specifically for metal railings
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