Modernising your home

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

Stuck in a house that you don’t like?

Wanting to modernise dated finishes but not sure where to start?

Upgrading an existing home is a huge undertaking. It takes Time, Money and most importantly a Design Vision. This is where the decision to hire an architect is the difference between achieving your dream home over mismatched finishes that don’t quite hit the mark.

Architects are trained problem solvers that are capable of reviewing your existing home and providing a Holistic Design Approach. That saying, “the devil is in the detail” does not ring more true when it comes to home renovations. The simplest additions/alterations can have massive impacts and a good designer will capitalise on those details by enhancing them and creating a consistent theme that is carried throughout the house.

"Design adds value faster than it adds costs" Joel Spolsky

Our 5 Tips to Modernise your home:

1. Update your floor plans:

Open and flexible space is a great way to maximise your floor area, particularly when you have limited space. Modern floor plans are often simple but spacious layouts. To create this effect you would need to consult with your architect to determine if you can achieve your dream home by knocking down a few internal walls to open up your space, or if you will need to extend your current footprint.

Whichever option you choose a council submission to your local authority will need to be approved prior to construction commencing. Your architect would be able to advise and facilitate the council application process as well as assist you in setting up realistic construction timeframes and budgets.


2. Maximising Natural Light:

Small, punched window openings are dated. Modern homes generally incorporate bigger windows with framed views. Over and above this there is a great emphasis placed on blurring the lines between indoors and outdoors. This is usually achieved by adding full height curtain walls to make inside spaces feel like they are blending into the outside or, by adding folding stacking doors to create big openings in the walls when they are stacked.

An extra benefit in updating your windows and doors is that you can add natural light by creating bigger windows, create more ventilation by adding more openable sections, and reseal your window and door openings for an air tight home that will result in energy savings by keeping the internal temperatures more consistent.


3. Renovating your Roof:

The simplest techniques to modernise you roof is to straighten all the roof edges (barge boards, gutters, downpipes). A few other methods include:

- If you have a corrugated roof you can explore bringing down the same material to partially clad your walls,

- For traditional gable roofs you can add long clerestory windows and/or cladding,

- At the front door a detached covering can be created to add height and drama,

- A covered walkway or pergola can be considered to add depth to your materials palette as well as create a few height differences in the roof.


4. Interior Design:

Choosing a Colour Palette: Modern homes generally comprise of a neutral colour palette. A central neutral colour can be applied to the majority of fixed elements such as the walls. Thereafter a secondary colour can be used as an accent to highlight less prominent fixtures such as doors or mouldings. Lastly a bold colour can be used every once in a while to highlight features such as a fireplace or entrance wall.

Creating Feature walls: This is creating a dramatic focal point in a room. Ideally this should be a wall that your eyes are drawn to as soon as you enter it. Feature walls can be created by using bold paint colours or by layering. Layering could be adding cladding, mirrors, artwork, lighting, or strategically placed furniture.

Lighting Techniques: Lighting can set the mood of a room as well as create focal points. Long, low level vertical elements like kitchen islands could benefit from pendant lights. Similarly, pendant lights and chandeliers work well with high ceilings. Where rooms are small directional light can create the illusion of space. This can be achieved through wall lights or ceiling track lights.


5. Landscaping Techniques:

Modern gardens often have depth, layers and are low maintenance. Depth and Layers are attained by creating paths and experiences with different materials. For example, a simple brick path might be updated to use another material like timber planks. This interruption creates a new experience. Low maintenance can be created by using the following items:

Concrete Pavers: Big concrete pavers are popular because of their raw and sometimes unfinished look. They come in a variety of sizes and often look more interesting when different sized pavers are used together.

Free standing pots: Narrow long pots with slate finishes add charm to any garden. Bigger pots should be used as a focal point.

Fire Pits: Items like fire pits and pergolas are more readily available from stores. Incorporating objects like these increase the likely hood of creating “moments” in your garden which would make the space more memorable.


"Styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style" Massimo Vignelli

Upgrading your home will not only increase the value of your property, but more importantly it will allow you to create your dream home. Retaining an architect to assist you through this process will ensure that your home is legally compliant with the local authority, that it is energy-efficient (reducing your electrical bills), that drawings are produced that allow builders to understand and appropriately cost your vision, as well as being beautifully designed.


#ModernisingYourHome #Architecture #ArchitectInJohannesburg #UpgradingYourHome #HouseAndHome #LivingYourBestLife

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