Design Matters

Stairs with flair

The humble staircase can do far more than provide access to your second floor. Anna Cumming shows that with a bit of creativity, stairs can fulfil multiple purposes from storage and thermal regulation to design feature or just sheer fun.

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Open source home automation

Home automation need not tie you to one brand or another. Designer Paul Hendy explains how he used the open standard KNX software to augment his passive solar home for ultimate comfort.

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Keep your cool with external shading

With summers getting hotter in many parts of Australia, keeping the sun off your windows and out of your home is becoming even more important. Anna Cumming looks at the options for external shading, for both new builds and retrofits.

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Not just window dressing: High-performance curtains, blinds and shutters

Internal window coverings can protect privacy and dramatically improve the thermal function of a house, and if you choose with care, they can help keep you comfortable for years, writes Anna Cumming.

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Windows: In the frame

Wondering which glazing is most suitable for your house and climate? Lance Turner and Dick Clarke introduce you to the delicate art of window selection, and explain the key terms and concepts to get you started.

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Material benefit: specifying eco building products

Vetting the green credentials of building products is difficult for everyone. We find out how the experts go about this tricky task.

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Did You Know?

Reducing your lawn area is the best way to save water as lawns can account for up to 90 per cent of water used in gardens.