How to modernise the exterior of your home without the expense or extravagant ideas of an architect.

I am jumping on today to talk about exterior renovations. As some of you will know, I’m very big on that. So firstly, if we haven’t met yet, I’m Jane Eyles-Bennett, and I’m the founder of this Facebook group and the owner of Hotspace Consultants.

If you want to do a makeover to the exterior of your home, particularly the façade, it can be a bit tricky because you have the architectural style of the house to deal with. This is especially true with 70s and 80s homes, though I design all sorts of house reno’s for clients – from 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, right up to new builds and I know this to be particularly true for most of these groups.

If you get your reno wrong it can negatively affect the value of your home, let alone the look. When you come home every day, you want to feel proud of your home – and also your exterior should reflect what you’ve got going on in the interior.

I like people to think about the long-term effect. If you get it right, awesome, it adds value, makes it look fantastic, you get home every day and think, “Oh I love my house.” But, if you don’t get it right and it doesn’t work out like you think then you’ve got that long-term thing of, “Oh, I’ve spent all this money and I’m not really that happy with it. What could I have done better?”  But sometimes by that stage, it’s a too late. So, you just need to think down the track before you start designing your home reno.

I work mainly with people who are spending $50k, $60k, $70k plus on their exterior. Certainly, I’ve worked with less and worked with more, but that’s the core – $50k – $70k/$80k for the exterior. I would always say to people if you’re spending that amount of money, you need to get a second opinion on your ideas.

I’m not just talking about colours. Colours are really important. Of course, colours have a massive impact on how your renovation is going to turn out, but I am talking about things like adding a new porch, doing a new fence, and some different landscaping and a new driveway or something like that. Things that are more than just a paint job. They can be things that are very difficult to visualise and difficult to know if you’re going to get it right until they’re actually done, and by that stage it’s too late.

So, it might be new fences, landscaping, paint colours, maybe minor changes to the roofline, windows, doors, those kinds of things, so extra things over and above the paint job.

My job as a designer is to take what you have – the style of house you have- and then the style of the house that you want, and then find a happy medium.

So, how do we create what you want from what you have? That’s the trick.

A lot of people think only an architect can do that, but there is such a thing as an exterior designer! That is what I do, and that’s how I help my clients.

So what have you got? Have you got a 70s brick or an 80s brick home and you’re thinking, “Oh my Gosh, what am I going to do? Can I render it?” What else can I do? ”And I can tell you right now if you just render it and do nothing else, it will just look like an 80s house that has been rendered, so there are extra things you need to do to make that work and really transform it.

It’s about working out what you have, what you want, and then I help you work out how you can achieve that. So you’re driving the bus. You’re saying, “This is the design I want.”

I’m not the sort of designer who comes up and says, “This is what you need to have.”  My clients come to me and say, “This is what I love. Help me make something along those lines.”

For example, in the last few months I’ve done lots of projects. I’ve done three 80s brick homes, two 70s exterior renovations, and I’m currently working on a 24 unit townhouse development. I’m doing exterior and interior design and lots of other projects, but it just goes to show that there’s a really wide variety of people who need help.

If you have a Queenslander for example, there’s not much you can do with that on the exterior other than a paint job because it’s usually such a beautiful design anyway. So it might be adding some nice colour or removing some built-in verandah or something like that to restore it back to its natural original look. Lots of my clients struggle with the brick homes. You don’t see them on TV often so you can’t sort of nab those ideas and replicate them for yourself.

Anyway, I just wanted to get on here and tell you that that is a possibility. If you’re struggling with an exterior design for your home, I am here. The fees are typically a maximum of 5% of the renovation budget. Think about that. Such a minute amount to make sure you get that design spot on. So if you want some help, personal message me, leave a note in the comments here and I would love to help.

Transforming your home with a lick of paint? Consider this…

Hi everyone. Jane-Eyles-Bennett here from Hotspace coming to you this Friday afternoon. Who is happy that it’s the weekend? Say hello, please. Love to know that you’re there and excited for the weekend!

So, today I want to talk about painting the exterior of your house. It’s a really good idea obviously to give your home a lovely makeover and a fresh new look, and I love painting houses. Not personally, but I love the effect that it gives. But I wanted to bring something to your attention about that.

And what that is is if you just paint your house with another colour, in a way, it’s like putting on a new cardigan but not adding some earrings or a new pair of pants. I can’t remember if I’ve used this analogy on here before so excuse me if I’m repeating myself.

So, if you think about that, you just change your top, but you don’t add any earrings. Or guys, you might have some nice cufflinks, or a watch or something like that with which you can update your outfit. Girls, with your handbag or rings or bracelet or shoes. Then, you’re really just putting a new cardigan on your house.

So, my suggestion with that is to yes, think about the colour – the colour is really important – but what other things can you do to transform your home with more than just colour? For instance, what can you do to the fence? What can you do to the trims? Can you add some sort of entry feature? Can you do something with the driveway? Can you do something with the outdoor living spaces? I’m sort of talking about exteriors now. Interiors certainly apply too. I find myself talking a lot about exteriors because I’m doing a lot of them lately.

So, anyway, I just want to talk about the cardigan syndrome, something more about that. The colour that you’re doing is important, but its only 50% of the equation. The rest of it is going to be about what accents can you use? What lighting can you use?

I was at a client’s the other day, and something that I worked out when I was on site was that the way that the landscaping was made, it look quite narrow. So, there was hedging which separated the driveway from the front yard on the right-hand side. So the hedging, what that did, it sort of split the two areas in half. What that visually did was to split the property in half, as well as some fencing and some landscaping sort of creeping in that was giving it the illusion that it was smaller than it was.

So, think about those things. Do you need to give the illusion that your house is wider, that your property is wider? Don’t worry too much about is it a light colour is it a dark colour? Is my house going to look small or light? That kind of factor doesn’t really apply on the exterior. I mean, it sort of does to a certain degree but I never really think about that. I think about what is the right colour for this property. And why? There’s always a justification about why.

So yeah, think about that. Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you next week.

Say hi and message me if you need any help with renovating your house. I do interior design and exterior design. Or, as someone said to me on the phone the other day, “Do you do interior design for exteriors?” And I said yes!

Why Open Plan is not always best

Hi everyone. How are you? Friday afternoon, just popping on very quickly to talk about open-plan living. You know it’s a really popular way to renovate a house, to pull out a whole lot of walls. But you know what? It’s not always the right thing.

You might have watched my video the other day where I said that we would have a problem with the kitchen when we pulled out that wall, which we did, but I ended up putting in a sort of part wall anyway to create a bit of an open plan feel.

So I just wanted to talk about that a bit. Before thinking about let’s pull out this wall or that wall, the best thing to do is to draw up your plan. Draw up the shell of the house, the footprint. Draw in the walls, then draw it up without the walls and work out where everything is going to go. Don’t just assume that once you take the walls out everything is going to work out fine because if you’ve got too many windows and not enough wall, you can sometimes get stuck with how you layout your furniture.

So what designers often do if we don’t have a lot of wall space, we will put furniture in the middle of the room. So, for instance, we won’t generally (sometimes you do, obviously) in a situation like that put sofas up against all the walls. We’d centre them in the room, if that makes sense and then obviously the same sort of thing with the dining room table and whatever else.

But, instead of putting the furniture in the middle of the room and hoping it’s going to work, each of the individual spaces that are part of the open-plan area need to be anchored. So, what I mean by anchored is, so for instance in a dining room, you’ve got your dining table, and if you just put the dining table there and you’ve got nothing else, it’s going to feel a bit like it doesn’t belong.

The way you can make it feel like it belongs is to do a pendant light over the top of the dining table. You could also, if this practical for your family, put a rug under the table. That is not practical for my family, so I totally understand if it isn’t for you. But that’s a really good way to anchor a dining space to kind of give it a bit more ownership in that area. Also doing some sort of decoration on top of the table. You don’t want to do too much. You kind of want to do two out of those three things I mentioned. It’s a bit of a rule of thumb, I suppose.

And then what you do to anchor your lounge furniture, you do a rug there as well. You do a coffee table in the middle, and you can do some sort of decoration on the tables. So what you’re trying to do is create a focal point in the centre of those areas.

A kitchen doesn’t really need it because it’s quite a solid thing in its own right, so it doesn’t tend to need that. What it does need, generally, is to define that space from the rest, and the way we often do that is with pendant lighting. So you’ll see lots of kitchens with pendant lights over the breakfast bar. What that does is firstly, it looks nice, but the other reason it looks really good is because it’s defining that area. You still have the open plan feel, but it’s giving that kind of line of here’s the kitchen, here’s the dining, here’s the living room.

So just think about it before you go pulling out any walls. Whether it’s in the living room, dining or whatever, for an open-plan feel in your living spaces, or whether it’s in other rooms of your house, it’s really important to plan out how your furniture is going to go and to make sure it’s practical for the way you want to live.

So I hope that’s helpful. I’ll jump on again next week and in the meantime have an awesome weekend. See you.