Loft the plot?

More and more peo­ple can’t af­ford to move and are mak­ing the most of what they have, writes An­nie Reid

Herald Sun - Property - - Front Page -

AVVY home­own­ers are tak­ing the ren­o­va­tion route to fight the eco­nomic down­turn and us­ing clever tricks to trans­form wasted space at min­i­mum cost.

Archi­cen­tre’s Robert Caulfield says build­ing ap­provals for new houses have al­ready dropped 35 per cent from a year ago as peo­ple drop plans to sell.

‘‘The fi­nan­cial tur­moil of 2009 will see more Aus­tralians stay put and spend more money on ren­o­vat­ing their homes,’’ he says.

‘‘In the past year, Archi­cen­tre’s de­sign ser­vice has re­ported a sub­stan­tial rise in ren­o­va­tions.’’

An­drew Piva, from B.E. Ar­chi­tec­ture, says suc­cess­ful ren­o­vat­ing is all in the de­sign.

‘‘You can fit a lot on a tight site if you plan care­fully,’’ he says. ‘‘You have to be mind­ful of get­ting what you can and peo­ple need to make sure, if they’re pay­ing to build or do a ren­o­va­tion, that they can sell it down the track.’’

Piva says peo­ple are go­ing back to the ‘‘kitchen is the heart of the home’’ con­cept; giv­ing up room in the open-plan liv­ing area and broad­en­ing the meals space to pro­vide more min­gling ar­eas.

He also says cor­rect fur­ni­ture choices can af­fect the depth and size of a space.

In kitchens, it’s all about ‘‘hid­den ar­chi­tec­ture’’. That means more draw­ers and fewer cup­boards, with flush, self-clos­ing doors with no han­dles, cre­at­ing a seam­less look.

Mere hang­ing space in the wardrobe is sim­ply not good enough: now peo­ple want dress­ing room space, nat­u­ral light, ‘‘his and hers’’ spa­ces, full-length mir­rors and even sep­a­rate shoe join­ery.

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