What to Do With Your Attic

What to Do With Your AtticWell, it’s certainly not going anywhere, is it? We’re talking about your attic or the uppermost part of your home. You may have a single storey home or one that’s five levels tall – regardless, the “attic” (be as it may) has long since had a history. For some reason, it’s the protagonist location in lots of scary movies. For other reasons, it easily becomes the place where you can shove your older belongings or ones that you (or visitors) don’t want to see. There’s nothing wrong with either of these purposes (actually, some of us think that there is something wrong with the first one, but that’s a story for another time), but it’s also completely available real estate with which you can accomplish many other missions. The Australian Heritage Homes team is passionate about every centimetre of your home, current or future, and we want to ensure that you leverage it properly. Read on for more information.

First of all, it’s time to clean it up. You may be whinging about how small it is and why it SHOULD be treated as a storage closet. Would you clean out your storage closet? We’ll get there in a minute. Bottom line, when you leave any space dirty or dingy, you’re going to have to clean it up sooner or later (think- when you sell your home), and in the meantime, things like allergens will accumulate having actual health issues caused for the inhabitants of the home.

Many look at cleaning as more cumbersome than it needs to be. In fact, if you’re ahead of the game and think about the way that you lay out your storage spaces, the cleaning processes get a lot quicker. The trick is to not throw things up in the attic without a strategy, because that only creates more work for you further down the line. Add cleaning your attic to your bi-annual list (we’ve talked about these… the different checklists that you have on different cadences, to keep you on track). You don’t need to clean your attic more frequently like that unless you’re digging for something that you’ve been missing for a while.

Our other thought deals more with the title of this blog post – what can you DO with your attic? Well, it certainly doesn’t just need to be for storage. When polled, some of the experts we know had many different ideas to be creative and innovative. You can think of this as an exercise space, a studio for a passion that you may tackle in your free time, a play space for younger household members or even a movie studio or living room.

Often, homeowners are deterred because of the perception that attics are old and ugly. When you work with companies like the Australian Heritage Homes team, we can completely change your minds and turn this space into one where you or your whole family will want to spend as much time as possible.

Big Mistakes to Make in Your Front Yard

Big Mistakes to Make in Your Front YardSome people love their front yards and their homes’ exteriors. We frequently extol the virtues of taking care of this element of your property on the Australian Heritage Homes blog, because we know the dozens of benefits associated. Our team knows all about the life cycle of a home. We know that you may live in it for the entirety of your life and pass it along for generations to come. We know owners who are only planning on spending a short amount of time before they move on to their next adventure. And we know owners of every sort in between. That works out well for our blog readers because we’ve amassed such a range of knowledge, advice, tips and tricks. We love to profile what works, but today we’re talking about what doesn’t work. Here are some small changes you can make or things to keep an eye on when it comes to your front yard.

The first one is pretty overarching – don’t forget about regular maintenance. Your front yard should be treated as a precious commodity (as should the rest of your home) and as many of our parents have told us, “you should take care of nice things.” Maintenance does not have to be overwhelming or time-consuming. Just know the different parts of your yard, do some simple research about how often they should be maintained (cut, cleaned, etc.), make a plan and then stick to it. Believe us, you’ll be glad that you did.

Don’t overthink the plants that you’re choosing. And once you choose them – again, do your homework. You’ll want to know which plants need more sunlight and which need greater space around them for extensive roots. Overcrowding yards, especially if you have more terrain to work with, is a very common and understandable mistake. But what will happen, is that the roots will tangle and ultimately the different plants will strangle each other, leaving you with none instead of both.

Clean up valuables. Valuables is a subjective term, but we’re guessing that even the small toys of your younger household members aren’t something that you want to say goodbye to, just because a prowler or even a passerby stepped on to your property uninvited. It’s unfortunate, but it does happen, so make sure that when activities are done, you’re taking those items and storing them in a shed or inside.

That brings us to our last recommendation for the day and that’s having the right architectural elements that avoid the above scenario altogether. We’re talking about dates and fences and these can be just as fun to choose and design as your home itself. They can be functional and beautiful at the same time and there’s no right answer which style you have to choose, just because you have a certain size of or look to your home.

All of the above are items that we can help with. Reach out and the Australian Heritage Homes team will help you.

Navigating Design One Room at a Time

Navigating Design One Room at a TimeWhen you buy, rent, build, what-have-you a dream home, it’s a big deal. We’re pretty sure that that’s been the intro to many an Australian Heritage Homes blog post intro, and we’re quite alright with that. It reiterates one of our mission values and that’s passion. So, even though our core goal is to design and build a home for our current or prospective customers, we can’t help but be excited to be on the sidelines as you navigate the next few steps, including… what is your home going to look like!

We know that it’s overwhelming. You’re most likely looking at a bunch of empty rooms. You’re thinking about which rooms you should tackle first, which can wait until later, which can cost the most, and which will be a total steal (especially if you work with the AHH team). Lots of questions, right? Well, let’s tackle it one room at a time. We’ll make a point to regularly share this content on the AHH blog because we think it’s incredibly important for our readers and customers to not only feel educated but also get excited about the same thing that makes us so passionate.

So, we spun the wheel and we figured that today we should start with the entry of your home. After all, it’s the very first thing you see right? That can set the stage for wonderful visitor experience and it can also set the tone for one that you don’t feel as proud about as you should. Here are our favourite design hacks about designing this area of your home:

  • Keep it as open as possible. You might have intentionally chosen a home that has a narrower entry or hallway, and we’re sure that it’s beautiful. Already taking away some square metres for visitors, or your family and loved ones, make a behavioural choice to not strew shoes, jackets or bags as soon as you arrive home. Instead, thinking of on-the-wall solutions, as soon as you’re in a larger space. Bonus… you won’t have to clean the floors as much!
  • Add a piece of art or a statement piece. There are many experts in the art world that think this is a great idea for both those coming and going. If you have an optimal wall as in your entry area for a piece of art (budget unrelated… if you have younger family members, hang their art!), do it! As they leave, they’ll again be reminded of what a warm, fun, and creative home they’re leaving.
  • Keep it simple. Besides small accents (that are off the floor) like the art that we mentioned, this is not a space that needs a ton of furniture or accents. Those will have wonderful homes in other areas of your home and are an unnecessary use of your budget, whatever size it may be.

Questions? We’re definitely here. And we can’t wait to dive into the best ways to design other rooms throughout your dream home.

Learning How to Clean From the Ground Up

Learning How to Clean From the Ground upIf there’s anything you can say about the Australian Heritage Homes team, it’s that we love a good pun. We love the kind of humour that’s very specific to what we do and it’s a continuous reminder that it’s important to find humour and happiness in everything that you’re working in. Yes, we know that there are most likely occupations that aren’t particularly humorous or even enjoyable, but while we’re spoiled, we’re also (hopefully) inspirational – showing you to find the silver lining in every hour of the day.

That feels a bit important right now, doesn’t it? As does the purpose of this blog post. Some of the news that we share on the Australian Heritage Homes blog is life-changing. No, we’re not joking. If you continue to come back, you’ll learn how to pinch pennies, how to save yourselves hours of every day and the biggest pitfalls to avoid. But some of the news that we need to share is important because not only will it do all of the above, it will keep you sane and smart, especially when little things like global pandemics are going on.

Unfortunately, that’s the case right now. And one would assume that you’re maybe spending a bit more time at home than you normally would. At first, we’re betting that that felt really good. It meant that you didn’t have to commute to work, wasting gas (or purchasing gas) and maybe even looking for parking. With all of that out of the window, the AHH team thinks you spent a solid week or two being very excited about your new normal. And then… then… you might have realized the work and labour that comes with a home office. Home offices can be a blessing and a curse, but if you listen to us, they’ll veer much more towards the blessing side of the fence and you’ll appreciate your home once again. Here are just a few tips that you should keep in mind so you keep your home clean from the ground up. (Now you get the pun) …

  • Parse out time on a regular basis to clean, but remember that it doesn’t need to be a whole day. The problem with many chores or anything that you don’t want to do is that you put such grandiose expectations on the amount of input that’s about to ensue. That’s not quite true. Just take it 15 to 20 minutes at-a-time and before you know it, cleaning won’t just go quickly, it might just be satisfying.
  • Pick a different chore every day, but also start a routine. That sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? We’re just trying to help you have a little bit of variety in your chores, while still building the emotional need to factor chores into your daily schedule each and every day.
  • Reward yourself. Same thing, and a big of a cop-out, but if you give yourself a wee treat after accomplishing different chores, you’ll have something to look forward to and something to push you to come back tomorrow and the day after.

Look at that! We got you excited about cleaning, didn’t we? (Don’t tell us if we didn’t). Check back in for more information.

Non-Negotiables for Your Next Dream Home

Non Negotiables for Your Next Dream HomeBirthdays? Great. Holidays? Wonderful. Big moments like wedding days, graduations or job promotions? All of these are really important. In fact, they top the list of key events that many of us wait big chunks of our lives to enjoy. But there’s one really important life goal that’s not included in the aforementioned list and that’s purchasing your dream home. For some, it’s never in the cards or in their interests, and that’s perfectly fine. For those who have had their vision boards and inspirations for years up until this point, the Australian Heritage Homes team is here to support.

We love designing your dream homes and we also consider ourselves very prolific and knowledgeable navigating the process (which can be truly special). The most popular term that we hear is that searching for or designing your dream home is – overwhelming. You either don’t know where to start, you work with the wrong people, you compromise when you know that you want something specific, or you pay too much on what you don’t need. We’re here to stop that train of thought. Take a step back, deep breath and let the Australian Heritage Homes team talk through what you really need to keep in mind as you pick the next place where you’ll make forever memories.

As noted in the title, this post focuses on the non-negotiables. Don’t be afraid to be stern and strong on these, for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, this is your home, and you’re the one that’s going to live there. Secondly, those that you’re talking to work for you! They might have strong personalities and great ideas, but if you go home at the end of the day and don’t feel great about conversations, stand strong and remember that your wallet is paying for any decisions you make.

Here are three non-negotiables that you should keep in mind:

Area- You can’t pick up your home and move it to another neighbourhood just because you’re realizing that you live in the middle of nowhere and actually have a regular hankering for food in the town centre. Similarly, you can’t pick up your home if the noise of an urban area is making you regret buying a home to begin with! Your contractors should have these conversations with you, but you’re also responsible for doing your own research.

Amount of space and planning for your future- What do we mean? You may ask. Don’t buy a tiny lot or a home with one bedroom if you know for a fact that you’re planning on growing your family in the next 3-5 years. Best case scenario, you’ll be able to sell your home, but you’ll still have to navigate the process all over again with that added stress.

Outside space- Some people love it and some people hate it; the only important variable here is *knowing* which of the two camps you fit into. You can’t really create a giant backyard if you’ve already designed a home on a lot largely taken up by your home. Conversely, if you don’t think you’re going to want to take care of landscaping, think that through before buying a giant lot.

Lot’s more to come! Continue to check back in to the AHH blog!

To Live in the City or the Suburbs?

To Live in the City or the SuburbsFor any of us who have had to make this decision, you know that it’s a tough one. In fact, it’s just one in a number of decisions that you’re going to have to make as you navigate where you’re going to spend the next chapter of your life. If it’s your first home, you have mounted pressure that whatever you decide will dictate a number of months or even years in the future. If it’s your next, you probably have a pit in your stomach wondering if you’re making the right decision and also – if you should even leave where you live right now. These are all-natural feelings and the Australian Heritage Homes team is all about supporting you through them. You can’t stump us and you can’t give us a situation with which we can’t make you feel comfortable. That’s why we got into building your dream homes! The home, its structure, its landscaping and its architecture are a big deal, but today, we’re going to start with the basics. Where do you want to live?

There are a bunch of factors to think through:

Your commute – while many of us are working from home right now, the time that you’re going to spend in your car or on public transportation is definitely something to factor in when you’re looking at your next dream property. If it’s something that doesn’t bother you or is a great time to catch up on your work or personal reading, then maybe this isn’t that big of a deal. If you have a taxing job and aren’t a morning (or evening) person, take this into account.

Outdoor space – some of us love it and some of us hate it. Outdoor space can require a lot of maintenance but the benefits of the trade-off are just as worth it. The key here is knowing that ahead of time. You don’t want to buy a giant house in the suburbs with a huge yard, only to be stressed about the different chores that you have to check off on a regular basis.

The demographic of your neighbourhood – the key here is where you are in your life. If you’re a young family or plan to be in the near future, you most likely want to be adjacent to households that are similar and can provide a built-in infrastructure for both you and your future offspring. If you are someone who is flourishing solo, as a part of a couple, living with friends and more, your priorities will be different, but you’ll still care about who lives next door.

Cost – and finally… the almighty cost. We’re not saying that one is more expensive than the other, but the costs associated are definitely something to weigh with caution. Remember how we mentioned landscaping costs? That’s just one on a list of extra costs that you should factor into a property. The same is true if you live in a heavily urban area and bills are higher.

Bottom line, just make sure that you do your research!

May Home News

May Home NewsIt’s hard to believe that it’s May already, isn’t it? Granted, this year hasn’t been quite as similar to those previous, but time is flying by for most nonetheless. There are good elements to that (COVID-19, go away!), but there are also pieces of us that wish that time would slow down slightly. We get so caught up in the work that we do with each other and our lives at home that sometimes it’s hard to stop and smell the roses – or whatever you’d like to smell right now. Well, there are things that won’t stop or change and one of those is Australian Heritage Homes’ monthly round-up of what we’re enjoying and learning from on the World Wide Web. Yes, our core expertise is bringing the design and construction of your dream home to life, but our expanded expertise includes soft skills like a continued passion to always, always, always learn. The most popular colour in door paint these days? Yeah, we’re looking into it. How far out you should landscape your yard before it becomes overwhelming? Fully in our wheelhouse. Try and stump us, we dare you. In the interim, here is a compilation of articles in the home news realm that we think you’ll find engaging and entertaining.

Construction Industry Super Fund Primed to Invest $2.5bn When Australia’s Lockdowns Ease

For those that work in the construction industry, this one is for you… we’re betting that you (and all of us for that matter) could do with some good news as of late. Well as far as dollars go, the country is looking to invest upwards to $2.5 billion when lockdowns cease to ensure that the construction industry gets back to work… and fast. The fund supplying is run by unions and businesses alike, all with the same goal, let’s continue to build the country and the businesses and careers of those in support of our construction infrastructure. Check out this link for more information.

Experts Predict the Future of Gardening, Landscaping

In times like this, it’s been interesting to hypothesize about what the future – or “new normal” – will look like. Sometimes that’s a scary game, but more often than not, it’s an inspiring one. Believe it or not, there have been silver linings with this global pandemic and one of them is thinking through the ways that we can improve as an economy and a generation in the future. Landscaping and agriculture in general obviously play heavily into this. Does 100 years from now mean fewer plants? Does it mean a change in sharecropping? Do we as a planet invest in solar power? Or do we go the opposite direction? It’s anyone’s bet, but this is an interesting article with a very positive point of view about what the world could look like in upcoming days. Click here if you want to learn more.

10 Things You Should Get Rid of to Create a More Peaceful Space

Finally, let’s head inside. Who doesn’t want more peace these days? We know that we do. Well, there are definitely short and sweet tricks so that your most immediate surroundings support this. We’re talking about your home and this article as your partner-in-crime. The common theme is to get rid of things – a la Marie Kondo – and reap the emotional and physical benefits. Read this article if this sounds up your alley.

The Biggest Construction Challenges

Biggest Construction ChallengesThe Australian Heritage Homes team are no strangers to construction challenges. Be they terrain-related, area council conversations or inflated expectations by prospective customers, we know that they’re ahead of us in the vast majority of projects.

While some companies may baulk at this, we’re not one of them. Call us lunatics or call us a unicorn, we actually relish these challenges. We believe that the only way forward as a business and as an important pillar in this industry is to push ourselves and to push each other, we can never become complacent. Every week, every month, every year, we take stock in our different projects. We analyze what we could have done differently and what we think worked very well. We believe in transparency and so there are a couple of reasons that we’re sharing this article today – both to share and educate and also to shed light on what hasn’t worked well for us in the past. What are our biggest construction challenges?

We mentioned both of the first two above, but one can come with more headaches than most: conversations with councils and local authorities. To be clear, all are put in place for good reason. That’s why these conversations are vital, but sometimes challenging. Knowing exactly what bodies of council and government you need to sync with is really important because they know the land that you’re building on even better than you do. They’ll know if you’re about to build on land that’s seen sloping issues in the past, that’s under permit by a company or other owner and if you’re encroaching on your neighbours. They’re there to be your allies, but they need to do their homework, so be patient. It will pay off for both your sanity and your wallet in the end.

Again, we mentioned the second as well – terrain. If you’re properly working with the right contractor and following the guidance above, you’re most likely set up for success. That being said, you may not be and even if you are, it’s good to have total purview into your property. The terrain can be a huge challenge for construction. If your lot is sloped, retaining walls may be necessary to split the land into intentional levels. If you live in an area covered in trees, you’re going to need special plans to build around the roots. All of these are possible to navigate, but things that you need to take into account.

Finally, the last item in today’s list is expectations. Hey, we get it. This home is a big investment for you – financially and equally as important, emotionally. You’re going to have expectations about what it looks like, how long it takes to build and how much it costs. Talk these through with your contractors so that you’re on the same page and no one is surprised or overly stressed at the end of the day.

Questions? Let the team at AHH know. We’re always here for you.

Staying Safe and Comfortable Right Now

Staying Safe and Comfortable Right NowNo doubt about it, the times are a little bit different than what we’re used to right now. Whether you know someone impacted by COVID-19 or it’s affecting your day-to-day routine, research has shown that 90 per cent of us Worldwide are dealing with it in some way on a regular basis. Here at Australian Heritage Homes, we don’t think that’s going to change any time soon, but we also know that the best recipe for success is a good attitude and all of the tools to traverse the coming weeks. You may live in a thriving metropolis or in the middle of the rural countryside, there are still consistent behaviours and best practices that you can leverage and remember – we’re all going to get out of this eventually. Here is our top-level kick off on the Australian Heritage Homes blog about staying safe, comfortable – and dare we say, happy… during this pandemic.

Safe had to come first. Sorry to be the responsible adults around here, but we do feel like that’s our role. After all, you trust us with your dream home, we want you to be able to trust us with everything that comes after. So, clean up. When you return home (if you need to go out), don’t rush to greet your loved ones. They know you love them and that can wait. Instead, immediately place your coat and any bags out of social space and wash your hands for 20 seconds. There’s no need to go overboard here, COVID-19 (as of right now) cannot live on your apparel, so you don’t necessarily need to change unless you want to. Nor do you need to shower as long as your hands are clean and you’re not touching your, or your loved ones’ faces.

Comfortable is up next. There are jokes galore, and we’re sure that there are many different videos around the Web of those that are making an effort to dress up on the top for any video conference calls at work and sweats on the bottom. (The aforementioned article doesn’t necessarily agree with us, but to each, their own.) This is where stress and headspace come in. We’re all for routine and making sure you feel like you’re still going to work. But, be easy on yourself during this time. There’s nothing wrong with wearing comfortable clothing, working from a cushioned chair or couch if you need a short break and indulging in a comfort meal or two. Just make sure that you’re doing everything in moderation. The trick is to think, “if I had to go back to a full-time job right now, would I be able to?” If the answer is, you’re set up for success.

And, happiness. It’s objective, we know. And it ties in very well with comfort and headspace. We recommend that you take some time every day to either push yourself (it creates endorphins, whether you’re trying a new workout routine or a new hobby) or take a load off and relax. Contact your loved ones, taking advantage of all of the technologies we have available to us today and try not to worry. We’ve weathered storms before and we will again. The AHH home has your back.

April Home News

April Home NewsWelcome to the Australian Heritage Homes blog! We’re excited to host you and share everything about our passion for designing and constructing your dream home. Sure, we can easily do this by having conversations in-person, over the phone or via email – and we highly encourage you to do so. It’s the best way for you to get a true feel for exactly why we’re the best at what we do and exactly how we can bring your vision to life. But we bet that once you hear our enthusiasm, you’ll want to be home buffs too. We get it, it’s contagious and it’s easier than you think. That is if you know where to look. Today, you did, because you stumbled upon our April round-up of home news. These are the articles that are making us smile, making us think, pushing us out of our comfort zones and hopefully inspiring you. Read on for more information:

How Previous Epidemics Impacted Home Design

It doesn’t matter you live in the World, if you haven’t heard of COVID-19, you truly are living under a rock. And there is no better reason to spread a little love and positivity right now. For us, one way to do that is share really beautiful architecture that can honestly spring from anything. After all, unfortunately, this hasn’t been our first large-scale event. Architectural Digest reminds us that many of the details of your home were inspired by previous infectious diseases. They remind us of the intersection of health and architecture – sometimes for function and sometimes for aesthetic. No closet in an older apartment? Function. Subway tile? Aesthetic. If you love architecture, this article is for you. Check out this link for more information.

Easier Living by Design

Here is another one that’s eye-opening about the way that many of our homes are designed. Sure, there are the basics. If you have challenges moving around, a home without stairs or many levels is probably for you. If you’re particularly tall, you’ll want to look for a home with higher ceilings. But it goes deeper than that. Think about homes that could conquer grand goals like reversing of age. It’s not the norm right now, but architects don’t think it’s too far down the line. Even adjustments such as the direction of home, placement of windows and size of windows can help you sleep better – ergo, have a positive impact on your health. Visit the site for more information.

Home Design in the Age of Social Distancing

And of course, social distancing. Not specifically what this article is about, but with many of us around the globe stuck at home, you need to get creative about several things: how to interact with others in a safe way, how to split up your days so that you remain sane and occupied and also – how to have your own alone time. Obviously, technology is playing a huge and vital role, but there are other key players in the game as well. Read this article if you’d like to learn more.

Questions? Let us know. And stay safe out there!