Is Bigger Really Better?
By Cymon Allfrey and Craig South
When it comes to home building, architects Cymon Allfrey and Craig South offer an insight into why size does matter.
When we talk about size, what does this mean in the home environment?
CA: Size is all about the utilisation of space. It is believed that we only occupy a small percentage of the space that we build for ourselves. Meaning we are designing and building homes that are often too big, or have been designed without correct consideration of the family needs – resulting in large spaces, or areas of the home being under used, or only relevant to our needs very occasionally.
How does a designer impact space in the home?
CA: Over the last five years there has been a shift towards the value an architect or designer brings to a project and the value of space. More and more homebuilders are beginning to see the importance of quality and space, rather than just size.
CS: An architect or an architectural designer allows your floor plan to be crafted in such a way that it is able to expand and interact with your needs. For example, areas of the house could be able to be separated for particular uses, such as the second formal lounge or media room. Where nine out of 10 times you would require every-day open-plan living quarters, for that one in 10 situation you have a secondary space in which to entertain, chat and watch the rugby. Equally, you want the design of your home to age with your family needs. While it might be a play room now, it could easily be a formal lounge later.
Can spaces have more than one use?
CS: Absolutely. It is essential when considering multiple uses that the space
is orientated correctly within the floor plan – for a second lounge to function effectively
it needs to be within close proximity to the rest of the living areas, not at the far end
of the hall.
CA: Pay equal importance to the hierarchy of spaces so that the third bedroom can easily be adapted to be used as a study if need be. Ensuring it has multiple uses and is not simply the third bedroom because it is a dim, dingy area on the south side of the house.
What are the benefits of considering space?
CS: Good design has the foresight to allow for expanse without compromise, as it achieves a resolved space, ticking the boxes for both your short term and long-term needs.
CA: A lot of people come in with a brief for today. How their family lives now, or with reference to occasions – how to deal with guests at Christmas and so forth. There is often a lack of understanding around time and future needs. Life changes, and so when thinking about building you need to ensure you are catering and preparing for the future not just the odd current occasion.
“When designing your new home your focus needs to be on crafting well considered, well utilised spaces, rather than keeping up with the Joneses. Design to your requirements. If it is too big, or too small, your floor plan won’t work for you.”
~ CRAIG SOUTH
How important is it to design for resale?
CA: When it comes to designing for resale, one thing to consider is that we are all similar in the way that we live; requirements for washing, cleaning and cooking are present
in all builds, irrespective of the family unit. Our basic needs are the same so generally what works for you, will work for others.
CS: It is also important to consider how long a fit out of a home lasts, both in terms of functionality and aesthetics. Kitchens and bathrooms will need to undergo a modernisation at some point, so when we talk about resale and future buyers it pays to ask yourself how far away is the future?
So is bigger better?
CS: No, but that is not to say that smaller is better either. When designing your new home your focus needs to be on crafting well considered, well utilised spaces, rather than keeping up with the Joneses. Design to your requirements. If it is too big, or too small, your floor plan won’t work for you.