Green Design

To receive the full benefit of "thinking green", plan well before you build

Energy consciousness and the future of our planet is now an issue that cannot be ignored by any industry, and the home building industry is no exception.

"Unfortunately it's usually after receiving the keys to their new home that many buyers begin to think about energy efficiency," Longridge Group general manager Andrew Lindsay says.

"Solar panels appear on roofs and energy ratings guide the purchase of appliances." He says the best time to make a real contribution to the environment is at the beginning, when you choose your design and builder. By choosing a home built from the latest lightweight composite materials with designs that make the most of the sun, you can make a real difference.

The design can play an ongoing role in reducing your reliance on energy costs. Choose a design that optimises light flow but always be aware of the sun's track in summer. "Twenty-five years of building homes has taught us to take advantage of natural light and warmth to create efficient and friendly spaces to live in," Andrew says.

"Meet with your eco-conscious builder onsite to discuss the optimal placement of your home to make the best use of light and plan your garden ahead, including the placement of deciduous trees to provide shade in summer while inviting in warmth and light in winter. "Genuinely environmentally conscious builders now have an array of lightweight construction materials that can be used to add interest to their architecture while reducing the building's carbon footprint."

He says people find homes built with these materials are more interesting contextually, while designs that harness natural light provide a feeling of spaciousness.

"By using composite construction materials, plantation-grown timber framing and eco-smart design principles, builders can create interesting and eco-friendly homes that offer a blend of liveability and affordability," he says. Materials including glass, hardwood timber, autoclaved aerated panels (Hebel), compressed cement fibre products and steel cladding in a variety of colours and textures provide architects with unlimited design possibilities.

Timber has low "embodied energy", about 10-30 per cent of that required to manufacture steel. It is a renewable energy source. While mature trees are felled for construction timber, their replacements absorb carbon dioxide as they grow.

Divided Place

Creating a house that would be "teenager friendly" was the key to this customised Longridge Homes design

With a house to share with her 17-year-old daughter, Terri Turnbull wanted to make sure they both had their own space. She redesigned the home to have the main bedroom well separated from the two minor bedrooms.

"This is the third home I have built, so I've learnt plenty along the way," Terri says.

"I wanted my daughter Monique and myself to be able to really enjoy this home.

"With our bedrooms well separated, she can listen to her music, watch movies and have friends over without disturbing me.

"But we also have a beautiful open-plan space at the back where we can come together as well. It works perfectly for both of us." The home has a wide facade and includes a double garage, entry, formal lounge and main bedroom at the front.

A large main suite with built-in wardrobes, opulent ensuite including twin basins, shower and bathtub provides a touch of luxury for Terri. Adjacent is the formal lounge, which is used mainly for Monique when her friends come for a visit or sleepover.

"I really love the back area because it has beautiful views of the Hills and I spend most of my time there," Terri says.

"Whether it's just listening to the birds or spending time in the kitchen with friends around, I love being in that open-plan area." Two minor bedrooms, both with built-in wardrobes, are either side of the "main" bathroom, which is actually much smaller than the ensuite. A linen closet is nearby.

A galley kitchen with red glass splashback, Caesarstone benchtop with breakfast bar, overhead cupboards with glass features and cabinetry finished in 2-pac provide a stunning centrepiece to the home.

It overlooks the combined meals and living area that includes a red feature wall and two sets of sliding glass doors to the outdoor entertaining deck.

"I really love the colour red," Terri says. "It's nice and bright and cheery."

WORDS John Merriman PHOTOGRAPHY Nick Clayton

 

For more information about the house in this story please look at the Windsor 200 product page.

Welcoming Nest

With two living spaces and contemporary decor, this plan
shows good things do come in smaller packages

A compact design with plenty of modern features, the Burbank 260 from Longridge Homes is an ideal choice for young families and empty-nesters alike. The street appeal is welcoming, with decking that could be extended as a path to the front gates. A side entry makes the home versatile to suit corner allotments while also directing foot traffic to behind the front lounge, so as not to disturb the private sanctuary.

"The formal lounge is a quieter spot in the home where one can entertain friends after dinner or simply relax with a good book away from the busier main living area of the home,"' says Longridge Homes' marketing manager Lee Goddard.

"This home has a wonderful mix of open plan and more defined living areas, creating comfortable spaces for both adults and children so that everyone has their own space when they need it."

Contemporary themes continue throughout the light-filled home, such as a metallic-look feature wall in the entry and a study that includes a "media shelf" in addition to desk space.

"The doorway of the study is wider than normal for easy access," Lee says. "It can stay open most of the time but any clutter of the study can be shut away by sliding the door across."

The open plan living and dining hub includes an entertainer's kitchen with a long island bench and area for bar stools. With the sink fitted into the bench, Lee says "the cook can face the family and guests and be part of the conversation".

Sleek white cupboards are complemented by stainless steel Smeg appliances and seamless moulded benchtops. A neutral glass splashback completes the look and enhances the sense of openness. A stone-coloured feature wall in the opposite lounge area brings warmth to the room while adding interest and style.

"Being able to mount your flat screen television on this wall is great - it's far neater, saves floor space and is a much safer option with children in the home," Lee says.

Large 60cm x 60cm porcelain floor tiles throughout again provide for a spacious atmosphere while windows on three sides and a sliding door at the rear allows light to stream indoors. The adjoining alfresco extends the living area and is housed under the main roof. A built-in barbecue bench offers opportunity for outdoor entertaining or summer dining.

The main bathroom and laundry are behind the kitchen, while bedrooms two and three are towards the rear of the home and have built-in wardrobes.

The main bedroom is opposite the study and has two built-in wardrobes with glass doors and an open ensuite.

WORDS Jessica Magilulo PHOTOGRAPHY Nick Clayton

 

For more information about the house in this story please look at the Burbank 260 product page.

High Lustre

Steel titanium wall tiles are a drawcard of the Burbank 260 design by Longridge Homes, creating visual impact upon entry.

Marketing manager Lee Goddard says the metallic-look tiles were chosen to "inject personality, texture and a modern, exciting look".

"This type of feature wall gives a home a bit of a wow factor, which works perfectly at the entrance," she says.

While the Burbank 260 is a compact design, it also features a number of painted feature walls to add interest and depth without hindering the sense of space. The living area includes a feature wall in soft beige which complements the decor.

 

For more information about the house in this story please see the Burbank 260 product page.

More Out Of Less

With one young child and another on the way, Simon and Kim Brettig wanted a home with sufficient space for their budding family.

"We previously lived in a unit, so... we wanted extra space and a few living areas."

The couple were attracted to the Berkley 270 design because of its modern design that maximises space on narrow land. "Our block is only 12.5m wide, so the design suited the size of our block and we just loved the look of it," Kim says.

"We basically just wanted a nice big open-plan family area, double lock-up garage and plenty of cupboard space."

Having two living areas was all about practicality and making sure the home suited their current and future needs. "We have the family area downstairs and the games room upstairs, which is currently used as a second living area," Kim says.

"The upstairs room will also be great for when the kids get older, so the kids can have their area upstairs and us parents can have downstairs.

"Eventually, we will turn the games room into a bit of a theatre room, but that is for later down the track." The downstairs living area is great for a young family, as it allows parents to get things done around the house while also keeping an eye on young children.

"I love cooking in the open-plan kitchen and being able to look out on to the family area and see the TV and dining area," she says. "I can also keep an eye on what our son is doing."

In terms of design, a few changes were made to adapt it to the block size. "Because of some encumbrances on our land, the windows on the upper level had to be glazed because of privacy." Kim says.

"The encumbrances also meant that the home could only take up forty per cent of the block, which restricted us a bit."

The couple added a false wall in the main bedroom to create a walk-in wardrobe for more storage. They also changed the finish of the balcony from hebel to glass to create a less
top-heavy look.

"One of our favourite features in the home is the high ceilings. They really open up the home and give it an open, airy feel," Kim says. "We also love the curved wall at the back of the

 

For more information about the house in this story please see the Berkley 270 product page.

Time to Define

Using carpet is a smart and trendy way of giving definition to rooms in an open plan home, says Lee Goddard of Longridge Homes. The Lightsview 265 design includes a shag pile carpet in colour Crush in the open study and lounge area.

"This type of carpet has a longer cut pile and is extremely durable as well as being soft and luxurious," Lee says. "It looks great as well as being really practical, with tiles remaining in the high traffic areas and passageways.

"It's a wonderful contrast of floor coverings for the modern home."

 

For more information about the house in this story please see the Lightsview 265 product page.

Light’s View

Clever placement of highlight windows allows for natural light to stream above the kitchen splashback in Longridge Homes' Lightsview 265 design.

"It provides a connection to the outdoors, creates a feeling of spaciousness and also adds architectural interest to the home," says Lee Goddard, of Longridge Homes. "Also, any heat gained from the sun will stay up high, not down at working level.

"With so many amazing shapes and sizes to choose from, these windows can be used to create a real feature in the room and can make the home more visually appealing from the street."

 

For more information about the house in this story please see the Lightsview 265 product page.

Design Solved

 The Urban 260 by Longridge Homes is smart on energy

With three good-sized bedrooms, two living areas and an open-plan kitchen and meals area, this design offers modern, low-maintenance living for families or professional couples, says

Longridge Group marketing manager, Lee Goddard. The floorplan of the base level includes an open kitchen, dining and living area, along with the laundry and main bathroom.

"Open-plan living is what people have been asking for," she says. "It really complements a modern and low maintenance lifestyle because it avoids clutter and is easier to clean, not having to worry about manoeuvring in tight spaces."

Included within the standard design and price of the house is a high specification kitchen, which overlooks the living and meals area for convenient living.

"This area at the back of the home is really ideal for couples who also love to entertain," Lee says. "It means the owner could be cooking and preparing meals for friends and family and still be able to carry conversations with their guests."

Downstairs also has large windows and sliding doors to bring the outdoors in. "The larger windows also help to minimise electricity costs by utilising as much natural light as possible," she says.

Separated from the downstairs entertainment area are three bedrooms and a flexible living space on the second storey of the home. "Keeping the bedrooms together on the second storey works well for family living," Lee says. "It means that if the owners have older children, they can escape to the upstairs living area or, alternativel,, if they have younger children, they can be put to bed and the adults can still entertain or live downstairs without disturbing them."

The main bedroom includes a large walk-in wardrobe and ensuite. A double volume glass portico entrance is a modern architectural feature that offers a "wow"’ factor at the entry. The design is suitable for 9m wide and 20m deep blocks. Ms Goddard says it is important to have a builder who understands the aspects associated with a smaller width. The cost includes a fully rendered facade.

 

For more information about the house in this story please see the Urban 260 product page.

Good Fit for Life

 

This couple chose a two-storey design by Longridge Homes and never looked back

The best-laid plans were a change of plans for Jackie and Peter McMahon. The couple had consulted an architect, but then decided to build the Savoy 220 with Longridge Homes.

"It was going to be very costly (to build the architect's design), so we decided to consider a home off the plan," Jackie says.

"Longridge had a plan that fitted and gave us what we wanted so we abandoned our original plan." Advice from Longridge Homes consultant Nathan Smith also proved invaluable.

"The (architect-)designed house took up all the space on our block, but when Nathan looked at it he gave us advice,'' Jackie says, adding their Longridge home was a better fit. "We have a lot of garden and an outdoor entertainment area."

One of the prerequisites was that the master bedroom, which has floor-to-ceiling built-in robes, be downstairs to make life easier. "We are going to be here for many years... the downstairs bedroom is for when we get older, " Jackie says.

The second storey, which has a living area and two bedrooms, appealed because it would cater for visitors, including Jackie and Peter's three adult daughters.

"High ceilings are standard with Longridge so we didn't have to pay extra for them," Jackie says. "The home doesn't have cornices so it has a brighter and bigger feel... it has very clean lines."

Those clean lines are a theme. The kitchen has an appliance cupboard to keep the toaster and kettle out of view. Its cupboards have push doors without handles in keeping with the minimalist look.

There is also storage tucked under the stairs in the entry hall, which it turns out is the home's standout feature. "It has a long window so it's a really bright, open area," Jackie says.

"It's the first thing that people mention when they walk in... the home is almost townhouse size so it gives it a really big entrance when you come in.".

WORDS Anna Vlach PHOTOGRAPHY Nick Clayton

 

For more information about the house in this story please see the Savoy 220 product page.

Grow into It

Families looking for a home designed to adapt to their changing needs should consider the Berkley 285 by Longridge Homes

VERSATILITY is a key feature of Longridge Homes’ popular Berkley 285 two-storey design. With five bedrooms it will appeal to large families or those who want a home they can grow into.

The master bedroom, which has a built-in robe and an ensuite with a bath and shower, is next to a formal lounge.

On the lower level, the two rooms form a parents’ retreat well away from the other four bedrooms upstairs. The Berkley’s clever floorplan means everyone has their space.

The upper level is effectively the family zone. Two bedrooms with built-in robes are positioned at the rear and separated by a hallway to ensure privacy.

The other two, which do not have built-ins, can easily be used as a study, home office or computer room and converted to bedrooms when guests stay or more children come along.

A games room overlooking a balcony means children and/or guests have their own place to play or relax.

The main bathroom upstairs is also a smart threeway design which will be appreciated during the rush to get ready for school. The lower level also has the convenience of an additional toilet next to the stairwell near the laundry.

Tucked behind the stairs, the discreet position of the laundry, which has a handy door to the yard, is in keeping with the Berkley’s modern streamlined look.

The garage also has a secure access point to the home — to the main hallway — and a door which opens to a storage room under the stairs which would be ideal for keeping sporting equipment.

The Berkley is also designed for entertaining — the lower level open-plan space is ideal for hosting gatherings be it a dinner party or big family get-together. The area includes the kitchen, complete with a breakfast bar and pantry, dining and living areas.

The latter opens to the outdoors to extend the open plan space, while the dining area has a curved wall with porthole windows which makes for a striking design feature.

BY Anna Vlach

 

For more information about the house in this story please see the Berkley 285 product page.