Outdoor Rooms – what are they

Outdoor Rooms – What are they?

One of the great things about designing is in the watching and witnessing the changing of peoples needs, trends and visions of whats good or otherwise. Being part of this is invigorating in that watching and learning provides constant ideas and inspiration. Its why we do it. Certainly it’s not about the permit process which need I say more. All this brings me to my thought of the month about Outdoor Rooms – what are they?

In the over 20 years of our direct involvement in backyard developments the Outdoor Room has also undergone a birth and then a continual evolution.

Years -1960’s to mid – late 1990’sMelbourne house before2000

This period saw the minimal change from very simple lean to verandahs to side and rear of dwellings often only 3 or 4 meters long and only 2 or 3 meters wide. Generally just flat roofs and mainly built without plans or permits (or even the thought of one) with simple needs and outcomes. Sometimes these may have be partially enclosed with a cement sheet wall possibly a fixed window but with emphasis on simple and practical. This might loosely therefore be called the outdoor room.

Years !995 to 2010gable verandah timber

In the mid 1990’s we started to see growth and change to what people expected from their outdoor area. TV was starting to feature programs about “doing up your backyard” like Bert’s Backyard plus a range of other like programs. The advent of Bunnings and the active home renovator saw the backyard pergola (although really a Verandah or Patio) becoming a major investment. The new norm now became Gable structures, sunrooms and the development of a range of building product specifically directed to outdoor areas. Improved timber products and colorbond product now had the outdoor backyard in their sight’s. The outdoor room was still not really an item. The big Verandah’s were making their mark but most structures were open and minimal furniture and cooking only the basic BBQ affair.

2010 till nowLouver Projects P1

Now we find the advent of real outdoor living and with that more requirements from what is now being termed The Outdoor Room. What is it?

Well it’s no longer the pretend room that a sunroom 1990’s style was. It really is an outdoor area specifically designed to lounge, dine, cook and play within. The out door kitchen has arrived, smart lighting, heating, sound and TV entertainment, expansive deck’s, feature walls and blinds plus affordable insulated, louver or fixed roofing all providing extended living options for a faction of the cost of extending the existing dwelling or moving home.

Insulated Verandah - brightonWith these changes plans and permits now are a must. Why – not only to ensure your project is legal but also to ensure it works. The budget has moved up but so has the requirements.

These extensive living areas do require the proper consideration to ensure they blend with existing, take account of proposed usage plus add to your total property investment. They require respect and experience to ensure you get the best out of the design.

Outdoor Rooms – What are they?Solarspan Outdoor-room-p2

Well they are still taking shape and the juries out on saying there is any one fixed outcome. This is because they should be what add’s to the dwelling and surrounds plus be a reflection of the owners and their needs and interests.

Your Outdoor Room design should be a reflection of those components and more. There what is it….. well it’s about you and your lifestyle, your needs, your interests

At the Project Centre we can provide you the experience and insight needed to deliver on your outdoor room. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Telephone: +61397966899

Email sales@projectcentre.com.au

Web: www.projectcentre.com.au

New Home – Classic Weatherboard

New Home – Classic WeatherboardNew Home - Olive Road

The recently finished new home in Hampton Park, a suburb in Melbourne’s south east, is a dwelling who’s brief was to provide “a classic weatherboard in the Anne of green gables approach (without the green)” After now a few short months of occupying the home we find the outdoors is now starting to take shape with much credit to the owners.

This brief was to provide a compact home for owners that provide good access to dwelling (due to restrictions of one owner), provide a classic but modern style that appealed to them, ensure internals accounted for mobility restrictions whilst “not in your face”, had fittings that reflected their persona’s, age and interest’s and that the outdoors was efficient but classic in design and outcome.New Home - Olive Road - front

A large prominent tree was retained onsite with a view to provide a kick start to outdoors plus provide balance between a highly new dwelling and what can be a bland featureless outside.

Often we see that what can be a wonderful new dwelling can appear very tactile and lonely on a newly cleared bare landscape. We all wanted that the new dwelling that might appear to have had just a new coat of paint. Whilst realising that this might be a tall order to ensure that the paths, gardens, shed and other external features were planned to ensure come 12 months we might be somewhere along our goal path.

These pictures of the new home – classic weatherboard show a dwelling only 3 months after completion.

Olive Road - rear yard

Olive Road - west ear yard






We believe that owners have done a fantastic job of creating an outdoors that reflects them plus kick starts the goal of have the new dwelling become a home.

We’ll let you be the judge if we achieved some of the aims and brief we were administrating.

Olive Road - View to east rear

Olive road - entry to garage

Deck Verandah and Spa Project

Deck Verandah and Spa Project

Its always great to receive some pictures from a client on the successful conclusion of their own Do t yourself Deck Verandah and Spa Project.

Owner wanted to provide his house with an outside inside room concept that would provide a range of uses within the one project

Areas being

  • Living – lounge type of area
  • Dining
  • BBQ area
  • Spa enclosure

Owners wanted both roofed and unroofed outcomes from proposal. The existing alfresco to dwelling would be used as main dining area with Spa area enclosed with full and half walls and a full roof.

Decking covering was merbau. Selection of this timber was due to its colour and durability fitting the varied uses of both covered and uncovered areas.

Walls were of blue board painted and rendered to provide both colour and privacy. Nice use of window areas also we added to provide light and contact with the remainder of the property.

Lighting – client used a range of lighting options aim at specific needs plus ambient outcomes to highlight specific areas and walls.

To add value to your home is a simple a ensuring your budget is relative to the outcome you desire. So remember provide the right budget or wait a liitlle longer you won’t be dissappointed.

“Do it yourself” Deck verandah and Spa Project may not be your thing, but knowing what you want and having your outcome professionally designed may just be what you need to ensure the outcome for your outdoor living is what you want. Having your design professionally prepared ensure your quotes are addressing the outcome you want.

We at The Project Centre, have over 20 years experience at over 3500 home improvement projects. So when your ready give use a call you might be surprised at how we can help.


Its all a new beginning

Yes its been some time since our company relaunch and our old web site has been a sad relic of the last 18 years.

For those who remember, or maybe just have a slight interest and I’m not sure why, we closed our Retail business in August 2010 after 17 years of tirelessly providing 7 days a week retail timber and hardware services.

The shape of market plus the change in priorities provided the catalyst for change. Our Drafting business had been held back for sometime and our investment in Totally Outdoors a premium distributor and builder was also ready to take the next step.

Closing was a surprisingly painless exercise although my family had plenty of blood sweat and tears involved but it was over. Frankly my son and I didn’t know what to do on Saturday’s and Sunday’s but we now do. Christmas came with the holiday we had never had and breakfast with my wife on Saturdays became normal fare.

Now having moved to Hallam premises 18 months ago and pleased to say our clients have grown for both businesses and almost 18 months later we still here.

So yes it is time to relaunch a new web site. Thanks to David from InteractiveWebs for his assistance and perseverance in allowing me to develop the site and understand this new web building tools they now have.

The Project Centre – with my daughter Taya and Craig Corefield has steady made ground since we needed to stand on our own feet.

Craig with his long background in drafting provides the experience and skill in major developments drafting including homes, town house and unit developments and extensions and renovations provide not only great technical drafting but inventive designs and practical approach.

Taya, still completing her drafting diploma is a wizard on the smaller projects  such a decking, Verandah’s and Pergolas etc., and drafting skills ensuring I don’t have to draw much. I like that.

On me, well I’ve got a handle on design, the rules (as best anyone has) and hopefully the skill to blend our total ingredients into one professional team to provide a design experience that it should be. Just don’t blame us if your council drags the chain.

Our new web site is a statement in who and what we are and our skill base based on over 18 years of experince in the building, design, council applications  and service industry.We hope to be able to provide an honest professional approach to what is becoming a more difficult field.

Drafting is no longer an isolated field. It has many requirements and responsibilities that are growing in importance. The need to provide a solid surrounding service structure to support the “plans” is unavoidable. Energy, Engineering, Bush Fire Reports, Town Planning and Building applications and the list goes on.

Government and Council laws and planning scheme are making a minefield of red, green, and purple tape littering the building sites of Australia. With planning scheme’s a somewhat discretionary in approach and outcome this ensure’s lengthly delays, costly changes and frustrating time consuming resubmitting of proposals to the person who doesn’t make the decision. Oh yes I’m referring to the loosely knit phrase “Town Planning” which has become the major player in dumb government and policy. Its structured to ensure corruption is possible and networking (another word for you scratch mine and I’ll scratch yours) a must. It’s required but not in present format. Oh let comment on this is many planners I deal with are great, but the system is wrong.

Oh you guessed I’m not happy well that not true as my client have to pay us for this system. The one’s who are not happy are the client who are subjected to the power plays of sheltered low productive bureaucrates.

However this is a happy time so to our previous customers thank you for helping us get to here. To current and future clients we look forward to be better focused to assist you than ever before.

I still love to walk the ground of a future project and try to see it’s outcome and formulate the design based on my clients needs, budget and lifestyle. We hope to be able to provide some good news and views to add to our service.

We hope to continue to “making projects come alive’, for another 18 years I also hope to give it a go so when you need a project draft you know who to call…….

Comment by Ross J. Seddon

Prepared for  The Project Centre – Narre Warren

Location Factory I,  26-28 Abbott Road Hallam Vic. 3806

Telephone: 9796 6899

Web Site: www.projectcentre.com.au

Dated April 2012

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