Written by Gaylene Drew, GIW Design

Need a space to work from home? Or even a space to call your own, but don’t have the budget for custom cabinetry? Then this blog is for you!

We had a guest bedroom that was no longer being used for its namesake, and instead became a dumping ground for items in limbo. The goal was to convert the space into a work zone for ME! A zone that was my own style with items that bring me joy. A zone that was not dictated by what will or won’t work with children (e.g. won’t be touched, dirtied or broken). I wanted a space that was light, bright and pretty.


I used a canvas print from Kmart as my inspiration for the room; it is floral, green and light.

Designers Tip: Pick one or two focal pieces as your guide for colours and decor in the room. I did this by pulling the green from the canvas and placing it on the walls. I also decorated with other floral elements through-out the room.

To bring life to the room we painted it in Half Strength Foille by Dulux. Designers tip: Purchase some sample pots and test the colours first.

By testing first, we learnt the full strength colour would be too dark and which left the space feeling smaller. To assist in lightening and brightening the space, we conducted DIY on pieces of wood by painting them white (Chest and Shelf). They were then styled with existing and new pieces that aesthetically connected with our focal piece.


I was clear and decisive about my desk objectives: long and moveable. To meet these objectives the desk was put together by items from IKEA. IKEA can be a cheaper alternative; however delivery soon adds up when living regionally. Don’t just presume it will be the cheapest route and do your research by comparing other suppliers.


To get hubby on board with my project I had to set a budget and we felt $500 would be ample. Unfortunately, I went a little bit over! Upon reflection, overheads could have been reduced with more DIY tasks.

Cost breakdown:

$164  Décor
+ $140  Desk Set-up (including delivery)
+ $233  Paint & Equipment
= $537


Big or small renovations can be overwhelming. To help ease the stress and assist in the decision process you can engage an Interior Designer. A Designer can give professional advice on selections, layout and functionality (just for starters). 


Written by: Sarah Hunt, Zone Planning Group

With a shift in business mindset following COVID-19, and a number of small scale business owners looking for ways to establish their up and coming businesses with minimal overheads, we are seeing an increase in the number of people working from home or running a home based business.


This a great way to get started, it provides flexibility for workers around family commitments, reduces commute time/vehicle dependency, and increases opportunity for casual surveillance of our residential neighbourhoods during normal working hours for improved public safety. However, due to being located within residential neighbourhoods, there are a number of Council regulations in place to manage the Home Based Business structure to ensure that they do not impact on the peace and quiet of other residents. As a result, it is essential that potential business owners are aware of these limitations before proceeding with a corporate change, or initial startup, to ensure they avoid regulatory pitfalls.


The most essential limitation is that the main use of the House is retained for ‘living’ purposes. On this basis, a business cannot operate from a House unless the business owner (or primary employee) lives there as their permanent place of residence. In addition to this limitation, a home based business can avoid the requirement for further planning approval all together, so long as all of the following requirements are met, at all times:

  • The business is wholly contained within the main house on the site;
  • Has a maximum area for the business use (gross floor area) of 100m2;
  • The business is conducted by a resident or residents of the dwelling and has no more than two (2) non-resident employees on site at any one time;
  • No goods, materials or equipment are visible from the street or neighbouring properties;
  • Unless a bed and breakfast, the business is closed Sunday and public holidays with operating hours between 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays;
  • Limited customers – no more than 10 vehicular trips to and from the site per day and no more than 2 vehicles parked on the site at any one time associated with the business;
  • Limited deliveries of no more than 1 delivery per week from a delivery vehicle exceeding 2.5 tonnes in weight); and
  • Activities do not involve the repairing, servicing, cleaning, or loading of motor vehicles.

If you have a home based business idea that doesn’t quite fit within these requirements, but it is still something you are passionate about proceeding with, a planning approval would be required so that Council can assess any possible impacts on surrounding neighbours.

At the end of the day it is all about retaining a small scale and preserving the residential amenity of your surrounding area. If you’ve been looking for options outside of the commercial space and believe your business operations fall within the above parameters, then the Home Based Business structure may be just what you’re looking for!


Written by: Kara Kirk, Harbour City Tiles & Carpets

Bathrooms are one of the most exciting rooms in the home when it comes to tiles. I believe it is one of the areas in the house where you can show off your unique style. 

There are plenty of trends that come and go, but it’s important to stick to your own taste and individual style, and not include too many features in a small space.  


A trend that we see emerging is the use of large format tiles. A popular option has been using the same 600×600 tile for the floor and walls which creates the visual effect of a larger space. Large format also helps with minimal grout and ease of cleaning.  

With the reduction of grout joints, using the large format tile helps the area look less busy and it visually opens up the area. 

NOTE! Check with your tiler on the extra costs of laying the larger format tile and a rectified edge.


To successfully design a unique bathroom, you simply choose a feature to reflect your own style!

The tile market is flooded with new and different feature tiles almost on a weekly basis which can be overwhelming. Choose the feature that best reflects the aesthetics of the space you are designing. Each feature has its place, whether it is something as simple as having the same tile floor and wall and using your vanity as the feature; or doing a full patterned wall. The choice is yours!

A popular way of adding a focal point to a bathroom is to use feature tiles on a single wall to create a backdrop for a statement bath. Or feature floor tiles to make your white bath really pop.


Choosing the right tile for your bathroom takes time. There are a huge range of colours, shapes, and textures available to suit your needs. We strongly recommend borrowing samples to test how they look in your home and the unique lighting conditions of your bathroom. 

If you need help in making your dream bathroom a reality, please feel free to pop down for a chat at Harbour City Tiles & Carpets. 


Written by Belinda Blackburn

I was passionate about improving my home!

Despite having lots of windows in an open plan design, the space still felt dark from the timber-look lino and black kitchen benchtop.

When we decided to undertake the renovation I knew that I wanted to make it bright and welcoming; consequently, the entire house was gutted!  The dark flooring was removed and replaced with a light vinyl planking; walls were repainted; and a new bathroom, toilet and laundry were installed. We got it all!

We were so excited to see the improvements evolve and enhance the living spaces.


I researched for many hours and found most of my inspiration online. I then created virtual mood boards before finally deciding on a style that I loved and could commit to.

We designed the kitchen so that white was the dominant colour palette, and used black accents and marble benchtop to create a beautiful contrast.

Sparkmans Cabinetry made it all come to life and I thank them for their patience with my back and forth decision making! Reece Plumbing were the suppliers for all our beautiful kitchen and bathroom products (including appliances), and I absolutely love how it turned out.


It was hard to keep track of the timeline as the whole house was being renovated at the same time. There were lots of people to navigate including the builder, plumber, plasterer, electrician, tiler, floor layers, painter, and cabinetmaker. In total, the renovation took approximately 10 weeks.


The best advice I can offer to anyone else undertaking a renovation project is to plan, plan, plan! Be prepared for setbacks and things not always going right. It’s going to happen no matter how well you have organised everything, but it’s all worth it in the end!

Happy renovating and good luck in this year’s competition!


Written by: Danielle Straatmans, SE Plumbing

You’ve decided to renovate your kitchen or bathroom, congrats! At this stage it’s safe to assume you have savings set aside, an idea of what you’d like to change, and you’re ready to take the next step. Since both kitchens and bathrooms involve water, you’re going to need a plumber. But who should you go with and what should you look out for?


When engaging a plumber for your next kitchen or bathroom renovation, ensure you select a fully licensed and insured contractor with a good reputation. You want to deal with a company that will be in the local area for years to come, who offers coverage to protect you, your family and your home. These companies will generally have a quality guarantee, will happily follow up replacement parts when required, and will assist to have a faulty item replaced under warranty, free of charge, if they initially provided the supply and install.


If you’re on a budget, it’s best to leave the fixtures in the existing location to minimise the cost of relocating pipework. If you do choose to change the layout, engage a plumber first, to ensure your water and drain locations are feasible. Otherwise, it can add additional time and costs to the renovation.


Select quality tapware and fixtures with good warranties that have readily available replacement parts, especially with in-wall fixtures. Remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the most cost-effective in the long run. Eventually, flick mixer cartridges will fail, inlet and outlet toilet valves will become faulty, and pop-up plugs will seize. If these replacement parts can’t be sourced, you may need to replace the entire fixture or pay excessive fees to find a similar after-market part. Many reputable plumbing suppliers such as Reece Plumbing, Tradelink and Kens Plumbing offer a great range of options.

Once all of these items are considered, you’re ready to renovate your kitchen and bathroom! Enjoy the process, and remember to take Before and After photos so can reflect on your renovation journey and enter #renovate4680 next year!


Written by: Sarah Hunt, Zone Planning Group

Wanting to build that man cave? Dreaming of a shed to call your own? Not sure where to start or what you need to do to tick all the regulatory boxes? Zone Planning Group shares a few tips to ensure you know the do’s and don’ts to avoid regulatory pitfalls and timely construction delays.

In addition to choosing your shed company and ensuring you obtain the necessary building approvals to support your shed construction, Gladstone Regional Council requires certain shed developments to obtain Amenity and Aesthetic approval. Council regulates the location and size of sheds within the bulk of residential areas, along with our Regions Centres, and it is on this basis that aspiring shed owners need to know what’s what.


Where a property already contains a Dwelling House, introducing a shed onsite must ensure that the combined house and shed area does not exceed 50% site cover and 9m/2 storeys in height. Exceedance of these requirements would require further assessment from Council. It is essential that you stick to these restrictions to avoid costly assessment fees and months long approval timeframes, with no specific guarantee of receiving an approval.

In the event that your property is vacant, introduction of a shed prior to your Dwelling House will require further assessment against Council’s Amenity and Aesthetics Policy. This policy favours the delivery of sheds in conjunction with a Dwelling House and limits sheds on vacant land to the following:

Lot Area Shed Size
<450m2 <54m2
450m2 – 2,000m2 <72m2
2,000m2 – 40,000m2 <150m2


Council will consider any adverse amenity impacts created as a result of the proposal on the established built form of your surrounding area, including adjoining neighbours and public places. They will also assess whether the proposed works will jeopardise the ability to locate a future Dwelling House on your property – amongst an extensive list of other assessment criteria.

In light of these restrictions and assessment requirements, it’s preferable that your Dwelling House is built first or at the same time as your shed. It is also recommended that you work with your shed company and Council to come up with a built form outcome that suits your site and specifications, prior to undertaking any construction works. This way you can potentially avoid further red tape and delays on building that shed you’ve been dreaming of.

2019 Winner: Residential Bathroom

Written by: Michelle Eaton

We were nervous starting our first renovation to our home, especially after hearing countless horror stories. It could not have run more smoothly due to Dave Werry at DCG Werry Building Services. He had so much patience listening to my design ideas and made our dream a reality. The whole process took around 12-14 days and we could not be happier with the results!

The entire bathroom was gutted and moved around to open up and utilise the small space we had to work with. We chose a decking floor for something unique, being a full wet bathroom. Mixing with it an industrial, Scandi texture with floor to ceiling tiles from HARBOUR CITY TILES & CARPETS. The beautiful fittings and mirror were from Ken’s Plumbing, and custom-built vanity from Sparkman’s Cabinetry.

We honestly forget we are in our own bathroom at times, we just don’t want to get out!

My biggest tip for anyone thinking of doing a renovation is to be organised, and do your research. It’s ok to be set on a design or theme but also listen and work with your builder. I had backup options incase my first choice wasn’t possible. I was always looking for inspiration in places I visited, and on Pinterest.

Thank you again to #Renovate4680 for running this competition and good luck to all the entrants for this year’s competition!


Things to Consider for a New Landscape Project

Written by: Jenny Verne, Greenscape Gladstone

When you go out in search for your perfect home by either inspecting already built dwellings or designing and building from scratch, you always start with a list of what you want, need and a planned budget. It’s the same for your gardens, lawns and outdoor spaces. Having this list is the best place to start when considering a design for your landscape that will make the perfect environment for you and your family to live in.

Just as you would seek the advice of a designer or builder when building your home, a professional landscaper can provide a consultation service to help you design an attractive and functional garden or yard making the most of the space you have to work with. A good landscaper is well practiced in putting all the pieces together within your budget having considered the size, shape, aspect of the property, the architecture of your home and solar passive opportunities.

Before you start you need to also be clear about how the space will be used.

  • Will it be a private refuge for relaxation and contemplation?
  • Will you need lots of seating options and open spaces for entertaining the family and visitors?
  • Do you have a dog, as there are some plant species that are not suitable to have around animals.
  • Is there easy access to the property for any machinery that might be required in the initial landscape project?
  • Would you like a Vegetable garden or would you prefer native trees to attract birds?

There are so many questions that need to be answered in the planning process and these are just a few.

Your budget is one of the most important starting points to help your Landscaper determine things like how many features to include such as a water feature or fire pit, the quantity and size of plants to install and selecting products such as turf, mulch, stone and soils – of which there are a myriad of choices. Gladstone suburbs are renowned for sloping blocks with lots of rocky ground. Steep sloping blocks can lead to costly retaining walls and considerable issues when it comes around to summer rainfalls and the need for sufficient drainage.

Once you have worked out all the logistics, practicalities and fundamental planning, imagination is key. Get creative! Ask questions and find out the trade secrets like how certain garden bed and lawn designs can elude you into believing you have more space than you actually do.

With the help of a Licensed Landscaper who is well equipped with the tricks of the trade, you can transform your garden into a welcome home show piece that will look good all year round.


LOCATIONS estate agents shares tips on how best to photograph your recently renovated kitchen or bathroom.

Light is a basic element of photography; turn those light switches on!

In the kitchen, turn the light on in the range hood.

For the bathroom, just turn on the standard lights and avoid turning on the heated lamps because they can create a yellow and orange colour cast throughout your image.

Something to keep in mind is that white light globes create a cool lighting effect. The yellow and orange light globes create a warm effect. So definitely install those light globes with deliberate intention.

Create images that are aesthetically pleasing with a few very simple tips:

  • Depersonalise the space by removing family photos
  • Declutter the room and create strong leading lines in the image
  • Utilize soft furnishings to a minimum. Be sure that everything in the space is very deliberate and that nothing is distracting.
  • Display towels and mats with caution. Whilst they are very pretty, they can cover a lot of the floors, walls and grout that the judges need to see in your image.
  • When photographing a bathroom with a toilet: please put the lid down.

The quality of your photo is not what is being judged, but a good photo will certainly help the judges see the space in the way that you intended.

Whilst it can be beneficial to hire a professional real estate photographer, smartphones can take a really good photo but please avoid applying any filters.

Gladstone, get those entries in and good luck!

white enamel bathtub in a bright bathroom

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