6th Oct 2020
Our ‘how to’ on designing the perfect home office for you.Read the full article
They say home is where the heart is, however as of late for so many Australians, home is where the office is. And although many are slowly returning to the traditional office workplace, working from home is expected to become the ‘new normal’ and a way of the future for so many individuals and businesses.
The unexpected relocation that took place in early 2020 meant many workers have been sending emails and making phone calls from their dining room table and chair, or worse-yet, from the comfort of their bed while still wearing their Easter bunny pyjamas and fluffy slippers. But while it may have seemed fun in the beginning, designing a dedicated, inspiring and comfortable workspace is paramount, in order to maintain positive work/life balance and work productivity. Below we have listed our tricks and tips on how to design a home office space where you really will not mind working overtime.
Whether it is a separate room, or a nook in your hallway – the fit out can be as simple as a desk, appropriate chair and upper cabinetry. Decorate it with as much accessory as you would any other space, but also remember the old saying, “less is more” – clutter only gets in the way of productivity.
Research has proven that natural light helps people be more productive, happier, healthier and more zen. When thinking about the workspace, try to situate yourself near a window, and keep coverings to a minimum. A beautiful way of dressing the windows is by installing sheer curtains or a light blind as they are not as dense as say a block out curtain.
KEEP IT TIDY
It is not very visually appealing when cords and cables are running rampant. You can find awesome solutions for cable tidying at Officeworks, or even use Velcro wraps which can be strapped under the desk as a sneaky hiding place.
Well positioned greenery will only ever be a beneficial addition to a home office and when we consider their air purifying properties, we do not have one excuse to not invest in some beautiful plants. They bring a sense of tranquility, reduce noise and give you something calming to look at while working away.
When seated, your feet should rest firmly on the floor with your legs parallel. Find a seating solution that provides ample back support, supporting the natural curve of your spine. We recommend selecting the work chair first, and then purchase a desk to suit. Your elbow height should be at desk height, as this allows the forearms to rest parallel to the floor.
30th Sep 2020
Kitchens Sell HousesRead the full article
Renovating a kitchen? There are many elements to consider – kitchen cabinets, countertops, hardware, functionality – which can sound a little overwhelming when starting out. Here we will outline a few of our handy tips on how to navigate through the process.
First and foremost, it is important to consider the properties price point, and to create a suitable budget for the renovation. Do you require a small cosmetic renovation, or a much larger scale facelift?
Part of a kitchens “wow factor” is the cabinetry. If the cabinet doors are worn and outdated, but the existing cabinet structure is in great shape, cabinet refacing may be all that is required. Refacing is a quick, cost effective way of sprucing up the space. There is an abundance of choice when it comes to colours and door styles, including laminate, 2 Pac, timber veneer and natural wood.
There is no surprise in saying kitchen trends evolve and constantly change. Especially if someone is looking to renovate for resale, keeping the colour palette neutral or fresh white is a very safe option. Always keep in mind the return on the investment and select a countertop which will bring the most longevity to the upgrade. There are so many materials to consider such as laminates, engineered stone, timber, porcelain or natural materials such as granite or marble.
One design feature real estate agents agree on is the need for well positioned, layered lighting. Under-cabinet lighting, dimmers, lighted cabinets with glass doors, spot lighting, and island benchtop lighting all offer additional means to illuminating a kitchen and providing a high-end feel. If the kitchen is closed in or is in a position where natural light is not the best, lighting works wonders on improving the overall feel of the space.
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
Small details make a huge difference to the finished product, and really bring a room together. Renovating or building a home is one of the most important experiences homeowners will have in their life, so remembering to really think about every detail is vital – lighting, flooring, backsplash, hardware, colours. If you are renovating for yourself, try not to get swayed by trends, and follow a design that is true to yourself and your own personality, so you love the finished product for years to come.
17th Feb 2020
Luxury Add-Ons Every Homeowner WantsRead the full article
There’s one thing all homeowners who build their own home have in common, customisation. The beauty of building from scratch means they are able to do just that. Gone are the days when mod-cons were reserved for the wealthy. We’re seeing the average family homeowner request a little more luxury. The little touches go a long way so without further ado, here are our top requested luxury add-ons.
The humble mudroom started as a way to keep mud ridden boots out of family homes. Commonly seen in farmhouses and colder climates (with lots of heavy coats), we’re now seeing them pop up in urban locations. Families and young professionals are seeking ways to keep their home organised and a mudroom is the perfect solution.
We love this modern take on the classic. A number of our current plans include a mudroom, and we must say they are proving popular. Expect the mudroom to become ‘the norm’ in the near future.
In years gone by, a Butler’s Pantry was used for Butler’s to prepare delicacies and keep the mess hidden. While Butlers are still reserved for the very wealthy, the pantry isn’t. In fact, many families are requesting them to save their stunning kitchen from the wear and tear that goes along with meal preparation. Better still, they are an excellent space to store the array of appliances, crockery, groceries and kitchen tidbits we have these days.
They can be as simple or as extravagant as required. The best bit is, the design possibilities are endless!
The double shower is the new walk-in robe when it comes to luxury in the home. It may be because we’re all time poor and it’s easy showering en-masse or just because they add a beautiful design aesthetic to a home. Either way, we’ve been inundated with design requests featuring this mod-con.
We predict this trend will gain momentum in 2020 and beyond. It’s easy to see why with designs such as these.
With the myriad of streaming services available, theatres everywhere are feeling the pinch. Enter, the new must-have: the media room. Not to be confused with the lounge room or family room, the media room is a stand-alone entity custom-designed for binge-watching and the like.
Smaller rooms with minimal natural light are the perfect choice for a home media room.
We will be extending on the luxury home suite of designs to incorporate some higher-end mod-cons into mid-range family homes. Expect to see more in the way of mudrooms, butlers pantries, double showers and media rooms in our designs in 2020.
Today’s homeowner is more conscious of the little touches and we’re rising to meet the occasion.
23rd Dec 2019
Home Design Trends 2020Read the full article
A new year is almost here and with it comes a plethora of new home design trends to familiarise yourself with. We’re calling it early, the start of the decade will be marked with some fresh looks that will be on every homeowner’s wishlist.
We’ve done the research for you and narrowed it down to the top 5. Without further ado, here’s what you’ll be seeing everywhere in 2020.
Pantone has just announced their colour of the year and it’s a surprising choice: Classic Blue. You can expect this hue to dominate interiors in 2020.
Our commitment to sustainability is increasing in popularity and as a result, home designs are evolving. Perfect finishes are being overhauled for interesting, repurposed materials. You’ll be seeing reclaimed wooden features married with recycled concrete (crushed and repurposed rubble) coupled with lush furnishings.
Terrazzo has been used for hundreds of years all around the world and in 2020, it will be in hot demand. Kitchen benchtops, flooring, furniture accents, bathroom vanities and more will be ‘terrazzo-d’ in the new year.
Organic shapes & natural hues in the bathroom
The trusty white subway tile is out in 2020. Bathroom renovators are now looking towards organic shapes and natural hues: think dusk pink, slate grey, wood and marble.
Smart Outdoor Planning
The average Australian land size is decreasing and as a result, design trends are focussed on designing smarter. The most applicable being our outdoor areas. Multi-functional built-in mod-cons are the must-haves.
If you’ve been searching for house plans that have been designed for the modern consumer in mind, you’ve come to the right place. With over 200 buildable, bankable designs available on our database, we’re sure you’ll find the very thing to wow your clients in 2020.
19th Nov 2019
3 Perks Home Builders Can Access With An Arei Design SubscriptionRead the full article
When you join our subscription service, you have access to a whole range of perks designed to help you focus on what you do best: building top-notch custom homes. Along with access to a comprehensive, constantly evolving database of concept home plans, we’ve expanded our service offerings with you in mind.
Once you subscribe, we become your design partner. We help you to grow your business through increased brand exposure, social media marketing, design advice and drafting support.
Basically, we want to be your one-stop-shop for design.
Designed with the builder in mind
Having worked in the industry for many years, we know what it’s like to receive a plan only to realise it’s not designed with you in mind. Each design we upload to our constantly evolving database is strategised to be buildable and bankable. Each set of plans come with suggestions regarding block size, frontage and even block type to make your planning process simple.
Free Additional Design Service
See a design but need adjustments made to get your client over the line? No worries! Our team of draftspeople are on hand to amend and tweak to suit.
Further to this, we offer all current subscribers the opportunity to request a brand new design at no additional cost.
Recently, we designed a suite of Granny Flats on request. It was such a well-received design, we decided to expand on the series and offer it to all subscribers.
Drafting and Construction Service
Our service doesn’t end with high-quality home designs. Because we have already completed the concept designs, the design documentation process for construction drawings is simpler and quicker. We offer this service for all current subscribers at a fraction of the cost you’d find anywhere else.
All we need is a two-week lead and we’ll have your working drafting and construction drawings complete.
We like to think we’re a one-stop-shop Our services begin at concept and continue until completion.
Marketing & Design Support
It’s one thing to give you what you need to build a winning home. It’s another to help you grow your business. We are committed to working with you on both elements of your business.
Additionally, we have an established network of vetted graphic designers, copywriters and social media managers ready to work with you.
We don’t want to be the biggest online plans provider in Australia; just the best.
Our subscription service isn’t for everyone, we work with bespoke custom home builders who build 5 or more homes a year.
We only open our subscription to a small number of builders in each area so you don’t need to worry about having loads of competition in your zone.
Quality is what we’re all about. Working with custom home builders with similar target markets (in different areas!) means we can hone in and refine our craft. It also means we’re truly the specialists in our field.
Looking to up your building efforts in 2020? Contact us for a free consultation.
9th Oct 2019
An Update On The Australian Property MarketRead the full article
It’s safe to say 2018 was a tumultuous time in the Australian property market. We witnessed our property superstars, Sydney & Melbourne experience a devastating blow with Sydney dropping a staggering 5.9 per cent and Melbourne dropping 1.5 per cent. Darwin and Perth both experienced a decline of 3.6 per cent.
Some states bucked the trend and lifted. Brisbane had a minor growth of 0.01% with Adelaide and Canberra increasing by 1.1 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively. Hobart bucked the trend with a 8.4 per cent property increase.
Everyone was nervous. New builds declined, the Big 4 banks imposed tighter lending conditions and the property market flatlined. As a result, sellers held firm, buyers with decent financial backing went awol and new builds declined dramatically.
The whole nation was waiting for unemployment to rise and the property market to tumble. The doomsday reporting had an element of truth that was hard to ignore.
2019 Market Conditions
Enter The Royal Commission and the Federal Election. A petri dish of uncertainty and a nail in the coffin that was positive buyer sentiment.
The main change came post-royal commission when a new ruling stated the banks could no longer pay mortgage brokers a home-loan finders fee. Additionally, lending conditions remained competitive. Interest-only loans, smaller deposits and equity-driven loans were harder if not impossible to obtain.
Quarters 1 & 2 were shaky, to say the least.
Australian Property Forecast
Fast forward to quarter 4 and it seems the reported property apocalypse is all smoke and mirrors. In fact, we’re now seeing increases across the board. Some slight but none the less, the market is rising.
Just today, the Reserve Bank announced a rate cut (the third for the year) to 0.75 per cent. Lower interest rates coupled with looser lending conditions will result in a more positive market.
So far, house prices have increased by 1.7 per cent nationally. Sydney recorded a slight rise of 0.2 per cent with Melbourne increasing by 0.1 per cent.
Overall, the market is still a hesitant one but certainly, it’s heading in the right direction. Predictions are for a strong 2020 with rates set to remain low.
Custom Home Builder Forecast
Of course, this is all relevant but what does it actually mean for custom home builders? In short, your clients will have more access to finance with more relaxed lending conditions meaning you’ll see more of them in the market.
Additionally, the hesitation experienced in 2018 and the first half of 2019 will lessen. With the change in sentiment in the market, you should expect to see larger projects coming your way.
Our advice is to prepare for a busy 2020 with all of your ducks lined up neatly.
- Plan a strong marketing campaign to land more clients.
- Turn your leads into business with a suite of custom home plans ready to wow potential clients
- Stay current and ahead of your competition
How have the current conditions affected your custom home building business?
- Source: https://www.realestate.com.au/australian-property-market/property-report-january-2019/
- Source: https://www.realestate.com.au/news/how-will-the-royal-commission-affect-the-housing-market/
- Source: https://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/sydney-and-melbourne-house-prices-increase-for-first-time-since-2017/news-story/2edae336adce91341753eb4272d16b9a
- Source: https://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/interest-rates/rba-interest-rates-reserve-bank-cuts-rate-to-075/news-story/
11th Sep 2019
The Best AREI house designs for QueenslandRead the full article
We’ve put together the very best of our designs to suit the Queensland climate. When we think about what living in Queensland means to us, it comes down to appreciating our fine weather. We love nothing more than BBQ’s on the deck, time spent outdoors, large windows capturing all the glorious natural light and of course, well ventilated to keep it cool in summer.
These Queensland Homes have been designed with the outdoors in mind.
ASF Series – The Queensland Dream – Acreage living at its best
This is one of our most popular designs, and we’re pretty sure we know why! Boasting 3 bedrooms, 2 living areas and 2 bathrooms, it makes a perfect family home. The generous indoor/outdoor living is a must for airy Queensland homes. The layout that works perfectly for either a North-facing or South-facing block and there’s plenty of room for the whole family!
ASW Series – Another acreage or large block gem!
The open plan living and dining makes the central hub of the home flow seamlessly. With 4 bedrooms, 3 living areas, 2 bathrooms AND a media room/theatre, this is a home that would suit a large family. Uniquely Queensland in its approach, the large outdoor patio extends to a flowing yard complete with a pool.
HDB Series – Suburban Hamptons Haven
This is another one of our most downloaded plans. If your client loves a classic design with a modern layout, you can’t go past the HDB Series. This design is available in 3 facade options and has 3 – 6 bedroom options. Complete with floor to ceiling french doors, a window seat, a sprawling porch and a large open patio, those design makes the most of the Queensland climate.
ADA Series 4: Inner City Living with All The Perks!
If you’re targeting clients central to the city, they are most likely working with a smaller land size. This design doesn’t compromise on any of the mod-cons Queenslanders love. Comprising of two levels, this home includes an open plan living, kitchen and dining room that flows onto an outdoor patio making it an entertainers delight. Rooms are open and make use of natural light, the design can be customised to make it a 5 bedroom deluxe home.
ASJ Series: Luxe Design for Modern Australian’s
Modern Australian’s are wanting more and more from their homes. Open plan living, multiple bathrooms, walk-in robes, plenty of space for entertaining and ample space for outdoor living. This design hits all the right notes and can be customised to suit any clients unique needs.
We’ve got over 200 buildable, bankable designs ready to delight homeowners Australia-wide.
Next time, we’ll delve into the colder climates and which homes are suited to their unique needs.
31st Jul 2019
Granny Flats For Modern HomeownersRead the full article
The humble granny flat has come a long way in the last decade. In fact, they are rapidly becoming a desirable feature for current homeowners and potential buyers. They are a viable solution for many modern families with the return on investment being hard to ignore. Today, we’re sharing some of our favourite designs along with all the reasons granny flats are here to stay.
Return On Investment
It’s estimated the average granny flat can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $120,000 to build – this includes all the mod-cons you’d expect in a luxe set up. While this figure may seem high, the return on investment makes it well worthwhile!
- Granny Flats can attract rental income of $300 to $500 per week dependant on the location. That’s a whopping 15% to 25% yearly return on investment.
- If you live in a desirable location, AirBnB is another option which could increase your return on investment significantly.
- Looking to the future value, a granny flat will add value to your home should you wish to sell or use the equity at a later date.
You can crunch your own numbers using this free granny flat return on investment tool.
Virtual Working Solutions
It’s estimated nearly 1 million Australian’s are now running a home-based business. This figure is increasing rapidly with the rise of virtual working solutions. Further to this, flexible working arrangements are becoming the status-quo in Australia with many full-time workers taking advantage of these perks. So it makes sense that the modern homeowner is seeking a solution to make working or running a business from home seamless.
Enter the Granny Flat.
A space to work away from the hustle of the home. Better still, elements of the build and ongoing expenses can be claimed on tax if you are running a business.
Growing families can really take advantage of the space granny flats offer. With banks tightening their lending conditions, many families just can’t afford to upgrade. A granny flat can offer perks without over-stretching the budget.
Granny Flats can be used to:
- Contain older children who are seeking privacy
- Accommodate guests
- House an AuPair (a popular option for working parents!)
Granny flat design is now a beast of its own. With the rise of mini-homes and the like, there are so many creative ideas to draw upon when planning your own. Keep in mind, you’ll want to design the granny flat to complement the existing house, making sure it’s poised to grow with you.
Of course, there are many considerations to take into account before you build. Do your own research as each state has its own regulations. In the meantime, a few larger restrictions include:
- Maximum floor area should not exceed 60m2 – 120m2 (check with your local authority)
- Land size usually has to be larger than 450m² or larger for a granny flat to be built on the property (check with your local authority)
- You must have 24m2 courtyard space for the granny flat – some states only.
Here at Arei Designs, we’ve been inundated with requests from our builders to add more granny flat designs to our current suite of house plans. Being the people-pleasing kind of business we are, we’re just about to release our very first complete granny flat series. We’ve added a sneak peek of the upcoming floor plans below.
11th Jun 2019
Eco Friendly House Design Is Crucial For A Cleaner TomorrowRead the full article
Australians are becoming increasingly eco conscious. We’re seeing it in the way we shop, cook and, in home design. With the pressure on our climate mounting, sustainable, affordable housing is an excellent way to plan for the future.
Here at Arei Designs, we’ve made it a mission of ours to provide our subscribers with eco-friendly alternatives. We create plans tailor-made for challenging housing estate covenants AND different climates. The truth is, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to eco-friendly house design. There are very specific passive design principles applicable to different climates. For example, the requirements for North Queensland vs the South-East Victorian climate are vastly different.
Sustainable Home Requirements
In order to meet the minimum sustainability standards, eco-friendly housing estates should include*:
- Minimum 7.5 star energy rating
- 2.5 kilowatts of solar
- 10,000 litres of rainwater storage
- Integrated on-site power generation
- 3 star plus water efficient plumbing
- Optimum site orientation for maximum energy efficiency
- On-site waste systems
- Use of recycled materials
- Sustainable manufacturing processes
- Reflective roofing materials
Sustainable Housing Estate: An AREI Project
Recently, we were approached by The Cape Project to design a suite of housing for a new eco-friendly, sustainable housing estate. The Cape Project is Australia’s first truly sustainable residential project.
This combination delivers homes that are comfortable year round with minimal heating and cooling and very low energy bills compared to conventional homes on the average housing estate in Australia. Further to this, The Cape has over 50% open space compared to around 10% or less on most conventional estates. Open space includes parks, walking and cycling paths, dogs off leash fenced park, habitat areas, community gardens, wetlands and landscaped road verges, and this open space can never be built out.
The project with Cape Homes is still in production however, we do have a few plans to showcase.
The Benefits Of An Eco Friendly House
It’s true, the cost of building a sustainable home initially will be more than the traditional counterparts. This is due to using high-quality materials throughout, solar, water tanks and more. Long-term though, the benefits will pay the difference and then some.
Energy & Water Efficiency
The cost of water and energy is increasing year after year. With a sustainable home, you’ll make use of solar power and water tanks which will drastically reduce these costs in the future.
Higher Property Value
As more and more Australia’s are seeking out an eco-conscious lifestyle, the demand for sustainable homes increases year on year. As such, your resale value will be more.
Lower Carbon Footprint
Taking steps now to reduce the impact you and your family have on the environment is crucial for the future. Building or owning an Eco Friendly House is a step in the right direction.
As the materials used are designed to be durable and stand the test of time, you’ll find yourself spending less on repairs and maintenance in the future.
Stay tuned for exciting updates from The Cape Project in the future. In the meantime, if you’re a custom home builder looking for cost effective, sustainable house plans, we’d be pleased to help!
28th Mar 2019
Property Update: How To Remain Profitable When New Builds DeclineRead the full article
It seems everywhere you turn these days there’s yet another article predicting the impending property apocalypse. This isn’t one of those articles. No, we’ve penned this piece today to chat through how the current market conditions affect custom home builders. You’ll notice many of these property updates only really focus on sale prices, auction clearance rates and discounting. Custom builds are a whole new kettle of fish.
Here we want to outline the facts along with a few key strategies you can employ to remain profitable while the real estate market does it’s thing. Here at AREI, we don’t see the point in reporting anything unless there’s a solution ready and waiting.
What is the current market telling us?
The ABS Building Report released in November 2018 showed a dramatic decline in construction approvals across all states. When averaged across all building types (houses, apartments, commercial) the decline totalled 32.8% in the last 12 months. When narrowing down the data to show private dwellings, houses dropped 6.4% and all other private dwellings (apartments & co) dropped a staggering 53.9%.
This can be the result of many things. For us, there are 2 key elements that are really steering the boat on these figures. The first one being the tighter lending conditions all Australians (and overseas investors!) are experiencing. Interest only loans, smaller deposits and equity driven loans are harder if not impossible to get right now. For that reason, there just isn’t as much cash floating around.
Secondly, people are nervous. As we mentioned, every media outlet in Australia is hypothesising about the future of our property growth and even the economic wealth in this country. When there’s fear in the market, it’s harder to sell. The results of the Royal Banking Commission is still playing out in Australia so it’s a case of waiting to analyse the full impact the adjustments have made.
We believe your potential clients are still waiting in the wings. In the meantime, we’ve got a few ideas to keep your custom home building business flush.
The construction industry is always changing as you’d know. To attract and retain clients, you need to match or stay ahead of your competition. The key trends coming forth in 2019 and beyond in home building are:
- Technology: many builders are investing in online project management tools which of course, benefit the project at hand but also, the client. Many of these tools allow for frequent build updates which the client can access online. It may seem like a small thing but key client value adds such as this can be the difference between winning and losing a job.
- Sustainability: with the focus on eco-friendly sustainable homes gaining more traction, ensuring you have viable options for this type of request will drastically improve your chances of acquiring new clients. Everything from building materials, solar options and house plans will need your consideration here. We now offer eco-friendly, sustainable custom house plans which are drawn and ready to be downloaded.
Find Your Niche
If you’ve been in this business for a while, you’ll know that finding new clients takes time, money and resources. Instead of trying to attract everyone and everything, spend some time figuring which projects have been the most profitable in the past. Identify who it was that booked those builds. Really niche this down to include their age, profession, location, family status and more.
This is called creating a customer avatar. One you have a clear idea of who to target and for what, develop a marketing plan to attract them. Put it this way, you can acquire many smaller clients or you can get strategic and book a smaller quantity of larger jobs.
You may also like ‘5 Essential Strategies to Land More Clients’.
Run a Lean Business
Even if you’re booked solid until Christmas, it’s always a good idea to plan for the future. It’s even more imperative in a market lull. You’d be surprised at how much you can save just by adjusting your operating expenses. For example:
- Labour: Watch your sub-contractor labour costs. Are there elements you can take back yourself rather than outsourcing? Can you minimise weekend work to reduce your expenses for a period of time? This is undoubtedly your highest cost so addressing this and making adjustments where you can should be a priority.
- Marketing: Of course if work is drying up, you’ll want to increase your marketing budget but it’s worth addressing what types of marketing you’re spending on. Traditional print mediums have a low return on investment where digital marketing can be tracked and adjusted for conversion almost instantaneously. Audit your efforts and market with intention. If the billboard is costing $5k per month and you’re not sure if it’s even working, it might be time to take it down.
- Plans: Another very hefty investment for builders are house plans. If you’re building 5 homes or more per year, you are likely already spending upwards of $12,500 per year on house plans alone. Most architects charge $2,500 or more for a custom house plan. Here at AREI Designs, our Construction Package gives you 5 construction drawing sets PLUS access to over 200 buildable, bankable designs for less than what you’re paying for 5 house plans standalone.
Spending only where required and making minor tweaks to your outgoing expenses will help you build a bit of beef in your budget to get you through the leaner times.
How have the current conditions affected your custom home building business?