How to build two houses at the same time

They might sit on the same block but the ap­provals for th­ese houses were very dif­fer­ent, writes Jen­nifer Veer­huis

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - Pic­tures Justin Mack­in­tosh, Mack­in­tosh Pho­tog­ra­phy

Build­ing a sin­gle new home can be chal­leng­ing enough, so the idea of putting two new, but dif­fer­ent, homes on one site could per­haps be con­sid­ered dou­ble the trou­ble. And when the own­ers de­cided to seek ap­proval through dif­fer­ent means for each house, it be­came an ex­am­ple of just how dif­fer­ent NSW ap­provals pro­cesses can be.

The Le­ich­hardt site was a rel­a­tively small block of about 400sq m when it was pur­chased, but the new own­ers were de­ter­mined to max­imise its po­ten­tial.

They de­cided to re­move the ex­ist­ing older house, mod­ify an ex­ist­ing sub­di­vi­sion to cre­ate two equal blocks and build two new fam­ily homes that would sit side by side, but look dif­fer­ent to each other.

New neigh­bours

Build­ing de­signer Nathalie Sci­p­i­oni from NS Stu­dio de­signed two homes that would sit closely on the 12m-wide site, with just 20cm between them, both over­look­ing the street.

“They are not at­tached, so they can be two sep­a­rate houses with com­pletely dif­fer­ent de­signs, in­stead of be­ing a dual oc­cu­pancy with two sym­met­ri­cal houses at­tached on one side,” Nathalie says.

While the in­ter­nal floor­plans var­ied, each would have at least two bath­rooms and four bed­rooms each, black­butt floor­boards, a black­butt stair­case and off street park­ing at the front. Both homes would max­imise light, with sky­lights and large win­dows.

Rather than tak­ing both homes to coun­cil, Nathalie sug­gested one be com­pleted as a Com­ply­ing De­vel­op­ment. While it meant there would be some re­stric­tions around what could be built, it also meant there would be vir­tu­ally no wait for coun­cil ap­proval.

The sec­ond house would have to go

through coun­cil be­cause that block was less than 200sq m, so it didn’t meet the size re­quire­ments for a Com­ply­ing De­vel­op­ment.

Wait­ing game

The old house was de­mol­ished and ap­proval for the first house — Kal­go­or­lie 1 — was ob­tained as a Com­ply­ing De­vel­op­ment.

But then there was a lengthy wait for ap­proval from coun­cil for the sec­ond house.

Nathalie says there was no point build­ing the first house with­out the sec­ond, be­cause it’s more eco­nom­i­cal to build two at once.

She says the coun­cil was con­cerned about the pro­posed drive­way for the sec­ond house.

“The drive­way was a big chal­lenge be­cause they thought we were re­mov­ing street park­ing,” Nathalie says.

“It was chal­leng­ing to get it through and in the end we had to change the plans. We had to re­design the house and we swapped the en­try and re­moved a tree.”

Nathalie says it took about six months to get the coun­cil ap­proval.

Same, but dif­fer­ent

The first house, Kal­go­or­lie 1, is the larger of the two, and in­cludes a fam­ily room on the ground floor that can be con­verted to a fifth bed­room, us­ing a slid­ing door sys­tem.

There are four bed­rooms up­stairs plus a court­yard part way through the house, bring­ing in ad­di­tional light.

Sloped ceil­ings in the back liv­ing space pro­vide an en­hanced feel­ing of spa­cious­ness and the back­yard con­sists of a neatly pre­sented court­yard.

In con­trast, Kal­go­or­lie 2, which was ap­proved by coun­cil — is smaller but has a larger back­yard. It has one bed­room down­stairs, three up­stairs and there’s a bal­cony at the front.

In a bid to max­imise light, Nathalie used glass as a wall mid­way through the home and the stair­way has a glass balustrade.

“It had a small and en­closed hall­way, so we used a piece of glass between the stairs and kitchen, to make the space feel big­ger,” Nathalie says.

Nathalie says the sec­ond house brought a lot more angst than the first.

“There was a lot of frus­tra­tion with the site and it’s a smaller house,” she says. “Coun­cil rules meant we had to stay back fur­ther from the rear bound­ary.”

For Nathalie, hav­ing two homes go through two dif­fer­ent ap­provals pro­cesses was both fas­ci­nat­ing and frus­trat­ing.

“It’s in­ter­est­ing to see what you can do with the same site,” she says. “With CDC (com­ply­ing de­vel­op­ment), as long as you build within a cer­tain en­ve­lope, you are able to get an ap­proval in 28 days.”

A court­yard along­side the stair­way and large win­dows brings more light into Kal­go­olie 1.

Ap­proval for the first house was quick.

It took longer to get ap­proval for Kal­go­or­lie 2 and the house it­self is smaller, although the out­door area (left) is larger than its neigh­bour. The de­ci­sion to use glass in­stead of a solid wall in front of the stair­well al­lows more light into the...

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