At DIY Blinds, we’ve spent the last few years working with Rebekah and the team from BuildHer Collective, providing the perfect window furnishings for their home transformations all around Melbourne.
While BuildHer’s passion for innovative design has always been clear, when we heard that this amazing group were embarking on a project to develop a single block into two brand new, sustainable family homes, we knew we had to be involved.
Rebekah explained that the vision for the project was to “create two seven-star energy rated homes to show that people want to live in unique, sustainable, architecturally-designed homes. And you can do that for profit; you can develop property the right way.”
Despite both standalone houses being part of the same project, each home has its own unique identity and from the street, you’d never have guessed they were part of the same development.
With their unique facades, both homes showcase their own personality and are instantly recognisable. The North House provides a modern take on mid-century cream brick, with more modern vertical wood cladding showcasing it’s geometric artistry.
This combination of old and new is also present in the South House. Curved brick walls, reminiscent of Art Deco architecture, are given an update with fresh paint which also serves to highlight the uniquely Australian landscaping in the front yard.
With this level of street appeal, style was always going to be high on the agenda, but as family homes, functionality was equally as important. We started working with BuildHer8 right from the start of the project tying it all together in a way that only window furnishings can.
A Perfect Blend
We love our linen curtains, but for these busy family homes, we recommended a linen blend to achieve a soft textural look but with added durability. For the South House, the team chose the colour Frost from our Burano range, while for the North House we went with the Allusion range in the colour Pearl. While similar from afar frost tends to capture the light in a distinct way that was perfect compliment to the entertaining spaces. While pearl often invites the light into the space to fill our beautiful voids across the home.
One of the more breathtaking features in the homes is the large 4.5 metre void above the living space in the South House, creating a dramatic effect that sets it apart from the rest of the house. Rebekah explains that “even though the windows stop halfway, we took the sheer curtains from the floor to the ceiling to really accentuate the height in the space and also soften it, so it feels cosy and homely even with that extra height.”
We love a challenge, so maximising the effect of the wall-to-wall windows in the South House’s living area was a key theme of our collaboration.
When you open your curtains and draw them to the side, the stacked material takes up 30% of the length of your curtain track (or 15% on each side if your curtains open from the centre). With wall-to-wall windows, that means you would usually lose 30% of your view. We could tell that the South House’s windows were such a big design statement that we’d need to come up with a solution - one that simply isn’t available using a traditional straight curtain track.
Luckily, because we were working with the BuildHer8 team from the start of the project, their DIY Blinds design consultant was able to come up with a bespoke continuous curved track that brought the curtains past the windows, around the corner, and onto the wall.
The result is not only functional but an incredible design feature that fits perfectly within the South House’s distinctive curves – and was surprisingly affordable.
Fun and Functional Tech
When you’re designing a home for young families, it can be easy to choose function over form every time. But easy solutions aren’t the BuildHer way.
The design for the North House called for light, white, flowy curtains but the team were slightly concerned about how these stunning S Fold designer curtains would hold up against the reality of a busy household.
Together with our design consultants, the BuildHer8 team chose fabric from our Allusion range; a durable-linen blend that still has an organic linen appearance and texture. We then went one step further and removed the need for anyone to touch the material by installing a wired motorised curtain track that opens and closes the curtains at a touch of the button adding a much-needed convenience and increasing the longevity of the beautiful sheers.
Once you’ve motorised one of your curtains or blinds, you’ll want to reap the benefits throughout the whole house - so for this project, we added motors to all the roller blinds in both homes.
While the curtain tracks need to be hardwired and should be considered early on in the design process, adding motorisation to roller blinds is more flexible.
Working with DIY during the build let’s us connect directly with other building partners like electricians to ensure the home automation for the window furnishings is seamless. For builds that need more flexibility in the construction phase or retrofits we also offer rechargeable blind motors that are easy to install and only need to be charged once or twice a year.
While watching your curtains and blinds move at the touch of a button can be fun, it can also provide benefits for energy efficiency. In both the North and South houses, we used a smart home hub to connect the curtains and blinds to an app, allowing the new owners to set specific times they’d like their curtains to open and close, or close the blinds if they’re out of the house longer than anticipated.
You don’t need a smart home hub to benefit from motorised curtains and blinds though. Because both homes were large and had multiple floors, we programmed the remote to be able to close all the blinds at once, so even if you’re busy or running out the door, night-time privacy is available at a single press of a button.
Sweet DreamsAnother area of both houses that nailed the combination of form and function was the bedrooms. For both houses, BuildHer8 wanted to maintain consistency throughout the house with their curtain choices, but the sheers used in the downstairs living area weren’t able to provide enough functionality in the bedrooms – at least not on their own. The BuildHer8 team used their sheer textile choices from the living areas to create a lined curtain, where a blockout curtain is stitched to the back of the sheer fabric so that you can literally have the best of both worlds.
Now that both homes have been finished (with the North House selling for a record-breaking price), it’s clear that the vision for the Rathmines Project has been realised. And with such a successful project all wrapped up, we can’t wait to work with the BuildHer team on their next transformation.
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