Interior decorating advice!
Whether you have a period home or a flash new modern number that needs your personal touch, you may like the advice of a professional before setting your dreams in concrete. Peninsula Living explains what the budding home decorator needs to know.
Decorators vs designers
There is much confusion as to the roles interior decorators and interior designers play in interior design. If you are considering renovating your home, do you get the advice of an interior designer or interior decorator? That depends on whether your home is in for a manicure, or an extreme makeover.
Interior decorators deal primarily with artistic or visual matters, such as finishes, furnishings and floor coverings. They are usually not qualified to make substantial changes to interiors, such as the removal of walls, however, they can be of immense assistance to someone who knows the look they want in their home, but not the confidence to attain it. Interior decorators are particularly useful when purchasing items for your home, as they can save you time and money on worthwhile pieces.
Interior designers, on the other hand, deal with the spaces within a home and are qualified to make structural changes. They liaise closely with architectural and structural engineers, who rearrange spaces in harmony with the lifestyle requirements of the owners.
A client can issue a brief to a decorator that will focus on the fine details of an interior, whereas a brief issued to a designer will be a lot broader and may include consistency between structural elements and interior spaces, perhaps creating a harmonious flow between indoor and outdoor spaces.
Colour consultants help to select colour themes and advise clients on harmonious hues and tones. Intrinsic to interior decoration are other disciplines, such as audio-visual experts who can advise on acoustic properties of interior spaces, select suitable equipment and an ideal location for their installation.
Home-automation experts may also be required to simplify features included in a security system and automatic lighting. Often this equipment can be overbearing and it is best included as inconspicuously as possible—audio-visual may work in conjunction with decorators and designers to create the desired look.
Tips for common projects
While redecorating the interior of a home, there are often commonly encountered and frustrating setbacks that slow the whole process. These need to be addressed at the source rather than to disguise and hope for the best or hope that the next owner does not notice.
If youre intending to paint the ceiling, take a thorough look at it. Look for hairline cracks and darkened patches to the paintwork—the result of water leaking through roof tiles. If you paint a ceiling in this condition, youll be right back where you started from just a few months down the track.
Dont listen to anyone who says theyll affix new linings to the underside of defective and damp plasterboard. Have the roof space checked by a professional and address any leaks where tiles may be broken, sarking torn, flashings or gutters in need of attention. While you are there, take a good look at the insulation batts and make sure they are not soggy.
Look around the cornices within your home and check for dark trails of dust on the walls, this may spell a good amount of ceiling dust that may contain lead particles—get a professional to vacuum the ceiling space. If all is in good order, only then pick up a paint brush and roller.
The same applies to walls. There wouldnt be any point painting a wall that is suffering from rising damp, it would bubble in days. Sure, it is an easy exercise to fix battens on the same wall then affix new plasterboard linings, but the wall is still damp; the room will still be musty, the wall will continue to deteriorate, the moisture will affect the new wall linings and the expensive paint used to finish these.
The problem needs to be tackled at the source. A waterproofing specialist can inject a damp-proof course into the damp area, or physically insert a new section of the wall by cutting out sections along the wall. There are no shortcuts.
Take a good look at the floor before deciding whether to tile the whole area or resand and finish the existing tongue and groove boards. While checking the underside of the floor, look at the sub-frame for any signs of deterioration on bearers and joists. It is a relatively easy exercise to lay plastic membrane over an entire area, lay a sand and cement screed with mesh through it then tile, but if the bearers and joists are not up to it, your tiles may crack in a matter of weeks.
If all is in good order, to professionally paint rendered walls may set you back around $18.40/m²; about $14.00/m² if it is a plasterboard wall and about $15.90/m² for ceilings. If your walls need to be rerendered you may want to add about $31.00/m² to your redecorating budget, relining timber stud frames with new plasterboard may incur $25.00/m², and ceilings $27.90/m².
Decorating your home is a fascinating process, but to be completely satisfied with the end result, dont take any shortcuts.
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Restorations need to be kept faithful to the original character of your home, and minimising the replacement of items by preserving the old as much as possible. For example, when replacing rotted timber floors, replace them with the exact same type of timber and the same width of board; if the home is experiencing rising damp, install a damp-proof course and improve site drainage, dont render the walls to disguise brickwork.
The Victorian period refers to buildings built in the second half of the 19th century when styles ranging from Gothic to Rococo were revived and houses were built in fashions such as Italianate, Romanesque-revival and Queen Anne styles. The enduring Victorian style that continues to this day is the Victorian terrace, the original medium-density housing of Australia.
In the Victorian home, you find larger windows with larger panes; a wide use of building materials, such as decorative cast iron, corrugated roofing iron, plaster and timber weatherboards; extensive use of verandas and sun screening devices; bay windows; finials; and cresting to the roof.
Victorian Gothic homes have steeply pitched roof gables between 45 and 60 degrees; elaborately carved timber barge boards and fretwork; and houses with tall chimneys often make use of pointed arch forms in veranda decoration and windows.
Victorian Italianate homes have classical mouldings around windows, doors and brackets under the eaves. You will usually find a square tower to one side of the often multi-storied home; ornamental chimneys with elaborate four panel doors; mosaic tile or marble porch and hall floors; coloured and etched glass windows; and plastered walls.
Late-Victorian homes feature heavily-ornamented facades using a wide variety of materials that were available at the time, such as stone, terra-cotta, plaster, coloured bricks, mosaic tiles, and marble, or have the entire exterior plastered and painted. These homes were often a merging of a variety of styles such as Gothic and Italianate.
Original Federation-style housing started in the 1890s and continued until the 1920s. A typical Federation house is a freestanding, single-storey dwelling in red brick with a roof which extends over a large veranda and uses decorative chimneys, gables, corner towers and terracotta decorations with stained glass windows.
Dominant roofs were often broken by false gables and capped by terracotta frilled ridges. Turned-timber veranda columns were enhanced by elaborate timber decoration; perimeters adorned with bay windows; and leadlight or coloured glass windows.
These properties are part of Australian history. For a connoisseur it must be depressing to see them in a state of disrepair, but heart-wrenching when mistreated by unsympathetic decoration and renovations.