The Tiny House Movement- What is it and why is it important?

It used to be, ‘the bigger the better.’ That pertained to wallets, to actions, to spending and to lifestyles. In fact, this trend is probably the most cyclical of all time. You can bet your bottom dollar that at some point, this trend will return and our wallets will groan all over again.

But for now, we can breathe a little bit easier and watch as a very interesting trend unfolds in the home renovation industry. That trend, is the tiny house trend.

The-Tiny-House-MovementYou’ve probably noticed them on blogs and in architecture publications. Single men and women, couples and even families are realizing they could live with a lot less space. They’re selling their homes and designing unique living spaces that are often less than 200 square feet. It’s the ultimate exercise in maximizing what you have.

The benefits of the tiny homes are many. First of all, they’re most often mobile. You can pick them up and put them on a trailer, travel the world if you like. You can purchase multiple plots of land all over the world to temporarily set up shop, or you can take advantage of one of dozens of camping/trailer spots where these tiny homes are welcome.

These homes are also often far more economical when it comes to your carbon footprint and your energy bills each month. Did you know that the average family will spend between one third and one half of their annual income on the roof over their heads? A vast majority all around the world are living paycheck to paycheck and may spend more than 30 years trying to pay off their home or apartment. Energy bills play into a huge part of that, but energy bills don’t impact tiny homes the way they do regular homes. That’s because tiny homes don’t elicit nearly the amount of water that a normal home would, especially one that’s more dated or run down. They rely on power sources that are solar or energy-saving, often using the roof for solar panels or plant life, which uses rain water to then move energy throughout the structure.

They’re also very unique and beautiful. Here is a link to some of the many fun tiny homes that we’ve noticed on the web recently.

That’s not to say that tiny homes are for everyone. Many families outgrow these too quickly, or their jobs and lifestyles don’t enable as much travel as they may like. They’re definitely not for those who need to roam the halls of a castle or like to climb ten flights of stairs each day.

Tiny homes are a unique movement, changing an industry that has long been rooted in classic traditions. Even if you couldn’t see yourself living in one of these long term, could you see yourself taking a vacation in one?

We’d love to hear your thoughts, reach out to the Australian Heritage Homes team with questions and comments.

Staying Cool During Home Renovations

It doesn’t matter what the weather, or time of year, home renovations can be some of the most stressful times of your life. While there’s not necessarily a science to it, it makes sense when you look at some examples that go into the equation: You’re entrusting your home to someone who is most likely a complete stranger, you’re opening your wallet to invest in something which may or may not bring value to your home and you’re disrupting your daily routine to incorporate an element of surprise and unknown.

Staying-Cool-During-Home-Renovations301Phew! Any one of those elements would cause mass stress to homeowners. Luckily, Australian Heritage Homes is familiar with both these problems and their solutions. We cannot stress enough how lucky we feel to work with you on your dream home, and we want to ensure that stress is kept to a minimum. Here are some tried and true ways to beat the stress during a home renovation:

Communication is key. You should never feel afraid to reach out to your AHH team with any questions. It’s our job to ensure that you feel educated about the work and the process. That’s why although we make recommendations for fixtures and finishes, we encourage our clients to make the final decisions on the look and feel of their home. Night or day, you’re welcome to reach out to us with any questions or concerns that you may have. We promise you that we’ve heard it all.

Dig deep and be nice. This pertains to your family and friends more than the company that you’re working with. It’s always important to put things in perspective and remember that in the end, you will have a beautiful, updated home. If you’re kind and patient with those around you during the promise, you’ll have a myriad of supporters to celebrate with when the work is done. If you’re not, you may just find that you’re popping that bottle of sparkling wine by yourself.

Set expectations and get everything in writing. When you put everything in perspective and set realistic expectations for all parties involved, you’re definitely setting yourself up for success. And while AHH is prudent about remaining in timeline, some contractors are not. To be safe, we recommend doubling the timeline in your mind. That way, when the work is done far in advance, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you run into obstacles along the way (hey, life happens), then you won’t be nearly as disappointed or frustrated. In tandem with this school of thought, we cannot stress enough the importance of having everything in writing. It’s unfortunate but true, there are companies out there who will take advantage of your lack of knowledge if they can. But they can’t, if you don’t open that door of opportunity. With AHH, this is another guarantee, make sure that other companies afford you the same respect.

When in doubt, reach out to our team. We’re happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Bring in a Professional? Or Do It Yourself?

Bring-in-a-ProfessionalWe live in an age where technology moves at the speed of light. What is in and on trend one day may be completely archaic the next. Information travels at the speed of light (or faster, depending on who you ask), and bad news travels even faster. This means that education flows freely to the masses, and more and more consumers have self-serving business models at the tips of their fingers.

We’ve been around long enough to have seen the evolution of this open-source engagement. Where twenty years ago our customers had no idea which was was up when it came to building their dream property, that’s not the case these days. And we love it. Our customers now know exactly what they want their home or business to look like. Websites and social media platforms empowers our customers to come to the table with a clear and succinct vision of what they’re looking for. They find inspiration in all sorts of different media, both online and in-person. To any team member at Australia Heritage Homes, it’s inspiring.

That’s one of many reasons why you will never find upselling at AHH. We find no joy in charging you any more than we have to for any part of the process. We find joy in the happiness on your face when we can successfully build your dream property.

Which is why we offer a sliding scale of pricing when it comes to fixtures and inclusions for your home. We keep your budget in mind, but we want to make your dream vision, a reality. So when your budget has been stretched as far as it can go, but your dreams continue to grow, what do you do? This is where you make the decision—bring in a professional? Or do it yourself.

Remember that whole internet thing? Youtube and all that? These platforms have made DIY far less scary. They’ve shown our customer base that they can accomplish a lot more than they think they can. When it comes to small fixes or simple inclusions, DIY is a great option. Changing your bathroom fixtures? Updating your doorknobs? We champion you as the foreman of these changes.

But that doesn’t mean that we’ll automatically recommend a DIY afternoon. There are many projects that really do require expertise at the level you can expect from Australia Heritage Homes. So our promise to you is total transparency. When you bring a challenge to us, we encourage open and honest conversation from the beginning. We’ll tell you which preferences won’t fit into your budget, and when we can, offer solutions that do. When portions of the design don’t fit into your budget and don’t make sense, we’ll tell you upfront. You can depend on the decades of experience from Australia Heritage Homes that we will tell you the truth and help build the most beautiful home that we possibly can.

How to Refresh Your Kitchen Space

How-to-Refresh-Your-Kitchen-SpaceWe’re going to take a wild guess and say that the kitchen may be the hub of your home.

It’s the focal point for socializing, where the kids head immediately following a day at school, where you host important family meetings and discussions. So why doesn’t the kitchen often receive the TLC that it needs and deserves?

We know, we know, there are many excuses. There are budgets to think about, there are timelines to think about. After all, you don’t want to sacrifice your kitchen for an extensive period of time, and you certainly don’t want to have to shell out half of your savings to do so. Well it’s time to dispel all of the above misconceptions. There are plenty of ways to liven up your kitchen and ensure that it’s a happy and beautiful place to gather. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Update your backsplash—for those unfamiliar, the backsplash is the wall area in between your counter and any cabinets you have in the kitchen, it’s most likely the wall behind your sink as well. No matter what color or pattern story you chose for your kitchen originally, there are many universal color and tile pattern choices that will give your kitchen a quick and inexpensive face lift. If your kitchen doesn’t currently have a lot of color, this is a great way to add a pop. Pick a bright blue or green and watch the entire mood of the kitchen change. You can work with a professional to install a backsplash, or you can do it yourself. Just make sure that you do your homework first.
  • Shop for a statement piece—If the kitchen is the hub of your home, then the kitchen table probably rules the court. Not only is it where you may eat your meals, but probably where lots of work takes place as well. It needs to be durable, sure, but it should also be a pleasure to look at. It probably took a backseat during the design process. Well that changes now. Shop around for a funky design, or take the premium nature of the room to the next level by updating the material. Feel like getting DIY? Take a weekend to build a kitchen table yourself. That way, whenever you’re sitting at it, it will feel even more special as you recount the memories.
  • Show off your wares—Let’s face it, cabinet space can be a limited commodity. Ever opened a cabinet to have a pile of bowls or pans hit you in the face? Not fun. We’re guessing that in the hodge podge contents of the cabinets, there are some fun pieces that you could put on display. Kill two birds with one stone by displaying these on the counter or on top of the cabinets. You can even get creative in the way that they’re displayed. And you can guarantee that you’ll have a good story or conversation starter, the next time that you have visitors over.

Questions? Be sure to reach out to the Australia Heritage team. We’re happy to help.

Designing a New Home? Keep the Outdoors in Mind

Designing-a-New-HomeWhen we begin the planning process of designing your home, it’s one of the first things that we’ll discuss. After all, the outdoor areas of your home are the first impression to those passing by. Do you want the whole of it to be functional? Do you see any landscaping efforts as purely aesthetic? We have a multitude of solutions for both ends of the spectrum. Here are a variety of things that we try to keep in mind when we have these conversations with our customers:

  • Think about travel patterns. We’re not talking about traveling long distances, more so how you and your family and friends will move through your outdoor areas. Will you need pathways from the front to the back? Will you need a specific area for outdoor furniture that will be paved differently? You want to think about the way visitors will move through your home and the areas beyond.
  • Are you looking to add a variety of fire source? Fireplaces are no longer found in just interior living spaces. They’re making huge splashes outside as well. They offer a great place to curl up with a book or a glass of wine. We can discuss full-size versions as well as smaller fire pits.
  • Is there a focal point? A swimming pool may be the first thing that jumps to mind, but your outdoor focal point can be all sorts of things. We’ve helped design sporting courts, functional gardens to farm, even play houses for the youngest of our customers. Once you know what your focal point is, it’s much easier to design your landscaping around it so that it stands out in the best way possible
  • Look for the small details. Once you know what your focal point is, many of the smaller pieces begin to fall into place. This is a very fun part of the process. You start searching for places to add pops of color or plant accents. This is where the big picture really starts to come together.
  • Don’t discount function. Often the conversations that we have with our customers show that they don’t think aesthetics and function can play well together. We want to bust this myth immediately. We look for ways for both to work in tandem, like artistic tool racks, or beautifully designed shelves for your potted plants. We will ensure that we maximize your space, and maximize your experience using it.

Questions? Be sure to reach out to your Australia Heritage team. We’ll be happy to help.

Building Energy Efficient Homes with Australia Heritage Homes

Australia Heritage Homes wants to build you and your loved ones a home that you can be proud of. That’s the mission that we were founded on, decades ago. We’ve only continued to foster this mindset as the years go by and our expertise broadens. We want you to feel comfortable no matter what Mother Nature may bring on her offensive. And though we definitely think about designing and building with materials that will keep rampant weather out, sometimes the elements the elements work to your benefit.x

We’re talking about energy-efficient inclusions and home designs. With the initial investment that you make, you’re paid out in extreme dividends, both in energy and money. Ultimately your home will be both more comfortable and more durable, and you’ve immediately minimized your carbon footprint! In some areas there are rebates or government incentives to building energy efficient homes. There is no trade-off in the quality of materials. As a company, we are dedicated to exploring new process efficiencies and building materials which are low in cost, high in quality, and the best for the land these homes are built on.

If this is an element of your home that’s important to you, we will kick off the planning process with that in mind. We always want to encourage our customers to do their own research, but we will also come to the table with many ideas in mind. We will explore renewable energy systems which are all-encompassing. More specifically, we look at a whole-house systems approach to maximize efficiencies which focuses on the following:

Here are a couple of strategies to keep in mind that you can discuss with your Australia Heritage Homes team member:

Passive Solar Home Design- We can look to the conditions of the site chosen and the local climate of the area to take advantage of solar energy. This can even positively impact your landscaping strategies, reusing resources where they make the most sense. You want to look at your property as its own caregiver, reducing as much home energy use as possible and meeting the reduced need with onsite solutions that you can manage yourself.

Advanced Home Framing- You can even consider exploring optimum value engineering, or advanced home framing. This minimizes your use of lumber and waste if you’re interested in building a wood-framed home.

Cool Roofs- Cool roofs have been a very successful method of harnessing energy within your property. They use reflective materials which bounce more light and take in less heat from sunlight. These are optimal during the warmer months as they keep your home cooler.

These are just the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to the ideas that are out there. We look forward to connecting with you and determine the home design that makes the most sense.

Are You Building For Resale? 5 Key Points to Consider

Are-You-Building-For-ResaleToday we’re covering a big one—are you building to flip or resale? Or are you buying for life? Right off the bat let’s clarify that there’s no correct answer here. It’s really up to the needs and wants of you and your family and loved ones. But if you’re on the fence (pun intended), here are five things to consider:

  1. If you’re building for resale, you’ll want to pay more attention to what is sellable or what the buyer in the area will expect. You’ll want to do more research on industry trends and what homes are selling for, with the look and feel that you’re building. If you have a very specific look and feel in mind, and you don’t want to compromise this, then building to resell might not be for you.
  2. You’ll need to design and build for the area. Your design will need to be cognizant of the terrain, and the general price of homes in the area. If you’re building on less-expensive land, then you’re going to need to build a more basic home without the upgraded finishes. Some areas will warrant the installation of energy saving inclusions or environmentally friendly inclusions.
  3. As stated above, you’ll need to build for the price range that you’re in. You can’t over capitalize and you’ll want to stay away from the expensive inclusions as you won’t make this money back in the resale process.
  4. Think about the general, basic requirements that prospective buyers will notice if they’re interested in purchasing. Examples include access for wheel chairs, steps and grab rails for the elderly, the width of the doorways and washing facilities.
  5. Maximize bedrooms. This may sound like an odd consideration, but the size of the home and the amount of bedrooms is always a big selling point, no matter what the market. You’ll appeal to families and groups of all sizes if you can accommodate their needs.

Welcome to the Australian Heritage Homes Blog!

Welcome-to-the-Australian-Heritage-Homes-Blog

There are a lot of decisions that need to be made when you decide to build a home. Look, you’ve just made one decision right there!  It can be overwhelming and it can be stressful, but Australian Heritage Homes wants to alleviate that.

We think that this should be one of the most exciting times of your life, marked by amazing memories and (hopefully) smooth sailing with whatever team you work with. We can ensure that if that team is Australian Heritage Homes, smooth sailing it will be.

In order to ensure your peace and tranquility, we’ve decided to set-up a blog on this site. The Australian Heritage Homes blog will cover off many of the topics and questions that may be holding you back from beginning this journey. If there is ever content that you’d like to see here, or questions that have stemmed from reading a post, be sure to give us a shout. Any of our team members would be happy to help.