Three quarters of exterior home renovations include extensions. Ground floor extensions are twice as common as upper floor additions.
Why you ask? Upper floor additions are around 25% more expensive per square meter. Additionally, houses being renovated are over 30 years old. They’re on larger blocks with bigger backyards, than homes built now, so they have space to build out.

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Buying to renovate. A modern extension can bring a great contemporary lifestyle to a heritage home. The oasis out the back of this 1902 home is a stunning surprise. More about this house.

Extending Your Home For Family or Lifestyle.

Adding floor space to a house is done to accommodate a growing family. Or to create a better lifestyle for the home's owners, whatever their life stage. Home improvement opportunities abound in old homes. Small windows lead to dark interiors and low ventilation. Tiny rooms can be cluttered and claustrophobic. And queues outside a single bathroom are never good.

Careful renovation design can make an old home bright, airy and uncluttered. Clever layouts can be efficient, calming (especially with extra bathrooms) and tailored to the family’s specific needs. Outdated exteriors can be renewed with a fresh new look that’ll be the envy of neighbours.

In the design phase, consider spaces that connect family members. Eat-in kitchens, serveries and alfresco dining areas prompt family and friends to congregate. Hamptons style homes are good at bringing people together. Rethink the new home design trend of having separate living areas that disconnect with your children.

While it’s important not to over-capitalize, you should consider the needs of your family over resale value. Renovate your home so it’s a sanctuary. A safe and warm space to rejuvenate from a busy modern life. Make a place you love to come home to. So when you see it from the street, or look back at it from the yard, you pinch yourself to think it’s yours. Building the same as everyone else can actually hurt the resale value.

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Building a two storey extension preserves the heritage home at the front and retains yard space for entertaining. The mix of cladding materials links old and new.

Create Your Own Look. One You’ll love.

A recent survey of home owners who were building, or had recently built, said the most important factors were:

  1. The finished look of the home.
  2. Cost of the overall build.
  3. Material that they used.

Renotainment TV shows like The Block combined with an explosion in online information have empowered homeowners to decide how their house should look on the outside and inside. And the products and brands that create that look.

With the benefit of inspirational images, and the right information (which the Create My Look tool assists with) dowdy old brick or weatherboard homes can be renovated into delightful Hamptons-inspired homes or architectural modern masterpieces in a cost-effective manner.

Be bold in creating a vision for your renovation. Collect images you love. But make sure you use them to brief your builder so you get exactly what you envisioned. Only 49% homeowners surveyed said they were completely happy with the end result of their build. Coincidentally, only one in two homeowners their designer or builder with images.

You don’t need to renovate with the same materials your home is built from. There’s a variety of modern building materials, like the James Hardie Scyon cladding products, that provide more options for home improvement.

 

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This heritage home's sandstone, circa 1900, provides continuity of materials. The open plan light-filled living area and lap pool bring a modern, luxe living style.

Renovate or Move House.

Moving is expensive. It can cost 10% of the value of your home thanks to agent commissions, stamp duty and removalists. To make a financial decision, have a real estate agent do an appraisal of your home. Then compare it with surrounding homes. The difference could provide a useful renovation budget without over-capitalizing.

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Bonnie of Three Birds Renovations created her Coastal Barn Look from a brick veneer home with extensive termite damage.

Renovate or Knock Down and Rebuild.

Is your home a good candidate for a renovation? When Bonnie from Three Birds Renovations tackled her house termite damage to the timber frame meant that only the concrete slab and chimney could be retained. Have a builder inspect your home to ensure it is structurally suitable for a renovation addition.

How many square meters is your extension? Renovations can cost upwards of $2500 per square meter. Whereas a new home can be built by a project home builder efficiently for around $1500 per square meter. So the larger the addition the more enticing the knock down rebuild becomes.

So before you start, talk to an architect or building designer and a builder.

Ready to start?

Get your renovation off to a good start with this simple questionnaire to accompany your look.

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The pool prevented extending out. Extending up allowed the Look of the home to be transformed from a 1950s bungalow to a contemporary Hamptons-inspired home.

Extending Up or Out.

Going up and building a second level is more expensive. Usually it requires a new roof and a lot of structural work to carry the extra weight on top the original structure and footings. Building up can be worth the extra cost if it provides access to a better aspect to views and sunlight.

Upper level extensions are predominantly built with timber frames and cladding. This lightweight style of construction is easier to build and requires less costly structural support. Home owners can match cladding with roof styles to create a range of loos. Linea Weatherboards and a gabled roof can create a Hamptons style look. Matrix or Stria cladding can hide a flat roof behind a parapet wall to create a modernist look. In both cases a render can cover outdated brick veneer. Or the original house can be recladded cladded over to blend old and new.

Pushing out works if you have the yard space. For level ground, the floor can be extended with a slab. On a slope, the extension could be on pilings, so less disruptive and costly earth works are needed. It makes sense to include a balcony or outdoor room that’s oriented towards the sun.

The Cost of Renovation Extensions.

Before any serious planning can begin it’s crucial that you have a realistic and clear budget set out for the entire build, including design fees, materials, furnishings and any unexpected costs.
The renovation process is fluid. You won’t have an accurate idea of the costs until all the decisions are made and quotes are obtained. There’s are a lot more unknowns than building new.
The ‘golden rule’ is make room for a 10% contingency in your budget to cover these unexpected costs, such as delays, bad weather, or emergency accommodation. If you need finance be sure to speak to your lender first to determine affordability and how the renovation will affect your homes loan value ratio.

Using a Building Designer or Architect.

About 30% of home owners use a designer or architect. The trickier your build brief, the better it is to engage an experienced architect or building designer to come up with clever solutions.

Finding The Right Builder.

Finding the right builder can make or break a project. Find a builder who can build the Look you want.

Collate a shortlist of builders in your area. Review their portfolios and see if they’ve built something similar. Find a project that’s being built and speak with the tradies about how well the project is going.

When you brief your build, start with photos of the look you have in mind. Ensure that the builder understand your vision and can build it. Pictures are worth a thousand words, if not more. Builders will pick up a lot of information form the images to guide the build. Things home owners are unaware of.


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