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Home Design Questions

Discussion in 'Development' started by GreatPig, 12th Jun, 2016.

  1. GreatPig

    GreatPig Well-Known Member

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    We're considering a knock-down rebuild of our PPOR (Auburn council), and considering our ages and other requirements (or desires), I think what would really suit would be essentially a single-storey house but with the extra bedrooms (ie. all but the master bedroom) upstairs to make the downstairs area smaller. Upstairs would then also have a small living area with balcony and a toilet.

    The aim would be that we could live entirely downstairs (to avoid having to walk up and down stairs all the time), but would still have the extra bedrooms, a balcony (which my wife wants), and more backyard (possibly to include a granny flat at some stage).

    A further thought was that the upstairs area could even be made into a self-contained flat, like a granny flat, and possibly be rented out in the future. I don't know if that would be allowed though. If we built a granny flat at the same time, then we'd want three electricity and gas meters.

    I did some rough floor-plan drawings to get an idea of how that might work, and came up with something like 150-200 sqm downstairs (excluding the garage), and 80 sqm upstairs, which raises a few questions:
    • What would such a place ultimately look like from the outside, with upstairs being so much smaller than downstairs? The only designs I can find online with that situation are attic-style places, with large sloping roofs from the first floor. I'm not interested in that sort of design.
    • Is this sort of thing even possible (in other than attic-style design), or feasible?
    • If the ground floor had brick veneer, and the upper floor external walls weren't directly over the lower floor's, could the upper walls also have brick veneer (ie. can the weight of the bricks be supported by something other than other bricks or concrete)?
    So is anyone familiar with any free-standing home designs where upstairs is a lot smaller than downstairs? This is also complicated by it being a corner lot, where it has to look presentable from two sides.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    GP
     
  2. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    Why make the upstairs so small compared to the bottom?
     
  3. Westminster

    Westminster Tigress at Tiger Developments Business Member

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    It's actually quite a common design feature. Upper floors are expensive so they are often smaller than the ground floor.

    If you were to look at one of the big builders like Metricon you would find a few that would fit your criteria, eg
    The Duxton Home - Browse Customisation Options | Metricon
    That one has a large upstairs but it could easily have room removed at the rear
     
  4. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Three dwellings on a site is the equivalent of units/villas/town houses etc and prohibited under your zoning.

    At best you may achieve duplex construction.
     
  5. GreatPig

    GreatPig Well-Known Member

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    Because at our ages we really want a single-storey house (no stairs), but putting the mostly-unused rooms (ie. spare bedrooms) upstairs would allow a smaller footprint, leaving more backyard and space for a granny flat, and also give better positioning of the garage (which we want off the side street, as it is now) so that the driveway wouldn't come out into the middle of a council "significant" tree. Though in reality, the only place on either street for a clear double-crossing is where it is now, right at the very back of the property (the current garage is detached). Everywhere else has something in the way, like a tree, telegraph pole, or pit access. And having an upstairs would also give my wife her balcony, though I'm sure after she'd looked at it a couple of times, she'd never use it again (I've never yet seen anyone out on a balcony of a free-standing house). Plus we'd seriously be Robinson Crusoe if we built a single-storey house around here - everyone else in the whole 16 years we've lived here has built a double-storey McMansion (with one recent exception for medical reasons - the wife can barely walk).

    So we essentially want the whole house except for the spare bedrooms downstairs (our current house is single-storey). A further complication (or nuisance) is that the existing house is only about 1m from the side street, but current rules require a 3m setback, so those lost 2m would have to be made up in more length for the same sized house.
     
  6. GreatPig

    GreatPig Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Westminster. I'll take a look.
     
  7. GreatPig

    GreatPig Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I thought that might be the case. But I guess we could design with that idea in mind, making conversion relatively easy in the future if the zoning changed. Or just do the house like that now (if it's allowed), and only add a separate granny flat if the zoning changed.
     
    Last edited: 12th Jun, 2016
  8. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Does the zoning allow subdivision of duplexes?
     
  9. GreatPig

    GreatPig Well-Known Member

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    I believe the zoning allows both attached and detached dual occupancy, including subdivision if the minimum size is met - I was considering that earlier, and spoke to someone in council town-planning about it. However, as far as I know it doesn't allow townhouses or units.

    For the upstairs of a house, what would make it considered to be a separate dwelling - having its own metered electricity, or its own kitchen, or its own external access, or some combination of those things?
     
  10. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    If you meet the requirements of the subdivisible block size, then you may get a g/f first, then build duplex & subdivide.
     
  11. GreatPig

    GreatPig Well-Known Member

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    The size only allows strata subdivision, not Torrens.

    However, from my understanding, there's a CGT problem with dual occupancy subdivision when the rented part is sold. The cost base of the land goes right back to when we bought the property 16 years ago, creating a significant amount of CGT on what has otherwise been covered by the main residence exemption (unlike renting out a granny flat where the cost base for CGT goes from the date it started to be used as a business, and over a much smaller area).
     
  12. GreatPig

    GreatPig Well-Known Member

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    Another question in relation to designers. The BMT website's guide for build prices indicates certain types with "shelf design", others with "unique design", and then architecturally designed residences, with architecturally designed being much higher cost than unique design (and I saw a similar price range for architecturally designed homes on an architect's website).

    My question is, who creates these "unique designs" that are significantly cheaper to build than ones designed by an architect? Would that be a drafting place, or perhaps one of the project home builders? If the former, would you consider a place like Superdraft or go with someone smaller?

    I'm considering a custom design because we have a corner block and almost none of the project home designs I've seen are for corner blocks (where the garage and main entrance are from the side street). Only their acreage homes are like that, and the few I've seen that would be small enough to fit wouldn't suit our aspect at all (eg. main living areas on the south side with little light). Plus they're all single-storey, and I'd like to at least consider two-storey options.

    Thanks.

    GP