Australia is in a renovation bubble. Given interest rates are at all-time lows and house prices in much of the country continue to rise, it makes sense for people to increase the quality of their everyday lives by improving their properties. However, before you go knocking down the walls, it’s important to have an understanding of the latest trends, which will help you to choose design components that not only work for you and your property, but will also appeal to prospective buyers when the time comes to sell.
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HOUSE RENOVATION People are more educated about the importance of undertaking a holistic approach to home building projects. Having the inside and outside designed together makes both good design and monetary sense. If the same design company is involved, the finished project will flow better and appear more integrated. Homeowners are recognising this as they are increasingly asking for design companies that have experience in both house renovations as well as landscaping and outdoor projects. The most common type of home renovation we are asked for at the moment is for the rear of the home to be opened up with large sliding or concertinaed doors. In addition to this, homeowners are requesting internal walls be removed to create an open-plan living space with a new kitchen. Often we are also asked to design an attached outdoor room with cooking and entertaining facilities that provides strong links to the inside and outside of the house. For new extensions, high ceilings remain popular, as well as windows that take advantage of light and sky views.
OUTDOOR ROOMS With Australia’s moderate climate, outdoor rooms that incorporate kitchenettes, barbecue and entertaining facilities are high on the priority list for renovators. The trend is for these spaces to be either linked to the home itself or designed as freestanding structures, such as a cabana, which is often associated with external features such pools or tennis courts. An outdoor room may be little more than a gazebo, summerhouse or pavilion, but the current trend is for an elaborate structure incorporating a luxurious bathroom with toilet, shower, bath and basin amenities, and kitchenette facilities including glass-fronted fridges, barbecues, stove, cupboards, sinks, tables and chairs for entertaining purposes.
The trend for cabanas and outdoor rooms has been fuelled by the desire to turn our outdoor spaces into places of retreat, away from the hectic pace of life and separate to home and work. Another general trend in home, outdoor room and cabana design is for flexible floor plans for different stages in life. Changing lifestyles require changeable living spaces. Numerous design requests are for structures to have sliding doors, concertinaed doors, and other types of movable partitions to allow flexibility in living arrangements. Dedicated formal lounge and dining rooms are being replaced by oversized, everyday family areas. In addition, many houses and cabanas include private “bonus” rooms that can be used for office space or can be adapted to a variety of specialised needs, such as a gym, yoga room, artist room or spare bedroom.
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