Berwick House

Berwick House

Here’s a two storey home which is effectively a traditional single storey design with a garage below, designed to suit a very restrictive building covenant which controls building height (among other things) which locks in the main floor level to a specific height above ground level measured at the highest point of the existing ground level over which the dwelling is constructed. Sounds complicated, well unfortunately most building covenants are written in such a way that they need to be read a number of times in order to fully grasp their impact on design and the mechanism / wording used to enforce their intention. In this instance, because the client was trying to obtain living room & master bedroom views, the home was brought forward on the site so that the main floor level could be measured and set at this point, even though the living spaces (where the views were wanted) were located at the other end of the design – the specific wording of the covenant meant the design had to be approached in a particular way. As the slope moved in two directions (both down and across the site) the option of placing car accommodation to the south (front right hand corner) for example could not be achieved without lowering the whole main floor level. Remember the wording of the covenant referred to the ground level where the dwelling occurred, not the garage. This one decision meant the floor level in the living space could be raised over half a metre – so you can see that the devil is definitely in the detail. Many covenants also allow for variations where the affected parties have the option to agree to the changes. If however the variation is too great and the spirit of the covenant is ignored, there is little chance of securing agreement from affected parties and the job will stop dead in its tracks – it is for this reason a lot of care needs to be taken in these areas and it is worth looking carefully at your title when purchasing a property to see if there are any covenants or restrictions which may stop you realising your vision.

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Hills Nest

Hills Nest

Single Storey Design

Back in 1990, Storybook Cottages (before our name changed to Storybook Designer Homes) had an emphasis on budget cottages many of which included lofts, attics or mezzanines as opposed to your conventional second storey. By creating attic spaces within stick-built roofs, we effectively utilised the unused roof spaces in our designs to provide extra squarage for our customers at a lower cost. Although many of these customers were content with a single storey home (preferring the scale of a single storey design), the extra space gained with a usable attic space was the icing on the cake. Regulation changes over the years has seen many iterations in the way councils determine minimum ceiling heights and as a result the use of attics and lofts has reduced. In response to these changes we have been progressively creating more and more full two storey homes with varying wall heights (exceeding these minimum requirements) and the scale of the homes has increased accordingly. But the demand for single storey homes remains, in fact we’ve noticed an increase in this demand particularly after posting our popular single storey design (Ashbourne Homestead) some time ago. As this demand builds, you’ll be seeing quite a number of new single storey designs popping up on our site in the future. Hills Nest is one such example, this design suits properties (approx 19m wide) with a driveway running down the side of the block or a narrower block with cars to the street. The design features a large entry leading to both the kids wing (rumpus, 3 bedrooms, bathroom & w.c), a formal sitting room and the main kitchen, meals, family area complete with cathedral ceilings and butlers pantry. At the rear of the design we have the parents zone, including huge walk in robe, study nook and ensuite. This great 4 bedroom home can be easily modified to include a double garage (in the location of the formal sitting) and yes the inclusion of an Attic. (more…)

Silvertop Cottages

Silvertop Cottages

Here is an awesome Bed & Breakfast Retreat complex situated midway between Erica and Rawson in Victoria – www.silvertopcottages.com.au. Located in a high bushfire zone, colorbond cladding and other non-combustible materials were selected for compliance and to minimise the bushfire risk. Hats off to the owners Noel & Julie who have created a wonderful forest experience & stay for their guests.

Twilight Brae

Twilight Brae

Twilight Brae is a traditional single storey home for a delightful family in Western Australia. A grand 4 bedroom design (5 bedrooms including the study), this home features an awesome traditional Storybook look, 3m ceilings, grand entry centrally located leading to the main living, master bedroom, kids area and down to the theatre room with a whopping  3.5m ‘Cinema Style’ ceiling, terrific ensuite with separate w.c, zoned kids wing with 3 bedrooms, rumpus & bathroom (including separate w.c) and large laundry close to the action, large parents zone, open kitchen meals and living, butlers pantry, covered alfresco, large verandah, bay window, the list goes on….  Dormer windows for additional light into the home are optional and subject to personal taste, as are the gable decorations, brackets and verandah fretwork. An optional free-standing carport has been positioned to the side to create that property feel or alternatively a carport or garage could be added to the side of the home adjacent to the kids bathroom and laundry increasing an already wide grand front elevation. Positioned on a gently sloping property, the design includes a few steps to reduce construction costs and bring the owners close to the ground for entertaining around the pool.
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Ashbourne Homestead

Ashbourne Homestead

We’ve been run off our feet lately with Storybook Agencies opening up all over the place and lots and lots of projects on the go, so my apologies – it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to upload any of our recent jobs.  Interestingly a few of these recent designs are actually single storey, something we’re seeing a greater demand for. This design is a single storey design change to our Ashbourne House design. Reworked to include our clients evolved ideas clarified after absorbing their first draft, our clients have re-emphasised a need for natural light into the living spaces, zoning for the kids & noise insulation for the master bedroom & study. Ashbourne Homestead features a large dramatic entry, 4 bedrooms (5 if you include the study), 3 living spaces (including open living, rumpus & parent’s retreat), wonderful kitchen with natural light, butlers pantry (with access to the carport via a mudroom), huge alfresco positioned to capture the sun but at the same time located to allow natural light into the living / meals areas. Large gabled roofs step on the façade to create height & articulation, preserving a grandeur and scale of the home – difficult to achieve now it’s become a single storey design. With a modern styling that could shift towards the traditional depending on the treatment of decorations (finials etc..) this home suits a large family on a larger block with north to the side or rear and we’re very happy with the result.
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Garden Retreat – Dependant Persons Unit

Garden Retreat – Dependant Persons Unit

A custom designed dependant persons unit, this modern little 2 bedroom home fits nicely into it’s environment and is modelled to complement the styling of the existing home. We at Storybook love adding positively to an existing setting and ensure each extension, addition, outbuilding or home we do integrates into it’s surroundings. Accessed via a battle-axe driveway leading to the existing home, it was important for this modern little cottage to maintain a sense of separation and individuality yet still remain secondary in scale to the main house. Using the existing slope and working around the existing vegetation, the aptly named Garden Retreat is a single storey home with under house storage accessed via a large sub-floor door.. Careful room placement maintains privacy and maximises the sun into the living areas. This design features a corner verandah, separate entry, 2 bedrooms, open kitchen / living / meals with a cathedral ceiling in the living, walk in pantry, bathroom, separate toilet and laundry. Two entertaining decks ensures a sunny outlook at different times of the day and an optional pergola provides shade during those hotter months of the year. At just under 100m², this design would suit anyone after a modern granny flat, dependant persons unit, garden retreat, bed & breakfast and so on…
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