Thursday, 8 September 2016

Why everyone you know thinks these ten features are essential in their home

Over the course of a year, we speak to a lot of people about the elements they want to incorporate into their homes.  Here is the wrap up, of the ten most desirable features  as requested by Detail 9 clients ……

1.  A Pantry
Sounds kind of like a pretty small and reasonable requirement, but believe it or not, around 50% of homes that we see pre-renovation don’t actually have a decent cupboard to store their food in. Many people use laundry cupboards, and others squirrel food away in tiny cupboards all over their kitchen. It seems that before about 1970, people didn’t need much space to store their food in their kitchens, because the majority of homes built before this time really don’t include pantries in their kitchens (or places to store cookware or appliances, but we’ll get to that one later).
Corner pantry in "Modern refurb, Nunawading" project 

2.  Butler's Pantry
So, following on from the previous feature, the majority of people are looking, not just for somewhere to store their food, but also, if space permits, somewhere to keep their bulky kitchen equipment, and all the items that need to sit out on the bench, but make the kitchen look cluttered.  A butler’s pantry is the perfect addition to any kitchen, doing all of the hard work by being the hub of the day to day preparation as well as offering loads of potential for additional storage.  Many people select a slightly more cost effective finish in their butler’s pantry, like laminate, which means that the finishes in the main part of the kitchen can really be featured, without getting covered over in the everyday clutter.
Butler's pantry in "Family of five, Mt Waverley" project

Butler's pantry in "Family Entertainer, Surrey Hills" project

3.  Ensuite
Sick of fighting for space in front of the mirror in the morning with your kids ?  Hooray !  You’re not alone !  We estimate that around 98% of our clients request that we include an ensuite into their renovation.  Not only does it give you that peaceful haven that you need in the craziness of the morning get to work rush, but it adds value to your home.  Sounds like a Win / Win to me !
Ensuite from "Family Living, Forest Hill" project
Ensuite from "Family Entertainer, Surrey Hills" project

4.  Powder room (a.k.a. visitor toilet)
Many people these days are moving away from including a toilet in the main bathroom of the house, and are favouring the idea of a “powder room” – which is a separate toilet located in the home, ideal for use by visitors.  A powder room is particularly useful in a two-storey house where bathrooms are located upstairs, meaning that no-ne has to hike upstairs each time nature calls.  Another positive is that if you know your family have left the bath room a mess, visitors have no need to venture into the land of wet towels and dirty jocks – one less room in the home to keep pristine ! Now, that just bought 20 more mins of free time for you per day ….
Powder room from "Family Entertainer, Surrey Hills" project
5.  Open plan living spaces (kitchen, meals, living)
This one is a bit of a no-brainer – 100% of our clients want to bust out of the separate kitchen, lounge, dining room scenario so common in older houses and embrace a more vibrant, family oriented lifestyle lending itself to outdoor entertaining and bringing the outdoors in.  Usually, though, people do like to retain a smaller, quiet lounge space as well, meaning that people really can have the best of both worlds.  This one really speaks for itself, so rather than waffle on about how great open plan living is, use your time more wisely by checking out the photos below and see what everyone is getting !

Open plan living from our "Luxury Finishes, Camberwell" project

Open plan living from our "Family living, Forest Hill" project

Open plan living from our "Modular addition, Highett" project

Open plan living from our "Clinker charm, Malvern East" project

6.  Outdoor entertaining
Maybe it’s because our climate is great for around nine months of the year (excepting the flies !), but most of our clients are looking to incorporate space in their home or backyard which makes outdoor dining relaxing and easy.  Step one is to locate the space in an area of the garden which is pleasant to sit in, and then the rest is about providing that space with all the comfort and amenity that we want in our indoor entertaining spaces.  Space enough for a large table and chairs, shade, sun, a great outlook, benches to put food down, a BBQ … the list is endless.

7.  Feature pendant lighting
     OK, this one is less of a space, and more of a feature that EVERYBODY asks for.  Maybe it’s a trend that we’ll all groan about in years to come, but everyone we work with (and this includes everyone who works at Detail 9 too !) wants pendant lighting over their kitchen island bench, and or over their dining table.  Sometimes we even get to add it to a staircase or to a front entry !  Feature pendants can add a touch of class to a pretty boring space, not to mention additional light to work areas.  Personally, I’m loving what Bunnings has in their in store range right now ( , believe it or not, but here some of the pendants we’ve used on recent projects – knock yourself out !

      8.  A Drying cupboard
Drying cupboards are not necessarily a new invention,  but are a feature which is becoming increasingly more popular.  In a nutshell, a drying cupboard is a full height cupboard, generally located in the laundry.  Not unlike a wardrobe, with hanging rails, generally at two heights, a drying cupboard also features a heating vent – often connected into your existing heating system).  It means that as you take items like shirts, and pants out of the washing machine, you can hand them directly in the drying cupboard, and like a clothes dryer, the clothing will come out an hour or so later, not only dry, but 98% crease free !  A drying cupboard can be a huge time saver, and also solve the issue of clothing getting creased in the washing basket between washing and drying.

9.  Bench space
Following on from the #1 feature on our list, which really highlighted the lack of space afforded to the kitchens of the past, “more bench space” is another highly sought after commodity for our clients.
It can be too easy to design a kitchen that doesn’t provide for big slabs of nothingness in the bench department, but it’s super important that ample bench space is provided in the kitchen for food preparation, homework to be done and wine to be drunk !
Of course, having a butler’s pantry can lend a hand in this department too – but you already knew that after reading  #2 Butler’s Pantry !

10.  More storage !!

Overwhelmingly, everyone on the planet wants more storage in their home.  Be it, attic storage, a hall cupboard for coats and shoes, a linen cupboard, somewhere to store kids school bags, storage for paperwork, a bike store, workshop or just a huge wall of bookcase – the #1 requested feature in a house is storage.  Here are some of the great storage ideas we’ve been able to slip into some of the homes we’ve renovated over the years.  Enjoy !

Check out our website at for these and hundreds of other design ideas.