As soon as there’s a hint of Summer in the air, it’s hard not to start dreaming about long, lazy nights outside, relaxing with a drink and enjoying a meal with family and friends as you watch the kids play in the backyard. Modern home designs often include a covered, beautifully designed alfresco as an extension of the living space for true indoor/outdoor living. Whether you’re building your home now and need a little alfresco style inspiration, or you just want to spruce up your existing outdoor space for the warmer months, we’ve got you covered with a round up of alfresco styles and design tips to help you get your outdoor space sorted just in time for summer!

Décor and Seating

There are a wealth of décor options outdoor spaces, enabling home owners to style their alfresco in keeping with the overall interior decor of their home. Pavers, polished concrete and timber flooring are all durable and on-trend options that will complement the style of your home, creating a seamless décor theme inside and out. Choosing seating that’s comfortable, weather-resistant and doesn’t crowd the space is vital, as well as selecting outdoor rugs, lighting and accent furniture to complete the look and feel.

Indoor/Outdoor Living

Creating an alfresco that’s ultimately another room in your home is key, and ensuring your floor plan includes the alfresco as a space directly off the open-plan living area will give your home that seamless indoor/outdoor living feel. Incorporating large sliding or stacker doors that span the length of the alfresco will give the space a wide-open feel, and adding furniture that’s in keeping with the style of your indoor living spaces will enhance the feel of an outdoor room.

Heating and Cooling

Modern alfresco spaces can now be used most of the year, with options for installing both heating and cooling when you build your new home. Talk to your builder when you design this space and think about including a gas fireplace for the cooler months. If the alfresco is well shielded from the weather, a fireplace will give the space a cosy feel in autumn and winter meaning you can use it year-round. Installing ceiling fans for summer will make the area comfortable even on the hottest days, allowing you to maximise your usage of the space.

Outdoor Dining

The main benefit to a beautiful alfresco is being able to enjoy meals outside with family and friends. If the space allows it, install benches with a sink, a small bar fridge and cupboard space to store outdoor servingware, and incorporate a barbecue or pizza oven so you can make the space perfect for food prep and cooking while you entertain!

The days of having a simple, timber deck as your outdoor space are no more. There are so many ways to create a beautiful alfresco that creates a seamless flow of space from indoors to outdoors in your new home, creating a space that’s functional as well as being a comfortable and stylish place to spend time throughout the year. For more home design ideas and inspiration, visit the Hotondo Homes website today.

What is the best home design trend at the moment?

Are you after a new home, but not sure what to look for in a floor plan? Never fear, we asked nine of our builders right across the country what their best design trend is in a home, and here are their responses.

Caroline Allen – Inverloch, VIC

A butler’s pantry is still one of the most highly requested items, and now they are becoming really functional rooms fitted out with full sinks, a dishwasher, fridge and other facilities such as an additional oven or coffee machines. The traditional kitchen space then takes on a minimalist feel that is clear and uncluttered, where family and friends gather around.

design trend

Adam Sturt – Nowra, NSW

The most popular trend we are seeing at the moment is the open-plan living with higher ceilings. This design is great for families who want to spend time together but not necessarily crammed next to each other.

Amira Willingham – Ballarat, VIC

This depends on the clientele, but a walk-in-pantry is often the most popular item in the home. A large alfresco that has outdoor kitchen is also rising in popularity – people love indoor/outdoor living!

design trend

Gillian Coleman – Bathurst/Orange, NSW

Our customers are looking for luxury in their bathrooms with floor to ceiling tiles, feature niches and walk-in showers.

design trend

Russell Pearse – Ararat, VIC

Open-plan living definitely, but it is important to have other flexible spaces to suit changing family conditions. Having a versatile home is a smart move, you often don’t know what the future holds.

Glenda Heath – Port Lincoln, SA

Open-plan living, nearly every plan these days has open-plan living and most individuals looking to build want the large open spaces with higher ceilings. It creates the illusion of space, even if the home is on the smaller side.

design trend

Aaron Anstis – Ocean Grove, VIC

Block widths that allow a wider garage. Whether it is adding 500mm for some shelving or making a three-car garage for storage of a boat, it seems to be something that lots of people try to make work in their budgets.

Lyndsey Clarke – Central Coast, NSW 

Open plan living for sure. Many of our clients love a home where the bedrooms are separate and private, but the kitchen and living – linking to the alfresco – can become an entertainer’s dream!

Anthony Wolff – Mackay, QLD

The most popular trend we are seeing at the moment is a walk-in-pantry or butler’s pantry. The kitchen is the heart of the home and clients want to add a touch of luxury to it wherever possible!


What is your must-have feature for a modern home?

We asked the question to nine of our builders from right across the country, and here are their responses!

must-have feature

Aaron Anstis – Ocean Grove, VIC

A must-have feature of a modern home is a well-considered kitchen and pantry. We spend so much time in and around our kitchens and to consider the locations of sinks, dishwashers, ovens, drawers is critically important. A well-considered kitchen means that you will be able to enjoy the space in an efficient manner, while still maintaining its cosmetic appeal.

must-have feature

Adam Sturt – Nowra, NSW

Large windows throughout the home and an open-plan layout – it is all about creating the illusion of more space! All bathrooms should have modern floor-to-ceiling tiles, of course!

must-have feature

Anthony Wolff – Mackay, QLD

A large alfresco area. It offers the perfect place to unwind every evening and it is a great place for entertaining on the weekends!

Lyndsey Clarke – Central Coast, NSW

Hidden storage. It’s simple, but so necessary. Linen closets are great, but an under stairs storage area or an extra storage room, even just extra cabinets in the pantry or laundry is a must-have in the modern home. To have a brand new home is one thing, but a brand new home with no clutter and where every item has a spot to live is perfect!

Caroline Allen – Inverloch, VIC

Living in the south of Victoria – a drying room! They are relatively easy to incorporate into a space either off the laundry or under a stairwell. During the winter months when you have your home heating on, you can utilise this space to dry your clothes as well!

Glenda Heath – Port Lincoln, SA

Separate toilet to the bathroom is something we need to bring back! I would also definitely say an alfresco area or balcony, depending on your views. Indoor/outdoor living is still very much alive!

must-have feature

Russell Pearse – Ararat, VIC

Double glazing to your windows and other energy efficiency measures can save you a tonne in utility bills. While it may cost more upfront, the long-run benefits are by far worth it.

must-have feature
Amira Willingham – Ballarat, VIC

The must-have feature in the modern home is by far a walk-in-pantry. This allows for a vast amount of storage for not just food, but rarely-used appliances that take up precious room in cupboards such as mixers, breadmakers slow cookers etc. It also allows you to hide the mess!

must-have feature

Gillian Coleman – Bathurst/Orange, NSW

Outdoor living is very important, as is plenty of storage like walk-in-pantries, large walk-in-robes and linen cupboards. You can never have too much storage space!

What is your must-have feature? Let us know in the comments!

Home design has come a long way over the past few years, with many modern design elements now incorporated into floor plans.

Across Hotondo Homes’ range of designs there are some consistent elements that many of our clients request when building their new home.

We have rounded up the most popular modern design elements for you to consider when searching through our range of homes.


modern design

A butler’s pantry to conceal the mess

Unlike walk-in-pantries, butler’s pantries are large enough to contain your refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and other such appliances. A butler’s pantry can also contain another kitchen sink, the idea of which is to hide dirty dishes away from plain sight while entertaining. With plenty of preparation space for a keen chef, a butler’s pantry is perfect for those who hate having mess out on display.

Check out the Erskine 202 or the Como 412.


modern design

Indoor/outdoor living for a balanced home

Nothing says modern design quite like a beautiful alfresco. Let the lines blur between indoor and outdoor with stacker doors, which allow you to extend your living area to the great outdoors. Having direct access to the alfresco from the kitchen is perfect for entertaining. Finish it off with an outdoor dining setting or relaxing lounge suite.

Try the Eureka 263 ALT or the Kirkby 246.


modern design

Walk-in-robe and ensuite to master bedroom

Almost a standard these days is a walk-in-robe and ensuite for the master bedroom to create the ultimate parent’s retreat. A double vanity and waterfall showerhead completes the sanctuary.

For even more luxury, the Amora 384 offers a walk-in-robe and ensuite in every bedroom.


modern design

Study nook to conserve space

Many home buyers find a full study to be a waste of space and convert the room into something more practical. The problem that then arises is where do you put your computer or laptop? A study nook is the perfect compromise – you don’t have to give up an entire room, but there is still a dedicated space to work or study.

The Hume 263 offers a study nook in the kitchen, while the Marcoola 269’s is a bit more secluded.


modern design

A multi-purpose room

A room that can change and grow as your family does is an important modern design element. Whether you are after a second living area, rumpus, theatre room or additional bedroom, a multi-purpose room is great to have, especially for growing families.

The McRae 250 and Tarkine 238 offer multi-purpose rooms that can be closed off.


Check out Hotondo Homes full range of homes here.

The golden rules of an outdoor kitchen.

Building an outdoor kitchen requires thought and creativity. The most important part of the process is thinking about exactly what you plan to cook or how you plan to entertain, and creating your space around these requirements.

Having said this, there are six golden rules to building an outdoor kitchen/entertainment area that will work. (more…)

Outdoor entertainment is fast becoming a staple for every home. Being able to relax in comfort on a summer’s day is a luxury more and more people want to possess.
An alfresco area provides shelter from the elements, a secondary cooking area, utilises space and extends your home.
For your very own amazing alfresco area, keep these tips in mind:


Make the most of the space you have and create some built-in seating. Not only does is save space, but it blends nicely with the relaxed atmosphere of an alfresco. You can even have a built-in eskie alongside the seats to create your very own outdoor bar. Your guests will love it!

If you don’t have the space, consider different kinds of tables and chairs. Wicker chairs with soft cushions are a great for a rustic look, while wooden or metal create a modern feel.

Amazing alfresco area


Inspired by Australia’s love of BBQs, outdoor kitchens are becoming more and more popular. Create an outdoor cooking space with benches, a bar fridge, BBQ and even a kitchen sink to make entertaining a breeze. This way, the chef won’t miss out on any of the action throughout the evening.

Amazing alfresco area


Blur the line between indoor and outdoor living. Wide-open doors and flooring that flows through the home to outdoors will extend your living space and creates a true indoor/outdoor experience. Furnishings can also play an important part in doing this. Large, soft chairs, couches, coffee tables or outdoor rugs all add a homely feel to the great outdoors. Choose detailed and patterned pieces to really warm up the area.

Amazing alfresco area


Traditionally timber decking has been the flooring of choice for outdoor alfresco areas. However, you don’t need to limit yourself to this. Polished concrete and tiles are other great options available that can really change the look of the alfresco.

Amazing alfresco area


The final touch to any room is the décor, so the same goes for your alfresco. A touch of plant-life, colourful cushions and wall features are all popular choices.

Amazing alfresco area

Visit hotondo.com.au for more on how to create the perfect alfresco area.

We would all love to have enough room in our backyard to host a pool, alfresco, garage, play area for the kids and entertainment zone for the adults. However with the growing trend leaning towards smaller blocks, you are more than likely going to end up with a smaller backyard.
To get the most out of your yard, follow some of these clever tips and tricks to create the illusion of space!


Zoning is the most effective way to utilise space. Separate your desired areas using tiles, floorboards or grass, and create natural boundaries with plants or in-built seating. Zoning provides structure and maximises space.



A beautiful backyard always requires some greenery, but it can take up precious space.  So if you can’t go out, why not go up? Using the same principle as a double storey home, save ground space by using your walls and fences to hang plants and décor from.


Having matching tiles or floorboards flow from inside to outside makes you feel as though you are in one giant area. Bifold doors can open it further, and instantly increases the imagined size of both the outside, and inside, of your home.



Matching the colours and textures of your backyard tiles to your home not only looks nice, but makes the area appear bigger. Larger tiles also give the illusion there is more space than what there actually is.


Contact your local Hotondo Homes builder here for more information on utilising space!

Alfresco areas and outdoor living spaces have grown incredibly popular throughout Australia over the last ten years.

Today these areas aren’t just a table and barbeque outside; they’re true extensions of your indoor living and dining rooms.

Not only can they add immense value to your home, but a stylish alfresco area can really enhance your enjoyment in your home. Why? Because it gives you the ideal place to dine, entertain friends and family or simply relax, whatever the season.

An outdoor alfresco also provides a beautiful focal point in and outside the home; all year round.




The design of your outdoor alfresco area should seamlessly integrate in with your home’s indoor dining and living space. It should also complement your landscaping and the design of your home.

In order to optimise your outdoor alfresco area ensure it is usable all year round and can protect you from harsh wind, rain and sunlight.

If your home has a pool or spa, this will also determine the best location and design of your alfresco area.




A barbeque, a wood fired pizza oven or a complete outdoor kitchen are all great options for cooking in your alfresco area.

Think about your lifestyle when choosing which one will best suit. Will both adults and children use the space? Will you be hosting dinner parties and large get-togethers?

If you love to entertain often, a complete outdoor kitchen might be the best option for you and your family.




To create warmth in winter consider having an open fire in your outdoor alfresco area. This can also be a fun way to entertain guests while toasting marshmallows.

You could also install ceiling fans for the warmer months.





Outdoor furniture will be a big part of your alfresco area. Not only will it need to be comfortable but it will need to fit in with the surroundings and theme of your home. Choose furniture that’s durable and weather proof.

Contact your local Hotondo Homes builder here to talk about building your dream alfresco area.



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