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Creative Staircase Designs Provide Inspiration For Your Project

These days, homeowners are increasingly looking at creative and unique staircase designs for their homes. As well as helping this ordinary household feature turn into a statement or artistic piece, it can actually add a lot of value to the home (which is great if you’re thinking about selling). If you are in the process of looking at designs, we have compiled a list of some staircases that are starting to increase in popularity.

Take it from the top image by Martin Turner

  1. Portable
    If the space that the staircase leads to is not used all that often (perhaps it’s a loft for guest accommodation or it’s a storage area), you might like to consider a portable design. The structure can be wheeled (and locked) into place when you need access to the space, and then it can be tucked away someplace else when not in use.
  2. Library
    If you are the kind of person who has their own home library, a staircase design that incorporates this could be the perfect storage solution. Line the sides of the flight with shelving, which also gives you the opportunity to display your collection. You could even turn the treads themselves into additional book nooks.
  3. Abstract
    If you are a fan of abstract and minimalist art, you might also be a fan of a staircase that incorporates similar sentiments. A ribbon design is quite popular, which involves the treads all being connected and zigzagging their way up to the next level. The treads that you step on must be flat, but the others may be angled.
  4. Floating
    If your home is more on the modern side and you don’t want to ruin this theme with an ugly, chunky staircase you could opt for a floating design. This involves the treads being anchored directly into the guide wall, without any other means of support. You must be very careful when putting this together, however.
  5. Slide
    If the main use of the upstairs of your home is for your children, why not make it fun for them to come downstairs for school or dinner? Alongside the spiral staircase that traverses between the levels of your home, add a slide. When it’s time to come downstairs, your kids just have to jump on the slide and ride it all the way down.
  6. Storage
    If you have a lot of objects that you need to store (besides books), you could find this sort of staircase design ideal. Why not incorporate drawers into the treads? Or shelving on the outside of the flight, if it’s open? Or hidden cupboards if you don’t want the items to be on show? There are plenty of ideas out there.

The traditional purpose of a staircase is to allow people to get from one level of a building to another. These days, however, design has taken on a whole new meaning with all of the other options that are available to you. After browsing the staircase designs that we have compiled in the above list (and perhaps some others that you have come across in your own research), we hope that you have plenty of ideas to work with for your own project. You can also speak with an architect for more inspiration.

Gowling Stairs specialize in all type of modern staircase and external balustrading design have a 25 years exp. in Melbourne, Australia.

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How To Plan Your Commercial Office Fitout

Has your workplace been looking a little out of date of late? Have you been struggling to find room for all those extra employees? A commercial office fitout could be the solution to all your problems, but it can prove to be a stressful project if you haven’t properly planned for it. We have outlined some important steps for planning your fitout with success in mind:

  1. Set some project goals
    You need to determine exactly what you want to achieve with the fitout – do you want to reinforce the branding of your business, to increase the motivation and productivity of your employees, to make more space for new employees? Keep a list of all your project goals somewhere visible.
  2. Keep a checklist
    You should list down all of the requirements you need to meet alongside some matching timelines. It should also be noted that you might need some of the work to be completed after hours so that your employees can work undisturbed during normal work hours.
  3. Never compromise on quality
    Whilst there is nothing wrong with trying to keep the costs of your fitout down, you should never compromise on the quality of your furniture and fixtures. You will find that purchasing high quality items actually saves you money in the long run, as these things will not need to be replaced.
  4. Include everything in your budget
    There are a number of things that are often forgotten when determining a commercial office fitout budget, including IT infrastructure, telephone and power outlets, and storage cabinets. These can prove an unexpected cost if you forget to incorporate them from the beginning.
  5. Do your research
    You will need to undertake thorough research to ensure that you have selected the most appropriate furniture and fixtures for your fitout. If you are employing a contractor to undertake the project for you, it can also help to speak with some of their past clients for some reviews.
  6. Consider safety first
    Before starting work on the fitout, it is vital that you have addressed the safety requirements of your building (such as the placement of sprinklers, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and exit signs). You should also consider where non-slip floor surfaces and other signs are required.
  7. Consult with an expert contractor
    It is of the utmost importance that you hire an office fitout professional to undertake your project, as trying to complete works yourself (more often than not) ends in disaster. A contractor will ensure that your budget and timeline are adhered to, as well as having access to better deals.

Now that you know the best way to plan your upcoming commercial office fitout, you can rest assured that the whole process will go as smoothly as possible, that you won’t go over budget and that it will be finished on time. If there is only one piece of advice that you take away from this article, make sure that you contact a fitout expert – they will ensure that all of the other points occur.

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Which Curtains And Blinds Will Work Best In Each Room Of Your Home?

When your home is dying for a refresh, the obvious changes include a new coat of paint or a revamp of the floors – but have you ever considered swapping out your curtains and outdoor blinds? They are an important part of any makeover and will provide your home with a number of advantages (including adding value, atmosphere, softness, a burst of colour, and improving energy efficiency).

Personal taste aside, some homeowners struggle to decide whether blinds or curtains or even some combination of them both will look best. This is why we have taken a closer look at some of the different rooms in your home in a bid to help you determine what window treatment will work best (and what will be simply disastrous). Read on to learn how you can make the choice!


It can actually be quite difficult to choose between curtains and blinds for your living areas, as both treatments will work quite well. Both offer a versatile and functional look, feature energy efficient properties, and offer control over light and privacy. If you are going for a more relaxed or ‘homey’ look, the former will be the best choice (as there is a wider availability of styles and fabrics); if you are going for a more formal or stylish look, the latter will be the best choice.


There can be no denying that blinds are the better option for your kitchen, as they are easy to clean (should they become dirty whilst cooking), can be pulled out of harms way and are easy to use. Most homeowners prefer to opt for durable materials, like aluminium and timber, as fabric can become stained. If you are going for a contemporary look, you could also use sheer curtains to soften the space and connect it with the outdoors.


This is another room where the choice between curtains and blinds becomes blurred. Whilst most homeowners prefer the former (as they are a traditional option and can add a sense of depth to your home), the latter is the ideal choice for people who do shift work or have young children (as blockout versions are available, which will make the room pitch black). A combination of blinds and curtains could also be an advantageous choice.


This is another room in which curtains are rarely used, as fabric is susceptible to moisture damage (including discolouration and mildew growth). There are plenty of durable blind options that will turn your bathroom into a luxurious oasis without risking damage – the roman style is actually quite reminiscent of drapes, whilst treated timber and aluminium slats will provide a modern look that bridges no argument.

We understand that choosing between window curtains and blinds can be difficult, especially when we are talking about spaces like the lounge and bedrooms when either would work well. If you are still having problems making a final decision, make sure you speak with a window treatment specialist – they will surely have some recommendations you can benefit from.

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Roller blinds online

It’s easy to talk about the outstanding value of roller blinds today, about the quality of the materials being used, about the fabulous range of colours and materials, and finally about the exceptional value for money. But all of those benefits do not represent the complete picture. That comes when you realize that roller blinds online are freely available today. The world of shopping has changed. The customer is now in a position to see all types of blinds from all types of suppliers and compare prices of like for like.

Roller Blind, image by Mercury Blinds – Colchester

But first let’s first of all talk about the blinds themselves. They are a cinch to operate, they look classy and elegant, they are super effective when sunscreen roller blinds are selected and they add value and style to your home or apartment. But of course knowing about roller blinds online is one thing, finding the ideal supplier is quite another. You require the best in the business and nothing less than that will do.

How to find the ideal source of roller blinds online

Obviously you go online. But you do have a choice and this is where it is important to know the various criteria which will help you select the best in the business. These are the things to look for, these are the questions to ask. You can even take notes as you investigate your options, give them a score if you like.

  • Do they have a wide range of materials and colours?
  • Do they use only the best quality material manufactured from overseas?
  • Do they have photographs and videos explaining the procedures of measurement and installation?
  • Do they offer you the possibility of installing a valance?
  • Do they provide roller blinds for large windows and for sliding and bi-fold doors?
  • Do they offer an online quick quotation service? Do they provide free colour and fabric samples?
  • Do they offer a limited lifetime warranty?
  • Have they been in business for many years?
  • Do they have a 30 day satisfaction guarantee?
  • Do they provide all necessary installation hardware?
  • Do they provide a secure online ordering form?

You want the best materials and the best expertise in manufacture. You want the quickest service with the best delivery. You obviously want the best price and one which is highly competitive. You want as much information as is necessary before you make your choice. You want to know all there is to know about cleaning and maintaining your roller blinds.

When you know the type of questions to ask or the type of things to look for, you are in an ideal position to choose the best provider for your roller blinds online. The supplier with the glowing testimonials and the years of successful operation is a supplier you want and need.

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Keeping in touch with friends and family when apart

In years gone by, keeping in touch with a loved one who was living a distance away from you was through letter and before that the telegram. During the Second World War, soldiers who were away from wives and girlfriends would be kept motivated through the receiving of love letters which reminded them that they were being thought about even though they were many miles away.

Today, people are separated for a number of reasons; the armed forces still being one of them. Other reasons are parents and their son or daughter who has moved to study at university, a couple who have to live a long distance relationship due to work or family commitments, members of the family who move to start a new life abroad and those who have made friends whilst on holiday and want to stay in touch after they return to the respective lives.

There are a number of ways to stay in touch and to keep up with all the news. This can include email, social networking such as Facebook and Twitter, text, telephone calls and of course, sending letters through the post.

Keeping in touch with friends and family when apart

A great way to stay in touch is through conference calling. This is where more than two people can be involved in either a phone conversation or a video conversation and is a great way for families to all talk to each other at the same time without the need to pass a phone from one person to another.

Conference calling is really straight forward to set up and use and whilst many applications are for use in business, it’s just as useful in a domestic situation. You can arrange a conference call service through one of the many providers if you have a long term need for this kind of communication or you can use a number of internet related services. Call plans and associated costs aren’t expensive for this kind of technology, there’s often the option of having a free conference call with screen sharing for those who want to use video facilities as well as the phone.

Conference calling was invented in 1956 and whilst it fell out of favour in the 1960s not long after its launch due to the cost and the problems with the initial technology, the birth of the digital era has meant that it’s now a part of everyday life with excellent audio and great video quality generally. For those who think it is something just used in large organisations and busy businesses, think again. It’s the perfect tool for the family who are spread far and wide across the UK and beyond and they are just as much part of the whole ethos of why conferencing calling was invented as the busy professional who is looking to save time and money on travelling to a meeting.

Conferencing calling can be used with normal telephones and it’s even easier with a smartphone as you can call the first person, use the Add Caller button and then just tap ‘Merge’ when the next person is on the line. You can even add as many as five people using a smartphone so if you’re out and about and have some great news you want to share, you can do this just as easily walking along the street as sitting at home watching the TV.

Some companies will require you to have specific hardware such as their own handsets, but many don’t and so you can use your own home phone. It’s often just a case of calling a specific number and then having a password or PIN to hand to enter and this activates the conference call service.

Being apart physically doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch so if you’re away from someone you love today or want to chat to a group of friends and feel you’re all in the same room together, check out call conferencing to bring you all that little bit closer together.

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Cute guestbook ideas for your baby shower

A mum-to-be’s baby shower will be an event that she wants to remember forever. Why not help to preserve her fond memory by creating a guestbook to give to her as a memento of her special day? A guestbook featuring kind messages from the mum-to-be’s friends and family is sure to warm her heart and let her know that she has a lot of support behind her during this exciting, yet life changing time. Here we have provided a few cute guestbook ideas for baby showers.

Ask guests to take photos of themselves at the baby shower to put inside the guestbook.

Photo guestbook

Photo guestbooks are becoming more and more popular at baby showers. To create one you will need an instant camera, pens and a scrapbook. Basically what you need to do is get guests to take a photo of themselves at the baby shower, stick them in the scrapbook and write their own personal message to the mum-to-be or her new baby underneath their photograph. This will ensure the mum-to-be remembers exactly who was at her shower and will be able to look back on the pictures with fond memories with her child in the future.

Blown up photo guestbook

Alternatively, you could take a photo of the pregnant mum-to-be and have it blown up onto a large canvas. You could then lay it out on a craft table at the baby shower and ask guests to sign their name or leave a message somewhere on the photo canvas. To make the baby shower photo guestbook extra special you could have it framed afterwards so the mum-to-be can hang it in her home.

Charm bracelet guestbook

This idea will work better for intimate baby showers where the guests are close friends and family of the mother-to-be. Basically the baby shower host will buy a charm bracelet for the guest of honour and ask each guest to bring a charm that they have picked out to put on the bracelet. During the baby shower, each guest should go up to the mother-to-be and present her with a new charm for her bracelet. It may be a lovely idea for them to explain why the charm was chosen, to give it more of a special meaning.

This is a lovely alternative to a traditional guestbook and will provide the mother-to-be with something that she can wear and cherish forever. Of course, it is much more expensive than our other scrapbooking ideas, which is why we have suggested it for intimate baby showers only.

Customised onesie guestbook

Another great idea is to place a baby onesie on a flat table and ask guests to sign it with their special message using permanent markers. You can then have the onesie framed (similar to how people have football shirts and jerseys framed) so that the mum-to-be can hang it proudly on her wall at home.

Ask guests to write a special letter or message to put inside the baby shower time capsule.

Time capsule guestbook

A truly special guestbook idea involves creating a time capsule at the baby shower. Simply ask guests to either write a special message for the mum-to-be’s child or bring a token gift to put inside the box. Bury the box in the garden (or alternatively put it in the loft) and tell the mum-to-be that she must open it with her child in ‘x’ number of years. This will give the mum-to-be something to look forward to doing with her child in the future and will also make the perfect keepsake of her baby shower.


So there we have five cute guestbook ideas, perfect for baby showers. Guestbooks can be as simple or creative as you like. Either way, the mum-to-be is sure to be overwhelmed at the thought and effort you have put in to making her day truly memorable.

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5 Best Places to Visit in USA

United States of America is regarded as one of the most developed countries in the world. As far as travelling and beauty is concerned it offers many locations for the visitors to come and enjoy the beauty of life. When you think about United States of America tourism many places come into your mind such as dazzling lights of the New York, palm tree of the Southern California and the Disney World. But you might not have heard of certain cities that are much more exciting than the few you know.


Nashville, Tennessee:

Nashville is the capital of Tennessee State and it has got almost everything you are looking for, the lush green space such as the Park and Recreation of Metro Board that manages almost the land of 110,200 acres that include almost 99 big and small parks. It also contains the urban culture and offers the great food. The city of Nashville was also named as the best city for live music by the Atlantic cities and giving the Nashville the honor of “Music City”. The is also known as the Country Music Hall of Fame due to its record store all along with the Music line. There are international couriers available as well. So if you are party maker and love doing parties this place is for you.

Ocean City, Maryland:

So if you are planning to visit the United States then Ocean city is the ideal place for you to enjoy the Eastern coast as this city is known as the Eastern Shore by the mid-Atlantic locals. If you are visiting Washington D.C or Baltimore this place is close to both cities. These are much food stuff popular in this city especially at night time American national loves to eat the Dumser’s ice cream as well as Thrasher’s fries. If you want to send a parcel to USA especially in this area do prefer something food related. Also you can enjoy Ferris ride as well. At the day time you may go to Assateagus land mass where horses wander the beach.

Honolulu, Hawaii:

Have you ever gone to Honolulu? It is the capital of the American state of Hawaii and has been called the greatest city of United States of America. You will experience the uniqueness of the American city with a number of different cultures being mixed in single amazing city. There are international couriers available for your help. Near to the Waikiki Aquarium centre you will see the great beaches. You will find affordable hostels and community centre at this city if you aren’t seeking of any luxury place for sleeping.

Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Minneapolis city is one of the finest cities of America. It is the major metropolis Minneapolis which has a huge number of museums, performing art centre as well as the Renown University of Minnesota.

Eugene, Oregon

This city is a lively one having lovely art scene, strong culture and lifestyle. There is no deficiency of activity. If you are going in July season then you must visit Oregon Country Fair.

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Trends Being Reflected In The Office Furniture Of 2014

The way that desks, chairs, partitions and other items of office furniture have changed over the years is a result of the way that workplaces are evolving to accommodate new technology and discoveries or to make the lives of employees more bearable. What trends are we likely to see reflected in the furniture of 2014 and beyond, however?

  • Collaboration
    With hierarchy becoming less important in many workplaces, office furniture is being designed with collaboration in mind. This will be clear in the presence of more modular pieces, which can be arranged and rearranged depending on your needs.
  • Work Everywhere
    It seems that people are spending more and more time working, such as during lunch breaks and whilst waiting for a meeting. This will lead to the inclusion of comfortable seating with armrests so that employees can work wherever they happen to be at the time.
  • Creativity
    With the focus on creativity on the rise, offices are trying to encourage this sort of thinking through the inclusion of bright colours and other artistic pieces. Coloured desks and chairs will become quite common, as will artwork and other accessories.
  • Technology
    It seems that some new piece of technology is being launched every single day; we now use computers, laptops, tablets and even smartphones. This will mean that desks are designed to accommodate these additional items via cord grommets, hide away drawers and larger surfaces.
  • Spontaneity
    It seems that many businesses are encouraging meetings to be conducted on the fly. This means that furniture needs to be more versatile – it will be used by a single employee one minute and thrown into an ad hoc meeting with a handful of people the next.
  • Environment
    With people growing more concerned with the effect they are having on the environment, workplaces will also need to reflect this. Furniture with low chemical emissions and made from recycled materials will continue to grow in popularity in the next few years.
  • Homebodies
    It seems that the number of people choosing to work from home even a few days of the week is on the rise. This will lead to an increase in the number of hot desks, which are used by whoever happens to be in, and in furniture that is designed for home use.
  • Employee Focus
    There is an increasing focus being placed on the importance of employees, so companies need to work harder to keep them. This will be reflected in more ergonomic furniture, which fosters employee health and helps to avoid injury and other health problems.
  • Time
    With more people spending longer hours working – they arrive early, work through breaks and leave late – it is becoming increasingly common for comfortable office furniture to be introduced. This ensures that employees will be happy to work longer hours.


If you are in the market for some new office furniture, it is likely that you will see many of the above trends being reflected in the pieces that are available. Whilst you may not see the point of them straight away, we are sure that, with time, you will begin to see this furniture as being invaluable to your operation. What trends do you think will crop up in 2014?

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A Guide To Discolouration In Outdoor Paving Stones In Melbourne

Have you looked out the window one day and suddenly realised that some of your outdoor paving stones in Melbourne have become discoloured? Unless it has been sealed with epoxy, polyurethane or another non-breathable material, natural stone is incredibly porous. It will absorb whatever it comes into contact with, often leaving a collection of ugly stains and discolouration behind. Salt and dirt from the underside of the pavers is also known to carry through.

Many homeowners decide to seal their paving stones in order to protect them from accidental staining and to reduce the risk of algae and lichens taking root in the gaps. Even with the use of a sealant, however, discolour may still occur due to the way that the pavers are made. This is partly due to the fact that most people only seal the surface of the stones, whereas they would need to seal all six sides (including the edges) in order to offer full protection.

Silicone and acrylic sealants are not recommended for natural paving, as the thick film of polyurethane can actually change the way that the surface reflects light and can make it slippery. Urethane sealants will minimise transmission, as well as reduce moisture and efflorescence release. They are also not overly recommended for natural paving. Many homeowners have also found that these sealants alter the appearance of their paved area.

What you should be using is breathable and penetrating sealants, as they leave the surface colour and slip resistance of your paving intact. The latter is often recommended for use around swimming pools and other wet areas. They help to avoid staining and discolouration as a result of both manmade and natural causes, as well as allowing the passage of moisture into and out of the stone as required. The former is used more commonly indoors.

Some of the natural reasons that discolouration can occur include:

  • Reacting with the mortar that has been used to lay the stones;
  • Scaly and powdery deposits (known as efflorescence) due to water loss;
  • Light reflecting and dark/damp patches due to changes in moisture; and
  • Leeching from substances within the concrete base.

It doesn’t matter what kind of paving stones have been used or what technique has been used to lay them – these pavers are a wholly natural product and, as such, there will be an inherent variation in porosity, colour, texture and grain size. It is actually not unheard of for one stone to become discoloured whilst its neighbours remain unaffected. This does not mean there is something wrong with the particular paver, it’s just a natural process.

We now hope that you understand the reasons behind outdoor paving stones in Melbourne becoming stained and are aware of the fact that it is not always something that can be prevented. Whilst we certainly encourage you to seal your pavers with an appropriate sealant, we must stress that there are plenty of natural causes for staining, too. Fortunately, it is possible to remove or clean this discolouration when you are trying to make a good impression.

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Modern Gazebo Design Ideas To Help You Choose The Best Location

There can be no denying the beauty and versatility of having a covered gazebo somewhere in your backyard – it’s a place where you can sit quietly and catch up on your latest novel; a place where you can nap without being disturbed by the kids; and a place where you can enjoy a meal with friends and family. This is why it is essential to find the perfect location, and we have provided some modern gazebo design ideas to help you achieve just this.

The best way to choose your gazebo’s location is to take a walk around your backyard and view the garden from different angles and spots. Some people even choose to take photographs of each potential location so that they can view them all together at a later date and choose the best possible view. It is also important to consider each of these questions, as they will ensure that you have selected the best possible gazebo location:

  • Do you want a view or do you want seclusion?
    Some people like to have spectacular views of the surrounding gardens from their gazebo, whereas others like the structure to act as a secluded hideaway in a niche somewhere.

  • What kind of sun exposure would you prefer?
    This will also play a role in the kind of roofing and walls that you choose for your structure. Think about how much sunlight and warmth you would like to penetrate the space.

  • Is the site level or will it require some work?
    If the site is already level, drainage will be much easier to arrange and install. If the site will need some preparation, you can expect the project to take long to complete and be more costly.

  • Are there any setback or zoning laws at play?
    Most local councils require gazebo designs and plans to be submitted for approval before work can commence. It is of the utmost importance that you are aware of any applicable laws.

  • Do you need it close to the kitchen for access?
    Some people like their gazebos to be located nearby to the kitchen for easy access, especially if they intend to use the structure as an outdoor entertaining area. Keep this in mind.

  • Do you need it poolside for shade and access?
    Some people also like their gazebos to be located nearby to the swimming pool for shade and easy access. This is, of course, only applicable if you have a swimming pool or spa.


By answering each of the above questions, taking a walk around your backyard and considering modern gazebo design ideas, you can rest assured that you will have chosen an ideal location. If you are unsure whether you have made the right decision or you are tossing up between a few locations, it can sometimes help to have someone else take a look – sometimes, a fresh eye is handy. You can then begin preparing for the gazebo to be built.

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