Update you kitchen to open up to nature

With open plan living firmly entrenched as the preferred  mode of living for most Australians, the kitchen is often the heart of the home. But who wants to be standing in front of a hot oven in the middle of summer? Consider giving your kitchen a breath of fresh air by opening it up to outside with glass sliding doors or servery windows. Here’s some ideas to get you going.

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Barn Conversions – All you need to know

When it comes to the interior of the barn, you will normally be working with one or two large open spaces which lends itself well to open plan living. However, barn living doesn’t need to be cold and breezy or lacking in cozy corners. A great way to divide up the space is to include some large internal sliding doors or bifold doors which can be closed to keep spaces cozy and heating contained in specific living spaces.

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Designer Studio Focus – Johanne Soderstrom

Johanne moved to Australia in 1978 – he was sick of the Austrian weather he tells me. Since starting his design practice over 25 years ago and has worked across graphic design, interior architecture and digital design. He now calls the small beachside town of Thirroul home and has built a stunning studio to work from.

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Live large. Adding more space to your house

Whatever your reason for needing more space, be it the arrival of more kids, your kids are moving back home, or you’ve started working from home more, adding more space to any house will improve its livability and overall value. You know your house best with all its little quirks and ways you use the spaces within the house so you want to think long and hard about where and what type of addition will work best for you. Read on as I look at a few different options to give you more space and style.

Your best starting point is to have a chat to a few different Architects or master builders to get some different ideas on what could be done and who best can translate your vision into reality. Will you attach it to the back of the house? the front or will you go up a level and really make a statement. What sort of materials will you use? Will you try and blend the addition to the current look of the house or be bold and create a definitive separation between the two. Either one can work brilliantly if designed and executed well.

One of the most common ways to add living space is to attach an addition to the rear of the house. In older houses this works particularly well as usually the living room or kitchen are located at the back of the house, allowing you to really expand key living areas. It also normally connects the house to the yard which gives great scope to create an all-weather indoor/outdoor space. A great way to create a contemporary living space is to use glass bifold doors that can be opened up to create a seamless transition between inside and out. Be sure to choose the best quality you can afford when it comes to door hardware as it really does effect the overall success of the addition.

When it comes to folding door hardware, Brio is at the forefront of design and development, creating superbly crafted doors and windows that will look and function like new for decades. Brio is a well trusted and established company that has been around since the 1970’s with showrooms both in Australia and the UK. The attention to detail in their products is first rate and all the hardware they use is made from high grade stainless steel and quality timber. Their products are used in some of the world’s best contemporary architecture by leading architects and designers, so be sure to take look at their product range.

Bring the outdoors in with a patio

Patios help us to enjoy our natural surroundings by bringing the outdoors in. Patios are great for entertaining, and family and guests will love the functionality of having an extra ‘room’ in the house.

Match the design of your patio to the current design of your home. If you have a traditional home an ultra modern patio will not give you an extension that blends in. A more modern look could be achieved with the furnishings you choose, if that is what you are after.

Brio offers excellent door hardware. Brio has sliding door gear which enables the opening of the doors to be a part of nature. One terrific option is Brio’s bifold doors.

The location of your patio is vital to ensure it will be well-used. Having adequate sunshine in the patio-area will mean maximum use. If there are views, other than over the garden, a patio can take advantage of these. But adding a self-contained water feature or an exotic garden which is overlooked by the patio is a great idea.

Use Brio’s exterior folding doors to bring the outdoors in. Brio’s exterior folding systems are designed for the wear and tear of opening onto patios and help to create the entire feel of the area.

When deciding where to place your patio, consider such things as the direction of breezes and winds; temperature ranges and humidity and seasonal characteristics – ‘solar’ north should be established to determine how much or how little sun is wanted. Also to be considered are any nearby buildings and existing landscaping, such as large trees, on your site.

Good access to northern sun with limited impact from neighbouring houses can be found on a north to south site. A north-facing slope increases access to northern sun and is best for areas which have many dwellings.

Good timber, such as kiln dried hardwood is necessary to prevent twisting and shortening of the deck, so that the patio won’t change position after it is built. It is recommended you oil the wood at least once a year.

Remember to obtain local council approvals while still in the planning stage. Ensure you aware of planning controls such as height limits and building set backs from boundaries.


Bifold Doors – Bring the outside in

We in Australia live in land of such varied climates that it may be raining one minute and be scorching sun and wind the next. We live for the most part with better weather than Europe and enjoy a lifestyle that often revolves around the outdoors. The trend in modern architecture of late is to bridge the gap between the outdoors and the inside of a house. Exterior Folding Doors can be a great way to remove the visual barrier between the interior and exterior of new buildings or renovations.

We love open plan! It seems everyone in Australia loves the idea of having the least amount of visual and physical barriers in their house. Certainly, in warmer sub-tropical and tropical climates there is nothing better than opening up some full length Sliding Doors complete with Insect Screen and letting the breeze flow through the house. It opens the house and makes inner city dwellings feel twice as big as they actually are. Having the doors moving on Sliding door tracks with the correct Sliding and Folding Door Hardware makes opening the space so effortless and convenient.

For entertaining outdoors Bifold Doors can be a great solution for smaller dwellings and city apartments as they fold neatly away and open up the backyard or patio as a second living room. There are a range of sophisticated Exterior Folding Systems available to suit every type of architectural style and application. From large doors to smaller window sized options, some incorporating Pleated Insect Screen there is really something for everyone.

Maintaining Bifold Doors is a breeze, provided the correct Door Hardware is always used. Hinges and Bottom Rolling Door Hardware, should be regularly checked and kept lubricated to keep them moving effortlessly for years to come. Be sure to speak with experts and have the doors professionally installed from the beginning to avoid voiding the warranty.

So go on, stop living in the confines of walls, bring the outside in and enjoy the fresh air.