Australians love to entertain at home and this is being reflected in the features we are installing in our properties.
Outdoor kitchens in covered, heated spaces as well as upmarket indoor cooking zones are near the top of the want list when it comes to new homes, according to Housing Industry Association Victorian executive director Gil King.
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And Mr King says while smaller blocks mean Olympic-style pools are out, compact spa-style swimming and bathing set-ups are in.
The HIA spokesman says the popularity of television cooking shows in recent years may have played a role in transforming the look of our kitchens.
“The move to outdoor kitchens with stainless steel appliances and fridges still continues, however we are now seeing a resurgence of the high-quality indoor kitchens with top-end fixed appliances,’’ he says.
“Perhaps the interest in reality cooking shows has sparked this trend. Of course, to go with the well fitted-out kitchen is broad bench space and island benches. Clean lines and efficient movement within this area is essential, and acceptance of reconstituted stone has increased with the improved technology in that space.”
What’s hot in 2014 (in no particular order)
1. Quality fixtures and fittings.
2. Separate living and entertaining spaces
3. Wide entry (920mm) doors and high ceilings.
4. Generous island kitchen serveries.
5. Large walk-in kitchen pantries.
6. Upmarket indoor kitchens.
7. Outdoor rooms with fitted kitchens.
8. Stone and reconstituted stone benchtops.
9. Large and luxurious walk-in robes and ensuites.
10. Small pools and functional spas.
The HIA chief says it is becoming more difficult to install pools in new properties given the reduced size of outer fringe residential blocks.
“But we are seeing a growing trend towards the smaller resistance type pools as well as functional spas as an extension of the family recreation area,” he says.
And when it comes to other entertaining areas outdoors, we are getting more savvy. “Outdoor entertainment areas are now incorporating screens and good cover to ensure the variable climate of the southern states has minimal impact. Fixed heating bars are growing in use and acceptance.
“The need to investigate the most energy efficient products will dictate what is placed in this space.”
Other features in demand include higher ceilings. Mr King says housing designs are evolving to ensure better access for disabled people. “A voluntary move to more accessible housing is also noticeable as wider
doorways and hallways create the feel of a larger home inside than it might appear on the outside,” he says.
The HIA spokesman says in regional Victorian areas we are seeing innovative designs using a range of timbers, decking, windows and doors. “Improved technology means that in some areas, metal windows and fittings are not always necessary and home owners can once again utilise the warmth of natural timbers,” Mr King says. “It is important however that before finally choosing this option, some detailed and informed conversations need to take place with the designer and building surveyor.”
Orbit Homes director Paul Millson says that at least two living areas as well upmarket bathroom and kitchen fixtures and fittings are on the want list of many buyers. “We are also finding they want bigger, more luxurious ensuites and walk-in robes,” he says.
Mr Millson says even buyers on a strict budget are seeking bang for their buck, and builders have to respond to their needs. “We aim to give them that value added by delivering items such as single-lever tapware,” he says. “And those buying larger homes (more than 290 sqm) are seeking even better features and we try to deliver that.’”
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