The fu­ture of hous­ing de­sign for ev­ery­one may be right un­der our own roof, writes Cather­ine Nikas-Bou­los

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE -

As Sydney house prices con­tinue to sky rocket, the great Aus­tralian dream of own­ing your own home is be­com­ing an im­pos­si­ble feat for most fam­i­lies.

In many cases, young cou­ples who do man­age to save for a home de­posit are only able to buy well out­side the city lim­its away from their net­work of fam­ily and friends.

While a whole gen­er­a­tion of young adults has failed to launch, so to speak, oth­ers are get­ting smart about their real es­tate prospects and pool­ing their money with their par­ents.

To­gether, they are able to buy a prop­erty that suits their in­di­vid­ual needs or build a free­stand­ing granny flat that of­fers pri­vacy and se­cu­rity on the same lot of land.

While this trend might still be in its in­fancy, there are many build­ing com­pa­nies re­port­ing a rise in home­own­ers look­ing for floor­plans that can house two fam­i­lies com­fort­ably.

Keep­ing it to­gether

Greg Hendy, de­sign man­ager at Elder­ton Homes, says there is a steady flow of fam­i­lies look­ing to build in­ter­gen­er­a­tional homes.

“There are many fam­i­lies who don’t want to put par­ents in a nurs­ing home — they look af­ter them them­selves. It is a cul­tur­alu­ral thing with the ma­jor­ity of our clients,” he says.

“For many of them, in­ter­gen­er­a­tional liv­ing is not a new idea — this is the norm for many cul­tures. How­ever, as house prices keep ris­ing, this is a liv­ing op­tion that is start­ing to be­come a pref­er­ence for a lot of other fam­i­lies.”

The idea of putting two fam­i­lies in the one home could be a recipe for dis­as­ter, but Greg says if you get the de­sign right, you’ve got a good chance of keep­ing the peace.

Find­ing a floor­plan

In-law ac­com­mo­da­tion could be as sim­ple as al­low­ing for an ad­di­tional bed­room with a small en­suite and some stor­age space.

Greg says if cater­ing to elderly par­ents, this mas­ter suite is best po­si­tioned on the ground floor of a two-storey home, and if space and bud­get al­low, a pri­vate sit­ting room that is sep­a­rate from the other liv­ing rooms in the home would be ideal. “We have seen clients re­quest­ing this liv­ing ar­range­ment with our small­est homes and also with some of our largest homes,” he says. “Nat­u­rally, with the larger homes it is pos­si­ble to pro­vide much more amenity than is oth­erw oth­er­wise pos­si­ble with a small home. “W “With a small home, it might be ju just con­vert­ing one of the liv­ing s spa­ces to an ex­tra bed­room with its own en­suite. With a larger home, we see clients look­ing to also add sep­a­rate liv­ing ar­eas, greater sizes to the rooms.” Ob­vi­ously, ev­ery fam­ily is un unique, and Greg says nearly all de­sign de­signs can be jug­gled to ac­com­mo­date ev­ery sit­u­a­tion. “We have had a client who has de­signed their home to ac­com­mo­date an age­ing par­ent down­stairs and a newly mar­ried sib­ling to the rear of the first floor.”

Every­body wins

Greg un­der­stands that this home de­sign ap­proach might raise a few eye­brows, but he in­sists this set-up can — and does — work.

“Tra­di­tion­ally, for most home buy­ers, at first glance this life­style would not be the most ideal op­tion.”

He says ide­ally ev­ery­one wants their own home where they don’t need to share their space, but on the flip side, buy­ers who com­bine with fam­ily, can po­ten­tially af­ford a home that they oth­er­wise may not have been able to pur­chase.

Elder­ton Homes has re­leased sev­eral de­signs that suit in­ter­gen­er­a­tional fam­i­lies, in­clud­ing the Turon, from the small lot hous­ing range.

The Turon de­sign has a guest room op­tion, which adapts a liv­ing space within the ex­ist­ing home to a ground floor bed­room with an en­suite and walk-in robe.

Other de­signs in­clude Kur­mond Homes’ Glen­leigh 39, Master­ton Homes’ Mer­lot Elite and Win­crest Homes’ Trafal­gar. All of­fer a bed­room and walk-in robe with en­suite on the ground floor to suit in­ter­gen­er­a­tional liv­ing.

For new in­ter­gen­er­a­tional homes to work, Greg says the floor­plan needs to be dis­cussed up­front be­tween all fam­ily mem­bers.

“The de­sign is in­tan­gi­bly linked to the so­cial is­sues cre­ated with hav­ing the whole fam­ily liv­ing to­gether un­der one roof. It is im­por­tant that the needs for all fam­ily mem­bers are con­sid­ered and re­spected.”

Equally as im­por­tant though is the need for com­pro­mise from all fam­ily mem­bers.

“The def­i­ni­tion of what we need in a home might have to be ques­tioned too — if they are re­ally needs or are ac­tu­ally just wants.”

The Turon de­sign by Elder­ton Homes has a flex­i­ble ground floor plan for a sec­ond mas­ter bed­room.

Master­ton’s Mer­lot Elite has po­ten­tial to con­vert the ground study into a sec­ond mas­ter bed­room.

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