Designs with the future in mind

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As our population ages, more homes are being designed to accommodate the elderly ageing in place.

From multi-generational home designs to layouts with additions for older Aussies to live comfortably at home for longer, New Homes explores the various options available.

Granny flats

A modern granny flat is like the family home you are used to, just smaller in size.

According to Summit Homes Granny Flat Consultant Drew Murray, a granny flat is an ideal way to keep loved ones safe, secure and close by, while providing them with the independence they desire.

“It is a modern solution to create more space for your family,” he said.“It’s commonly popular with downsizers looking to build a new, smaller home to live in, and we’re also seeing parents of teenagers or young adults building a granny flat for independent space as they live at home for longer.”

Designed with the future in mind, Mr Murray said the layouts prioritised living spaces, with an open-plan approach being used to maximise entertainment areas, while integrating the kitchen and dining area.

“Granny flats have to be well proportioned and consider all future needs, so it’s best to design them in a way which minimises tripping hazards and accommodates features such as wide hallways,” he said.

Micro-lots

Perfect for those looking to downsize, micro-lots refer to small block sizes where spare bedrooms and backyards are usually omitted.

Common in well-built up areas, micro-lots are a great way to live without making significant compromises, according to TERRACE Homes Design Manager Milos Marindolac.

“Our micro-lot floor plans offer two-bedroom designs with a choice of one or two bathrooms, making them easy to move around and maintain,” he said.

“Building on a small lot doesn’t mean you have to compromise on space, where generous open-plan living spaces are used to maximise space through the implementation of clever design principles.

“Minimising the use of full walls between zones keeps areas light, adaptable and open, while an open-plan kitchen creates another space for people to gather and can become a second gathering space when you’re entertaining.

“We always make use of areas that may normally go unused – many of our homes have study nooks at the top of the stairs and storage cupboards or powder rooms under the stairs.”

Renovating to future-proof a home

According to Summit Homes Renovations Designer Ashley Tunley, there are several different ways one can renovate their home to accommodate multi-generational living.

“A common way is through a second-storey addition,” he said. “One could consider renovating the existing master suite on the ground floor into a new master bedroom, ensuite and open-plan living and dining area with a kitchenette for elderly relatives.”

Parents can then add a new luxurious master retreat upstairs.

“This option creates a convenient ground-floor space for grandparents, particularly if mobility is an issue and stairs could present a struggle,” Mr Tunley said.

Alternatively, he also suggested adding a children’s wing comprising bedrooms, bathrooms and an activity room if the home’s layout allowed for this.

“You could convert the downstairs children’s wing of the home into a self-contained ancillary accommodation with a bedroom, an ensuite and a kitchenette,” Mr Tunley said.

Regardless of whether homeowners choose to add on a second storey or not, Mr Tunley recommended people consider specific aspects when accommodating elderly residents into the pre-existing family home.

“It is important to consider incorporating wider passages, hobless showers and extra grab rails around the home,” he said.

“Non-slip surfaces and toilets with higher than standard toilet seats are also great ways to ensure a design is both functional and comfortable for all future needs.”

CONTACT

Summit Homes, 9317 0141, www.summithomes.com.au

TERRACE Homes, 6461 5461, www.terracehomes.com.au

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