Building A "Forever Home"
Clever Ways to Future-Proof Your Home30 June 2020
Future-proofing has fast become one of the hottest topics in the property industry of late, particularly with the high costs associated with moving, stamp duty, energy costs and the increasing amount of smaller land sizes available.
Many houses today can’t cater to the changes and challenges occupants might face in the future, but there are ways you can future-proof a house to be flexible enough to cater for an expanding number of residents and their inevitable changing requirements, whilst also ensuring the house is accessible for all, regardless of age or ability.
Flexible design can mean everything from multi-purpose rooms, access into the house and wall reinforcement, to the width of doors, passages or corridors, and the size of rooms like laundries to make sure they could potentially be used by someone in a wheelchair if necessary.
The same principle applies to the installation of sustainable and technology features such as solar panels and smart home automation.
Known as ‘forever functionality’ (and sometimes universal design or accessibility), making your house adaptable is not only common sense but a savvy financial investment. Elderton Homes has taken these factors into account when designing its new Evo Series which incorporates forty-two designs and a multitude of different layout options and features, to provide flexibility and functionality for the modern family and their growing requirements.
The best time to design the home for your future is before it’s built, so here are some things to consider prior to building your future-proof home.
Are you planning to grow your family?
This may stand out as an obvious question, but trust us, there is much more to it than you may think. Will there be enough rooms for your growing family? Are there enough bathrooms? Having your own private space is important for peace of mind, so ask yourself, do you have a private space to relax and unwind? Will your children have a room where they can play or hang out on their own? Do you have enough garage space? Space future-proofing is one of the most important aspects when designing a home that you hope to spend many years in, so make sure you plan for both the expected and unexpected.
Multi-purpose should be your new mantra!
Following on from the above and planning for the “unexpected”, certain rooms should be able to perform multiple functions so we have a contingency plan for whatever happens in our lives – visitors arriving from interstate, teenagers throwing parties or new working from home arrangements. With this in mind, are you able to adapt your home to accommodate your growing requirements?
Most architects now strongly recommend the addition of a second living room that operates as a flexible space for every member of the family – whether it’s a playroom, media room, rumpus, home office, guestroom – or all of the above. This is why almost all of the new Elderton Homes designs offer a second living room.
A newly completed home is often a beaming model of order, however, even the most dedicated minimalists amongst us will accumulate things over time.
Children are often the worst offenders; as they grow so does the amount of their possessions – from their sporting awards and clothes to toys and mementos, the once messy drawer eventually becomes the messy garage and bedroom.
Though even the smallest homes can meet demand provided there is adequate storage. Built-in joinery is a significant investment but will maximise the potential of any space and can be customised to suit your individual needs. Walk-in wardrobes are also beneficial to maximising storage options whilst forsaking the overstuffed drawers.
Get Tough On Materials!
Spending money on the best quality and toughest materials you can afford is a great way to keep your home looking polished for many years to come. You may baulk at the initial expense, but they can often end up costing less than inferior alternatives if you factor in longevity. Not every surface needs to be high-end however, focus on the areas that suffer the most wear and tear. Quality flooring can make a huge impact, as well as robust joinery in the kitchen and bathroom.
All of us are becoming increasingly reliant on technology in our everyday lives and this is reflected in our homes, too. Smart Home automation has seen us be able to control lighting, security, heating and cooling plus a raft of other devices using our smartphones. When building your home, consider that technology will become more sophisticated and connected over the years, so make sure your wiring can meet demand and evolution.
Building a home that is energy-efficient will pay dividends for many years to come. As our climate becomes increasingly extreme and resources become scarcer, this is one way we can reduce our impact as well as saving a small fortune on power bills.
By the end of 2018, it was reported that 450,000 homes were found to have installed solar panels in NSW – the equivalent of one in six houses. Solar panels are far cheaper (and tidier) to install at the build stage of a new home.
Furthermore, the NSW government offers rebates on solar panel installations should you meet the requirements, so in the long run, you will not only be saving money but won't be entirely reliant on non-renewable energy sources.
Other energy-efficient initiatives can be as simple as purchasing an oven or refrigerator with the highest possible energy rating, installing double glazed windows and doors or installing low voltage light bulbs.
By creating a home with the greatest energy-efficiency possible now, your future self will undoubtedly thank you.
We hope that these handy tips will help you create the perfect “Forever Home” for you and your family.