It should not cost any more to get your house design right!

In fact, if your house design in Melbourne stands the test of time you will be rewarded throughout its lifecycle with a comfortable living environment and any future sale should be very profitable.

Conversely, poor house design in Melbourne does cost money and sentences you to a period of uncomfortable living conditions, higher energy bills and a potentially disastrous re-sale experience.

There are 3 common errors people make when planning a house in Melbourne.

Common House Design Mistake #1 – Type of Build

The site constraints & attributes, your aims & goals and the financial implications should all determine “what” type of build best serves you. Unbiased expert advice is critical early in the decision making process to ensure you are perusing the right idea. Avoid the “if only someone had told me” situation.

Over the years House Design Solutions have had many instances where we have altered the course of people’s lives simply though good advice. The earlier in any decision making cycle we can intervene the better and more beneficial our guidance can be. Often our clients have deleted possibilities that would make their lives easier only to be pleasantly surprised by what is actually possible for them on their property.

We think of the Ivanhoe couple who contacted us to extend their old house or the young Murrumbeena couple who were keen to buy a small unit, or the Cheltenham guy not really able to afford the upgrades needed to his home, all are extreme examples of how we have massively impacted their futures positively.

In simpler ways we have helped people like the Oakleigh South Family on a “shoe string budget” to achieve the back yard they never thought possible simply through innovative design.

Ivanhoe project, house design solutions

Ivanhoe project, house design solutions

This duplex, two house development made to feel like one house was proposed to clients in Ivanhoe who originally approached us to extend their old house. We felt a development of two large family homes for not much more than the cost of one house would benefit them most. Council was less than keen on an overpowering set of units so we offered up this fantastic design solution.

This low budget house design not only transformed the façade but created an outdoor living space flowing from the Family Room even though this was originally considered not possible on this site. Innovative design enabled our clients to enjoy their house for a longer period before eventually selling for much more than they could have if there was no outdoor living flowing from the house.

Common House Design Mistake #2 – Orientation and Siting

Even today, it is estimated that more than half of all new house designs in Melbourne are poorly orientated in relation to the pathways of the sun. Unfortunately this means that most people must tolerate a cold house or a dark house in winter and then suffer in extreme heat throughout summer. Besides the loss in comfort there is a massive financial cost in energy consumption (power & gas bills) for such poor design. Throughout the lifecycle of the home as energy bills soar this cost may actually be more than the original build price. Considering that it costs nothing to get this aspect of design right House Design Solutions finds it difficult to fathom how so many people get it wrong. Our piece on sustainable design discusses this subject in detail including the future re-sale implications for poorly orientated houses. Siting (positioning) is also important to utilise the site best and ensure the largest and most usable back yard. A future pool or vehicular access into the rear are considerations that may be important. Clever siting may be akin to an investment in the future as we often advise clients to allow space for a future unit development. Expert unbiased advice on these matters is critical but unfortunately not often available from most building companies hence the prevalence of error.

Common House Design Mistake #3 – Street Appeal and Colour Choice

An appealing façade does not happen by accident and it does not necessarily need to be expensive to achieve. Good design and clever choices should result in an attractive house. Siting, as previously mentioned is important whilst “context” matters. The type of architecture and visual bulk surrounding the current streetscape should be taken into account and complimented by the final design. Colours and finishes are an essential consideration and can unfortunately “date” a house beyond its years if not wisely chosen. Be careful to avoid the “mission brown” or the “Brunswick green” of this era (whatever that is) as this will be the first to date and opinion often rebels most strongly against these particular finishes. Real Estate Agents have often commented positively on project we have designed, often attributing the outstanding sale result to the street appeal we created.

The Oakleigh South extension as seen above is an example where the budget was tight so we could not afford to change the blond brick colour, our answer was to compliment this “60s victim” house with “retro” style additions. Through necessity we adopted the “if you can’t beat them join them” mentality, growing side burns on the house and wearing a funky safari suit with flares metaphorically speaking.

Below is the other end of the spectrum where money is no obstacle and our challenge is a timeless design.

One of our latest façade designs hopefully wise enough to stand the test of time.


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