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!

Have you considered passive design for your home?

Passive home design refers to any device or structure that takes advantage of the surrounding environment, climate or elements to help passively heat, cool and light your home, supplementing the use of active temperature-control systems.

Passive homes offer a huge range of benefits to home buyers, including more access to natural light, reduced heating and cooling costs, and better ventilation.

Hotondo Homes Building Designer Adrian Knowles says all of these aspects provide the inhabitants with a much higher quality of life and reduced operational costs.

“When you walk into a well-designed passive home there is a good feeling associated with it, even if you don’t know why,” Adrian says.

There are several factors to consider when building a passive home.


The orientation of your home on your block of land is the first and most vital step in creating a passive home.

“Without sufficient orientation it becomes quite challenging to address the passive requirements of a home,” Adrian says.

Ideally, main living areas should be north-facing to catch most of the sun during the day and provide your home with plenty of natural light, while bedrooms should be east-facing, to provide sun in the morning as you wake. Utility rooms such as a laundry or garage are great on the west as they provide an additional insulation buffer to your living areas.



Eaves have two main purposes; to protect and shelter the windows and walls of a building, and to help control the amount of sunlight that enters the home.

Eaves work in conjunction with the altitude and angle of the suns path throughout the seasons and year. Properly installed eaves will allow a maximum amount of light and heat to enter your home in winter, while blocking it out in summer to keep your home cooler.

Suncalc.com can help you calculate the path of the sun from your very own home. Consult with your builder to work out the best orientation for your home in order to fully utilise the use of eaves.


passive home



Properly insulating your home can help cut heating and cooling costs. Cavities in the walls and ceilings of a home is filled with material that helps keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Make sure when you are building your home the insulation is installed correctly.

“Insulation plays a vital role in controlling the internal temperature independently of the external temperature,” Adrian says.

Double-glazing your windows is another option for a passive home. According to Dowell, as much as 49% of heat lost during winter and 87% of heat gained in summer can come from the windows. Double-glazing can help reduce these figures and your heating and cooling bills.





Thermal mass is the ability of a material to absorb and store heat energy. Materials with a high thermal mass such as concrete, brick and tiles can absorb heat during a summer day and release it at night to help regulate your home temperature. This also works in winter, where it stores heat during the day to be released at night to help warm your home.

“Thermal mass is all about using the right materials in the right locations,” Adrian says.

“It is really helpful to be able to utilise the stored heat from a thermal mass when there is a significant difference in the day and night temperatures around your home.”

An exposed brick wall is a great retainer of heat.

passive home


In order to have a passive home that will generate energy savings and provide a comfortable environment, these principles need to work together cohesively. The very shape, style and orientation of your block all need to be considered during the design phase, which is something that should be discussed in detail with your builder. There are also free 3D modelling programs such as SketchUp Make which can help provide you with a visual tool of how the sun will affect your home.


For more information on passive home design, speak to your local Hotondo Homes builder today.

Few people realise the difference window coverings can make to your home.

Not only are there valuable energy-related benefits, but beautiful curtains, blinds or shutters can make a room look ‘complete.’

These days, there is a huge range of window coverings you can choose for your home. Brett Martin of Dollar Curtains & Blinds says the two most important factors when choosing your window coverings should be deciding what kind of interior design you want, and what kind of functionality you need.

“Different rooms in a home can require very different coverings,” Brett says. “These days it is quite common to mix and match blinds and curtains to suit the individual needs of each room. This can look especially good when done correctly.”

We have listed some of the most popular window coverings below to help you decide which window coverings would be best for your home.


Shutters have grown in popularity over the past few years, and for good reason. They are easy to clean, block light well and look amazing.

“Shutters are a great feature for your home,” Brett says. “Some people opt for shutters at just the front of the home for street appeal. Shutters look attractive from both inside and outside, and they can actually add value to your home, unlike some other options. Consider them an investment if you like!”

window coverings



If you are unsure what you need in a home, blinds are a great choice. Available in a huge range of colours and fabrics including blockout, sunscreen, translucent and sheer, blinds are a budget-friendly choice. They can control light, they block out heat and glare in summer and retain heat in winter and can disappear whenever you want to open up the room.

window coverings


Roller Blinds

Roller or Roman blinds are well suited to a modern-look home. For functionality, Brett recommends dual roller blinds.

“A popular trend at the moment is to use dual roller blinds,” Brett says. “Having one blockout blind and one sheer blind means you can still enjoy views during the day, and have complete privacy and darkness at night.”

window coverings


Vertical Blinds

Vertical blinds allow you to rotate the direction of sunlight into the room. Ideal for large windows with long drops, they can be stacked to one side or to the centre, depending on what you prefer.

window coverings


Panel Blinds

The ideal solution for sliding doors, panel blinds offer a modern alternative to vertical blinds. With large panels that slide from side to side, they stack at the end to keep the room open when you need it.

“Panel blinds can be matched to your roller blinds to help create some consistency through the home,” Brett adds. “But people should be careful, they don’t block out light 100%.”

window coverings



For a stunning visual impact, curtains come in a range of colours, patterns and fabrics. With multiple headings (the way the drape is made) and tracks to choose from, customising a curtain to suit your home is a great way to complete your interior.

window coverings


Drapes can add warmth and elegance to your home. Great at reducing outdoor noise levels, they also have the added advantage of staying cooler in summer than other window treatments. These days there are many modern alternative curtains you can choose, with plenty of colours and patterns that will help block out most light.

window coverings


Additional extras

window coverings


Sheer Curtains

If you have home with a beautiful view you do not want to obstruct, sheer curtains may be the way to go. Sheers defuse sunlight which can soften your home, while still being able to see outdoors.

“A lot of people opt for a blind with a wavefold sheer curtain over the top to get that good balance of privacy and openness,” Brett says. “It is a very delicate look, and it ticks all the boxes for both appearance and functionality.”

window coverings



Homes are becoming more automated and technological in every way, and so too has the curtain industry. Motorised blinds can be controlled with just the touch of a button, eliminating the need for cords and chains.

“Motorised blinds are great if you have a skylight or windows set too high to reach,” Brett says. “They can also be used on alpha awnings or bistro blinds which can be used on your patio or alfresco space. It adds just a touch of luxury to your home.”

window coverings


For more information on choosing the right window coverings for you, contact Dollar Curtains & Blinds today.

Is your home on the smaller side?

Fear not, you can still have the open and spacious design you have always wanted.

Use some of these tips to trick the senses and help give the illusion your home is larger than what it actually is. (more…)