With aesthetic tastes changing, many homeowners are choosing to renovate their kitchens to suit their more modern lifestyle. However that doesn’t mean you have to do away with all hints of charm and character. In recent years there has been a resurgence in the demand for country style kitchens with a modern touch. Read More >
Would you like somewhere to retreat and wind down at the end of a long, stressful day? Rather than just having a purely functional space, many homeowners are creating a bathroom retreat for themselves. Achieving the ambience you desire is all about looking at the elements and combining them in just the right way. Here are Nu Look’s top 7 tips for creating a bathroom to help you relax and unwind. Read More >
Not sold on the idea of a pure white kitchen? Whether you’re looking to create a traditional or modern styled kitchen - a two toned look can add interest and turn a potentially stark kitchen into a unique one. Here are five key principles you should keep in mind when renovating your kitchen with a two toned look. Read More >
Choosing the right finish for your kitchen surfaces is a key design consideration when renovating. Since both a high gloss and matte finish works well in a kitchen, often people get very hung up on which to choose.
To make the decision easier, here are some key considerations to help you decide on your finish which matches the design of your new kitchen and the feel you’re looking for.
CHOOSE OTHER DESIGN ELEMENTS FIRST
Many homeowners are stuck with indecision about whether to go with high gloss or a matte finish. This hangup is almost always due to homeowners not choosing the basic layout of the kitchen and important design features that will make the decision for the right finish a whole lot easier. Before you even consider your finishes you should have decided the appliances and sinks to be used as these will have an impact on the cabinetry layout which will in turn affect the type of finish you choose.
You should also have decided on the lighting, including the number of lights and their approximate placement so you can choose a complementary finish. A high gloss finish as the name suggests will rebound light around a kitchen with its shiny surface and combined with a lot of added lighting in a kitchen can cause too much glare. If you do decide to go with more lighting (especially if there are not many natural light sources) then going with a matte finish can avoid the high beam effect.
TRADITIONAL VERSUS MODERN KITCHEN
When deciding between a high gloss vs matte surface in your kitchen, you should first ask what’s the look you are trying to achieve - a traditional style or a more modern and contemporary look?
It is argued that a matte finish is more suited to a traditional looking kitchen, although it is currently trending to use a matte finish on cabinets in modern kitchens. A matte finish can achieve a lot more muted look and can make cabinets look more true to colour, in contrast to using high gloss where cabinet fronts look brighter or darker than others.
High gloss kitchen cabinets and benchtops give a sleek and shiny almost mirror like finish, especially when you choose flat cabinet fronts. As a modern kitchen is often associated with a lot of white and shine and so many go with high gloss to achieve a contemporay look. However you need to recognise that it’s not just the finish that creates a modern and contemporary feeling kitchen - you also need to create a minimalistic, clean look overall (best achieved through optimising storage solutions) utilising stainless steel and sticking to a neutral pallette.
SIZE OF THE KITCHEN
Another important consideration is the size of your kitchen. If you are dealing with a small kitchen area then you will need every assistance to create the illusion of space. Using a matte finish won’t make your kitchen look any smaller, but as it doesn’t reflect light very well it certainly won’t help in improving the appearance of the size of the kitchen.
When you have a small kitchen area, many choose to go with a high gloss finish for its reflective properties. The lighter shade you go, with white being the best - the higher amount of reflective light and the greater the feel of space you’ll create. That’s not to say that high gloss doesn’t work in a large kitchen, however in a small kitchen you need to recognise that the glossier the finish the better it will be for creating the illusion of space.
Do you have kids that are prone to opening cupboard doors? A high gloss finish can show fingerprints and smudge marks which is something parents should consider even though they are easy to remove with a non-scratch microfibre cloth. To reduce finger prints on high gloss kitchen cabinets, consider choosing cabinets with handles so you’re touching the actual surface less.
A matte finish is often used to cover surface imperfections as the finish does not reflect light like a high gloss surface, hiding things like scratches. A drawback to a matte finish when it comes to the cleaning department is that some matte laminates have a texture to them that can also hold dirt and prove difficult to clean. This can be easily avoided by choosing a sample with a material that has a smooth flat finish.
STILL UNSURE - WHAT ABOUT A SATIN FINISH?
If you are still undecided on which finish to use, the good news is there is a third option - a satin finish. For a compromise between the high gloss and matte finish, a satin finish can give a kitchen a fresh and contemporary look - not too glossy, not too muted.
There are many benefits to choosing a satin finish to your kitchen. A satin finish reflects more light than matte and stands up well to cleaning. It also works well in a high traffic area like a kitchen and provides a more sleek and silky finish than matte.
The market now has many options to achieve the look you are after, with different layers of gloss available for kitchen cabinets and benchtops. At the end of the day, you should always invest in quality no matter what finish you decide to go with. Whether high gloss, satin or matte – a high quality finish will stand the test of time.
Nu Look is always asked by clients what finish to go with and we think it's important to workshop with our clients in the design phase the types of products that are available so you have a successful kitchen renovation. Contact us today to organise a free consultation to discuss your plans and how we can help.
Take a look at our HOUZZ ideas bookRead More >
As life expectancy increases many Australians are wanting to stay in their own homes for as long as possible; allowing them to remain close to their local community and family. If this is a choice you’re considering, it’s important to remember that changes may be required to your home to ensure your comfort and safety as the years go by.
REMODELLING FOR OPEN PLANNING
There’s no denying that most people as they age become frailer which increases the risk of falls and related injuries. Some day-to-day activities around the house can become difficult and even present a safety risk if a home is left unaltered to accommodate for living needs. Fortunately, renovating your home to meet new requirements allows you to continue to live independently for longer.
When brainstorming ideas for remodeling your home, consider an open plan arrangement so you can move around easily in your house and safely access the things you need on a daily basis. One option is to combine the kitchen, dining and living areas together. While the move to combine living areas has been on trend for a few years now, the exercise can go pear-shaped without proper planning. Before changing any space, it would be best to get expert advice on the best place to start. Your discussions should include how you can improve the livability of a space, how best to create the illusion of more space and maximise on natural lighting.
EASY ACCESS SHOWERS AND OTHER FEATURES
For those who live in a multi-storey house, an important feature when redesigning is ensuring that a bathroom and a bedroom is available on the ground floor for easy access so you can minimise taking the stairs if needed. An ensuite to an existing bedroom may be possible depending on the size, position and layout of the space.
Once the placement has been decided, the bathroom should have accessibility features to accommodate for an older person which can be blended in so that aesthetics are not sacrificed for functionality. You may want to consider these options for future proofing:
- Using products which can be multi-functional such as grab bars that can also act as substitutes for towel rails and toilet paper holders.
- Adjust the height of various items such as the toilet, cabinetry and basin to aid accessibility.
- Create a walk in shower space that can accommodate for wheel chair access if required. In addition to being easier to clean, having a shower space that can allow for ease of access and a relatively level flooring is a much safer alternative.
- Install an adjustable hand shower rail and possibly a shower bench. Both these items will make showering and self-care a lot easier.
With the help of an experienced builder and designer you can create a space that works perfectly for your needs, but won’t mean sacrifices when it comes to resale of your home later down the track.
We’d suggest avoiding very hard surfaces like natural stone and ceramic tiles. While some choose to go with carpet in their home to avoid the risk of slippery surfaces and to keep warm in winter, carpet can be difficult to keep clean and maintain- an inconvenience that is hard to justify as you get older. For ease in cleaning and maintenance you can’t go past wooden floorboards that in addition to being more durable than other flooring surfaces also brings an aesthetic appeal which adds value to your house when reselling.
There are many innovative products on the market to provide greater lighting in a kitchen such as strips of LED lighting that can be introduced under the countertop or can really light up a walk in pantry so all the nooks and crannies are made visible. If you don’t already have contrasting surfaces such as your countertops to your flooring, it would be beneficial to do so to make your kitchen safer and easier to see things.
Nu-Look specialises in project planning and delivery for renovations in the kitchen and bathroom so that you get the most suitable living arrangement as you head into retirement. Call us for a free appointment and we can arrange a time to discuss your changed living requirements.Read More >
Afraid of investing in a renovated kitchen that becomes glaringly outdated after only a few years? To avoid the cost of paying more money for a second makeover, choose a classic style that keeps to design elements that never fail: Light, white and open spaces ensure balance and harmony in the kitchen. Read More >
Subtle textures, ceramic tiles and metals, 2016 is all about classic and timeless style so you don’t have to keep reinventing your kitchen and bathroom.
TREND & INFO DILEMMA
In this digital age, it’s so easy to access information and global trends in home renovations. With so many trends to follow, along with the home renovation TV shows like The Block or House Rules, and enough ideas in your magazine subscription to Better Homes & Gardens to renovate your kitchen and bathroom ten times over - how do you know what will look right for 2016 and also endure for years to come?
Here are some top 2016 trends and tips for you to consider so you don’t regret your stylistic choice.
# 1 TEXTURES
Just about everyone likes the idea of textures, but are they practical? It can be hard to blend seamlessly between textured and smooth surfaces and furniture but it’s not impossible! With the help of an experienced team with an eye for design you can ensure the look is just right.
There are a number of approaches you can take when introducing textures to your bathroom. For starters, you can use patterns or designs that have the appearance of being textured but are actually smooth surfaces. You can also try creating a “strip feature” which is a great way to add texture in a small area such as in the shower, without the texture dominating the whole room. Look below and not above by introducing floor tiles or even a pebbled floor with its organic look and feel.
Another way of arriving at a textured look in the bathroom is through introducing stylish stand out pieces. Try introducing a natural stone vanity basin or why not go all out in glamour and include a marble bathtub if you are into luxury features.
Gone are the glossy kitchens of 2015. 2016 is now all about the serenity and homely feel. Think white tiling, exposed timber and a touch of greenery (say hello to indoor plants) to create a welcoming feel to any family home. Due to its white palette with touches of timber, the kitchen can be both a warm and classic feature of your house that doesn’t date and you don’t have to break the budget to achieve.
#2 ALL THINGS SHINY
Fridges, stoves and ovens are taking center stage in many modern kitchens - with a trend that won’t go away anytime soon being stainless steel appliances. For the more daring, stainless steel is getting mixed with copper, gold and brass features such as taps in the sink basin, a splashback or a pendant light. For an affordable way to quickly introduce metallic elements to your kitchen without remodeling, try some copper-coloured dining chairs or bar stools that will give your kitchen that unique touch it needs.
Equally attractive in a bathroom setting, corrugated metal can give a modern and chic look to a shower. Again if you don’t want to reinvent the whole bathroom, introducing metallic fixtures and accessories can give you the best bang for your buck when revitalising the space. Try a copper round basin with matching taps or a free standing solid brass bathtub with matching bathroom faucet. If you don’t want to take the full leap with metallic fixtures a simple, cost effective solution is to use metallic accessories throughout the room like soap dispensers and mirrors.
Will this metallic trend stick around? Who knows, but our advice is to keep it simple and allow yourself the flexibility to make easy changes later down the track if you need to.
#3 THIN COUNTER TOPS
Say goodbye to the chunky and hello to barely there benchtops. How slim should you go for benchtops in the kitchen? Our experts say the thinner the better. Since they are lightweight, they are easier to handle with the added bonus of being better priced. Benchtops, thanks to advanced technology are now available in slabs as thin as 13mm. This style has been slowly snowballing into to 2016 and it fits in with other trends such as smaller details and letting the texture of each material do the talking.
What do we think? These thinner benchtops look fabulous so are definitely worth looking at, but as always, remember to look at them in the context of the look and feel of the whole room and the rest of your home.
Be careful though as it is easy to go overboard with geometric. Why spoil a good thing? The best approach to introducing geometric patterns in either the kitchen or bathroom is to mix and match but stick to the same colour palate to blend. Less is more when it comes to the geometric look, where blending bold patterns with neutral pieces gives a stunning makeover to any average kitchen or bathroom.
What do we think? Geometrics have the potential to add something a bit different and special to your renovation but we suggest using them in moderation to really make them pop and avoid the room feeling overwhelming.
So there you have it, 4 trends that are on the rise in 2016. What do you think? Would you like to see any of them in your next renovation? Get in touch today for a free consultation and quote to discuss your ideas with our expert team and see how Nu Look Renovations can help bring your ideas to life.
Want to see more great examples of these trends in action? View our Houzz Ideabook now.Read More >
Whether it’s a new addition to the family or just the kids getting older, having a kitchen that is designed with your changing needs in mind can mean the difference between a space you love and one that makes life harder for you.
Today we’re sharing some ideas to consider if you’re realising that the kitchen you have may not be the most suitable as your family grows and are thinking about renovating.
Idea #1: Make sure it works for how your family will live, both now and in the future
When thinking about what you want in a kitchen it’s easy to forget to think ahead to what your needs will be in the years that follow. For example, the toddler years go by much quicker than you’d imagine so designing the whole space to be childproof is an often unnecessary consideration when there are temporary solutions you could employ instead. Try and think ahead to what would be handy over the whole of the next 10 years and factor those into your planning.
Idea #2: Make simple cleaning a consideration in choosing surfaces
Wipeability, durability and ease of cleaning are really important considerations when choosing materials throughout the whole kitchen. This means thinking about the materials that you use, the types of finishes & even colour. While natural stones, such as marble, are simply beautiful for your benchtop it does tend to stain due to its porous nature. It's also not particularly forgiving of having plates and glasses carelessly flung onto them. So if your children are young these might not be the best surfaces to choose for longevity. If you’re going for the sleek and modern no handles look in the kitchen, cabinets that have a gloss finish and dark colours are more likely to show up your fingerprints. Chances are the kitchen floor will also see more than it’s fair share of spills so make sure whatever material you choose is easy to clean.
Idea #3: Accessibility of key areas
The ability to make their own snacks is a key to helping kids develop healthy eating habits so making sure that they have access to “parent approved” foods easily is something to consider when you’re thinking about the design of your new kitchen. Think about drawers lower down that the kids can access with their own plates, cups etc, pantries laid out so desireable foods can be placed on lower shelves so the kids can help themselves and even fridges with drawers that you can designate for the kid friendly food.
Idea #4: Think about where you’ll be sitting
Most families don’t have time to eat every meal all together at the dining table so providing alternate seating means that you can still be present even if you’re not all sitting down together. Think about a breakfast bar at the bench so the kids can be having breakfast while you’re preparing lunches or doing homework while you’re cooking dinner and you’re all still together and able to interact.
Idea #5: Embrace open plan
The lines between kitchen, dining and living areas are becoming less clear as time goes on with more families preferring to embrace open plan homes that allow everyone the flexibility to be in each space without feeling isolated. Dinner prep can be happening in the kitchen while homework happens at the dining table and small children play in the living area without feeling like everyone is in different areas of the house. It may sound drastic, but think about if walls could be completely or partially knocked down to increase the space and open feeling in your home.
Idea #6: Make life easier for yourself
Are mornings particularly busy trying to get everyone out the door (and it’s not likely to change anytime soon)? Make sure you allow space to make all the key things you need of a morning, like the toaster and coffee machine, easily accessible. Busy weeknights mean the washing up isn’t always done after dinner? Consider extra space around the sink area that doesn’t impact your workable bench space in the morning. Likely to be getting up during the night? Think about having dimmable lights in the kitchen so it’s gentler on you. It’s a matter of sitting down and really thinking about what you’d love in your kitchen to make things flow smoother and then deciding the best way to make it happen.
These are just a few things to consider when you’re planning a kitchen renovation for your growing family. There are of course lots of other things to think about so we suggest requesting a free consultation with us to discuss your needs and ideas and see how we can work with you to bring them to life.Read More >
Attempting a DIY is usually a LOT more work than you’ll think it will be, so occasionally we get called to a job where either a DIY has gone out of hand (could be the budget or the workload) or the owners have realised they’re out of their depth with the undertaking and need help. We’re happy to help when that happens and generally speaking the owners have ideas and plans in place that just need someone with a lot more experience, skill and knowledge to help them bring it together.
But occasionally we get a call from a client that just amazes and quite frankly angers us on the client's behalf. We’re talking about a call where a “renovator” had been hired and has made a complete mess of the job from the very beginning leaving the client's home in tatters.
Today we’re sharing one of these stories with you. With a lot of work and persistence we achieved a great result for the client and hope to share with you the things that were learnt along the way so that we may help others heading down the same path.
Here’s what happened before we were called in:
Our client inherited a house upon her father’s passing and she planned to have the house renovated before putting it up for sale. Thinking she was doing the right thing, she hired a “renovator” to work on the bathroom and laundry as well as retiling the flooring at a cost of $18,000 that she paid upfront.
After working on the project for a while, the client checked in to see the progress and discovered that the “renovator” had done a hodge podge job in every single room. Not one room was completed. Parts were ripped out and some parts were half done or not done properly. For example, floor tiles were improperly installed, the plastering/sheeting work was abysmal and the painted tiles in the bathroom were so bad that the client attempted to strip it back. The kitchen had also been pulled apart with the benchtop and cabinets missing, even though all that was required was a refresh with new door handles, appliances and benchtop.
Unfortunately for our client, the “renovator” was clearly unqualified to do many aspects of the job leaving the client $18,000 poorer with nothing to show for it but a destroyed house.
As you can imagine, the client was in shock and obviously this was an emotional job to begin with so she really wanted to see it through and get it done.
After Nu Look were contacted:
When we first met with the client it was clear that she didn’t know what to do next and how the renovation could be salvaged while being sure not to overinvest. Even Matt, an experienced renovator of over 10 years, was dismayed by the state of the house. So Matt brought in a trusted real estate agent friend to look at the house and together with the client we determined a way forward.
When the team arrived, we were shocked at how much damage this renovator had caused. All in all the client needed to spend a further $6,000 to get the house back to bare bones in order for the actual renovation to begin.
We worked with the client to renovate the house with the goal to sell it quickly. Using simple but smart design techniques, while investing in some key features like stone benchtops and LED lighting, the house was transformed into a clean, neutral residence to attract potential buyers.
What can you take away from our client’s experience?
- For peace of mind, get a contract in place (HIA have contract templates available to make it simple). This not only protects you but also keeps everyone accountable to the agreement and gives you an avenue of recourse if things go badly.
- Make sure the team or person completing the renovation is fully licenced.
- Clear two way communication & building a relationship is essential to making sure you get what you want from your professional renovation team.
- Never pay the full cost of the job upfront. A good renovation team should always expect progressive payment for work as it is completed & major milestones achieved.
- Research (aka stalk) your professional renovation team. Ask for testimonials, see if you can visit current job sites to see the quality of their work, talk to their past clients, ask your friends who they used if you love what they've done, do a web search and check their social media pages.
- Be clear about what you want from the beginning and make sure they understand so you’re all on the same page.
- Actively research how you would like your home to look. Get ideas from Houzz by using their ideabooks feature and Pinterest by creating boards. If you show these to your professional renovation team they can easily visualise what you have in your mind.
- Ask for and take advice from the professionals on what works and what doesn't. It's their day job and they should know what works if they've completed plenty of other projects.
- If things are going badly, don’t wait for catastrophe before getting help - this goes for DIY and using a renovator.
We’re happy that we were able to help our client out of a terrible situation and that the renovation allowed her to present a house to the market that she was proud of. We’d hate to see anyone else go through the same ordeal so please follow the tips above if you’re thinking of undertaking a renovation or better yet, get in touch with us for a free consultation and quote so you can be assured of a quality outcome.
"I could not be happier with the service that Nu Look have provided. I feel incredibly lucky to have found you guys and feel quite humbled by your generosity, care and genuine desire to help me. Matt was so great in providing guidance where I was clearly out of my depth and made a lot of the decisions easier for me. I am so grateful for that.
The house looks incredible - I actually couldn't even imagine it beyond the state it was in when you started. You've exceeded all expectations!"
Take a look at the gallery to see the before, during & after photos of this project.
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