Builders Blog

5 ways to make your small home look spacious

So you have purchased your first home – a studio apartment that is looking a little tired and dated but the location is great and you have visions of building a great life there, but how can you get your small place to feel more spacious?  Well read on as the following renovation ideas will help you live more comfortably in a small area.

1. Foldout furniture

If your dining room is in your bedroom, as is often the case with studio or granny flat living, then investing in fold-out furniture can help to reduce the clutter while providing everything you need within the space. It is nearly impossible to cram full-sized furniture into a small unit so purchasing foldout items like day beds, tables, or chairs which have two usages will assist to minimise items, making it seem more spacious.

Small Kitchen
Small kitchen ideas

2. A hidden kitchen or laundry

In a studio apartment, every square foot is prime real estate so you need to consider the best use of the space when deciding on the kitchen. A galley or single line kitchen design which can be hidden behind bi-fold doors or a partition. This not only provides an option to conceal the kitchen or laundry if needed but it also helps to keep the space tidy. 

With a hidden laundry, it is the same principle, having the washing machine and dryers all tucked away behind a folding door helps to keep the ‘work space’ out of the ‘living space’.

3. Partition walls

One of the hardest concepts to get your head around when considering living in a studio apartment or granny flat is the thought of waking up in your kitchen. Partition walls are a great idea for creating sections or zones within your home.  By using a partition you can create a separate bedroom, living room, and kitchen spaces. You can utilise plants, folding walls, bookshelves, or even the back of the couch to try to separate the areas.

4. Build up

If you’re lucky enough to own your own single storey unit, the possibility of building up into your roof space may be available to you. Keeping a kitchen nook, living and dining area, and a bathroom on the ground floor and building a loft or mezzanine bedroom could be an option. This gives you more privacy in the bedroom and opens up the living area.

5. Create an office nook

By cleverly utilising every bit of space available you can find room for things like a nook for your home office. Remember to always look at what little area are available to maximize the use of the space that you have. For instance, a little reading nook or desk area can then double as a dining area with the aid of a folding table.

Want to make the most of your small home, granny flat or studio unit? Speak to the team at Symcorp today for home renovation and upgrade ideas for your home.

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Common Renovation Mistakes

Whether you’re a seasoned home renovator or it’s your first time, there are many mistakes that you should actively avoid when starting out on a new project.

Here are some key home renovation blunders that you should avoid to ensure that your time and money are used effectively.

Underestimating material and labour costs

Failing to research material and labour costs is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to property renovation. Remember to factor in any indirect renovation costs including local council fees, professional fees, finance repayments, rental payments (if you have to move out during the renovation), and so on. 

Your builder will be able to give you some idea of the standard costs in your area.

Not setting yourself a project timeline

While a lot of people emphasise the importance of budgeting (which is important, of course), many forget to create a project timeline. Estimate how long each task will take and come up with a project completion date. If you don’t set yourself a deadline, you may never finish.

Going overboard with DIY tasks

There are some tasks you can do yourself but there are also certain things that you shouldn’t attempt. When it comes to more complex work such as plumbing, carpentry, or electrical you should always enlist the services of an experienced, fully licensed professional.

Patio Renovation
Prioritise your renovation dollars on the areas you use the most

Renovating the wrong areas/rooms

When planning out your renovation project, focus your energy (and money) on the areas that are most frequently used. Generally, you should focus the majority of your budget on areas like the master bedroom, the living room and the kitchen.

Relocating electrical and plumbing

Moving around your electricals and plumbing can add significant costs. So if it’s possible to work around the existing pipes and electrical systems, you should try to leave them in the same location to avoid unnecessary expenses.

Planning and completing a home renovation project can be time consuming, costly, and emotionally draining, especially if it’s your first time. So it’s worth doing a lot of research before you get started to avoid many of the common mistakes many make on the road to their dream home. 

Helpful Renovation Tip - enlist the services of an experienced building or home renovation specialist they have ironed out all the speed bumps and have years of industry knowledge. Often they will be able to source materials at a better price than you too.

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What features are right for my bathroom?

Making sure you choose the right fixtures in your bathroom is extremely important as it can make or break your bathroom renovation. There are so many things that you need to consider when choosing the plumbing fixtures including the style, material, functionally, price and compatibility.

Below are 3 things you should keep in mind when making the bathroom fixture choices.

Aesthetics

Have a look around your home and decide what styles, materials, and colours work within your home and be consistent. You may be renovating just one bathroom or ensuite with the plan to eventually renovate the whole home, and you will need to take that into consideration.  

What colours do you want to take throughout the home? Do you have a theme, design brief, or style that you want to keep too?

There are two broad styles to consider; modern or traditional.

Modern homes generally have shiny, metallic finishes. Sleek stainless steel taps can add a touch of luxury and elegance to a contemporary city apartment. The same fixtures will look completely out of place if used in a home which already has ornate bronze or copper fixtures more commonly associated with a more traditional design.

Bathroom Renovation
Make sure your fittings suit the style of your bathroom

Practicality

This is a important question to ask as you want to make sure the fixtures you choose suit your lifestyle. Do you have children? Do you want to have children in the future? Possibly a single easy to reach tap may be the best choice.

In regards to showers, what type of shower head do you prefer?  One person may enjoy a powerful massaging jet but another loves the rain showers style showerhead. Just be aware that there is a variety of water-efficient fixtures so always check the pressure and temperature ratings on the shower rose you choose.

You also will need to consider the current plumbing system and look at fixtures that are compatible with the system.

Price

Price is normally the ultimate deciding factor when it comes to bathroom fixtures as there is a variety of fixtures available at a wide range of prices, depending on the material, style, brand and warranty. 

Best suggestion is to figure out your budget first and then stick to it. There is often a cheaper version of the more expensive fixtures, but be careful. You don’t want to get a great bargain only to have to replace it 1 month down the track. Spending a little extra on high-quality materials can save you in the long term.

Want to get started on your bathroom renovation? Speak to the team at Symcorp today.

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How long can a home renovation take?

How long does a home renovation take? This is a question that we often get asked by homeowners considering a renovation. The answer is never straightforward as the duration can vary considerably depending on the extent of your renovation. If you’re just looking at updating one room or area such as the kitchen or bathroom it can usually be completed in a shorter amount of time than if you're renovating the whole home or a significant portion of it.

Average duration of a home renovation

On average, a home renovation project takes between 4 to 8 months but if you’re totally renovating the whole house then chances are it will take anywhere from 7 months or more to complete. Now before you get discouraged by this number, remember this is from the beginning to the end of the project. On average the actual ‘build’ time is less, often around 6 to 8 weeks.

I can hear you ask - what else needs to be done? Well before those ’70s kitchen cupboards are demolished you need to do a few things first to make sure the renovation goes smoothly and according to plan.  

Kitchen Renovation
Kitchen renovation

Renovation research - 2 weeks to 2 months or more

This is when you have first decided that you want to renovate and you begin to look around at different styles, home designs, and gather decor ideas. You may search through online resources such as Pinterest and other home decor sites to gather ideas and inspiration to create the perfect look and feel for your house refresh. Our home remodelling specialists recommend printing out or saving all the images and ideas as it will really help during the planning stage.

Reno project planning  – 2 to 6 months or more

This is the stage where you put the ideas to paper, and this is where you need to work closely with your builder to see what is achievable and practical within your budget. Speak to their renovation team about the materials and finishes that you would like to use and mould your ideas with help from the experts so that the project is a success and achieves what you want to achieve. 

The planning phase is also where you need to start taking a sensible look at the costs involved, your budget and which areas or features are a priority. This ensures you allocate your funds to the bits that are important and helps to trim off the choices which may not be practical. Having a clear idea of your budget also helps determine factors in your designs such as the material and fixture selection.

New deck reno
Bring the outdoors in by adding a deck to your home

Pre-renovation - 3 to 6 months

The pre-construction stage can take the most time as this is when you start the process of getting building approvals from the relevant authorities (local council etc), working out a project timeline, scheduling tradespeople as well as sourcing and ordering materials. 

There is a lot of organisation to get done during this stage, it can be the most vital time in the whole renovation. If something is not coordinated properly during the pre-renovation phase the whole project can run into unexpected delays or, worst case scenario, even cancelled.

Building - 4 to 6 weeks on average

Many say that building is the best stage, as you get to see all your home renovation ideas and planning come to life. This can also be the hardest to navigate as your home is a construction zone for 4 to 6 weeks. We promise the inconvenience of doing the washing up in the laundry sink and cooking on the BBQ will be totally worth it. 

Bathroom Renovation
A bathroom renovation can give your home an instant refresh

Home renovation completion

Now this stage is where all the final inspections and sign offs by the relevant authorities takes place. It also takes into consideration the warranties and defect liability periods that you have with your trades and contractors. Some warranties can be up to 3 months so this stage can take a little longer than the other 4 stages.

Any minor defects will be corrected by your builder and your beautiful renovation is ready for you to enjoy.

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Queensland Outdoor Spaces

Creating a custom, functional and enjoyable outdoor space for any client and seeing how it can truly transform a house into a home is one of the most rewarding construction projects we can do. 

Living in beautiful, temperate Queensland many of us spend the majority of our time outdoors entertaining so it is really important to have a useful outdoor living area. 

Timber deck
Make the most of your river views with a new deck

Prior to every deck addition or renovation project, we take the time to closely consult with our clients to discuss their specific requirements for the space, their design preferences, and of course their budget. It is essential to establish what will suit their particular deck, veranda, or patio needs, as each project is unique.

We often find that retirees or empty-nesters are looking for a quiet space to enjoy their morning coffee, while a family of 5 who has weekends full of playdates need an expansive outdoor area to entertain. In our experience, when your outdoor area doesn’t fit the needs of your particular family or household, that is when we see perfectly lovely patio’s go to waste.

Update your home with an outdoor living area

Ensuring your indoor living space flows naturally into the deck, patio or pergola ensures the area will be utilised all year round.

The Symcorp team have years of experience adding functional, stylish outdoor living spaces to homes across the Gold Coast. The options are almost endless and are limited only by the space available and your imagination (and possibly your budget). 

Custom deck builder

Custom deck

As long as it meets with local building codes, a new deck can be added just about anywhere you like, to the front, side or back of your home. If you have an amazing Gold Coast view, why not build a custom deck to fully enjoy it? 

Many homeowners, after considering their all the options, choose to add a wraparound deck that can be accessed from several points in the house. Speak to our team about the deck options available for your home.

Custom Decks Gold Coast
Poolside deck

Pool decks

A backyard pool without attractive, functional decking limits your ability to enjoy it to its fullest. A great pool deck can create a wonderful space for poolside entertaining, dining, sunbathing, and more. 

If you’re renovating to sell a stylish pool deck can also add value to your home, making your pool a showpiece that draws in potential home buyers.

Freestanding decks, patios and pergolas

Freestanding patios, decks, and pergolas are popular for a number of reasons. They create a great, slightly elevated space that’s perfect for a dining table, built-in benches, hot tub, and more. For some homeowners, it’s also a great way to enjoy their property while cutting back on lawn maintenance.

Your local deck builder on the Gold Coast

Contact Symcorp today to discuss your outdoor living ideas from a new deck to stylish poolside space Gold Coast home. We’ll work to your budget to make sure you get the results you want with the high-quality service and commitment to value that you deserve. 

We look forward to working with you.

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Planning Your Bathroom Renovation

Most people cringe at the thought of having to remodel a bathroom, and it tends to be the last room you think of doing. It can be very overwhelming but if you break the remodelling process down into a few simple steps it will not seem as daunting as you first thought. 

Our experienced bathroom renovation team have put together the basic steps to help get your bathroom reno project started.

Bathroom Renovation Project

Step 1 - Start your plan

It sounds like a strange suggestion, planning your plan, but you need to have a good idea of what you want to happen and when it needs to be done. Any deadlines or steps missed during the planning stage can delay your renovation or add unexpected expenses.

Start by writing down some notes on what you’re wanting your bathroom to include, how you want it to look, what you think you may need to do. Don’t leave anything out no matter how small or impossible it may seem. 

If you want to have a bath and a shower, or you’re interested in saving space with a shower/bath combo, add both these ideas to your notes. You may want to have a heated towel rack but you also like the look of traditional hooks along the wall. These notes will help ensure you consider all potential features and inclusions once the actual design is put together. 

After the first bathroom design brainstorming is done it is time to start researching. Great design resources can be found online, in home design magazines, on lifestyle TV shows, and even take inspiration from the bathrooms in friends and families homes. They may have an idea that you haven’t even considered.

Large bathroom

Step 2 - Creating a realistic budget

Once you have a clear idea of your new bathroom design it’s important to establish a realistic budget before the renovation gets started. This ensures that what you’re dreaming of and what is financially possible is in sync. You don’t want to be running out of money halfway through the renovation.

Don’t forget to allocate funds out of your budget for each area of your bathroom including any new appliances and fixtures, demolition, electrical, plumbing, tiling, and cosmetics such as painting the walls. It’s really important to leave an allowance in your budget for unexpected costs, just in case.

Start by getting several estimates for each of your ideas. Have a chat to builders and get their suggestions to ensure you get value for your hard-earned money. Once all the ideas are in writing and have actual real-life figures attached to them you can decide which way you would like to go. Knowing the cost of your ideas makes it easier to prioritise or eliminate them.

White and timber bathroom

Step 3 - Creating the floor plan

Once you have a clear budget and your design ideas, now comes the fun part - creating the floor plan. 

Measure your bathroom, including all areas that will have fixtures such as the toilet, sink or bathtub. This will help you create the optimal floor plan before beginning your remodelling. 

Once you have everything on paper, take your draft bathroom plan it to your builder. When you have a plan in front of you, it is much more difficult to deviate from it, helping you to stay on your budget as much as possible.

Symcorp your local bathroom renovation experts

Make sure you have a professional, reliable builder you can trust who are there with you every step of your renovation making sure everything goes according to plan and stays within budget.

Symcorp handles every aspect of your bathroom renovation, from plumbing and electrical, to construction and paint to ensure a top quality result every time. Call 07 5558 3812 today.

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Kitchen Trends in 2019

Dark cabinets are back in style

White kitchens have been a long time favourite in kitchen design and work in almost any kind of kitchen style. That said, we are starting to see dark cabinets making a comeback, creating a dramatic statement in the kitchen.  

Some kitchen renovation ideas to freshen up the all-white kitchen are using different paint colour or wood panels on your island bench. Mixing up the cabinetry finishes creates a focus accent piece and additional pops-of-colour add personality and brighten the room. The colours of choice seem to varying shades of blue and green. 

Dark island cabinets
Dark island bench cabinets create a stunning feature

Another emerging trend making its way into the kitchens across the Gold Coast is the use of dark jewel tones: black, navy, emerald green, and plum. Dark cabinets paired with these rich shades create a dramatic and luxurious feel to the kitchen.

While dark kitchen cabinets can add an elegant and opulent atmosphere, the key is to not overpower the space by overdoing it. Too many dark colours can make the room feel small and dark. You can avoid this by choosing a lighter, contrasting paint colour if you have selected dark cabinetry. Also always ensure your kitchen has great lighting to avoid unusable dark areas.

Smart kitchens

Technology has hit kitchen’s in full force and not just in the way of fancy appliances. These days, your kitchen can have technology integrated into almost every function and appliance, from the taps to the fridge and the lighting. We call this a smart kitchen.

Smart kitchens are an ever evolving element of interior design. It is becoming more and more common for new kitchens to be built using smart technology. Older kitchens can be upgraded to incorporate smart features by adding things like sensors, smart gadgets, and other devices.

Island Kitchen Renovation
Island Kitchen Renovation with smart features

Some simple upgrade options include motion sensor kitchen taps which can sense the presence of hands underneath and turn on and off automatically. Refrigerators that alert you when your grocery items are running low or a coffee maker you can program to have your coffee made when you wake up. There’s also updates for your lighting - smart lights which allow you to control all the lights from your smartphone, tablet or smart speaker such as the Google Home or Amazon Alexa.

Technology integrated kitchens are becoming sort after as homeowners’ experiment with new smart technologies. The Smart Kitchen is one of the biggest trends we are seeing going into 2019.

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Kitchen didn't quite cut it this holidays?

During the past few weeks you may have been lucky enough to gather around different types of kitchens with your friends and family to celebrate the year that was... and now you have a bad case of kitchen envy.  You keep on dreaming of those granite countertops that looked amazing at Aunt Jenny’s place, wondering if they will fit in your kitchen. 

Your new kitchen doesn’t have to be a dream, Symcorp we are here to help with your post holiday kitchen envy. Our experienced kitchen renovation team can take care of everything from the beginning to the end, so next year you will be the envy of all.

Gold Coast Kitchen Renovation

Points to consider with your kitchen renovation

There are several things you will need to consider before taking the plunge to update your kitchen:

Why are you wanting a change? 

  • Is it because the kitchen is just not meeting your growing family’s needs.  
  • Do you need more storage? 
  • Do you want a bigger benchtop space to work? 
  • Are you sick of making do with your ‘80s style kitchen and you deserve a change? 
  • Are you thinking of selling and you want to increase the value of your home?  

Whatever the reason, you need to identify the motivation so you can work out how you want your new kitchen to function and look like.

Renovate, re-model or re-face? 

The reason why you are considering a kitchen renovation will help to determine if you need to do a full renovation, a partial re-model, or opt to re-face your kitchen.  

If you are staying in the home and your old kitchen doesn’t have the storage or functionality that you need then an upgrade to completely create a new kitchen may be the best option for you.

White Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen renovation budget

Let’s talk budgets. You’re probably wondering how much a new kitchen will cost? The price of your kitchen renovation will depend on many factors such as:

  • The size
  • Whether you move plumbing and electrical systems - ie, moving the kitchen sink from one wall to the island bench can add significantly to expenses.
  • Type of materials - choosing an entry level laminate benchtop rather than granite can reduce the overall cost
  • Changing the layout - major changes to the layout of the kitchen can increase the budget.

There is so much more to planning and designing a new kitchen than just selecting floors and counters, and this is where Symcorp makes the difference. Every remodel is based on a strict budget. We’ll make sure you achieve the look and style you want while staying on budget, by assisting you to select the right materials for your kitchen renovation & extensions.

The kitchen is the heart of your home and we understand the importance of getting it right so contact Symcorp at 07 5594 1768 or fill out the kitchen renovation quote request form today.

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Fall in love with your deck again this New Year

Your home should be a place that you love and find comfort. If space allows, you shouldn’t be limited to just personalising your indoor area.  An amazing relaxing backyard is the ideal place to spend the lovely Queensland summer days with loved ones. One way to fall in love with your home again is to improve the outside space with a new deck or patio or give your yard a refresh by upgrading your existing deck.

During a busy holiday period when most outdoor areas see lots of entertaining most decks could use some love. For a timber deck, preparing it for a busy holiday period could include applying a fresh coat of paint or varnish, re-oiling, replacing rotten decking, or maybe even hiring a deck builder to carry out major renovations.

Timber Deck

Helpful tips to prepare your deck for the New Year

  • To start off the new year, you’ll want your deck to be clean as a whistle so use a high-power leaf blower to get rid of any dead leaves, dirt or debris that has built up over time. After layers of dirt are removed, use a power washer to get rid of mold or rotting wood thoroughly.
  • During your New Year maintenance replace any broken or uneven pavers around the deck.
  • Your deck furniture is bound to need a good wash for the holiday period. Just be mindful of how you clean your furniture as their cleaning needs will vary. Be sure to dry out your furniture after washing it to avoid any mold.
  • If your furniture is looking a little tired even after you have washed it then maybe it is time to have a complete change.  Liven up your deck with some new furnishings, umbrellas, pillows, or pot plants. Pick a colour scheme that will enhance your homes exterior and go for it, you can even extend the colour scheme to your outdoor dining ware and serving dishes if you want.
  • The start of the new year is the perfect time to improve the functionality of your deck. Consider working with a custom deck builder like Symcorp to add on screened-in sections, a pergola, or a roof. You may even want to change the entire outdoor area, which Symcorp can help you with.  Screened in decks and patios are not only beneficial in warm weather, but they can also help keep bugs out and protect your furniture from damage. They are also good to provide some privacy from neighbors.
  • Freshen up your landscape with fresh mulch and if you don’t have a large yard, you can also pick out store-bought planters and hanging baskets and place them around your area.
Deck with river views

For beautiful pergolas, patios and decks through the Gold Coast and Tweed Heads area contact Symcorp on 1300 796 267 today.

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6 things to consider when converting a garage

A garage conversion is one of the fastest and most affordable ways to add extra living space to a home. You already have the foundation, roof, electrical wiring, and walls in place, and if it’s an attached garage you have an entry.

The goal is to create a garage conversion that blends seamlessly with the existing living area. Generally, the location makes them perfect to convert to a family room, home office or extra bedroom. Ensure you consider all aspects of the project and the potential use of the area before embarking on a garage conversion. 

Here are some of the factors you will need to consider when planning your garage upgrade.

1. Garage Doors

The biggest consideration when looking at a garage conversion is what to do with the garage door. When the door is removed, you have a big empty space that needs to be filled in so that it blends in with the rest of the house and is useful to the living space.

Some possible ideas include installing a panoramic or stacking door if you have an outdoor space to open out to or a bay window. Another possibility is to create a new entryway where the garage door was located.

Garage Conversion

2. Flooring

Typically, a garage floor is an uninsulated concrete slab, which can sometimes be several inches below the floor level rest of the home. The slab may also be sloped toward the garage door or toward a floor drain.

When these circumstances are present, you will need to fill the bottom of the garage door opening with a curb to keep water out of the converted space and protect the wall framing from moisture. You will also need to decide if the floor needs to be leveled.

3. Heating & cooling

In the instance of an attached garage, you may be able to easily extend the existing heating and cooling system into the new space. If that is not an option, however, you will need to look at independent climate control system.

Add your insulation to walls, floor, and ceiling first, then decide how to heat and cool the space.

Another option is a floor heating system – a relatively easy thing to install on an existing concrete slab.

Garage Conversion

4. Electrical wiring

If you expecting to substantially increase the electrical usage in the converted space, adding additional wiring is essential with a minimum of at least one new 20-amp circuit.

Usually garages have a single lighting circuit, and a large room will usually require more electrical infrastructure for lights than that. It is likely to take several additional circuits if the converted garage will be used for a kitchen with multiple appliances.

If you are converting a detached garage, additional wiring can be run from the house through an underground conduit.

5. Plumbing

This can be the biggest hurdle of a garage conversion. Organizing water supply to the garage is usually simple, but drainage can present problems. Speak with a qualified plumber about the options available for your property.

If you are lucky enough to have a laundry connecting the garage to the house, you may consider turning it into a bathroom. Adding plumbing lines is often the single biggest expense in a garage conversion project.

6. Blending in

You don’t want the conversion to be an obvious add on but rather blend seamlessly with existing structure.

Try to match the colours, window, and door styles and the landscaping with the rest of the house. When done well, a garage conversion will be a seamless addition to your home.

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