Blogs

THE 5TH ROOM – BUILDING AN OUTDOOR LIVING AREA

by NorthWestWebsiteDesign |November 21, 2018 |0 Comments | Blogs, Blogs special, Building

The concept of the 5th room is centered around maximising the space and land your property provides. Taking advantage of every opportunity to expand and utilise your living area is one of the keys to amplifying your property value.

Spacious living that creates a flow from inside to outside is becoming more and more sort after and common in homes on the Northern Beaches. Taking full advantage of picturesque views and monitoring children’s playtime activities are enhanced by the effective design and creation of the 5th room.


Renovating your home to follow this trend and demand for home-buyers is increasingly important to maximise your property value. Here are some key features of a 5th room that, if you incorporate, you’ll reap the reward for:

 

 

 

 

SEATING

Setting up your seating appropriately for entertaining is key. Using the space without overcrowding it can be achieved by positioning tables and chairs in a way that works with the flow and design of your home. Your seating should also work with the positioning of your home and utilise the sun and shade; work with the elements, not against them.

Incorporating bench seating into the retaining walls adjoining the landscaping around your area is a great way to maximise your space for entertaining. This is one example where you can create a large number of seating options without encroaching the walk through space and having floating chairs everywhere.

LANDSCAPING

Your landscaping needs to suit your environment and can really make or break the look and feel of your 5th room. Whether you are going for a slick or rustic look will guide the landscaping choices you make. Palm trees are often a popular plant in outdoor living areas.

 

 

 

FLOW FROM INSIDE TO OUT & PROXIMITY TO THE KITCHEN

2 key ways to create flow from inside to outside is to incorporate bi-fold or sliding doors. You may need to remove some walls or change your space to allow for the installation of these types of doors but they are paramount into creating flow from inside to outside. Too many walls and doors is a quick way to destroy the feeling of flow form inside to outside.

Plus, there’s nothing worse than having a huge journey from your inside kitchen to outside entertaining space. Having your kitchen close to your outdoor space gives you easy access to food and a preparation space. It also provides the benefit of being able to cook while also watching your children play outside, which for any young family is a huge benefit.

COURTYARD

A decked courtyard area is very popular on the Northern Beaches. It creates a holiday feel and maximises views! Ensuring there is sufficient covering and shelter is essential for entertaining and using your 5th room in all weather conditions.

 

 

 

CHILD FRIENDLY

Building your outdoor living space to be child friendly is vital for attracting home-buyers. This is a key feature young families will particularly be very aware of and becomes increasingly important for entertaining purposes where you may have children over.

Building clear boundaries that incorporate fences and gates around pools, edges and drops is important to creating a child friendly space. This can be done all without compromising look, feel and flow of your space. Glass fencing is a good way to avoid impeding your view or altering the design and space of your home.

Incorporating these keys aspects in your 5th room will help you create a space that the market on the Northern Beaches is looking for. Even if you aren’t looking to sell, you will be amazed at the opportunities a flowing indoor to outdoor space provides for entertainment and lifestyle.

If you’re looking for other ways to improve or renovate your home, check out these 3 ways to add value to your home! Seen other ways people have really utilised their 5th room? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear you thoughts and ideas.

 

 

COMMON MISTAKES – TAKING THE CHEAPEST

by NorthWestWebsiteDesign |June 30, 2018 |0 Comments | Blogs, Blogs special, Building Projects

Taking the cheapest quote for anybody with a tight budget makes sense and temporarily eases the pressure of cash flow. However with any cheap quote there is more than likely an accompanying catch. Unfortunately, that catch commonly doesn’t surface until the project is underway and is now complicated and expensive to correct.

When analysing quotes, it’s important to not assume that the cheapest quote is the best quote for you. It may be more expensive now but often saves you long-term. We like to make sure that our Trentwood quotes have a clear and understandable breakdown of pricing and related work so that our clients are fully aware of how the quoted price equates to the quality of the final product.

A common example of how the cheapest quote is not the best quote happens when a client receives two quotes from different builders for the same job with two different prices. Unfortunately, the common assumption is that the quotes are for the same quality and quantity of work, just one is quoted more expensive than the other. There is often some reading in-between the lines necessary in analysing a quote. The figure is not the only factor that a client should be considering when deciding which is the best quote for them. Often the cheapest quote is void of key elements that provide a quality project and final product.

Risks in choosing the cheapest quote include:

  • Often cheaper materials are used.
  • The quality of work is often lower.
  • There is a tendency to cut corners to save time.
  • There can be extra overheads for insurance.
  • Unforeseen expenses are charged along the way, not included as a contingency.

Its important to understand that there will always be some aspects of the job that aren’t included in the drawing and mapping out of the project. A contingency should always be allowed for in a quote, as required by the Department of Fair Trading.

Some of the features that differentiate Trentwood’s quoting are:

  • A program to show the steps required in the building project is included
  • The program of the job is methodical
  • All costing is included in the quote, there are no add-ons
  • The work is fully insured and guaranteed
  • The house being renovated is insured
  • Public liability is included
  • Quality of work is reflected in the quote
  • Quality materials used, all Australian standard
  • Tradesman are all fully licensed and insured
  • Cleanliness is maintained through the duration of the project
  • There is a lot of attention and care put into the development of the quote, to ensure it’s a true representation

It is important that sufficient time and evaluation of a quote is taken to ensure that assumptions are removed. This is to help you make a decision about a quote that will result in a high quality and cost effective project. If you’d like some more tips on avoiding common mistakes when undertaking your next project, check out our other post!

3 KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL RENOVATION OR EXTENSION

by NorthWestWebsiteDesign |May 11, 2018 |0 Comments | Blogs, Blogs special, Renovation

Often the key to a successful final product is the planning and thought spent in preparation. The old saying “measure twice cut once” has real application when it comes to renovating.

The more effective our preparation is, the smoother and more problem free the building process is.

The Northern Beaches is infamous for its classic “beach shack” renovations and is a popular endeavor for many home owners as a great way to keep the character of your property whilst creating a home that caters to your needs.

It is important for any owner looking to renovate to understand that an “Ad hoc”  approach to renovating, whilst allows flexibility along the process, commonly ends up in breaking budgets and deadlines. Effective preparation will pay off in the end!

So knowing how to prepare and what to prepare becomes an important question to answer before renovating.

Here are 3 keys I would recommend in effectively preparing for your next renovation, extension or addition.

1.) KNOW YOUR NEEDS

Knowing your needs prior to commencing the building process is very important to effective preparation. It aids the design process as when you employ architectural and design advice they will have a clear parameters and outcomes to design in and from.

It’s very important to sit down and think very thoroughly through what you need in the home you are building. Make a list of these needs, discuss with invested parties (i.e. spouse and children) and come to an informed decision around what you need.

Knowing prior to starting the building process will provide a smoother building process and greater potential to come up with a design for your home that is specific to your needs.

2.) KNOW YOUR BUDGET

Planning within your budget is very important in order to avoid breaking it. As soon as you break your budget and start spending money you don’t have it is very easy to get yourself into trouble. You can end up with unfinished projects, disgruntled tradesman and unplanned debt if you fail to know your budget prior to commencing your renovation.

It is important to note, things will always take longer and cost more than expected so when putting together your budget, it is wise to allow a buffer for these unforeseen but predictable occurrences.

3.) KNOW YOUR BUILDER

For example, “a lot of your budget gets buried!” This can be a shock to people because they were unaware of the cost and time it takes to build strong foundations. Good communication with your builder will provide you with a holistic understanding of what the building process for your renovation is going to require.

A good strategy is to make a list of all your questions and sit down with your builder to go through this list of questions. It will provide the opportunity for you to get to know each other a bit more and for you to have your questions answered.

When selecting your builder, its advisable to look for a builder who is willing and committed to work with your needs and not the other way around. This is something we at Trentwood pride ourselves in providing for our clients.


If you take the time to know your needs, know your budget and know your builder you will be thoroughly prepared for your renovation and will experience a smoother and more effective building process.

WHAT YOUR BUILDER SOMETIMES WON’T TELL YOU BUT SHOULD

by NorthWestWebsiteDesign |December 9, 2017 |0 Comments | Blogs, Blogs special, Building

Is it possible that your builder may not always be communicating everything you need to know? The answer is unfortunately yes. Often in receiving a quote from your builder there can be a number of discrepancies between what is discussed and the end product. As a client, clear communication with your builder is vital and the lack there of often leads to stress and in particular “more damage” to your wallet. You can really help your builder and the process by being clear and well prepared for your quote. Here are a few things to look out for that will help you navigate the process:

The Truth

“Ignorance is bliss until it shows up on your bill!”

The truth hurts but we all need it! There is nothing worse than receiving a quote that sounds pretty and pleasing but is masking painful realities. Ignorance is bliss until it shows up on your bill! A builder will tend to want to tickle your ears, as anyone trying to sell something would, however as a client you need to know the realities of your building project. Often negatives are drawn from an honest quote, which can discourage builders to give an honest picture of what the project will take. You as the client can help your builder by having a realistic expectation of what it will cost and by getting into the nitty gritty of the project. Make sure you understand the quote and feel as though you have been given an honest valuation of what the job will cost. The cheapest quote isn’t the best quote because it is full of hidden costs and delays along the way making it more expensive than an honest quote in the first place.

The Relevant Information

The  more relevant information you can give your builder the better. Drawings from your architect, engineering details, council requirements and restrictions all greatly help your builder give you an accurate quote. The less prepared you are with relevant information the more likely the builder will not be able to give you a complete and realistic quote. In a lot of cases, the builder won’t give you a quote without the relevant information and DA approval.

The Timeframe

When calculating the time frame on a building project, the builder won’t be able to give you a realistic time frame until they have completed the quote and therefore shouldn’t. Remember, ABOUT isn’t a time frame and isn’t something worth hanging your hat on. Wait until you have an honest quote with the relevant information, then you can get a clearer picture of how long your project will take. Builders, if they feel under pressure to have a project done before Christmas for example, may make commitments that realistically they can’t keep but gets them the job. You can avoid this by being well prepared and allowing more than enough time to begin the process. Preparation and sufficient time allowed for the process should mostly help your builder give a truthful quote and timeframe on your project. Avoid builders who give untruthful or make unrealistic promises as it always costs more in the long run. Better to take longer and have a more expensive, honest quote initially than to run into trouble later on in the project.

If you’re after an honest builder and a truthful quote, we’d love to have a chat! You can contact us here through our online form and we’ll get back to you ASA

TOP 10 TIPS FOR RENOVATING

by NorthWestWebsiteDesign |November 17, 2017 |0 Comments | Blogs, Blogs special, Renovation

5 QUESTIONS: SHOULD YOU RENOVATE OR REBUILD?

by NorthWestWebsiteDesign |September 15, 2017 |0 Comments | Blogs, Blogs special, Renovation

Customer Review: CHOOSING THE RIGHT BUILDER

by NorthWestWebsiteDesign |September 12, 2017 |0 Comments | Blogs, Blogs special, Building

For the blog this week, we thought it would be great to hear from one of our local clients in Avalon we recently did some work for. This job started off with a beautiful outdoor carport and expanded into much more!


How many of us would like to do some changes to our home that don’t require a council DA or architect but are just too big to tackle yourself? For us, it was a carport which had been sitting on the back burner for a year.

Making a note as to who was building in our area of Avalon, we contacted Buster at Trentwood Building Services who had built a lovely house up the road from us. We had been very impressed by the organised flow of trades and materials over the course of the build. It was reassuring that Buster was quick to follow up our initial inquiry with a visit to discuss our design, budget and timetable.

We had made a conscious decision to remain flexible with our timetable, aiming to complete the carport by the first half of the year and avoid the Christmas panic deadline which seems to start earlier and earlier each year.

 

IT WAS ALL ABOUT THE FINISH

Using some very large laminated Merbau beams, the design required some precision carpentry. A storage area at the rear with cedar storm shutter doors and a white washed planked ceiling would complete the build. The Merbau cross beams were more expensive than traditional Pine but essential to the design and would compliment the materials and style of our house. As Buster said, “it was all about the finish”.

Work started in May just when Avalon was experiencing howling cold westerly winds and record rainfall. At one stage, just when the roofing was half finished, a storm appeared out of nowhere, threatening to ruin the planked ceiling. Everyone had left for the day hours earlier. It was a great relief to see the builders return with a giant tarp to secure the site. Disaster averted!

ON TIME AND ON BUDGET

 

It took the two carpenters four weeks to complete, on time and on budget! The build had gone so well with very little waste from the lovely Merbau timber. Our steep driveway and the Bangalow Palms were not a problem for Buster.

We had finally found a builder that we had confidence in and immediately asked him to start work on some more of those projects we had on the back burner!

 

 

Do you have some of those jobs that you that are just a little too big to do yourself? Why not contact us! We’d love to help you improve your home and increase it’s value, both to you and to any future buyers.

WHEN SHOULD I RENOVATE MY HOUSE?

by NorthWestWebsiteDesign |August 18, 2017 |0 Comments | Blogs, Blogs special, Renovation

If you are planning and looking to renovate, the timing of your renovation is very important. And as much as that timing can be dependent upon a range of circumstances that are unique to every project, there are a few key thoughts to consider that will help give you greater clarity. Timing can truly be the difference between a smooth and satisfying building project or a clunky and challenging one.

Here are 3 thoughts for consideration that will help you discover when it’s a good time to renovate your home:

 

1.)  WEATHER IT’S A GOOD TIME OF YEAR OR NOT

Planning your project around the weather seems to be a small factor in comparison to the bigger concerns of family, job and finances. However, weather can be the biggest cause of prohibiting a project’s progression because of how exposed to the elements building commonly is. Choosing a time of year that will provide the most consistent and appropriate weather for building will help guarantee a smooth and satisfying renovation.

At Trentwood, we recommend that any necessary planning and preparation is undertaken in the months prior to spring (September) as this time of year provides the best window for consistently good weather.

 

2.)  ARE YOU FINANCIALLY SOUND?

Having the funds to finish your project prior to commencing your project is a very advisable position to get yourself in! Commencing without being financially sound to do so can cause you a lot of headaches and guarantee you a bumpy ride. One of (if not the best) indicator of a good time to start your renovation is when you have the finances you need to be able to complete your renovation. This should include a contingency, as there are always unexpected and unforeseen costs with any renovation.

 

3.) ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE PLANS IN PLACE?

We strongly recommend you take the time to plan your project before you start. The countless stories and examples of unnecessary pain and problems  caused by a lack of planning are scary! Especially when renovating your home! A really good way to know when to renovate is to ask yourself “Am I happy with the plans in place?” (This is obviously assuming that you have plans in place, which if you don’t then there’s probably a bigger problem.) It is important that you feel happy with what you have planned to do. If you don’t feel a sense of satisfaction and excitement about the plans in place before you start, then you will most definitely be in denial during the process! Make sure you are happy with the plans for your renovation and when you are, this is a great indicator that you should start your renovation.

 

Assessing these 3 considerations will help you gauge whether you are ready to start your renovation or not. Obviously there are a lot of other factors and circumstances unique to you and your project but checking off these 3 thoughts is definitely a great way to know you’re ready. Trentwood is committed to helping you with this process and making sure your renovation meets all your expectations and beyond.

Want some more tips for renovating and building? Check out this and this!

GET THE DEMOLITION DONE FIRST

by NorthWestWebsiteDesign |August 4, 2017 |0 Comments | Blogs, Blogs special, Demolition

Getting the demolition for your project done first seems like an obvious thing, and to be honest it is. However, it’s worth writing about as there are few things worse than the horrors of a job that is stop-start due to unfinished demolition.

Incomplete demolition creates frequent interruption to the building process that ultimately prolongs the time frame of the renovation and increases expenditure.

DO REAL RESEARCH

As the client, providing pre-construction information for your builder is key to the success of this stage. Locating reports and surveys is necessary for determining essential details like the presence of asbestos, structural stability of the site & nearby structures, the location of above & below ground live services in the work area etc. These must be done before commencing demolition and not left for the builder to discover after having already begun the process.

SCOUTS HONOUR // “BE PREPARED”

Ensuring that the necessary time is taken to be effectively prepared for your demolition is vital. Poor preparation will always result in a poor process, especially in a renovation or addition. So some keys in preparation are:

  • Make sure that all safety hazards are taken into account.
  • Check that all leads and electrical infrastructure is safely removed.
  • Determine if all surrounding structures are properly braced and protected.

A lack of preparation leaves an open door for greater error and unforeseen circumstances to arise. It’s worth adopting the Scouts motto “be prepared”

BREAK IT DOWN SO YOU DON’T BREAK DOWN

Breaking down the project to allow for demolition, foundations, construction, finishing and fit out will dramatically improve the effectiveness of that project for a renovation or addition. Seeing your renovation as one big project will be overwhelming and cause greater potential for key stages in the process to be overlooked. A clear breakdown of exactly what the demolition will require, how long and how much it will cost may take more time to gather but will save you time and money in the long run. Always allow for a contingency as unforeseen circumstances will arise but a clear breakdown will help manage expectations and timing of the project.

 

Always make sure that the demolition stage for your renovation or addition is thoroughly thought through; it will save you time, money and many a headache. Don’t be impatient or over zealous. The best projects are the ones that are well measured and prepared for. You will find your building project is smooth and successful if you commit to getting the demo done first.

Trentwood provides full demolition services that ensure the building process is not stop-start, but smooth and consistent, all the way from start to finish.

BUILDING THE BEST SWIMMING POOL FOR YOUR

by NorthWestWebsiteDesign |July 6, 2017 |0 Comments | Blogs, Blogs special, Swimming Pool