What it takes to build an award-winning home

A couple of years ago my father and his wife sold their stunning property in a little town in Tasmania, and moved into a hay shed on 40ha of land they’d bought just down the road. Their plan was to build their dream home and maybe a little guest house. Collectively, the family thought they were nuts with a capital N, given that they were in their late 60s and already lived in a house that had been included in Vogue Living’s Top 20 country houses not too long ago.

7 things you can do today to love your home

If you’re anything like me you’ve got a long list of things you’d like to do to your house one day. These could be anything from replacing the carpet (I didn’t get the right underlay and it irritates me every day) to renovating the kitchen to adding a second storey. These are all great changes, but they can get pretty exxy and sometimes those big changes just have to stay in the “one day” pile for now. However, there are definitely some simple things you can do this weekend to help you love your home in the present, which after all, is where you’re living.

Are flatpack kitchens worth the savings?

Search the net and there’s no shortage of beautifully photographed Ikea kitchens with rave reviews extolling their ease of assembly, installation and longevity. They’re so seductive, with their nonsensical names, their smooth Scandi style and their practically impossible-to-beat price. There’s no denying that Ikea kitchens look fabulous in the warehouse and that their ingenious layouts are as attractive as the price however, having installed a few in his time, JD tells me that those undertaking a kitchen renovation using Ikea (or any other flat pack system) components should be wary.

Why does a bathroom renovation take so long?

When you start thinking about a bathroom renovation, it all seems relatively simple – choose some new tiles, get rid of the mouldy shower curtain, replace the taps and vanity that were last updated in the 1950s and you’re good to go, right? Well, turns out that although it’s often the smallest room in the house, the bathroom can be the room that requires the most trades. Everyone gets a piece of the bathroom action (especially if you’re moving walls and the location of plumbing), from plumbers to waterproofers, to renderers to tilers, electricians and builders. In fact, up to 10 different trades could be involved in even a mid-range bathroom reno (let alone the spa-style retreat you’ve been dreaming about). A lot of trades mean a lot of coordination, scheduling and waiting and it’s important to work with a builder who has access to professional, licensed tradesmen he uses regularly (if you need more convincing, read this post about my sister’s bathroom. Nightmare!).