by Sally O’Brien
Modern homes typically feature open-plan spaces as the ultimate entertaining staple that allows ease for family interaction and communal living. These open-plan areas appear heavily in modern minimalist design, which can leave smaller additional spaces in a state of flux. Steven Hedger, director of Hedger Constructions, provides insight into the process of renovating your home to suit your changing usage of space; offering styling tips for better using those smaller spare rooms and navigating the construction process for larger renovations like extensions.
With growing families and ever-evolving interests, many homeowners find that different spaces within the home need to be capable of adapting to reflect their changing needs. Renovations provide an easy way to make your home more functional and convenient, whilst also avoiding the unnecessary process of uprooting your life by moving houses.
“Hedger Constructions has assisted numerous clients with premium quality renovations and extensions, helping them to achieve their dream home without having to buy new or build from scratch,” Hedger says. “From growing families to changes in the way you use your home, renovating or building an extension on your property is a time and cost-effective way to add valuable space to your floor plan.”
THE RENOVATION TEMPTATION
Choosing to tweak your home to transform smaller rooms into more functional spaces can seem like a daunting task. To avoid a renovation altercation, Hedger recommends that a clear concept is crucial to every successful revamp. “Having a clear idea of your goals and a well-documented course of action will help you work to your budget without compromising the end result,” Hedger says. “Thinking about how you move in and through a space is the key to any successful renovation, so take your time to plan everything carefully.”
Considerations of a spare room’s architectural drawbacks is an important aspect to consider when deciding to change the purpose of a space’s functionality. Hedger suggests considering the proximity to other rooms relating to noise, soundproofing, cross ventilation and user flow. “Availability of natural light is also relevant, as rooms which have plenty of sunlight are always going to be more economical to heat and pleasant to spend time in,” Hedger says.
For larger projects such as the construction of extensions, selecting a trusted renovator is also intrinsic in creating a space more agreeable with your lifestyle. “Use a builder who provides collaborative design and construction services to help you articulate your concept and vision into a design that meets your style and functionality requirements,” Hedger recommends.
Another important consideration to make before undertaking a dramatic spare space makeover is combining any upcoming room repurposing into the one project. “If you intend to renovate multiple spaces, it can often be more cost-effective and achieve a better end result if you engage a quality builder who can co-ordinate trades and complete the job in a shorter time frame,” Hedger says. “This will allow you to enjoy your new home without having to live in a construction zone for an extended period of time.”
AVOIDING A MESS
Whilst the effort required to restore and refurbish is minimal compared to relocation, Hedger warns that there can be costly challenges when approaching a renovation that need to be considered. This could include defining if there is easy access to plumbing before attempting to build an en suite. “Plumbing costs can soon escalate if the bedroom in question is too far away from the existing water/sewer lines,” Hedger says. Another space that can easily incur additional costs in the interest of adaption is the garage, which often requires adjusting the ceiling height and reconstruction of single brick walls to achieve a status of comfort. “Converting a garage to a habitable room requires a reclassification under the Building Code of Australia (BCA), and will therefore require a Development Application and approval from your local council before commencement of any work,” Hedger advises.
SHOOT FOR THE STARS
Don’t let those tricky areas hinder your project as ineffective use of space always showcases a wasted opportunity within the home. As an example of Hedger Constructions’ amazing renovation work and how to revitalise an underutilised area to reflect your pastime, Steven Hedger discusses the project that won the Master Builders Association of Victoria (MBAV) Best Renovation Under $200,000 – North East Region in 2016. This remarkable renovation involves a unique restoration to an upper loft area of an existing 1940s home to suit the homeowner’s desire for a designated space to pursue their hobby, astronomy.
“The loft was to double as both a retreat and as an observatory for the homeowner’s passion for astronomy,” Hedger says. “The design is unique as it was developed from the constraints of the existing floor plan. Careful attention to details including staircase placement, roof lines, creative window designs and the amazing roof and ceiling pitch mean that attention in all facets of framing and fix out was paramount. The unique window design allows for a sense of bringing the outside in, yet the roof design incorporates the sense of small private spaces within the loft.”
The resulting bespoke design is a masterpiece. The angular roof pitch and beautiful timber features give a sense of calming natural ambience while simultaneously providing space for the hobbies of the homeowners. Similarly, the outdoor entertaining area of the warm decking and surrounding lush greenery allows this previously unhabitable room to be an entertaining focal point to astonish guests for years to come.
Whilst this high-end reconstruction of a space to suit a niche pastime shows how extravagant a pursuit for personalised space can be, smaller scale revamps tailored for your individualised needs can also transform your home into an entirely new abode.
EMBRACE YOUR SPACE
Drawing inspiration from Hedger Constructions’ striking renovation of an underutilised space, it’s time to revitalise that spare space into a personalised room that is more in line with your interests and your family’s evolving needs. Traditionally, homes were built with separate rooms that served different purposes, but the modern family enjoys the open-plan merging of living spaces to allow communal living. If you have a spare bedroom or space that your family has outgrown and is serving little purpose to your home, consider some fun new usages such as a craft room, yoga area or reading nook.
If you have a spare bedroom to restore, a theatre room can be a welcome and modern addition. “When a home theatre room shares space with other activities, the cinematic experience is lessened,” Hedger says. To avoid infringing upon your entertaining space, take measures to control ambient lighting and sound and consider the noise that occurs in the rooms with adjoining walls. “Limit reflective objects, use a dark colour scheme and plan your seating for optimal viewing,” Hedger suggests.
For more active usage of a spare space, consider creating a designated gym room or work out space. This area should be pleasant to spend time in, encouraging you to unfurl that yoga mat and get active. “For a comfortable and effective home gym design, the location should allow natural light and ventilation,” Hedger says. Although creating an area for exercise might seem as simple as clearing some clutter to allow freedom of movement, small additions can make this space more appropriate for physical activity. “Choose flooring material that is stiff enough to sustain weights and simultaneously be safe. Ideally, use non-slip surfaces,” Hedger says.
A large component of repurposing a room for functionality is to make it more desirable and appear more spacious. This can often be achieved by increasing natural lighting. “A house filled with natural light will always be attractive and uplifting, while at the same time creating a greater sense of living space,” Hedger says. “Consider adding skylights and undertake good window planning to ensure daylight is evenly distributed across the whole room. Wall finishes and furnishings including curtains should also be light in colour, as this will reflect light throughout the room.” By making a room more welcoming, a whole new range of possibilities will become apparent such as a home office, walk-in wardrobe or quiet library. Although if you can’t attain natural lighting, maybe a wine cellar is in your spare room’s future.
Converting spaces for children is a renovation that many families undertake when creating a playroom or games room; Hedger recommends bi-fold doors for the perfect mix of style and privacy. “Bi-fold doors can be used to great effect as they offer natural light while fully opened or completely closed,” Hedger says. “They also provide a sufficient level of privacy, and if double glazed, offer substantial noise reduction without feeling completely shut off from the rest of the home.”
Renovations and conversions of unused bedrooms or office spaces into stylish areas of your home does not need to pose a challenge. With experienced renovators such as Hedger Constructions and careful considerations of what your family is lacking in the home, it is easier than ever to create an improved, inviting and fulfilling living space.
Images courtesy of Hedger Constructions