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Happily Ever After

Articles From Issue 14

Designing your ‘forever’ home can be a daunting process. The design needs to be tailored to your current lifestyle, with the flexibility to adapt to your changing needs later in life. Emma Phillips speaks to director Adam Mason from Adam Mason Homes about the key considerations you’ll need to take into account when designing a home for a lifetime of leisure.

You’ve found the perfect block of land on which to settle, and you’re ready to take on the challenge of building the home where you’ll create wonderful memories for the rest of your life. With the help of an industry professional, you can achieve the best design and style solutions to create a beautiful home that can easily adapt to your evolving needs. It’s vital to seek trustworthy advice when planning something as important as your forever home. You’ll want to create living spaces that will last for many years to come, with the flexibility to change in response to new trends and lifestyle developments. A reputable industry professional will be able to guide you through the entire building process and help you make all the tough decisions.

Somebody To Lean On

Designing a home that you will live in for decades is a big commitment. You need to be sure that you are making the right decisions for yourself, and for your family. “If you’re thinking of building your forever home, have one custom designed and built by a specialist,” advises Adam Mason. Choose one you can trust to keep your best interests at heart and guide you in the right direction. Once you have met with your builder, they can begin to develop an understanding of your needs and what you’re looking for in a forever home. According to Mason, one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face is deciding the main features to incorporate into your design. You’ll

need to consider functionality, as well as comfort. “[For example], if you enjoy gardening or workshopping in your shed, choose a block of land and design your home around this key factor,” he says. “[Other] major considerations include mobility and accessibility in the long term; single-storey homes with no stairs are often a great choice. “A quality-built home will ensure maintenance works and costs are lowered over its lifetime,” Mason adds. “Think about the lifestyle you would like to lead down the track and how you would like to use your home.” Your forever home is one of the biggest investments you will make, and you don’t want to look back and regret spending large amounts of money on something you’ll eventually outgrow.

Speak with your builder about your budget, the key features you’d love to incorporate into the design, and how these can be appropriately transformed as the years go by.

Less Is More

When choosing the colour palette for your forever home, you need to set some boundaries to keep the design manageable and realistic. Bold paint choices for your walls may not be the best option for a forever home. Instead, consider incorporating bright pops of colour with easily interchangeable décor items, such as wall art, rugs, cushions or throws. This way, you can easily alter the style of a room with little expense or effort, whenever you like!

Materials and Must-Haves

Selecting materials and design elements to incorporate into your home can also be a complicated process. Sit down with your designer or builder to discuss your options and the durability of the materials available. You’ll need to ensure they will stand the test of time, with the ability to be easily modernised. Mason suggests using floor-to-ceiling tiles in your bathroom and selecting a timeless neutral colour that will be easy to keep. Opting for engineered-stone benchtops and quality vanity cabinets made from moisture-resistant boards will ensure your bathroom remains beautiful for years to come.

Incorporating an undercover outdoor entertaining area is a must for a Queensland forever home. “[Appropriate shade will] ensure the space can be utilised all year round,” Mason says. “Outdoor kitchens and built-in barbecues are [also becoming] increasingly popular for their luxurious feel.”

Let There Be Light

Your forever home’s lighting is another element that needs to be thoroughly considered. Lighting can change the mood of a room in an instant and creates a welcoming atmosphere when implemented correctly. “LED downlights with cool-white globes create a clean and bright feeling,” says Mason. “However, some people prefer warm-white lighting as it creates a less clinical atmosphere.” Thoughtfully selected outdoor lighting is equally essential when planning your forever home to ensure the safety of your family. “Sensor flood lighting [should be used to illuminate] all access paths and driveways for added security,” Mason says. “It also ensures paths can be seen clearly during the evening, and will turn on automatically if movement is detected.”

Eco-Friendly Living

Eco-friendly design features can make a forever home more sustainable in the long term and reduce the cost of living. There are many different eco-friendly solutions that can be

added to your home, so it can be hard to know which ones are right for you. You’ll need to consider all design elements of your home, including its orientation, window systems and materials, before committing to an eco-friendly approach. Sitting down with your designer or builder to discuss what eco-friendly options are viable for your property is highly recommended, as they may suggest options you hadn’t even considered! “[We recommend installing a] solar power system,” says Mason. “As solar technology progresses, these systems become more affordable and eco-friendly. “Powerwall battery storage allows the solar power that’s generated during the daylight hours to continue to be used during the night.”

Room To Grow

There are many things to consider when creating an adaptable room in your forever home, including its layout and size, as well as the locations of the window, doors and electrical points. Before designing the room, try to predict what it will be used for later in life, as you’ll need to ensure it will be able to serve its current and future purposes. “Anticipating how the room may need to change will minimise the amount of construction needed for future alterations,” Mason says. Transforming a bedroom into a spacious walk-in wardrobe is among the easiest

of conversions, as bedrooms are often built side by side. “Adding a doorway through the adjoining wall is a very straightforward process,” Mason says. “The space can be fitted out with cabinetry for clothes storage, as well as a makeup table and mirror if space permits.” Speak to your builder about your current lifestyle and where you see yourself in the coming years. If you have children living at home, perhaps consider designing a bedroom with an uncomplicated layout, as this could easily be adapted once they leave the nest.

A Kitchen To Keep

You’ll need to find a balance between aesthetics and practicality to achieve a kitchen that will last a lifetime. The positioning of appliances, plumbing fixtures and cutlery drawers is extremely important, as is the benchtop’s depth, height and orientation. Changes to the layout can be quite costly, so it’s important to think ahead during the initial design stages. “A butler’s pantry is a good choice [for a forever home] if space allows, as all the appliances can be hidden away for a fresh and clean look,” says Mason.

Flush Design

The bathroom can be one of the hardest rooms to design in a forever home. You will need to consider how many of them will be included in the design, how many people will be using them, and how they’ll be accessed. Selecting the fittings

can also be complicated; make your decisions based on your lifestyle, stylistic preferences, and the general colour palette of your home for visual cohesion. “Open-plan bathrooms are a good choice when designing your forever home,” says Mason. “Wide, doorless, walk-in showers with fixedpanel screens will remain easy to access later in life. Separate toilets are always a good option for privacy, and a double vanity unit will provide valuable storage space.”

Easy Access

A major challenge in designing a forever home is ensuring its accessibility remains optimalin the long term. “Ask your builder to recess your sliding doors into the concrete slab [during construction] to minimise the size of the step to the outdoor spaces and make accessibility easy later in life,” advises Mason. It’s easy to see why many Australians are choosing to build their forever home; it’s a cost effective way of ensuring you will live in a beautiful, tailored environment for the rest of your life. “There are many standard home designs on the market, but there’s no single design that will fit your needs exactly,” says Mason. “Spend the time and effort during the design and construction stages to [achieve a truly adaptable home], and reap the benefits long into the future.”

Images courtesy of Adam Mason Homes