The 10 things you need to consider when building a granny flat

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Building your own granny flat can lead to many great benefits. Other than the obvious positives like extra room and storage, it can also be a neat little sanctuary away from home but still within your home. A tidy little escape from where you can work on personal projects, read books or enjoy your own company. Like many people do, they can even be rented out to tenants offering a bit of extra cash flow to help with the monetary side of things. Of course this heavily depends on whether your backyard warrants the space. If you happen to be fortunate enough to boast a yard that sports adequate dimensions to build a granny flat, then here are 10 things to keep in mind when commencing and throughout construction.

1. A granny flat is not Rome

Despite grandiose architectural ambitions, the project of a granny flat should be minor in nature. They’re small, compact detached housing units, they’re not Roman villas. The planning process needs to be smaller in look and feel. Ideally, there should be a focus on optimising limited space. A granny flat should be strike a balance of breathability and neatly packed to resemble a somewhat miniature version of a house. However, It importantly needs to include the essentials of everyday living to be considered a granny flat, and to further establish it with rental potential as well as pass as a self sustaining living option. No matter how many great ideas you may have, to successfully execute the erection of a granny flat, keep it simple, keep it petite.

2. Allow for comfort

When building a granny flat, allowing for comfort is imperative. It has to feel loungy, like a place definitively designed for the softness and gentleness we would crave in the latter stages of our lives. In the design and build process, maintain a theme of of open space living and try not to cram too much in other than the essentials of a kitchen and bathroom, as well as adequate enough space for a bedroom. Try to implement rectangular dimensions as opposed to intricate, sharp rooms. Having too many corners or protrusive walls can make it hard to live and move around in. Comfort is key.

3. Include clever storage space

One of the many great advantages granny flats boast is there capacity to be used as storage space for the day to day living of the main household. When designing a granny flat, try to incorporate storage space in the ceiling or under the floor. That way you’re not going to hinder the livability or overall space of the detached house, while still providing a great storage alternative for your excess items and belongings. Catering to this notion when building a granny flat means more room and less clutter in your main house.

4. Privacy

It’s a very popular feature in homes and even contemporary granny flats; glass walls and windows. While these element provide many benefits and can be aesthetically pleasing, there are a few things to consider when contemplating installing them in the makeup of your granny flat. If you’re thinking, or one day might want to, of renting out your detached property, more often than not your prospective tenants will want their own privacy, and having windows as a large portion of walls might be a deterring factor, even with curtains. Of course, for lighting and quality of living, there needs to be windows, but you might want to err on the side of minimalism when it comes the transparency of your granny construction.       

5. Take a minimalistic approach

Granny flats are inherently small. We know this. The key then becomes integrating an approach that helps highlight and enhance the restricted space. Through employing a few notions of minimalism, you can ensure the space within your granny flat appears bigger than it really is. This creates a greater living environment and improves the mood and atmosphere of the space as well. It also helps increase the chance of attracting renters or meaning any time spent living in their yourself is no dampener for when comparing to the space of your usual habitat.

6. Basic bathroom

An obvious necessity, but don’t overdo it. A granny flat definitely needs a bathroom, but they take up space, something somewhat limited and something you need to otherwise optimise. When designing your granny flat, opt for a small and basic bathroom, save the glitz and  glamour of amenities for the main house. Adhering to this notion creates more living room and won’t avert renters who are already looking for the bare minimum when considering a detached living scenario. Avoid including unnecessary features like a bath or a big wash basin. Its best to have a basic setup, something commonly found in studio apartments or motor inns.

7. A kitchen for cooking

A lot of granny flats don’t include the most basic of kitchens. There’s no bigger turnoff for prospective renters than not having a stove as apart of the kitchen – one of the basic instruments needed to support sustainable everyday living. Even if you’re not looking to rent yours out, but more as a sustainable second home option if you’re looking to renovate your main house or in the event of a natural disaster, a fully equipped kitchen will prove its worth down the track. While a granny flat isn’t a house, it still requires all the basics of household living to be effective and useful.

8. Consider a skylight

Great for really any living space, skylights offer great lighting and atmosphere for home spaces. A great and subtle element to enhance your granny flat, a skylight can be just what your design needs to subtly boost the living health. Easy to install and quite affordable, skylights can also help restrict the numbers accrued on electricity bills throughout occupancy. They offer many great psychological and health benefits of which attract renters or make it easy to transition if you need to inhabit the space yourself. Not an integral component of a granny flat design nor a traditional one, but one that certainly boosts their appeal and liveability.

9. Think renewable energy

Want sustainability? Then think no further than putting a few solar panels on top of your granny flat to soak in the sun and power your new semi-home. Even if your main households power is generated by traditional forms, there’s no reason and certainly no harm in installing solar power. There are many benefits and rebates for going green heading into the future. Catering to some of the long term costs, renewable energy is a viable and sustainable method to help balance the books as well. What’s even more rewarding is knowing your granny flat creation is a living option that’s helping the environment.

10. Consider the garden

What can make a home look great? A lot of the time it’s not just the what the house looks like: it’s a combination of both the house itself and the exterior landscape and garden. When it comes to building a granny flat, if you want to create something flush and with a visual appeal, then consider the immediate exterior space. Respecting the surroundings throughout building your granny flat can help greatly compliment the end result. Something as simple as gutter to put plants in, trenches to grow hedges and trees near the foundations or even putting up a lattice on one of the outside walls can help redefine and amplify the overall look and feel. Combining interior and exterior elements is a sure way to help put your innovative signature on a granny flat.

These are just a number of things to consider and that can help create your very own unique, innovative and sustainable granny flat. There are always new developments and trends that can be employed to household living, even in smaller living contexts. The important thing to remember is that a granny flat is traditionally designed for low maintenance and comfortable living – pair this with many components of household design, and the opportunities to create something special are vast.

Have you ever lived in a granny flat? Would you?

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