IN THE PRESS: Spotlight on the downsizer

Building a downsizer home does not necessarily mean you have to compromise on space. In fact, if done right, homeowners can capitalise more readily on the finer things in life, from comfort to convenience.

Brian Burke Homes Managing Director Michael Burke said when it came to what defined a downsizer home, lifestyle was king.

“Downsizers are often people who are getting older, so it makes sense to have everything you need – your cooking, your cleaning and your living – in the immediate zones,” he said.

“The zones you utilise every day should be together in the design.

“Be it two storey or single storey, generally you would have the master bedroom, living, dining, kitchen and alfresco all close together, then there are separate minor bedrooms, bathrooms and laundries.”

Mr Burke said preparation for the future was a key consideration for many downsizers, noting it was wise to avoid steps in the home and having to travel too far.

“In case you are in a wheelchair one day, you need wider passages, you need wider doorways, you need space next to toilets and you need big shower recesses without shower doors,” he said.

“For showers you could have a little small, tiled wall, or hob, as your protection from the water splashing out onto the bathroom floor instead of having a shower screen.

“For two-storey homes, we would also normally put a lift in.”

As far as catering to visitors, Mr Burke said good zoning allowed for extra amenities when needed, without feeling like an empty nest when not in use.

“If your grandkids or visitors come in, they’ll open up that other part of the house,” he said. “But when you are not hosting loved ones, you can section off that other part of the house and not have to worry about cleaning or looking after it.

“You just look after your own immediate area where you live, almost like a penthouse apartment.”

Flexibility in these extra areas can also aid ageing in place.

“You can set up one of those grandkid’s rooms to one day become a carer’s room,” Mr Burke said.

“The carer would have access in and out of the house without having to go through the living area, and live a bit more autonomously.”