Resolve Building Issues Before You Renovate

Ivanhoe House

Prevention is always better than cure! Identifying and resolving underlining building issues prior to decorating or renovating will save you time and money. So don’t jump into those renovations without checking out the health of your building first.  Interior Designer Amanda Richmond and Architect Andrew Fedorowicz from Balance Architecture + Interior Design say the things to look for are –

• Roofs & Walls out of alignment
• Ceiling discoloration suggesting roof leaks
• Damp patches
• Sudden leaks
• Bouncing floors
• Bulging, peeling plasterwork
• Unexplained cracking
• Persistent musky smell

Possible causes may be –
Blocked gutters, rising damp, defective internal plumbing fittings & fixtures, cracked roofing tiles, rusted gutters, inadequate internal box gutters, no roof overflow considerations, termite infestation, defective floor stumps/foundations, tree roots.

If you are a handy man or woman or have a handy man or woman friend or family member you can check out some of these issues fairly easily and resolve them.  However, most of these issues will require the services of a professional plumber or builder and, in the case of termites, a pest control company.  It is important to have any of these issues dealt with properly and resolved before you spend money on renovating or decorating your home as over time those problems will only get worse and ruin the effect of the renovations.

Imagine if you have just painted a room a lovely, fresh colour and the next thing you have a major leak from the ceiling down the walls or rising damp coming up the walls and ruining the paintwork?  It is just not worth the risk and heartache.  So please follow this wise advice from experienced, professional renovators Amanda Richmond and Andrew Fedorowicz and make sure you have a healthy building before you renovate!

Tuning Into Your Style For Interior Design

Renovation by Balance Architecture + Interior Design

Renovation by Balance Architecture + Interior Design

How do you define your personal taste when it comes to planning an interior design? If you are considering renovating or redecorating your whole house, bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms or living spaces, or if you have a newly built home, it is important to stamp your own personal style on your interior spaces.

To help define your own personal style, Interior Designer Amanda Richmond, who is incredibly experienced at renovating and redecorating interior spaces, suggests that you list spaces that appeal to you. Source your inspiration from houses you see, individual rooms you visit, shops you like, restaurants that appeal, films that inspire, books on design or photography, magazines on design, modern living or decorating spaces, design blogs and articles as well as fashion trends.

Define why these spaces or places appeal to you, what is evocative or meaningful to you – how did it look, what sounds did you hear, what smells reached you, how did you feel? Take into account the ventilation, light, movement, orientation, shape, space and harmony of the space and how it affected you.

To help you remember and delineate what your personal style is, keep a design file. Store images, fabrics or anything else that reminds you what appeals to you. Another clue to establishing your own personal style is to think about seasonal changes and what appeals to you. Consider colours, temperature, texture, smell. Add these to your design file too.

It is also critical to consider the nature of your location and how it impacts on your decision making process when renovating or building. For example if you live on beach frontage you need to offset the effects of salt water and offshore winds, so your external finishes will be chosen with this in mind as well as landscaping, which would have to be designed to suit to these conditions.  Balance Architecture + Interior Design have a wealth of experience, particularly in renovating heritage homes, so check them out for further inspiration.

Developing an Interior Redecoration or Renovation Game Plan

Renovated Living Room

Renovated Living Room – Essendon House

In our last blog we discussed some tips before you begin a renovation or redecoration of your home or a space within the home. Taking into account the purpose of the space and how it would best work for you and your family, comfort, heating, cooling, lighting, power outlets and storage space you should now have drawn up a wish list. Looking at this list what are the dominate issues and what are the priorities?

If it is an older style home or even a newer home will new technical systems resolve your issues, such as solar power, air-conditioning, LED lighting, a security alarm system?  Now is the time to make decisions about how much change is required to meet your desired outcomes.  Do you need to reorganise, redecorate or is a total renovation required? Once you have answered these questions it is time to prepare a budget, based on the decisions made.  Remember to make allowances for the length of time needed to complete the work and be aware that this may change the priority of items in your task list.

Once you have prepared your Game Plan for the redecoration or renovation of your home your next decision will be whether you will undertake the redecorating or renovating yourself or whether you will bring in a professional Interior Designer.  This will depend on budgetary restraints, your abilities and time restraints. If your budget allows, a professional interior design is nearly always better quality and will have some very unique touches. It also saves you a heap of time.  The tips from last week and this week’s blogs are provided by award winning Interior Designer Amanda Richmond from Balance Architecture + Interior Design.

Architectural Design Makes The Most of Location

House design takes advantage of location

House design takes advantage of location – Mt Beauty House

Where and how a building sits in the landscape is vital to its success.
A newly built house designed by Architect Andrew Fedorowicz is located on a ridge overlooking a deep valley in Victoria, looking towards a distant mountain range. The hero of this brief was that the stunning 180 degree views had to be maintained throughout the year. This is where Andrew Fedorowicz’s many years of experience in Architecture came into play.

To maximise the visual aspects of the house, service areas like the laundry and mud room are located downstairs and behind the house, fully utilizing the slope of the block and allowing the front of the house to be used for living spaces, with views spanning the horizon.

Superb views

Superb views

Andrew has selected colours and materials for the building that reflect natural materials found in the local geology, ensuring the house sits into the landscape, in sympathy with its surrounds.

Transparent roofing allows natural light into the interiors while at the same time reducing heat and glare and providing protection from inclement weather. To further reduce heat in summer yet contain the heat in winter, double glazed windows and doors have been installed.

Extensive terrace is protected

Extensive terrace is protected

The clients are well satisfied, with an outstanding house that is attractive, liveable, fits into the landscape and offers superb views year round. Watching the sunrise over the distant hills is an awesome, exciting experience that reminds one of the vastness of our world.

Balance Architecture + Interior Design continue to delight their clients with architectural designs such as this; their expertise and attention to detail create truly splendid homes.

Architects & Interior Designers Need To Get Your Brief Right!

Indoor pool area

Indoor pool area – Moonee Ponds House

When working with Architects and Interior Designers to renovate or remodel your home it’s important that the professionals you hire can get your brief right, or you may end up with a new-look house that does not fit your vision!  Andrew Fedorowicz, Architect and Amanda Richmond, Interior Designer of Balance Architecture + Interior Design have years of experience at renovations, particularly heritage buildings, so they are well versed on interpreting a client’s brief correctly.  A property in Moonee Ponds presented some interesting challenges, Andrew Fedorowicz explains how he resolved the problems presented, resulting in  very happy clients.
Challenge – social space for teenage children
The family who owned the house had teenage children who had social needs that the parents wished to accommodate within the home. They preferred their teenage children to bring their friends over to hang out, rather than seek their social activities elsewhere.
Solution – Andrew created an indoor pool (pictured above), gym and bar area with an external BBQ seating area leading off the pool space. There is a visual connection from the pool area to the existing kitchen, dining area and BBQ area.

Bar B Q area

BBQ & Alfresco Dining

Challenge – not enough car spaces
With the teenage children getting to the age where they had their own cars the family found there was not enough parking space with only a two car garage and limited off street parking.
Solution– Andrew constructed a new garage, which is long and narrow, allowing cars to jockey park with clear access on one side of the building, permitting parking movement.
Challenge – client not understanding the drawings
During the design stage of this project the client had difficulty reading and understanding the 2 D drawings presented.
Solution – 3D modelling on screen opened up the visuals for the client so they could understand the scale and orientation of the designed spaces.

Challenge – Internal swimming pool design must conform to AS safety standards – prohibited access
Solution – Self-locking door closures were installed on the doors leading into the pool. Also, a trafficable pool cover was installed by the pool company which is submerged under a perforated stainless steel plate below pool floor level. Mould is avoided by using a condenser, with a dedicated air supply vented via the plant room. Flooring materials used are smooth,non-slip, natural travertine.

Pool SS plate

Pool SS plate

Waterproofing A House When Renovating

Exposed brickwork reveals no damp proof course.

Exposed brickwork reveals no damp proof course.

When renovating, problems can sometimes be detected in the building that require addressing before the structural changes and beautification stage can begin.  One good example of this is a damp house. This is a serious problem as damp houses cause building defects, are unhealthy and can be costly to repair if the issue is not addressed promptly. Types of dampness are – Condensation/Horizontal/Falling & most commonly Rising damp.  Signs of dampness are surface stains, lifted surface finishes, efflorescence and fretting.

Award winning Architects and Designers Balance Architecture + Interior Design come across these tell-tale signs in some of the heritage houses they renovate or remodel.  The most common reason for a building to develop problems with damp is that there are changes to the conditions at the base of a wall that puts pressure on the damp proof course. An example of this would be a mortar mix that does not have enough waterproof compound mixed into it. Rising damp is where accumulating water works its way up the wall using capillary like action. The damp- proof courses that are installed during building are intended to block this action. Minor movements can cause cracking to the damp proof course, allowing water ingress and thus rising damp.

In one renovation Balance Architecture + Interior Design began work upon they discovered there was no damp proof course when the brickwork was exposed after the skirting board was removed. The accompanying picture clearly illustrates this.  To solve this problem holes were drilled into the mortar joint and a plastic syringe was installed. A product named ‘Silane-Siloane Based Impregnant’ was introduced into the syringes and left to drain slowly, saturating bricks and mortar joints. The product dries and solidifies creating an effective damp proof course.

For more information see SAA Masonry Code. AS3700. Balance Architecture + Interior Design call on damp proof experts Tech-Dry to help when faced with damp houses.

Sensitive Restoration Of A Heritage Beauty

Victorian Home fully restored

Victorian Home fully restored

A charming Victorian home has been tastefully and carefully restored to feature it’s original distinctive design, materials and workmanship. The original slate roof was badly damaged, the verandah had been modified over time and the chimneys were still as they were built but in poor condition. The verandah had been enclosed by filling in the vertical externals, which detracted from the original heritage style of the facade.

 Victorian home before restoration, verandah enclosed

Verandah has been enclosed on this Victorian home

Architect Andrew Fedorowicz of Balance Architecture + Interior Design was commissioned to lead the restoration, due to his immense experience at heritage restoration and renovation. The verandah was restored as it would have been originally built with new lacework cast from original pieces. New timber posts were installed with sand cast capitals to match the original verandah and new tessellated floor tiles were installed in a traditional Terracotta and Wheat Octagon and Dot pattern.

Unfortunately, the original slate roof was too badly damaged to restore, resulting in an entirely new slate roof being built. The building was further restored with the addition of new Gable detailing, which was re‐instated having been destroyed or removed from the original roof. A careful rebuild of the chimneys was achieved using the original bricks, which gives the building a wonderful completion.

This type of renovation requires a sensitive and informed Architect to restore the building in an authentic way to it’s former design and style features.  The team at Balance Architecture +Interior Design, Andrew Fedorowicz creating the architectural design elements and Amanda Richmond styling the interior, are often called upon to recreate the charms and delights of yesteryear buildings.

Interior Design techniques for varying the mood of a space

Kitchen Design by Amanda Richmond

Kitchen Design by Amanda Richmond

There are a variety of ways to create mood in a space. Scale, texture and pattern will always work but the primary way to achieve a definite mood change is through the manipulation of light. In an interior design created by Amanda Richmond of Balance Architecture + Interior Design the kitchen had a high vaulted ceiling, with a timber lining in a dark wood, these darker hues could risk visually shrinking the space. This issue has been avoided by the introduction of natural light through skylight windows located in a south facing roof line. Also, the decorative leadlight panel above the doorway allows colour to filter into what is a soft palette of pale greens and grey offset by crisp white joinery.
The primary material in this space is natural timber. It softens the look and adds warmth, both physically and visually. To extend the effect of natural materials the glass splashback colour is taken directly from the natural granite colours in bench tops.
Lighting is both practical and ambient with task lighting under overhead cupboards allowing clear, focussed light to be directed to the work area where it’s needed most. Pendant lights above the benchtop act to direct light towards both work space and eating areas. The range hood light, located within overhead cupboards, is switched separately. The appliance, when not filtering air, can also allow the kitchen to be softly lit creating another level of ambience.

Amanda Richmond is an experienced and highly creative Interior Designer and is in partnership with Andrew Fedorowicz, an Architect with over 32 years’ experience. Together they are Balance Architecture + Interior Design.

Use A Finishes Board To Help Plan Your Interior Design

Finishes Board for Interior Design

Finishes Board for Interior Design

Finishes boards are a way of collating your material decisions and help to consolidate your design direction.  Having all the materials you have carefully selected in one place allows you to see how they work together and inform your decisions for purchasing future soft furnishing and furniture. You can see instantly whether the colours and textures of curtains, furnishing, cushions, rugs and decorative pieces will complement the colours and materials you have chosen for your home.

When you have considered and confirmed your choices for your interior design by viewing your finishes board you can then document your material choices into a finishes schedule. This is a very helpful document which you can use to inform contractors of the exact specifications of the materials to be purchased and installed.

An informal finishes board could include fabric swatches, evocative images or natural elements that together inform your unique design direction.  In this image of a finishes board we can see there is an interest in natural features; the more affordable Kashmire granite laminate to be used in the laundry mimics the more expensive Natural Granite intended for the Kitchen.  Fabric to the top of the image shows colours and textures shown in remaining materials.

Amanda Richmond of Balance Architecture + Interior Design recommends the use of a finishing board with her clients and encourages you to start your own if you are starting to plan an interior design, whether it be for a new home or a renovation of your existing home.  Amanda is a very experienced, award winning Designer based in Melbourne and has been creating gorgeous interiors for nearly ten years. To book an appointment to discuss your future interior design please call or email.

Light Is A Crucial Element of Good Interior Design

Bathroom designed by Balance Architecture + Interior Design

Bathroom designed by Balance Architecture + Interior Design

The quality of the light in a space is crucial to the success of the interior design. This exquisite bathroom design was created by Amanda Richmond of Balance Architecture + Interior Design, a Melbourne based business that specialises in an integrated approach to architectural structures and interior design. Light is reflected into the bathroom with the clever use of mirror placement. A large wall mounted mirror enables full length viewing with light being reflected back into the room via the adjacent window and a wall hung decorative mirror. To ensure the wall was able to carry the weight of the large full length mirror, extra stud work was installed within the wall prior to plastering.
A pleasing, clean line is carried through the space by using Carrara marble tiles to line the floor and continue up the wall to ceiling height within the shower space. The clean lines of the space are further maintained by concealing the toilet cistern within the wall; plumbing is accessed via a chrome wall mounted push plate. The vanity table becomes a feature of the bathroom and was custom made to allow asymmetric positioning within the space. Both the table and bath spouts are free standing and exit through the floor, with a power point being located at the other end of the table.

The ceiling to floor sheer curtaining addresses privacy issues at the same time as providing a romantic, softened finish to the room. More privacy is afforded through the use of a frame mounted block out blind. This bathroom design is a great example of the high quality, creative concepts the experienced, professional team at Balance Architecture + Interior Design deliver to transform your home.