What is a townhouse?
Wikipedia.com defines a townhouse as a type of terraced housing that often has a small footprint on multiple floors. Originally referring to the city residence of someone whose main residence was a country house, it typically has a strata title. This is where the common property (landscaped area, public corridors) is owned by a corporation of individual owners and individuals own the dwellings. Closer to home, the Australian Bureau of Statistics defines townhouses as a dwelling either attached in some structural way to one or more dwellings, or separated from neighbouring dwellings by less than half a metre.
Establishing your living requirements is the first step to choosing the correct design. Ask:
- Is there enough storage for your needs?
- Are the bathrooms where you want them?
- Is the heating and cooling sufficient?
- Does the dwelling’s orientation make the most of its outlook and conserve energy?
(Source: Neil Anderson, BURBANK HOMES)
Homes of the future
Flexibility and efficient design, greater environmental sustainability, less clutter and faster construction will be hallmarks of townhouses in the next decade. That’s the view of Wolfdene director of design Karina Sunk, who said the increased use of timber construction, in particular pre-fabricated building materials (including Weathertex cladding, cassette flooring systems, walls and timber frames) would speed up construction and reduce costs, meaning buyers would be in their homes sooner.
Sunk said many of the existing Saratoga Townhouses built by Wolfdene at Point Cook had achieved a 7.0 stars rating and above, but advances in technology would continue to improve the environmental performance of homes built in the future. In the short term, Sunk said a greater emphasis was being placed on more efficient design, with clever storage, quality fittings (such as wall-hung basins, black tapware and sinks, and 900mm kitchen appliances), flexible spaces (for use as a bedroom, office, kids play area or living room) and laundries being placed in the garage among the major changes. Inside are fewer walls and nooks and crannies, which combine to create a greater sense of space. The theme continues outside, where water tanks, air-conditioning units, hot water systems, gas and water meters are screened from view so the courtyards can be displayed in all their glory.
Wolfdene won its second UDIA award for its townhouse project – the 44-dwelling Saratoga Townhouses, which it designed, built, marketed and sold all in-house. The second stage includes 23 four-bedroom townhouses (up to 185sq m) and 32 three-bedroom townhouses (160sq m to 180sq m). The four-bedroom, two-bathroom ‘Nina’ over two levels had been extremely popular, due in part to its prime position next to the lifestyle precinct and overlooking parkland, and also for its pricing from $470,000.
“Contemporary townhouses are really opening up home ownership to a broader demographic, and providing choice for those who can’t afford a big family home or don’t want the big family home,” Sunk said. “Buyers can really imagine themselves downsizing or expanding into the flexible spaces and see that they don’t have to sacrifice anything. There’s a real price differential (from detached family houses), yet buyers are still fulfilling their wish list.”