A Granny Flat, Pre-Retirement
Are you rattling around in your family home and looking to free up some extra money? The owner of a three-bedroom home in a Brisbane suburb decided to down-size to a custom-made 'granny flat' at the rear of his property. As a result, he was able to rent his existing house and live a comfortable, simplified life overlooking a natural creek reserve and parkland. Does it get any better than that?
Atelier Chen Hung (A-CH) designed Keperra House. It's a small home with a central deck to take advantage of the Brisbane climate and the parkland setting...
A multi-functional outdoor room: A covered external deck is an extra room in the house, a circulation space between the bedroom and living areas, and also the entry to the home.
Resilient Materials Left Natural: A big part of this cost-saving design of this home was the use of hard-wearing materials which can be left in their natural state. Concrete and zincalume steel are used outside and plywood inside.
Picture Windows: Picture windows, the size of a framed piece of art, are carefully placed to highlight trees or desirable views, highlighting that the home is surrounded by nature.
Downscale, not downgrade
Sometimes downscaling is seen as synonymous with downgrading. In this case, smaller isn't a dirty word. The client made the choice to downscale his three-bedroom home to a much smaller, single occupant building. The benefits of downscaling mean he was able to leverage his investment and take better advantage of an amazing site that overlooks a creek reserve. By building a 'Granny Flat' in the backyard, he was able to do all this without even changing his postal address!
Covered Deck: The covered central deck is a great place to sit and enjoy the scenic surrounds. It's protected from rain and the sun (both important considerations in Brisbane).
Simple Materials Reign: Plywood on the walls inside is an affordable upgrade from plasterboard. It doesn't need to be sealed and it's low maintenance.
Keperra House is arranged around a semi-enclosed central deck. Large sliding glass doors open onto the deck which is the main entry to the home. Sitting on the deck neatly frames a view of a beautiful old Jacaranda tree in one direction and creek reserve in the other.
The bedroom/bathroom is separated from the kitchen/living area by this deck. Yes, that means every-time you want to move from the living area to the bathroom or the bedroom you have to actually go outside onto the covered deck. It might sound like a hassle, but it's a great way to fell more connected to nature (and enjoy the scent of Jacaranda blooms in spring). And in Brisbane's tropical climate -- you won't risk hypothermia.
Built in Nooks: In small homes like this, it helps if nooks and shelving are designed in from the start. These built-in shelves and daybed are an efficient use of space. The fact that they use the same materials as the rest of the house help the space to stay clutter-free and look more spacious.
Hidden Storage: The benefit of using plywood on the walls is that walls can become doors that hide away less glamorous necessities, like the washing machine and laundry. When the doors are closed they appear like any other wall.
Custom-made for a bed: A built-in shelf above the bed holds bed-side necessities. A openable windows let natural breezes help with the cooling. The bed nook is exactly the size of a bed, yet it feels much more spacious because it was well designed.
Let There Be Light (and Views)
The whole house is protected from the sun by large, over-sized gutters. Large windows to the North let the light shine in cooler months. The North orientation also captures lush green views of the creek reserve and parkland.
Small, Simple, Smart
The Keperra House is small (just 45m2), simple (uses robust materials in their natural state), but most of all it's smart (integrated storage, multifunctional spaces, highlighted views). This is an example of a downscale that simplifies life and generates additional yield for its owner -- a great example of a creative lifestyle choice.