ASK AN EX­PERT Stylish so­lu­tions to all your de­sign dilem­mas

Each is­sue, we’ll find stylish so­lu­tions to all your dec­o­rat­ing and de­sign dilem­mas from those in the know

Inside Out (Australia) - - Editor’s Letter - Andrew Benn is the ar­chi­tect on our ren­o­va­tion spe­cial­ists Panel (for more on the Panel, turn to page 124). Here, he ex­plains how to brief and work with an ar­chi­tect.

QI’d like to en­gage an ar­chi­tect for an up­com­ing reno; do you have any guid­ance on how to brief them to get the best re­sult? Daniel, via email Great com­mu­ni­ca­tion is crit­i­cal to the suc­cess of any ren­o­va­tion, so first and fore­most, own­ers should ask them­selves if they feel com­fort­able talk­ing with their ar­chi­tect. Does the com­mu­ni­ca­tion seem open, easy and hon­est? Are they on your page, so to speak? Af­ter those ini­tial con­ver­sa­tions, which are of­ten quite ca­sual, I would sug­gest putting crit­i­cal as­pects of your brief in writ­ing – like a more for­mal agree­ment that can be re­ferred to later. It’s also im­por­tant not to over­bur­den your de­sign briefs with pre­scrip­tive out­comes. A good brief should chal­lenge your ar­chi­tect to think cre­atively about the pro­ject’s po­ten­tial – af­ter all, this is their field of ex­per­tise and what you pay good money for – so take ad­van­tage of it!

QI’m look­ing for han­dles and knobs to add to my kitchen for a spe­cial fin­ish­ing touch to our ren­o­va­tion. Can you sug­gest some sources? Vanessa, via Face­book “Han­dles are a great way to take your kitchen to the next level,” says our style edi­tor Jono Flem­ing. “A good place to start is Hep­burn Hard­ware (hep­burn hard­ where you can se­lect your choice of ma­te­rial and go for ei­ther tra­di­tional or con­tem­po­rary styles. US re­tailer An­thro­polo­gie (an­thro­polo­ mixes ma­te­ri­als in re­ally in­ter­est­ing ways and ships to Australia on smaller items such as knobs and han­dles. Buster + Punch, avail­able from Liv­ing Edge ( au) of­fers the ul­ti­mate de­signer han­dle se­lec­tion. Sleek and beau­ti­fully designed, these han­dles are bound to make your kitchen look re­fined and pol­ished.”

QWhat’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween vinyl, lam­i­nate and hy­brid tim­ber-look floor­ing? So­nia, via Face­book “Lam­i­nate floor­ing uses a wood-based panel, with a printed top layer with melamine. It’s tough, colour­fast, and re­sis­tant to marks, scuffs and stains. Wa­ter­proof lam­i­nates are also now avail­able,” says Ken­dall Waller, na­tional prod­uct man­ager at Quick­step ( “Vinyl floor­ing is pri­mar­ily com­posed of flex­i­ble PVC. Be­ing plas­tic, it is com­pletely wa­ter­proof, and the clear PVC wear layer pro­vides a tough yet soft layer that is quiet un­der­foot. These planks are mostly glued down and re­quire a very smooth sub-floor to look their best. Fi­nally, ‘hy­brid’ floor­ing is a name given to mainly rigid PVC pan­els that mostly use a flex­i­ble vinyl top layer. The ben­e­fit of these rigid pan­els is that they can be laid over any flat sur­face. The pan­els click to­gether di­rectly over tiles or chip­board, while also re­main­ing wa­ter­proof. I’d ad­vise choos­ing lam­i­nate where you want that ‘real’ wood look and feel with great dura­bil­ity, or the vinyl op­tions when you want a quiet floor.”

QI have a nar­row gar­den down one side of my house but it doesn’t get much sun and it’s a bit damp so the grass won’t grow. Any thoughts on whether I could deck it? Sean, via email “Deck­ing will help to breathe new life into an un­used area of the gar­den and con­nect your home with the out­doors,” says Fiona Dze­bic, con­sumer spe­cial­ist at James Hardie (jame­ “Al­ter­na­tives to tim­ber deck­ing, like HardieDeck, are ap­peal­ing be­cause they’re vir­tu­ally main­te­nance-free. As this area is damp, HardieDeck, a mois­ture-re­sis­tant ma­te­rial is the per­fect op­tion. In this sit­u­a­tion, al­low 150mm of ground clear­ance for good cross ven­ti­la­tion un­der the deck­ing. HardieDeck can be stained to look just like tim­ber, but also looks great coated with a clear sealer or painted al­most any colour. In this case, fully seal the deck­ing boards to pro­tect the stained fin­ish.”

Buster + Punch fur­ni­ture han­dle in Brass, $115, Liv­ing Edge, This luxe kitchen is fin­ished off with sim­ple yet chic ‘Bronte’ knobs from Hep­burn Hard­ware.

‘Ma­jes­tic’ lam­i­nate in Desert Oak Warm Nat­u­ral, $57/sqm, Quick-Step,

This out­door zone by Three Birds Ren­o­va­tions (three­bird­sren­o­va­ fea­tures a white HardieDeck sys­tem,

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