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The reality of reality TV

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There’s no denying Australians love property and home improvements. In fact, home improvement shows like The Block, The Renovators and House Rules are very influential in encouraging home owners to attempt larger DIY projects on their own.

But it’s not as simple as buying a bunch of materials from the local hardware store and turning a profit after a weekend’s work. There is a side to DIY often left out of television shows that makes it look much easier than it actually is, and the last thing you want is to lose value on your home after botching a job.

Here are five tips to help steer your home improvement plans.

Experience counts

Engage professionals from the outset of your project for their experience, skills and product knowledge. While anyone can try their hand at home improvement, it’s important to remember certain tasks such as detailed carpentry work or large tiling jobs require certain tools, experience and the right products.

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Risks involved

There are a number of critical design features that many DIYers can overlook and by doing so compromise the integrity of the house. For example, most of the structural members of a building are under the floor and in the roof and removal of internal walls can be dangerous.

Small doesn’t mean simple

Seemingly easy jobs like hanging a door actually require quite good hand skills and if not done properly the finished product can look ugly. Likewise, patching a hole in the wall can look awful if you’re using the wrong product.

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Develop a timeline

Home improvement projects aren’t as easy as they appear on TV, so estimate time generously. Half-finished projects are often the result of frustration or lost interest after underestimating the scope of work.

Avoid injury

Renovators-to-be need to know the limitations of their abilities and engage professionals for highly-skilled work when required. The worst way to finish a home improvement project is with an injury.

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If you’re thinking about undertaking home improvements, call your local Hire A Hubby for an obligation free quote on 1800 803 339 or visit the website www.hireahubby.com.au.

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Hanging a heavy picture frame

A large piece of art or a feature mirror can look great in your home, but they can also cause damage to your home or person if not installed properly.

For anything that weighs more than 10kg you really need to start thinking about the hardware you use. Unfortunately the ‘hammer and nail’ approach doesn’t always cut the mustard.

Let’s take a look at what your options are.

Plasterboard walls:

For plasterboard (gyprock) walls the simplest way is to drive a screw directly into an underlying wall stud to support the weight. An electric stud finder is normally needed for this and unfortunately studs aren’t always where you want your hanging.

In this case, professionals will often use a plastic winged anchor to stop the screw from pulling out of the wall plaster. Sometimes heavy picture frames require two anchors for extra strength and stability.

Always take care when installing these anchors as too much force and over tightening screws can cause damage.

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For hangings that weigh 20kg or over you’ll need to consider attaching a plywood reinforcement board to your wall to secure the hanging and distribute the weight.

TIP: inserting nails and screws on an angle will make for a stronger hook.

Masonry walls:

Brick, stone, and concrete walls will require an anchor (or two for heavier frames) installed with a specialised masonry drill bit. Anchors for masonry walls are different to the ones used in plasterboard and it’s important to get one suitable for both the wall material and the weight of your hanging.

Professionals will normally wear eye protection when drilling into masonry surfaces and care needs to be taken to avoid cracks and costly mistakes. Be aware that any holes and mistakes in masonry materials are permanent so if you’re beyond your limits, call the experts in.

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For help or advice on hanging a heavy item, have a chat with your local Hire A Hubby on 1800 803 339.

What’s hot in home design in 2013

With Channel 9’s The Block kicking off again we have seen some great home décor ideas – and some wacky ones. If you’ve been inspired to update and re-style your home, here are four design trends to take you through 2013.

 1. Emphasis on art

This doesn’t mean you have to make the whole room the art piece as we saw in Kim and Matt’s Jackson Pollock inspired paint splatter room. A large piece of art is a great addition to a living space and using colours from the artwork around the room is one way to blend the room together. Pick one or two colours from the artwork to reflect in the paint or soft furnishings around the room. To really ‘hero’ your piece of art, consider installing a spot light.

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2. A ‘pop’ of colour

This is a trend we have seen on The Block before and it’s a great way to add style to your home. The key here is to choose neutral colours for most of the room and then pick one or two bright colours to repeat a few times around the room. The ‘pop’ of colour could be something large like a lounge or wall or could be something more subtle like cushions, vases, or rugs.

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3. A feature wall

Feature walls have been popular for years because they are a great way to liven up a room. This year it’s all about the patterned feature wall. For a subtle look try a textured wallpaper in similar colours to the rest of the room. If you’re feeling brave pick a bright colour or bold pattern to really up the design stakes. Don’t be afraid to use contrasting colours – if you stick to just a couple of colours the contrast can add interest and style to a room. Wallpaper can be tricky though, so it is important to get the right materials and technique to avoid having to restart.

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4. Comfortable kitchens

This year we are seeing a return to warm homey kitchens. The sleek, minimal look that has been popular over the last few years is giving way to a more natural and classic style. Materials like wood, slate, and weathered concrete that look ‘vintage’ make for a more lived-in feel. Tiles that look handmade or hand painted are a great way to inject some personal style and can be used on splashbacks, countertops or flooring. Using colour on splashbacks, countertops, and cupboards will also help to warm up a kitchen and move away from the all-white minimal look.

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How to get the most out of your backyard in winter

The great Aussie backyard: a second living room, a party venue, the heart of summertime fun. But as the days get shorter and cooler you may find your backyard isn’t getting as much use as it deserves. This week our Hubbies offer their thoughts on how to ensure the outdoor space is still inviting during the cooler months.

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Create a cosy space

This is the key to maintaining an outdoor lifestyle during winter. Consider adding a wall or fence to your deck, patio, or pergola to create a partially enclosed space that provides protection from the weather. Outdoor rugs, cushions, candles, and lounges are great ways to make your space feel more cosy and inviting.

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Outdoor heating will add instant appeal during winter and is great for outdoor dining and entertaining. There are many options for outdoor heating, including wall mounted heaters and fire pits. A built-in fire pit can be a stunning feature and what better way to enjoy your backyard during winter than around the fire with friends.

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Landscaping

Maximise precious winter sunlight by cutting back trees or plants that may be blocking the sun. You may find you only need to lop off a few branches but remember chainsaws and falling branches can be extremely dangerous if you are inexperienced, so consult a Hubby if you’re beyond your skill level.

Food tip: Don’t forget many healthy and delicious vegetables love the winter months and tending to a veggie patch is a great way to get the family outside. Broccoli, onions, garlic and spinach are perfect for a winter veggie garden, so give your local Hubby a call to bring your vege garden to life.

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Bring the outside in

Finally, you can enjoy your backyard even when you’re rugged up inside. Big windows help fight the winter blues and allow the sunshine entry. This may be a good time to have your windows and doors cleaned. High pressure cleaning will remove any grime build-up around window frames and sliding doors. Replacing windows and doors are also options to improve the outlook and French and bi-fold doors are a great way to frame the view.

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If you need help or advice please give your local Hire A Hubby a call for an obligation free quote on 1800 803 339 or visit the website www.hireahubby.com.au.

Preparing Your Home for the Property Market

With recent reports showing current interest rates are energising the housing market, we thought we’d offer you five ideas to update your home, adding value for buyers and getting the best sale price.

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Winning Backyard

Make sure lawns are in good condition with no weeds. Prune trees and hedges and fertilise any plants that may need some help. If the property has any ocean or countryside views make sure any trees that may block the sight are trimmed or removed. Your local Hire A Hubby can advise you on how best to tackle your backyard.

 Superior Exterior

The exterior is all-important in creating a good first impression. One easy way to freshen it up is with a coat of paint. You should also consider the condition of the roofing too. Tiles may need replacing or cleaning with a high pressure hose, and gutters and drains need clearing. Working on roofs and gutters can be dangerous so please contact the experts if you think it’s beyond your ability or if you don’t have the right equipment.

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Repair work

Repairs can markedly improve the appearance of a house. Look at areas that may have sustained wear and tear over time like walls, floors and doors. There may be small (or large) holes and dents in the plaster which can be easily patched up, or chipped paint to be sanded back and repainted. You may have some cracked tiles needing replacing, or hard wood floors that need to be sanded back and re-stained. It’s important to use the right tools and products in all repair jobs, otherwise you may be creating more work for yourself.

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Urban update

If your property is a little out-dated there are some simple ways you can update the style. One way is with paint. For selling the home look at neutral colours like off-white and grey, and avoid having too many different colours throughout the house. Also go neutral if you are painting the exterior but also consider the other houses in the neighbourhood as they may provide some clue as to the style and tastes of the area. Replace kitchen and bathroom fixtures are other ways to upgrade your home before selling it.

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If you need help or advice with your home improvement ideas please give your local Hire A Hubby a call for an obligation free quote on 1800 803 339 or visit the website www.hireahubby.com.au.

How to create a handy home office

The rise of technology based careers means more and more people have the opportunity to work from home. Whether it’s just one day a week, or you base yourself from home, we find most people like to create an environment that separates the home office from the rest of the house. This week we’re taking a look at three important considerations when designing and building the perfect home office. Minimalist design Once upon a time chunky computers, cupboards and cabinets dominated home offices. Now, people tend to take a minimalist approach to home office design. That is, using only the necessary elements (and avoiding office clutter as a result). Think about what you need to work effectively – desk size, storage etc – and then decide on a good combination for the space you’ve got to work with. A great home office doesn’t need a big space (as seen below).

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Natural lighting

Does your work involve a lot of writing and reading? If so, you might like to consider a room with natural light (as in the image below). If you don’t have a choice, the alternative is to install suitable lighting. Bringing the outdoors indoors also helps to keep the home office fresh.

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Paint colour

You want to choose colours that help boost productivity and make you feel comfortable in the office. Light neutral colours and pastel colours are often best for this as they keep the room feeling fresh and bright. Paint colour can also help isolate the home office from the rest of the living space.

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If you’d like to run your home office design ideas by an expert, give your local Hire A Hubby a call on 1800 803 339 or visit the website www.hireahubby.com.au.

Five Must-Haves in a Men’s Den

You may recall a certain beer TV commercial (see below) that went to air a number of years ago. Man cave or man sanctuary, rumpus room or pool room – call it what you like – this conjoined garage inspired thousands of blokes across Australia.

Every man dreams of having his own place in the home to do as they please (at least in the decorative sense).  So to coincide with the early rounds of the AFL and NRL footy seasons this year, this week our Hubbies are offering their thoughts on five must-have features in the ideal Aussie men’s den.

1. Liquor cabinet and bar

What’s a men’s den without a place to store your collection of limited edition scotches or prized beer glasses? Whether you want an all-in-one bar and cabinet, or a shelf unit fixed to the wall and a stand-alone bar, there are a number of materials and designs to choose from. Ask your local Hubby about what design would work well in your room.

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2. Wall of Fame

No man cave is complete without somewhere to display your montage of sporting memorabilia, photographs and the signed jersey from your favourite sporting team. This is the ‘feature wall’ of the room, so choose a wall that would make Don Bradman proud.

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3. Trophy display cabinet

You might cop a bit of flak from your mates, but you didn’t win your under 16s grand final for no reason. Your man cave needs a cabinet or shelving system for your trophies to adorn. This is also the spot to store all your other items such as model cars, collectables and autobiographies.

4. TV to rival all others

A man cave is a proud reflection of your inner bloke, so bring the footy game to life with the biggest TV you can find. Ask your local Hire A Hubby about building a bespoke timber cabinet, or the best way to fix it to the wall if you’re tight on space.

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5. Lighting

Ask your local Hire A Hubby about the best lighting for the room so you can undertake all mandatory man cave activities from watching football and movies through to playing billiards.

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Whether you want to create a man cave for yourself, or you’re doing it for your husband or partner, give your local Hire A Hubby a call for advice and an obligation free quote on the best way to go about it.

Call 1800 803 339 or visit the website www.hireahubby.com.au.