Smaller Home, Bigger Bang

The typical Aussie home is changing shape but opting for a smaller layout doesn’t mean sacrificing style and comfort.

The great Australian dream is morphing into a more carefully crafted and compact version of its former self. A CommSec Home Size Trends report has found the average size of an Australian freestanding house fell to a 17-year low in 2018/19. The combined data from CommSec and the ABS showed that the average new build over the two years was 228.8 square metres; in 2008/09 it was just shy of 248 square metres.

There’s also a trend towards opting for apartment or townhouse living. Around a decade ago, more than one-quarter of new homes were apartments, but by 2019 that figure had jumped above 41 percent, and with the shift towards smaller living quarters comes the need to be savvier with space.

When designing for apartment complexes, it’s important to keep in mind how the space will be used and cater to those needs. For these boutique apartments in Epping and Waterloo, space was an important consideration, but we wanted to maintain a feeling of freedom within the rooms. I used single pane glass shower screens in the bathrooms to make the space feel larger and less restricted, I also included enclosed cabinetry to keep the areas tidy. Similarly, for this development in Zetland geared towards younger residents, I wanted to create clean, ‘clutter free’ features with discreet built-in storage to minimise the need for awkward furniture to be added to the bathrooms.

Keeping clutter to a minimum is essential in smaller spaces. This luxury Sydney residence, built within a relatively small footprint, showcases the adaptive use of unutilised space to create additional features within the home. We added a library to the hallway and created a concealed kitchen with designer joinery to make the space less intrusive.

Even if space is not an issue, a minimalist approach to furnishings can enhance the feeling of expansive living. This Rose Bay mansion also features a clean kitchen aesthetic thanks to customised joinery, and this continues throughout the home. By incorporating bespoke joinery, you can create complete harmony between standalone furnishings and the structure of the home.

When it comes to certain luxuries, some things are worth the space.  A home’s kitchen can be a deal-breaker or maker for many buyers. Adding a butler’s pantry to a property offers immense value in terms of the convenience it affords the homeowner. It’s the perfect hideaway for unsightly appliances, unwashed dishes, food prep, and pantry items – freeing up the main kitchen to be the social hub it usually becomes around mealtime.

By effectively utilising the layout in this apartment and townhouse project on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, we were able to provide butler’s pantries which in addition to the practical benefits, created a more polished aesthetic for the kitchen which is incorporated into an open plan living and dining area.

By utilising the right design techniques for your development or home you can create a comfort and convenience in any footprint.  



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living room with artwork, glass window and view