Adding a multi-purpose studio to your new home
A multi-purpose studio is a great way to extend your living space, with minimal cost and sacrifice to your outside space.
Many of us are working from home these days – it makes sense to try and make it as easy on the family dynamic, and your own sanity, as possible. A backyard room gets you closer to nature, gets you away from the house and can function as a multiple-use space – an office, say, as well as a guest room or teen retreat.
Here are some things to think about before you break ground.
What is it that you want from your studio?
Backyard rooms come in many guises. Most are designed to adapt to a number of uses including that of home office. It can be a place to escape the chaos of working from home inside the house, as well as giving you a clear beginning and end to the working day.
That said, you can have many different uses for a multi-purpose studio, such as a craft room, a guest room, a space for relaxation – the list is endless. As a place to close the door on clutter, it can prove invaluable. Alternatively, you can invest in mobile and dual-purpose furniture should you wish to rework the studio from one use to another relatively easily.
Small space = big ideas
Even if it’s just used for storage, a backyard room is still superior to a shed for its insulation qualities and weather-proofing. It’s great for dry storage – books and computer equipment can be affected by dampness. A backyard room can also add a lot of charm to the garden, as they look better than traditional metal sheds and can also be customised to match your house.
Plan on complementary landscaping, so that it looks less jarring in your garden – a pathway leading to the studio and purpose-built garden beds around it will make the space even more appealing to escape to.
Location, location, location
With local councils and governments acknowledging the multipurpose, multifunctional and multi-generational uses of single properties these days, there are few impediments to installing small-sized extra accommodation out back. The beauty of a modular backyard room is that it can be easily placed into the backyard of any property, from a single-fronted terrace to a rambling suburban garden. Ideally it should be sited according to passive design principles, such as somewhere that is protected from the hot summer sun while taking advantage of its warmth during winter, has good cross-ventilation and so on.
Connecting the ‘room’ to your home
The placement of a backyard room within a garden depends on the function of the room itself, the aspect of the site and the architecture and indoor-outdoor flow of the home. This connection can be achieved in different ways. Modular or multi-purpose studios can be placed in close proximity or via an easy walk; or to suit their individual site in terms of light, views and what space they have available in their garden.
A lot of people choose to install a backyard or an outdoor room right at the bottom of the garden but just remember that if it’s positioned too near a boundary or fence, or is over a certain size, you may have to apply for planning permission. In NSW, for example, small backyard studios less than 20 square meters don’t require council approval.
There are a few additional requirements to consider such as height and distances from boundaries but don’t worry, you don’t have to know them all yourself. The New South Homes design team can help with any questions you may have.
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