Rooms worth splurg­ing on

What ar­eas should you splurge on when build­ing a new home, asks Erin De­lahunty

Herald Sun - Property - - FRONT PAGE -

UN­LESS you have a bot­tom­less bank ac­count, build­ing a new home re­quires care­ful thought about where to splurge and where to skimp. But de­cid­ing where to spend hard­earned cash in a new build can be daunt­ing, as the op­tions seem end­less.

Ev­ery buyer and build is dif­fer­ent, but here is some gen­eral ad­vice that might help you out.


Bur­bank Homes man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jar­rod San­fil­ippo said the kitchen and out­door en­ter­tain­ing area had in­creas­ingly be­come the hubs of the home.

“As a re­sult, we find th­ese are two of the key places buy­ers are in­vest­ing a lit­tle more money in,” he said. “With the rise of TV shows like

MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules, Aus­tralia’s fo­cus on food has never been more prom­i­nent, and the in­creased use of culi­nary spa­ces re­flects this.”

Ho­tondo Homes mar­ket­ing co­or­di­na­tor Ros­alie Mus­tica agreed. She said kitchens, as well as bath­rooms, were pop­u­lar splurge zones.

“Th­ese two ar­eas will al­ways of­fer the most func­tion­al­ity,” she said.

“Home­buy­ers want to en­sure they’re get­ting longevity out of th­ese rooms and, in turn, will be will­ing to pay a lit­tle ex­tra for those added lux­u­ries that will pro­vide ben­e­fits for years to come.”

Ms Mus­tica said the kitchen was “al­most al­ways” the most used area of the home.

The fea­tures within a kitchen are also quite chal­leng­ing to up­date on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, which is why it’s vi­tal to get it right the first time,” she said.

“Up­dat­ing bench­tops, splash­backs

and cab­i­netry can be­come an ex­pen­sive ex­er­cise, so by ini­tially splurg­ing, home­buy­ers will get a lot more value for money.”

Met­ri­con de­sign man­ager Ricky D’Ale­sio said is­land benches were a big item in the kitchen, as peo­ple tended to con­gre­gate around them. “So, they’re an ad­di­tion worth spend­ing a bit of ex­tra on,” he said.


Home­buy­ers are also in­vest­ing in main bed­rooms, which have be­come more resort-like over the years.

Mr San­fil­ippo said buy­ers wanted to en­sure their bed­room was “a spe­cial kind of haven”.

“Con­se­quently, a lit­tle more money is ded­i­cated to this area to cre­ate the de­sired op­u­lence,” he said.

Buy­ers are also after street ap­peal and are will­ing to cough up the bucks.

Mr D’Ale­sio said up­grad­ing bricks or adding ren­der were pop­u­lar fa­cade treat­ments, while spend­ing a lit­tle ex­tra on a heav­ier, up­graded door was also seen as a good way to im­prove kerb ap­peal.

Ms Mus­tica said cladding was more cost-ef­fec­tive than brick­work and still pro­vided a great look, es­pe­cially when mar­ried with fea­ture ren­der­ing and brick­work.

“But be wary,” she cau­tioned. “While this look is amaz­ing, it is def­i­nitely a trend at the mo­ment.”

When it comes to stor­age, you can never have too much.

“Cus­tomers are spend­ing ex­tra money on stor­age so­lu­tions like walkin linen cup­boards, walk-in pantries and ex­tra stor­age in the garage,” Mr D’Ale­sio re­ported.


Mr San­fil­ippo said sav­ings could of­ten be made by com­pro­mis­ing on the size of rooms or by us­ing more af­ford­able ma­te­ri­als.

“Us­ing af­ford­able ma­te­ri­als like tim­ber floor­ing adds a sub­tle so­phis­ti­ca­tion to the home that won’t break the bank,” he said.

Ms Mus­tica said buy­ers of­ten saved on items that could be up­dated later.

“Items in­clud­ing ap­pli­ances, fur­ni­ture and even some fit­tings, such as the types of tiles and floor­ing, will be se­lected more wisely in an ef­fort to save,” she said.

“This comes down to value for money. For ex­am­ple, porce­lain tiles are cheaper than ce­ramic and will re­sist chip­ping and crack­ing. Think care­fully about what you want and what will sur­vive the test of time. That should pro­vide a solid in­di­ca­tion of where you should in­vest a lit­tle more.”

The builders agreed one of the best ways to get “bang for buck” was to splurge on struc­tural and sus­tain­abil­ity fea­tures, not aes­thet­ics.

Ms Mus­tica said choices like ceil­ing heights, brick se­lec­tions and even heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tems would pro­vide ben­e­fits through­out the life of a home.

“It’s al­ways worth con­sid­er­ing the en­ergy ef­fi­ciency of your home, too, as this will help your hip pocket in the long run and, of course, it’s bet­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment,” she said.

Mr D’Ale­sio said an­other way to save was to think about the ar­eas you ac­tu­ally re­al­is­ti­cally re­quired.

“You might need one, rather than two liv­ing ar­eas, for ex­am­ple, but keep in mind fu­ture needs,” he said.

“Fu­ture-proof your home and in­clude in your de­sign the ameni­ties re­quired as you or your fam­ily evolve.”

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