Another renovation issue is put to bed and once again, I find myself with a phone full of snaps I’ve taken of layouts during the production process. It’s the hold-all for clever design ideas, colour inspiration and styling references I just may want to call on one day, hopefully sooner rather than later.
So much in this renovation special resonated with me. Not just the striking architectural outcomes achieved in the quest for space but also the motivations and insights from owners, who, when it boils down to it, have quite humble aspirations: to eke out a little more space for growing families and lifestyles.
Among the gems gleaned from the projects on our pages this month are, in no particular order: the dark band painted around the bottom of the living room wall to disguise the television when it’s off; inlaid sisal doormats just beyond the threshold; and a deep mesh window frame performing as sunshade and poolside servery. As for building materials, alongside resurgent brick and terracotta and an abiding affection for timber, steel and high-spec glass, there are various types of lightweight cladding emerging, as total home treatments or wrapped around new extensions.
Architectural thinking applied to various sites and home dilemmas is quite something, and I’m always in awe of those who can look at a house and conjure up an out-of-the-box answer to its shortcomings. As coverlined, there are many ingenious space-gaining solutions this month, including a pre-built modular pod extension; a glazed light well, or ‘incision’; and an above-garage loft linked to the original cottage by a 10m-long glazed corridor. This last feat has neatly turned a dead zone into the much-used backbone of this reconfigured family home.
Budget-friendly ideas are sprinkled throughout and laid bare in the Perth project of a young DIYer who snapped up a tired fibro cottage and made it fabulous. Our expert guide to renovating, meanwhile, has advice addressing pretty much every room in the house, making the distinction between what to spend if you’re staying put and where to spend if renovating for profit and resale.
Of course, you don’t need to be in renovating mode to enjoy this issue. There are seductive autumn gardens, decorating cues for achieving warmth without clutter, lovely gift ideas and cakes for Mother’s Day, and the marking of a hugely important design moment: the invention of the pop-up toaster by a man who couldn’t cope with burnt toast a day longer. Think of him when your toast pops up tomorrow.
Best wishes for Mother’s Day to my wonderful mum, and to you and yours.