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Renovators Target Space, Natural Light, Fresh Air and Silence

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Renovators Target Space, Natural Light, Fresh Air and Silence

September 2007

Victorian renovators are targeting space, natural light, fresh air and silence to make their homes a sanctuary from bustling modern life says Archicentre, the building advisory service of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

General Manager of Archicentre David Hallett said the cost of relocating and booming house prices is seeing second and third home buyers staying put and spending their money directly on renovations.

“In the past it was normal for people to move every seven years, however, the high cost of moving, estimated at least $50,000 plus in government taxes and moving charges, is being put directly into new kitchens, family rooms or outdoor living areas,” Mr Hallett said.

“Health issues such as natural light, fresh air and noise control have become three of the most important features for Australian renovators. The average spend on a renovation project in Victoria is valued at between $75,000 to $150,000 and home owners are turning to architects to deliver clever designs for renovations.”

At Archicentre the past two years has seen an increasing demand for Architects design reports with renovations valued at over half a billion dollars being planned.

Archicentre is also finding that an increasing number of home buyers wanting pre-purchase inspection reports on properties are also interested in the potential feasibility of the property to deliver a healthy home style renovation. 

“People who buy a home for renovation without going through this basic design program often find the home they have purchased either cannot be renovated in the way they want or will be extremely expensive to change making it an over capitalized project.”

Mr Hallett said the top renovation trends in Victoria include:

  • The opening up of the home to the garden by the introduction of bi-fold doors across the back of the home leading out to a deck, pool, or garden for relaxing and outdoor dining.
  • The introduction of new or enlarged windows to take advantage of views or garden outlooks.
  • Developing open plan living by the removal of interior walls enabling dining rooms and kitchens to be joined together as the food preparation area becomes an area for socializing and casual dining.
  • The redevelopment of kitchens with more compact, convenient and modern appliances linked to space efficient storage and windows to the outside garden or courtyards.
  • Bathrooms being opened up to the outside areas with large windows to capture views of gardens or wider landscapes.
  • The establishing of separate toilets as part of the upgrade of bathrooms which are becoming more spacious with expensive tiling and designer showers and basins.
  • Parents retreats are being joined to main bedrooms to enhance and increase the use of bedroom space within homes and can include private balconies and courtyards for outdoor relaxation in a quiet zone.
  • The creating of the home office which can take the form of a small space in a hallway or in a larger room being transformed into a work space with all of the office equipment and storage being hidden in the clever use of cupboards and benches. Usually these nooks are linked to an outside area with either a view or deck to create a pleasant working environment.
  • The development of a computer room which can be transformed into a guest room with a fold down bed that can double as a guest room.
  • The inclusion of a home theatre as an extension of the sanctuary/in-home socializing trend
  • Maintaining and extending the home with a renovation that reflects the original style of the home to ensure its heritage integrity and enhance its value.
  • Home owners are trending towards utilizing the existing development footprints of their homes to ensure cost efficient renovations.
  • Providing a new and refreshed look to homes through rendering and painting the facade.

Mr Hallett said that cashed up baby boomers were becoming more conscious of health issues and had led a trend where lap pools and spas were used for both health and dominant landscaping features in outside dining areas.

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