The Importance of thoughtful design to achieve Improved Property Value, Separation and Privacy

It’s important from a capital gain perspective for your new Garden Apartment to be integrated with the existing house and surrounds to improve the overall value of the property beyond the capital invested. Design and finishes should compliment the existing structures and create visual and acoustic privacy between the two occupants. Careful planning must be undertaken to ensure that the new structure doesn’t detract from the principle dwellings yard-space, visual & acoustic privacy, landscaping and it’s aesthetic appeal.

Case Study: Panania NSW (Our Display Garden Apartment)

Our brief – to design and build a free standing granny flat in place of home renovation and extension. The property has a 15m wide frontage and a Sydney Water Sewer main running diagonally through the back yard and an old asbestos lined garage located on the right hand boundary. The challenge was to design and build a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom free standing granny flat in the location of the demolished garage, at the same time not build over the Sewer main which if not avoided would add approximately $10,000 in additional sewer concrete encasement costs.

The final design created a 6 metre setback to the rear boundary forming a large landscaped courtyard. (3 metre is the minimum rear-setback requirement under the ‘Affordable Rental Housing SEPP’ legislation). We also needed to comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) fire-separation requirements which requires the two buildings be separated by at least 1.8 metres, measured wall-to-wall. The final design allowed for only 1.2m separation between the 2 buildings which to comply with the BCA needed a ‘fire-rated-wall’ consisting of a double layer of Gyprock to be installed on the external wall of the new granny flat facing the existing house.

Our primary design considerations were how the two tenants would interact on the property and how they were going to affect each other’s privacy. We also needed to create highly desirable living spaces for both dwellings and address the separation of the buildings issue and avoid the additional time and associated cost of building over the Sewer main – not an easy situation.

Design solution

Creation of the 85m² “Brighton Platinum” featuring 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms in 60m² of living area plus15m² of front and rear under cover outdoor patio areas.

The design created 4 distinct outdoor areas while avoiding building over the sewer main.

  1. 1.2 metre side boundary setback (secured with a privacy gate) provides external access to the granny flats rear courtyard from the front entry.
  2. 1.2 metre separation between the two buildings (secured with a privacy gate) has provided an alternate and rarely used pedestrian access to the back yard for the house tenants and does not impact the granny flat tenants privacy.
  3. The design created to avoid building over the sewer main has created a 60.0 sq metre 6m x 10m) private courtyard for the granny flat, plus 10 sq metre outdoor covered patio integrated into the design.
  4. And a 60.0 sq metre private courtyard (12m x 5m) for the existing house

The rear of the main dwelling has a bedroom and living area, so in order to maximise sound suppression we installed sound-proof insulationto that side of the new granny flat.

No large windows were installed on the adjoining side. The openings provided on that side are a 1200mm x 1000mm window and the Front Door both off the living and opening onto the 5.0 sq m Patio integrated into the design.

The internal ceiling height was raised from the standard 2400mm (8ft) to 2700mm (9ft) in order to increase the volume of space and to enhance cooling in summer and giving it as much of a ‘house look’ as possible.

We also incorporated other aspects into the design to maximise privacy and encourage the granny flat’s tenants to “play in the back yard as much as possible”. In this regard we also included an outside laundry in the design and added a timber fence between the dwellings and planted shrubbery to further increase privacy.

We installed double access gates mid way along the granny flat access path (the old driveway) in order for the granny flat to enjoy a 40 sq metre front courtyard flowing from the front patio to the gate. The installation of the gates has the double benefit of providing onsite parking for both the house and granny flat tenants along with providing separate access and 40m2 front courtyard to the granny flat.

Our design also has the added benefit for the house and granny flat to enjoy separate and private front and rear Landscaped areas and access plus BBQ and recreation areas designed so that the tenants spend their outdoor time with privacy.

In addition we improved the street appeal of the existing house with an external make over to compliment the style and look of the new granny flat while keeping the overall cost considerably lower than renovating and extending the existing house to achieve the same purpose.

So in the end, we were able to design and build the new granny flat, confident that every aspect of visual and acoustic privacy was addressed

Rental appraisal for our Brighton Platinum 2 bedroom 2 bathroom (Display Home) Granny Flat range between $500 to $550 per week making the return on investment 22% to 25% per annum.

Before and After photos below: