Brad & Susie’s Hawthorn home was always envisioned as a calm sanctuary, something practical, aesthetically pleasing and timeless that would ensure that their ‘forever home’ was worth the 10 year design journey.

Having purchased over a decade prior, they had a lot of time to think about which aspects would complement their busy lifestyles and growing family. Involving DIY Blind’s expert design consultants from the early stages of the build, Susie & Brad were able to integrate modern, double layered sheer curtains with light filtering materials right into the structure. This let them navigate the long sunlight hours, while complementing the tone and curves of their home. Part of their vision was a home design that let function fade the background of form. By fully motorising their entire suite of window furnishings using smart home automation they could achieve just this. The blinds automatically rise to naturally awaken them with the morning sun or close to usher the kids to bed with a minimum of fuss. A truly thoughtful project that was exciting from start to finish, we sat down with Susie & Brad to find out a little more about making their vision become reality with DIY Blinds.
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Light, bright and spacious - this is truly a wonderful home! How long did it take you to complete this project and what was your initial vision?

Brad: Well, we bought the home in 2010, so over 10 years ago, and it was always a bit of a long term plan to find our ‘forever home’. I think the vision was to have a house that was pretty efficient in terms of space. So we started with the point of view of just trying to think about the floorplan and thought about how you could try and create different spaces in the house.

Susie: Yeah, we wanted it to be timeless. Because we thought it was going to be our forever house. So we needed it to be an architectural, beautiful, calming sanctuary that we could come back to after work, but it also needed to be practical for kids and then eventually teenagers, because we plan to be here for a pretty long time.

“We found the DIY team really responsive and really helpful with giving us some ideas and thoughts about final design decisions and optionality with the window furnishings and automation as well, which was something I was really interested in.”

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What drew you to DIY Blinds and how was the experience for you?

Brad: So everyone who's ever built a house knows that nothing ever goes smoothly. So we definitely had a few challenges on this project. I guess through Susie's involvement in the BuildHer Collective, she became aware of DIY Blinds.

What we soon worked out after we talked to a few other suppliers was that customer service was just head and shoulders above anyone else. One thing we really appreciated with DIY Blinds was the ability to problem solve.

We found the DIY team really responsive and really helpful with giving us some ideas and thoughts about final design decisions and optionality with the window furnishings and automation as well, which was something I was really interested in.

Susie: It was really easy because I could choose online but I also had the option to pick up the phone and say, “this is what I'm trying to achieve”, and get someone from the DIY Blinds team to give me some recommendations and generally they were always spot on.

“We had all of the pelmets custom-made for us and so when you come into the house, everything's super minimal, very clean, and it feels like the sheers are just seamlessly falling from the ceiling and cascading onto the floor, puddling beautifully.”

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How important was it for you to have the window furnishings thought out in the early stages of the build?

Susie: It's super important to think about your window furnishings early. We wanted the window furnishings to feel like they were part of the house from the start and not an afterthought - that's what DIY Blinds helped us with.

We had all of the pelmets custom-made for us and so when you come into the house, everything's super minimal, very clean, and it feels like the sheers are just seamlessly falling from the ceiling and cascading onto the floor, puddling beautifully.

We wanted it to feel soft, organic, integrated, like we had really thought about it from the beginning. I would definitely advise to work with DIY Blinds early and think about what is the mood of the house that you want to create because blinds can make a huge difference.

Brad: My key advice would be to engage with DIY Blinds early in the process and really think about how any technology might be integrated into your house in a really seamless way. The earlier you do that, the more chance you've got of getting a really good outcome, and avoiding surprises at the end of the project.

“We have our master bedroom facing east and we've got these beautiful sheers that let in the morning light, but also give us privacy.”

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How did incorporating our sheer curtains and roller blinds help accentuate the specific design features of the house?

Susie: It's gorgeous, the blinds have made such a difference. I think it's really made the most of the orientation of the house. We have our master bedroom facing east and we've got these beautiful sheers that let in the morning light, but also give us privacy. And then on the northern side of the house, we get to enjoy this beautiful big garden, but then also bring the blinds down, or the sheers across, when we want some more privacy and softness, or when we're trying to shield from the northern sun.

The design aesthetic was for the house to be really calm. We both have really busy jobs. You want to come home somewhere that just felt like a sanctuary, so there's no black in the house and there's no stark white in the house. And so the sheers are just soft, organic, neutral, soft tones that really tie into the look that we're trying to achieve.

“With the kids' rooms upstairs, being able to set the blinds to go up and down when they get up in the morning and when they go to bed at night - it seems like a pretty small thing, but it's been one of the things I love the most about the house.”

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Tell us about your decision to utilise motorisation in order to create your ideal Smart Home?

Brad: I'm an engineer by trade and so I've always worked with technology through my professional career. We've tried to be a bit thoughtful in this house and just try and think about what are the ways we want to use the house? And how can technology make life easier?

So we've selected different things to help with that automation and the blinds were part of that decision making on the house. For example, with the kids' rooms upstairs, being able to set the blinds to go up and down when they get up in the morning and when they go to bed at night - it seems like a pretty small thing, but it's been one of the things I love the most about the house.

“In summer, you can get the blinds to drop down under certain conditions to reduce the heat loss from the house. If I'm out and about and I want to close the blinds, I can just open the app up and do it remotely. It's really easy to use.”

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How was the installation process in terms of DIY Blinds accommodating home automation and what are you finding the most beneficial so far?

Brad: I would recommend home automation. I think it's becoming so easy to use. Now, it's really easy to implement. It's quite affordable, depending on what product you're picking, and it can really help make your life a lot easier. They ran me through all the different features on the system, showed me the Somfy app that helps with configuring all the different functionality by getting the blinds to open and close, based on time or by sun coming up or going down in the evening. It didn't take very long to learn how to use it. It's pretty intuitive.

In summer, you can get the blinds to drop down under certain conditions to reduce the heat loss from the house. You can link it to an alarm system - so use it as a way of waking up in the morning, as opposed to having an alarm. If I'm out and about and I want to close the blinds, I can just open the app up and do it remotely. It's really easy to use.

Susie: We have two small children and upstairs is the kids area. It's actually been amazingly helpful at nighttime, when the blinds automatically go down at 7pm. Because then the kids know it's time for bed. Done!

“We love the end result. It's just beautiful and it feels exactly like our home”

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Finally, did anything surprise you when working with DIY Blinds and what do you love most about the end result?

Susie: The thing I loved about DIY Blinds was they really understood the brief. They understood the vision for the home, the mood we were trying to create, how we live in the house and could really cut through and say, “This is what we suggest you go with and here are the options we'd recommend.”

One of the features I really love about the house is we have a yoga room, which faces east and it's my little sanctuary and we have a big window seat there so I can have my morning coffee and look out at the sunrise and DIY Blinds worked with us to integrate the blind into the pelmet and that's not something we could have achieved if we talked to them later.

We love the end result. It's just beautiful and it feels exactly like our home.

Brad: Well, there's lots of things I love about the house. I love the floorplan and I love the kitchen area in our house where we've got a centralised area that's got really great light coming in. I really love the automation. I've got a Sonos system in the roof so I can listen to my music in the morning and I've got all these mod-cons in the house that I can use to make breakfast and I can put the blinds up on my phone and start the day in a really nice and relaxed way.

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