Building and Renovation News

Catch up on the latest news and initiatives plus find useful information for your next project

Creating Inviting Outdoor Kitchens and Fireplaces
posted on 18 April 2024 11:53 AM

As the allure of outdoor living continues to grow, homeowners are increasingly seeking to transform their outdoor spaces into functional and inviting areas for cooking, dining, and relaxation. Renovating outdoor spaces to include features such as fireplaces, built-in barbecues, and outdoor kitchens not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the home but also creates opportunities for memorable gatherings with family and friends.Renovating outdoor spaces begins with envisioning the desired atmosphere and functionality. Whether it's a cosy retreat for intimate gatherings or a spacious entertaining area for hosting larger events, thoughtful planning is essential. Here are some options for enhancing outdoor spaces:FireplacesA fireplace adds warmth and ambiance to outdoor living areas, extending their use into cooler evenings and throughout the colder seasons. Options range from traditional wood-burning fireplaces to gas or electric models, each offering its own benefits in terms of convenience and maintenance. In many cases, these can become multi purposed by providing a place to cook as well. Positioning the fireplace as a focal point can create a cosy gathering spot, complete with seating arrangements that encourage conversation and relaxation.Built-in Barbecues For the avid grill master, a built-in barbecue takes outdoor cooking to the next level. These permanent fixtures seamlessly blend into the outdoor kitchen design and offer features such as multiple burners, rotisseries, and ample counter space for food preparation. Incorporating storage for grilling utensils, condiments, and cookware ensures everything is conveniently within reach, making outdoor cooking a breeze.Outdoor KitchensTransforming a simple patio into a fully functional outdoor kitchen opens up endless culinary possibilities. From basic setups with a grill and countertop space to elaborate designs complete with sinks, refrigerators, and even pizza ovens, outdoor kitchens can be tailored to suit individual preferences and lifestyles. Incorporating durable materials such as stainless steel, stone, and weather-resistant cabinetry ensures longevity and easy maintenance, even in harsh outdoor environments.   Beyond the physical features, creating an inviting outdoor space involves attention to detail and thoughtful design elements. Here are some tips for making outdoor areas more appealing and comfortable:Comfortable Seating Providing ample seating options ensures that guests can relax and enjoy the outdoor space for extended periods. Consider incorporating a mix of seating arrangements, including lounge chairs, dining sets, and cosy nooks with plush cushions and throw pillows.Shade and ShelterTo shield against the elements and create a comfortable environment, consider adding features such as pergolas, shade sails, or retractable awnings. These additions provide shade during sunny days and protection from light rain, allowing outdoor spaces to be enjoyed year-round.Landscape Design Integrating landscaping elements such as lush greenery, colourful flowers, and strategic lighting enhances the visual appeal of outdoor spaces and creates a sense of privacy and tranquillity. Incorporating natural elements such as stone pathways, water features, and fire pits adds texture and interest to the landscape.Entertainment OptionsTo encourage socializing and entertainment, consider incorporating amenities such as outdoor speakers, a television or projector screen, and games such as cornhole or bocce ball. These features elevate the outdoor experience and provide entertainment for guests of all ages. If storage is an issue for all your outdoor things, consider the use of outdoor seating that incorporates storage solutions.Renovating outdoor spaces to include fireplaces, built-in barbecues, and outdoor kitchens offers homeowners the opportunity to create inviting and functional outdoor living areas that enhance the enjoyment of their homes. By carefully planning the layout, selecting appropriate features, and incorporating thoughtful design elements, outdoor spaces can be transformed into oasis-like retreats that beckon family and friends to gather, dine, and unwind amidst the beauty of nature. If you are looking to make the most of your outdoor space, reach out to us at Auscape Exterior Transformations where our team of outdoor specialists can help you get started.

Why You Want to Think About Windows
posted on 14 November 2023 03:20 PM

When it comes to renovating and extending your home, your choice of windows has a big impact on the overall look and feel. From the amount of natural light and ventilation to outside views and passive heating and cooling, the right windows will not only enhance your enjoyment of your home, when done right, they can also make it more energy efficient. When designing your new rooms, windows will be something worth spending time considering.Thinking about the windows early in the design process can save time and money as it is an important aspect when designing your new home. For north facing windows, large windows get the best natural light with the biggest amount of solar heat gain in winter and heat protection in summer. In Australia, windows to the west and south should be kept to a minimum as these will let the sun in during summer allowing too much heat which will in turn overheat your home. Windows facing west should be avoided where possible, if needed they should be relatively small and well shaded. However, in the absence of northern solar access, windows to the east and west can provide some winter heat gains. East facing windows should be kept pretty small and windows to the south need to be positioned to enable cool summer breezes to easily pass throughout your rooms. It is important to consider the layout of your property and surrounds so that you can look at the impact of the design holistically.A handy note, the total radiation received per window varies according to the time of the year and the orientation. These factors will help reduce the strain on your utility systems and bills. For example, window size appropriations vary in terms of energy efficiency and other factors which include glazing, double glazing, awnings etc. It is important to consider every room separately, as each room may have different acceptable limits and therefore may require different sized windows or considerations with glazing. Thermal performance can help with that also utilising small windows. The size of windows should be taken into account combined with glazing and/or close-fitting internal coverings such as drapes with pelmets can also minimise heat loss in cold weather.Windows come in all shapes and sizes but they are generally categorised by the way they open. The most common window types used in home builds tend to be a combination of fixed, awning and sliding windows with casement and Louvre windows used less frequently. For framing, you can opt for aluminium, steel or timber. The best option comes down to your style and budget but it can also be impacted your homes BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) rating. Whichever floor plan you choose, there is always flexibility to move the windows to suit exterior factors such as your aspect and views as well as interior considerations and furniture placement. It can sometimes be challenging to strike the right balance between an aesthetically pleasing look from the outside and the practical needs of the inside. Our expert team can work with you to ensure your final design ticks both boxes, from the sense of space that abundant natural light brings to the increased flow of a breezy atmosphere that cross-ventilation provides and the reduction in heating and cooling costs of thermally efficient glass, it all adds up.In our region, we experience all four seasons fairly so creating the perfect design with windows can help to cool the summers taking advantage of sea breezes and warm up the winters. For more information and advice on designing the rooms in your renovations and extensions, get in touch with our team.

The New BASIX Standards
posted on 13 September 2023 09:48 AM

The Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) applies to all NSW residential dwellings so they meet the BCA’s (Building Code of Australia) energy efficiency requirements. A BASIX certificate is required for all new building work or alterations and additions to an existing dwelling where the value of the works is over $50,000. It is required as formal evidence that the project achieves compliance with the required targets for energy, water and thermal comfort to accompany all development consents or complying development certificates.In August 2022, the NSW Government made the new State Environmental Planning Policy (Sustainable Buildings) 2022 (Sustainable Buildings SEPP) and associated amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations 2001 and the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety Regulation) 2001. Following announcement of changes to the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 energy efficiency provisions, the NSW Government had announced the equivalent changes for NSW that will apply under BASIX. Residential buildings will be required to meet a higher BASIX thermal performance standard of at least 7 Stars under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).The policy package will come into force on 1 October 2023, following a one-year transition period that’s designed to give the development and construction sectors time to adjust to the new standards. If you already have a BASIX certificate, a new BASIX certificate will not be required if you lodge it with your development application or complying development certificate within the three-month certificate validity period. You can however choose to update your BASIX in line with the current rules and revise the lodged certificate during the assessment period or after receiving development consent. What are the changes to the BASIX thermal performance and energy standards?The new changes will apply to the BASIX thermal performance and energy standards, except for homes in the North Coast climate zone and small apartment buildings of up to 5 storeys anywhere in NSW. The changes will mean that: ‘Thermal comfort target’ will be increased from the current 5.5-star NatHERS to 7-star minimum (equivalence). Energy consumption stringency increased, varying with building location and type. For example, a house in Western Sydney increases from a target of ‘BASIX 50’ up to ‘BASIX 70’. A new provision will be introduced to calculate and report the embodied emissions of building materials in the building. There is no specific target or benchmark, but information must be reported on the embodied emissions through a new calculator to be provided. There are no changes to the BASIX water standard. How will we help our homeowners meet the Higher Standards? Should your alteration or addition require a BASIX Certificate there will be a number of factors that we will need to address and how these will affect your goals and your budget. As part of our design and planning process, we will suggest options that will be relevant to your design and location to meet the proposed thermal performance and energy standards. Some of these may include: Installing more or a higher grade of insulation to the walls and roof of your home. Adding wall insulation to the internal wall separating the garage from the Living and to the bathroom, toilet, laundry, and ensuite, separating it from the Living therefore separating the "conditioned" spaces from the "unconditioned" spaces and provides an air gap between the living space and the other areas, making them more habitable.Improving the performance and location of windows, as well as using good air flow, shading and sunlight to cool and heat homes naturally.Adding Ceiling fans to bedrooms and living areas which will improve thermal comfort of living as well as providing credits for BASIX measures.Choosing a more efficient heating and cooling system, such as a 3-star reverse cycle air conditioning system.Adding a Solar Photovoltaic system to assist in the production of electricity. At Auscape Exterior Transformations, our team will endeavour to meet your needs and provide advice and suggestions on how your design concept can be adjusted to help you reach your goals and make your home offer your better living all round. You have the option to engage us to perform all your design, planning and building for a seamless process to prepare for your home alteration or extension where we take your design through the process of obtaining NatHERS and BASIX certification. Should you wish to engage your own designer, we do recommend that you seek advice from your builder during the design process to ensure that your project requirements will still fall into your budget. You can expect that meeting the higher building standards will in turn make the cost of building increase, yet the outcome is providing you a better quality of living and reducing the cost of day-to-day home expenses and decrease your carbon footprint.   

Building a Carport or Pergola
posted on 21 April 2023 04:10 PM

When deciding to Build a Car port or pergola, the main goal is that we are trying to protect our assets, whether that be our vehicles, equipment, outdoor furniture or even ourselves from the elements. Whichever it is, if done right, the addition will provide added value to your home as well as your lifestyle. Carports can provide protection for vehicles, boats, and other pieces of equipment by keeping them under cover. A carport will protect your possessions not only from storm and environmental damage but also from theft and vandalism. Many homeowners are choosing to erect a pergola in their backyards because they are highly effective in providing shade over walkways, entertainment or relaxation areas. There are a great many options available so there are a number of things you will want to consider when getting started.BudgetCarports and Pergolas come in all shapes and sizes to suit all kinds of budgets. Once you have established what kind of money you can invest, a decision can be made on the design, materials and size that you would have. If you are wanting some decorative aspects, electrical additions and other features, you will need to take those into consideration as well. Have a clear budget set out and make sure it is realistic. It may cost more than you think and you will want it done properly the first time round.PositionWhen planning the best position for your carport or pergola, you may have only one option or you may be considering a few. It is important to think about the purpose of use for your sheltered area whether it will be for a vehicle, for outdoor living or entertaining or for both. You will want to consider the accessibility of the area the space that you have to use. There is the option to build a structure that is freestanding separate to the home or to have something that is attached. It is important to consider the aesthetic value, as well as any limitations that you may have when it comes to what will be permissible by council. In most cases, you will find that your design will be either an exempt or complying development. You will need to determine the size of your structure and make sure it will be suitable for your needs.ApprovalsDepending on where exactly you live, the council requirements may differ. If you are replacing a carport or pergola, it is best to check that approval has already been sought for the existing structure. Not every structure requires approval but checking certainly will not hurt. If you do require council approval, you will want to factor this into your budget as well. You can check out the rules for exempt or complying developments by clicking HERE.MaterialsOnce you have a defined budget and a design for the carport, the choice of materials is the next step. Our specialists at Auscape Exterior Transformations can help provide you the right options to suit your budget and the style you are trying to achieve. Carports and Pergolas can be made with steel or wood frames with the more popular roofing options being either colourbond, aluminium or even clear polycarbonate sheets to allow sunlight through. You may want to add decorative features to make your area stand out or fit in with the style of your home. You may choose to paint, hang privacy shades or rain shades, undertake millwork on the posts, include built-in seating or lighting.At Auscape Exterior Transformations we have the right people to help guide you through this process and expert builders of patios, pergolas, carports and all your home transformation needs. For more information, get in touch with us today.

Retaining Walls - What You Need to Know
posted on 10 March 2023 03:31 PM

A retaining wall is a structure built to contain soil that would otherwise slope and potentially erode over time. The main purpose is to make the land level, therefore creating more usability with the land for structures, projects or even to add aesthetic value to your gardens and landscapes. They are ideal for those looking to leverage land space. You may need a retaining wall as a necessity when there is a need to control downhill erosion, you have a home downhill from a soil fault line or a requirement to protect your home and its foundations.       Depending on your requirements and the purpose for your retaining wall, building a retaining wall can be a big investment of time and money. The end goal is to ensure that your structure is going to create useable land, handle extra water runoff and keep the earth in place. These are some good things to consider when planning to either build a new retaining wall or repair an old one.Things to Consider-      Wall HeightIf you’re planning on building a retaining wall on sloping earth, and require a wall that’s taller than 1.2 metres, you will need to consult a structural engineer on the mechanics of how to properly erect such a wall. The pressures associated with wet earth and walls higher than 1.2 metres can cause walls to collapse if proper structural care has not been taken into consideration. In some instances where you are building a new wall, there may be council guidelines and the need to be adhered to and the need to certify the new construction. This does not apply if you are replacing a damaged retaining wall in the same area to the same size.-      FoundationFoundations should be firm to avoid walls destabilizing. The type of foundation required will be dependent on the height of the wall, materials used to build the wall and the quality of soil and as well as other environmental factors that can impact the stability of your wall. Either your engineering reports will advise on what is required, or our specialists at Auscape Exterior Transformations can advise on what is most suitable for your needs.-      Layout PlanBefore you get started, you’ll need to design your wall. Imaginative use of retaining walls can transform almost any uneven area into an eye-catching space. Take all these things into consideration in deciding where you require this wall to be situated. It will depend on what your landscape looks like, are there any curves you need to work with, are there any obstructing features is there any construction requirements in the areas above or alongside your retaining wall that will influence the design.-      MaterialsRetaining walls come in a variety of materials from timber, concrete sleepers, poured concrete, brick or blocks that can be rendered, stone, and interlocking blocks. What you select will need to be suitable for its purpose and needs and contribute to the style and aesthetic of your home.  If you’re looking for the cheapest option, timber might be it, but its disadvantage is that it is subject to cracking and rotting without the appropriate drainage system. Concrete Sleepers or poured concrete tend to be more stable and provide longevity and can be most suitable where the risk of soil movement is higher. With Concrete Blocks and Interlocking Block systems the blocks come prefinished so once you lay the wall there’s no more work needed to make them look good, they are a good option when you are wanting to marry this into landscaping and other garden features like garden beds and paths and paved areas. If you have a rendered home or are looking to create a simple wall with a smooth finish that you can add colour to, a rendered block wall may be the way to go. If you are after a more natural look to suit your landscaping, the use a natural rock such as sandstone or granite will work best. For stability, these will be put together with the use of mortar to provide stability and keep it in place.Retaining Wall Construction-      SupportRetaining walls need to hold back an incredible amount of soil. Without the correct support system, even the strongest ones will crumble. The most basic kind of retaining walls are built using a sloping technique called step-back construction. This allows the retaining wall to press back against the soil. Vertical walls, or those higher than 90cm, need extra support to keep them upright. Steel reinforcements, buried footings or a cantilevered design would be required in these cases. Large walls usually have strong tie-backs attached to anchors behind the wall to keep them in place. Very thick walls can often bear the brunt without any extra support. However, these are only suitable for very large gardens. It is common practice to bury about 1/8 of the wall below ground level, to ensure that the structure remains stable.-      FoundationsA basic step-back retaining wall usually only needs a gravel-filled trench as a foundation. More complicated structures must have a solid structural foundation. These concrete foundations are poured below frost-level. This means they can’t be disturbed by soil contracting during a cold spell.-      Back-fillA back-fill counteracts the effects of soil swelling when it becomes wet. This gravel layer is laid right behind the retaining wall and will prevent it from cracking due to soil movement.-      DrainageIn most cases, the back-fill will take care of any drainage issues. However, sturdy concrete walls often need specialized drainage systems built into them to cope with seepage. This will help not only with water movement behind the wall but how it will affect the surrounds as well. We deal with a wide range of home exterior improvements. Get in touch if you have any questions about landscaping, retaining walls, construction or landscape maintenance. For more information and advice about building your retaining wall, get in touch with is today.

Building A Deck
posted on 06 January 2023 12:03 PM

Many Australians love the outdoors so having a nice relaxing space to enjoy at home is a must and what better way to start than with adding a deck. It is a great way for owners planning to sell to increase not only the floorspace of their home but the value of the home as well. There is a lot to consider when planning to build a deck. The team at Auscape Exterior Transformations will be able to help you along the way to get the best result to suit your needs, but here’s a few pointers of things you will want to consider getting started.The Purpose and FunctionTo get the most out of your new deck, aim for a design that reflects your interests and activities. These spaces are very versatile so its good to think about what you enjoy and how you will make it happen in that space. Take some time to consider its location. In some cases, this is very simple to assess, in other cases where you have a few options, you will need to spend a bi more time considering its functionality with regards to its proximity to other parts of the home, the view or landscape around the area and most importantly, how much sunlight or shade the are will give you at different times of the day over the seasons. Once you have an idea of what you want to achieve, get in touch with us and we should be able to give you a guide to the cost and you will be able to see if this will be achievable with your budget. What is your Budget?Your budget will determine the size, design, and materials that you will choose for your deck. You will also want to make sure you add in components like designing and applications to council for approval if it is required.  As well as the deck itself, you may want to consider additional components like railing if its needed, flowerboxes, built-in seating, shelter or lighting. Will You Need Approval From CouncilIn NSW, installing balconies, decks, patios, pergolas, terraces, and verandas may not require approval if the proposal meets the relevant development standards set out in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the State Policy). You can find more information about the standards HERE. There are added costs that will come from going through the design and approval process so this may potentially influence your plans and how you will want to design your deck. In the instance that you do require an approval, our team will be able to help you with the design and preparation work to get things started. Know Your MaterialsWhen building a deck, you may want to consider the look you wish to achieve, maintenance needs, how it will work with you surroundings and your budget. The most common options are:Treated PineThis is usually the most affordable option. The timber is treated to withstand Termites, fungi and decay so long as its maintained. It is versatile and can be stained or painted in any colour. It will need yearly maintenance to keep it in good condition. HardwoodsMerbau, jarrah, spotted gum and blackbutt, are extremely durable and will provide a next level feel of nature and opulence. Like the treated pine, you will want to oil your deck once or twice a year to keep it in its best condition for longer. Although it is pricier, they wear very well long term and are great for that natural timber feel below the foot around pools.Composite DeckingMade of recycled wood fibres and plastics, this is a little more costly but comes with much less maintenance requirements so are perfect for busy families. It is an environmentally friendly option and comes in a variety of natural colours. It will note warp, face, splinter or rot and requires only to be washed clean as needed. Once your deck is complete, be sure to furnish it with weather resistant pieces and take good care to keep it tidy to avoid attracting pests. For storage, consider installing box benches with hinged seats. If you have a raised deck, there might be enough room below to store tools, toys, or garden equipment. Make the most of your space and plan for other options or additions that will benefit you. Auscape Exterior Transformations can help you create a versatile and a safe, durable deck to be enjoyed for decades to come. Get in touch with us today to get started.     

Choosing a Skylight
posted on 29 August 2022 04:04 PM

In Australia, the skylight trend is making a comeback with tons of new options making them more versatile than ever. Installation, technology, and new types of skylights options are being introduced to the market making it more affordable and versatile. Renovating your house and increasing the value with an abundance of natural light has never been easier. Choosing a skylight remains a personal preference from the homeowner’s perspective. The major reasons why homeowners want a skylight installed in the home renovation process is for natural light and ventilation from above. The benefits include making the home more energy efficient, improving privacy, increasing cross-ventilation, and the positive impact on mood and general health that natural light provides. Auscape Exterior Transformations partners with Velux, the leading manufacturer of skylights in Australia to give your house an upgrade and a luxury aesthetic with myriad of benefits. There are several types of skylights which can be installed to suit your needs. Choosing the right product can be daunting but here are some examples of what you can do and what is on offer.Since proper ventilation is crucial in the bathroom, upgrading by installing a skylight is a great option as it provides privacy without compromising natural light and allowing the steam to exit. Mould formation is usual without proper ventilation, especially, in a moist dark space. The placement of the skylight plays the key role in improving the quality and care of your bathroom. A good option is installing a Velux Pitched Roof or Flat Roof Skylight however, all bathrooms are built different, and skylights must be installed after carefully considering the placement and the type. The placement of the skylight will also determine which model of the skylight will suit the best. For example, if the skylight is placed on the ceiling of the bathroom which makes it hard to reach, Electric or Solar Skylight will be the best option which comes with the added benefit of a remote controller and rain detecting sensors. Whether you choose to go with Solar or Electric will be a matter of preference but also greatly depend on how much sun actually hits that part of the roof you will plan to install on. On the other hand, if the placement of the skylight is easy to reach, the Manual Skylight can be an economical option.A kitchen space benefits immensely from having natural light as a lot of care and function with food preparation and cooking occurs here as well as most of day-to-day family activity. A great solution could be installing either electric or solar options both of which comes with pre-installed rain sensors that automatically close the window when rain is detected, giving peace of mind all day whether you are home or out. It remains crucial for us to inspect your home to ensure you are choosing the right skylight for your purpose. Velux Blinds can also be considered if you want the additional benefit of full blackout of the sun. Velux manufactures blinds to fit your need; the variety includes Velux Honeycomb Blinds which are stylish and modern and provide protection from heat and glare. Their range of blinds also include Complete Blockout blinds for the hottest days and Solar Powered blinds which are powered by radio frequency wall mounted keypad.Skylight installation is not only for the indoors, a Patio Ceiling is a great place to install Skylights enhancing the grandeur of the design elevating the luxurious aesthetic of the house and increasing the value of the home. A Velux Fixed Skylight can be a great option to feel closer to the nature and get abundance of sunlight. Since alfresco skylights main purpose is to get natural light, fixed skylight can be a price friendly option. If you are looking to renovate and brighten up the limited spaces like ensuites, home office or powder room where skylights are not practical, a good option can be installing a Velux Sun Tunnel. This would also be a more budget conscious choice and they require minimal maintenance. The installation is quick and easy with minimal obstruction and the shaft is highly reflective to achieve maximum light output. The wide range of skylights means there is almost always something to fit your needs. If you are not sure about what suits your needs and want some more tips on choosing the perfect skylight to upgrade your house? Get in touch with us to kick off the process.

Trending Colours of 2022
posted on 27 April 2022 04:59 PM

If you are looking to renovate, extend or freshen up your home then exploring colours are probably high up on your list this year. Our Friends, the Colour Professionals over at Dulux have identified the shift in trend coming into 2022 towards some more bold colours that provide a living space with a load of warmth and individuality. Check out their three new palettes for 2022. Flourish  This amazing combination of sensual soft tones alongside warmer neutrals comes together to create a style that can accentuate features of your décor adding dimension to your space. When looking at creating an inviting space in your home, adding warmth in colour promotes the feeling of comfort and ease which seems to be much desired in these trying times as the world has adjusted to a new type of normal.The combination of rich deep hues like ‘Deep Leather’ and soft earthy tones like ‘Bongo Drum’ can help created a layered effect of colour adding dimension to the home. Darker hues like ‘Dark Door’ combined with bright splashes of colour like ‘Red Terra’ will provide a room with a rich sophisticated feel.This great combination of colours can be accentuated with the use of textured and used to showcase those things that you love the most. Whether to showcase a beautiful Turkish rug, to accentuate a unique velvet couch or to bring out the inner you, this style combination can make for amazing things.  Restore Like the Flourish Palette, Restore is going for the same goals when it comes to promoting comfort. The tones used are cool and calm with great connection to the natural environment bringing a feeling of outdoors inside. This year Green is going to be big With Hues like ‘Natural Flora’ in the spotlight.The combination of fresh bright tones like ‘Rice Crop’ paired with rich deep shades like ‘Finnegan’ sets the scene of tranquillity. Natural greens and earthy colours help the mind focus on mental wellbeing and the feeling of being grounded. It’s the perfect palette for those lovers of all things organic. These monochromatic colours help create a relaxing environment that pairs well with décor and feature pieces made of natural fibres and colours like raw timber, unstructured linen, and textured stone. Wonder The first word that comes to mind when looking at this combination of colours is Joy. This playful collection is both bright and exciting without being too overbearing. It is the perfect palette for those looking for liveliness in their homes with fresh light tones like ‘Pax’ and vibrant hues like ‘Edvard’ to bring in those bits and pieces of wonder and inspiration.    The pairing of these hues can help combine the old with the new when it comes to décor with the use of sleek tones like ‘Vivid White’ and fun vibrant fresh tones like ‘Pink Papaya’ and ‘Celery Green’. Using different patterns and textures in your décor will only add to the joy of this scheme.This mood boosting palette can help to create a wonderous vibe that is not limited to a child’s bedroom. Combining these hues with different textures like vintage décor and sleek features can work beautifully in any living space and create an inviting and joyous environment.This article was inspired by the Dulux Colour Forecast of 2022 with content and images sourced from their website. You can visit Dulux at to delve deeper into these Palettes and gather more inspiration.If you need more help with your selections or advice on your renovation or extension options get in touch with us today.  

Welcoming in the New Year
posted on 11 February 2022 03:11 PM

I think all of us have experienced the bumpy start to 2022. Nevertheless, in the true aussie spirit, we continue to persevere. From an intensely busy 2021 we are diving into 2022 working back-to-back with our current and new projects. We are fortunate and grateful for our strong and hard working team and all the effort they have put into all our projects in the previous year and their eagerness going forward into the new year.   We do know that a lot of people who reach out to us are in the same boat struggling to get tradespeople out to provide them advice or a quote for their projects. We do appreciate you reaching out to us and also your patience. If you find yourself in this position, it may be a good time to start planning and selecting products and materials. If you do require a DA for your project, we do have design experts at the ready to help with you’re the preparation of your plans, product and material selections and any other components required to get your project ready to build. If you are in the very beginning stage, do reach out to us as we can help you get started. Preparing and planning now ensures that you are ready to go when the time comes that our construction team become available in the future. As well as our new home builds and our home renovation projects, we have also partnered up with some builders on a few large projects to start the year. Currently, some of our team are working up at Mayfield on a large Town House project. At Auscape Exterior Transformations, we love being able to participate in many aspects of design, construction and landscaping providing our teams with experiences that help broaden their skills and expertise. We are always on the lookout for trade specialists and enthusiastic individuals who are wanting to team up and work with us. If this sounds like you, get in touch with us. Looking forward to sharing our experiences with you all in 2022, like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to check out what we are up to through the year. 

Preparing to Get a Quote
posted on 28 October 2021 11:16 AM

Building an extension, renovating or even transforming your landscape is a new process for many of us, and for first timers, it can be very daunting if you’re not well prepared. Getting quotes can be a time consuming and laborious process, but it is an essential part of any project and the more prepared you are, the better your outcome will be. Putting in the time and effort to plan what you want to do is always worthwhile. Doing so, ensures that you are going to be able to gather accurate and fair quotes to compare as well as have full understanding of what is included and excluded. Firstly, prior to your first meeting with your builder, it is important to know what your goals are. This can vary depending on what stage you are at with your project. In most cases, we meet with either of two scenarios. For some, you will have plans prepared and for others you may have some ideas and require some input from your builder as to what options are best for you. In any case, our team at Auscape Exterior Transformations are ready and able to help.Although you may not be completely aware of the cost of your project, it is still a great time to set a budget and a timeframe. It could be as broad or as limited as you wish but it is a great time saver for yourself and your builder if you do set these parameters so that you are discussing and planning something that will work for you. It is important to be upfront with your builder about your budget from the outset. There is no point in a builder quoting for a job if they know that they won’t be able to deliver it within your price bracket. The best way to get clear, comparable quotes from builders is to give them a good ‘tender package’. This would be a complete set of plans and documents designed to tell the builder exactly what the project entails, and exactly what needs to be built. It would include some plans to be drawn, which in some cases, depending on the extent of the project, can be done on your own and in other instances may require some drafting by an architect or a designer of your choice or by our in-house designer. For more information about designing your next project with us, please get in touch with us and we can provide you more information. From your plans you are then able to create a scope of works (this will be a detailed outline of works that you need to be quoted on as they will be done by your builder) and a Building Schedule (which is a document that provides details of the specific products, materials, fittings and fixtures that are required for your project).Things that are often forgottenThere are a number of components to a project that can often be missed. They are components that some people opt to arrange to be done independently so if you are wanting these included it is important to let your builder know. Waste Removal - if you are aware of the type and amount of waste you will need removed, you may opt to make arrangements for this yourself but in some cases it is important to inform the builder if you are not wanting to manage this component.Approvals, Certification and engineering fees – for large projects, there may be a number of certifications and reports required to design and build. For extensions and for some landscape constructions there may be a requirement for a DA to be lodged with the local council. These may be either wrapped up in a total fee bundle and payable in one payment before approval is issued, or may be handled separately. It’s important to ask if and how approval fees have been included in your quote.Site Preparation Costs -This may include excavation, demolition and clearing of the site. This is an important factor that is highly influenced by the location of the site, the slope of the land, the type of soil and the design of the property.Exclusions - One of the best ways to understand what’s included in a quote is to ask the builder what is excluded from the quote. It is important to ask what is excluded as your builder can inform you of additional costs that may come up later on in your project. You may then find there are components that you would like to add to your project for your builder to include or in some instances you may decide to ensure that you will budget for those components should they be required.  An Estimate and a QuoteThere is a big difference between an estimate and a detailed quote, for smaller projects, an estimate may be provided to you on the spot that gives you an indicator as to what you should expect to pay for based on what you have discussed that day. In other instances, we may need to gather a little more information prior to providing this to you. An estimate is an educated guess of what it will cost to complete a project and doesn’t cover the finer details of a job. It is non-binding, but it will give you as best an indicator of what we believe the project should cost. In the estimate you are also able to observe what is included so that you can ensure that is what you are wanting and check for any additions or changes you would want in your quote. Though it is note as detailed as a quote it does come free of charge. A quote will outline all aspects of a project in detail and is an agreed price for the job, providing the specification doesn’t change. Should you feel satisfied with your estimate and are prepared to move forward, you can request a quote which may come with a small fee for larger or more complex projects. In the instance that there is a fee for preparing your quote, this amount would then be deducted from the cost of your project should you proceed into building with us. It’s important to understand that it takes time to prepare a detailed and thorough quote. You need to allow adequate time for the builder to plan and price your project, which can take a few weeks to produce.If you have a larger project that requires certification or a DA application, it is highly recommended that you request a quote once you have your plans approved to save on time and money and be provided with the most up to date price. Providing as much detail as you can about your project will ensure that the quote is as accurate as possible.Comparing QuotesUpon receiving your quote or quotes, the starting point is to go through the detailed breakdown and avoid putting too much focus on the price. You are going to want to make sure that your quotes are fair and comparable by having the same inclusions. It may be that you will need to ask your builder more questions to confirm some aspects of your quote or project before making the commitment. Professional builder quotes will be thorough, transparent and include a clear scope of works, provisional costs and specific exclusions. While it can be tempting to focus on the bottom line when comparing quotes, be wary of just opting for the cheapest. Check to make sure that each quote covers everything you need and that there is a detailed breakdown of what is included, and importantly, what isn’t included in the price. Beware of suspiciously low quotes. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.If you have any more questions about quotes or more broadly about the whole building process, don’t hesitate call us today on 0427 161 025 or get in touch with us online.  

Things You Need to Know Before You Take the Plunge and Buy a Pool
posted on 02 September 2021 04:52 PM

With so many options and decisions to make, constructing or installing a pool can feel overwhelming. They cost tens of thousands of dollars and can affect both the aesthetic of your outdoor space and the value of your home. There is a lot of research that you need to do before buying one and a lot of decisions that need to be made. Before you get started, here are the most important pool considerations to help you make the best choice for your backyard.Why do I want a pool?Understanding why you want a pool will help you choose the best design and location for your pool and help you select what meets your needs. Whether it is for exercise, relaxation, sports, entertainment, enhancing the property value and aesthetics or a combination of these reasons, being clear about the purpose of your pool will help you understand what it is you will be investing in. A great way to identify what will suit is to gather your household together and discuss and make notes on what each person is wanting out of having a pool, weighing up the pros and cons with the options and then outlining your needs and your desires.Where is the best spot for our pool?There are two aspects to address here. When considering where, on a larger scale we have to consider where our home is and geographically what type of weather and environmental conditions will affect how we can use the pool and what it may then require. If living in a location that experiences cooler climates, you would consider enclosures to prolong the pool season. In milder climates, swimming pool covers can slow evaporation, deter leaves and debris, or protect the pool when not in use.The other decision is where you would want your pool situated on your property. If you have a sprawling estate, our biggest considerations are where on your vast property you want to place your swimming pool or spa. Depending on your budget, your options can be almost endless. For those of us with smaller lots, it may take some creativity, special design, and compromise to make a swimming pool or spa work for your outdoor space. For the more common smaller blocks, you may want to consider building the pool in an area that won’t section off a large area of your backyard. Build against the property boundary so you are using existing boundary fence as part of pool fence detail and you are not wasting any areas as useless space. In addition to your yard's size, consider the slope, soil type and accessibility for construction equipment and most relevant the zoning restrictions that will affect your options.What is your Budget? You may already know what you’re willing to spend on a new swimming pool or you may know what you want out of your pool and to spare no expense.  Whichever way you approach this, we can help provide you a better idea of what your project will cost or what you can afford to build knowing one or the other. Setting a budget however, will help you stay on track and give you parameters to work within. It would cost $55,000 approximately for a concrete pool and $35,000 for a pool made of fiberglass composite. As well as that, there are several other expenditures to consider including construction costs, heating components, landscaping, decking, fencing, shading and any other special features or surrounding amenities that you may want to include. In some instances, there will be components that you won’t need to add straight away and in others, there will be features that are more practical to have installed with your new pool as they could be rather costly to add on later.  What extras do you want and need?This can very much be dependent on your budget but having an idea of what are your needs and desirables can help with your planning. You may find that you have a few options that you would consider which is always a good thing to have. Do you want palms shading you from the afternoon heat or a pebble border around your pool? Would you want coping, decking, and borders helping your pool stand out? The materials used can vary, you may want stone, concrete, ceramic or glass elements just to name a few. Would you want to add water features like a fountain or waterfall, lighting, and other accessories within your pool? Would you be wanting entertaining areas, decks, patios, lounging areas and all the components that then come with those options?Spending some time doing your research online and finding design and styles you like is a great way to start. Essentially you would want to design the pool so it’s an extension of the architecture of your home. Our specialists will be able to help provide you advice as to what will and wont work well for you and how it will affect your use of the area.How will you maintain your pool?The largest maintenance expense is a pool's interior finish. Vinyl liners last approximately 6-10 years, and painted concrete needs a new coat approximately every five years. A plaster finish could last 10-15 years. Many of the new cement-coated products such as Pebble Tec are meant to last a lifetime. This can be the decider of how much you want to pay for your pool upfront as opposed to paying more later.Every pool comes with the responsibility of maintenance. You need to ensure that your pool is energy-efficient with substantial filtration and sound hydraulics. Other kits include the usage of adequate skimmers, variable speed pumps, pool pump enclosures, larger pipes, sanitizers, chlorinators and more. Equipment life spans vary tremendously by brand and quality. Other elements such as proper water chemistry and location of equipment can affect the material's life span.Are you up for the time commitment and monthly costs of maintaining your pool? Can you afford to hire a monthly pool maintenance service to do the dirty work for you? It is worth it to research local rates and learn about all that's entailed in maintaining a swimming pool, spa, or hot tub. Even though these are things that you won’t need to address immediately, it does play a huge factor as to what type of pool you would select to build.  Lastly do know that the process of preparing and building your new pool can be a lengthy process. If you are going into spring now hoping to have it ready for summer, you may be in for disappointment. Nevertheless, any day of the year is a good time to start as this investment is something you will have to enjoy for many years to come. If you are ready to take the plunge and get started on your new pool, get in touch with us at Auscape Exterior Transformations and we can get you on your way to transforming your outdoors with a new pool.

Trending in 2021 Connecting Outdoor & Indoor Living with Biophilic Design
posted on 21 June 2021 03:45 PM

 There are a great number of interesting trends that have come up this year that have been strongly influenced by the many changes that we have been faced with in recent times. The Covid 19 pandemic bringing us all home, plus the drastic increase in the cost of housing and the availability of affordable housing have been the biggest influencers in the way we see our homes. The other main factors that influence this trend is the growing awareness that we have of our physical and mental health and the relationship it has with the health of our environment. Collectively, this has created a massively desired need for Biophilic Design in our homes.What is Biophilic Design?Biophilia (meaning love of nature) focuses on human’s innate biological connection with nature and natural processes. Biophilic design dates to the early 1980s, when biologist Edward O. Wilson outlined his philosophy of biophilia. Wilson hypothesized that we all have a genetic connection to the natural world built up through hundreds of thousands of years of living in agrarian settings. The much-studied belief is that we long for it and without connecting with it, our health could suffer. The concept of biophilic design in historic structures and places suggests that it is not a new phenomenon. Representations of nature through art and structural design has been evident over thousands of years all over the world. Cultures around the world have commonly brought nature into the home environment. Garden courtyards of the Alhambra in Spain, porcelain fishbowls in ancient China or cottage gardens in medieval Germany are examples of this trend. ​Biophilic design seeks to connect our inherent need to affiliate with nature in the modern built environment. Since today’s “natural habitat” is largely the built environment, where we now spend 90% of our time, biophilic design seeks to satisfy our innate need to affiliate with nature in our modern living and working environment. The goal being that we are creating beneficial spaces in our built environment that incorporate direct experiences with nature.A landmark 2019 study found that children in Denmark who had been exposed to more greenery had 55% less mental health problems later in life compared to those who were not exposed to nature. The World Health Organisation identifies stress related illness, such as mental health disorders and cardio-vascular disease, to be the two largest contributors to disease today. Incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature into the built environment have been demonstrated through research to reduce stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates, whilst increasing productivity, creativity, and overall well-being. What more do we need to know that bringing out outdoors in and indoors out is the best investment we can make in our homes and out health? The good news is that there are many ways we can get in on this trend and incorporate Biophilic Design into our homes with almost any budget. How do we incorporate Biophilic Design into our homes? Our homes are the most important spaces in our lives and have a huge impact on our health and happiness. In the built environment, direct experiences of nature refer to plants, light, water, and natural air movement. The focus is on improving any aspect that provides direct contact with green elements. Overall, the most distinguishing feature of Biophilic Design is its emphasis on the overall setting or habitat. The concept of making all organisms exist within connected and related environments bound together as integrated ecosystems. There are a great many ways to foster these ideals and make them work in your home. Here we have identified the major elements and some examples of ways you can incorporate them into your renovations to increase the quality of your living space and the value of your home.Air Breathing in fresh air improves your immune system function and your mood. If you are finding that you are a little too boxed in, some options to consider in your renovations are creating connecting indoor to outdoor spaces with wide opening doors that improve the flow of air into the home and enlarge the space you use to dwell in. The addition of decks, balconies, pergolas and patios is an investment well worth making. Adding quality outdoor spaces that flow off your home will effectively entice you to want to go outside and spend more time there, as well as making your home appear larger. The addition of sky lights and large windows is also a great way to bring the movement of clean air through the home. WaterThere are numerous ways to incorporate water into the design on your home providing multi-sensory aspects to your design. Depending on your budget and space, you can incorporate this element with the addition of a small pond in the landscaping of your garden that can provide you with a visual feature to your garden as well as a home for plants, animals, and other living organisms. The addition of a small fountain alongside an outdoor living space or designed within an indoor space, can also provide an element of luxury to the home. Providing a sensory feature of the relaxing natural sound of trickling water.These days, we are becoming more aware of the amount of space we have in our urban jungles. An example of a trending and innovative design option has been garden landscaping in those narrow spaces at the sides of houses that usually go unnoticed. When a bedroom window presents a view of a drab bare fence, this has then become the perfect spot to build a tall water feature adding to the aesthetic of a room indoors through its visual and sound effects that come from a simple installation. If you have limited space, you do not need to assume that a water feature is too cumbersome and option. GreeneryThis aspect of design favours green in all its forms. Whether it is accessorizing your home with plants or using green paint. Scientists think that plants could act like sensors to help keep tabs on things like mould and volatile organic compounds in our buildings. The simplest way to do this is by adding greenery in pots, trailing plants hanging from the ceiling or a herb garden on the kitchen windowsill. In many new home and extension designs, the building of spaces specifically for housing plants has become very popular. As we all know, this can help to provide better air quality to the home as well as provide natural elements of colour and texture to break up the straight and geometric lines of any structure. Even outdoors, we want to focus on incorporating quality garden landscapes whether we have large or small spaces. The best garden designs will make the outdoors much more inviting as well as provide visual benefits looking out from indoors. The most effective options will always be to use native plants and trees. When doing this you find the maintenance of a garden is very minimal and is friendly to those with busy lifestyles while providing a habitat local native fauna needs to thrive. For those who have a bit of a green thumb, building raised garden beds for growing fresh food can be motivating and provide the household with amazing health benefits. LightSimilar to what was touched on with air, light is also an element that is a strong part of biophilic design. The easiest way to start is by making the most of available natural light by keeping your windows clear, clean and unobstructed by blinds and curtains. When considering the extension or modification of your home, strategical selection and placement of suitable windows and doors will help you to enhance the quality of light in your home. This will decrease the use of energy to provide lighting and in the winter months, warmth. When planning your new home or extension, consider the internal layout very carefully planning to position furniture you will sit or lay on as close to windows as you can. Light levels one meter from a window will be significantly brighter than even three meters away. When considering your outdoor living space, comfortable furniture can be life changing and encourage you to utilise that space when it is readily available to you. It is a major reason why in coastal regions of NSW we are creating more versatile outdoor living spaces that can be used year-round with the changing climates we experience through the seasons. ArtAny one of the previously mentioned elements can work on their own or be combined to create natural art to your home through design in any space. Nature is plentiful with colours, each season bringing in a different theme. Don’t shy away from using bold colours derived from nature in and around your home. It can be an accent wall that utilises colours and textures that enhance the feeling of nature or furniture made with natural materials (renewable materials preferably). Simply by adding images or paintings depicting forests, oceans, rivers, flowers or garden, provides the mind with that connection to nature.  Decorating with pieces of nature that you enjoy like dried flowers, a piece of driftwood, pinecones or seashells can help enhance the mood of any room in your home. Implementing the use of natural materials in the design of your indoor and outdoor living areas or your garden landscapes, allows you to create sculptures to enhance the multi-sensory benefits that biophilic design is all about. Even the careful selection of plants, shrubs and trees to update your outdoor areas by selecting a variety of colours, textures, scents and height to create a natural living work of art. Biophilic design depends on repeated and sustained engagement with nature. It requires reinforcing and integrating design interventions that connect with the overall setting or space. When thinking about your home and garden, considering the elements of Biophilic Design and how you can use them is going to provide you with the best outcome long term whether you are looking at enhancing your quality of living or upgrading your home to sell. There are multiple options and ideas that can work with almost any budget and space.If you are stuck on ideas of how to plan your home or garden, let us at Auscape Exterior Transformations work with you towards your goals to create a package that makes the most of your budget. If you have already started planning and would like some advice on how to enhance your plans to incorporate elements of Biophilic Design, get in touch with us and one of our experts can help provide options to help enhance your indoor and outdoor space and build a healthy home.

To Renovate, Extend or Rebuild?
posted on 20 April 2021 08:42 PM

If you have got the perfect block but a less than perfect home, there are a few options you can explore. You can either renovate, extend or knock down and build a new house. Whether you love where you live but find that your home is bursting at the seams or have bought an older house that needs a revamp, it is not uncommon to be a bit torn between these options. Each option comes with their own pros and cons and what will work best for you is influenced by several different factors. Choosing how you want to have your home upgraded is a really important decision and will vary with each household depending on the requirements, budget and expected outcome.What is a Renovation or Extension? Also known as remodelling, an extension or renovation is when a homeowner improves or replaces certain features of the home, that work with the design of the original home. In these instances, most people would be making value added improvements such as Kitchen or bathroom renovations, repainting the walls or refreshing exterior surfaces, converting rooms or adding extensions to the existing building. A renovation allows homeowners to update their existing home to better suit their need without completely changing their entire home. It is commonly the preferred option when there are restrictions such as budget, council related restraints or simply when the better part of the home does not require any improvements. In some instances, with older homes, a renovation is preferred so as to maintain the vintage architectural charm of the home.What is a Knock Down and Rebuild?As stated, the process involved the complete demolition of the current home and the design and construction of a completely new home from scratch. Home knockdown and rebuilds are generally suited to homeowners who like the area they live in but are unsatisfied with their current home. It might seem like the costlier approach but in some circumstances, it’s cheaper to start with a blank slate than it is to try to work around the existing structure.Though it can be a lengthier process, the major benefit of rebuilding is that you get to completely customise your new home. With this freedom, homeowners could possibly optimise their land and even improve their views. New homes also have the advantage of coming with sustainability features that might not be possible to add to old homes. Common Reasons to choose a Renovation or ExtensionThe first thing that comes to mind when considering renovations or extensions is the cost. In most cases, the cost of a renovation or extension can be far less than rebuilding especially if the changes are not extreme. Several variables will influence the final cost of an extension, the main one being the extent and scope of works. It is probably very relevant at the start to understand what goals you are hoping to achieve and how much more space you actually do require when determining if the cost of your renovation/extension outweighs the value of a rebuild. In some cases, it may not even be an option for you to demolish your existing home and build something new. In some areas, council planning laws prohibit houses of a certain age, or specific historical importance, from being demolished or significantly changed. It can at times be a lot easier to get planning permission for alterations to an existing building than to get permission for a new house. This is not always the case but will usually be the path of least resistance so really the decision to renovate or extend is made for you.When homeowners are trying to retain the charm of their current home, a renovation or extension will certainly be the preferred choice. While all new work will have to comply with building regulations, with an existing dwelling, there’s no need to upgrade existing non-compliant features of the building as long as the proposed works will not make their non-compliance worse. A sympathetic renovation/extension that keeps with the style and era of the original building can add value and space whilst retaining the charm of the current residence. It will contain complementary features and design facets to blend seamlessly in with the existing roof line. When Rebuilding is the Better OptionMany times, when the decision is between to two, the option to build comes from the fact that it will cost somewhat similar to a renovation option but can cost less in the short and/or long term. From an environmentally conscious perspective, while the process of knocking down and rebuilding might require more energy than retaining and reusing. If the existing building cannot have its materials upgraded effectively, the long-term energy losses of retaining it can outweigh the short-term energy use in a rebuild. This will naturally be influence by the kind of home you have and will vary with each home. As we all know, the more energy used, the more you will be paying. The orientation of the home as it is may also have influence on your energy usage in your day-to-day living. If the bedrooms are too dark, or the living rooms get way too much light that they require constant cooling then changing it up can become a game changer when it comes to regular expenses. Building a new home will also allow you to take complete advantage of your block and work with you at making a more qualitative investment.Drive through many previously modest suburbs and you will quickly appreciate how knock-down rebuilds have transformed these neighbourhoods into desirable, sought after pockets. It can become a big influencer when you see a number of neighbouring homes being renewed and following suit simply means you will not only have the home that you want but also that you are keeping up with the quality of homes in your area which would be a great advantage should you wish to sell in the future. Some homeowners may be really attracted to the idea of living in a home that no one else has lived in before. People often do feel much more comfortable with something newly built, knowing that it is entirely sturdy, where the services run and so forth. You enter a newly built home with all new materials, appliances and warranties. In addition, your options will not be restricted. You will not need to find ways to work around parts of the building that can't be changed such as a load bearing wall that can't be moved, or an impractical drainage system.  The decision of whether to extend or rebuild must be taken on the merits of each case. A good place to start is to discuss with your broker or lender your prospects for borrowing funds with each scenario. Understand what kind of budget you feel comfortable to work with and then start to assess your way of living and what you require to improve your lifestyle and your homes liveability. If by this point you are still uncertain of your best option, get in touch with us at Auscape Exterior Transformations where we can provide you with feedback and from a builders perspective, assess what options will work best for you. Whether you decide to renovate or rebuild, we are here to help.   

Outdoor Living In Winter
posted on 17 February 2021 03:30 PM

For so many of us, the coming of Autumn and the foreboding arrival of Winter brings us to believe we have to start packing up the outdoor furniture, closing up the entry way to patios and solemnly await the warmth of next Spring and Summer. It is a well-known fact that us Australians love spending time outdoors and there is no reason why we need to limit this to just the warmer months of the year.  Outdoor spaces, be it a backyard or a balcony, have become precious since the start of the pandemic. Since we really don’t have too much to do, and not many places to go, it maybe well worth it to invest in adapting your outdoor areas into spaces that can provide you enjoyment not just in the Summer, but all year round. Now is the perfect time to get started. There are a few valuable components needed to turn your outdoor area into a deliciously cosy retreat. HEATINGA firepit, fireplace or patio heaters can warm up any outdoor living area, making a space warm and cosy even on a cold winter night.  The best choice for you will depend on your budget, the style you prefer and the size of the area you want to use. Probably the cheapest and easiest options is a patio heater, like the ones used in many restaurants and cafes, a free-standing gas heater. This can be a convenient, simple and cost-effective option. A good-sized heater can provide up to 5m² of warmth. Heat Lamps are another heat option that can work where there is a power outlet available. They area a great option that can provide not only heat but a warm glow of light to help create an ambient atmosphere.Fire Pits and fireplaces would have to be the standout favourite option that really makes the area a true outdoor haven in winter. Whether it be a traditional wood fire pit or a more flash design using gas and other modern additions like fire-glass, the fire pit will pull them all into the yard. It is important when considering any of these heat sources that you have created a safe zone to place these in. There can be a lot of risks involved that can make the use of these very hazardous such as exposure to water, uneven ground or flooring, trees or shrubbery nearby and space for reasonable movement. We always recommend consulting with an expert outdoor specialist like our guys at Auscape Exterior Transformations when creating outdoor areas and letting them know what you would like to use and how so that an area can be created that is both practical, versatile through the seasons and safe. LIGHTINGIn winter, the sun sets early and the darkness brings with it the feeling of cold. Relying on natural lighting will only take you into the late hours of the afternoon. While your heat sources may produce some light, you will certainly want to plan for other light sources as well. There are a multitude of options when it comes to lighting that can help to create that enchanting and inviting winter wonderland. Lighting fixtures can be solar and LED, along with different types, such as spotlights, path markers, and string lights. Using warm LED lighting is probably the most favourable choice as it’s more energy efficient, creates more illumination per watt and will provide your outdoor area with a warm glow rather than the starkness that comes from a glaring floodlight or white light. When installing lighting, it is also vital to ensure that it is done in a safe way that protects the power connections from the elements. It is recommended to have more complex installations done by a qualified electrician. In the instance that you are creating or renovating a whole new outdoor area, it is safest and most accommodating to have your lighting options installed at the same time so that you know that they are going to work safely with the other components of your outdoor revamp.DÉCORThe perfect outdoor areas are created by making a space that feels like a retreat. While wicker may be great for sweltering summer heat, when the weather turns cooler, it is all about the comfy cushions, solid construction, and deep seating you can really snuggle into. It is not necessary to have different winter furniture to your summer furniture but having an alternate option with your accessories like plush cosy cushions and cosy seat padding can make a huge difference. It is typically easy to convert your outdoor area to fit the season by simply adding some inviting colours with cushions, throw blankets and outdoor rugs.  A LITTLE LUXURYIf you are really wanting to make the most of your outdoor renovation, it can be worthwhile to consider a little luxury that can really make the area something truly special. Some of the most popular additions include building an outdoor kitchen. Its not just something that would benefit your summer nights but provide you a place to continue to enjoy those barbecue meals in winter. Why not incorporate a pizza oven or a tandoor to create beautiful woodfire meals to warm from the inside? Smokey meals made in winter without the risk of smoking out the house when you really want to keep those windows closed. Spas area another popular addition that is welcomed all year round with its ability to make you feel warm and relaxed which is an inviting addition when the temperature drops. There are many extravagant and unique ideas for outdoor spa designs. These include having the spa blend seamlessly into decking, using a canopy, using materials such as stone, or even incorporating features such as an outdoor fireplace.PROTECTION FROM THE ELEMENTSThe first thing that comes to mind when considering protection for your outdoor area is having a roof enclosure, this works both well in winter to protect from strong wind and rain and in summer to provide shade from the harsh sun. It is an investment that will ensure you are free to make the most use of your outdoor space. A solid structure can help to provide better lighting options, or you may opt for a retractable canopy If you still want to take advantage of the open space when the weather is more favourable.  Patio blinds or curtains are another measure that can protect you and your furniture from the wind and rain. There are many options available that can either provide more privacy or be completely transparent to allow you to still in sparkling night-time views.  You can even be more creative making an outdoor nook with the use of inexpensive lattice, intertwined with beautiful climbing vines. This is one aspect where your selection will be highly influenced by your taste and your surroundings. With the right planning and adjustment, you can create an outdoor living space that you can take advantage of all year round. Using a combination of these cool inventive ideas, you can have a cosy space that will be everyone’s favourite spot. Get your outdoor area ready for winter before the cold sets in and make the most of the cooler months in your new outdoor area. If you are ready to revamp your outdoors and create an amazing space that will add value to your home and lifestyle, get in touch with us at Auscape Exterior Transformations.  

Making Home Additions
posted on 08 January 2021 10:57 AM

Imagine if you and your spouse didn’t have to use the bathroom in shifts, if the kids each had their own rooms, if you had a guest bathroom, or even a home office. If things are feeling crowded at home, it might be time to consider a home addition. Creating extra space by making addition to your home allows you the benefit of staying in your current home rather than buying a bigger one. It is also going to bring added value to your property. It can seem like a daunting task when you don’t know where to start. At Auscape Exterior Transformations we can help provide guidance and advice though this experience. Our years of experience building and renovating homes from the Central Coast up to the Mid North Coast regions has afforded us the expertise to confidently transform any home no matter how old.The possibilities with creating your addition is only limited by your imagination and your budget, once this has been determined you are ready to move on to the next few steps:Identify what kind of space you requireAdding square meters to your home will increase the value of the home. The relevant part is to understand what kind of space is needed, whether it be additional bedrooms, living area or dining space. Would these additions be affected by changing up the purpose of other spaces in your home that you already have? Adding bedrooms and living spaces are generally a less expensive options. Be prepared to be forking out more money if you are requiring an additional kitchen or bathroom as anything that involves plumbing will greatly affect the cost of your project.Determine where it will be permissible to buildLocate your property lines and develop a plot plan which would include your home, landscaping and the location of any underground pipes that may affect where you can build. You may have a survey on your property already or if not may require one. This is important information as local councils will have restrictions of where you can build and the amount of land you are permitted to build on. You will also have guidelines to follow of how far from your fences or neighbours you can build as well as the frontage of your home.Develop a Design We always tell our clients to design towards a budget. You don’t want to have someone design something for you that you cannot afford to build. You may have put a lot of thought into the type of additions you are wanting to make and if they are not too extravagant, you may very well be able to have these plans come together with the help of your builder. In other instances, the help of a designer or architect can benefit to develop a plan that will provide the most attractive, useful and economical addition to your home. You don’t want to just think about how you will live in your addition, its also worth it to consider how it architecturally effects the look of your home from the outside.Select your MaterialsThe last step before work begins is to have detailed descriptions of the materials and the scope of the work to be done. This can for some be a very tiring task and for others quite exciting as you get to feel your ideas come together in colour. It is important to take into consideration the style and design of your current home and ensuring that your addition will marry into the home and become fluid. At this point it is important to determine whether you are planning to make upgrades to your current home that you will work towards or if you will select materials that work with what is already there. Make a list of all the materials you wish to select, and then include your first, second, and third choices. This can be very helpful as you go into the estimation phase to assess what fits into budget, what is available and what is permissible to build with in your area. Consider what things you can’t live without, what you can compromise on and where are you willing to go with the cheapest option. The more you know about what materials, colours, accessories and fixtures, the more accurate your estimated expense will be.  Build your dream Once you are happy with your estimate you are ready to go into contract. You will at this stage have to have applications into your local Council for building approval on the design you have done, this is something that you can submit yourself, have a town planner submit on your behalf or we can arrange to have this done for you.  After the contract is signed and a construction schedule is agreed upon, the building will begin. In the past 15 years, we have become a premier contractor for home additions across the region. With us, you will receive expert advice on a design consultation, and a detailed estimate so that you are never left wondering where your project stands on budget. Auscape Exterior Transformations has the solution for all your home addition design & renovation needs. From design development, to material selection, to construction, our team are there to guide you every step of the way. Quality workmanship, communication and service is paramount. Get in touch with us today to get started on your home addition.

Home Builders Scheme Extended
posted on 02 December 2020 01:38 PM

For some, the idea of being able to utilise the Home Builders Scheme set out by the Federal Government was a very appealing idea. Though with the uncertainty of this unusual year, many of us have not been willing to commit to such a large renovation with very little time to plan. Fortunately, we are now able to take advantage of the grant for an additional 3 months which could very well be the time we needed to plan our projects and prepare. The Homebuilder scheme currently offers $25,000 to Australians committing to new builds or undertaking significant renovations and was due to expire on New Year’s Eve. The scheme will now be extended to March 31 but at a lower rate of $15,000. Homeowners committing to a substantial renovation will continue to be eligible if their property is worth $1.5 million or less so long as the owner is an individual with an income of $150, 000 or a household income of $200, 000. The price cap for new buildings in NSW has also been increased from $750,000 to $950,000.The scheme has also extended the commencement window of the program from three months to six, meaning those waiting in line to get projects off the ground won’t miss out on the $25,000. All applicants who go into contract after the 1st of January 2020 will have until March 31st to lodge their application and can have work commence up until the end of June 2021. This extension has given builders additional time to take on more contracts and provide a fair timeline for homeowners to prepare.The update was welcomed by the property industry’s peak body which hailed the stimulus as the most successful of its kind in two decades. It claimed hundreds of thousands of Australians were able to keep their jobs because of the handout. Labor’s housing spokesman Jason Clare said these changes will help but they are still not enough to stop the housing construction industry shrinking.At Auscape Exterior Transformations we are very pleased with the extension of this scheme. It will now allow us to accommodate for a few more projects to be done for those wanting to take advantage of the scheme. Performing major renovations can not only improve the quality of your home for living but also the value f the property should you be considering to sell in the near future. To find out more of what we can do to make the most of those scheme and improve your home get in touch today.

The Comeback of Cladding
posted on 05 November 2020 01:55 PM

A once popular material in the 80s, Cladding had been pushed into the background for many years as it became somewhat too common and basic. A lot has changed within the past decade that has altered the minds of many home renovators and designers. With the multitude of styles, colours and sizes, designers and home owners alike have been able to think outside the box and utilise Cladding as a material that can provide homes with a modern and contemporary new look. The dimension and lines that cladding creates can truly enhance the appearance of your house adding definition and character.Cladding forms the protective external layer of a property, its main objective is to shed water and protect the house from the effects of weather and the environment. It is efficient to install and easy to maintain. These days, there is such a vast variety of styles, designs, colours, textures and features that any homeowner can re-create their home into something aesthetically stunning that compliments the surrounds and the style of the home. Teamed with good-quality insulation, it will improve the thermal performance of a building. At Auscape Exterior Transformations, our qualified installers provide exemplary service to ensure that you have expert installation with every project. All external facade systems are installed with attention to detail and mechanical understanding. We take pride in knowing and understanding the leading products in the market and supporting Australian brands that are world renowned such as James Hardie™ and Weathertex. These are our preferred suppliers due to the quality of their products and variety of options their range has to offer. Though the range of cladding options seem endless, there are three main types that are commonly used on residential buildings.HORIZONTAL CLADDING Horizontal Cladding is easily the most common type of cladding you will see as it became greatly popular in the early 90s as a clean looking cost-effective option for homeowners. It is often associated with the Beach or Hamptons style homes when seen in lighter colours or a woodland cottage vibe when used in darker earther colours. Its horizontal lines can help to promote a more expansive appearance to the house as well.The width and style of the panels can help to provide either a more modern sleek appearance or enrich the house with a more traditional classic look.VERTICAL CLADDINGVertical Cladding often promotes the visual appearance of height to a building. Clean vertical lines can provide a standout look that really enhances the unique aspect of a house and give it a very modern look that is not as stoic as a flat rendered wall yet not as busy as brick work. When used alongside other exterior facades it can provide a contrasting look against brick or horizontal cladding that can add character to a home and break up spaces to give a livelier appearance.They are usually designed to be quick and easily installed so the completion of your project should not take too long.MATRIX BOARDSThese are probably the most modern and eye-catching types of Cladding. Matrix boards provide large smooth surfaces with deep grooved accents that can be positioned either vertically or horizontally depending on what type of effect you wish to accentuate in your home. These boards make for a sleek and industrial appearance that can transform the style of your home into something versatile and adaptable into future decades. Matrix boards are commonly used to break up areas of horizontal or vertical cladding to give the most contrasting appearance that can still tie into and complement the adjoining materials.For more information on Cladding and other options that you may want to consider when transforming your home Get in Touch with us today.

Awaken Your Home With Rendering
posted on 21 October 2020 03:18 PM

Touching up to sell, smartening up to live in, essential repairs? Your home can have a fresh, contemporary appearance with rendering, providing you with the important technical values of insulation and building specifications that go along with it. Using proven, industry leading products from renowned companies ensures that your home exterior is watertight, long lasting, and strong.Rendering is a very versatile option that can be applied to most all surfaces. It can be applied over Hebel®, foam board or mouldings, blue board, brickwork, and block work. The type of rendering applications you wish to choose can vary depending on your budget and the finish you wish to achieve.CEMENT RENDERINGCement rendering is the process of applying premixed layer of cement or sand to, exterior walls   but can be used to feature an interior wall. Though it is not the longest lasting type of render option available, it is still an affordable way of upgrading the appearance of your property and raising its value. It also provides protection from all 4 of the elements. It is also the most cost-effective option.Cement rendered walls can then be painted with whatever colour you desire or for added strength an Acrylic Texture Coating can be applied. ACRYLIC RENDERINGAlso commonly known as Poly Modified Rendering, it is a more flexible and resilient type of material therefore making it more long lasting than traditional cement renders. Acrylic rendering provides you with a number of options with your finish including smooth or textured. In some cases, acrylic rendering is the only option when cement rendering will not stick to particular surfaces like timber, concrete or fibre cement. Acrylic rendered walls can then be painted or an Acrylic Texture Coating can be applied if extra strength and durability is required. ACRYLIC TEXTURE COATINGAs mentioned above, this is a coating applied over a base of either an Acrylic or Cement rendered surface. As opposed to just paint alone, an Acrylic Texture Coating offers a tougher, more flexible finish that is also water resistant. It is a coloured render that is 20 times thicker than paint which provides a rich depth of colour that is available in several different textures. On top of all those features it also contains mould and fungus inhibitors making it mould resistant.For more information about additional specialised types of rendering, to find out what system is going to work best for you or to arrange for a quote get in touch with us today.

Painting Your Home
posted on 05 October 2020 05:40 PM

When painting the Exterior of your home, we can not emphasize enough how important it is to have the work done with utmost care and precision. This can make a massive impact on the longevity of your walls and its quality visually.Auscape Exterior Transformations not only provide high quality painting services, we also strive to make sure the work will protect your property for many years to come. With over 15 years experience, we have established a highly qualified team that can offer full-service painting across interiors, exteriors, wood, concrete, plaster, ornamental and delicate finishes. We strive to perform our work efficiently while still providing the highest standard of finish that will ensure a protective barrier from the wind and rain. We understand the harsh conditions of our climate in the NSW coastal areas and are well aware of the power of a well painted façade using the right premium grade products.  Having the exterior of your home repainted can reduce the harmful effects on your property caused by adverse weather conditions, mildew, and insect damage. Exterior walls can often be neglected and not treated as often as they should. It not only affects the appearance of the home but also the durability of the materials under the paints surface. A lot of factors can contribute to lifetime of your exterior paint. Essentially it is recommended to repaint your home every 5-10 years and at Auscape Exterior Transformations we do our absolute best to stretch that longevity out as far as we can.As highly skilled painters, we understand that surface preparation is a critical prerequisite for all painting and decorating tasks. Accordingly, our team takes special care in the initial phases of a project as this directly associated to the quality of our finishes. Once we have prepared out base correctly, we are ensured to get the perfect finish, the result leaving you will beautifully finished walls that will last for many years to come.Get in touch with us to find out what we can offer you or to arrange a time for us to visit. Call us today on 0427 161 025.

Renovating with the Home Builders Grant
posted on 24 August 2020 03:01 PM

With the Morrison Government’s Home Builder initiative, a $668 million plan from the Property Council of Australia as part of its seven-point plan to the National Cabinet for starting up construction again and boosting the economy. Though many people are jumping on this as a chance to secure their first home, there are a great many of us that are more inclined to utilise this opportunity to invest in improving the value of the home we currently live in. In these current times, we can sometimes feel unsure about whether spending such a large amount of money is the ‘safe’ option. We can then begin to question, when will we be given this kind of opportunity to take advantage of such a grant again? Primarily, the most vital goal that anyone should want to achieve with any renovation, is to assess if the work will in fact be a good investment that can help to increase the value of the home and/or the value of your lifestyle. For some, heading into retirement and planning to downsize is a cause to want to enhance the value of their home preparing for sale. For others, a growing family can require the need for additional space meaning that the plan to renovate and/or extend the home would have been coming in the future anyway. Then there are some well loved old homes that are just in the perfect place but just need that something extra to bring them back to life.As exciting as this all can be we do need to be aware that are some restrictions to the grant. For renovations, you will need to spend more than $150,000 (making it $125,000 of your own money). The building works must improve the livability, accessibility or safety of your home. This means there will no grants given for the building of pools, spas, tennis courts, garages or sheds. In addition to the grant motivating the movement of the economy, there is also the hope that these renovations will motivate owners to make their homes more resilient to natural disasters and allow families to have space for growing.  When considering what renovations are best for your home, it can be beneficial to research the local property market and assess the cost of houses compared to you own home so to determine  what additional features can increase the value of your own home. It is worthwhile to investigate what kind of value one extra bathroom or bedroom can do to impact the value. Then there is the aesthetics of the property. Are the facades outdated? Do they show signs of age or damage? Can the installation of a better wall system not only improve the appearance of the house but also improve insulation therefore reducing energy costs and better protection from adverse weather? Installing skylights can also become a value-added investment that can reduce energy costs. Sometimes these changes can really go a long way. Even if you are not planning to sell and intend to stay, you will still get the benefit of enjoying these renovations to your home. Do keep in mind that the grant is only available for a limited time, it will be available to all who are eligible who sign their contract for works before 31st December 2020. All works must commence within 3 months of signing the building contract. If you are considering to take advantage of the grant and would like us to help you, get in touch with us today. 

The New Wall with Dulux Exsulite
posted on 15 July 2020 03:28 PM

Dulux Exsulite® is a fully integrated, lightweight facade system that delivers a weatherproof external building envelope with a self-draining cavity for moisture management and high thermal performance. What does that mean exactly?Suitable for 1 to 2 storey houses, this nifty product basically is a cavity wall cladding system. It can also be used as a remedial facade system for renovation projects with the appropriate design. The purpose of this system is to provide a practical and versatile External Insulation and Finishing System. Killing two birds with one stone, you get a strong finished exterior surface that is weatherproof plus insulation and great moisture management simply from this one installation. It is probably relevant to note that it is suitable for residential buildings in BAL29 regions.What are the components that make Dulux Exsulite®?Using Dulux Exsulite® also gives you access to a wide range of Dulux® colours and Dulux AcraTex® Texture Coatings completing the appearance of your project. Integration of system design, components and installation is delivered through a national Dulux AcraTex, Exsulite Trained & Registered Installer like us here at Auscape Exterior Transformations, to ensure the build meets design specification. How is Dulux Exsulite® installed?  click on the image below to view video.Exsulite® is CodeMark® certified as a fully integrated Building Systems in compliance with the Building Code of Australia (Volume Two, Class 1 and 10 Residential Buildings). An Exsulite® Certificate of Installation from a registered Exsulite® Installer provides peace of mind that the system “as built” meets Design Specification. If you are looking for a new and modern way to improve the façade of your home, planning an extension or even a new build, this certainly is a very practical option to consider. If you feel that this is the perfect solution for you, please get in contact with us so we can help you get started.

Living Outdoors at Home
posted on 05 July 2020 08:38 PM

Looking to create or revamp an outdoor area ready for the warmer months? Now is the time to start! Outdoor living is an integral part of the Australian lifestyle. On the Central Coast, not only do we love our sunny days, we also have the advantage of wonderful sea breezes that flow through our towns which are especially welcoming in the summertime. It is not unusual to see many of us dining & relaxing outdoors for the better half of the year. Australian’s have always loved the relaxed and vibrant feel of being in an outdoor dining or lounge area and this has been a strong influence in many of our transformations at Auscape Exterior Transformations.Having a home with those additional outdoor areas not only brings value to your home, but also encourages a healthier lifestyle. Bringing the outdoors into your daily life allows you to get more time to spend in the fresh air, relax and enjoy time with family and friends and even get some vitamin D. Even the simplest extension can drastically improve the aesthetic of your home and alter your way of living motivating you to spend more time taking advantage of the outdoors in the comfort of your own home.There are numerous ways to incorporate beautiful outdoor areas into your home that can be as extravagant or as simple as you like. Some of the most common options are extending off an existing indoor zone creating a patio or alfresco area bringing the indoors out. This is probably one of the best ways to enlarge the look of your home and provide an attractive area for dining, lounging and entertaining guests. It can often be a small investment that adds greater value to your property. Pergolas, Pavilions or Gazebos are another neat little addition to a backyard that can present as an inviting space where you can really appreciate your garden. It is often a favourite for those who frequently love a good BBQ cook up and, in some cases, a convenient dining zone alongside an outdoor firewood oven. These types of additions can be not so invasive to build as it is usually detached from your house.Another value-added installation on your home can be a balcony or a deck. Building a lower level deck can sometimes be a less costly project that can enlarge the look of an existing living area the same way an alfresco or patio would but providing an airy sunlit space to enjoy. Upper level balconies are an option that can really add style to the look of your home. They can be made to be used as an extravagant open area to entertain guests or an intimate little zone to sneak out onto from your bedroom to enjoy a quiet cup of tea and relax. Whatever ideas you have in mind, get in touch with us and we can help make them a reality.

A Big Thank You
posted on 16 June 2020 09:11 AM

2020 has brought us a lot of very interesting things, some of which have been extraordinary and some quite tragic. One big event for us, was the completion of a 5-year long contract we had achieved at the beginning of the year. Located on the idyllic Mid North Coast of NSW, Laurieton Residential Resort contains over 300 beautiful new homes. The team at Auscape Exterior Transformations meticulously provided this massive project with the service of installing Cladding Systems with Dulux Exsulite, applying Rendering and Exterior Painting on all the buildings in the resort. We have received very positive feedback from our client who acknowledged the attention to detail and the efficient execution of work done by the team.We would like to extend a big Thank You to our Auscape Exterior Transformations team on this project, namely Scott Sutherland, Dirk Sexton-Holdsworth, Jade Massey, Nathan Kemp, Zac Unsworth, Corey Bowmaker, Johno McCleod, Karl Hoyle, Andrew Johnson, Blake Unsworth, Luke Green, Hamish Clarke, James Lewis, Cori Andrews and Paul Noble. Your hard work, dedication and effort truly showed throughout the 5 years of this project and we are very proud to have you all on the Auscape Exterior Transformations Team.