ON-TREND: CUSTOM DESIGN IN THE HUNTER
The Hunter Valley draws in people from all over Australia and the world – and with this influx of people from different backgrounds and cultures the types of homes being built in the area are evolving from the classic country cottage to something more dynamic and architecturally modern. It’s definitely an exciting time to build a custom designed home in the Hunter Valley, which got us thinking – what are our favourite trends for the region’s unique property builds.
WHAT’S HOT IN HEATING AND COOLING
Swimming pools with custom alfresco entertaining zones
Many regional areas can get quite balmy during summer (nice way of saying incredibly hot). So in addition to your indoors being taken care of by a central cooling and heating system, which is a must-have for most new-home builders, a pool can completely change your outdoor lifestyle. Built-in pools offer a huge variety of landscaping and entertaining options and can be as integrated or separate to your entertaining areas as you wish – and a beautiful, well-designed pool area is always a huge summertime winner.
Fireplaces – a centrepiece of sophisticated heating
Australia has quite a dynamic climate and while swimming pools are on-trend for summertime fun, in winter the evening temperatures can drop dramatically – and that calls for quality heating. While central heating and insulation are very important for year round comfort a fireplace offers more than just heat. A fireplace is a style statement and can create a true focal point in your custom designed house. Plus, if you don’t like the idea firewood, there are many gas fireplace alternatives offering convenience, good design and energy efficiency – and of course they still provide the fireplace feel, complete with dancing flame.
FLOOR PLANS FOR LIVING AND LUXURY
Dedicated wine cellars (the Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region after all!)
A dedicated wine cellar has the unique ability to go just about anywhere, making it a versatile and highly attractive addition to custom designed homes. Depending on your wine needs, i.e. whether your wines need temperature controlled environments or can be left at room temperature, there are many creative storage solutions to suit. From clever nooks under staircases, a dedicated room entirely for wine, or simply a display area in your gourmet kitchen, you can really let your imagination go wild.
Continuing along the lines of clever storage, most modern properties feature well-appointed kitchens, but a butler’s pantry is that true icing on the kitchen cake. It makes entertaining and day-to-day living just that little bit easier and so much more stylish. You can easily hide everything away, keep messy appliances within reach, include a utility sink, and have a hidden spot to pop all the odds and ends you like to use throughout the day – all instead of crowding your designer bench space.
Gourmet kitchens (get creative with award-winning Hunter Valley produce)
Australia’s foodie revolution has not only increased the variety of fresh foods available at your local grocer and farmer’s market, it has led to the evolution of the home kitchen. From simply being functional and utilitarian space, today a modern kitchen boasts ample bench space, gorgeous finishes and a selection of clever appliances. Everything is expertly designed so home cooks can create gourmet meals while effortlessly entertaining their guests. Kitchens definitely allow custom home designers to have a little fun with delicious rewards.
Seamless inside / outside entertainment zones
Open plan living spaces that incorporate living rooms with dining and kitchens are what many owner builders and developers are demanding of their floor plans. But this trend is evolving to take an even more holistic approach to creating harmonious, liveable spaces. This means homeowners get to enjoy not only a great internal space for entertaining and an equally great outdoor alfresco entertaining area, but a seamless melding of the two spaces to create a large, very versatile and highly liveable property that will be the envy of the neighbourhood.
Ensuite with deep bath or double shower
Hunter Valley properties are generally generous in size, especially for the price, allowing for the opportunity to create the ultimate room for relaxation – a private bathroom with a deep, luxurious bath or double shower. Also, depending on your site specifics and surrounding views, a clever builder can integrate outdoor views and natural elements into the ambience of the room, as well as offering a wide range of fittings and fixtures that add another level of glamour and sophistication.
Mudrooms – Australian style
Mudrooms are the norm in countries with wet or snow laden winters, however they are becoming more and more popular in Australia for good reason. A mudroom is a practical space that is hardwearing and easy to clean, joins the outside with the inside, and cleverly stores day-to-day items such as school bags, shoes, hats, beach and pool gear, and umbrellas. A mudroom can be as small as a thoughtfully designed cupboard, all the way to a hardwood or tiled room with beautifully designed hangers and cabinets – and many rural Australian homes are opting to build one.
INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL TEXTURES AND MATERIALS
External cladding and textural features
A key feature about any custom design home is that it is unique, inside and out. The plans, interiors and property aspect are all specific to the project, as well as and the needs and budget of the homeowner – and this without doubt extends to the home exteriors too. External elements such as bespoke ironwork, stone cladding and timber feature panels embrace contrasting textures and colours to create a statement about the property’s style and design credentials. This is particularly popular with medium density developments and standalone homes alike.
Natural textures and organic materials
New homes are appealing because they are well, new. The wiring and plumbing are spot-on and the floor plan is exceptional. But new doesn’t mean shiny and lacking in soul. Rough stone, earthy tiles, natural timber grains, exposed brick and marble are just some of the finishes many Australians are choosing in their custom home designs. Natural materials effortlessly create warmth and add softness to a space. Partnered this with textured rugs, throws, pillows, and of course furniture and you have a new home that feels like it has been your private retreat forever.