We have always enjoy outdoor living areas. We know how to make the best of our summer time. At Jalcon we understand this – so we design the outdoor space with the same attentions as we do indoors.

So what can you do to create a backyard oasis that’s as cozy and comfy as any well-designed family room?

As most people are tending to ‘nest’ more, they naturally want to extend their home life outdoors. It used to be you had a gas BBQ and table and chairs and that was it. Now you’ve got whole kitchens outdoors, fireplaces, and even waterproof electronics to extend the season. The outdoor experience has evolved.

Research indicates that over 87 percent of homeowners indicate an outdoor room living area is important or very important and more than half said they already had one. Clearly more and more of us — especially those in the new home market — are looking right outside our windows to both relax and entertain.  

Unlike decks or courtyards, an outdoor living room is sheltered from the elements only by a roof for rain runoff, which means it’s a far less expensive way to add an extra room.

What sets it apart from other outdoor dining or lounge areas is that it’s attached to the home, facilitating the connection between indoors and out. Think of it as yet another room, a continuation, but without traditional air conditioning or heat sources.

Most outdoor spaces now have traditional and ambient lighting opportunities and can even include outdoor television sets.  For the full effect of an intimate space wrapped in nature, there’s nothing like a living room in the great outdoors.

Here, the steps to creating your perfect open-air lounge.

1. Define your outdoor space.

One of the first things to distinguish a bona fide living room from other outdoor areas is something most homeowners often forget: a rug. It anchors and defines the area as a space to lounge right away. Rugs also provide warmth and intimacy by creating a boundary between the room itself and the rest of the elements. The soft touch to bare feet is a plus and the myriad of colours and patterns allow your design aesthetic to carry over from inside the house.

Weather-resistant rugs made with polypropylene are most like their indoor counterparts, but offer the easy care of being hosed off and hung to dry. (If you’ve got kids, it’s the perfect weekend activity.) You can also look for durable, natural textiles like jute; anything made from synthetic fibres will work as they can be shaken or vacuumed easily. 

2. Create the right seating.

Once your area is clearly marked, look for furniture you want to sink into. What will make this space feel as cozy as an indoor family room is the comfort level, so look for wide chairs that allow ample room to curl up your legs. Thick, lightweight cushions with weather- and fade-resistant fabrics are a good idea. These dry faster and resist mildew. But don’t judge a book (or in this case, a chair) by its cover.

3. Light it up.

Forget tiki torches and solar posts stuck in the ground. To truly mirror the intimacy of a regular living room, nothing sets the mood like the overhead and table top lighting we opt for indoors. The explosion of fire pits and outdoor fireplaces in recent years provides double-duty performance by helping set both mood and temperature, which means you can enjoy your living room even when it’s chilly.

4. Use accessories.

Look for accessories to complete your outdoor living room. Drapes made of fade- and weather-resistant fabrics help set off the space from the rest of the backyard and allow your design aesthetic to carry through from indoors. Large planters and divider screens made of weather-resistant materials further define the space, but make sure plants are placed according to the size they’ll reach at maturity. Easy-to-move garden stools and bar carts as well as consoles and coffee tables made of wood are smart choices if you like to entertain. The more surfaces for guests to rest their bums — or a drink — the better!

5. Surprise your guests.

The outdoor surroundings provide a fun opportunity to do something unexpected, like, say, hang furniture from the ceiling. Wide, comfortable swings the size of sofas. Whatever you choose to do with your outdoor space, a fresh-air living room is an easy and much less expensive way to extend your home, and your time spent outdoors and perhaps even provide the feeling of a mini vacation — just steps from home.


Hobsonville Point



What colour choice drives your mood? White? Green? Brown? Shocking pink?

Whatever the choice, colours have an impact. That’s why most new homebuyers enjoy selecting the colours that will define the look of their new home. For those who have the means to build a completely custom designed house, the sky’s the limit with respect to colour choices. 

Community Colours

You should give considerable thought to exterior colour schemes that are aesthetically pleasing. Create a scheme that has a certain siding colour or stucco colour that matches the trim that matches the roof and the stone. The idea is that it all blends together and looks great. It’s not the bright red house next to the florescent green house.

One variable you might need to take account of is the guidelines of the community where the homes will be built. More and more we are seeing in new build developments that you have to work in association with a developer or master-planned community guideline on colour choice.


Interior Trends

Inside the home, buyers typically can choose from many more colours. You may want to consider a coordinated schemes or look at individualising your colour palette with strong contrasting and dynamic colour choices.

Often the more coordinated options are based on extensive research into colour trends and preferences. Designers look for trends everywhere: home products manufacturers’ surveys, home improvement websites, consumers’ picture-board websites and even home improvement TV shows. The objective is to discern what’s current and decide what to offer, giving buyers what they want within the boundaries of what they can afford. Jalcon’s Duo interior consultants are well placed to provide insights and guidance regarding the best colour choices for your home.

What’s In — And What’s Out

Colours do come into style and go out of style over time. In recent years, a traditional style with lots of golds, purples and rusty copper colours blended together has given way to a cleaner style with more contrast, such as cream or grey tones. There is a more simple, modern, yet classic approach to colour. 


How to Choose

Colour choice is very subjective and personal.  If you intend to spend a long time in your new home then you may well want to go with bold and contrasting colours to match your personality.  If, however, you are building to sell in the next few years then it will be more advisable to look for colours that are fairly neutral, so there is less likelihood of a purchaser being negative to your bold colour choice. 

What colours comprise a neutral palette? A neutral palette would be nature-inspired colours, monochromatic, nothing that jumps out at you. Builder Beige is fine for the first year because you really want to see what resonates with you. First-timer buyers should be especially cautious about colour choices, because they might not have extra money to replace their existing furniture right away – that could be a costly exercise.

Buyers should be conservative with colour choices for countertops, cabinets and wood flooring stains, because those components can also be quite costly to change later. Carpeting, window coverings and paint are, relatively speaking, less expensive to do over.

The bottom line is that new home builders will find lots of colours on offer and plenty of guidance to help them choose.

Hobsonville Point

Hobsonville Point


Hobsonville Point





As temperatures drop and winter settles in, families start hunkering down in front of the fireplace to keep warm. Due to the practical heat, cozy comfort, and stylish focal point they provide, fireplaces are a classic and popular feature with buyers that can improve the resale value of any home.

Fireplaces make living room designs feel cozy and inviting. Creating a space that the whole family will love. Living room designs that incorporate inviting colours, comfortable furniture and functional layout feel pleasant, attractive and organised.

Modern and well though through living room designs can be created by blending stylish colours, making smart furniture choices, and bringing easy organisation solutions into your home. Get inspired by living room designs that feature a fireplace, and combine style, comfort and function.

Balance family-friendly layout with sophistication by including neutral colour shades and colourful accents into your living room design. Latest decoration patterns and attractive accessories add chic and style to modern living rooms.

Bright colour hues appeal to kids and adults, and a mix of decoration patterns and colours give the living room design a designer vibe. Outdoor home fabrics, which are durable and practical, are great ideas for family-friendly living rooms.

When you think marble increases the property value of your house, you tend to forget about your fireplaces. Most home builders love to focus on bathrooms, kitchen and even the outdoors for accessories. Yet fireplaces are the most common elements of tradition, culture, and value, so when planning your new home take the time to consider how fireplaces can create a focal point in your design plans.

Fireplaces have traditionally been used to be the center of focus in living rooms, but they can be very versatile so suit any ambience. Think bedrooms, outdoor and even ‘double rooms’. Electric fireplace works outside as well inside as they do outside.  You can install them anytime 


Traditional fireplaces used to be of brick and mortar, but you have options. You can look at a sporty and elegant stone exterior that brighten up your home décor. There are also opportunities in exterior materials over concrete, steel, metal, marble, slab, wood, or maybe a combination of wood and brick. Keeping the exterior design in mind the options for the interior could also include glass, rock and other materials to provide a contemporary look. – an industrial look with streamlined, clean lines or intricately carved marble appearance.

With their attention-grabbing surrounds and embellished mantel pieces, fireplaces provide a natural focal point for any room. 

But with so many design styles available, finding the one that suits your space and your decorating tastes might present a challenge. We'll help take the guesswork out of designing your fireplace. Talk to the Duo team for advice and guidance. 

And, finally if your new home is well insulated and also has double glazed windows, you will trap the heat in for longer and save money in the long run.


Feature walls are not only for family portraits and framed photographs. Not that photography is not stylish, but there are many cool feature wall design ideas you may want to explore and recreate for your own interior design with your new build.

From artwork to decorative accessories like clocks, plates and mirrors you can create any feature wall design you can think of. Besides there are plenty of other decorative options like vinyl stickers, patterned wallpapers, or interesting wall paint design.

Choose the wall without doors and windows for your feature wall design. You can also choose the one with the chimney piece and alcoves. A feature wall is usually the brightest in the room. It jazzes up the calm interior design and adds colour, depth and personality to your room decor.

Your feature wall is perfect for complex patterns, bright colours, and intricate accessories. It also gives a larger focus to the room in general and can provide visitor’s with an insight into the owner’s personality. You can be bold in approach and leave one wall completely bare featuring brick so that you get an industrial vibe to your decor.

Think about what you want to have on your feature wall. It can be a beautiful wallpaper or a painting, but it can also have shelves with your favourite books, decorations and pictures. You can express anything from your personality to your style through your feature wall and yet make your design look complete and bright.







Once you have completed the “business” part of your building transaction – signing a contract for your new home – you’re ready for what most homebuyers think is the best part about buying a newly built home: choosing optional features. 

In fact, if you are like many smart home owners they have already spent a considerable amount of time thinking, planning and dreaming about their ideal future home.

Whether you have a detailed vision of every feature and finish you want, a broad idea of your colour scheme or a fixation on one particular item (such as having a wine cooler in your kitchen), the design phase of building a new home ranks as one of the most pleasurable activities in the process. 

Of course, if you’ve opted to build a custom home, the sky — and your budget — is the limit to what design features and finishes you can include. You’ll also have to consider the land you own and the zoning and permit regulations in your area. 


Homebuyers who want the space and spaciousness of a two-story residence need to know a thing or two about stairs and staircases. That’s because every two-story home naturally needs at least one full staircase to allow access between the floors.

For entry-level products, you won’t have big spiral staircases that are a showpiece when you open the front door. But where it is possible a ‘grand staircase’ is one of the few opportunities in a new home design to have fun and truly define the character of the home and its occupants. 

A dining room or bedroom is always about four walls, but a staircase can be ‘an important piece and major design element in a house.’

While a basic staircase might have a fairly standard-sized step, a more innovative design may include a circular shape and a customised step size. Along with its size and shape, a staircase’s building materials can also make a huge difference between a plain staircase and one that’s decidedly upscale.

Use high-quality natural materials like hardwood or real stone for a staircase that’s both beautiful and low-maintenance. For plain staircases are more utilitarian affairs and are often built out of sight, rather than at the home’s front entrance.

One way to keep the cost of a staircase modest is to use laminates or carpet on the stairs. Those materials aren’t as durable as hardwood or stone, however, and will have to be replaced more often over time due to normal wear.

Whether a big spiral staircase is right for you might depend on whether you love large open spaces. It’s all about what you see when you open the front door.

A desirable staircase can be a plus when you sell your home since other buyers might want that open spacious feeling as well.

For outdoor stairs emulate the design of the house or the landscaping – and you can’t go wrong with quality natural materials. They’re timeless from a design standpoint and as best as you can get to timeless from a materiality standpoint. When they do wear, it almost looks appropriate, especially outside.

One final note: Falls are among the leading causes of unintentional injuries and deaths in homes. That means new homeowners should exercise good judgment about safety with any type of staircase, whether grand or not and whether indoors or out. Consider installing handrails on both sides of all staircases. Tripping hazards like books, clothing, toys and shoes should be removed from stairs. And stairs should always be well lit.

If children are present in the home, install gates at the top and bottom of each staircase. Never climb over the gates. Always unlatch them to pass through safety.

 Hobsonville Point