This week we've been designing new duplexes to build in a more upmarket location. We've been studying floor plans with our builder and their drafts woman. The villas are three bedroom, master with ensuite and main bathroom, separate living room open plan kitchen, dining and living space with alfresco dining under the roof.
I'm excited about our plans as I think we've managed to design in all the essentials and a few luxuries and we replaced what was originally a second linen press with a built in cabinetry study nook to complete our new plan. There was already a full size laundry with storage and another linen cupboard, each bedroom has built-in robes and the master with a walk-in-robe, there was plenty of storage, which tenants love.
But one area we were not sure about was whether we should separate the toilet from the main bathroom?
A separate toilet compartment can be the ultimate in privacy but it may also seem a little confined or closed in. We had a generous space already for the main bathroom but when we looked at combining the toilet in this space, we would have a more luxurious area to work with.
A client's bathroom
We ended up including the loo in the main bathroom and adding a privacy panel to give the sense of separation and hide the toilet as you entered. This gave scope to upgrade our bath to a larger size.
One client asked if we should use an in-wall cistern for the toilet to make it even more sleek, but I was dead against that idea. Whilst it can look very stylish, these villas are to be used as rental properties and if there is a repair required on an in-wall system, it can be very expensive to fix.
Another conversation we had was whether to include a double bowl to the 1200mm wide wall hung vanity in the main bathroom. I tend to like more surface area that a single sink gives and the extra storage opposed to a double basin (that takes up some of the storage space) but this is a personal choice. The villas are three bedrooms and likely to lease to young families, so kids lining up at one sink to clean their teeth may be an issue.
We switched our attention to the external façades to ensure that even though the villas are attached and part of a duplex, they still look different. We did this by separating the garages so each villa will have its own driveway and the front entrances and windows are different. We've used gables to the roof line on one side and used texture to differentiate them. The main building is face brick but on one side will have some weather board cladding. On the other side we'll use a coated brick finish to give another dimension to the texture. One side has brick pillars to the entrance and the other side has painted timber posts. Each front door is a different design as are the windows on the front façade.
Finally, we will use a different landscape design to the front of each villa to finish our individual look. The last thing we want is for the duplex to look 'mirror' image which is so 1980's.
Spending time on creating some great designs is fun but also very important that we build the right dwellings to suit their environment. In this case we think we've hit the nail on the head.