How to choose your renovation style

We cover this process in a lot more detail inside my Kerb Appeal Academy online programme, so if you need help turning your ideas into a finished, stunning design, then register below to join our wait-list (Doors open early October).

Catch you soon,
Jane Eyles-Bennett (Street Appeal Superhero!)

Masculine vs Feminine Facade’s

If you’ve read some of my previous articles about doing up the façade of your house, you probably recognize there is more to creating a beautiful façade than just choosing the right colours. By now, you would understand the importance of creating a focal point and achieving cohesion and balance through the entire design. But there’s another step in the design process that all designers understand and use and that is the notion of a house being masculine or feminine in appearance. Although it’s not as widely known in the general population, it’s something that could help you create a more effective design for your façade.

Masculine and feminine design are pretty much opposite ends of the spectrum. A masculine design is generally darker colours, stronger lines, more structured landscaping and often a squarer, more angular or chunky effect. Feminine design is softer colours, more curves, softer landscaping and usually a more fluid appearance.

Of course, some houses have a mixture of both, but often a house can be far more feminine or quite obviously masculine. It’s useful to grasp this concept before you start redoing the façade because it can help inform almost all your decisions. It will have a bearing on paint colour, materials used, and the type of landscaping you do.

A beautiful façade has depth, contrast, and visual interest. It’s not a flat look with everything on the same plane and painted in the same colour. Identifying whether your house is more masculine or feminine in appearance will help you work out how to balance it and use contrast to achieve a more visually interesting façade.

If what you’ve got on your facade is not working, think of the opposite (in terms of masculine or feminine) and consider adding in those features to balance it out. If it’s too masculine, add in the feminine and vice versa.

For example, if your house is a big brick 80s house, it’s probably quite masculine. It’s likely to be angular, chunky, very structured and could be lacking personality because it’s one big solid mass with not much to visually break it up. To balance that, you could add softness. You might render it to add contrast through colour, but more importantly, you could look at the shapes and give it some softness through softer landscaping, more fluid lines, and using more natural materials.

If your house is too feminine, too soft and airy-fairy, you could add more structure and depth through darker colours, stronger lines and landscaping. You would aim to make it less fluid and more entrenched or solid in appearance.

If you have trouble identifying where your house lies on the spectrum, or you need a bit of help in achieving a balanced design for the façade, consider hiring an exterior designer. A good one is worth their weight in gold, usually far less expensive than you think and will help you avoid costly mistakes.

What colour should you paint the outside of your house?

…don’t be mad when you hear my answer!

Hello. Good afternoon. How is everyone? My name is Jane Eyles-Bennett, and I am the founder of this group and an exterior designer. I’m an interior designer too, but I do mainly exteriors.

So today, I said on my title I’m going to talk about what colour should you paint the exterior of your home and the reason I said don’t get mad is because I’m not going to give you my favourite colours. I am going to talk about now that when you’re choosing colours for the exterior of your home, that is only 30% of the equation. I kinda made up that percentage, but that is about what it is. It’s not the be-all and end-all. I think people think that they choose a great colour and all of a sudden, the exterior of your home is going to look amazing. And it just isn’t.

Anyone who listens to my videos, I know I’m raving on and on a bit about this. Colour is important. It’s very important to get the colour right, and as you may know when you choose a colour from a swatch that big, it’s going to look completely different on your home. So, one thing is to get your colours right. The other thing is to do other things on your renovation. You know those design principles that I often talk about. So that’s creating a focal point, creating balance, creating cohesion.

I talked to somebody yesterday who had read one of my articles on the Domain Real Estate website, which I don’t know if anyone’s read those. I might see if I can pop a link somewhere or you can see it in the normal feed within the group page. But, he’d been reading that and I’d said something in a previous article about creating balance and actually framing around your property with a fence and anyway we got talking about things, and it turns out that a really big thing for his home (and for so many others that I talk to) is that the colour is just one small aspect and you can use your colour to create those things called focal.

The things I’m referring to like a focal point, creating a visual balance, giving us that contrast. So, the colours, yes, they are important in that way, but one colour or two colours in their own right–right, choose a colour slap it on everywhere–without consideration about the composition of those colours and the composition of other things.
So maybe something like a new carport or a fence or some landscaping or balustrading or a new entrance portico or any number of things, colour of windows, all kinds of things. And you can use your colour to create those different contrasts and to give yourself a really visually interesting but also well-composed, balanced, really nice to look at I’m going to say façade because that’s mainly what I do.

I hope that’s interesting. I’m sorry I didn’t give you colours and my title was misleading, but I knew that people would listen to this and I really want to get my message out that colour is only a small part of getting your renovation right.

That’s it from me. Have a lovely weekend, and I’ll chat to you again.

2 ‘must haves’ when renovating the front facade of your home

Hey, good morning. How are you? My name is Jane Eyles-Bennett, and I’m the founder of this group. I specialise in exterior facade designs.

I’m coming on today to talk about two must-have things that you need to have when you are renovating the front facade of your home.

Part of your facade design is choosing your colours and your materials and your landscaping, all that kind of stuff. That’s easy; anyone knows that you need to do that. I’m going to tell you about two things that no-one is talking about. This is really important stuff when it comes to design, and its stuff that I can tell you about and you can try and make work on your own home. When I tell you what these things are, you will hopefully understand how important they are.

I’m going to talk about the first two design steps because before the design steps there are some pre-questions and things we need to organise and think about before we get into the design, and those things are around the style of your home, your budget, the neighbourhood that you’re in, and the style that you want to achieve. There are other things that we’re thinking about at that point, but I’m just saying that we don’t just dive into what I’m talking about now. This is one of the first steps that we need to do but not the first step. And the two things I’m going to tell you about are fundamental to a successful design.

Your house might already have these things. A lot of houses do, and maybe they’re just not used to their maximum or maybe they have been offset some way. Am I confusing you yet? If your house has them, that’s great. You need to keep incorporating them. If you don’t, then you need to introduce them.

Now the two things. The first one is visual balance.

Now what that means is if you are looking at your house front on, what do you see there? When we’re talking about visual balance were saying that it doesn’t have to be symmetrical but it sort of looks even. This is the best way I can think of to describe what I mean – imagine a small white box and a big black box. Imagine that. What’s visually heavier? The big black box is visually heavier because a) the box is heavier, and b) the dark colour is visually heavier. So, if you compare that to a small white box, the white is a lighter visual weight, and the box itself is a lighter visual weight. Does that make sense?

So, now what we want to do is incorporate that. How does that translate to the front of my house? Let’s say for instance you’ve got a big garage door on one side and then you’ve got absolutely nothing, it’s just house. Let’s say one side you’ve got a garage door, big tree off to the right, and you’ve got a whole bunch of other detail going on. Then on the left-hand side, maybe there’s nothing. Maybe there’s just one window. But because in this scenario we’ve got the big garage door, that’s a visual weight, even if it’s painted the same colour as the house, it’s actually a visual weight. The tree, if it’s a big tree particularly, even if it’s not a big tree, that’s a visual weight. What we’re seeing there is we’ve got a visual weight on one side and none on the other.

So, what we want to do is visually even these things out so that it looks balanced and we can do that with things like landscaping. So, for instance, the side that had no detail, we can use landscaping to anchor it, to ground it on that side and give it that visual weight to try and balance out the aesthetic.

We can do things like using colour. We can do things like using texture, those kinds of things, different elements, timber slats or something like that. We want a bit more interest and visual weight over that side and less on that side.
So that’s balance. Probably not as clear because I haven’t got images. I’ll see if I can find some before and after images to put in the comments if I get around to it. So, that concept is visual balance. You really want to be balanced. Say if you’ve got an up-stairs on the right-hand side and a single level on the left-hand side, you’ve got a visual weight difference there because your second story is much bigger than your single story on the left-hand side or whatever. So, you’ve got work out a way to visually anchor and give visual weight to that left-hand side.

Alright, now the second thing is we call it focus. So, a focal point is generally your front entrance. It isn’t always a front entrance, but I would say 80 per cent of the time it’s easy for me to talk in that regard.

What that means is that what we want is one strong focal point on the front face of your house. You don’t want this fancy thing going on over there, and that fancy thing over there, and a pool at the front and all these kinds of things. Certainly, you can have all of those things, but we don’t want to draw attention to every single one of those things. We want to choose one, we want to create one strong focal point and then the other elements, they’re not just boring, they’re not just painted white or one colour or whatever. They do link in some way to the strong focal point, but they don’t become a competing focal point if that makes sense. So, think about that.

Now your house might already be visually balanced, and it might already have a focal point. Have a look and see if you need to strengthen up that point. Maybe you need to downplay some of the other elements around the facade the house in order to stop the elements competing.

I guess one of the main points about this video is to just say great colours and materials are important but if you don’t have the fundamentals of the design down pat, like strong focal point, great balance, we have a sense of cohesion from the overall house, and we have contrast, so that’s another thing that we look at – if you don’t have those four things, then no matter how beautiful your materials or your colours, it’s still going to look off. It will look better than it did before, but you can improve it so much more when you bring into play these what we call design principles – balance, focus, cohesion and contrast. There are others, but they’re the main ones that we use.

So hopefully that’s interesting and doesn’t confuse you too much but you know, if you do need a hand whilst renovating your façade and you’re thinking, “Oh my God, I have no ideas what she just said” then contact me directly and I’m happy to have a look and give you a quote on what my design fees would be for that and honestly, if you’re spending fifty, sixty, seventy grand, it’s a complete no-brainer.

Here’s why you shouldn’t buy your own materials when renovating

Hi everyone. My name is Jane Eyles-Bennett, and I am the founder of this group of renovators. I’m an interior and exterior designer.

Today I wanted to talk about why you shouldn’t purchase your own products and materials when renovating. And I’m referring to when you are using tradies.

So, what got me thinking about this is there’s a crowd here in Australia who are selling a design course and what they promote is that people should buy their own products and materials. I’m in a private Facebook design group and we got talking about what a bad idea that was, and I just wanted to share that with you because a lot of people just don’t know this. Also, Joey asked about this last week and I said that I would talk about it.

When you are using tradies to do your renovations, should you purchase your own materials or should you expect that the tradie is going to do that for you? My view is that purchasing your own materials and products is false economy. It seems like it’s cheaper up front, but it’s not, and I’ll explain more about that. I’m just going to give you a couple of examples to explain why I say this.

So, let’s say you are renovating your bathroom and you go out and buy a whole new lot of taps for your renovation. You buy the taps, you give them to the plumber, and he comes in and fits them. You know, it goes in stages–you do your initial bit, then they do the tiling, then the plumber comes in, and he fits everything off –that’s kind of the basic process. So, the tiling is done, the taps are in, and something goes wrong. Now what? Whose problem is it? Is it the product’s problem? Or is it the installation problem?

Now, if the plumber had purchased those taps–under your instruction–but he had purchased those taps, (he or she) then 100 per cent, it’s his responsibility to get that problem right. But the tiles are in the way. So, think about this – if you have gone and purchased your own tapware, and you give them to the plumber, and he does all his bits and pieces, and the tiling is all finished, then there’s a problem, what happens? The plumber says it’s a product problem, and the shop where you bought the taps from says it’s an installation problem. So, nobody can agree whose problem it is. But, if the plumber had purchased and installed those taps, he or she takes full responsibility.

Now, I’m going to get to the costings of items in a minute because you’re probably thinking, but if I go through a tradie it’s going to cost me extra. In the meantime, think about the extra cost of pulling out the tiles, relining the wall, re-waterproofing the wall, retiling the wall. So, by the time you’ve taken everything off so the plumber can get in to the wall (and if it’s a problem within the wall, you’re really talking hundreds if not thousands of dollars to get back into the wall and then repair the wall) if that’s the way it’s been done. So, that can be a really big problem and not something a lot of people will think about.

Another example – a kitchen benchtop. So you’re renovating your kitchen, it’s all in place and you think, I’m just going to order my own benchtop from wherever, whether it’s stone or laminate or whatever it might be. So, you’re thinking, “I’m going to save a bit of money. I’m going to go and buy my own benchtop.” So, you buy the benchtop, you measure it up, and it gets delivered, and the kitchen guy is there, or the joiner is there ready to install it and it doesn’t fit. Whose fault is that? Your fault.

It’s better to spend a little bit extra for someone else to measure it up and purchase it for you so there are no problems when it arrives on site and when it’s installed. And in the long term, you know, maybe your kitchen is in, your benchtop’s in and then a month later something happens – it starts dropping or something happens. You’ve got one person to ring. You’re not ringing the installer and the supplier. You’re not fighting it out asking whose responsibility is this?

I’m just going to talk about the downside because I know this is what everybody is thinking. “It’s going to cost me more money if my tradie purchases these products on my behalf.”

Now, remember that tradies and contractors will generally get a discount from their suppliers. So let’s say a tiler – he can go to a tile shop and get some tiles for at least (generally) 20% cheaper than you can get retail. Typically, they will pass on that discount to you. Not always, but you can negotiate with them. So, you can say, “Alright, if I get you to buy those products, I presume you get a discount, so what sort of discount can you pass on to me?”

So that’s a really good question to ask, and it also means they do the purchasing, they do the installation, and you’ve got one person who’s sort of in charge of the whole situation. So, really, really important.

Having the contractors take all responsibility lessens miscommunication, lessens disagreements and problems on site, and it may not even cost you any extra. Even if it does, it’s worth spending a little bit extra for the peace of mind that you’ve got one person that you can go back to if there are any problems on site.

I do just want to say, make sure if you get a tradie to buy your products, you are choosing the products, or someone like us where we select the products for our clients. You would make sure to give them the renovation design plan that we’ve done, or you would give them your specification. You’re choosing it. Don’t let the tradie choose it. I’m telling you! They’ll get it wrong. Unless it’s a cheaper investment property and it doesn’t really matter too much, choose it yourself and articulate exactly what it is you want (the size, the colour, everything) and give it to them, and they can fine tune what they need to do, but they’re still buying the product for you that you’ve asked for.

Lastly, there are some things that are okay to purchase independently of the tradie, and there are some that aren’t. I think it’s a kind of case-by-case thing, to be honest. I could go for days talking about that, but just be aware that if something were to go wrong – so lighting, flooring, almost any part of a renovation there is that knock-on effect – so if something happens, you’ve got the installation factor and the product factor and it can be a really grey line between who’s responsible for what.

I think that’s about it for now. It’s been a little bit of a long one today, but I hope it’s been useful. If you need any help with your interior or exterior renovation, my company is Hotspace Consultants, and you can find a link in the About page or link on my name, and you can message me, and I can send you some sample design renovation plans, or jump on my website