Inside Out (Australia)
“Make your living zones work harder”
the floor plan
There is a generous amount of space to work with. One bedroom is separated from the main living area by the bathroom – and there is a dine-in kitchen and a study, which is where David and Carla spend most of their downtime. Their plan to sacrifice the formal living for a second bedroom is excellent. There is room to create a corridor linking two bedrooms and the bathroom. We could put up a wall on the right side of the front door and knock out the existing walls to the left to create an open-plan living-kitchen-dining area. This layout makes much more sense and would add value for when they come to sell.
Inefficient and impractical, plus limited storage space is what we’re working with. It also impedes access to the best part of the home. I’d move the kitchen to the opposite wall and have cupboards right up to the ceiling along the whole wall. That would leave the window side free for a dining/living space that would flow to the balcony, for a sight line all the way to that awesome view. David and Carla need a kitchen that looks good and does its job. There’s no point going over the top, so I’d recommend a flat-pack kitchen they can personalise with bespoke handles and other details. And if they are handy with assembly, they can save a heap in trades!
the new living area
The study at the rear is a gem. It’s small but functional and has a balcony that looks out over the garden below and the treetops. Carla wants to knock down the walls either side of the balcony and install sliding doors, which would make a huge difference to the sense of space. Smaller living spaces can be tricky to furnish, but the answer lies in dualpurpose furniture. Ottomans or benches are great for coffee tables and as extra seating for guests. Side tables can double as stools for the dining room. Use smaller furniture in multiple ways and you won’t double up and over-clutter the room.
The bathroom is a little dated but it’s a great size and shape. Gutting it would cost half the budget, and that wouldn’t be money well spent when there is other construction to be done. With a small budget, keep your cash for big-ticket items such as the floor plan. Cosmetic changes will make a big difference here and keep the costs down. Replace the toilet and vanity, and the taps and fittings, and it will have a new lease of life. The tiles are good and can be painted over – and on the floor, we can tile over the existing tiles to save money. Why spend a fortune when you don’t have to? Just make it the best it can be and the next people to live here will see the potential.