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Image Credit: Revell Landscaping

Happily Ever After

Articles From Issue 24

You’ve found the perfect block of land on which to settle, and you’re ready to take on the challenge of building the home in which you’ll create wonderful memories for the rest of your life. With the help of an industry professional, you can incorporate the best design and style solutions to create a beautiful home that can be easily adapted to your evolving needs. It’s vital to seek trustworthy advice when planning something as important as your forever home. You’ll want to create a home that will last for many years to come, with the flexibility to change with new trends and lifestyle developments. A reputable industry professional will be able to guide you through the entire building process and help you make all the tough decisions.

Somebody To Lean On

Designing a home that you will live in for decades is a big commitment. You need to be sure that you are making the right decisions for yourself, and for your family. “Don’t cut corners,” Ben Grollo says. “There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to designing your forever home.” Advice from a professional architect with years of industry experience is priceless. Choose one you can trust to keep your best interests at heart and guide you in the right direction. “Face-to-face consultation allows for the creation of meaningful relationships between the architect and client,” says Grollo. “This is vital, particularly during the conceptual phase of any project.” Once you have met with

your architect, they can begin to develop an understanding of your needs and what you’re looking for in a forever home. According to Grollo, one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face is deciding the main features you’ll want in your new home. “[Most people] tend to rely on the media or second-hand information to influence their decisions,” he says. This is where you can fall into the trap of including overused trends and dated colour choices in your home. “The decision-making process is difficult and fraught with much anxiety, particularly when discussing cost implications,” Grollo adds. “You don’t want to get things wrong when your lifesavings are at stake.” Your forever home is one of the biggest investments you will make,

and you don’t want to look back and regret spending large amounts of money on something you’ll eventually outgrow. It’s important to speak with an experienced architect before making any major decisions about your new home. “A good architect can help guide you through the process, provide options and keep you on track,” advises Grollo. Speak with your architect about your budget, the key features you’d love to incorporate into your home, and how these can be appropriately transformed as the years go by.

Less Is More

When choosing the colour palette for your forever home, you need to set some boundaries to keep the design manageable, realistic and adaptable. “Colour can make or break a good design and therefore requires respect and – on occasion – restraint,” says Grollo. Bold paint choices for your walls may not be the best option for a forever home. Instead, consider incorporating bright pops of colour with easily interchangeable décor items, such as wall art, rugs, cushions or throws. This way, you can easily alter the style of a room with relatively little expense or effort.

Materials Matter

Selecting what materials to incorporate into your home can be an equally complicated process. Sit down with your architect to discuss your options and the durability of the materials available.

You need to ensure they will stand the test of time, with the ability to be easily modernised. “Specific design elements and materials are selected for various reasons, including the personality of the future occupants, iconography, geographical or geological features, and vernacular architecture, as well as form and function,” says Grollo.

Let There Be Light

Your forever home’s lighting is another element that needs to be thoroughly considered. Lighting can change the mood of a room in an instant and creates a welcome atmosphere when implemented correctly. Grollo says optimal lighting largely depends on the intended space. “Kitchens require aesthetic and task lighting, whereas bedrooms require a more ambient, subtle approach,” he says. “I recommend lamp lighting for ambient spaces rather than fixed lighting [as it] allows for flexibility.” Thoughtfully selected outdoor lighting is equally essential for the security of your home and safety of your family. “Sensor lights are one of the most cost-effective intruder-deterrent methods available,” Grollo says. “Coupling the sensor with a fitting that suits the design of your façade is what we typically recommend. Flood lighting isn’t commonly used anymore.”

Eco-Friendly Living

Eco-friendly design features can make a forever home more sustainable in the long term and will

reduce the cost of living. There are many different eco-friendly elements that can be added to your home, so it can be hard to know which ones are right for you. Grollo says homeowners will need to consider the design and orientation of the property, as well as insulation options, window systems and material selection before committing to an eco-friendly design approach. Sitting down with your architect to discuss what eco-friendly options are viable for your property is highly recommended as they may suggest options you hadn’t even considered! “We recommend thinking about waste-disposal units in order to reduce landfill waste,” says Grollo. “More expensive options that are growing in popularity include hydronic heating and hotwater systems that are connected to heat pumps to reduce electricity consumption. Photovoltaics and battery [power systems] are also increasing in popularity due to rising electrical costs.”

Room To Grow

According to Grollo, “flexible spaces or multipurpose rooms are [now] preferred over dedicated living spaces due to the changing
needs of the occupants”. There are many things to consider when creating an adaptable room in your forever home, including the layout and size, as well as the locations of the windows, and doors and electrical points. Before designing the room, try to predict what it will be used for later

in life, as you’ll need to ensure it will be able to serve its current and future purposes. Grollo says living spaces and bedrooms are among the simplest to convert. “A bedroom can become a study with some minor adjustments, [while a] living space can easily become a casual media room or formal dining area if required.” Speak to your architect about your current lifestyle and where you see yourself in the coming years. If you have children living at home, perhaps consider designing a bedroom with an uncomplicated layout that can be easily adjusted once they leave the nest.

A Kitchen To Keep

Grollo believes the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in any home, as “it’s equally a task-based and convivial social space.” You need to find a balance between aesthetics and pragmatics to achieve a kitchen that will lasta lifetime. The positioning of appliances, plumbing fixtures and cutlery drawers is extremely important, as is the benchtop depth, height and orientation. Changes to the layout can be quiet costly, so it’s important to think ahead during the initial design stages.

Flush Design

The bathroom can be one of the hardest rooms to design in a forever home. You will need to consider how many bathrooms will be included

in the design, how many people will be using them, and how they’ll be accessed. Selecting the fittings can also be a complicated process. Make your decisions based on your lifestyle, stylistic preferences, and the general colour palette of your home for visual cohesion. “Generally, most people prefer to have a bath and separate toilet [in their forever home],” Grollo says. “A double vanity is usually reserved for the main en suite.”

Easy Access

A major challenge in designing a forever home is ensuring its accessibility will remain optimal in the long term. “A true forever home is also one in which the occupants should be able to access all rooms irrespective of their mobility,” Grollo says. “Elevators are becoming more popular [in multi-storey homes]. A decrease in their cost has made them an attractive option.” If an elevator is not a viable option for your design, consider a single-storey layout instead. It’s easy to see why many Australians are choosing to build a forever home; it’s a cost-effective way of ensuring you will live in a beautiful, tailored environment for many years to come. Grollo suggests “the creation of a forever home should always begin as a conversation between architect and client at a table, with a cup of coffee, blank paper, and an open mind”.

Images courtesy of Grollo Homes