Bathrooms on The Block

Bathrooms on The Block

We here at Complete Home love watching The Block, and were excited last week to see the reveal of the four couples’ fabulous bathrooms. As always, we are constantly searching for ways to maximise space and style in the bathroom, one of the most-used rooms in the house, and were thoroughly impressed with the winning couples’ choice of innovative products to achieve this.

Josh and Jenna’s ensuite was noted as the best room on The Block so far, and we think it had everything to do with their clever choice of materials. The winning design featured a Mirastar splashback, giving the illusion of space and a custom-made cabinet with mirrored doors. While their oversized tub and double shower proved luxury in a tight space is possible. Using a sleek frameless showerscreen enabled them to separate the wet area, and a custom glass-door to the entrance of the ensuite opened up the space beautifully.

By positioning the mirrored splashback behind the bath, Josh and Jenna achieved the illusion of space.

Rather than using a standard internal door, Josh and Jenna chose a framelessv Matelux door for a more cohesive finish.

Taking a different approach, Rod and Tania’s bathroom featured a floating benchtop and custom-made bathtub, with gorgeous Stegbar custom panelling on the walls. Like Josh and Jenna, they chose a frameless shower screen and mirrors to maximise space. Custom-glass panelling, which is usually available in a range of colours, is a great way to create a sophisticated surface, with minimal cleaning requirements.

The black glass splashback adds a sophisticated edge to Rod and Tania’s room.

A sponsor of the show and well known for their innovative products, we spoke to JELD-WEN about the final results. Marketing director, Bruce Tosello said, “The bathroom renovations we have seen on The Block this past week have shown one of the biggest challenge facing renovators – creating a space that can adapt to suit the needs of every member of the household, while also being a reflection of their personal style.” He was also impressed by their use of some of the most popular bathroom trends. “Glass panelling has emerged as the modern and contemporary alternative to tiles in more than just a bathroom in a home and it proved the winning advantage for Rod and Tania.”
And on a tight budget, the couples on the Block have had to keep costs down – something, Bruce says, that doesn’t need to impact on style. “Stegbar’s range of frameless, semi-frameless and framed showerscreens offers everyone a solution. A frameless showerscreen can instantly add a touch of luxury and elegance to any bathroom.”

Tania and Rod’s frameless shower screen is a sleek addition, opening up the wet area seamlessly.

Keep your eyes peeled for the following JELD-WEN products on The Block 2011 (Chanel 9, 7pm weeknights, and 6:30pm Sunday),

 Corinthian internal doors & cavity slider doors
 Corinthian designer entry doors
 Stegbar cedar and aluminium windows
 Stegbar cedar and aluminium bi-fold doors
 Stegbar showerscreens and mirrors
 Stegbar wardrobes
 Stegbar Aurora & Mirastar designer glass panel splashbacks

MILJO PRESENTS an exhibition by designer ANNA WESTCOTT

MILJO is a highly edited lifestyle design store with an emphasis on sourcing and supporting products still made from their place of originality.
Although there’s a clear Scandinavian influence, they also support other local and
international products / designers.
Rather than focusing on mass production, MILJO look at the merit of good design with
sustainable or interesting production methods with an emphasis on quality and
attention to detail.

Starting with Anna Westcott – MILJO plan to hold a series of design exhbitions and events that showcase and promote emerging local talent / products made + designed locally to increase local awareness and interest of creative talent in Australia.
Fresh off the back of an eventful few months, fashion designer Anna Westcott will try herhand at a multi-media art installation to be showcased within MILJO’s light and airy Scandinavian inspired retail/gallery space.
Handpicked from her graduate year to show at the ‘RAFW INNOVATORS 2011’ show,
custom costume making for ‘THE GRATES’ and various awards & accolades from industry
have kept Anna busy. However she will kick off the first in a series of design
events/exhibitions to be held in store at MILJO.
Alongside a video installation & photography exhibit will sit sculptural pieces illustrating the inspiration behind her SS12 debut collection ‘PHOS’. Centred around the idea of refraction: how light refracts through water & creates distortion. Using surrealistic digital prints, the exhibition, as does Anna’s collection, plays with movement, scale & colour.



For the second time, Copenhagen Design Week is ready to welcome international architects, designers, heads of companies, researchers and students for six days of conferences,seminars, talks, exhibitions and events. From Thursday 1st September to Tuesday 6th September, much of Copenhagen will be buzzing with design events and debates that will focus on Danish design and design solutions under the theme, “Think Human”.
The theme “Think Human” makes Copenhagen Design Week different from the other international design weeks. Denmark has a unique approach to design and design
solutions, which other countries can learn from for both local and global challenges.
This is why Copenhagen Design Week 2011 has chosen a theme reflecting the humanist traditionthat invites politicians, planners, designers and architects to put the user, the individual, and the human being at the centre of their thinking.
The week’s conferences and specialist arrangements go deeper by focusing on “Think Human” inrelation to architecture, sustainability, design process, choice of materials, production methods, and not least the sensory experience of the consumer or citizen. So Copenhagen Design Week is about much more than just seeing new design in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen Design Week brings together activities from the world’s biggest design award, INDEX, to specialist arrangements from the Danish Design Centre (DDC), the Danish Design Association (DDA), the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC), the Danish Design Museum, Copenhagen Business School, design and architecture schools, etc.
At the heart of the week will be a special “Think Human” design zone on the pier where Ophelia Beach is open every summer next to the Royal Danish Playhouse. The zone will have exhibitions, a press centre, an information point, and recreation areas. You will be able to see exhibitions and architectural installations, get export advice from the Foreign Ministry’s local representatives, and
hear international speakers on how the humanist way of thinking can make a difference in a world that needs change.
INDEX will also have an exhibit on the pier – with the winning projects from this year’s INDEX Award, which will be presented in the presence of HRH Crown Prince Frederik and HRH Crown Princess Mary at a big gala show at the Opera house on 1st September. And there will be many other activities all over the city in the form of open showrooms. You can already register on the website, which shows the provisional programme. You can also follow the design week on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Copenhagen Design Week was created on the initiative of the Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs and is run by the Danish Design Centre in collaboration with a number of partners. It is a biannual event, held for the first time in 2009.
INDEX: Award Exhibition features the finalists for INDEX: Award, representing less than 10 percent of the total number (966) of nominations for the world’s biggest design award and will be displayed on Kvæsthusmolen at the Royal Danish Playhouse in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Highlights from the programme:
• The Design Zone (Kvæsthusmolen) – with Think Human exhibitions, installations, talks and an information point for all activities
• INDEX: Award – gala show with the selection of winning projects as well as exhibitions and conferences
• CODE11, Copenhagen Design Fair – trade fair with furniture, lighting, design, textiles and home fittings
• Exhibitions – e.g. Challenge Society (DDC) and How to make a livable city? (DAC)
• Conferences – e.g. What keeps you up at night – how can design help? (DDC), Co-creating future markets (DDA/CBS) and How Public Design? (MindLab)
• Open showrooms – in all the Copenhagen’s design shops and showrooms

Have you seen the top challenges on Top Design?

Despite the fact that the reputation of Australia’s renovation shows is sliding at an alarming rate, I gave Top Design a go. The show hosted by Jamie Durie aired on Channel Nine and was surprisingly good.

While your common renovation shows are building, designing and styling rooms and homes to be bought and lived in by ordinary people, I felt that Top Design was setting challenges that really were just that- a conceptual challenge. Yes, one could argue that any renovation is a challenge because let’s face it, it is, but Channel Nine’s Top Design weekly challenges are that cut above the rest. I love that the challenges are just that touch different, quirky and often need the contestants to think outside their comfort zone.

On the first episode of Top Design Australia, Jamie Durie had the contestants solving the issues that the confined spaces of your conventional bomb shelter provided. Congratulations Top Design Australia, that really is a challenge you don’t see every day. The commercials for Top Design streaming on Channel Nine in the lead up had my brain bouncing around the confined space of my head! Trying to fathom how one would transform something more easily defined as a box into a living space. And that is how Top Design got me hooked.

Jamie Durie’s design brief had partners tearing down walls, building up towers, inventing unconventional furniture and expanding out with sweeping decks. Nearly every Top Design couple had planned a different approach and it was truly fascinating to see how these mere ideas transformed into reality.

It was easily concluded that some Top Design contestants were being too tricky. Sure, this would impress Jamie Durie and the judges with their outlandish and daring bold statements — but not if it’s not properly. Robert’s pulley bed system had my dad yelling at the TV; even with his self-trained carpenter skills, even he could conceive methods of simplifying the concept.

Top Design’s Dee undoubtedly had a rebellious take on interior design with her hand painted walls, mix-match styling and mastery over colour palettes. She had me one step away from adding her on Facebook and pursuing a long-lasting relationship where we intimately discussed fashion, interior design and art. Just quietly, even in these early stages, I am confidently backing Dee as Top Design Australia successor of 2011.

Anyway, back to what I gained from this Channel Nine’s Top Design as a designer:
1.Sometimes simple is stunning: Stephen and Lisa extended the living space cleverly by expanding out to the deck was loved by Jamie Durie and the judges of Top Design. While the concept wasn’t overly complicated; it truly turned this box into an inviting and habitable space — unlike the pulley bed or rooftop deck. It was an achievable goal and a space that can continue to be adapted to altering styles.

2.Invite a burst of colour into your home: Stephen definitely comes across as a bright character and his splashes of paint added something special and unique to the couple’s design of the bunker.
3. It is important to have a switched on project manager: Craig was one of the first eliminated on Top Design due to his inability to control the project. Too much blame was placed on this teams trades men, when really what they were lacking was strong site management.

4. Add a design theme: Dee was who Jamie Durie labeled the first weeks ‘Top designer’ as her bunker encapsulated a masculine theme that stylistically drew out the bunkers historical purpose with an old English army feel.
5. Stick to your budget: Steve and Lisa blew the budget set by Top Design Channel Nine by almost $5,000. It is easy to get carried away (admittedly easier when it’s not your money) but excessive spending may lead to unfinished projects or even unfinished rooms within your own home.


Australian Architecture Association volunteer tour guide and achitecture student, Robert Morley recently visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Fallingwater. Robert kindly agreed to share his story with readers of Complete Home’s Blog.

Words and photos by Robert Morley.

No self-respecting admirer/lover of architecture should live their life without making a pilgrimage to Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most wonderful architectural achievements. I had been telling myself that for most of my adult life, yet until mid-June this year I still had not made the trip. The excuse was always due to its location – it is somewhat off the beaten track, lost in heavy woodland at Bear Run, Pennsylvania, some 90 minutes by car from Pittsburg. There are little, if any, other places of interest for travelers requiring less than several hours in a car, so a visit is quite an undertaking.

Arriving at the gate to Fallingwater I had a mixture of great excitement and some apprehension. This house is so lauded, so photographed, so analysed, so widely known… would it live up to the massive expectations I had in my mind? In a nutshell, yes, and then some. It is, simply, wonderful. A splendid vision lost in the woodland, modernist, beautifully proportioned, poetic and it put a massive grin on my face.

The house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and completed in 1935 for the Kaufman family, proprietors of a successful Pittsburg department store, as their family weekend retreat. It is situated deep in a valley and over the waterfall of Bear Run, a cascading creek which provides a wonderful rushing sound. Wright positioned the house over the waterfall and incorporated a natural rocky platform within the living room – the Kaufman’s liked picnicking at that rock and sitting atop the falls, so to Wright it was the only place to situate the house. Wright designed the house and all its contents, with the exception of Mrs Kaufman’s own rustic Austrian dining chairs.

In the 1960’s Edgar Kaufman, Jnr bequeathed the house to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Association and it has been open to the public ever since. The Association offers regular tours of the house, which are often sold out.

My tour commenced to the immediate south-east of the house, on a bridge affording a view of its various levels, the expansive terraces, steps descending to a landing suspended above the plunge pool and of course the creek. On entering the house I was struck by the series of transitions Wright had conceived. He was a master at creating spacial quality by leading you through a series of spaces…small spaces, larger spaces, smaller spaces, then outside. Small corridors, small rooms and a series of turns give way to living spaces which appear larger than they really are, because they are larger than the preceding spaces.

Visitors on my tour were astonished at the small bedrooms and low ceiling heights, in what from the outside, appears as a massive house. Wright is said to have been dismissive of tall people – ceiling heights in some sections of the house are a mere 2m high. Even lower bulkheads create further transition between the inside and the outside, and to other rooms. The overall effect is that whilst you know the house is generous in its entirety, you have the sense of a series of intimate and cosy spaces.

Another aspect of the house which really struck me was the way the outside had been brought into the house. You felt you were semi-outside when inside. Stone walls continue in from the outside, remaining un-rendered on the inside. Window panes are set directly into the mortar between the stones, without framing to that edge. The effect is that you do not notice the window pane, the inside space merges with the outside. This was a requirement in the brief for the house, for the Kaufman’s to be able to be as close as possible to nature even when inside.

I could easily write at length about Fallingwater. My visit is unforgettable. I urge you to take the journey to the house and experience the masterpiece for yourself.

For more information about Fallingwater

Want to paint bold like they do on The Block?

I just got a Dulux Colour Consultant to visit my pad. It was possibly the best few bucks I’ve ever spent, and you get it off the purchase price of the paint when you go and buy. So, why are we so frightened by colour that we need a consultant to help us choose?

When I see bold colours being used on The Block I think “yeah – fire engine red feature wall – way to go”, but when it comes to doing that in my own place I chicken out. Chances are most of us only renovate a few properties in a lifetime, so making choices that you are going to live with for the next 10 years freaks you out. Getting a colour consultant to visit your place and help just makes sense.
So – did I chicken out? No way! The colours are a mixture of warm and cool – its a palette I’d never have the guts to choose on my own. I got some good advice on lightening dark spaces, adding vibrancy and just getting the best effect. Some of my spaces are dark, and can’t be helped by colour – so it was just about accepting that and going for cozy atmospherics.
As a student I lived in a flat that was a physiotherapy practice before we moved in. It was MBF blue throughout and nearly drove us all crazy. Fortunately the landlord didn’t like it either and welcomed our efforts with newspaper and a spraycan. You’re going to have to live with it – so get a consultant to help.

Who are your favourite interior designers?

This is my top ten!
1. Vincent Wolf – clean look that has managed to stay fresh over time
2. Clodagh from Ireland – earthy/cosmo flair
3. Juan Montoya from Colombia – stunning textural minimalism
4. John Saladino – artist’s
5. Michael Graves – postmodernism at its best
6. Anouska Hempel from the UK – her command of light and pattern is quite amazing
7. Bennett & Judie Weinstock from Philadelphia – playful richness
8. Tricia Guild from London – quirky colour sense
9. Diamond Baratta – masters of colour
10. Mario Buatta –
Who are your favourite designers?

Design Dilemma: Wallpaper VS Paint

With regard to this question that has been asked by one of our website visitors…well I’m inclined to go with paint. Someday your mind will change…you will get sick of the wallpaper and in my experience, some contractors won’t even quote a price for trying to scrape it off. I have heard some horror stories where friends have had to steam and scrape off the wallpaper. Instead, to be safe, I would stick with paint. Modern primers are pretty good – even painting over a dark colour is pretty easy.

High quality paint, in a tasteful color skillfully applied, is always classy and adds value to your property. Wallpaper rarely adds value no matter what you do. I find wall paper to be quickly outdated. As stated before it is a terrible mess and headache to remove.

It might also depend on the social world you move in. I lived in New York for about 5 years and I have been to quite a few apartments on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, the core of the richest neighborhood in NYC, and 95% of them were at least partially wallpapered and it looked very nice; elegant, tasteful, just very old world, which is not really the way I would want to live.

Another reason to use wallpaper is functional. My parent’s house has walls that are literally held together by over 100 years of wallpaper. Even attempting to remove any of that would probably damage the structural integrity of the walls at this point. So every 10 years or so my mum has her paper guy put another layer up. Painting is just not an option.

It is not recommended to cover over with more wall paper. The more layers the harder to remove. If you have textured walls the texture will always show through. Not to mention how busy almost all of the prints are. With paint, it is the art and furnishings that define a space.

What are your thoughts on this question?

Design Dilemma: When decorating should I start with fabric or paint first?

Select the finishes that are easiest to change last, so match your paint to fabrics and and paper patterns. But to start the ideas flowing gather all of your potential finishes and fabrics together in one place, making it far easier to visualize the end result.

Find fabrics that you love, then it will be much easier to find the paint that goes with them than attempting it the other way around. If you’re upholstering furniture and you live near a design center, go there to find fabrics, rather than a retail outlet. You will find a wider selection of higher quality fabrics. They will be more expensive and you’ll have to buy them through a designer or a buying service, but you’ll be much happier with the results in the end.

Select the Fabric first followed by the paint colours; there is an infinite number of paint colours available, while the supply in fabrics in limited. Therefore it makes more sense to start with the fabric first, and pick paint colours accordingly.

What are your thoughts on this?

Space Saving Furniture Ideas for Studio Apartments

i)Create separation between the living and the sleeping area by using a few tall shelves in a series that serves as a dividing line


ii)Buy a corner desk or table that doesn’t take up much space


iii) Also check these websites for some cool ideas:…

iv)Utilize space upwards…use a series of hooks, shelves at the eye level around the kitchen walls & large shelf at top of your arms reach.

v)Use a wall-mounted drop leaf table as a standing desk and a kitchen table.

vi)The New York Times had a great story a few years ago about a small apartment in Hong Kong, “24 Rooms Tucked Into One”.…

What are your thoughts? Any ideas on maximising space in small apartments?