Designing and building a custom home involves making hundreds of decisions at every step of the planning and construction journey, starting with what kind of home design you are drawn to. But, before you even begin to consider detailed architectural styles, you will need to decide whether a single storey or a double storey home is the better fit for you, your lifestyle, and your family’s needs.
The last thing you want is to change your mind halfway through the planning process, as this will have costly implications, both financially and on the construction schedule. Reaching an agreement early in the planning process and sticking to that decision is by far the best course of action for anyone building a new home.
So, what are some of the things to remember when planning your house design?
The most popular Australian house design is a single storey residence, so for custom home buyers wanting to walk down the path of tradition, then a single storey home would be best. However, for the best outcome in terms of design and practicality, there are multiple factors to consider.
Single storey homes work particularly well on larger blocks as you are able to spread across the block, making the most of the available space. However, if you are working on a tighter budget consider the fact that a larger block will cost more to buy in the first place, so those savings you could make over building a double storey home could be eaten up in the cost of buying the block. Next, you should consider whether you would like a spacious yard – a single storey home would generally take up more of the block and hence could limit the yard space. Of course, if you are hoping for a customised home that’s easy to take care of, a smaller yard and outdoor living space could be ideal for you.
Lifestyle choices are going to have a big influence on your decision. Are you planning to have a family in the future, and if so, would you prefer your home not to have stairs? Perhaps you are an empty-nester thinking about the future and would like to have everything on one level? A single storey home can be a great option for anyone who is downsizing from a large, multiple-storey traditional family home and equally, single storey homes can be an excellent choice if you are considering building your own holiday home.
Architecturally, single storey homes can appear more spacious than double storey home designs as they have a larger footprint, giving the impression of more open living areas flowing into one another with wider hallways and entrances. The Glen Iris is a fine example of how a single storey home can utilise the entire block size. This modern home design sees each room flow seamlessly into another yet still manages to maintain separation between the different living areas thanks to walls with over-sized openings in place of doors.
Corridors can be wider and longer in single storey homes and can be put to uses other than an adjoining walkway. The luxurious custom Glen Iris home features a wall of closet space running the entire length of one corridor, whilst another is bright and airy hallway is a perfect setting for displaying art and family photos.
Extra space can be saved through the deciding not to build a staircase. This additional square footage creates the perfect study space, small laundry or bathroom. A single storey Canterbury custom home featuring open plan living and dining makes use of staircase saving space with a wine cellar. Get creative and think what is best for you.
Then there are the cost savings you will usually be able to reap when building a single storey home. Generally speaking, the decision to build a single storey custom home design will save you in excess of $50,000 when compared to the cost of building a double storey home, though of course your actual cost saving will depend upon many other factors around building materials, design and layout.
Deciding whether to build a double storey home shares many similar factors discussed when planning to build a single-storey living space. Starting with lifestyle choices, double storey homes are often best suited for families who prefer multiple and versatile living spaces. Perhaps because they have older children and would like some separation between living and sleeping areas, or would like to have a master suite downstairs while children’s and guest bedrooms are securely positioned on the second level. The Lubelso by Canny Brighton Concept home provides a traditional layout under the influence of modern sleek and minimalistic design.
Alternatively, a double storey custom home can also be designed the other way around for those wanting to combine large entertainment spaces with cityscape views. This works very well if you want to make the most of a great view from your living room; rather than giving the best views to the bedrooms, having the living room upstairs and perhaps the addition of roof decks or raised patios allows you to take in your surroundings to the fullest. Whatever the decision it is important to think long-term about your family’s future.
If you already have a block of land in mind, the size and shape will likely determine the house design. Whilst smaller blocks appear limiting at first glance they can be much better suited for double storey homes by maximising living areas and in turn taking up less ground space. Building upwards instead of outwards, allows you to make the most of the block, giving more space for a yard or for a swimming pool. Designed for a large family the Hawthorn East project provides the perfect balance of maximising garden space and family living areas. Here, the open plan living area flows seamlessly into the yard, which, features a swimming pool and a lawn in addition to a spacious outdoor living area.
Once you’ve decided on a block of land you think is the right match for you then it’s time to cast your eyes over the living spaces of your neighbours. Whilst double storey homes may look more impressive from the street than a single storey might do this in itself may pose a problem if you are building a new home in an area surrounded by traditional single storey homes. Local council planning policies could restrict you from building double storey, or may have stipulations as to such things as the roof height, so do bear this in mind before making your final decision.
We don’t expect you to know all the answers when planning to build your very first custom home. We’re here to help guide you through the decision making process with full transparency over your choices. Whether you decide on a single storey or a double storey home, Canny can design fully customised homes or you can choose from one of the many different facades within our portfolio.
Contact us to discuss your development or construction project, or call us on 03 8532 4444.
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