Bedroom turned contemporary luxury bathroom

Originally a bedroom, the space was overhauled by Kitchen Trends to create an alluring bathroom in which quality and design come together in a sensational fashion

Kitchen and Bathroom Trends Renovation Luxury black bathroom

Kitchen and Bathroom Trends Renovation Luxury black bathroom

Kitchen and Bathroom Trends Renovation Luxury black bathroom

This stunning bathroom project is only one inspiring part of a large-scale transformation undertaken on this luxury home. A vision of decadence, the bathroom fits perfectly with the new image of the residence, with its luxurious features and high-quality finishes reminiscent of those found throughout the house.

A monochromatic palette sets a classic sophisticated mood while the walk-through rain shower and the Decina freestanding bath add an aura of pampered indulgence. To keep the design contemporary, it focuses on clean, modern lines with plenty of bench space and storage to avoid clutter.

This skilled balance of superior design and features is continued in other areas of the home where Kitchen Trends also stamped its style. The flawless finishes and uninterrupted lines of the Kitchen Trends benefit from the same black-and-white scheme as the bathroom, although here it results in a bright and fresh space. Again, the room is privileged to have ample storage that conceals any clutter while in the walk-in robe Kitchen Trends has placed a premium on organisation and practical design to make the most of the spacious suite.

Luxury can be seen everywhere in this renovated home, with three key rooms now providing storage, style and sophistication.

Designer: The bathroom was designed by Trish Sexton and built by Kitchen Trends



Bath Decina 1800mm cool freestanding bath

Shower Stegbar

Basin Caroma

Toilet Caroma

Vanity Designed and custom made by Kitchen Trends

Taps Dorf

Lights LED downlights and IXL Tastic heat and lighting

Accessories Dorf

Mirror Stegbar



Kitchen Trends

24 Junction Road, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220

Phone 07 5522 0770

8 Edmondstone Street, Newmarket QLD 4051

Phone 07 3856 6556



From Kitchens and Bathrooms Quarterly magazine Vol. 19 No. 2

Native appeal

garden designs

An eco-friendly garden that draws on nearby natural bushland for design inspiration


By Diane Norris

This gorgeous native garden in the leafy outer Sydney suburb of Killara is a shining example of what can be achieved with knowing and passion. Imaginative and aesthetically pleasing, the design techniques and planting employed perfectly emulate the surrounding bushland.

Credit for this stunning garden goes to Andrew Davies of Banksia Design Group, a passionate landscape designer whose designs are synonymous with creating native landscapes that bring living ecosystems to home gardens.

The owner of the property wanted a modern Australian garden that complemented the recent makeover of the house, a process that included refurbishment of the hardscaping, including retaining walls finished in cement render to match the house. To soften the angular lines of the house and retaining walls, Andrew drew inspiration from the nearby bushland reserve to create a plant palette largely comprised of Australian native species.

At the entrance to the property, two statuesque advanced grass trees (Xanthorrhoea media) welcome visitors and guide your eye to the other native delights, including a flourish of kangaroo paws. The random sandstone stepping stones that lead towards the front verandah pass through a dozen or more Silver Banksia (Banksia marginata). To replicate the look of the natural bushland just across the road, forest fines mulch has been used like a natural carpet between each sandstone slab and throughout the garden.

The natural theme is continued in the rear garden. A walkway beside the existing lap pool leads into an eye-catching pebble courtyard. This area, “mulched” with white pebble, is surrounded by eight mounds of topiarised mauve Coastal Rosemary (Westringia fruticosa). Although they look like giant green raindrops that fell randomly from the sky, great thought went into their placement. Not only does the shape of the mounds add a little formality, it showcases the versatility of Australian native plants.

The handsome walkway that runs the length of the pool is built from hardwood and looks just like the walkways that protect native vegetation in remote National Parks. This leads your eyes and feet down past the bright white pebbles into the “relaxation room” that has been divided off at the rear of the garden space.

This private alcove is separated from the residence and pebble courtyard by a garden filled to the brim with colourful and texturally interesting foliaged native plants. More kangaroo paws are here, to tie-in with the front garden, alongside Long-leaf Wax Flowers (Eriostemon myoporoides), Dianella caerulea ‘Cassa Blue’, Sydney Boronia (Boronia ledifolia) and the native iris (Patersonia glabrata) to name just a few. Three advanced Gymea lilies (Doryanthes excelsa) arrived in 25-litre bags and have been planted to add drama and immediately form the living dividing panel between the distinct garden rooms.

Specialty craftsmanship in stonework construction can be seen here in the sawn sandstone edging, which gives definition to the native garden beds. Squared natural sandstone paving blocks complete the picture. Credit for the stonework construction — indeed, the construction of both front and rear gardens — goes to Brian Baker and the team from Artview Landscapes.

Instead of just soil, sand or the ever-fill the gaps between the paving stones with the herb marjoram, which releases aromatic delights into the air as your foot brushes past the leaves.

Native birds abound even in this relatively small space and they spend their days flitting busily from flower to flower. Skinks and lizards have plenty of hidey-holes, too.

Although the garden areas have a natural, somewhat random look, regular garden maintenance, provided by the Artview team, is required to ensure these lovingly planted outdoor areas retain their beauty and shape. Natives do need extra care, particularly the flowering varieties such as Grevillea ‘Pink Midget’ and the big job of deheading the loads of kangaroo paws at the end of the blooming season.

This inspiring garden is a real visual treat and a true testament to the fact that even in small spaces you can create a colourful eco-enriched replica of the Australian native bush, whether you live close to it or not.

Outdoor living ideas


Take a glimpse at the latest trends in outdoor living.

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Outdoor decks

Building or updating an existing deck isn’t just an opportunity to personalise your backyard and create the perfect space for entertaining, it’s also a great investment. And if you decide to customise your deck with accents such as lighting and unique accessories, you‘ll never want to leave, whether you’re catching up with friends over a barbecue in the evening or curling up with a book in a lounge chair on a sunny afternoon.

Cabanas and gazebos

If you want to bring a touch of the tropics to your home and you’ve got the space, consider what a perfect addition a timber cabana or gazebo would make. If you’re looking for an elegant, shady poolside retreat to take shelter from the sun while you keep an eye on the kids when they’re swimming, a gazebo or cabana would certainly fit the bill. They are also perfect for entertaining because they provide a safe haven for when the weather turns bad unexpectedly and you can also build your barbecue into the structure to keep it out of the elements at all times.


When it comes to picking outdoor furniture, choice is seemingly endless. A key trend that has emerged is synthetic wicker furniture. It has also the beauty of natural wicker, but it’s also weatherproof and easy to care for. Dark mahogany and black continue to be popular choices, but gone is the bulky outdoor furniture of a few years ago. It’s all about lightweight, finely woven and laser-cut materials now. But remember, consistency of style is the most important thing when trying to achieve an elegant look throughout your home.


Fire pits and braziers have quickly become de rigueur accessories for outdoor entertaining areas. Candle lanterns as well as outdoor wall art, statues and sculptures are some more trends that people are starting to pick up on. It has also become popular to use soft furnishings such as floor rugs, lamps and upholstered furniture outdoors.

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A new perspective

When the owners of this delightful home first bought their slice of land, they were faced with one rather large problem — there was already an old weatherboard cottage standing on the corner block.

urbanstyle homes 1.1urbanstyle homes 1.2

But knock-down, rebuild projects aren’t uncommon in the building industry and it wasn’t long before the team at Urbanstyle Homes was getting started on the new two-storey, 32-square HIA GreenSmart home.
Having selected a project home the owners were determined to make the necessary changes to the usual model in order to make their own more environmentally friendly. The place was designed to suit the lot with great consideration to the climate, surroundings and orientation. As a result, it achieves a five-star energy rating and exceeds the minimum BASIX targets. “It really is a standard project home with a few added features making it GreenSmart,” says Brad from Urbanstyle. “It shows people it’s not hard or expensive to help make a difference in our fight against climate change.”

Wanting to avoid the ‘McMansion’ tag, the owners were careful to choose something large enough for their growing family but not too big that it looked unbecoming. The Tribeca was a perfect choice, with four bedrooms, a bathroom and an ensuite and large walk-in robe off the master bedroom. To reduce its environmental footprint the home includes an underground water tank to ensure its water efficiency and is positioned on the block for optimum solar access, improving its energy efficiency. “Urbanstyle Homes’ standard Tribeca home design is big enough to suit families but small enough to be energy efficient,” explains Brad. “The idea behind it was to make it liveable and useable, to reduce its carbon usage and to meet a reasonable construction budget.”

Located on a corner lot, the orientation of the home was a key factor in determining its design and construction for aesthetic purposes and to ensure it would perform well thermally, to allow reliance on natural heating and cooling as a primary climate control source rather than air-conditioning.

“The original design didn’t suit their block as a standard home so we looked at options to tailor it, which resulted in changing the front façade to address the corner. We also moved the rooms around at the back to maximise solar access,” says Brad. “It was important that the family have an open yet private area outside where they could play and entertain.”

A combination of Boral bricks and roof tiles was used on the exterior to provide a façade that’s modern and fitting for the area, plus it’s sure to last for years to come due to the low-maintenance materials. A solar pergola was added to the front of the home to boost its appearance as well as provide necessary winter solar access, and it blocks the interior from the summer sun’s glare from the west. In fact, the majority of glass used for the home’s windows and doors is Pilkington Laminated or Comfort Plus glass to reduce heat from the strong afternoon sun, as well as shielding the bedrooms from unwanted noise.

Another essential alteration was requested by the owners, a family of animal lovers: it was necessary that the materials used throughout the home be resilient, especially the flooring, which would have to withstand the daily grind of dog claws. A mixture of Godfrey Hirst carpet and tiles from DiLorenzo was laid; not only are they hard wearing and durable, but as an added bonus the large expanse of tiles looks fantastic and helps with the natural heating and cooling of the home. And when the sun sets, there are fluoro downlights which save the owners on their electrical bill as well as cutting their greenhouse gas emissions by over 2000kg per year.

After making sure there would be no unwanted overshadowing or overlooking from the new home that would evoke bad responses from the neighbours, and waiting six months for council approval, the crew at Urbanstyle Homes was able to get started on creating the not-so-typical abode. “This home really proves that a GreenSmart home saves owners on running costs and the planet by reducing emissions at a start-up cost that’s not much more than a usual project home,” comments Brad. “And in this case it was great that this was what the customer wanted and it suits how they like to live”.

Built to impress

Proving years of experience equals stunning results.

BtI4 BtI1

BtI2 BtI3

Following years of working together on many combined landscape and swimming pool projects, Bruce Hitchcock of Freestyle Pools was given the chance to create a special project for Marty Roberts, company director of Get Smart Landscaping. With a compact indoor/outdoor area to work with, the pool had to fit within the space available while maximizing the stunning harbour views from the Mosman property. The pool also had to be safe and secure for Marty’s twin six-year-old boys, while ensuring the stylish, contemporary look of the home was complemented.

The finished product is beautiful. The simplistic design attached to the side of the dining area of the home creates more than an area for entertainment, but also a water feature for both inside and outside of the home. Finishing touches, such as the stylish ladder into the pool, add a touch of difference to the design, while a glass panel on the outer side of the pool creates a new water feature for the garden set below.

Freestyle Pools was established by Bruce and Anne Hitchcock 16 years ago and specialises in architecturally designed pools and spas. Completing about 30 to 40 pools each year, Bruce and the team from Freestyle Pools concentrates on a quality finish each and every time.

Project details:

Pool built by Freestyle Pools
29 Bevan Place, Carlingford NSW 2118
P: 02 9873 1182
M: 0418 227 706
F: 02 9871 5623
Builder’s Licence Number: 49258C
ABN: 38 057 539 107

Interior: Bisazza glass mosaic interior tiles
Paving: Travertine
Sanitation: Waterco pumps and filter. Chemigen Chlorinator
Cleaning: Paramount infloor cleaning system

Pool designed by Marty Roberts of Get Smart Landscaping

Photography by Walter Glover

Have you considered… Wallpaper in the bathroom


Turn a lacklustre bathroom into a luxurious personal space with wallpaper. Plus 5 quick installation tips!


This ensuite above was designed as beautiful sanctuary with a retreat-style feel, as a space for relaxation. “Somewhere you can feel like you have been transported to another place,” Katrina Luxton of Royston Wilson Design explains.

Fluidity, shape and colour all played a key role in the design, with the wallpaper installed to link the elements. “The wallpaper has a very definite look and was installed on the bath wall above the tile splashback. This is complemented by a rug that picks up the colour of the wallpaper. The effect is magnificent,” Katrina says. The chandelier adds to the allure of the space, accentuating the lavishness of the space.

Travertine was used on the vanity tops, floor and walls, and acts as a perfect backdrop for the stronger colours in the wallpaper and rug. The appeal of a natural stone is subtle in its luxury.

The lines in this bathroom are clean but not minimalist. The wallpaper, chandelier and rug add the warmth, impact and luxury that were essential components of delivering the dream for this client.

Katrina Luxton from Royston Wilson Design shares five quick tips when it comes to installing wallpaper in your bathroom.

1. Employ a professional to do the hanging.

2. Use a quality product. Wallpaper, like most things in life, varies in quality.

3. Avoid hanging directly where your water source is. Use tiles to create a splash barrier and then paper above that.

4. Wallpaper can be changed far easier than tiles, so it allows for a “change of scenery” without any fuss.

5. Use wallpaper in the same way that you would a feature wall — flaunt it!


For more information, visit

From Luxury Home Design magazine Vol 15. No. 4 

Kitchen Designs: From worker to entertainer

Happy New Year from the Complete Home Team. We hope you all had wonderful summer breaks, and that you’re refreshed and excited for a year of renovations, redecorating and redesigning. We definitely are, and today we’re starting with Kitchen designs

kitchen designs enigma interiors
It’s been an interesting couple of years for humble kitchen designs. Since starting work in this industry I feel like what I learnt about kitchens as a kid and teen has changed so much; traditionally kitchens have been about food, its preparation, mess and cleaning up this mess. It seemed very simple at first. But the world is changing, and with that kitchens are changing too.
Apparently we have bid farewell to the formal dining room, and taking its place is the previously humble kitchen. The kitchen has become the hub of entertainment, conversation, dining, and design. And of course, home designs now accommodate for this; kitchens are open plan, they flow onto the living room, or even into the outside area. Kitchens also allow far more space – long benches that run around the room, large islands with a lot of room surrounding, and endless storage options for all those many appliances we have (rice cookers and pizza ovens take up a lot of room).
Garsden and Clarke Kitchen designs
But not only is the space affected – the design itself has changed. Kitchen design is expected to impress and relax guests, so clean lines and minimalist colours are constant favourites. Other things are added – interesting lighting above eating spaces, bar stools along benches, and nearby music consoles. Kitchens now have to balance an appearance of effortless cool.
Mint Kitchens kitchen designs
This is due to the change in entertaining at home; apparently the dinner party’s of the 1980’s are out (who would have thought) and casual (but perfect) dinners are in. With the years of the GFC, eating out has limited appeal. So instead we invite friends over for a casual stir fry or a bottle of wine with finger food. Casual entertaining is the current favourite and our kitchen designs reflect this.
So what are the essentials to having a kitchen design that looks amazing but also makes guests feel relaxed and “at home”?
  • What I’ve learnt from designers is that white is an absolute favourite – white Caesarstone benchtops, and glass topped tables work a treat. Easily wiped down, hard wearing, and with tables that look that good (and wear so well) naff tablecloths are no longer needed. Just a very simple set of placemats.
  • Large windows, hopefully showcasing your beautiful backyard, to let a lot of light and air into the room.
  • Pop up powerpoints in your benches will also be a lifesaver with the amount of appliances we can run these days.
  • If simple white isn’t interesting enough for you, consider coloured or patterned glass splash backs – there are many beautiful options nowadays, from pale pastels to striking brights.
  • Consider a tap worthy of the new millennium; there are heaps of taps now that not only give filtered water, but instant boiling, chilled, hot, cold, and sparkling filtered water (and with security locks so your kids wont touch the boiling but can happily enjoy the sparkling). Consider Zip or Billi.
Kitchen designs Trends Kitchen and Bathroom

An alfresco kitchen design is another fantastic way of entertaining casually, especially if you have a beautiful backyard, and are blessed with good weather. A lot of kitchen designers have branched into this area, so make sure you check some of their designs out – with an outdoor kitchen you’ll feel like your home is actually a resort.

Enigma Interiors kitchen designs
For more information on kitchen designs, check out our designers and their projects at Complete Home. Also take a look at the Outdoor designers for some future alfresco inspiration.

Get the look: The masculine bathroom


There’s no reason the bathroom can’t be a man’s domain. Think deep colours, strong forms and a hint of metal.

.1. MasculineBathroomHERO

2. MasculineBathroom2

3. MasculineBathroom3

4. MasculineBathroom4 5. MasculineBathroom5

6. MasculineBathroom6

7. MasculineBathroom7

8. MasculineBathroom8

9. Masculine bathroom towel ring

10. Masculine bathroom toilet brush


1. Victoria + Albert Edge bath and basins,

2. Mastella Sasso washbasin in black,

3. Gessi Rettangolo Cascata basin mixer,

4. Karim Rashid for ALLOY Infinit tile in Copper,

5. Kohler Kallos basin,

6. Novelli shower head with square rose,

7. Arteor light switches,

8. Lucca marble lotion bottle,

9. Margaux Collection towel ring,

10. Next toilet brush and soap dispenser by Cosmic,

From Kitchens & Bathrooms Quarterly magazine Vol. 19 No. 3

REAL HOME: Gunpowder store turned bespoke dream home


Spectacular views across Sydney Harbour combined with modern, clean and innovative design have turned an old gunpowder store into a stunning architectural artwork. 








Gunpowder245   Gunpowder005


Brian Zulaikha, a principal at Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects and national president of the Australian Institute of Architects, has lived on the same cobblestone street for more than 30 years. “I’ve slowly moved from house to house down the hill,” he laughs, “and have now participated in the design of four buildings in this unique location, preserving one of Sydney’s significant heritage laneways.”

When a dilapidated building located on that same street came up for sale in 2003, Brian and his partner, talented artist Janet Laurence, snapped it up. Twenty years ago the former gunpowder store was converted into a small house featuring an extra room at the same level and 2.5 bedrooms and a bathroom on the upper level — and Brian and Janet bought it with a view to transform the space into their dream home.

Grasping the opportunity to make over the structure in a location that Brian already called home, the couple set about putting a plan together to build a contemporary home that would encapsulate their lifestyle. It went on to win the 2007 RAIA National Award for Residential Architecture — Houses, and the 2007 RAIA NSW Residential Alternations and Additions Award.

During the two-year construction period, the greatest challenge was access. The site is located at the end of a steep dead-end lane, so the delivery trucks could only come as close as 50 metres, which meant all building materials were carried in by hand. This hindrance not only affected the building materials that Brian and Janet choose to use, but also slowed down the entire process. “It was quite complex and we did require a lot of labour,” Brian, who collaborated with builder and project architect Drew Heath, explains. “When the piece of marble that we used for the kitchen came into the house I was terrified it was going to break because we had to carry it over the rough cobblestones of the street and then up a ladder,” he remembers. “We managed it, but with a lot of effort; it took about six people to get it into the house.”

This time constraint, however, did not stop the couple building the home of their dreams, with Brian citing time itself being their biggest expense. “One needs to be careful of budget and build to budget,” he explains. “I think our biggest splurge was allowing sufficient time to ensure a quality outcome.”

Though it took two years to build, the house that Brian designed is a stunning architectural work that reveals its features through the innovative design concepts employed. Mesmerising views of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline across the water are revealed from various locations in the house. The integrated verandah on the upper level offers particularly spectacular views.

Brian designed the space, facilitating a close connection between the interior and exterior spaces as well as the view. “The detailing was driven by connectivity,” he explains. “I wanted the interior and exterior to be equal to accentuate their connectivity.” The upper-level verandah is only separated from the outdoors by sliding windows and from the internal living space by glass sliding doors, highlighting the seamless link.

The first floor of the interior space features the grand entrance, kitchen and dining area. Upstairs, Brian initially planned for three bedrooms, but changed his concept to include one large bedroom that takes advantage of the expansive views as well as a living room, ensuite bathroom and the long verandah that connects the spaces. “The project was to design a house for my partner and myself,” he explains. “So I designed a one-bedroom house by renovating the existing structure and adding a large weather-enclosed verandah.” The couple have no children and only occasional visitors that are able to stay downstairs in the garden room, so Brian designed this home with their lifestyles and needs in mind.

The renovated construction keeps the original masonry house, replacing the balcony and roof to create a residence that is responsive to its context. The exterior of the structure boasts quality in every aspect; the clever arrangement of glass sliding screens opens the rooms to expansive views of Sydney Harbour. These same screens protect the dwelling from harsh weather conditions. “I wanted to create a comfortable dwelling that could be made liveable in all weather conditions,” Brian explains. The lightweight timber-framed living spaces designed around the old concrete core are well protected from winds or the cooler weather through the use of these retractable glass panels.

Inside, a feeling of balance and harmony is captured through the free-flowing design featuring large rooms with outsized doors, each linked seamlessly to the next — the constant is the polished concrete and recycled spotted gum flooring.

The dining room is stunning in its simplicity and features lighting that is recessed into neat ceiling slots, accentuating a clean, minimalistic look. The bespoke staircase, with bookcases and a built-in daybed alongside, is among a number of furniture items designed by Brian. In fact, an array of furniture and furnishing items are bespoke designs by Brian, making for a smooth, interconnected home. Brian and Janet wanted to create a space that was their own and through the implementation of several custom-designed pieces they were able to accomplish that special ambience.

In the lounge area, spatial generosity is achieved through balanced proportions and a fresh and simple colour palette, with the large artworks featured prominently on an adjacent wall injecting a sense of fun into the relaxation area.

The kitchen was designed in conjunction with interior designer Libby Metcalfe and features another bespoke design by Brian and Libby: the marble-topped island bench. This hub of the home activates the use of space through the convenience and functionality of innovative design, providing Brian and Janet with an efficient and pleasurable area in which to cook. On the lower level there’s also an exquisite garden room over the entrance area (which can double as a guest bedroom). For Brian, it’s an inviting space where he often relaxes with a good book.

Perhaps the most alluring room downstairs is the bathhouse, which projects out into the rear entrance of the home. Featuring a heated floor so the room is warm even during the colder months, it’s a luxurious sanctuary for the owners. Janet worked closely with Brian on the design of this room, pushing for a space that blends the interior and exterior. The result is a space that has a direct relationship with the terrace, garden and view of the harbour. “The aim was to create a bathhouse inspired by our many trips to Japan,” Brian explains. “This room was to be ‘in the garden’, so to speak. The majority of the bathroom is concrete (the walls, floor, ceiling) yet it undoubtedly has a feeling of luxury.” The only non-concrete features in the bathhouse are the Starfire glass rear wall and the Calacatta marble bath, while lighting is cleverly concealed to add a touch of romance.

Floating wooden stairs take us up to the top floor, which houses the massive master bedroom (including a bed and a system of wardrobes that trundle backwards and forwards, both of which were designed by Brian). The room is hit thanks to an abundance of natural light, which is carried through to the luxurious ensuite. “We wanted the materiality and warmth of the adjacent spaces to continue into the room,” Brian explains. “Hence the spotted gum timber floor enters the space and the Starfire glass continues the similar finish used on the built-in furniture outside the ensuite.” Full-height mirrors behind the vanity units are an efficient and eye-catching feature, while strategically placed glass doors conceal a laundry.

The master bedroom directly connects to the elongated balcony, separated only by glass doors that are often left open to take advantage of fresh air. The upstairs living area also seamlessly connects to this exterior space and both rooms offer superior views out to Sydney Harbour.

Wherever Brian or Janet find themselves in their home they are met with sleek design and high efficiency (and fantastic views in most spaces). For Janet, the garden is favourite spot, which she planted and maintains today. Here, the lush greenery laps into the house, softening the exterior outline and accentuating the interactivity between the indoors and outdoors.

The relationship between the interior and exterior spaces is exactly what Brian wanted to achieve. Rooms and outdoor areas flow smoothly from one to the other, each area encapsulating the essence of what can only be referred to as optimum design.


This home was built by…


Architect Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects ( and Andrew Heath Architects ( Project managers Brian Zulaikha ( and Drew Heath ( Consultant engineer Simpson Design Associates (


Roof BlueScope Steel ( Ceilings Gyprock plasterboard (


Basins Boffi basins from Space Furniture ( Paint Murobond ( Lighting Regal Lighting Systems, Regal Lighting at Moon Lighting ( Stairs Bespoke design by Brian Zulaikha (


Bespoke furniture Marble bath, built-in daybed and bookcases by the stairs, display cases, master bed, bedroom drawers and wardrobe, storage units by Brian Zulaikha ( Kitchen and island Libby Metcalfe and Brian Zulaikha ( Kitchen stools High chair 64 by Alvar Aalto for Artek ( Kitchen paintings Huang Yan ( Outdoor dining chairs Lanka designed by Jouko Järvisalo at Anibou ( Dining area chairs Lounge Chair Metal by Charles Eames for Herman Miller ( Light installation by stairs Jonathan Jones at Gallery Barry Keldoulis ( Painting above trolley Jacky Redgate at Arc One Gallery ( Rug in upper lounge Robyn Cosgrove Rugs ( Paintings by stairs Lin Tianmiou at White Rabbit ( Black triptych paintings Guan Wei at Turner Galleries ( Bathroom hallway paintings Clinton Nain at the Cat Street Gallery ( Balcony leather chairs Style PK22 Relax Chair by Poul Kjaerholm at Fritz Hansen ( Balcony reclining chair Wink Chair Toshiyuki Kita at Dieter Horn ( Balcony lamp Rosy Angelis floor lamp by Philippe Starck for Mac & Mac (

By Tatyana Leonov
Photography By Michael Nicholson
From Grand Designs Australia magazine Vol. 1 No. 1

He never called? – Why some tradies don’t call back

Are you feeling unloved and not wanted because the tradies you contacted never bothered to call back with prices? Or worse, they were a no show at your pre-arranged meeting?

This is a very common problem in the industry that comes down to the squeaky wheel getting oiled by he who oils the most. Tradies are generally a dedicated group of people, but some ruins it for the rest.

Tradesmen Contacting Home improvement tradies

From the clients perspective they need a job to be done, a leaking tap for example. The process would be to search for a plumber, contact them to arrange a meeting or to get a ballpark quote. That’s all that you think you would have to do. Right?

You’ve given them the opportunity, now the ball is in their court. Unfortunately as a client you can’t afford to think like that. I’m not going to paint all tradies with the same brush but the best way to make sure you get that price or have them meet you is to keep doing the friendly reminder follow up calls to make sure you are on their radar.

If you’re thinking something like “Why should I do all the chasing, if they want the job they have to chase me!” Yep, I have found having to do all the chasing very frustrating until, my husband (a project manager) gave me a different point of view, it’s not that they don’t want the job it could be because:

  1. They usually have to wear many hats in their business such as secretary, bookkeeper etc so they may be spread out too thin
  2. Calls would be usually taken while they are in the middle of a job ie; up a ladder or jammed under a kitchen sink
  3. Contact details may be scrawled on a scrappy piece of paper or a block of timber that inevitably gets lost in the ute under a pile of empty Ice Break bottles.

While all of the above aren’t acceptable excuses for poor management they are the reality. The point I’m trying to make is your job of chasing a tradie is not over after that first phone call.

Most contractors are being pushed and driven by builders and project managers, so the key to getting what you want is to appoint yourself as the project manager and start chasing to get your job done.

Giving a friendly reminder follow up call before losing your cool will go a long way to keeping the contractor onside and to the job done.

Written and illustrated by Sarah Woods, Interior Designer and Building Planner. Sarah offers courses and coaches clients to become ‘Renovation Ready’.

For more advice and ideas on home projects and planning check out:
Complete Home: How to submit a development application
Expert Advice: 6 tips for working with your architect
Complete Home: Get it Right From the Start