9 min read

Living it up by moving it down

Episode five is here and this week on The Blockcast, Interior Designer Jono Fleming chats to The Block Builder, Jason Charles, about how to add a basement to your home.

There’s something almost alluring about having a space of your own. Even as a child, the desire to retreat to the sanctity of your own room, cubbyhouse, or favourite corner and just be yourself offered an escapism which felt almost empowering and therapeutic.

As families start to mature it can become more and more difficult to find such a space with family members often competing for a bathroom, a place to study, relax or entertain. As you grow older your priorities and interests may shift, but the feeling that comes from taking a moment for yourself never seems to wane.

Block sizes in many urban areas are becoming smaller and building restrictions often make it difficult to counter these issues by going up or going out. Many are exploring the possibility of making their own space, be it a home office, cellar, cinema or gym by creating additional room underground.

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Returning Block Builder, Jason Charles from Charles Bros Building Contractors talks basements in episode five of The Blockcast

Episode five of The Blockcast sees Interior Designer Jono Fleming chat to The Block Builder, Jason Charles from Charles Bros Building Contractors who is back with contestants Mitch and Mark for their second build together. This season includes a basement in each house, which has been generating quite a lot of interest. “I’d certainly look at doing one,” says Charles, “Basements are a great advert for your house.” Most of the houses on The Block this year are modest in size, but it is the basement which makes it a big house, Charles adds.

Time is always of the essence on The Block, which is one of the reasons that AFS Rediwall® was a great choice for the build team. Quick and easy to install, AFS Rediwall® is a perfect match for the time constraints of The Block’s schedule.

Lightweight, yet structurally strong and designed to be load-bearing, the AFS Rediwall® walling system is suitable for both above and below ground applications. It’s a time-saving alternative to conventional masonry and blockwork. The precision-extruded components easily interconnect for rapid installation.

AFS Rediwall® can be finished with a skim coat, Gyprock® internal lining or by applying an acrylic render to ensure you are able to achieve the exact look you are after. When used together with Bradford Soundscreen™ wall insulation and Hebel PowerFloor® between the basement and ground level, you are adding a thermal and acoustic barrier that is perfect for any music studio or home theatre application.

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Block contestants Kirsty and Jesse won “Basement Week” on the block with their golden age of cinema inspired home theatre with decorative Gyprock Ceiling

Within the confines of the AFS Rediwall® exterior walls, the basement spaces being created by this year’s contestants are certainly turning heads.

Not initially a home theatre fan, after inspecting what contestants this season have produced, Block judge Neale Whitaker said “Now I have a done a 180-degree turn. This has turned my view totally on its head.” Fellow judge Shaynna Blaze echoed Whitaker’s statement saying, “You’ve given me something I didn’t know I wanted.” The feedback was echoed when inspecting Mitch and Mark’s basement day spa, with the judges proclaiming that it added a whole new level of luxury to the home.

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Mitch and Mark’s day spa has added a whole new level of luxury complete with Bradford Soundscreen insulation for added privacy

Interior designer, stylist and host of The Blockcast podcast Jono Fleming offers the following tips for anyone looking to add a basement to their own home.

Tip 1: Know the rules

“If you’re building from the ground up, think about going down as well. Extra storage and space in a home is luxury. But double-check with all your building rules about what you can and can’t use a basement for.”

Tip 2: Look beyond the obvious

“Look beyond the obvious applications for a basement space. From theatre rooms to day spas and everything in-between, there’s so many options to explore.”

Tip 3: Consider your furniture

“When it comes to saving in a home theatre, residential couches and armchairs can do the trick. They look a lot better than those chunky cinema chairs. Just make sure they’re super comfy to lay back and relax in.”

Tip 4: Don’t Hold Back on Materials

“Spend upfront on materials. The build might be a little bit more (expensive) in the building process, but it will pay itself off in the long run. You won’t have to retro-fit things like internal insulation and soundproofing down the track.”

Tip 5: Have a Good Relationship with Your Builder

“For my final tip and I can speak from personal experience here, have a good relationship with your builder. The more you can communicate and discuss things, the more likely things are to go smoothly in a build. Help each other out, make sure you’re keeping an open dialogue so everyone’s on the same page.”

To hear more design and building insights, listen to The Blockcast featuring interior designer Jono Fleming each Monday after The Block reveals.

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