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2015, When Granny Flats Became Flexible Multi-function Spaces posted on the 5th February 2016

Granny Flats are becoming a world wide phenomena. The evolution of the granny flat into flexible multi- function spaces is explored in more detail here in the article by domain.com.au.

When we have people visit one of our current projects to see the quality of what we build, the first they say in getting out of the car is “This isn’t a Granny Flat – it’s a house”.

I think is well summed up below: In the process, she became one of the newest members of a rapidly growing club – Australians of all ages, circumstances and aspirations collaborating with award-winning architects to create affordable, secondary dwellings with as much care and thoughtfulness as the primary family home.

Approvals for secondary dwellings has increased 20% Australia wide in 2014 – 2015, with nearly 4,000 given the go ahead.

Another great article brought to you by Ipswich Granny Flats, your local granny flat experts.

Read on and Enjoy!

2015, When Granny Flats Became Flexible Multi-function Spaces

Trisha Croaker
3 January 2016
domain.com.au

Award-winning architects are creating affordable secondary dwellings with as much care and thoughtfulness as the primary family home, writes Trisha Croaker.

When Shona Veney, a petite, young, single mother of two, approached architect Peter Stutchbury to design her granny flat, she thought “he’d think I was crazy”.

Why, she reasoned, would the internationally renowned Stutchbury – the creator of some of Australia’s most beautiful, award-winning homes and frequent recipient of the nation’s top architecture prizes – want to imagine a simple, “primitive” studio on a landlocked backyard site in a suburban street in Narrabeen?

And, why, with the international opportunities he enjoyed, would he agree to a 60-square-metre project with a budget of under $300,000?

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‘Garden pavilion’ in Narrabeen was designed by Peter Stutchbury for Shona Veney. Photo: Michael Nicholson

Fortunately, fearlessness was rewarded, Ms Veney’s misgivings proved misguided, and earlier this year she moved across her parents’ backyard into a delightful, Stutchbury-designed, three-bedroom, garden pavilion that’s “changed her life”.

In the process, she became one of the newest members of a rapidly growing club – Australians of all ages, circumstances and aspirations collaborating with award-winning architects to create affordable, secondary dwellings with as much care and thoughtfulness as the primary family home.

Designing a successful studio, just like any building, is an art.
Brent Dunn

New figures released by the ABS in late December confirm demand for secondary dwellings over the past financial year has continued to skyrocket, with approvals jumping a solid 20 per cent in 2014-2015 and around 3,650 flats green-lighted.

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‘Garden pavilion’ in Narrabeen designed by Peter Stutchbury for Shona Veney Photo: Michael Nicholso

A change in legislation in 2009 making granny flat approvals easier to obtain has seen demand for these small-footprint, environmentally sound, flexible buildings increase around 240 per cent over the past six years.

The increase coincides with a boom in construction in NSW generally, with construction valued at $34 billion in the past financial year up from $29 billion a year earlier.

Mr Stutchbury, winner of the architecture profession’s highest honour this year, the 2015 Gold Medal, along with 2010 Gold Medallists Kerry and Lindsay Clare of Clare Design, Brent Dunn and Katharina Hendel of TAKT Studio for Architecture, and Eoghan Lewis, are among a raft of highly respected architects upping the ante.

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‘Garden pavilion’ in Narrabeen designed by Peter Stutchbury for Shona Veney Photo: Michael Nicholson

As Brent Dunn said: “Designing a successful studio, just like any building, is an art.”

This way of thinking marks a long overdue evolution of the humble granny flat, once (and too often still today) treated with little more respect and refinement than a DIY upmarket garden shed – a sweat box in summer, cool room in winter and just plain unappealing to look at.

It’s vital these increasingly popular buildings – now often referred to as studios, pods, retreats, pavilions or flexible multi-function spaces – are designed respectfully and appropriately, Shaun Carter of carterwilliamson architects, and NSW president of the Australian Institute of Architects, said

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The corrugated-iron, steel-framed granny flat has a beachy vibe. Photo: Peter Hyatt.

Powerfully designed studios have become an effective way to provide for the extended family in areas with high land and housing costs, Mr Carter said. An ageing demographic, the return to intergenerational living and the tendency for young adults to live longer at home, the potential for rental income, increased resale appeal and interest in expanding life/work opportunities are influencing the trend.

Ways to enhance intergenerational living were recently explored by Clare Design during the creation of a successful two-storey “box” at the rear of an east coast beach shack. The space was designed to allow an extended family of grandparents, married children and grandchildren to happily and easily live together within two dwellings on a 400-square-metre suburban lot originally intended for one home.

Placing the new home six metres behind the 1950s shack on a long and narrow site, the Clares then connected both buildings by a roofed deck, using battened doors for privacy or openness as required.

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The corrugated-iron, steel-framed granny flat by Clare Design. Photo: Peter Hyatt.

“The benefits are environmental, there is a better use of resources, cost effectiveness and better social outcomes from increased density and mutual family support,” Kerry Clare said.

The benefits of a thoughtful, well-designed studio or “shedio” as his clients refer to it, even on the tightest or grittiest of inner-city sites, can be far-reaching, Mr Lewis of Eoghan Lewis Architects said.

“In a recent project at Tempe, the studio bookended the backyard, and ticked many other boxes. It screened an unsightly neighbour, separated work from play, created outdoor storage as well as being a dedicated place to work and be creative.

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The Pod by Takt Studio for Architecture. Photo: Shantanu Starick

“It’s great for parties, sets up another activity in the backyard and is a beautiful object to look at from the house.”

A thoughtful studio near Wollongong, known as The Pod, and the Copper House in Coogee, winner of the 2015 Small Project Architecture Award – both by TAKT Studio for Architecture – have proven equally flexible.

“Built as an intergenerational collaboration to provide accommodation for the annual visit from grandparents from Europe, the Pod effectively turns into an extension of the original house in the off season, providing the yoga room, teenager retreat and living area,” Mr Dunn said.

“We have seen an ever increasing demand for innovative secondary dwellings / backyard studios,” the architects said. They said the secondary dwelling SEPP [State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009] offers a relatively straightforward approval process for buildings up to 60m2 on many sites.

“We find that initially most clients consider them valuable in terms of rental income, but often discover that they become the ideal space to start long dreamed of artistic endeavours, provide much wanted gathering space or support new living for the extended family.”

Back in Narrabeen, Ms Veney was a single mum, happily returning to live at home with her parents, while wanting to provide the best environment for her children . As they approached adolescence, she recognised their need for not just shared but separate places to retreat to. With a budget of less than $300,000, a granny flat was the most viable option.

But with deeply individual, personal needs, tastes and aspirations, it was important this space not just be a generic, cookie-cutter, garden shed – it should reflect the family, their life’s journey and hopes for the road ahead.

“Everyone told me not to waste fees on an architect. But I didn’t listen.

“I wasn’t worldly about everything to do with architecture, but I knew I couldn’t and shouldn’t design this by myself. I know it sounds wanky to say it’s changed my life, but it has. It’s so powerful.”


Have you ever wondered if you can build a granny flat in your own backyard, or your investment property?

You could check with your local council. Ask Ipswich City Council about their Granny Flat Regulations, or even a private certifier to see if it’s possible.

Or you could call us

Ipswich Granny Flats

We Can Work it Out for You !

Just give us a call

Sonia 0403 309 136

Written by Sonia Woolley