Top Tips On Renovating Successfully From Balance Architecture + Interior Design

Victorian Home fully restored

Victorian Home fully restored

During the year the team from Balance Architecture + Interior Design have shared some great tips for successful renovations. We have chosen their top tips and put them together in this year-end blog:

The first tip is to list the positive and negative features of a space.  Consider carefully what works well and what doesn’t, think about what you love about it and what you want to get rid of, also what needs changing. What is the purpose of the space? How can it best work for you and your family?  Try to anticipate any likely changes to your lifestyle in the future that will affect the space.

The second tip is when renovating a heritage home to do it with great care and respect for the history and original design concepts of the building. Sensitivity to the heritage overlays, council requirements and structural condition of your home will save you much time and angst. Architects and Interior Designers, such as Andrew Fedorowicz and Amanda Richmond, that have the experience and knowledge required for heritage renovations will ensure an end result that resonates with the true history of your home.

The third tip is to detect any problems in the building that require addressing before embarking upon structural changes and beautification.  For example, a damp house is a serious problem, causing building defects, health problems and can be costly to repair if the issue is not addressed promptly. Types of dampness are condensation/horizontal/falling and most commonly, rising damp.

The fourth tip is to create space. Amanda Richmond recommends creating a view from room to room, such as overlooking a lower level from an upper level or through placement of windows to capture the outside vista. Use colour to visually move between spaces, remember that darker colours advance, lighter colours retract. Define spaces by using contrasting materials and remember a fluid movement through the space helps create the illusion of more space.

Designer’s Tips On Renovating Your Kitchen

Kitchen Design by Amanda Richmond

Kitchen Design by Amanda Richmond – Armadale House

Amanda Richmond, Interior Designer at Balance Architecture + Interior Design has given us some great tips if you are considering renovating your kitchen.

 Decide what type of kitchen will suit the life you lead and what are the essential design elements to be considered.

Is it within a single room, a studio, a residential home, a warehouse or workspace? Is it for retired, elderly or disabled users? Is it for a family with children? Is it for a couple without children? Is it for a single person?

Do you need to conceal the cooking area when not in use?

You can use doors, blinds or curtains to do this.

All kitchen types will require an extractor fan of some type.

Do you want a range hood, in-bench extractor system or ceiling fan?

Children will need adequate space to be supervised in play and work.

Allow sufficient floor and table space away from the oven, cook top and sink for safety.

Will you use the kitchen as an office?

If so, do you need to allow for file storage, electronic usage/storage, layout space, keyboards/monitors/sound systems?

How often will you eat in the kitchen?

Design a separate area away from cooking and preparation.

Will the space accommodate the size of table and chairs you want?

Consider circulation spaces behind seated people and allow 600mm minimum per seating space.

Design for the minimum use of unnecessary steps.

Cook top, oven, fridge, sink and work top should be no more than a step or two from each other. Equipment used regularly should be within an arm’s reach of the stove, the rest should be stored farther away in a convenient location. As a general rule the total distance between fridge, sink and hotplate/oven/stove should be no more than 3.0m.

Kitchen design by Amanda Richmond

Kitchen design by Amanda Richmond -Travancore, Ascot Vale House

Amanda is a very experienced Designer and has designed some gorgeous kitchens for her clients. If you would prefer to use the services of an experienced Interior Designer please contact Amanda direct to make an appointment to discuss your new kitchen.


Considering Type & Placement of Windows in Renovations


Deepdene House

Amanda Richmond, Interior Designer, provides advice on choosing windows and frames.
The spaces in your home that will require the largest window area are your living area areas, so it’s very important to consider the orientation of your living areas and the best placement for windows to take advantage of the sun at the right time of day (for heating in the morning and coolness in the afternoon) and the available views to open up the space.  What type of window shading will you incorporate to ensure it does not get too hot in the interior? Do you have a verandah, do the eaves provide shade, what about a pergola? If you don’t have enough shade you could build a verandah or pergola or use other, simpler devices to provide shade and protection such as curtains, blinds or vinyl film on the windows.

The glazing of your windows is another important decision –you can use double glazing to keep out noise, a very good option if you live close to a busy street with traffic noise. Then there’s obscure glass, which lets in light while obscuring vision. These are often used in bathrooms and you can add a unique, decorative touch with a patterned version. Lead lighting is a highly decorative option for a feature window, usually placed in the main living space, the entry hallway or the front door. Sun shining through a lead light window creates gorgeous reflected colours and patterns, adding a further decorative enhancement.

Choosing a window frame depends on the look you want, performance and maintenance. Timber frames are highly energy efficient as they do not conduct heat but do require more maintenance than aluminium. Aluminium is a popular choice because it’s light, strong and requires little maintenance, but it’s not the most energy efficient choice, you can lose a great deal of heat through the frames in winter and gain unwanted heat in summer. A thermal break will minimise these effects, it’s an insulating material placed between the interior and the exterior elements of the window frame.

Amanda Richmond has a wealth of experience in renovating and decorating, being the chief Interior Designer at Balance Architecture + Interior Design. She will discuss glass safety in next week’s blog.

What can an Interior Designer do for you?

Interior Design by Amanda Richmond

Interior Design by Amanda Richmond – Essendon House

DIY interior decorating has been a big fad in recent times and there is certainly a place for doing it yourself but it’s also true that an Interior Designer will do it better. Like any other craft or trade, a professional will always have a bigger knowledge base at hand.  When it comes to using a professional Interior Designer you, the home owner, will be assured of a quality design that will enhance your lifestyle.

A professional Interior Designer will create space in and around existing Architecture, linking internal and outdoor spaces visually to create an aesthetic appeal, but also in a functional way, such as a kitchen/dining area opening out onto an outdoor living space. Tailoring design solutions to the individual needs of their clients, Interior Designers are clever at making spaces look luxurious at an affordable price. A professional, like Amanda Richmond of Balance Architecture + Interior Design, will advise you on the latest design trends and international trends in residential design.  She will also be across the latest trends for commercial and  hospitality interiors.

Golden advice, like new releases of furniture, soft furnishings, plumbing, lighting, tiling or paint finishes will ensure you have the latest and the best for your interiors.  Amanda Richmond will find the opportunities to fashion a point of difference in your home; ideas like creating a library, exercise room, contemplation space or cellar are the special extras you get from a professional Interior Designer. Having an expert design your interior pays off in many ways, not the least being the added value to your home.