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April 15 2016
The owners enlisted The Junction-based firm Backspace Living to build the designer dwelling on their William Street, Jesmond, property.
It coincided with the renovation of a two-bedroom cottage at the front of the block, to add an extra bedroom to the house.
Building the granny flat created the potential for additional rental income for the owners, a semi-retired couple from Lake Macquarie.
“We wanted to maximise the return on investment on our property,” the owners say. “We are using this to fund our retirement and we were able to get an additional [to rental income on the main house] $360 per week rent on an investment of $125,000.”
They chose a granny flat, over a larger extension to the main house, because it offered a much better return on their outlay.
“It provides us with a second income on the property,” the owners say.
The couple say finding the right people to build their granny flat was the biggest challenge.
“There are a number of different options out on the market, however Backspace Living took care of everything and met our brief.”
And their feelings about the finished result?
“We love the quality of materials used,” the owners say.
“The granny flat does not feel mass produced or generic.
“It really stands out.”
The couple especially love the custom hardwood timber screening that frames the entertaining area.
“It’s a real feature of the granny flat,” they say.
Backspace Living directors Tim Sullivan and Trent Robinson say their work is about delivering quality architectural design in granny flats.
“Trent and I identified the need for good quality granny flats in an industry that is growing at a rapid rate,” Sullivan says.
“We engaged award-winning local architect Jason Elsley of Derive Architecture & Design to help achieve a stylish granny flat at an affordable price.”
Sullivan says the brief for the Jesmond build was to deliver a stylish granny flat that would maximise the owners’ rental income and deliver a positively geared property.
The new freestanding dwelling uses quality brand-name suppliers and appliances, ranging from Caroma tap ware and Westinghouse appliances to Caesarstone benchtops and James Hardie cladding.
Other highlights include timber flooring and high-raked ceilings (3.2 metres).
Sullivan says he and Robinson are particularly proud of the layout.
“Granny flats are limited [by state government guidelines] to 60 square metres of internal space. However, due to the high-raked ceilings throughout and spacious design, the area feels a lot bigger and brighter,” Sullivan says.
Robinson also utilised his creative talents in the finer details of the fit out. A custom-made vanity unit was made by Robinson on site. It gives the bathroom a modern and unique feel, adding to the sense of custom luxury in the granny flat.
Robinson says while the product is luxurious, the building process was simple and straightforward.
“Backspace Living was able to offer the client one of our many standard designs, so there was no need for the client to engage an engineer, town planner or building certifier,” he says.
“This cut down the time it took to get from concept stage to construction.
“We took care of all design aspects and even offered pre-determined colour pallets to take any stress away from the client.”
The one-stop nature of the contract also meant the project ran smoothly.
“Backspace Living worked with council so there was no need to concern the client with the day to day operation of the build,” Robinson says.
“Regular site meetings were held with the client to answer any questions.”
Sullivan and Robinson aim to make things as simple as possible for clients through the building process, to get to a finished result that looks anything but.
“Our architecturally-designed granny flats are not limited to the old fashioned notion of a ‘little old ladies house out the back’,” Sullivan says.
“Instead, they offer forward-thinking Australian families a modern lifestyle solution with no sacrifice on style or function.”
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