After a full on, two-week block of work out bush I have managed to fit in a weekend at home; enough time to wash the clothes, bake some healthy biscuits and muesli and say hello to my family, along with checking on the build progress.
The most obvious change was the finished paint job on the walkway – it looks great.
When we were considering what to use on the inside of the walkway that leads to the front door, we saw a great architectural product from James Hardy called Matrix board. This product has been appearing on new build homes in the area and gives a edgy, contemporary look, much better than the old blue board and render finish.
Whilst the product is generally painted in a solid colour that either blends or contrasts with the home, I decided it might as well become a feature wall. My inspiration came from newer, commercial buildings around here. If you have a look at some of the new factories and public buildings you can see they use strong architectural elements that are designed to attract shoppers or to enhance the appearance of an industrial zone that abuts a residential area.
Borrowing on their use of design and colour, I suggested to the painter that we bring in four of the main exterior house colours, with the black express joints between the boards further enhancing the colour and pattern. To work out the paint pattern I took a photo of the wall and printed it out on A4 paper, then using paint swatches, I worked out what I thought would be a good pattern. Admittedly I was a little nervous about how it would turn out, but now it is completed I think it makes a great statement.
Many commercial buildings are also using screening to good effect. I have mentioned in previous posts that we added powder-coated, aluminium decorative screens over the windows of the main house – the awning design was borrowed from a commercial building I saw down in NSW while on holidays a couple of years ago.
These designer elements may not be as cheap as some standard options used by builders, however I have found they aren’t nearly as expensive as you would have thought, especially if you shop around. For example, the screens – which are large and are a custom design – cost us around $7,500 installed. A standard, option might have been a solid, inverted, L-shaped, blue board clad awning over each of the four windows. This second option would have cost nearly as much, looked heavy and cumbersome and wouldn’t have allowed the play of light that filters though to the rooms behind.
The hardest thing about custom designed products is finding the artisan who can take your ideas and create the tangible product, or alternatively being creative enough yourself to use a standard off-the-shelf product in an innovative way; for example the safety screen between the office stairs and garage in this home is constructed from readily available timber palings, but the pattern of wide and narrow boards adds a design element.
Yes it’s extra work and time to find these additional design elements, but if I can do it with my limited time, I’m sure you can do it too.