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6

Jun

The Best Tiles for Your Kitchen

As we all know kitchen is the most used space in most homes. While it’s a practical space that needs to work for everyone in the family, it’s also a place that needs to look inviting, friendly, comfortable and clean.
If you’re looking to build a new house, one of the first things to do is to find trusted custom house builders. These experts can assist you with your entire house plan, including your kitchen, assisting you with design, fixtures, fittings and other details.
Selecting tiles that are practical and attractive requires a little planning and persistence. Here are five tips that will help you make the right decision.

1. Determine Your Budget
How much you have to spend will determine where and how many tiles you can lay. The floor may not be negotiable, but a fully tiled backsplash may be.

2. How Do You Use the Kitchen?
If you use your kitchen all day, work from home or you love to cook with the family on the weekends, consider how many people are in the kitchen at any one time. How you move around the kitchen will have an impact on the quality and location of tiles you select.

A cork or bamboo floor tile definitely won’t last as long as a ceramic tile, while a stone floor tile may be too slippery for a hard-working kitchen or a household with a young family.

3. Know Your Tiles
There are many different kinds of tiles – some are more suited to the floor while others would only be used above the floor. Floor tiles can be ceramic, quarry (such as limestone), stone (marble), cork, vinyl or even bamboo, whilst wall tiles can be made of glass, porcelain, and also ceramic, quarry or stone.

4. The Floor
Start at the bottom and make sure you have a surface that meets the demands of the hardest working floor in your home. If you want to retain the flow of a timber floor, consider the finish that will most resist everyday use. If you have a breakfast bar that’s in constant use, the floor needs to be extra hardy. With tiles, you need to think about how resistant to damage they are from hard and heavy items dropping on them, and how slippery they may be after a mop or a spill.

A textured ceramic tile or quarry tile will provide just the right texture to prevent a slip and will add a depth of character to your kitchen floor that defines it as the hub of your home.

5. The Walls
While tiles are a natural choice for a backsplash or behind a stove, they can also be used decoratively to create a feature within the kitchen. Backsplashes of glass printed with photographs can easily date a kitchen while a classic high-gloss tile can add a point of visual interest that has lasting value without committing to a popular trend. Glass mosaics are timeless, but require more maintenance than a high gloss tile in black, white or a striking neutral shade.

Help from Experienced Sunshine Coast Builders

With almost 40 years of experience, PJ Burns has an award-winning house builders team. Call us to talk to one of our house designs expert in Sunshine Coast about creating a brilliant kitchen with tiles.

Kitchen Splash

Image via insideout.

6

Jun

Making Your Home a Teenage Friendly Zone

As your kids start maturing, wanting more freedom and hopefully taking some responsibility, you may find that playroom isn’t really working anymore. House floor plans need adjusting as your needs change and it’s important to make these alterations throughout your home.

From the kitchen to living areas and other rooms in your home, changing features of the house will make it easier for you to live together and provide practical solutions.

“There’s No Food in This House!”

Complaining about a lack of food is a common cry of the average teenager. You can make it easier for them to navigate the kitchen with some small house design changes.

By the time your child reaches thirteen years of age, they’re able to making ready a meal without the risk of hurting themselves or placing off a smoke alarm. With more people cooking in the kitchen, it might be outlay investing in a larger kitchen area. Consider an open plan design that merges the kitchen mutually your dining area. This can draw it easier for everyone to move around the kitchen to cook, nip and (hopefully) clean up.
Your teen is likely to use your kitchen as a ready-made food source, so investing in hardy floors that won’t wear easily is another good idea. Also, consider small touches like rearranging your pantry and your fridge to put their favourite foods in plain sight. This can save time and – in the case of your fridge – energy.

Teens need what you want them to do to be explicit, so areas that are open and inviting will make it easier for them to make meals. A good house plan can be as detailed as defining an area where the toasters and/or sandwich presses sit side-by-side with bread that’s ready to go for hungry stomachs on the move.

A Retreat That Works for Everyone

Setting up an inviting rumpus room where your teenagers can entertain is another good idea. This not only helps them to develop socially, it also gives you the peace of mind that they are in a safe place. Try coupling their PlayStation or Xbox with some nice concealing cabinets that sit with the television set. This way your children get easy access to entertainment and you have an elegant solution to hide their games and uphold your décor.

If you’re designing your dream home, consider a separate living space for teens to entertain. This way you can section them off when their friends are over, letting Mum and Dad enjoy a quiet night in the next room.

Talk to an expert

PJ Burns your local custom home builders in Sunshine Coast, with experience in design and construction, along with house extensions and new house plans. Talk to one of our house builders in Brisbane – Sunshine Coast to Hervey Bay – we will help you to build a home that’s perfect for your growing family!

6

Jun

Making Your Renovation Pay its Way

With new house prices showing no sign of slowing down, it’s worth considering a renovation of your existing home with a floor plan that not only updates but extends your options. When you’re thinking of renovating, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Why are you renovating?
  2. How long do you plan on living in the house?
  3. What’s the budget?

If you need more space for a growing family, an extra bedroom, play area or bathroom may be the answer to your first question.

How long you plan on living in the home will inform you on how much you need to plan for the future. If you have a dream house floor plan, it may be worth investing now to save reworking your floor plan again in the future.
A custom-design build with an experienced builder can be a cost-effective way to add value to your existing home. Once you’re happy with the floor plans for your house, an experienced builder can help with everything from the finishes to the fixtures. Your budget may also determine whether you stay on-site or move out while construction is underway.

Quick and Easy Tips to Add Value

Paint and paper – A fresh coat of paint will always make a home look cleaner, fresher, brighter and welcoming. A contemporary feature wall of a floral printed wallpaper can instantly lift a room and give it a personality all its own.
Kitchen confident – If your kitchen has a good layout, but its old and tired, updating the cabinet doors and adding new appliances can make it appear completely new. If your bench tops are in good order, leave them and invest in soft closing drawers to give the kitchen that luxury design feeling at a fraction of the cost.
Energy savers – With the rising costs of gas and electricity, energy efficient lighting, solar hot water as well as zoned and timed temperature control systems increase the appeal of a home to buyers, particularly when interest rates are unsteady. Energy efficient downlights are essential in modern house designs, as are zoned cooling systems that compliment homes designed for warmer climates.
Alfresco year-round – An alfresco deck is like another living room; an outdoor space that can be used year-round for entertaining, dining or relaxing.

Taking a Long-Term View

If you love your home, its locations, and even your neighbours, then consider investing in your property for the longer term. Renovations combine the benefits of old-world charm with modern facilities and extensions. Choosing renovations can be rewarding both financially and a fantastic lifestyle choice.

Get Answers from the Experts

Want to learn more about the benefits of renovating your home? Contact one of our home design experts or learn more about PJ Burns’ award-winning designs and new build homes.

15

Feb

Trending Styles for Kitchens

Take design cues from the latest trending styles from the runways at fashion week to create a glamorous focal point for your home. With a simple colour palette and by adding glamorous metallic accents, you can create a stylish and functional kitchen that will be the envy of all your dinner guests. Try these simple kitchen ideas when renovating or building your dream home for a kitchen that’s about more than just eating food.

White Hot

Clean, striking and timeless, white cabinets are a versatile choice for any kitchen. White cabinetry works with multiple design styles – including traditional, country chic, and contemporary – and opens the room to a range of decor choices and colour palettes. There really are no boundaries with a white backdrop. Continuing the white throughout the kitchen will also help to make your space appear much bigger.

Luxe Metallics

While silver, chrome and stainless steel are three metallics commonly used in the kitchen, we’re currently seeing some warmer metals, like gold, copper and bronze as well. Their texture and gleaming finish provide a stunning accent to most palette choices, standing out brilliantly against the simplicity of all white cabinetry.

Industrial Lighting and Fixtures

Your kitchen needs to be well lit in order to keep up with your culinary adventures, but also provide the perfect place for conversation and mingling. An industrial look can work well for kitchens, as it lends to that commercial, professional feel. Some key industrial elements include: black steel, stainless steel, wire cage sconces, clear glass and old-fashioned style lightbulbs, copper or brass, rivets and other industrial hardware.

Multitasking Areas

Family kitchens are more frequently including a workstation hidden behind kitchen cabinet doors, or are created as an extension to the kitchen cabinetry. Born from the increased demand for work/life balance, these areas tend to have extra power points built in for charging electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Streamlined Spaces

As they become an increasing popular area for entertaining, people generally want to showcase a clean, streamlined and uncluttered kitchen space. This has led to more sleek lines and handle-free cabinetry dominating design looks. Those with more space to play with are opting to include a butler’s pantry in or adjacent to their kitchen area, often with a second sink. These are ideal for homeowners who love to entertain and keep their kitchen clean and simple while keeping dirty dishes and glasses out of sight. Deep drawers for stacking are still the storage of choice in the kitchen itself.

Kitchen or Living?

Kitchen cabinets are becoming increasingly reminiscent of fine furniture, and counters and islands are becoming more and more like dining tables. With open plan layouts not going out of style anytime soon, banquet seating has become the ideal offering of comfortable seating for people who congregate in the kitchen for more than just the food.

Ask An Expert

With so many kitchen design ideas, styles and layouts available, creating your dream kitchen is easier than ever, even when customising from an existing floor plan. As an award winning residential and commercial builder, the friendly team at PJ Burns Builder can offer you a direct personalised service to decide on the perfect design to suit you. Browse through our extensive range of designs or contact us today for a consultation.

2

Feb

Ways To Ensure An Energy Efficient New Home

From installing solar panels, to the latest in insulation to installing skylights, there are loads of ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home. You may not realise it, but even the paint colours you choose can have an effect on lighting and heating levels. The best time to consider how to make your home energy efficient is when you are building, so that it’s done the right way from the very beginning – saving both energy and your hip-pocket now and in to the future.

Solar Power

Solar panels are a great way to drastically reduce your household energy usage. Once installed they require little maintenance, can be expected to last 20 years or more, and the electricity they generate is free.

You can also install solar-powered lighting in your garden or wrap solar-powered fairy lights in trees. This will add atmosphere to your garden and won’t use costly energy sources unnecessarily.

Upcycle

Before you start building your new home, identify building materials and appliances that can be re-used. Windows, doors, roofing tiles and dishwashers can all be salvaged and used again in a new build, adding charm and character to your property whilst cutting down on waste and spending.

Recycle

Make sure your builder has a waste and recycling plan in place before commencing a build and work with them to minimise waste. Try to recycle as much of the leftover building materials as you can in order to reduce landfill. Buying recycled building products not only saves on energy that is required for the production of new materials, it can also lead to considerable savings and add to the atmosphere of your home.

Internal temperature

In warmer climates, the presence of elevated flooring and light construction materials can help to keep your home cool without the need for air conditioning. Consider a metal roof, which can effectively reflect sunlight and keep the internal temperatures down. Using solid materials such as brick, concrete and stone in the right areas of your home can also provide sufficient thermal mass to absorb and store heat during the winter months and save on energy.

Hot and Cold

When planning the situation of your home on a site or block, face the living areas north to take advantage of the winter sun. North-facing windows get sun for the longest part of the day in winter and are easy to shade in summer. Since living areas tend to be the most occupied, it makes sense to naturally heat these rooms. Including windows or openings on more than one side of the living area will allow for cooling breezes, whilst high windows or skylights get rid of any rising hot air. Reduce the heat losses of your pipes by locating the appliances that require hot water as close to your hot water services as possible.

Ask An Expert

The friendly and experienced team at PJ Burns Builder can help you to create the home of your dreams that’s also energy efficient. We offer you direct one-on-one service, so browse through our extensive range of designs or contact us today. Your dream home is closer than ever!

18

Jan

Making The Most Of Vertical Space At Home

Designs for narrow lot homes don’t have to mean space issues. In fact, with the right amount of creativity and clever thinking, you can make your vertical space a stunning and very functional asset. A properly designed narrow-lot house plan “lives” just like any other quality home and offers you more lot options once you make the most of your vertical space. Take our tips below, and you’ll never consider narrow lot homes as limiting again!

Embrace Natural Light

Making a small space seem more expansive means maximising the amount of light coming in the space. Integrate extra windows into your home design for lots of natural light, as this will make your home look larger and feel more open despite its narrow plan. Cleverly placed mirrors and glass create reflections and bounce light around, so hang mirrors at each end of a room in the upper third of the wall to reflect light throughout the whole area. You can tuck mirrors into corners of rooms and hang art in glass frames to create more reflections, and also try using a glass coffee table instead of a bulkier wooden one.

Reduce Dead Space

Spaces such as hallways and beneath staircases are often just areas of dead space. Try using bookcases to fill these areas, freeing up space in bedrooms or living areas for other functional furniture. Try connecting your bookcases together to create a full wall that not only displays all of your favourite literature as decorations, but stores them neatly as well. Extending your bookcase from the floor to the ceiling and over doorways can also give the illusion of more space as it draws the eye upwards.

Multitasking Furnishings

Get clever with sleeping arrangements, particularly in a child’s small bedroom. Keep the top bunk bed of a set of bunk beds for sleeping and convert the bottom bunk into an open space that can be used as a computer workstation, wardrobe or storage area. Bunk beds take advantage of the available vertical space with stylish flair and functionality.

Clutter Free Space

Small or narrow homes can easily feel cluttered, so it’s important to keep things as simple as possible. A soft, light coloured theme running throughout a small or narrow house allows the focus to remain on the sweeping views outside the living room windows, and can make the space feel larger than what is contained within the walls. The absence of rugs and small trinkets on tables can keep the “fussiness” to a minimum, and having only a few selected light framed artworks on the walls can also keep the space from feeling closed and cramped. If you like to keep trinkets and photo frames out, open shelving uses the notion of hiding things in plain sight to transform common objects into decorative collection, without the bulk of cabinets – just remember to keep it stark and minimalistic to avoid the feeling of clutter.

Ask An Expert

As an award winning residential and commercial builder, the friendly team at PJ Burns Builder can offer you direct one-on-one service to provide you with a home to suit any block, regardless of how narrow and it may be. Browse through our extensive range of designs or contact us today!

4

Jan

Designing A Small, Functional Outdoor Area

Limited outdoor space doesn’t mean you have to entertain indoors. Even with limited space, you can plan a functional outdoor area through creative ideas and techniques. From gardening techniques to furniture arrangement, we’ve got the tips you need to create a charming outdoor entertainment area with minimal space.

Think Vertically

No outdoor area is complete without plants! Small balconies or patios can have luscious green or colourful gardens too! If you like gardening, make the most of your space by embracing a vertical garden; the difference of placing your plants up higher can really add an element of natural beauty. You can create this look by purchasing a modular plant kit, which can be found in most gardening or hardware stores. Fix to a wall and allow your imagination and creative spirit to run wild, adding all the colour and texture to suit your style. Hanging ceiling plants and screens with climbing plants can also provide more privacy and add shade to patio and balcony designs.

Take A Seat

Provide guests with somewhere to sit and relax in your mini oasis by using horizontal space for seating. Bench style seating can be inexpensive, stylish and a great way for friends to sit, relax and catch up. If you’re on a tight budget, simply use some crates with cushions piled on top to create the same ambience. You could even get some large, colourful seating cushions on the ground to provide extra seating. If you have a little more room, a cute table and chairs is the ultimate addition to a balcony or patio. If the area is covered from the elements, use a rug to define the seating area, adding colour and really bringing the style from your indoor rooms into your outdoor area.

Light It Up

Embrace the intimate nature of a small space by enhancing that cosy feeling with lighting. Hanging lanterns add height, warmth, interest and ambient light to the area, so the entertaining can continue long into the balmy summer nights. Try hanging different lanterns together at different heights to create a chandelier effect, or even drape fairy lights over a wall or railing to create a pretty curtain of lights. Outdoor lighting can be underrated, but it really helps set the tone and atmosphere of your space, no matter how small it may be

Tidy and Level

Get rid of uneven or mismatched flooring and level the area before putting down new pavers; this will automatically make the space feel larger. You also need to tidy up any grass or flowerbed areas that have been neglected for some time. The neater and more streamlined the garden is, the larger it will look.

Multitasking

Create a functional area for food preparation, eating, and outdoor entertaining by setting up an all-purpose island and add barstools around one or all sides. Using a narrow shelving unit or decorative ladder shelving adds interest to the space as well as handy storage to keep the space functional. Whatever furniture you choose, keep it around the perimeter. Leaving the space in the middle clear will give the illusion of a larger area.

The PJ Burns builder team can offer you direct one-on-one service to get the most out of your home. Contact us today for a consultation

21

Dec

The Perfect Kitchen Design For Entertaining

Lots of people are using their kitchen as the primary space for home entertaining. There are a lot of ways to ensure the functionality of this home hub, both for cooking and entertaining! Here’s some simple tips on how to either design or look out for kitchen designs that provide an ease of conversation and movement, while still allowing plenty of room for the chef of the house to get on with what they do best – cook up a storm!

Bring The Indoors Out

If your kitchen opens out to an alfresco area, large bi-fold doors look super chic and can easily transform the kitchen into a large entertainment area. An indoor/outdoor design makes the most of the space you have available and encourages movement between the kitchen, the living area, and the deck or patio. Do away with the dividing wall between the kitchen and dining room too, so even when you’re playing the perfect host, you can still enjoy the party and mingle with guests.

Get Organised

It’s much more inviting for guests to arrive to a tidy space. Think carefully about what needs to be stored or presented in your kitchen and how to do it. Deep drawers are a great way to store plates, pots and pans as they provide easy access to your most used kitchen supplies. Maximise the space you have to avoid cluttering work surfaces, and utilise that space under the sink! Most importantly, you need a functional kitchen that you and your guests will enjoy being in.

Out Of Sight

If you can afford the space, a butler’s pantry is the ultimate utility room to keep storage and cleaning away from the main kitchen and entertainment area. Fitted with a sink, it keeps dirty dishes out of sight, showcasing your kitchen as a glistening focal point for eating and socialising in.

Install An Island

An island in the kitchen provides guests with room to sit, eat and socialise on one side, while still giving adequate preparation space on the other. This allows everyone to gather together and share occasions without feeling overwhelmed or confined. Islands can be placed vertical, horizontal, or diagonal to the rest of your kitchen and can be made even better with bar or stool seating, which also makes a fantastic breakfast bar. Adding a second sink or small wine cooler to your island can transform it into a wet bar to further impress your guests and make it even easier to entertain while cooking.

Functionality Above All

The kitchen design should never come at the cost of functionality, as you can’t effectively entertain at home if you can’t prepare and cook efficiently.  Plan for the essentials first: your stove and oven, fridge, and sink. Where each of these appliances is located will impact your ability to cook and socialise in your new kitchen while entertaining guests.

For more ideas on designing the perfect kitchen for entertaining, browse through our extensive range of designs and display homes or contact the PJ Burns team today for a consultation.

7

Dec

Choosing A Builder On A Limited Budget

Choosing a builder on a limited budget can be a daunting task, especially if you’re unaware of what things you should be looking out for. Many people are distracted by extravagant display homes and don’t investigate factors such as builder experience, reputation and the existence of hidden costs in their contract. Use our simple checklist below when choosing a builder to ensure you end up with a quality built house to call home for years to come.

Interview the Builder

Many people make the mistake of just meeting their builder, but it’s far better to treat the meeting like a job interview. Ask the builder detailed questions about how they can meet your budget and timeline expectations. After all, you’re going to be dealing with your builder for many months and a close working relationship will be critical to ensure a successful outcome. Make sure you understand who it is that you will be dealing with from day to day, as some builders will prepare the quote and be the primary builder on site, while other building companies may have a team of people and you may never see the person who prepares and presents the quote.

Reputation

Not talking to current or past clients can be a crucial mistake. Asking builders for references results in them providing only the details of those people who will say the right thing. Instead, ask the builder for the contact details of some current clients who can provide you with more useful feedback, as they are still immersed in the process.

Hidden Costs

Contract documents for building your home may look scary, but it’s so important that you take the time to thoroughly read and understand them. Your contract is the key to learning exactly what you’re paying for. Far too many people choose a builder based on quotes that have a lot of important items missing and that are not transparent. Beware of contracts with a long list of ‘estimates’ and ‘TBA’s’ and to avoid a blow-out in costs, ask for a fixed price.

Understand What’s Included

Leave no stone unturned and ensure you have information about every cost. Keep an eye out for clauses such as ‘pending soil test’. Regardless of how detailed and exhaustive the drawings may appear there will generally many things missing that the builder needs to prepare a comprehensive quote. Some builders won’t even construct many of the impressive features they have on show within their displays, so it pays to ask if they will build the home ‘as displayed’ and to provide you with a fully itemised cost.

PJ Burns Builder is an award winning residential and commercial builder. Our team can offer you a direct, personalised service to provide you with a home to suit any block on any budget. Browse through our extensive range of designs or contact us today!

23

Nov

Customising House Designs To Suit Your Lifestyle

Have you found a floor plan that is almost your dream house design, but it’s lacking a certain feature or two? There are lots of ways to customise house designs to perfectly suit your taste and lifestyle. Whether it be an entertainment room, a chefs pantry, a study nook or a garage, the most important thing when building is to ensure it will function for you and your family. Customise an existing floor plan to build a home, not a house.

Build For The Future

If you’re planning on expanding your family in the future, customise an existing floor plan master suite by having a nursery that’s adjoined. For when the kids are older and not fond of sharing, add an extra bathroom or a larger one. Hoping to start spending less time at the office in the coming years? Customise your floor plan to include an alcove that’s just the right size for a home office.

Build For Extra Space

If you prefer more of an open layout in specific areas of your home, you can easily modify some of the interior divisions to give you more flow through, and a sense of space. You can relocate a single or double garage to a location that will provide more space for storage and, of course, parking. You can even customise a plan to have a different foundation from the one specified, like switching from a slab to a basement. Of course, the availability for this will depend on where your site is located geographically.

Build To Entertain

If your lifestyle includes entertaining regularly for friends or family, customise a floor plan by adding more outdoor entertainment space, either covered or open to take full advantage of the weather. An entertainment/theatre room provides a more closed off space for watching movies in comfort. Add a dining room that flows into the kitchen for fun social and family gatherings.

Build For Age Or Disability

If you’re building your dream home for retirement or catering for a live-in elderly family member, special bathroom fittings and fixtures are available for easier accessibility. For a person with physical challenges, opt for indoor ramps for the easy maneuverability of a wheelchair.

Build For Sustainability

Opt for the use of “green” sustainable materials for custom framing and install insulated concrete slabs to prevent up to 40 per cent of your home heating or cooling energy from leaking away. You can reduce this loss by up to 80 per cent by choosing energy-efficient windows. Choose double-glazing and a timber or insulated frame for a high WERS rating. If you use timber for windows, frames, flooring or decking, make sure it comes from certified sustainable managed forests.

Speak to an Expert

The list of customisations to a floor plan are endless, including pre-defined custom options, but whatever the changes you require, it’s good to know that customisations are possible. If you need a little help or advice on deciding on the perfect floor plan and home design, our team can offer you direct one-on-one service to provide you with a home to suit any block on any budget. Browse through our extensive range of designs or contact us today!

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