Sanctuary magazine has a Design Workshop section where people can apply to have their home design project workshopped by professionals. Architect Mary Ann Jackson comments on the planned renovation of a home for a family of four.
The brief is to renovate without overcapitalising, incorporate accessibility for the long term, improve layout, focus on energy efficiency and to consider acoustics.
Image of the original 1970s home
The house is spacious enough but it doesn’t function well. One family member is hard of hearing so large open plan with hard surfaces is challenging. After investigating the option of a knock-down-rebuild, the homeowners, Eric and Caroline, decided to make the most of what they have.
Eric and Caroline engaged a designer who came up with a solution for most of their requirements. The article shows the existing floor plan and the proposed floor plan. Mary Ann critiques the plan from an accessibility perspective. As she says, if it is not accessible, it is not sustainable. So considering accessibility from the outset is worthwhile.
Congested space is the enemy of accessibility and having several small separate wet area rooms eats up valuable space. The walls and fittings take up space in each of these areas. Mary Ann advises at least one larger family bathroom for this family house. She goes on to discuss paths of travel and circulation space and offers improvements by moving some of the rooms around.
The kitchen is next with suggestions for work surfaces at different levels and drawers for under-bench storage. Mary Ann then moves on to the balcony and outdoor areas, explaining her reasoning along the way. The article has much more detail and is worth a read for anyone designing a home renovation.
A universal design approach
“Designing for adaptation in the future is important, and properly executed universal design facilitates multi-generational living”.
The article is in the Sanctuary magazine Design Workshop series, and is titled An accessible, adaptable upgrade. The article concludes with Mary Ann’s alternative design based on her assessment of the property and the family requirements. A really good example of universal design thinking coupled with cost effective energy efficiency.
See also the Livable Housing Design Guidelines for additional ideas. Many of these ideas are in the upcoming changes to the National Construction Code. It will be known as the Livable Housing Standard.