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The Importance Of Future-Proofing Your Home Before You Build

By Laura Anderson

If you’re ready to build your dream home, you’re no doubt already making design decisions about tapware and benchtops while debating the merits of floorboards versus carpet.

And while they’re important considerations, it’s even more crucial to think about future-proofing your home.

The term might sound slightly sci-fi, but future-proofing doesn’t require artificial intelligence or a crystal ball. The term refers to projecting how a home’s design can meet the changing needs of its inhabitants over the course of 10 or 20 years – or even longer.

It’s a huge trend due to the prohibitive costs involved with moving house and the desire of many to age in place instead of being forced to move by a design that no longer meets their needs.

Not only will adopting these future-proofing tactics make your home far more adaptable to changing life circumstances – it can increase the resale value.

Embrace the sun

Australia already has the highest uptake of solar globally: about 30 per cent of our homes are equipped with rooftop solar panels. Clean energy reduces a home’s carbon footprint and brings down bills, so there’s plenty to love.

“There’s also nothing like embracing good design from the outset and making sure you position the house on your block of land correctly,” says McDonald Jones Homes sales manager Nathan Klein.

“Making the most of natural light is really important, plus it also gets the most out of your solar panels.”

Solar panel options are now taken up by about 80 per cent of McDonald Jones‘ clients. The inevitable adoption of electric cars has also seen the home builder incorporate EV chargers into their designs.

“It’s about thinking smartly about where we are going with technology. Even if you don’t have an electric car now, you will one day,” says Klein.

“It’s another way in which we’re thinking about the future.”

Make it automatic

Technology has become an inescapable part of our lives, which means homes are getting smarter. It’s cheaper and more efficient to incorporate technology when building rather than retrofitting later.

“It’s all about using technology to simplify our homes and lives,” says John Frost, director of The Home Automation Co.

“Once upon a time we washed clothes by hand but now everyone uses a washing machine. It’s the same mindset with other forms of technology that might sound more futuristic now but will be everyday in the near future.”

Automated lights, curtains and garage doors, garden irrigation systems and pool cleaners are among the popular choices, with everything controlled from one single point, such as a mobile phone or iPad.

Frost has one caveat: “Go with technologies and companies that are tried and tested.”

Adapting design

The rise of working from home means people are now looking for a home office rather than just a study nook.

McDonald Jones Homes has options for two or even three home office spaces within each design, where modular units are a cinch to slot into their floor plans to suit the way you live.

“It’s about adaptability,” says Klein. “It’s not just about the home office either. A children’s activity room can be turned into a yoga room later on; a home theatre can be a second lounge room. It’s clever to put in multifunctional spaces that can shift their purpose over time.”

Another quirky addition to their suite of offerings: a pet laundry. This bespoke addition to the laundry allows people to wash their beloved pooches in comfort and style.

Go with the flow

You don’t need to be Jamie Durie to be aware of the rise of the ‘outdoor room’.

The seamless integration of indoors and outdoors means cleverly designed courtyards and al fresco areas can be used year-round.

Functionality is key here. Think about building an outdoor kitchen with a plumbed-in barbecue, fridge and sink, allowing you to cook and serve a full meal in the open air.

For comfort, prioritise things like retractable overhead covers, outdoor heaters, mounted fans and the all-important fire pit.


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