IDEAS BANK

Australian House & Garden - - Editor's Letter -

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.

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