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Kitchen Renovation Costs You May Not Have Considered

Planning a kitchen renovation is exciting and frightening in equal proportions.There is a lot to consider from selecting the style and colour to choosing your countertop and appliances not to mention trying to keep on top of your budget.  A budget might be one of the first things you think of when it comes to planning for a new kitchen. Sometimes, it is only after starting that the need for additional works, such as new plumbing or rewiring, becomes real and these discoveries can lead to delays, which can also be costly.

In all renovations you should have a budget for works and a contingency however in the hope of eliminating alarming surprises here we have some costs you might not have considered.


Planning Permissions  

For a renovation or any new job that you are planning to do at your home, it is important to establish whether or not you need Planning Permission and how Building Regulations will affect your project. Before starting your project speak to an expert, either your designer, architect or someone at the local council and find out what you need to know before investing in your new kitchen. 


Design Costs

Some companies charge for design time or the release of your kitchen plans to you. This might be as much as a few hundred dollars, so before choosing a company to work with first ask them about any associated design costs. 


Preparation Costs 

Depending on your home’s age and the elements of your new kitchen you may need to replace all existing electrical and pipework. You’ll also need a nice new layer of clean and even plaster on the walls so additional plastering costs should be budgeted. Be aware that this process can throw up unwelcome surprises and further costs.


Meeting safety requirements 

Replacing appliances is more than just swapping appliances, often new appliances require higher electrical loading, so a new fuse box may be required. Talk with your builder and electrician first in order to assess potential cost. 


Flooring Costs 

If you are thinking of updating your floor be aware that once the old flooring is removed and depending on the finish you require, there may be remedial works needed to level and prepare the surface before the floor is finished.


Keep in mind other related cost as living without a kitchen or additional accomodation expenses, parking and access for your contractors and delays. You can reduce all this costs by planning in advance and having a close relationship with your designer and builder from the onset of your project.

Incorporating Wallpaper into your house 

Wallpaper is definitely daunting to shop for, commit to and hang but when you do it correctly, it really can make a room.

Nowadays wallpaper is a driving force in interior design. Wallpaper creates impact and it actually makes the rest of the room easier to design as you have a pattern, colour or motif that leads the rest of the room. 


How wallpaper enhances any room design:


Dictates Style 

While wall colour encourages mood, designer wallpaper does this and more. Visually, it offers a direction toward a particular style. Whatever is your favourite style you can choose a wall-covering that brings that style to life.


Adds drama

Without having to invest in expensive art or lighting,  designer wallpaper is a great way to enhance a room design with a bit drama. Whether a whimsical forest motif, floral, mural or beaded wallpaper, it can really wake up a space through colour and design.


Brings in nature 

Adding an element of nature to your house is not just placing a plant in the corner. Floral prints can evoke a spring garden theme in the living room while a verdant fern pattern can give the office a sense of calm. 


Invites accent walls 

Accent walls finished with wallpaper offer another layer of colour and pattern. Textured wallpaper goes above and beyond with another design element added.


If you want to add wallpaper to your house here are some tips with choosing one to match your style.

  • Always get a sample first, hang it into the wall to get a feel of how it will work.
  • Is very important that you see how the wallpaper works with the light in your room as with paint, colours and textures can look completely different with light whether natural or incandescent
  • Determine what art work you will use with the wallpaper 
  • Assess your current furniture and style to help you evaluate design direction.
  • Be aware about the scale of any pattern wallpaper. In general, small-scale patterns create a feeling of spaciousness but can look lost in larger rooms. Larger scale patterns can make a room feel more intimate.


What are the Best tile Options for Your outdoor space

Thinking of installing a new outdoor area? There are a few options that you can choose for the floor surface. Tiles are an excellent surface for outdoor areas such, as they’re durable, easy to maintain and stable. There are many different types of outdoor tiles, here we have some of the common outdoor tiles to help you select the best surfacing material for your outdoor area.


Natural Stone Tile 

Natural stone tiles can be from granite, slate, limestone, and travertine. This tiles work very well in outdoor spaces. You’ll pay a bit more for their head-turning appearance. Polished stone tiles are chic and easy to care for, but they can get slippery when wet. Tumbled or honed natural stone tiles, which have built-in slip resistance, are safer. Between granite, slate, limestone, and travertine all have their pros and cons. Granite tiles are the hardest natural stone tiles so they are very durable and resilient to the elements. Slate might be softer than granite but it’s still tough enough to suit any deck. Limestone is a softer, more porous stone. All natural stone tiles will require sealing to protect them from stains and weather damage. 


Porcelain Tiles 

Porcelain tiles are not only for bathrooms and interior spaces they can suit your outdoor space and are a smart choice. These clay-based tiles are non-porous, fade-resistant, and durable. Porcelain tiles won’t crack in weather extremes like stone tiles can. That makes them a smart choice for homes in cities with very hot summers and icy winters. However, as a non-porous surface, it takes very little effort to keep porcelain tiles clean.


Wood Tiles 

Wood Riles are crafted from hardwoods to make them tough enough to survive foot traffic and the elements. Wood tiles are also affordable because of their ready availability. They also come in a range of colors and finishes. From creamy pale woods to dramatic darker woods, wood tiles can create a range of looks for less. 

Heritage home renovation

Heritage houses and suburbs are dotted around Australian cities, while we may love their traditional appeal, renovating heritage homes can be a challenging process to navigate.

Heritage significance is assessed on historic and aesthetic value that are worthy of preservation for future generations. To renovate a heritage house in Australia can bring a number of council regulations and restrictions that owners must keep in mind. 


Make it suitable for living

Owners are encouraged to make their heritage house liveable installing the essentials like proper wiring, wi-fi, alarms, new kitchens and bathrooms however you should make sure that the property’s facade is not altered and if alterations are required seeking council approval is a must.


Maintain the details

How the house looks from the street will typically have to be preserved. If the property requires new windows or windows frames, changes need to be in keeping with the original design.

Changes inside including bathrooms and kitchens are allowed but any external changes require local council approval.


Create an open space 

The structure of the front rooms should be preserved. However it is possible to create an open space area in the back rooms with appropriate permit approvals required through local council for these changes. Walls can be removed as long as renovators leave the front section of the house preserved.



Owners can remove the non-original elements that detract from the dwelling. But any original features will be required to be preserved depending on the heritage overlay on that particular property.


Heritage properties give us a glimpse into our history. It is the owner’s task to conserve it, preserve it and maintain it for future generations.


Benefits of having a kitchen island

Kitchen islands create a functional social space in which your family can gather, cook, eat, and share memories together. No matter the size of your kitchen, there are many types of kitchen islands to choose from.

While there aren’t really any drawbacks to having a kitchen island, there are several reasons to add one to your kitchen.


Additional storage space

With the addition of an island, you can add customisable storage such as drawers, cabinets, and shelves that help you to organise your kitchen.


Casual seating 

An island can provide a place for family and friends to sit while meals are being prepared. Island seating can also create a study area for kids, it creates a space that acts as a focal point and brings everyone together. Depending on the size of your kitchen you can design large kitchen islands where you can seat as many as six people, or if space is limited, a small kitchen island that typically has space for two.


Extra appliances and outlets 

There are a wide variety of amenities a kitchen island can provide, increasing the functionality and usability can allow for an oven, sink, wine fridge and dishwasher to be built into the island.


Happy designing!



Bathroom Trends continuing in 2020

Whatever your style – whether you’re after a sleek, clutter-free family space or a splash of hotel-style chic – if you’re planning to refresh your bathroom we have some trends for you to consider. 

Consistent Colour palette

After the trend of colours like peachy pink and peppermint green, black, grey and white will be always a safe option. Is not a coincidence that most of the bathrooms images feature a monochrome palette.


Crittall shower screens

Crittall shower screens, also known as industrial-look shower screens, essentially have a black frame this feature offers a linear architectural look that combine with gorgeous marble tiles give a very luxurious finish to your bathroom.


Patterned tiles 

These super-stylish tile designs have been such a big hit in the last few years. Nowadays there are a lot of designs on the market that can fit your bathroom theme.  Use plain tiles on the walls which allows you to use patterned tiles on the floor.


Digital showers

Digital or smart technology is a trend in every aspect of modern life and why not introduce digital showers to our bathrooms. Digital showers give you much greater control over shower temperature and flow rate it also allows you to save the exact settings for next time you are in the shower.


Coloured tapware / brushed gold taps/white tapware

These coloured taps are the perfect combination of a monochrome palette giving the bathroom a modern and stylish look. 

Tips for a laundry reboot

When it comes to renovating we spend all the effort and budget kitchens and bathrooms but there is a small room that we usually forget and that’s the laundry or utility room. Although we may not spend a huge amount of time in the laundry, we believe that by investing a little planning and forethought into this often forgotten room, it’s possible to create a laundry you’ll love. 

Homeowners are taking advantage of awkward spaces under the stairs and unused corners to create their ultimate laundry. Keep in mind that you will need plumbing, venting and electrical, so the right space will need to be able to adapt to these modifications.
Once you decide on location, you can start thinking of layout. Here we have have some tips to keep in mind: 
Choose drawers instead of cupboards
It is much easier to open a drawer and quickly find what are you looking for than it is to look at the back of a dusty cupboard. The drawers already replace the cupboard in the kitchen why not transform in the same way our laundries.
Choose a functional sink
This is a very important addition having the sink in the same area as your washer and dryer is convenient for washing hands and soaking deep-set stained clothing. Opt for a deep sink if you can, as this will reduce splashing when you're hand-washing clothes. Also consider a tap with a flexible hose that will give you more flexibility with hand washing.
Install hanging racks
Sometimes you can’t use the dryer for some type of clothes. For those air-dry only items, you’ll need a hanging space, a collapsible folding rack is a great option which can be hidden if required.
Integrate your iron board
A space saving and convenient solution is to install a retractable board in the laundry. The board will simply fold up into the wall or can be pushed back into a drawer when not in use.
Add a functional storage
Use a combination of deep and shallow drawers, tall and short cupboards and plenty of hanging space for mops, brooms and vacuum cleaners.

How to choose the right bathroom tap-ware

Bathroom renovation projects involve more than simply changing the painting or fittings. Besides the fundamental elements there’s a complete selection of small accessories every bathroom requires.

When searching for the right tap-ware, it’s easy to become lost and overwhelmed with all the options which are available on the market. There are a few elements that you will need to go through to choose the right option



The difference between modern and traditional style is usually the shape. Traditional-style taps are usually more rounded and more intricate. Modern-style taps are squared off with angles and a less-fussy finish. This decision will depend on your choice to give your house a glance of modern vibe or a traditional one.



At the moment we have a wide range of colours on the market that make for an even more difficult decision, tap ware can also be custom coloured. However there is a clear trend towards matte or brushed finishes versus shiny and polished, remember to consider matching the finish of other elements, such as the shower set, bathroom accessories, toilet push button and door furniture



Is very important to make sure that your tap-ware is compatible with your fixtures. Generic taps will fit generic fixtures, but some are designed to only fit one type. Speak to a friendly staff member at your Reece store and they will guide you. In addition you need to know the position of your taps, there are wall-mounted or top-mounted.


Water saving

If you want to do your bit for the environment you should check the WELS rating on the packaging of your taps. A higher star rating means less water consumption and a lower water bill

Simple Ideas to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger

Want a bigger kitchen? Small kitchen design is about maximising the space you have. A bit of creativity can make the space feel larger, without adding extra space.

Keep light and consistent colours: White reflects light so keep the cabinets, bench tops and splash backs light and this can help your kitchen feel open and airy.


Create open shelving: Open storage gives a more sophisticated and spacious look to your kitchen. However, this can only be done if your cupboards aren’t currently bursting. If you have cluttered shelves you will only make the space feel even smaller.


Install reflective surfaces: Mirrors are recommended to create a bigger space, shiny appliances can also boost the feeling of depth and brightness.

A mirrored splash-back could work here with creating a sense of space.


Eliminate clutter: to make your kitchen feel bigger, choose a minimalist style it works well for creating the illusion of more space in your kitchen so keep the kitchen counter space clear and store appliances in the pantry. Avoid decorative design pieces, such as ornate handles, corbels, and window coverings.


Make light simple: A dark kitchen can look and feel small and gloomy. Consider removing any window coverings to allow sunlight to brighten the space. Also lighting is a must, but there's no need to stop there you can install kitchen lighting over, below, and inside cupboards. In addition, pendant lights can be used to highlight the beautiful focal point of your space.

Exterior cladding

Exterior cladding is more than a layer to protect your home from the weather it has become a critical design element. Cladding can also help with thermal and isolation as well as increasing levels of fire protection and reducing maintenance.

In the process of building a house there are countless decisions that need to be made the cladding can be one of the biggest. Cladding type sets the style for the rest of your home. To choose the best cladding system will depend on what look you plan to go for; for instance industrial, modern or heritage. Some of the main factors that you may want to consider include cost, weight, insulation capability, durability, aesthetics and maintenance requirements.


Brick Cladding: Brick is one of the oldest materials used to build homes and is a classic cladding option which offers low maintenance and a wide range of colours, patterns and textures to choose from. Brick cladding has many pros including durability, good thermal insulation properties, good fire protection and a low rate of moisture absorption.


Plaster Cladding: One of the biggest advantages of this type of cladding is the insulation properties. It is also can be combined with other house cladding types. Different finishes are available giving you choice in a smoother or more textured look and of course a range of colours.


Timber Cladding: Timber will give your home an irresistible natural appeal that heightens your exterior walls. This material also offers versatility and can be used in many forms such as timber weatherboards or cedar slats. One of the biggest drawbacks of this cladding option is the amount of maintenance that it requires. Whether the timber is stained or painted this will need to be repeated several times during its lifetime. In addition, certain timbers have a poor fire rating and the insulation properties aren't that great. An alternative it a timber look fibre cement cladding, which will give you the look you are after without the maintenance of natural timber. Visit for cladding options.


Stone Cladding: Stone is a stunning option for a feature segment. It is also a material that can work internally as well as externally. Stone is however not a renewable resource and can also gather a white powdery coating which requires cleaning and regular sealing to maintain.

Underfloor heating

Nothing better than a sense of warmth underfoot. Underfloor heating is energy efficient, convenient and can add value to your home.

Underfloor heating (UFH) is said to improve energy efficiency in your home and a better choice than a standard radiator system. If you’re planning on renovating your home, there are more reasons to choose this kind of heating. UFH creates a more stable and consistent temperature, with a lower energy consumption. 

There are two kinds of UFH electric or ‘dry’ systems  and water-based or ‘wet’ systems


Water-based or ‘wet’ systems: Wet systems are made up of pipes that are typically connected to your boiler, and use warm water from the central heating system.

The biggest pros of this system are

  • Extremely efficient to run
  • Work at low temperatures
  • Work well with use alongside heat pumps

The biggest cons are:

  • Initial set up costs are high
  • Pipes are often difficult to reach if there are any problems


Electric or ‘dry’ systems: This system is available in the form of basic heating cables, sometimes loosely woven into mesh mats, flat or ribbon cables, or heating films. The mats or rolls are spread out, connected together and are then linked up to the thermostat and mains power supply. Your flooring is then laid on top.

The biggest pros of this system are

  • Inexpensive to install
  • No pipework – east to install

The biggest cons are:

  • Expensive to run
  • Heavy items and furniture can damage the system


Why choose Underflooring heating?

Energy: Underfloor heating systems require a lower temperature to operate which results in lower energy requirements for the system.

Control: This system allow to control individual areas or spaces which mean that different zones can have different temperatures

Improved indoor air condition: The temperature control of an underfloor heating system also provides improved conditions that prevent mould, bacteria and dust mites.

Three types of fireplaces

When considering ways to remodel your home, you may want to consider adding or restoring a fireplace. In addition, fireplaces are becoming a must have item for functionality and creating ambience.


Wood-burning fireplace

This is the traditional fireplace, nothing beats the flickering flames and magic effect of a real wood burning fire place. Although this kind of fireplace create a cozy, rustic atmosphere in any space. The biggest downside is the expense with the purchase of wood, professional cleaning.


Gas-burning fireplace

There has been a strong trend toward this type of fireplace. They can require less construction or reconstruction to install, are affordable, the effect of heat is almost instant and there are a lot of styles to choose from. However, if you choose a direct-vented model, this require a chimney for ventilation either a pre-existing chimney or a new chimney to be constructed.


Electric fireplace

This type of fireplace is primarily used for decorative purposes and can be floor standing or wall mounted. However they are now able to offer a higher level of heat output some models also allow you to turn off the heating element while keeping the fake flickering flame on in case your home gets too warm. The biggest benefit of an electric fireplace is its overall cost-effectiveness. Not only are they among the most affordable options available, they’re also the cheapest to install.

Wall Panelling has made a comeback

Interesting mouldings and decorative features are on trend and with room architecture you don’t need as much “stuff” to make the room beautiful.

Here are some of our favourites.


Box Panelling

Simple and easy, adding strips of wood to existing walls by glue or nails and painting to match.


Applied Moulding

More formal and decorative in character, installation can be relatively easy to install to achieve the desired look. You can customise the size of the moulding and size of rectangle or square shape.


Vertical Panelling

The modern panelling which is seen a resurgence in recent years. You can customise the size of the plant and also readily purchase pre-fab boards to stick on wall.



The term wainscoting refers to any type of wall treatment that runs the entire length of the wall.

So while some people think wainscoting only involves bead-board or v-groove, the “half way method” but this method can be used for any wall treatment.

When using frame and panels (or just frames on their own), there are many ways they can be applied to the walls:

1 Traditionally with framing on the lower half of the wall with a chair rail;

2 Framing above and below the chair rail;

3 Top and bottom framing with no chair rail; or

4 If you want to go all out you can double frame.



V-Groove panelling which falls under the vertical panelling family is a type of panelling where the edges of the boards have been shaved so that when it butts up to another board it forms a “V” shape in the groove. It’s traditional with a twist and gives you more of a defined line than just butting two boards up against each other.

Three things to consider when choosing a bathtub

There is nothing more luxurious than soaking in a sophisticated and comfortable bath at the end of the day. But when you are designing or renovating your bathroom, the choice of baths available can be overwhelming.

Should you choose a freestanding bath or an inset bath? This will depend on your tastes and the amount of space in your bathroom. Here is 3 factors that you have to consider if you are thinking to change or add a bathtub to your bathroom.



Bathtubs have personalities. The amount of space that you have in your bathroom influence what style is right for you. In addition to space, the bath material will also be of influence, acrylic, concrete, copper or natural stone?

Freestanding Bathtubs: This is one of the most popular style of bathtub as it doesn’t require connecting walls to be installed and can fit almost any space in the bathroom.

Regular or Clawfoot: This traditional style has existed since the early 1800s. Nowadays this style is changing to a modern look taking away the pegged claws on the base and replacing it with a more sleek, uniform look. Clawfoot tubs are usually rectangular in shape and require more space than the other alternatives.

Alcove: Those tubs are designed to maximised space are usually installed in a small bathrooms and are installed in a recess of three connecting walls with one finished side.

Drop in: They're fitted inside a framed enclosure that's usually tiled or with stone overlay finished to match bathroom design.

Japanese style or Soaking: They are usually either oval or circular in shape and generally taller than standard bathtubs. The purpose of these is to sit comfortably in place to allow yourself to soak.



There are two key factors for choose the material of your bathtub the price and the comfort. Keep in mind that the most beautiful of material can be the most expensive and heaviest so you should do research on what your bathroom can handle before purchasing.

Fiberglass: This is the cheaper material is made of reinforced plastic. This material is quite durable however can be damaged from heavy impacts and is porous it means that it will absorb water regularly and is difficult to maintain

Porcelain: This material is made of stamped steel with a layer of porcelain enamel-a mixture of powdered glass and substrate heated into a durable coating. This material is quite delicate to heavy impacts however the porcelain is not porous and it will not warp or deteriorate over time.

Ceramic: Those tubs are formed by moulding numerous ceramic tiles together until it hardens the advantage of it is that the bathtubs can have different styles and sizes the drawback is that the ceramic can be difficult to maintain.

Stone Resin: This material is composed of crushed natural stone bonded together with adhesive which can give you the look and feel of natural stone without the weight and with a more affordable cost. The disadvantage of the resin stone is that there are limited styles on the market compared with the other materials.

Marble: This material is durable and retains the heat however as it is a natural tone it is is the most expensive material and is also heavy, adding more hassle to install.



The third consideration is the size, if you have space and your house can support a larger bathtub we will always recommend a larger tub. Keep in mind that a larger bathtub will also require a heftier water bill as it will require more water to fill compared to a smaller size.

Choosing your Windows Style

Your windows are the best way to bring the outdoors in and help you connect with your exterior. Choosing the right windows for your home is a complex and difficult process. During this process you must consider design, style, material and glazing. Our tips are as follows:


Design- your architect will assist you with design:

Most of the time the window design will be influenced by room layout and the shape of the house itself. However, the shape and type of the windows should also be taken into consideration when deciding on the exterior and interior finishes. The windows design will depend on your house style if it is traditional or contemporary.


Open-out Casements: There is a big range of different designs for the open-out casements, in this style the costs tend to be lower because they are made in modular, standard sizes. 

Tilt and Turn: This windows style open inwards and are one of the the most common options for a modern designs. Great for small rooms where the space is a priority. This contemporary style can be more expensive because they are typically made by order.

Fixed: This style will not help for the ventilation of the house, however will increase the natural light throughout your home. The fixed windows are designed to suit your space and can provide lovely light into your home as well as a beautiful outlook, overlooking garden spaces or key outdoor areas.

Skylights: The biggest benefit of this style is that can bring natural light to your house and can be installed where conventional windows can not. Velux also make a range of openable sky-lights which are stylish and functional.



Timber Windows: Timber windows are more used in traditional houses, this material can be softwood of hardwood. The first one is cheaper than the hardwood but requires repainting every few years. Hardwood has tighter grain than softwood, making them more stable and durable.

Composite Windows: If you can’t decide between the all different materials there is an option that is the mix of different framing materials inside and out and is called composite windows. Usually consist of timber windows with a weather-proof capping, such as aluminium strips or plastic. It is complimentary to modern design but an expensive material.

Steel/Fibreglass/Alloy Windows: Are popular in contemporary homes, with this material can be produced finer frames easy to maintain On the other hand this material can be expensive and is not thermally efficient as wood.



Low E: Low E means low-emissivity is a kind of glazing specially design to contain the heat in the house and prevent it to escape, this glazing can reduce the heat loss by at least as four or five times compared with single glazing.

Double or Triple glazing: The choice is yours. This glazing is becoming in one of the best solutions for window suppliers. Double or triple glazing has a layer of insulating air, or other gas, between panes that acts in a similar way to a fibreglass batt in a wall. It reduces heat loss from windows and increases comfort and warmth. Also great for noise isolation.

Choosing a Front Door

More than being a functional item, your front door is a huge part of your home’s first impression, contributing to the style of your exterior and front garden and making a statement about the kind of an interior is beyond it. External doors differ greatly from interior doors and need to be given a lot of thought.

What are the most common styles of front doors?

When choosing a style there is alway a lot of options but the most popular are:


Single doors: Self explanatory really, one end of the door is installed on the hinges, whereas the other end swings into or from the space

Single doors with glazing side or top panels: These doors are installed same as a single door and are popular in heritage homes with lead-light panels within the door on in the frame.

Double doors/French doors: These doors are held on the hinges on each side of the opening, and they swing to out and meet in the centre, always classic.

Pivoting wide doors: A pivot door turns on 2 metal rotations on the top and bottom of the door and can open in and out.



What are the best materials for front doors?

Since functionality is its primary (and most important) purpose they must be strong, sturdy and solid and the best way to narrow down front door choices is to look in terms of material.


Steel: Steel doors are perfect for modern buildings and an impenetrable aesthetic. Although one of the most expensive options ensure these are powder-coated to prevent corrosion.

Fibreglass: These doors are tough and maintenance-free, and are a smart choice for harsh or humid climates. Keep in mind that fibreglass front doors may cost a bit more than timber but the long-term energy savings can help offset the difference

Timber: A wooden front door offers fantastic security, versatility and sophistication. Wood is sensitive to moisture, and wetness in the wood can cause the door to warp, crack and change shape. Sun is also an important factor in the life of your wood door.


Installing a front door

If you have even a modicum of DIY experience or skill, you might like to try installing a front door yourself or ask us for help. Installation steps are as follows:


Measure your old door: You must be accurate, take some different measurements such as that of your existing door, your frame, jambs and your sill.

Remove your old door

Fit your new frame: Your frame should fit into the opening exactly, you just need to have space for a sealant

Fit your Door: You must check that you are hanging your door level, with enough space to open fully and that your sill is in the right place. It shouldn’t require any effort in terms of opening and closing.

Insulate and install the trim: After have everything in place you can finalise the installation by adding all of your trim to hide the fixtures. 


What about the security?

Once you have everything in place,  you will definitely want to consider locks, as well as 5-pin cylinders, mortice locks and multi-point locking systems. Anything other than these options will be viewed as a weak security system, you can ask your door supplier for advice.

Kitchen Lighting

The kitchen is the heart and soul of the home. When this multi-functional, highly visible space needs a renovation, the lighting scheme plan will be vital to the overall finish of the space.

Visual Interest

Add impact and visual interest with downlights or pendants. Use light only where is required. Adding a row of pendants to your kitchen island will help you to divide the different areas between the dining and kitchen areas


Consider natural light

The orientation of your kitchen and the amount of natural light that it receives will have an impact on your lighting scheme. The ideal aspect tends to be north or north east, if the kitchen faces the wrong way it can be dark and you’ll need to have lights on more often.


Include more than one light

Including different layers of lighting. Using different lighting sources will give you a more ‘three-dimensional’ feel and will help with creating the mood you want. Each source should be controlled individually.


Be Mindful of Colour

Think about the colour of the kitchen. As white reflects light, if you have a lot of white in your kitchen you may be able to lower the wattage of bulbs. But those with darker kitchen lighting may need more wattage.


Choose the right light temperature

Go for warm lights.  While you may want your LEDs to give off cool white light above worktops, warm white is much more relaxing for dining or living areas.  


Control the space

If your kitchen is small, you can increase the sense of space by using directional spotlights highlighting your cupboards and walls.

Lime Washing

Nowadays lime washing floors it seen as a stylish and highly appealing option for an understated palette.

Lime washing, or white washing is a technique that has been used for years, initially to protect wood and more recently to make wood look weathered and bleached. Is a simple, easy and effective way, to give your floorboards a makeover.


So, how does lime washing actually work?

Lime washing was initially created as a combination of calcium hydroxide and chalk however these days a diluted paint paint solution is applied. This technique is perfect when a lime wash is applied to solid wood flooring it creates an open textured look to the grain and brightens the wood dramatically.


Lime washing your floor on a DIY basis

Recommended for existing wood floors.

This process can be completed in 5 steps:

  1. Sand the floor until it is free of all old varnish
  2. Remove all traces of sanding dust and go over the floor with a slightly damp mop before letting it dry thoroughly.
  3. Prepare the mixture, the easiest way is to use paint thinner to thin down an oil-based white paint until it is almost translucent.
  4. Apply it to the floor using a roller in small quantities, leaving it to dry for about 15 minutes before buffing away any excess with clean cotton cloths. 
  5. When you’ve achieve the level of lime washing you’re happy with- usually 3-4 coats is required, you will need to let the floor dry for at least 24 hours and then finish off the floor with a polyurethane varnish.


The pros of choosing lime wash

This option can actually be a reasonably effective way of concealing the dirt and grime on your flooring. White always looks clean and fresh. The pros? Timing as 3-4 coats need to be applied the process can be lengthy but worth it!

Shower Heads

Are you considering a bathroom update? There are many things to consider such as tiles, colours, vanity, mirrors, lighting, layout, functionality, the list goes on and we understand this can be overwhelming. In all these decisions we recommend you take time to consider your shower head.

Showering should be an uplifting start to the day or a relaxing experience at the end of the day. Sadly, even the best showers don’t always give you the drenching of your dreams. The best shower head isn't always the one that looks the most beautiful but rather the one that gives you the most refreshing and rejuvenating showering experience. The good news is that you don’t always need to replace the whole shower; you can often revitalise it by switching its head.


How to choose the ideal shower head


What types of shower head are there?

There are two basic types of shower heads fixed and handheld. Fixed shower means that this heads are attached permanently to the wall or ceiling and the second type the handheld head which are more common nowadays and many of our clients choose both options.


What are the most important factors in a shower head?

There is two factors that you must consider, those are coverage and pressure.

Coverage is how much area the shower head covers with its spray and pressure how strong the flow feels on your skin.

Most of the time the more you increase one of these factors the more you decrease the other that is why is important that you have an idea of which one you prefer and what is the perfect balance.


What are the heads made of?

There are some shower heads that are made of plastic, we don’t recommend this option as plastic cracks, leaks and has even been shown to collect more bacteria inside of the shower head. The best options are Stainless Steel, Brass or Porcelain, all durable and rust proof.


What other features should I look out for?

In addition to the basics, modern shower heads may offer extra features like a built-in Bluetooth speaker or LED lighting. However these aren’t always practical for a handheld shower, though, and they are no substitute for an effective spray pattern.

Some luxury features are worth the extra dollars, a fancy finish can be worth paying for if you’re trying to keep your bathroom looking sleek, whilst anything that helps you keep your shower head clean and free of limescale is also a good idea.


Check out Reece as they have a comprehensive range to suit all budgets. or

ABII Interiors for some stylish finishes


Kitchen benchtop materials

Kitchens are not only the room of the house where meals are made, but also where much of the action happens - from household admin to homework and family meals, these are the reasons to make sure that the kitchen materials are both practical and attractive.

One of the most important decisions that you will have to make in a kitchen renovation project is the type of benchtop you will use. Durability is a big factor in this surface that is why you should choose your material wisely.


To find the perfect benchtop material we will give you this advice to assist with your decision.


Natural Stone benchtops

Marble is attractive with passionate cooks as it is the perfect surface for baking. Marble is also a luxurious material, as a natural stone no two slabs are alike. However, spices, curry sauce, coffee, beetroot and red wine will all leave marks and stain your natural surface, so you need to think wisely about your kitchen habits and weigh up how important the look and cost is in relation to how much use your kitchen gets.

Another option to natural stone is granite benchtops, these are more stain- and scratch-resistant, and they come in a wide, selection of colours however you'll need to pay for this choice.

Always ensure your builder or stonemason seal your stone bench-tops following installation, this will help protect the surface from stains. Leading suppliers of natural stone in Melbourne are Signorino and CDK Stone.


Timber benchtops

Timber adds warmth to kitchens and is a lovely natural material that never dates. The extensive variety of available species means that you can play with the tones of the yellowish colours of ash to the darkest tones of walnut. The con of this material is the level of care and maintenance it requires is probably just too much for some people. Water can be a threat if you are not careful.


Engineered stone benchtops

This is one if the leading materials in kitchen renovation projects and certainly a favourite of our clients. The durability factor plays a key part in choosing engineered stone. It also is very easy to clean and comes in a wide range of colours, from bright whites to dark greys. Check out the leaders in this field, Caesarstone, Silestone, Essa-Stone,  Quantum Quartz.


Laminate benchtops

Laminate is always a safe option when you have a tight budget. Laminate benchtops are cost-effective with countless colours and finishes to choose. Laminate is resistant to staining and easy to clean, it is also easy to install. Laminate is also a great long term option, if you choose wisely it will still look great in a decade. The drawbacks with laminate is that it can burn and blister, there are visible joins and it is prone to swelling and scratching. Leading laminate suppliers are Laminex, Lamicolor Duropal and Polytec.


Sintered Porcelain Slabs

This product is relatively new in the market with brands such as Neolith and Dekton. These are scratch, stain and scorch resistant surfaces and are relatively low maintenance. The material is manufactured in large slab sizes which can be cut to fit into any kitchen. This material can also be applied as cladding and cupboards due to its thin manufacturing ability. This surface appeals is a favourite with designers and architects.

Dekton currently has 52 different finish options.

Neolith currently has 30 different finish options


Polished concrete benchtops

This material can give you an urban and modern look in your kitchen. this style of benchtop are precast elsewhere by hand to your specification which make them an expensive option however, because of this you get a lot more choice with your colour and edge design. If you re thinking in use this bench you may require additional sub-floor structural work to support.

Five Best Materials For Kitchen Cabinets 

Thinking in a kitchen upgrade? Cabinetry can transform the space. And there are heaps of options to meet your needs.


The cabinetry material can have a massive impact in the appearance of your new kitchen but also on your budget. You’ll find variety across the board—including laminate, black marine plywood, pre-finished veneers, solid timber, vinyl wrap, two pack and cupboards constructed using eco-friendly materials.


To figure out what suits your kitchen best, let us offer some information to think about.



Is made of three resin-saturated layers: a base layer of paper, a printed and coloured layer (which may look like wood), and a protective transparent layer. Heat and pressure fuse a laminate to a substrate.

This material provide a resistant surface and also a vast colour range that can pair with nearly any decorating style. It is a cost effective option for a kitchen renovation project.


Black marine plywood

Plywood suits inner-city chic, industrial or ultra-modern kitchen designs.

This material is a sheet material manufactured from thin layers or “plies” of wood veneer that are glued together with adjacent layers.

The plywood is flexible, durable and strong making it a favourable option for your cabinetry and is still generally more affordable than solid wood.


Pre-finished veneers

This is one of the most popular interior materials.  Wood veneer is a very thin slice of wood which is obtained from a tree log. Timber veneer can be more easily shaped than solid timber, and is available in a variety of species and used to improve the aesthetics of the kitchen cabinets. This product is less expensive than solid timber


Solid timber

Wood cabinets are a classic feature making them a popular choice for homeowners. There are a range of wood cabinets in colour and style depending on the material the options include oak, maple, hickory, cherry, birch, ash, and pine.

However before you choose wood as your main material for the cabinetry know that they can warp easily as the moisture content changes.


Vinyl Wrap

This is one of the most versatile materials for kitchen cabinetry. The Vinyl Wrap doors are made up of an MDF panel that has been cut and covered with a vinyl form that is pressed to the door using heat and vacuum. It can be designed in a number of profiles, from simple flat doors through to doors with delicate finished. It comes in a wide range of colours making this material suitable to any style kitchen.


Two pack, Two Pac, Two Pak, 2pac

Is a painting mixture solution incorporating a tin of paint and a tin of hardener to form a two-part solution. Two pack cabinetry means that the faces and edges of the kitchen doors, drawer fronts and panels are painted with this very hard two-pack paint.

This material definitely lasts longer, it’s also very flexible in uses. The most value valuable aspect of using Two pack is that you’re able to do an exact colour match with your walls in the home, it also comes in a range of finishes, Satin, Matt or Gloss. Its a luxurious option this will stand the test of time and this is our preferred option for kitchen cabinets.


Another Elwood Trade Services Bathroom featured as Inspiration

This bathroom celebrates the elegance of a clean design with a neutral colour palette and rose gold accents delivering a timeless and versatile look. Call us today to discuss your bathroom project 

REECE Bathroom Inspiration

Bathroom Renovation Inspiration with Elwood Trade Services

Our latest bathroom was featured in the REECE Blog, good tips and tricks. Read it here....

The Modern Splashback

By Deb Cadzow Elwood Trade Services

The modern splashback has come a long way in recent years. Gone are the days of a row of tiles protecting the paint, today the splashback is a statement piece in the modern kitchen. You can still opt for traditional tiles, glass, stainless steel, stone or pressed metal which are all making an impact in a beautiful way.


A Tiled splashback can still make a big impact especially in statement colours and bold patterns. 

One of the most versatile types of wall tile is a ceramic tile. Ceramic tiles are durable and resistance to moisture, making them a great splashback material. Ceramic tiles are also durable, you can use an all purpose cleaner and give them a good scrubbing.

While picking out a beautifully printed tile, you will be wiping these every day so be aware that stains to the grout will happen. Speak with your kitchen designer or building company and ask their recommendation when it comes to grout solutions that will keep your design looking fresh.



Glass remains a popular splashback choice, you may want to consider a printed glass panel. Glass is ideal as it is fully customisable, neutral colours always work and we are seeing more black in our kitchen designs. If you are considering a big statement with your splashback it is incredibly important that all other elements in the kitchen will work in perfect harmony. This design element can be risky so seek some advice from your designer to ensure the balance is perfect.



Those with small kitchens, this is the perfect option. Mirrored splashbacks compliment most kitchen styles, they enhance the space and refect light. The mirror is versatile and beauitful with a variety of tints to suit all tastes.


Pressed Metal

One of my favourites. The rise of the modern industrial kitchen has seen tin and metal splashbacks truly take off. Modern style kitchens benefit from repetative patterns. If you want a real "wow" factor take the pressed metal splashback to the ceiling. Metal splashbacks are low maintenance and practical. Once these are powdercoated, the panels are easy to clean and the powdercoating protects the metal from absorbtion. 


Marble and Stone

Especially beautiful are intricate mosaic tiles in marble we are are seeing a lot of, these work so well in a herringbone pattern. Stone splashbacks also set a style that cannot be beaten. Stone is prone to chipping and staining, so a low maintenance option this is not. Caesarstone is a great alternative as it is resistent to scratches and chips and available in a large variety of colours and shades, well worth a look if you like the look of stone without the upkeep.


See Through

The window that is perfectly positioned has made a comeback and this option can be breathtaking. Nothing more to say.




Create an amazing bathroom on a budget

By Deb Cadzow Elwood Trade Services

Firstly, you can design a luxurious bathroom on a budget, it will just take some planning and research. Know what you want and map out the bathroom so you know the design before meeting with the builder. Know your budget and discuss ways of reducing costs in the initial onsite meeting stage with the builder. A reputable builder will always provide effective ways of achieving your desired finish to suit your budget. Decide what your bathroom needs to fulfill, your lifestyle and functions you want from your bathroom, create a mood board with decor, colour schemes and designs that appeal.


Secondly, find a suitable designer and builder, discuss your budget and requirements, always be open with your budget as this will enable your builder to communicate as to what can and cannot be done. An average bathroom will cost approximately $23,000 depending on your fixtures and fittings. There are ways to reduce these costs, contact us to discuss your requirements 9531 7001.


Once you have a budget and chosen your builder have a designer do a render or 3D sketch of the new design. This will help your builder and bring your vision to life. 

Ensure you have the contact persons details who will be managing your site as questions will arise during the building process and communication with your onsite contact will be vital.


Go shopping! Source your products, fixtures and fittings. A little bit of savvy shopping could save you thousands. Ensure that all of your fixtures and fittings are onsite in the first week of your renovation, this will avoid any delays and extra costs.





Mistakes to avoid when designing your bathroom

By Deb Cadzow Elwood Trade Services

1. Purchase the best quality tapware, fixtures and fittings you can afford. Good quality tapware, baths, toilets and vanities will stand the test of time and save you spending money to replace these in the future.

2. Your bathroom is an extension of the living space, it needs to be functional, inspirational, a space to relax and escape. It should be designed to encourage people to spend time in it. Ensure the bathroom you create has lots of natural light and privacy.

3. Try to integrate the exhaust fan into the ceiling rather than have a surface mounted fan if possible.

4. Don't overlook good heating and ventiliation in your bathroom. Openable windows if possible, and underfloor heating if you can afford.

A brand new kitchen, things to consider

By Deb Cadzow Elwood Trade Services

Some of the kitchen trends at the moment include sleek surfaces such as granite and marble benchtops, and modern, clean lines for cabinetry and panelling. Large islands or breakfast bars/benches for extra working and storage space are also common, usually these are accompanied by seating for additonal dining space.

Bold colours and unique, quirky designs are coming through more regularly and we see our clients breaking the mould of a typical Melbourne kitchen design.


How long does the process of installing a kitchen take?

Once all the hard work of design is done, then the building works can commence. We usually inform our clients that this could take anywhere between 4-6 weeks. This timeframe should cover all of the individual trades including our builder, our plumber, electrician, joiner and cabinetry installers and tiler.


What is the most popular kitchen layout?

The most common layouts I have seen recently come down to three major designs. The U shape, the L shape and the gallery corridor-style layout. The U Shape is generally most common as it provides the most amount of benchtop space and storage space. The layout is generally accompanied by an island bench in the center of the kitchen. The L Shape is also quite common and this is formed in an "L" configuration with one side longer than the other side. The gallery style kitchen typically has a sink, benchtop and cabinetry on one side and appliances and additional cabinetry on the other side of the kitchen.


Can I make a cheaper benchtop look expensive?

Yes. When choosing benchtops there are thousands of options from laminate, to wood to stone. Ask our joiner at Elwood Trade Services for options to suit your budget.


What are the key considerations when installing a new kitchen?

Draw up a plan. Storage space is key. Ensure cooktops and powerpoints are away from the water source. Make sure you map out powerpoints and how many you require. Maximise benchtop space by positioning cooktops, sinks and appliances in appropriate positions. To understand the costs involved contact us on 9531 7001 and we will arrange an onsite visit with our Builder to discuss your kitchen requirements. A reasonable budget can range anywhere between $17,000 and $50,000.



Make your home feel brighter and lighter

At a fundamental level, our sense of well-being originates from the space in which we live and how well illuminated it is.


Without adequate space we feel suffocated and cluttered; with space we can spread out and enjoy our possessions (both stored and displayed) and relax with ease.


Light is equally significant, necessary not only for practicality and safety but also for sending subliminal signals of security, welcome and warmth.


So whether your property is large or small, grand or simple, seeking ways to space and light is a priority.


The following decorative approaches are relatively inexpensive and quick.


Choosing Colours Wisely


Choosing Paint Colours


It is easy enough to say pale colours lighten and brighten a room, whilst dark colours make a space feel smaller, that as a general rule is true.


The “all white” option will give you the utmost feeling of space.


In a small room, using one pale colour can prevent it from becoming too busy.


Pearl greys are lightening too, and you can then add pictures for some depth.


Choosing Colours Wisely


For some, however, all white or all one very pal shade can feel sterile or just plain boring.


If you love colour, what do you do? Use darker colours in shelving and recessed areas to create the impression of depth and space.


Interestingly, it is not just the shade of colour we use that affects how light or dark it makes a room, it is also the finish.




Because matte paint absorbs so much more light, it can look softer and paler than the equivalent colour of eggshell or gloss.


If you are going to use an eggshell paint in the bathroom or kitchen, for example, be careful not to choose too dark a colour.


Using mirror, glass, metallic or other reflective surfaces is tried and tested method of bringing light into dark corners and creating the illusion of larger rooms.


Using tall, thin mirrors between windows, adding that the same principle works with mirroring the verticals on built in bookcases.

 Fabrics and Window Furnishing

As with paints, pale fabrics always help to make a room feel lighter and brighter, whilst light-weight fabrics allow more light to pass through them than heavier fabrics.

Window treatments can play a huge role in our perception of light and space.


At night, it is important that they keep in warmth and keep out prying eyes, and during the day they may still be required for privacy, or perhaps filtering sunlight.

 Furniture and Fittings

If more space is needed, one obvious solution is to streamline as much as possible.


Then consider ways in which to improve storage capacitybespoke pieces are often best, as they can be made to fit into the most awkward of corners, and stretched to the ceiling for maximum capacity.


As for furniture, simple and slender styles, with a consistency of shape, size, colour and texture, will have the least visual bulk.


Pale, transparent or mirrored pieces, or items painted the same colour as the walls, are a good choice whilst anything raised on legs will be the room seem larger as it increases the amount of visible floor area.


It is a myth that small rooms should contain small pieces of furniture, select one large, bold piece instead of several smaller ones.


Contact Elwood Trade Services 9531 7001 for your Commercial and Residential painting needs, our painters service Bayside


Melbourne, ,including Brighton, Elwood, South Yarra, Hampton, St Kilda, Caulfield and Bentleigh


The Cost of Renovating a Bathroom Melbourne


Deb Cadzow


So your bathroom is looking tired and in need of an update? You’re trying to work out costs for a bathroom renovation, below is a guide to make it easy.


  • Tiles, don’t forget to include grout and delivery when estimating Toilet New vanity- will you be getting something “off shelf” or a bespoke design from a joiner. A bespoke design will increase the costs by up to 30%.
  • Tap ware for the vanity
  • Tap ware for Bath/Shower
  • Shower Head- rain shower or handheld- or both
  • Bath
  • Shower Screen
  • Lighting
  • Labour inclusive of carpentry and materials, tiling, plumbing and electrical.


According to our calculations and industry standards, coupled with a HIA survey the average cost for a bathroom in 2015 is $17,000.


The best way to estimate the bathroom costs is to work the prime cost items- listed above, cost these, add labour and this should give you a solid estimate.

 Flooring Experts

By Deb Cadzow

All great rooms start from the floor.

For budget friendliness try linoleum, solid timbers for a cosy feel or go wild with ceramic tiles which are available in an endless array of designs, styles and finishes.


If you are after pure glamour, why not go for marble or quartz.


Vinyl Floors

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