COVID-19 lockdowns mean many Australians are now working remotely and spending much more time at home. So it’s no wonder that home-improvement projects have skyrocketed in recent months.
Expanding your home is often a much better – and cheaper – option than moving to a new house entirely. So what should you focus on today to get the home of your dreams tomorrow? Joe Snell shares some helpful insights to get your renovations started.
Reasons for expanding your home
Making an addition to your current home is a great way to add an extra room, expand your living area or simply create a more open-plan flow to your property. The key is to understand your needs first and then create a strategy that will maximise the space in the most cost-effective manner.
Expanding your home isn’t exactly a new idea, but we are seeing more and more additions pop up thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic keeping most of us inside. So whether it’s to build a designated workspace, create more room for entertaining or provide an additional space where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of home life, here are Joe Snell’s top tips for expanding.
Tip #1: Know your home
Essentially, this means recognising the boundaries of your current home and understanding how you can create extra space with what you have at your disposal. Joe advises you focus on the five key elements of any good home design.
“The basics of home design rely on five key concepts: light, sound, space, view and air,” Joe says. “Creating an addition offers the opportunity to harness these concepts to improve the experience of living in the home.”
Tip #2: Know your needs
Once you have a solid understanding of what your home is and what it can provide for expansion, Joe says you need to take a more granular approach to the project – rather than focusing on the whole house, you should instead concentrate on the most-used areas of your home according to your lifestyle.
“From getting up, to getting to bed, we do a lot in our homes and it can be hard to understand all of our needs of a house,” he says. “Focus down on your most important times of the day and build back from there.”
Tip #3: Contrast is a good thing
Joe says that you can let your creative juices fly with a home expansion – within limits. The trick is to ensure any contemporary transformation works with the existing building and creates continuity (even with a contrasting design).
“A good addition doesn’t have to meld seamlessly into an existing building,” he says. “In fact, there is a trend towards making the Modern look a statement that departs from traditional facades. The trick here is making the two work together and not against each other.” – Joe Snell
Maximising space with James Hardie products
The good news is that James Hardie™ makes adding a new room or expanding your living areas a breeze – all with high-quality fibre-cement products that will provide better long-term results than a traditional brick-and-mortar build.
Unlike building an extension with bricks, you can enjoy all the subtle benefits of additional floor space with solutions like Linea™ weatherboard, Axon™ and Stria™ cladding, and Matrix™ panels. These products can add up to 100–130mm of additional depth at each external wall as they have a thinner profile (approximately 130mm), whereas double-brick and brick-veneer walls typically come in at 230–270mm thickness.
The cladding itself is naturally lightweight, which makes expanding your home much faster and more streamlined compared to traditional masonry. Not only is there a time saving, but a cost-saving as well – lighter cladding is generally less expensive to create cantilevered upper levels, for example, which allows for a more cost-effective build so you can flesh out the new areas with appropriate furnishings.
One last tip from Joe: “While increasing square feet is an obvious benefit of any home addition, it should also be an opportunity to consider your block and how you live, to define the new space and redefine the entire home.”