Homebuyers revert to ‘closed plan’ design as privacy is back in vogue

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Deb Fitzgerald at her new home in Raby Bay. She moved a few doors down to take advantage of a closed plan layout. IMAGE: Tara Croser.

Home buyers are losing interest in what was the ever-popular open plan design as they start to remember, or realise, the benefits of a more closed layout.

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Waterline Real Estate principal Christine Carroll said buyers were concerned with mounting heating and cooling costs, noise and the lack of privacy — especially for families with teenagers.

“Only this week I’ve been taking a gentleman through homes and his biggest problem is finding a house that will have the media room, separate lounge, somewhere for a gym, somewhere for his teenagers to hang out when they come and stay and also an open space to entertain in,” Ms Carroll said.

“Our own home is one of those homes that’s open plan and one of our biggest issues was heating and cooling.

“When we bought it we felt that it was a nice design and we could do things with it, but after living in it we’ve actually had to add on to provide us with that extra separation that we really couldn’t achieve.”

For homeowner Deb Fitzgerald, the need to convert from open plan to closed plan was so great, she sold and moved few doors up on the same street.

“We have grandchildren now, and when they come … they’re watching things on television that you don’t want to watch and they want space, that makes thing a bit difficult,: Mrs Fitzgerald said.

“Also the fact that we do have grown up children coming to visit, having a separate space can make that a little bit easier.”

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Ms Carroll said the demand was so great that she found it harder to sell new homes with an open plan design, versus those built in the 1990s and prior.

“Homes that have been built in the last five to 10 years, the more open plan ones, I find them harder move,” she said.

“The older more traditional style … for families that are in that mode where they’ve got teenagers or tweens, they’re just looking for that sense of privacy as well as having that space for everyone to enjoy together.”

When it comes to building new, Burbank national general manager residential Louis Sultan said they were starting to see more demand for a separate living space that could be closed off.

“We have seen an increase in homebuyers wanting a separate living space that can be closed off from the main living area, providing a place to relax,” Mr Sultan said.

“The desire for a socially engaged family lifestyle has led to demand for alfresco spaces that can be used for dining and entertaining so now almost every home we offer now includes an alfresco area as a standard offering.”

Interior stylist Emma Blomfield says it is easier to style a closed floorplan. IMAGE: Supplied

Interior stylist Emma Blomfield said it was easier to style these spaces as well.

“Styling a closed floor plan is a little easier than an open plan space as you have walls dictating where you place furniture and how big you can go with the size of your sofa, armchairs and dining tables,” Ms Blomfield said.

“A closed space dining room generally only offers one layout for the table making it easy to work out where to place everything and what size/shape dining table to purchase.

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“The same goes for a closed space lounge room, one wall is for the TV, another is for the sofa to go against and then you work within the rest of the space.”

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