Throw Us a Bone – What the Best Renos Are Made Of

We’ve all heard the tail-end of dad’s home buying advice time and time again – ‘Buy something with good bones.’ (Says the man still walking around in stubbies and socks and jandals in Winter!) We digress, but when you really want to bite down on a renovation and claim it as your own, what ‘bones’ should we be searching for when house hunting? And do you need a certain number of bones to make it a real treat? We thought we’d do some digging – not literally – and here’s what we fetched . . .

Perfect posy – Forget central, when it comes to layout, a home with good bones won’t make a wasteland of its section i.e. plonking itself centre stage leaving minimal opportunity to extend front or back. Ideally, if the home doesn’t have a garage you want enough space alongside or in front to construct one. Or if it doesn’t have a deck but the sunlight beams in the back, you want enough space to extend your outdoor living where it counts.

Look to the laundry – Older homes often had HUGE laundries. Nowadays, many of us are replete with a hot spot off the bathroom or garage – separated with a shutters/bifold. So, when seeking a home with potential, pin down one with a massive laundry and gauge where you could extend this space into others i.e. increase the size of the kitchen/dining/living.

Build em up – Often enough a home with ‘good bones’ isn’t averse to a good lift – up that is! When perusing potentials, consider the possibility to lift the whole place up and build underneath.

Bring in the experts – Goes without saying really. If you want to get as close to the nitty gritty of what’s going on in a place, then get a thorough building inspection done. We’re talking piling, moisture, plumbing and electrical. It may look solid from the outside but you just don’t know what’s lurking underneath and in between.

Lose the extra shift work – A home with ‘good bones’ shouldn’t leave you feeling skeletal. If you suddenly realise that to achieve the modern look you want, you’re going to have to destroy that structural wall, that wall, shift that wall, bowl that entrance and move the kitchen down the other end, then maybe it’s just not meant to be. Too much of anything isn’t always a good thing.

Lab Rats – Studying the Science Behind Your Home

Many of us opt to ‘aim high’ when renovating or designing our space. Tall windows, walls and ceilings – they create impact and strengthen acoustics. But, did you know there’s more to those 3metre studs than meets the eye. In the name of science, your architecture choices are doing much more than meeting design expectations – they’re promoting performance and improving your conceptual thinking.

What does neuroscience have to do with building my home, you say? Think design choices that effect the way we live, work and function . . .

Sky high: The story of Jonas Salks, an American medical researcher, still remains the most cited example of the unique tie between architecture and the brain. In the 1950s, Salks – struggling to discover a cure for polo – moved to a monastery in Umbria, Italy. He claims the high ceilings and Romanesque arches enabled him to clear his obstructed mind, inspiring his solution – a vaccine was founded.

Research suggests that higher ceilings promote greater performance and strengthen conceptual thinking. On the flipside, lower ceiling spaces have been toted to improve our mathematical thinking. Think higher – think expansive, opt lower – think focused and contained.

Plant space: Research tells us that our visual connection to the outdoors also impacts our cognitive behaviours. Just being able to see a plant, a slice of the sky or a water view from the kitchen bench or dining table, influences our stress levels and mindset.  

Colour waves: Warm colours promote longevity and warmth – we want to spend time in rooms that exude softer lighting and hues. Calm and serenity on your list? Aim for blues and whites, say colour palette experts.

Lighting fix: Every aspect of home design – right down to the lighting position – can evoke mood and feelings. Wanting less formality in your home? Lighting below eye level livens the mood – think low wall lighting down hallways and corridors, and lighting above eye level creates spaciousness and deepens the mood.

Science or no science, when it comes to your home – it’s what’s on the inside that is going to count towards how you live, play and feel. www.coalesce.nz

Want ‘Real’ New Year Architecture Inspiration for 2019? Look to the way we’re living . . .

Like bikes with bells, scrunchies and chatter rings, trends have defined, moved and reinvented us. Architecture is much the same, it’s ever-changing – there are emerging trends every week, month, year. With so many decades of inspiration tucked under our belt, its no easy feat finding your fit in a melting pot of design. But, as Ludwig Miles van der Rohe says: “Not yesterday, not tomorrow, only today can be given form. Only this architecture creates.”What is today’s architecture reacting to? Well according to architect Veronica Schreibeis Smith, “Spaces that were just for cooking and eating, for example, are now being re-thought to “promote life-enhancing daily habits and rituals.”

Unlike the minor refinement of the 1950s kitchen, today’s kitchen and dining spaces are about well-being and creating meaningful lifestyle choices – think stone engineered counters, induction cooktops.

Outside the kitchen, our rooms continue to open up to new ways of living. Many of us want an aural and visual connection between two spaces – dining and lounge, lounge and office, dining and patio – but simultaneously want to have the ability to close off that space if required – with concealed cavities that are tucked away out of sight, of course!

Just like the all too referenced indoor-outdoor trend, the call for a ‘flexible ‘spaces will continue to sound for some time – think sliding doors, pocket doors, dividers, all transitioning between rooms in the home and outdoor areas. Why so flexible? Because our living style dictates it. Home office, Airbnb, man cave, guest suite, playroom our homes wear many hats and so should its design.

Want design that fits your speak, let’s coalesce . . .