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Inviting the inside, out! The evolution of Australian backyard outdoor living

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Australians have grown an insatiable appetite for outdoor living and a striking outdoor area now features on many new and renovated homes. More than a place to put the BBQ, our decks and patios are evolving into fully appointed living spaces. Outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, furniture, fabrics, rugs, and lighting in every design style offer infinite possibilities for designing outdoor rooms to suit our personal lifestyles. The fusion of these traditionally interior elements with nature’s environment draws us out of the house and into the fresh air! However, it hasn’t always been that way.

Historically, backyards where centred on practicality and supporting household economies. The outhouse, food gardens, livestock and artisanal trades work in the backyard sustained the needs of everyone living in the home. Then, at the height of consumer culture in the fifties and sixties, new technology forged a booming business in household appliances, freeing the economic need and the backyard became a place of relaxation and leisure. Paving, decks, patios, manicured lawns and swimming pools ensured that comfort, contrast and status were the guiding principles in a backyard space.

Today, entertainment and outdoor cooking has become an anchor for how we experience life outside. The outdoor kitchen has been re-defined once again as supplemental to the main kitchen and the division between outdoors and in has blurred. The dream home has become something you create wherever you are, with the help of the booming home-wares industry.

The new “outdoor room” is really all about a sense of continuity and the best use of space indoors as well as out. The backyard, big or small, has once again enabled us to extend the range of our homes. Echoing the self-contained economy of the past, technology has enabled us to once again work from home and more people are using their backyard space for growing and nurturing their own fresh food. Backyards of all sizes are now highly coveted as key places to create reflections of our values, interests, and personalities.

Quilliam Building have been transforming backyards on new and period homes for over a decade. We know the design and construction considerations that will create your ideal indoor and outdoor living spaces within your new home or renovation. A successful outdoor room that seamlessly blends with the indoors in any home lies in the expert design and construction of functionality and features, positioning of lighting and décor and foliage to invite nature into your outdoor room.

You don’t need a new home to create an outdoor living space that invites the inside out. Some of the most stunning outdoor spaces are created for character period homes, where there is a successful union of form and function infused with personal style. Quilliam Building specialise in building and enhancing period and lifestyle homes throughout the Ballarat region. Why not invite your inside out and enjoy the benefits of outdoor living.

Kitchens are made for bringing families together

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The kitchen is now the heart of the home, but it wasn’t always that way. Considering how important the kitchen is for today’s homeowners, it’s amazing to think that not long ago, kitchens were one of the least desirable rooms in the home.

The kitchen was once a utilitarian space, existing for food preparation and little else. Kitchens in medium to large size homes were big enough to cook a meal and hold a table large enough to seat a few people for breakfast or a small snack. The important meals would be served in the formal dining room on a table big enough to seat the entire family at once.

Kitchens showcase the evolution of technology and lifestyle, perhaps more so than any other room in the home. Constant innovation of appliances and styling has transitioned the kitchen from fundamental workspace to the functional, stylish and airy rooms that are popular today. The combination of the dining room with the kitchen created an open plan entertaining area and solidified the kitchen as the heart of the home.

The kitchen has slowly transformed into the main living room, a living and breathing space, dedicated to much more than just cooking. Filled with energy and life, the kitchen has become a conversation facilitator, an office on the go, a homework study space and a space to hang out and catch up with your loved ones; and this style of kitchen is influencing the way that families are living. Regardless of busy schedules, the kitchen works well as a central hub, that helps families cross paths throughout their day. Open plan living spaces promote communication and quality time together.

The size of the kitchen can also influence its status as the heart of your home. A good size kitchen can increase the value of your home and is often viewed as the most important room when it comes to selling. Investing in a well-designed new kitchen can increase your property’s resale value significantly, whilst a kitchen renovation that streamlines the area and gives it a more contemporary or timeless design will increase appeal to home buyers.

Quilliam Building and our Classiq Cabinetry team have been proudly building and renovating beautiful bespoke kitchens, turning them into the heart of homes for many years. Quilliam Building is now proudly celebrating over a decade as the name of a highly recommended Ballarat builder for the renovation, restoration and reproduction of period and custom lifestyle homes throughout the wider Ballarat region. We value timeless, quality kitchen design that is custom made for bringing families together.

Although trends come and go, one thing is certain – the kitchen will continue to be an irreplaceable space in our homes where family life takes place; and a bespoke kitchen, created just for you – is one you will love every minute you spend in it!

The importance of preserving and enhancing houses

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“Preservation is simply having the good sense to hold on to things that are well designed, that link us with our past in a meaningful way, and that have plenty of good use left in them”…Richard More, National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Within modern day society one could easily be forgiven for thinking that houses are just another commodity, to be discarded or knocked over to accommodate the latest trend, development or affluent desire. Heritage overlays protect some properties and provide stringent building regulations to guide thoughtful development. However, should we be more thoughtful about homes from recent eras and also the new homes we build, that will one day be a link to our past?

There were many structurally solid homes built in the 50s, 60s, 70s and particularly the affluent 80s that have much to offer the thoughtful investor seeking a place to call “home”. Many homes from these periods were designed and built to last, with solid foundations, quality products and proud craftsmanship. These homes, will in the future, provide a valuable link to our past; and with thoughtful design can easily be enhanced to accommodate current lifestyle needs. Many of these homes still have plenty of good use in them and deserve to be respected.

On the other hand, the mass production of modern day houses should be concerning. Very few are unique, most are built to standard plans with slightly different façade, completed from start to finish within weeks. For many they serve a need and a purpose, but will they stand the test of time?

If considering a third or fourth house, one that you can truly call ‘home” for an extended period of time, it is well worth considering one that preserves and enhances the chosen land or existing home. Seek a recommended architect/designer and builder who can highlight good design, quality and craftsmanship and your investment will be enhanced in more ways than one.

Quilliam Building is now proudly celebrating over a decade as the name of a highly recommended Ballarat builder for the renovation, restoration and reproduction of period and custom lifestyle homes throughout the wider Ballarat region. Our commitment to preserve, enhance and construct period and custom lifestyle homes that stand the test of time, not just the latest trends, is our on-going inspiration and obligation to future building preservation.

Timeless Resources

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Classic, period home resources never date! The well-thumbed pages of The Period Home Renovator, English Home, Country Style, Country Living and the list goes on….never date! The ever growing list of online resources are invaluable to period home renovators world-wide.

Some of the ones we love are:

The Period Home Renovator:

Restoration Online:

The English Home:

Restoration Hardware:

Period homes offer an element of nostalgia and opportunity

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Period homes offer an element of nostalgia and an opportunity to add value to real estate in many different ways. However, there are special considerations if you’re planning on restoring or renovating a piece of history.

Restoring a period home is different to renovating an ordinary house or apartment. But if you enjoy the challenge as much as the end result, it’s probably for you.

Period homes can be costly to renovate because you’re confined by style or heritage regulations. Although some traditional materials may be expensive to source and install, they may last longer than cheap and modern substitutes.

Use a specialist

Appointing an architect or designer and builder who has experience in heritage projects is highly recommended. Period homes have different demands and may involve rare or unusual skills and techniques.

Check their track record, portfolio and licensing, as you would any specialist provider. It’s worth investing in the right person to save the costs of redoing inappropriate work or penalties associated with undertaking work that might be somehow restricted due to heritage conditions.

“faux” modern extension – not our cup-of-tea!

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Striking to the right balance between  period home and modern contemporary living is a challenge. The best way to make sure your renovation and extension successfully blends old with new, is through combined communication with the owner, architect, builder and Council. There are two main streams of thought on renovating period homes to modern standards. One is to compliment and/or reproduce the existing features, textures, colours and structural design of the home with complimentary modern requirements; the other is to not reproduce anything, and create a modern renovation/extension that exists to compliment the heritage features and design only.

Designed and built correctly, both can be equally beautiful. However, both are fraught with danger if not designed and executed well, and there are now a growing number of as many “faux modern” disasters as there are “faux heritage” . This is supported by a growing tendency by some Councils, to encourage development that is clearly and obviously different to the original heritage. What now exists are many beautiful period homes, stripped to a bare façade, with unattractive “box” like extensions attached to the back. No-one could ever argue that they have tried to replicate any component of a heritage home with a “faux” extension. However, the question must be asked why would you do this to a period style home?

The unique features of heritage and period homes are priceless, many of these features will never be re-sourced or reproduced as beautifully, or if at all, in future eras. Compliment or enhance – however, a massive “faux modern” box on the back of a period home, that will date before time, leaving the remnants of a heritage façade, is not our cup-of-tea!

5 ways to build / renovate your classic home (without the stress!)

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  1. Start with the end in mind – This is the only way to achieve a quality result, particularly with classic, period and historic homes. Quilliam Building aims to enhance your property value and improve your lifestyle, the earlier you engage our expertise in your planning, the better the final result!
  2. Select a recommended builder for your investment – Quilliam Building has over 30 years specialist knowledge and experience in all types of modern, period and heritage construction throughout the Ballarat region. Our Classiq Trades Company collectively provides over a century of dedicated trade skill and expertise to your project.
  3. Know exactly what you are paying for UP FRONT! – Our mutual agreement for completion of works is formalised with detailed documentation.
  4. Seek a product / service guarantee – Quilliam Building guarantee professional building management that will enhance your property value and lifestyle.
  5. Have someone else handle the stress – A building service is a contractual agreement over a period of time. We focus on professional quality and value for the life of the project, rather than only on construction cost. We professionally organise and coordinate trades and foster harmonious working relationships for the full term of the project