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Insider Secrets: Architects/Designers

Oct 4, 2017 | Design and Decor, Featured, Features

What is trending in the property market, what should homebuyers look for, and what can homeowners do to grow the value of their investment? We asked 15 experts, from architects to estate agents, for their opinion

ARCHITECTS/DESIGNERS

ENRICO DAFFONCHIO
ARCHITECT AND FOUNDER OF DAFFONCHIO & ASSOCIATES ARCHITECTS

WHAT ARE HOMEOWNERS LOOKING FOR IN TERMS OF DESIGN?

Bright, open spaces with a good internal flow and sense of space, and a strong spatial and visual connection with the outdoors and the view. A balance between clean lines and slick elements, and warm natural materials.

HAVE YOU NOTICED AN INCREASE IN DEMAND FOR A PARTICULAR TYPE OF HOME OR SPECIFIC FACILITIES?

In houses, people are looking for a minimalist kitchen in the open-plan living area and an additional back-of-house kitchen. The use of natural materials such as wood, concrete and stone has come to the fore in a big way. A wood-burning fireplace inside and a fire-pit outside are popular for adding ambience to living spaces. Sustainable technology, too, has become sought-after: features such as solar geysers; hot-water underfloor heating; gas for cooking, water heating and fireplaces; and evaporative cooling.

DO HOMEOWNERS CONSIDER INVESTMENT VALUE WHEN THEY CHOOSE FEATURES AND FINISHES?

Yes, there is a definite awareness of planning to ensure that spaces are flexible in terms of their use, and the ability for future buyers to easily make changes or additions to the house. Finishes and fittings must be durable, too.

WHAT ARE KEY INVESTMENTS HOMEOWNERS SHOULD MAKE TO SECURE GROWTH IN VALUE?

The area in terms of its accessibility and desirability; the timelessness of the architectural style; and the choice of fittings and finishes, as well as their longevity. A sustainable architectural design will enable the building to respond optimally to climatic conditions, ensuring comfort and low running costs throughout the year, and minimising the carbon footprint – something that will prove hugely appealing to future buyers as being eco-conscious becomes even more critical.

DONALD NXUMALO
INTERIOR DESIGNER AND FOUNDER OF DNX INTERIOR DESIGN

WHAT ARE HOMEOWNERS LOOKING FOR IN TERMS OF DESIGN?

Homeowners want versatility in their spaces by way of open-plan spaces that can act with dual functionality. Entertainment areas are big focal points. And, in terms of the private spaces, people are looking for a sanctuary, so bedrooms, studies and libraries are becoming more comfortable and layered.

HAVE YOU NOTICED AN INCREASE IN DEMAND FOR A PARTICULAR TYPE OF HOME OR SPECIFIC FACILITIES?

In terms of flooring, engineered wooden floorboards are a big trend at the moment, as are wood plank tile imitations and natural stone finishes. Owners are increasingly looking for a finish that looks most like the material in its natural state. Energy-efficient features are becoming more popular, and as a result owners are looking at home automation as a way of regulating energy use. Homeowners have also become bolder with their choices in terms of colour, especially where rooms are painted different colours rather than the same throughout the house.

WHAT ARE KEY INVESTMENTS HOMEOWNERS SHOULD MAKE TO SECURE GROWTH IN VALUE?

Kitchen and bathroom designs have a big impact on the resale value of a house – these rooms need to be easy and efficient to use. Finishes should be durable and, if possible, timeless.

AIDAN HART
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNER AND DIRECTOR OF INHOUSE BRAND ARCHITECTS

WHAT ARE HOMEOWNERS LOOKING FOR IN TERMS OF DESIGN?

They want a design that will withstand the test of time. High-quality materials and a functional layout are elements most often requested by our clients. We also offer customisation by incorporating elements that are personal to the client, for example, a space for their art collection.

HAVE YOU NOTICED AN INCREASE IN DEMAND FOR A PARTICULAR TYPE OF HOME OR SPECIFIC FACILITIES?

A popular request is to redesign the spatial layout. Clients are increasingly desiring an open-plan kitchen, dining room and living area as opposed to closed-off and confined spaces. This not only creates the sense of a larger interior space but also establishes a social atmosphere. A key element within an open-plan layout is the kitchen area, complete with state-of-the-art appliances and a striking island. Homeowners are also increasingly asking for lighter and brighter interiors.

DO HOMEOWNERS CONSIDER INVESTMENT VALUE WHEN THEY CHOOSE FEATURES AND FINISHES?

Definitely. They tend to select high-quality and timeless materials such as timber and marble, which contribute to a higher resale value and prevents them from having to replace cheaper alternatives at a later stage. Materials and features that won’t date are crucial in cementing the future investment value.

WHAT ARE KEY INVESTMENTS HOMEOWNERS SHOULD MAKE TO SECURE GROWTH IN VALUE?

If a property is in a great location or has spectacular views, it is important for the homeowner to take advantage of this to secure growth in the value of their property. Design elements such as foldaway doors that bring the outside in and revamped outside spaces are the best ways to do this. Something else to consider is an open-plan layout and lots of natural light.

Photos: Sarah de Pina, Riaan West, supplied, Text: Julia Freemantle

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