I've been working with our builder on a new range of duplex plans. We wanted to offer something different to each of our clients so their duplex would have a point of difference in the market.
Firstly to clarify, a duplex is two attached villas/units. A duplex can be single or double story. Property Bloom duplexes are predominately single story, three bedrooms, two bathrooms with single garages. We also build a lot of dual occupancy projects with two freestanding dwellings but today we are just talking about duplexes.
Our goal was to make each side of the duplex, each villa appear separate from the street. We don't want the 'mirror image' look that many standard duplexes have.
We started by looking at the exteriors of our duplexes. We use a mix of materials rather than just brickwork. We may render or paint the bricks in sections and add some weatherboard or other cladding. Changing the exterior materials adds texture and interest.
We look at the roof design and try to steer away from a standard hip roof if possible, adding a few gables will add interest to the roof. Although we did have an issue with one council as we couldn't allow any of the roof surface of one villa to drain to the other's side. This was to do with the subdivision drainage requirements, so always check this before getting too fancy with your roof design. We may use roof tiles or Colourbond roofing depending on the look we want to achieve. Colourbond roofing offers a wider range of colour choices; roof tiles give a more traditional feel to the duplex and can be cheaper.
I like to try and make the front facades a little different too. Even though the villas will be attached, it's nice to give the main entrances privacy and by changing the size and shape of the front porches we can achieve a different look.
Another idea is to split the garages, moving them to the external sides of the duplex rather than attaching them at the garages. This then offers a double driveway which will be more expensive but gives the impression the villas are more separate than they actually are. You can also look at locating one garage in the middle of the duplex and the other to the side. Often service locations like gutter drains may determine the location of your laybacks and hence driveways.
Finally we use the soft landscaping to individualise the dwellings. It is amazing what a good landscape plan can do to enhance street appeal and style.
We take all the design elements into consideration when working on a new duplex project for our clients as well as the location and surrounding homes to ensure we are building the right dwelling for the area. Our aim is to also appeal to and attract the right tenants when it comes time to rent them out.
A good design can maximise the rent by making your project stand out from the rest.