How To Design For The Future

The future is not all flying cars and automated talking housecleaners that the cartoon, Jetsons, would have us believe. The modern homes of tomorrow will be slightly more embedded in realism than that, but if the last ten years has shown us anything, we have become and will become more reliant on our devices and technology even more. So what does that mean for the futuristic homes of tomorrow and how can we plan for these changes today?

More reliance on solar technology

In future, there will be more reliance on solar panels and less reliance on the electricity grid, although fear not, modern designs will maintain their aesthetic appeal so as not to clash with the overall style of your home. Solar windows, solar roof tiles and even solar paths and roads are all a thing today, and it’s not too much of a stretch to understand that each home will be generating more and more power for their own personal use.

Smarter and more varied home technology

Smart appliances are here already and are only going to evolve. We already have automated vacuums to clean our floors and our pools, and even robots to fold laundry. Many of these new machines are connected to apps on our phones such as home security, and these can be set up just by the press of the button and viewed at a glance. We can listen to music and turn on the lights with a simple voice command and thanks to devices such as Google Home, the simple tasks will be done for us. Thank goodness for electronic exercise equipment so we have an excuse to get up off the couch.

Modern automated entryways

It will be more than just the colour of the front door that you will need to consider in the future. Front doors of modern homes are becoming smarter and will unlock upon recognition, no key required. Also, a delivery area will become more commonplace as we become more reliant on delivery drivers to drop off our staples which are ordered automatically from our refrigerator and other smart devices.

Home entertainment for special occasions

Cinema rooms or entertainment rooms are back in vogue thanks to virtual reality and interactive games that you can play with friends and family. Pulldown screens or hidden screens will be preferred, however, to allow people to do their online shopping, solo video game playing and surfing of the net on their own personal devices. Reliance on the family living room will decline overall and the entertainment rooms will be only used on occasional get-togethers or weekends.

Modern home offices

As many companies are allowing their workers to work from home, today’s home offices need to make sure that they are equipped with the necessary technology to make that happen. Virtual meetings and face to face phone calls seemed so alien to us at first, but now they just happen to be a part of our daily work life. Let’s face it, dropping the daily commute for a leisurely morning and an online conference sounds so much more convenient.

Clever Kitchen Technology

Kitchen technology is at the forefront of home modernisation as we have seen with the advent of connected devices such as refrigerators. Plan to see more changes along these lines with fully integrated kitchen touchscreens and the like to help us stay connected and do our online shopping, all voice-activated of course.

Smart Bathroom Makeovers

While most bathrooms of today have nothing of note except an electric toothbrush this will change. Smart toilets that flush with no need to press a button will become more commonplace in the home as will toilets that can assess our health through our daily bodily functions (whether you want to know or not!) And smart mirrors, showers, bathtubs and sinks will be readily available to purchase so you can interact more fully with your surroundings.

Increase in granny flats and tiny homes

Second dwellings or tiny homes are becoming more popular and are being built in the backyard of the main dwelling as people are beginning to realise that bigger is not necessarily better. These are being used to house ageing parents, young adults, or even being rented outright to tenants. And just because they are tiny does not mean they lack in mod cons either. Clever storage and fully-functional gadgets will ensure that the granny flats don’t lack in any way regardless of their size.

Thankfully many of the devices and changes require only minimal adaption to a modern home rather than a complete redesign or overhaul. And regardless of how much you agree or disagree with many of the changes and trends which are being seen in the home these days, change is coming whether you like it or not.

How To Make A Granny Flat In A Cash Positive Investment

Granny flats tend to be added to a property more these days as an afterthought. However, as people are beginning to understand that a granny flat is a smart investment, we are seeing more new builds being created complete with a ready-made granny flat out the back. If passive income is what you seek, then it is time you learn how to make your granny flat a reality and a cash positive investment to boot.

Understand the granny flat legislation in your state

To build a granny flat in New South Wales, it needs to be established in conjunction with another dwelling and be on the same lot of land as the main dwelling. It can be within, attached to or even separate from the main dwelling to be considered a granny flat. As per the NSW Government, the property must be a minimum of 450 square metres and maintain a setback of 3 metres from the rear. The granny flat itself should not exceed 60 square metres. If you are looking to build a separate granny flat, ie a second dwelling, the property must have a minimum width of 12 metres at the building line of the proposed granny flat. Once you have ensured that the size of your property is suitable for a granny flat, and you understand the benefits and the risks involved, you can then decide whether it’s right for you.

A chance to increase your assets

While you are not able to sell your granny flat off separately, you can still reap the benefits of the addition by adding value to your main home. This can be done through one of two ways, either selling your home for a higher amount or renting out the granny flat for a monthly income. Remember, however, that the increase in the property will never, unfortunately, be as much as it cost to build the granny flat in the first place.

It’s a relatively small first investment

If you are looking to get into the property market but don’t want the hassle of finding additional land, you can start small and build a granny flat off the back of your main home. For first time builders and landlords, granny flats are a great way to understand the market without the risk that comes with an expensive apartment or second home.

Don’t be afraid to set your criteria

When you are looking or tenants, it is important that you lay down the ground rules to increase the chances of finding reliable tenants. If you don’t want the hassle of meeting and interviewing potential tenants for your property, you can rent out the services to a property management company for a fee. Don’t forget to always have some backup funds available, because as a landlord, you will be responsible for any issues that occur on the property.

As with any real estate decision, it pays to do your research and speak to financial advisors, designers and property builders. Know that, however, when you are ready to build, it takes less than two weeks for the approval to be given by the local council, so it could happen sooner than you think.

How To Create The Best Home In The World

So how do you create the best home in the world? Or should that be rephrased to how do you create the best home in the world for you? As individuals, we all have our likes and dislikes and wants and needs, and for this reason, everyone’s home is different. Budgets notwithstanding, there will be some tradeoffs and comprises which need to be made, so prioritise your desires so you are satisfied with what you have, and less concerned about keeping up with those so-called Joneses, whoever they may be!

Remember that the size and location of the land you buy will have a lot to say about the kind of home you can build. In most cases, you will have a strict budget to work with which will pretty much dictate the size of the finished home and the materials that you use. And unless you are living alone, the other inhabitants of the house might have something to add as to what kind of home they would like to live in too.

The design process for building a house can be a lot of fun if you are willing to go in with your eyes wide open. It is undoubtedly a multi-layered approached as you go into the exercise with your wishlist in hand and watch as you mould the home to fit all those requirements. Your priorities will start to take shape once you understand what will work and what won’t, and at the end of the process, you will have a design that you feel comfortable in moving forward with. By working together with your design partner and presenting your thoughts and ideas, you will be fully part of the process to design the best house for you.

The most interesting thing about designing a house in Australia, or anywhere for that matter, is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach despite what you may have been led to believe by builders promoting their limited ready-to-go designs. You only need to speak to two or three designers about your design idea, and you can bet your bottom dollar that you will end up with more than one particular design solution to suit your requirements. Whether your priorities lie in a home office, entertainment area, home gym, a professional-grade kitchen or all of the above, it can all be done by keeping your lifestyle in mind.

And don’t forget, it’s not so much as what may work today unless you are thinking particularly short-term and wish to flip or rent, but what will work today and also lend itself to progression or change, five or even ten years down the line. We all change and develop and grow and our homes need to be able to come along for the ride. You need a home that can withstand all the needs and personalities of all who inhabit it by coming up with a cohesive and flexible design that takes all this into account.

So let’s get back to the word, best. What does it mean for you? What would your best home encompass? It is more than just a nice couch or an airy sunroom. It is a feeling or a sense, something intangible yet very very real. Perhaps you may not even realise you have achieved it until you sit down in your finished home and give yourself permission to relax and enjoy the space you have built for you. Up until then, don’t stop trying to discover what your particular best will entail and reach for it as much as possible.

How To Run A Successful Renovation To Save Yourself Money

You may have heard those renovating horror stories where what can go wrong has absolutely gone wrong or worse, the renovation could not be completed due to lack of funds. Thankfully it does not have to be this way and understanding the renovation process and being able to expect the unexpected will allow you to better position yourself as a successful home renovator.

As with any subject, the more you know about it, the better well-versed in renovation speak you will be. So learn as much about your home or block as much as possible and seek out advice from others in the know where you can. Your local council, tradies, designers and even experts on the internet can prove to be particularly helpful. If you are struggling to understand some part of a renovation, then question it. Don’t let someone else take control of your renovation just because you are too shy to speak up or seek clarification. And if you require time to think about something before deciding, ask whether you can sleep on the decision. Never rush into a decision, particularly one where your gut is telling you to think on it a little bit more before rushing in with a yay or nay.

In order to save yourself money, you need to set yourself a budget and manage the renovation project carefully to avoid lengthy delays and miscommunication. Get quotes and then check and double-check the figures. Take your measurements carefully and never assume that everyone should know what they are doing. Follow up on everything and never accept the first quote without shopping around and doing your necessary due diligence. The same could be said for owner-builder insurance. Understand the risks, check your prices and know exactly what you are paying for.

Know what is involved from the local council perspective if it is in within your purview. Note deadlines of each document and follow up to ensure there are no delays. If there is a problem, you need to ensure that it can be quickly managed and successfully overcome to not hold up the process. Time in a building or renovation job is most certainly money.

When you are renovating your home, never feel that you have to buy all new to seek the look you want. There are some great bargain buys in the way of second outlets, antique stores, online marketplaces and building auctions. Your building designer should be able to point you in the direction of a few trusted professionals who can help you with building, repairs and even furniture to fill in space.

You may be even able to save a few dollars by doing some of the work yourself. Make yourself available to do tip runs, DIY store runs, and grab the odd paint brush or glue gun to get the job done faster. Waiting for a tradie to get the tools or equipment can waste time and money, particularly if it is something you can do after hours or while they are working on another task. Always endeavour to stay one step ahead of what is going on so you can ensure everything is going as well as you had anticipated.

How To Do An Outstanding Renovation On A Budget

If you are planning to renovate on a budget, we have some great news for you. It can be done and it can be done well, provided you clearly understand your end goals and remain flexible on how to get there. Let’s run through some tips which will help you renovate your home and stick to your budget as you go.

1. Know what you want

Draw it, write it, photograph it, print it. Do whatever will help you understand your renovation goals so you can start planning the best way of going about it. It will better enable you to set your budget and realistically grasp what you can and can’t have. You need to be very clear on how much money you have to commit to the project or how much you want to borrow. Even simple things as decluttering, replacing the light fixtures and taps, or painting the cupboards in the kitchen can make a huge improvement on your home with very little cost involved.

2. Refurnish or reuse

Just because you are renovating, does not mean that you need to buy everything new. Renovating, reusing and even second-hand shopping can all be wins for the project. They will all save you money or enable you to keep your favourite pieces in your home for longer. Don’t forget about reupholstering sofas and cushions to give it a new and updated look. Keep an eye out for quality second-hand finds to save on money on large furniture items and whitegoods. This can help you save hundreds of dollars at the outset.

3. Finalise your budget

Do you need to move out of your home for a short period or find alternative storage while you go about the tasks? Remember all of these things add to the cost of the renovation and will help you decide whether you are using a line of credit or just drawing on your current savings. Once you have a solid figure in mind, add a small contingency to the amount for unexpected costs. These are unavoidable no matter how well managed a project is. If you find that you can’t quite manage the whole house then it may be worth picking one or two rooms and prioritizing those over the whole house renovation.

4. Source professionals

Your budget will determine whether you are using professionals or doing everything yourself. Shop around for quotes and approach more than one to compare. These estimates are very valuable and will help you come up with a plan. It never pays to sign up to the first one without at least some sort of professional comparison. Never skimp on the electrical costs and try to keep the plumbing points where they are to keep the overall expenses down. Remember, there may be tasks that you can even do yourself to save money.

5. Manage the project

It is important that you plan for everything down to the smallest detail and manage the project every step of the way to ensure that you don’t go over time or over budget. If you are using professionals, check in to see how they are doing and question if they need anything to complete the job quicker. Renovation projects will not run themselves, so unless you have time to commit to the project, it might be worth putting it off until you can commit fully and keep a close eye on what is going on to make sure nothing gets missed.