Architectural tips for choosing the perfect… | Jellis Craig

September 27, 2016

Architectural tips for choosing the perfect renovator's delight

Boroondara is blessed with a variety of housing types from across a range historical periods. Buyers are spoilt for choice when looking to purchase - from heritage listed Victorian residences to funky examples from the 60s and 70s.

When it comes to looking for that perfect 'renovators delight', however, it's important to seek advice from the experts - architects - who can help you find the unpolished gem, just waiting to be transformed.

Melissa Bright is a Director at award-winning MAKE Architecture in Kew. These are her 5 top tips for what to look for when buying a home to improve. 

1. Orientation

The importance of a property's orientation is underestimated, says Melissa. "It's essential. It doesn't mean that you should only buy a property with a north-facing backyard, but it should have the potential to be able to orientate living areas towards the north."

"Sometimes you walk into a house and it has a great feel. It is usually because it has a northern orientation. There's more light, especially in winter, and allows for more passive solar exposure."

2. Good bones

A solid brick home, from any era, is a great starting point when looking for a house with potential. It should have a logical, workable floorplan without being too 'room heavy', says Melissa.

"Ideally you don't want a floorplan that runs too deep down the block. This often leads to landlocked rooms without windows and natural light or airflow."

14 Stirling
14 Stirling 2

3. Keep an open mind about the architectural period of the home

There are excellent buying opportunities among the 50s, 60s and 70s cream brick properties, says Melissa.

"Don't be scared off by a particular period. These homes are hidden gems. They have big rooms, lots of windows and were the first examples of "open plan" design architecture. And it's often easier to bridge the gap between their period style and contemporary renovations."

4. Look for a natural renovation starting point

When inspecting older style homes, especially from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, Melissa recommends looking for a clear 'point' in the house where a contemporary renovation could be added.

"This will help direct the orientation of any addition and provide a natural 'break' in the architecture where the old gives way to the new."

5. Location

This has a double implication says Melissa. Location refers not just to whereabouts in a particular area or suburb the property sits, but also what streetscape surrounds it.

"Consider the context into which you are looking to buy," she says. "What have the neighbours done with the adjacent properties? Are they small period workers' cottages where a large replica Georgian mansion will look out of place? If so, it is unlikely the local council will be sympathetic to that type of renovation or development."

Based in Kew, MAKE Architecture's innovative designs and work have been recognised at many industry awards including the 2015 National Architecture Awards the Interior Design Excellence Awards