So many designs, so little time. There are lots of us who can’t wait to move into granny flats in Victoria, or build their own granny flats in Melbourne, but the zillions of design options out there can make it tough to get started.
“How big should it be?”
“What can I do with that much space?”
“What colours should I use?”
In answering these and the myriad other questions you have, there are just as many things that have to be considered. For starters, there’s who’ll be using the granny flat, what they’ll be using it for, how much space you have, and how much you plan on spending. And depending on the kind of granny flat you choose, there will be granny flat laws you’ll have to comply with.
To help make the decision process little easier for you, here are five designer granny flat options along with the advantages of choosing each. We’ll also tell you how you can make each design your own, and make the most of your new granny flat or garden studio.
Having just about 10 square metres doesn’t mean you can’t have a great granny flat; in fact, that’s all you need for a Calatrava Garden Studio. Its size makes it a quick and easy addition to your home or garden, and saves you the trouble of having to get a construction permit or approval to have it done.
While you’ll have your choice of cladding options on the outside and timber-look floorboards or carpeting indoors, you can add further personal touches to your Calatrava through a few carefully chosen decorative yet functional pieces. Wall-bound shelves or storage racks, hanging lights and a mirror or two can help you max out every square inch of space.
And while a lot of designers would tell you that dark colours only make small spaces look smaller, there are a lot of others who would tell you the opposite. When used carefully, bright, solid hues can liven up small living spaces without making them look cramped or cluttered, giving the room what they call a “jewel-box” feel.
Now, if you’ve got a little more space to spare—say, up to 25 square metres or so, you might want to go for a Pei Garden Studio. This design gives you a little more room, which means you have a few more options for using it such a family room, game room or “man cave”.
After you choose the external cladding, your choice of design elements for the interior is what really personalises your Pei. If you’re willing to take a designer leap of faith, try painting the two longer walls a darker colour, and leave the other walls and ceiling in a “safe”, neutral tone.
Keep your finishes matte, and keep the larger pieces of furniture in the same colour as the longer walls so that they blend into them. Greys, deep blues, “greige”, and pale aquas are some of the colours you may want to try out. If you’re more adventurous, muted orange tints might provide a nice touch or accent.
For larger spaces of up to 46 square metres, the Foster Garden Studio may be the design for you. You’ll be able to fit one or two residents in it, comfortably, at a time in the Foster’s multiple rooms which consist of a bed, bath, and kitchen. The kitchen even comes complete with a bench top, single-bowl sink and tap.
You’ll have your choice of a carpeted or timber-look floor, and the plaster-clad interior walls will be painted. But no matter what colour you choose, it is possible to make this granny flat look bigger by using just one colour scheme throughout all of the rooms. Even if that colour is white, using tints or shades of that one colour can add variety without deviating from the scheme.
If monochromatic just isn’t your style, try a two-colour palette that puts darker, more solid colours below eye-level, and lighter, more muted colours above. Or, if you prefer mostly neutrals for your interiors, painting your door frames, skirting and architraves in a bright colour can make your studio’s overall look “pop”.
Taking the Foster granny flat to the next level, the Zaha Garden Studio is ideal for spaces of up to 67 square metres. While this designer studio also includes a bedroom-cum-living room, bathroom and kitchen, Zaha gives you more design choices for the exterior which include render or cladding options and wall-mounted LED lights.
With more room at your disposal, you might want to try using patterns in your interiors, although care must still be taken to make sure they don’t end up making the space look too busy, and therefore smaller. Choose patterns with a lot of “breathing space” instead of those that are too small or cluttered.
Stripes are a classic design technique to help make spaces look longer or taller, and could be used throughout the flat. In so doing, you give every room in the studio a bigger, unified look, instead of dividing it up into separate, smaller-looking rooms. You can also try choosing the same overall look for all your furniture, which can be modular or “pull-out” to help save space.
Big, Beautiful Bawa
As big as most granny flats can get, the Bawa Garden Studio can cover up to 88 square metres, giving you enough room for two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, dining room, and a kitchen-cum-study. Not only would people be able to live in this granny flat full time, but they would be able to have friends over for a flat-warming party, as well.
Choosing a Bawa means getting to choose the cladding you want for the exterior, and choosing between carpeting or laminated floating floorboards. Now that you have the maximum amount of space to “play with”, try expressing yourself with multiple, well-chosen, and carefully arranged wall-bound art pieces.
If you’re not the artsy type, you might want to explore contrasting colour schemes by placing light-coloured furniture pieces, let’s say, against dark-coloured walls. Used in small quantities, black can also be a powerful design element that brings an entire space together. One way to use it would be to paint the ceiling black while leaving the walls and all else in the room, white.
When you consider that a garden studio of any size or design is a potential long-term investment, choosing a designer granny flat in Victoria or Melbourne can be a real challenge. The good news is it’s a challenge you don’t have to face alone. We’ve helped many happy garden studio-owners build the studio of their dreams, and we can help you, too.