An Uneasy Year for Everyone associated with the Furniture Business

Furniture Business

Hettich UK’s managing director Clive Sparrow makes no bones about it–it’s been a very tough 12 months since ASFI, and it’s a sentiment echoed pretty much unanimously throughout the industry.

But with a steadily improving stock market–coupled with a reduction in international tensions–fresh optimism is emerging. Like hibernating animals that batten down the hatches during a stormy winter, many of us are popping our noses out of our borrows, peering over the parapet.

Furniture Business has a not very active year. The company has produced a large number of such beautiful chair however the sale is not very promising

Furniture Business has a not very active year. The company has produced a large number of such beautiful chair however the sale is not very promising

The question is this: what’s new? What’s been going on? Like hibernating animals we will need to move fast, stake our claims for survival. Returning to the ‘virtual’ security of the burrow is not an option for survival. Those who are not ‘fleet of foot’ won’t make it. They seldom do.

Yet large companies like Hettich have to innovate through good times and bad. Belts are tightened–sure–but the innovative drive remains operational throughout.

So, what’s emerged over the past 12 months since ASFI?

Home furniture business

Home furniture business

‘If I had to choose just three I’d go for two products and one service,’ said Sparrow, his offering being the new Unimat hinge, the Twister dowel and the complete assembled box service.

Furniture Products of Hett

Unimat, Hellich’s new concealed 26mm cup mini-hinge bucks all hinge trends to date. It is, without doubt, the result of a bold marketing decision for which Hettich can be justifiably congratulated. According to Clive Sparrow: ‘It is the most significant breakthrough in hinge design since the launch of the original concealed hinge principle some 40 years ago.’ He’s probably right too.

So, what’s the background to the claim? Can it be justified? It’s only (another) hinge, isn’t it? Well, to date, product engineering for economy has almost invariably meant an aesthetic compromise, and this is where Unimat breaks the mould, seriously. ‘Visually, it is the most distinct hinge on the market,’ claims Sparrow, ‘and that’s before you get around to its remarkable technical attributes. It’s available at a staggeringly competitive price, too,’ he added.


It’s hard to imagine anyone not being attracted to its appearance. Reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House in design principle, its market credibility is established at the outset. After all, if it worked for Sydney–and fewer cities have such an instantly recognisable and universally approved landmark–it will work for Hettich. Significantly, Unimat junks the angularity of most other hinges on the market.

But it’s on closer inspection that Unimat’s virtues become even more apparent. It’s a single-piece component, and is supplier as such. The cup arm and mounting plate are one totally integrated unit. According to Sparrow, this makes it a candidate for leadership in the self-assembly market. Here, its visual appeal will provide persuasion on the showroom floor.

Furthermore, the fact that the cup is supplied with pre-mounted chipboard screws and that all three-axis adjustment is built into the design is expected to appeal to both manufacturers and showroom staff alike. Collectively, these features–aestheticl and technical, along with simplicity in use–put it in a league of its won.

The hinge is supplied in three formats, each with a slightly different curvature–one for full door overlay, while the other two are for half overlay and inset doors respectively. Its shallow cup depth of 100mm means that it can be used with extremely thin wood based panels and doors can be as thin as 15mm.


According to Clive Sparrow the new Twister assembly dowel from Hettich is not only a unique development but one that is competitively priced to fit current commodity price structures. It provides a new twist to an old story.

He’s not alone in praising it either–the new cam and dowel was awarded the highly regarded Industrie Forum Design Hannover iF Design Award 2002. So what’s so special about it?

For a start, the sleeves rotate freely around the shanks which means that they can also be used to hold the dowel while power tools drive them home to a reliable fit. Furthermore, the three different dowel lengths are colour coded for easy and–importantly–unambiguous identification. Green denotes 20mm, blue, 24.5mm; and black indicates 30ram.


As to performance in use, Twister fills drilled holes completely, making it an immensely strong connector with notably high pull-out strength. It imparts a high level of stability when used with Cam fittings from Hettich’s Rastex range of cams–these having both interior and exterior indentations that afford a particularly high degree of strength.

The product is supplied through Hellich UK’s kitchen and bathroom division including kitchen cabinets, chairs and benches, stools, dining sets, bars and carts, round table, , headed up by Philip O’Malley.

Ready Assembled and Kitchen Furniture

With so much emphasis in recent years on KD furniture, it’s refreshing to come across a supplier who offers a top-flight domestic furniture drawer box ready assembled.

Hettich’s Innotech drawer system needs little introduction–it’s been around for several years–albeit updated regularly, recently to include soft close. In its latest guise it comprises high quality twin-walls but, significantly, it’s now available preassembled and supplied packed in a box. According to Hettich UK’s divisional director Tom Leedham this has distinct advantages for many kitchen manufacturers, suppliers and fitters.

Kitchen Component

‘First and foremost there is no assembly. This cuts manufacturing time and cost, but most of all is hassle free,’ he said. All the manufacturer/installer is required to do is either unpack the drawer and slot into place in the factory, or deliver it in its original packaging–along with other kitchen components such as wood drawer, gas cookers, dining chair and table — for fitting on site.

There are further advantages too, says Hettich–ordering and stockholding is made less complex, thereby reducing the scope for error. ‘Never before has the use of quality German-made drawer systems been so easy,’ said Leedham.



Entertain outdoors in style this summer with the Electrolux E:Volution Compact Modular Barbecue with Slimline Lid. Its compact 750mm design and sleek finish makes it perfect for small spaces in your house. Available from Winning Appliances.

Winning appliance

Winning appliance


Transform your bedroom into a peaceful and cool sanctuary with this grey and white stripe bed linen, inspired by African tribal textiles. Woven in a soft cotton twill with contrast piping trim and woven stripe reverse.

Linen bedroom

Linen bedroom


Natio Sensitive Facial Cleansing Gel is a fragrance-free, low-foaming cleanser with green tea and cucumber to help dissolve away impurities leaving skin pure, soft and moist. For more information visit their website.


Maxwell & Williams You’re A Doll is a collection of four stackable mugs featuring a Babushka in Plum and Red, a Geisha and a Grenadier. These bright and colourful porcelain sets make the perfect Christmas gift! Microwave and dishwasher safe. Maxwell & Williams You’re A Doll Babushka Red Mug 420ml, $19.95.


Reduce your energy consumption and become more eco-friendly with a Solahart solar water heater. It makes sense to get your hot water free from the sun! For further information call 1300 721 914.


Made from Hawaiian upholstery fabric, these stylish accessories will bring a touch of the tropics to your home and your hand luggage! California bag, $79.95; Sanctuary cushion, $49.95; and Oasis cushion, $69.95. All in Palm Trees fabric.


These colourful, removable Label Pads and NoteTabs are designed to help you organise, identify and personalise your work and private life. Great for recipe books, files and folders.


The Replica Philippe Starck Mademoiselle chair ($269) has an innovative colourful design that will make any place feel alive. Available from Sokol Designer Furniture. Call (03) 9481 1884.


LUXAFLEX window fashions introduces new awnings, Ventura, Garda and Como. Named after Italian destinations, they are designed to maximise alfresco living all year round. Each comes in 29 fabric colours and 11 powder-coated hardware options.


Maxwell & Williams is proudly supporting the National Breast Cancer Foundation with Pink Ribbon mugs. Introducing six bright colours to the Pink Ribbon Hope mug collection.


Crusoe uses a time-honoured technique to combine the natural world of texture and weave. The result is soft and inviting cotton in shades of carbon and linen. Quite simply it’s luxurious comfort for the bedroom. call 1800 625 516.


Award-winning design. Compatible and versatile. Easy installation and maintenance. Make an instant feature in your bathroom. Jump online  or call (02) 9889 7866.


Introducing Grandma’s Closet from Designer Rugs’ in-house collection Bella Vista. Made from a New Zealand rich wool blend with pure silk and sized to your specifications this design comes in three colour ways. Other colours can be made too. For more info call 1300 802 561.


Be inspired to rejuvenate your home with the latest designs at Beacon Lighting including a huge range of pendants, lamps, exteriors, energy-saving lighting for your house and Australia’s largest range of fans. Call 1300 BEACON or visit their site.

Beacon lighting

Beacon lighting


If you’re renovating your bathroom then look no further than Reece for beautiful products. Take the Ideal Standard Active range. It subtly combines curves, soft squares and oval shapes to provide a sense of harmony and balance. Visit their home page online for information and inspiration.


Over ten years of building on its expertise has made Solar Shop Australia a leader in solar power. But it’s still chasing the same goal today – finding the right solar power solution for you. For more details visit their site, or call 133 765.


Linea electrical accessories from HPM add colour and character to your home. Take your pick from 15 new colours available by special order from electrical wholesale and hardware stores. Call 1300 369 777, or visit their site for further information.


This timber daybed with cushions will complete your outdoor furniture arrangement with style and comfort. Their famous style is a combination of coffee tables and sport recliners together to create a comfortable outdoor space for your house. Available at participating Home Timber And Hardware stores, Thrifty-Link Hardware stores and Plants Plus Garden Centres. Priced at only $399.


There are now many options available when it comes to designing your dream bathroom for your home. Mirastar showerscreens help provide the illusion of space and light while still providing privacy and functionality. For more information visit their site


Get ready for summer and enjoy entertaining al fresco with the Del Terra Odin 7-piece outdoor setting (pictured). Available at participating Thrifty-Link Hardware stores for only $299.

Please note: not all products are available in all stores but can be ordered in. Participating stores only. While stocks last. Please check your local store for further details.


This stylish 2-piece setting – the FSC eucalyptus Daybed and Bench – work together or separately depending on your needs. Creative, adaptable and clever! Priced $448 (includes 2 base and 5 scatter cushions). Patio By Jamie Durie is exclusive to BIG W. Call 1800 251 311.


To discover all 90 reasons to own the new Skoda Octavia 90TSI and take one for a test drive today.


Preserve memories in beautiful photo books from Harvey Norman PhotoCentres, $59.95.


For innovative features and attractive design at an affordable price, look to Haier’s 315L Top Mount Refrigerator (HTMR315SS). And at 450mm wide Haier’s Compact Dishwasher (HDW9WHT) packs big value for small spaces. For more information call 1300 729 948

Compact Diswasher

Compact Diswasher at haier


Be inspired this spring with the new range of cushions from Spotlight. Now you can affordably change the look of your home. There’s a wide range of gorgeous colours to choose from. Visit their site or call 1300 305 405.


Your online designer furniture store clickonfurniture has just launched a seriously cool and unique range of Danish-style furniture including various types of chair such as rocking chair, gliding chair, recliner chair, as well as table set. Visit their site or phone (03) 9417 1183 for more info.


Take a closer look at the inspiring collection of Design effects paints from Dulux and the myriad of ways they can completely transform a room. Go to their site or call 13 25 25.


If you have children or pets then you probably need a product to keep your floors smelling fresh. Enter no vac Pure & Fresh foam carpet deodoriser, which kills bacteria that cause odours. It’s available in a variety of fragrances. no vac is the perfect finishing touch to every clean.


When looking for leading bathroom design look no fruther than Kohler. Thanks to its innovative Flipstream technology the sprayface can simply rotate on its axis, with each side dedicated to one of four spray options. Call 1800 228 476 or visit their site


Micador Acrylic Paints are the perfect solution to home decorating! The high pigment content paint dries to a beautiful satin finish, so you can easily explore your creativity and brighten up your walls!


Re-visit the glamour of mid-20th century Palm Springs with Splash’s Palm Springs vanity. Available at 1200mm or 1500mm wide. Call the Splash Sydney Showroom for more details on (02) 8669 1744


The entrance is one of the most important areas of your home: it’s the fi rst (and last) thing you see. So make it count, with one of the many options to choose from at Corinthian Doors, including bold styles, graphic patterns and painted fi nishes. As a luxe bonus, a Corinthian pivot front- entry door banishes the need for hinges: ideal for extra tall or wide doors.


The International School of Colour and Design is an industry-recognised leader in educating people on the art of colour and design. Start a campus or correspondence course for fun or an exciting new career.

Recliner Chair

A recliner is a must have item in any house, not just for decoration, but is also a great relaxing place in the room. To find to best recliners, visit read recliner reviews in cuddly home advisors.

Recliner at

Recliner at Cuddly Home Advisors

A Charming Renovation; A sympathetic extension transforms a neglected Victorian house into the perfect family home

Victorian-era property

Sometimes it really does pay to be patient, as Jenny and Roger Wade will testify. When they found their perfect family home – a Victorian-era property, with a pretty front and back garden, in a coastal location – they quickly offered the asking price, which was accepted. But at the last minute the owners changed their minds about selling because they couldn’t find a new home for themselves. The Wades knew the house was too good to pass up, so they offered to wait until the owners found another property. Finally, many months later Jenny and Roger, with their two young children, Tess and Louie, were able to move into their dream home. “We really love the house so it was worth the wait,” Jenny says.

Families looks for a perfect home

Families looks for a perfect home

Patience still proved a virtue, because once the family was settled, there was another, even longer wait – three years – before any changes were made. “We wanted to live in the house for a while and see how it would work best for us,” Jenny explains. “We spent a lot of time planning what to do, taking into consideration the light and the way we used the space.” Jenny created moodboards, featuring inspirational images from magazines, sketches, fabrics and colours. “I love texture and colour – and the palette we used throughout the house was inspired by the soft greys of the sea and the sky,” she says.

Structure of the house

Although the interior was in good condition, the rooms were fairly small, and the kitchen, in particular, was narrow and cramped. Many discussions later, the couple employed an architect, who helped them interpret their ideas and come up with a practical space.

Two back rooms were opened up and an extension added to create one large living, dining and kitchen area, with a light, spacious and contemporary feel. The couple were careful, however, to retain the Victorian details throughout the rest of the home. “We echoed the vaulted ceiling of the original kitchen on to the extension, giving a symmetrical feel to the back of the house,” Jenny says. Doors between the front and back rooms were also removed to create a large living room on one side and a spacious formal dining area on the other.

Skylights and furnishing the space

To maximise light in the house, skylights were installed and bifold doors, which open out to the garden, were inserted along the back wall. These connect the inside to the out, the sense of flow enhanced by extending the use of the large ceramic kitchen tiles into the garden. Elsewhere on the ground floor are dark oak floorboards, which provide a striking contrast to the pale walls. Upstairs, cosy carpet warms the feet on winter days. Attractive shutters were installed on all the windows, which allows for the control of light and privacy. They also give the front of the house a New England look, which Jenny loves.

The finishing touch was to furnish the space. “We didn’t have much furniture, only a few pieces that Roger had inherited, but we picked up lots of interesting items in local antique shops and at markets,” Jenny says. She has combined these with new pieces to give the place “soul”. After the long wait, and much thought, the Wades’ plans for their home have been realised. It goes to show that patience really does pay off.

Before & After Real Renovation Real Inspiration

An old Melbourne semi gets a makeover – in two widely separated stages. And the second stage happened in super-quick time Read on to see how homeowners Katie and Mick did it, with amazing help from their builder, Matt


KATIE QUINN, from Ireland, met Aussie Mick Davies in Dublin. They married in Sydney and then moved to Melbourne to work. They rented; searched for a house to buy; and in December 2007, for $622,500, moved into their semi in St Kilda East. Built in 1910 in a “mishmash” Art Deco/Mission style, the house needed restumping – its support piers replaced. Apart from that there was nothing structurally wrong with it. So the couple simply made the kitchen useable, painted the walls, bought furniture, decorated, and lived in the house.

 By simply made the kitchen useable and painted the walls, the semi house is now ready for living

By simply made the kitchen useable and painted the walls, the semi house is now ready for living

QUICK CHANGE But in mid-2009 the couple decided they would move back to Sydney to further their careers, and so – suddenly – it was time to renovate in order to rent the house out. With such a short timeframe, the aim was to do as much as possible without having to get council planning permission. The couple hired a mate of theirs, Matt Day, of Day To Day Carpentry, as their builder (“an absolute gem”); the rest of the tradies were sourced via the internet. Reliability-wise they turned out to be a mixed bunch. “Ironically, all of them, except for one, was called Matt,” Katie says.

The couple renovates the house again in order to rent

The couple renovates the house again in order to rent


ACTION STATIONS When the couple bought the house, they knew they couldn’t live with the existing kitchen, even for a few months. So they replaced the cupboards with a temporary budget kitchen from Ikea. A new Rinnai hot water system was also put in, along with the large freestanding fiveburner Westinghouse stove (see opposite). “Mick chose the stove; you don’t see this kind of modern cooker that often in Ireland, but once I started using it I fell in love,” Katie says. The stove would later be repositioned in the grand-final kitchen.

Selected hot water system

Selected hot water system

LIGHT & BRIGHT Two years on, they took out a non-supporting wall to open up the space, took out the ceiling and built a new one, replaced the floors and replumbed. The office/ second bedroom was turned into the kitchen; the kitchen became the dining area. The old kitchen windows were replaced with sliding modern ones from Canterbury Windows. You can also check Me space style.

Making It Home

HOT STUFF The electrician, with plenty of help from Matt the builder – brick houses can be a challenge, it turns out – needed to rewire parts of the house. Central heating was installed to winterproof the home, with ducts in almost every room. Both new bedrooms were carpeted in a good-quality cream woollen carpet (from Carpet Call) that should stand the test of time.

SENSITIVE MOVES It’s a mix of old and new that Katie loves. The couple kept all the original picture rails (see left) and only replastered those walls that needed it. “Where we took out old features we were careful to put in new ones to replace them,” Katie says. Special care, for instance, was taken to install door and cupboard handles true to the spirit of Art Deco, with many parts ordered online through US specialist supplier Rejuvenation ( New era-appropriate doors were ordered from Armadale Doors.

Bathroom BLISS

WHITE ON The unused outside toilet was merged with the old bathroom to make a bit more room. “Still, it was very small space and I wanted to make it look as big as possible,” Katie says. The solution: install narrow oblong white wall tiles and a narrow floating sink instead of a vanity unit to increase the sense of space. “I also really wanted a New York subway look,” she says. The bathroom windows (see left) were replaced. “I did feel a bit funny about taking out the old ones but they would have cost a fortune to repair,” Katie says. She waterproofed the bathroom herself.

Bathroom bliss

Bathroom bliss

A PROBLEM There was a drama with the tiler. He wrote all over one section with indelible ink that proved impossible to remove. “We had to retile it. That’s why I ended up learning how to tile. I did the wall tiles in the kitchen myself.”

THE END Katie and Mick were happy with their reno. There were clashes with some of the Matts, but the work was finished before Christmas, which was the aim. And so, in the new year, they leased out their home, booked the removalists, moved to Sydney and their new jobs – and into a rental. And we can’t wait to see what they do with that.

Me Spaces

Create a warm & cosy zone just for you!

We’ve got six great (and easy!) ways to create a retreat in your own home. Choose a “me space” style that suits you

MEN HAVE long had their dedicated escape space – often it’s the shed. But it can be hard for mum to find her very own “me space” in the family home. The answer? Find an area or nook – or if you can, a whole room! – that you can adapt and decorate as a place just for you.

Home Office

ME-SPACE STYLE A place for home-office tasks, to write, work on your blog, or just to think.

ME SPACE STYLE home office

ME SPACE STYLE home office

HOW TO Create a breakout area with a sleek desk and dress it up. The desk should have drawers so stationery, etc, can be hidden away, leaving the top clear for decorative items that will inspire a productive workflow. Add a comfy sofa with oversized cushions and a snuggly sheepskin so you can kick back and relax when you need to.

creative COOKING

ME-SPACE STYLE A place for enthusiastic chefs, weekend bakers, and everyone who loves testing out the latest cookbooks. Read the list of kitchen stuffs.

ME-SPACE STYLE A place for enthusiastic chefs

ME-SPACE STYLE A place for enthusiastic chefs

HOW TO Organise and decorate the kitchen just the way you like it – don’t think about it as just a boring white space for preparing family meals. Add art to the walls and paint the cupboard doors. Install compartmentalised shelving, as shown here. It’s practical and looks fantastic because everyday items like glassware and cookbooks can become graphic displays. Clear glass jars, labelled containers and ample bench space will keep your kitchen in perfect order.

noise-free NOOK

ME-SPACE STYLE A place to get away from all the racket that comes with kids, TVs, radios and gaming consoles.

ME-SPACE STYLE: peaceful style

ME-SPACE STYLE: peaceful style

pamper PLACE

ME-SPACE STYLE A place to attend to those little luxuries you sometimes can’t find time for.

HOW TO Family bathrooms can be busy places, and it’s no fun doing your nails standing in front of the bathroom sink, so set up a private area somewhere in the house where you can attend to these very necessary things! Keep the colour palette neutral to create a spa-like vibe, and add bright pops of colour through accessories. No room for tables? Place your pampering products and a lovely scented candle on small stools, which can double as seats for when friends pop over for a facial, too, or perhaps when hubbie wants to give you a foot rub!

reading RETREAT

ME-SPACE STYLE A well-lit place to relax and read.

ME SPACE STYLE: place to read

ME SPACE STYLE:  with reclining chairs -place to read

HOW TO You need a chair with arms and a comfy cushion. Arrange your reading zone in a spot where there’s good natural light, and have overhead lighting (here, clustered pendants) for the evening. A warming throw, a snuggly rug underfoot and a side table for your cuppa complete the picture. A “do not disturb” sign is optional!

garden STATION

ME-SPACE STYLE A place to attend to all those gardening jobs you’ve been meaning to do.

HOW TO Instead of the usual outdoor table setting, get hold of a sturdy wooden bench, great for potting and planning your garden space. For entertaining, just dress it up with a cute tablecloth and add seating. If you’ve got a brick ledge, like in this backyard, it could be used as bench seating.