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Home And Away

With a rise in Airbnb and granny flats, now is the perfect time to add some extra space to your home. Whether you’re looking to create more space for family visits or want to obtain some extra income on the side, building an additional dwelling can help. Leigh Marie Dodd speaks with David Savietto, director of Sovereign Building Company, about the tips and tricks you can employ when building an extra residence onto your existing home.

Image Credit: Bruno Martins

In your opinion, what are the benefits of creating an additional guest residence?

DS: Adding a guest residence to your home could benefit you in many ways. It can add real estate value and increase your income if you decide to rent the room out for a fee, and when selling the home, you open yourself up to a greater market of buyers. Having the additional guest bedroom also allows older family members to still be a part of the family’s daily routine, but have the privacy that they require. If family members visit for a holiday, they are able to stay with the family and sightsee without interrupting anyone else’s day.

How can homeowners maintain their privacy when adding guest accommodation to their residence?

Homeowners can maintain their privacy by providing an alternate door access with a lock to the main passage or entry to the house. They could have the guest accommodation separated from the house on either the side or the rear with a pathway to the front of the block or have a separate front door to their section of the house.

What features will improve a new Airbnb/ guest wing/ancillary dwelling addition?

Features that will optimise the visual appeal and functionality of a new dwelling addition include designing with a small patio or verandah type elevation, designing gabled, pitched or skillion type roofs, and using stone cladding on mall areas.

Are there any critical design differences that should be implemented depending on whether homeowners intend to use their addition as an Airbnb, guest wing, or ancillary dwelling?

Critical design differences to consider include installing a separate water supply (i.e. water meter) so that water flow to the original house isn’t interrupted and installing solar panels with batteries to reduce and eliminate power costs to the main house. The homeowner could also provide external sensor lights to ensure no wastage of power.

Where is the best place to situate further accommodation in a pre-existing home?

The best place to situate additional accommodation is either to the front or side section of an existing house. It could also be placed at the rear of the house if it is detached from the main home and providing there is an open driveway or path down the side of the existing property.

Apart from the main living areas, what other rooms could homeowners add to a guest wing?

Guest wing additions should include one to two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen or kitchenette, dining/living room and a separate laundry. If you want to expand the dwelling, including a study, garage or carport would be a good addition.

How can homeowners create additional living space in an existing home without building?

Many existing homes incorporate additional living spaces by creating dual living occupancy when they design the original house.

Sovereign Building Company
Sovereign Building Company

Are there any current architectural trends homeowners should consider before building an addition to their home?

The design just needs to be functional, practical and cost efficient. Design so that you can take full advantage of the pathways and driveways while designing a simple layout that can be built efficiently.

Do you have any tips on decorating guest living quarters?

When decorating guest living quarters, an interior designer is a must. Wallpaper can be used in certain rooms and walls to bring out the style, such as a backdrop to the bedroom wall, and consider texture tiling inside the shower on one of the walls.

What are the most common difficulties faced by homeowners when building additional dwellings? How can they be overcome?

The most common difficulties faced by homeowners undertaking this type of project are block restrictions that can make it impossible to build, not enough rear or side area to build, and the neighbours or council opposing the project or home. Do a site survey and get advice first, check with the builder about access and make sure you speak to the neighbourhood and council to get their support.

What are the main financial considerations that should be taken into account when building another living space within an existing home?

Consider that back lending may not be possible. If you are geared too high, cost to build may outweigh the returns on investments. Assess the added value to the overall property compared to the cost to build and ensure that the additional amount was returned should you have to sell within a year of completing the construction on the ancillary.

Do you have any further tips for readers who are planning to create additional space for guests and/or renters?

Choose a reliable builder like Sovereign Building Company to do this and consider feasibility of the project prior to commencing designs, council permits and building.

Sovereign Building Company
Hero image courtesy of Bruno Martins.
Images courtesy of Sovereign Building Company.