Architecture and Design Trends on the Northern Beaches of Sydney

As a real estate agent, I have the pleasure of viewing an amazing amount of homes all over the Northern Beaches of Sydney. I have seen countless renovations and new home designs, many of which reflect our changing society and beachside lifestyle. So looking ahead for 2013, I wanted to share some of these emerging trends for architecture and design on the Northern Beaches. I have also picked out some inspirational and quirky designs from around the globe to share with you, which prove that in this day and age our imagination is pretty much our only limitation as to what is possible. I hope this opens up your eyes to the amazing world of design and architecture and inspires you to create even more amazing and beautiful homes in the year ahead.

Trend 1: Resort style living

The Northern Beaches is famous for its holiday like lifestyle, attracting people who are most relaxed when near water and beautiful gardens. So it’s not surprising that the number one trend on the Northern Beaches is the love for resort style homes. From cooking and dining alfresco to sipping cocktails by the pool bar, there’s every reason to enjoy a laid-back resort lifestyle. In both houses and apartment blocks we are seeing outdoor lounge areas, outdoor dining and cooking facilities, poolside bars, entertainment and games areas, balinese style pavilions, outdoor showers, water features and lush landscaped gardens. With most Northern Beaches residents working long hours to be able to afford to live in this beautiful part of the world, a resort style home ensures we have the ability to wash away a day of hard work in an instant, without even having to leave the comfort of your own home. For design ideas for resort style living, try Dean Herald’s book titled Resort Style Living or speak to a local architect and/or landscape artist.

resort style living pic

resort pool at home

Trend 2: Return of “The Hippie”

In recent years society has become more and more aware about health and environmental issues. So much so in fact that “going green” and using “eco-friendly” products and practices has almost become mainstream. Previously it was a very small part of society that chose to eat organic foods, have a vege plot and maybe even a few chooks wandering around…but not any more. In a changing society many people are going back to basics and loving a somewhat ‘hippie’ lifestyle. This trend has had a direct impact on housing, with eco friendly homes all the buzz. Many local residents are conscious of the impact their homes have on the environment and are taking increasingly large measures to ensure this is minimised. Some of the measures people are taking include using renewable material such as bamboo or cork, recycled materials with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOC), installation of solar panels, water tanks, vegetable gardens, compost bins, energy efficient lighting, insulation, plus designing homes to take advantage of natural light and shade, heating and cooling, allowing your home to be efficient to run.

New homes that are being built now no longer have a choice on whether to keep the planet in mind. Building regulations have set minimum standards for energy efficiency in new houses and apartments. Many locals are taking their homes above these standards however, with a high appreciation for our beautiful environment and desire to reduce their footprint on the world. Making such changes is not just friendly to the earth but friendly to the value of a property. Homes that are “eco friendly” fetch higher prices and are favoured by Northern Beaches residents. If you’re interested in designing an Eco Friendly home, many local companies have great options available. ‘Your Abode’ in Avalon are one of these. They specialise in Eco Friendly designs and have won numerous awards: http://www.yourabode.com.au/eco_design_building.html

Trend 3: Multi-generational floorplans

There are two key factors which attribute to the need for multi-generational floorplans. Firstly, Australians are living longer and as such have housing requirements for many more years. Many elderly do not wish to succumb to aged care facilities so instead choose to live with their family who are able to assist in looking after them and keeping them company. Having their own space and independence is quite often necessary in order to make the dynamics work and avoid conflict, presenting the need for a separate living space within the home. The second factor is adult kids who either choose not to move out or return like boomerangs when things don’t go as planned. With the cost of rent and housing being so high, living at home is a very attractive option.

So homes all over the Northern Beaches are now being re-configured to accommodate ageing parents and adult children. Granny flats, self contained accommodation or flexible zoned layouts are all very popular now and are making this new age of multi-generation living much more enjoyable. With rising land prices, some families are also creating duplex designs, where the older generation resides on the ground floor to avoid climbing stairs and the younger generation resides on the upper level.

Design changes to homes include building zoned areas that can be closed off and includes a private entrance, construction of freestanding games rooms which feature the ability to convert to a granny flat, installation of ramps or lifts, larger showers and bathrooms which are large enough to be wheelchair friendly, and handrails being installed. Such clever designs allow the flexibilty to accommodate ageing parents, adult kids, or alternatively they may be rented out to provide another source of income. Homes that offer multi-generational floorplans are highly sought after and as such attract more buyers and bigger sales prices.

Trend 4: Entertaining a crowd

Northern Beaches residents clearly love to socialise and entertain…and our homes are proof of this! Kitchens have never been so big or grand and serve as the home’s nerve centre and the family gathering place. Open plan dining and living are becoming the norm. I don’t think I’ve seen a single redesigned home that features a stand-alone shut the door kitchen. Twin ovens, multiple dishwasher drawers, cafe like suspended lighting, commercial wine storage and fridges plus bifold doors flowing to outdoor entertaining are all installed to fulfill the innate desire to entertain. TV rooms have morphed into home theatres which feature large wraparound couches with enough room to fit a small crowd…just in case your guests feel the need for a movie!

Trend 5: Big ideas for small spaces

With high density living on the rise and most apartments shrinking (on average they have become approximately 10 square metres smaller) we are now seeing innovative space saving designs appear in apartments and small homes all over the Northern Beaches. Disappearing kitchens and laundries contained behind sliding or mirrored doors, integrated washer/dryers into kitchens, fold away beds and extensive use of mirrors are some of the more popular space saving techniques I am seeing used. With a growing population and limited land space, I predict that space saving designs are going to become increasingly more popular in the near future.

Amazing Designs

Underground Car Park: Something you would have expected to see on Beyond 2000 – The Underground Car Park.  A design that is now fully functional and in use around the world. Although it is now quite costly, I would think that in time we will see this around Sydney and the Northern Beaches.

Underground car park

Denmark housing: Incredible housing in Denmark

Denmark housing
Ice Hotel: A winter hotel made entirely of ice. An amazing experience. A must do but thank goodness for the sauna’s in the morning.

Ice Hotel

Kokopellie’s Cave: Bed and Breakfast: Just as you might expect, cave lodging is lodging that is located inside of a cave. Just imagine spending the night 70 feet or more below ground. Here, the climate will remain a constant temperature and you can enjoy exploring the surrounding cave formations. If you need absolute dark to sleep at night, that won’t be a problem in a cave hotel when the lights go out!

Kokopelli's Cave Bed and Breakfast

Rooftop grass: Lacking lawn space? Maybe this would work for you!

Rooftop Grass
Kids playroom: A playroom with style at Jerusalems’s David Citadel Hotel

kids playroom
Old and New Building: A beautiful mix of new and old architecture.

Old and New building Twist
Parking in Japan: A modern an innovative car parking design in Japan.

Parking in Japan

Bernadette has an Advanced Diploma in Design from the prestigious Whitehouse Institute of Design and provides complimentary styling tips for Northern Beaches Property Specialists Clients.

For Free Room By Room Styling Tips,  Phone or Email Us Today!

Tim Cullen on   0424 006 855

Bernadette Cullen on   0414 618 908

About Bernadette Cullen

Bernadette Cullen is the Campaign Specialist at Northern Beaches Property Specialists. With extensive experience in design, real estate marketing and client service, Bernadette brings to the team outstanding communication and excellent people skills. A seasoned property expert that loves her chosen profession and believes there is no better place than the Northern Beaches to live, work and raise her young family.