The 2012 Building & Home Improvement Expo was on at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre this weekend, and we went along to see what was on offer.
There was a lot to take in, and it would have been easy to fill two bags with brochures, business cards, and samples. We went to the Expo last year as well so this time around we targeted a few specific trades.
One of the things on our list was security systems. More details about this will be included in the Electricals page, but we came across a few providers that were able to give us some good information on the different products and how we could integrate different parts of the security and A/V systems together.
We also checked out the stands of some of the decking specialists and found that bamboo products featured quite prominently this year. That's something that we'll keep in the back of our minds for when we start on the deck some time after handover. The bamboo products look and feel great, and are strong and durable, but the coloring of the material is not really what we had in mind. That's not to say that we have ruled it out - we just need to check that it will work with the rest of the house and furnishings when we're ready.
Mini-displays of window furnishings were provided by quite a few in the business. Most of the stands were for blinds only (rollers, romans, venetians, verticals, and shutters), but a couple of them also had curtains, and some did furniture refurbishments as well. Curtains and blinds are something we will be looking into in the next couple of months to make sure that we're covered within a few weeks of moving in.
If you've read our previous posts you'll know that we're getting a fireplace provision put into our Family Room. There were a few different providers at the Expo, and the displays were impressive. Some of the gas and hot stone fireplaces are amazing and look so good, even if they are all show and no go. We got some pricing from JetMaster and will look into this later on. With all the other things that need to be done after handover, the fireplace isn't really a priority.
We were also looking out for security doors and screens. There were a few options, but nothing too exciting or out of the ordinary. We were hoping to see the CrimSafe product on display but they didn't have a stand at the Expo.
Outdoor living was well featured - there were some really clever ideas in terms of closing off or opening up your outdoor area and making use of the outdoor space in the best way possible.
Custom-designed glass splashbacks and feature walls were quite interesting to look at. We may consider this once we've moved in and furnished the place to see if there is something we can put in that will enhance the decor of any of our rooms.
Of course, driveways and paths were also well represented, with some of the providers showcasing their products in their stands. We picked up a few brochures and cards, and also got some ideas as to how different materials and finishes look.
There were a decent number of kitchen and bathroom fitout suppliers with good interactive displays. Their stands were quite busy. We didn't stop to look at them in detail because we've chosen all of our fittings, but there were some that had towel holders and the like, which we will have to look into after handover.
And finally, energy efficient lighting featured quite heavily in the Expo, similar to last year. No doubt there were some good specials for those who purchased items at the Expo.
All in all, it's a good Expo and worth going to if you're thinking of, or in the middle of, building or renovating. Most of the people we spoke with were very familiar with the building process and different stages, spent time talking to us despite the hundreds of people that were around, and gave us some good information that we've taken away with us.