Renovation Design Mistakes to Avoid

Hi, I’m Jan Hogarth, a residential and renovation specialist architect from PlaceMate Architects in Brisbane. I’ve been in this game for 30 years, and these are the seven renovation design mistakes to avoid! So, if you are thinking of renovating or building, it’s simple: avoid making these design mistakes!

1. Not Raising the House High Enough

When raising your existing Queenslander and building underneath, you must ensure the clearance from the floor to ceiling is a minimum of 2.4 meters. It’s essential to consider the ceiling and floor to ensure it complies with the Council’s regulations. Going to 2.7 metres will be relatively cheap and provide a better living experience. However, at Placemate, 3.24 metres is the sweet spot for raising as it allows for a straight flight of stairs and 18 stair risers at 18 centimetres. If you do that, you will get an excellent sense of space and flow through the house as it will all tie together.

2. Create a Staggered Entry into your Home

My pet hate is, walking straight into the living room from the front door. I’ve got three kids, and I know what it’s like – You open the door, two of your kids are killing each other, and the dog runs out and tries to trip you over. There’s nowhere to put anything, and you spend your whole life apologising for the craziness of your home. Do not let this happen! At Placemate, we design our homes to have a staggered entry to create a sense of arrival and relaxation. An example of how we make a staggered entry is by providing a designated area or a little porch to take off your shoes or sit down so you can ease your way into your home – It feels more civilised.

3. Smarter Placement of Utility Rooms

Fortunately, toilets at the end of the corridor are not standard in Queenslanders, but in seventies houses, it is more common. I know you’re trying to blank it out but to create a sense of flow, we recommend turning the toilet 90 degrees at least. So you can’t see the pan. Or move the bathroom somewhere else and create a great sense of flow with a shareable space instead.

4. Create a Sense of Flow

When going through a set of plans, you must design a place with a clear walkthrough. A designated walkthrough with aligned walls enables better light flow and a cool cross breeze – Which further creates connection and allows your eyes to see the beautiful greenery at the back, making your home feel bigger.

5. Utilising the Northeast Corner

In Brisbane, the Northeast is a prime location and the most valuable aspect of your home. In Summer, it gets a cool breeze, and in Winter, it brings the warm sun – it’s a free asset you get with your land. Now, avoid throwing out this prime location with a bathroom. You’ll never get cross-flow ventilation, and it doesn’t matter about getting a cool breeze or a warm sun because it’s a bathroom! It’s just a complete waste. Instead, put quality spaces in the Northeast corner – it doesn’t matter where it is on your block. You must adjust to capture that aspect. At Placemate, we recommend putting your master bedroom, living room, or kitchen in this space as it’s an area you use all the time – this will allow you to capture that secret value of your home.

6. Overuse of the Southwest Corner

In Queenslanders, the kitchen in the Southwest corner is classic. Opposite to the Northeast, the Southwest corner is the worst aspect of your home. It’s dreadful in Summer and freezing in Winter – ugh, it’s horrible. Back in the day, they put the kitchen there because that’s where the little old lady was, and it was a buffer. Instead, have the kitchen integrated with the whole household, as it’s now an excellent location for family and friends to bond and interact. You still have the Southwest corner, so use that space for your garage, storage or laundry.

7. Allocate Space for Storage

My last point is storage. Think about your types of storage and how often you use them. You must consider what you store and how often you use them, whether it’s camping, biking, backpacks or shoes. There needs to be great accessibility. Then there’s also your medium-term storage to consider, for example, Christmas trees, tools and bulk items. Shrinking the rooms up slightly and creating a store room that takes much of this stuff takes the pressure off the home. It’s just a much better value add.

PlaceMate Architects takes pride in creating spaces that feel like home. We work side-by-side with our clients and builders to help transform these old or derelict homes into beautiful homes that create a sense of relaxation and connection with loved ones. If you’re struggling with any of these issues we highlighted today, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

If you’re considering a home renovation and you want to talk through your Queenslander renovation architects guide needs, request a site visit so that PlaceMate Architects can help make it come together in a really effortless way!

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