Green Building – 10-star energy rating

Want to achieve a 10-star home, but don’t want to spend a cash? Think local, think orientation and think size. Most of all, think passive solar. Building a green 10 Star home That’s according to award-winning architect and West Coast Designs director, Terry Hodges.

In answering our reader question of the week – “How can I build a 10-star home for under $250,000?” from Benjamin Spiteri – Hodges says everything has to start with understanding the home’s local climate.

The 10 Star Challenge

Award winning Perth architect, Terry Hodges from West Coast Designs, says it is quite possible to design a 10-star rated energy efficient home.

“The Building Designers Association of Victoria run a competition every year for a house designed in this way and there are many designers who achieve it,” Terry says.

Sustainable house design

Local climate should play a key role during the building design process in order to achieve a 10-star rating. “A 10-star rated building would not need any artificial heating or cooling,” the West Coast Designs architect advises. The climatic zone of the region that the house is located in has an impact on the measures required to be taken to achieve a 10-star rating.”

Terry says that the best starting point to building a 10-star house is to make sure that the house has the correct orientation, so that the basic principles of passive solar design can be employed.

Passive solar design

“Add to this wall, floor and roof materials with high thermal resistance, combined with the use of double glazing where required,” Terry says. The architect also recommends that the size of the house be taken into account first, before working out the building costs. “The cost of a house is a function of the size, that is floor area and also volume.”

Want to create a secret room inside your home?

Secret rooms, moving bookcases, panic rooms – and high-end spiral wine cellars to die for. The humble hideaway is making a comeback.

Secret passages, hidden rooms and priests’ holes have been used for centuries to hide valuables and smuggle goods. Once confined to ancient castles and stately manor houses, since Jodie Foster’s 2002 movie Panic Room there has been growing interest in building them into contemporary homes.

So how do you do it?

Hidden spaces can be anything from a niche concealing a safe to clever under-stair

On the low end, converting a cupboard into a panic room with plywood reinforcement can cost in the low thousands or can even be done by a competent DIY-er. On the upper end, panic rooms, popular with the wealthy (and the paranoid), can cost anywhere between $50,000 and $500,000.

In Australia, builders, carpenters and manufacturers are all starting to muscle in on the act.

Underground wine cellar with a twist
Underground wine cellar with a twistSpiral Cellars, a UK company that recently added distribution to Australia, has created an inground cylinder with spiral staircase accessed by a trapdoor. Promoted as a wine cellar, it can also store treasured objects on shelves around the walls. Prices start from around $30,000 for installation into an already-dug hole.

Buyers tend to be those undertaking a new build or major renovation, says Neil Smallman, the Australian distributor of Spiral Cellars.

“They’re home builders or renovators looking for a stand-out feature in their house. They want something top of the range, the ultimate item in their home, and that’s what we do.”

Hidden doorways and moving bookcases

“If you really want to create a hidden room, there can’t be any trace from outside – no wires and no joins in the woodwork that might give it away,” says Peter Illings, a Brisbane-based cabinetmaker and owner of Illings Own Fine Furniture.

He says he is usually asked to make one hidden doorway a year, and that price depends on materials and how elaborate the doorway is. They start from $10,000, with a cedar bookcase doorway costing around $12,000 to $13,000.

Illings says that while people can build their own moving bookcase, safety needs to be considered, from devising an exit strategy to adequate ventilation.

Hiding the thing can also be a challenge. “DIY-ers can certainly make a revolving bookcase that hides a room, but whether it looks right is a different story,” he laughs.

The other challenge is keeping it a secret. Once you start showing it to all of your friends, it’s not really a secret anymore.

Timber House Stumps: What You Need to Know

With only a few straightforward calls and checks, you are going to be as safe as houses.  Clearly, if you’re getting your house high-set, you are going to want to space out the stumps underneath so you get a nice size room.


Many things in the house is going to have been adjusted through the years to take into consideration the change in levels. A mean house takes anywhere from a couple of hours to finish.

Restumping any residence is a huge undertaking and if it isn’t handled correctly, it might be very dangerous for you and your home. My house would seem stupid. A house with different problems like termites, dry rot or bad construction may not be well worth the price of restumping, or renovating.

Stumps can get uneven because of soil moving (black soil moves when wet), or in the event the foundations aren’t into natural ground. It doesn’t saturate the stump. Should you be replacing stumps that you don’t need to use precisely the same material that was used while the house was constructed.

Many people decide to kill termites utilizing boric acid at bait stations. It doesn’t stop termites. Before termites attack your house, they will initially earn a settlement away from the home. Several kinds of termites survive well in zones with an appreciable measure of dampness.

Termites are available throughout mainland Australia. They will not be visible as they are hidden inside the stump. To begin with, you have to find out the kind of termites which you’re addressing and discover the infestation. If you think that you currently have termites in your house, it’s of the most importance which you take the required steps to make sure that you do all you are able to in order to do away with them.

Should you live in a rural area, this might be a bit easier. The optimal/optimally place for your deck isn’t necessarily where there is lots of space. It is a great idea to acquire expert advice as there are various kinds of timber finishes available on the market. Even if there aren’t any obvious tell-tale signs, it is a wonderful concept to assess the state of house stumps from time to time. The next point to do is to get a peek at your house stumps.

After you have completed this screw your wood on the plywood and in the blocks. The timber utilized for structural stumps varies dependent on the place you reside in Australia. Rotted timber has to be replaced this can indicate the whole timber element like a pergola post. Jarah timber is extremely heavy and I knew it was impossible for me to lift it.

If you choose to lower the trees utilizing a chain saw, avoid cutting down multiple trees that fall down upon one another. There’s a saying that `trees ought to be trimmed while the saw is sharp’. Cutting down a tree is a difficult undertaking and can be accomplished solely by professionals. Should youn’t do this, you risk girdling the tree and decreasing the existence of your tree house. Trees in pastures are helpful for various explanations. Should you really wish to reside in the woodlands you may need a number of bathroom facilities.

Using Concrete Stumps for your Property

Before you select a home, you must consider the sort of stumps they’ve put it in and their condition. The larger The house the larger the more stumps are needed.


If there’s a way to keeo the wood off the ground by utilizing concrete support stumps, that is preferred as decaying wood will draw in termites.

There are lots of steps involved with stamping concrete, and just a brief window of time to have them done. Today you must do the job fast, for your concrete will begin to set quickly. It might appear silly to water new concrete the way that you would new grass, but this is just what you should do.

Strip footings may be used for both conventional timber and concrete floors. The footing ought never to be set on a filled area unless there’s been sufficient time for consolidation. Although continuous wall footings are many times loaded very lightly, that’s not true for column and pier footings.

Stump Reblocking and House Renos

A home safety assessment is conducted prior to any work that takes place. A house that is near the ground may gain from being lifted. Restumping or reblocking a home is among the very first jobs for everybody renovating a home has to contemplate. Usually houses in regions of frequent floods are constructed on stumps, with a preference for concrete stups.

Restumping or reblocking your house is a significant alteration and takes an expert team to carry out the works. Your home could well be in demand of restumping, especially with various problems like termites, dry rot or bad construction. Don’t forget, you shouldn’t go for house renovations prior to a suitable inspection of the stumps. Should you be thinking about an important renovation to an older home. Just like any renovation you should consider the overall project, restumping an otherwise sound house will normally be well worth it. We’re competent and registered to take care of both domestic and industrial projects.

Stump Reblocking

Even when you just have a few to grind, you should think about employing an expert in the field, as the job will get done quicker and better than if you should tackle it upon your own. The duration of time necessary to get the business done will be dependent on the size and number of stumps you must reblock. It is a big job to replace a couple of stumps. It is a major job to swap out only one of the stumps.

More than a few companies provide special discounts to new clients or reduced prices for removing more than 1 base at one time. Unique companies charge various prices for their services. It is a massive business here in Australia but we would like to be the absolute most transparent with our clients about the procedure and any red flags to search for.

home-renoShould you be on an extremely strict budget, you could also find cheap companies on the internet to accommodate your need. So prices may vary greatly for precisely the same number of stumps. This can lead to lowering the worth of your premises. While everybody wants to spend less, choosing the least expensive option and hoping it is going to support your house years into the future is frequently a misguided selection. Timber stumps have the benefit of being more cost efficient than concrete, but won’t last quite so long as concrete. There is a variety of advantages of using stumps made from concrete rather than timber.

House Renovations

About House  & Bathroom Renovations

Timely remodeling gives your house a much essential makeover and in addition it increases the worth of your premises should you decide to sell your house. Staircase remodeling and construction may be an exciting project to get involved with. Bathroom renovation is much the same, with the different options that are basically endless. Should you be thinking about bathroom refurbishment, there are tons of alternatives. It encompasses renovations done to enhance both the outer look of the home and the interior.

Perform a simple assessment to see whether the bathroom is worth the cost of renovation. In regards to lighting for smaller bathrooms, use common sense. It is possible to find small bathroom sinks in many styles and colours. A complete bathroom is made up of tub in addition to a shower cubicle and these could vary dramatically in design. Ask professionals for ideas and help and you’ll be in a position to relish your beautiful bathroom for extended decades.

featured-imageMaking the staircase appear new is the fundamental idea, whether or not you change the whole structure or merely one of the most important elements. A porch is quite a very good spot for hosting parties, but it’s an inexpensive choice. You would like the home to be located in an adequate neighborhood. Should you own an old home, you would most likely have to modernize your electrical system prior to going for basement conversion. Usually houses in regions of frequent floods are constructed on stumps. A mobile home is certainly a reasonable option for many. Thus, attempt and vision yourself and your living conditions for a couple months, and attempt to think of some alternative tips for living, so you don’t feel pushed and wind up hiring out to just get it done.

Adding rooms upstairs suggests that you get rid of space downstairs because you must accommodate a staircase. Should you want additional rooms then you must choose whether to extend upwards or outwards. Empty the room completely, because it will acquire messy.

The fewer items you’ve got on the ground of a little bathroom, the larger it will appear. On the opposite hand, in the event you found the floor uneven after buying the home you’ll have to employ a person to repair it which may be very expensive. We often say that they’ve chosen hardwood floors since they have pets and it is simpler to keep clean. In case you have a difficult surface floor, place a colorful scatter rug in the doorway.

If you prefer to open up a number of the room in your bathroom, look at installing a corner shower. Storage space in little bathrooms can be challenging, particularly if you do away with any current bathroom cabinets. The area above and about the building is entirely restricted to all sorts of aircraft.