Frequently Asked Questions

Building a house is a big commitment and you may have a number of questions that need to be answered before making the decision. The team at Wilson+Hart has been in the building industry for over 30 years and we hope to share our knowledge and experiences, so you can make the best possible decision with complete peace of mind.

Property Investment

What factors need to be considered before building for property investment?

There are many factors that lead to greater investment potential. However, the key to investing in this market is understanding what to look for in a location and what can be done on different blocks.

A high potential location will be in close proximity to established (or planned) amenities such as good transport links, local shops, parks, schools and even hospitals and universities. These are what buyers look for and will drive up demand for your project.

Next, you should consider the size, zoning and council planning requirements of the land in each location you’re considering. For instance, smaller, inner suburban lots are likely to have dual zoning that allows greater development density, such as two storey.  To ensure your property investment is successful, it’s critical to work with a builder who knows the local market.

Some of the things you might like to consider:

  • Buying in a cheaper suburb that has capacity for growth
  • Buying in a more expensive area but maximising your budget to make a home really fit into the area and maximise its value
  • Buying a block that has future development potential.

Everyone has different views on what is important to them and their circumstances – Wilson+Hart can talk to you about different locations and their benefits.

What do I need to consider when building for property investment?

When building two storey investment homes, it is important that the designs are efficient and maximise the return for the block. Too much upstairs space and they will be expensive, too little and the home will be impractical – it’s all about balance.

Wilson+Hart can discuss design possibilities with you to ensure you maximise both space and buyer appeal.

When should I involve Wilson+Hart in the property investment process?

If you’re unsure about the costs involved with building on a block you’re interested in, it’s a good idea to talk to us before buying. We’ll happily meet with you on site to walk over the block and discuss any issues you are concerned about. If you’re considering demolishing an established house, we can talk you through the process and issues that regularly arise with this type of development to better understand if it’s worth your while.

Things we can look our for:

  • Are there any large trees on the block?
  • Are there existing swimming pools or septic tanks that need to be removed or worked around?
  • Is the block level, or how much will it cost to level the block to build your development?

All of these items are important considerations. If you’re unfamiliar with building for property development in Perth, it’s well worth having the discussion with a builder that provides genuine one-on-one service.

Two Storey Homes

Why do people choose Wilson+Hart to build their Two Storey Homes?

Two-storey building is a unique style that requires an understanding of design beyond your typical project home builder.

Wilson+Hart offer clients maximum flexibility to make changes, which gives you the ability to express yourself and not feel you have to settle for anything.

If you are struggling for design ideas, we have over forty standard two storey home designs to choose from as a starting point, or you can take advantage of our individual design service and let us create a custom home design just for you.

We have a vast range of designs to suit any block shape

For 10m wide blocks, our Centro design offers an efficient, spacious floorplan with a rear-loading garage. For 12m blocks, our Hillarys and Sorrento designs start at under $300,000. For larger blocks, our popular and classic designs like the Chianti and Diva will fit on 15m lots. These are fantastic family homes with generous secondary bedrooms that offer the benefit of all rooms being capable of taking queen size beds, which we find is a key need for families with older teenagers still living at home.

The range extends all the way through to the Isla Vista, a grand 450m2 home with a luxury master suite that feels like you are living in a 5-star hotel. The home is designed to have separate entertainment areas (ideal for families with older children) and has also been adapted into six distinct models to meet a range of needs. For example, while the standard Isla Vista design has the master bedroom located downstairs, we also offer an alternate design with an upstairs master suite. The home also has a triple garage option to fit on 18m blocks.

We’ve found buyers typically have strong ideas about what they want. Our design process is the key to downloading all those ideas and images you have about the home you can see yourself living in, and translating that into a design that works in real life.

As a quality Western Australian home builder, the standard inclusions in our homes are:

  • China basins & WC suites
  • Semi frameless shower screens
  • Double power points throughout the home
  • Two way switching in the stairwell and hallways
  • Colorbond or clay tile roofs as standard.
What configurations do you offer in your Two Storey Homes?

We have a wide range of Two Storey Home Designs to choose from to fit a range of different sized block frontages. Each design can be individually customised for your needs, or we can start from a blank canvas and design your very own custom built home from the ground up.

Two Storey Home Narrow Block-10m frontage

If you are building on a narrow lot, two storey home designs typically need to be carefully designed or adapted to ensure that you maximise floor space and the style of your elevation.

Wilson+Hart have many years of experience dealing with the demands of narrow blocks. Our two storey narrow block designs include a range of two storey configurations, including the choice of three or four bedrooms, upstairs master suites, dual bathrooms, front or rear garage options – many also feature stylish inner courtyards to maximise light and create modern entertaining spaces.

Two Storey Home Narrow Block – 12m and 12.5m frontage

We offer a range of two storey home designs for this common narrow block size.

With a 12 to 12.5m frontage, two storey narrow block designs can incorporate an alfresco at the rear of the home and open living design; a popular choice with many families and a smart decision for property investors.

Customers are typically looking for a four-bedroom home, and with 12m narrow block designs, you have the option of positioning the main bedroom upstairs or downstairs. Many of our two storey home designs in this size bracket are suited to rear loading or rear lane lots with a double garage located at the rear.

Two Storey Home – 15m frontage

A block with a 15m frontage lends itself to the needs of a large family home and gives you plenty of space and flexibility to select the perfect two storey home design for you. The key difference with 15m two storey house designs is that the double garage is no longer the key feature of the street frontage, opening up an array of options with the design and elevation of your two storey home.

A 15m wide lot also gives you total flexibility on the location of the bedrooms upstairs or downstairs, so that you can choose the best configuration that meets the needs of your family and your life stage.

Two Storey Home Designs – over 15m

Lot frontages wider than 15m (usually 17m or 18m wide) give you maximum flexibility when choosing the design of a two storey house. The benefit of this width of block is that we can easily design your home to work in features that commonly feature on Perth buyer wish lists.

Our two storey designs for 15m+ lots offer impressive, large flowing spaces with open plan living areas and wide sliding or bifold doors that open onto alfresco areas, blurring the lines between inside and out. However with blocks of this size, it’s important to build style and flow into the design, not just size. This is what Wilson+Hart specialise in as two storey home builders – we understand the needs of the Western Australian lifestyle and property market.

Upside Down Designs

Wilson+Hart also offer a range of two storey designs that feature the living rooms and kitchens upstairs. This style of two storey house design is often preferred when your block has a steep slope and the potential to capitalise on and views over parks, river or ocean via an elevated design.

What elevations do you offer for Two Storey Homes? What if I don’t like the elevation featured on your house plan but I like the plan?

Some consider the elevation (the appearance of the home from the street) to be the most important feature of the home. Our a range of designs place a strong emphasis on striking elevations, from contemporary steep roof pitches with skillion features, bold glass and steel features, right through to more traditional shingle tile elevations.

However, the choice of elevation is a personal one and can be influenced by many things like a desire to match the surrounding neighbourhood or replicate an idea you saw on a recent holiday or in a magazine.

It all comes down to personal choice. That’s why at Wilson+Hart, all of our elevations are modifiable. We’ll assist with professional help to ensure your colour selections suit the elevation and local visual environment.

What types of things can I customise?

This is what sets Wilson+Hart apart. The short answer is, you can customise everything. We don’t lock you into specific suppliers, we don’t insist on certain designs.

Flexibility in our approach is what our clients enjoy about the Wilson+Hart experience. That and knowing that we stand by our word – if we say we’ll do it, we will.

How do I determine if your design will fit on my block? What if if doesn’t?

Each council will have different ways to apply their rules. Put simply, you need to allow for 1m off one boundary and 1.5m off the other boundary, but this depends on local subdivision and town planning schemes (for instance, a particular estate may have zero lot line on one boundary). Front setbacks will vary from estate to estate as well, so the depth of the block is important if you are considering installing a pool.

The best way to be sure is to find out the dimension of the block you own (or are considering purchasing), then ask our consultant or design team for advice.

What are the current trends in Two Storey Homes?

Trends in design come and go, but at Wilson+Hart we find that those that answer real lifestyle needs stand the test of time.

Here are some top trends:

Open living and open kitchen designs

Many open living homes have kitchens that are so stunning that you don’t want to stack the dirty dishes on the counter. This led to the scullery or the ‘wet kitchen’ located beside the kitchen that hides all the mess. The scullery is also a fantastic place for large crockery, dinner sets, kitchen appliances and food storage.

Resort style master bedrooms with luxurious walk-in robes

The trend continues to design master bedrooms as luxurious retreats from busy lives. Storage is also a high priority, with strong demand for large, stylish wardrobes featuring luxurious fitouts to keep clothes, shoes, suits and bags.

Striking elevations and exteriors

Street design is an invite to let your imagination wander. In modern days, big bold shapes, square blocks of render and steel are being softened with bold natural block timber and vertical landscaping. ‘Hamptons’ style is in vogue, characterised by lapped timber and large white windows reminiscent of the coastal streetscapes in this famous New Yorker holiday destination. Beyond this, a re-emergence of French ‘Parisian’ style with feature dado bands and grand entrances is making a big statement on the streets of Perth.

Mixed media exterior finishes with feature cladding

Stone cladding adds a touch of refined style, and has been used heavily in two storey homes over the past five years. From exclusive clay bricks to large ceramic tiles, this beautifully raw natural product can really lift the elevation of the home. Cladding is becoming less sought after in luxury homes in favour of full stone features hand-laid in random patterns.

Stunning staircases

Narrow lots are driving a move towards long, straight staircases, which allow for some stunning designs. Wilson+Hart can install an array of stair designs including straight steel single spines, ideal for natural timber tread. Another trend is straight stairs with solid balustrades under a void that give the stairs a striking presence in the home.

Why don’t you have a lot of different Two Storey Homes designs?

At Wilson+Hart, we’ve found in 30 years of building two storey homes that our clients are all individuals, each with their own unique style, taste and lifestyle needs.

That’s why we don’t simply cut and paste a design – all that leads to unusable, expensive wasted space. We often start with a blank page and embark on a bespoke approach with a hand drawn sketch. Later, this can be converted into a CAD version with 3D elevations, but the key is in the design interpretation, which in reality, is simply listening to you, the client.

Custom Homes

Is it more expensive to build a custom home?

It doesn’t have to be – all the materials and trades are based on the same rates as building off-the-plan. If you’re concerned about budget, it’s important to discuss this at design stage when Wilson+Hart can help identify areas to make cost savings through an intelligent, efficient design.

What are the advantages of a one-off design?

First and foremost, this is your rare chance to unleash something new to the world that is truly yours.

Wilson+Hart will consider the block layout and slopes, solar orientation, and how you want to live before even picking up a pen.

In some cases when modifying a standard design to fit a block, the plan can lose its integrity and flow. With a custom design, the home is designed with a theme in mind that flows through the entire design in one cohesive vision.

There are so many plans I can pick from; why do I need to have one designed?

If you have a standard size block that is rectangular and flat, it may be easier to find a design that fits your requirements. However, especially in older suburbs where you often need to consider demolishing an old house first, there are important design considerations that would best be served through a custom design.

These include:

  • Impact of planning codes
  • Front and side setbacks
  • Overlooking of neighbouring blocks
  • Solar orientation
  • Particular rooms in the design
  • Outlooks over parks, river or ocean
  • Extra parking for boats and cars
  • Designs for ageing in place or universal access
  • Having separate living areas for rentals, AirBnB, relatives or guests.
What do I need to consider before having a home designed?

The first thing is to ask how long you plan to stay in this home, as this will guide who to ‘future proof’ your investment as your lifestyle needs change. Will you need to plan for a loss of mobility? Maybe your master suite should be designed downstairs. Are grandchildren a possibility? Private guest suites might be a good idea.

Other questions to ask yourself:

  • What features do I really want?
  • What are my ‘nice-to-haves’?
  • Do I want a pool?
  • Are their views to capitalise on?
  • Will I want to subdivide the block at a later date?
A display home lets me walk through the design but I can’t do that in a ‘one-off’ design. How will I visualise my home?

Wilson+Hart uses technology to help you get a feel for the size and flow of custom designs, including 3D models that you can virtually walk though room by room, almost like you would in a real display home.

However, many of clients still want to see and touch the quality of our builds for themselves, and we’d be happy to show you our favourite examples of real life work in person.

Will I have to pay for a design?

There are several ways you can approach a custom design. Having your own design drawn up by your own private design professional or architect can cost anywhere from 1-4% of the overall price.

If you let Wilson+Hart’s range of designers complete this work, in some cases we don’t even charge a fee for the design.

What happens if the budget blows out when the design is priced?

This is a common question and one we often get when a client has used a private designer. That’s why it pays to have Wilson+Hart design in house.

Our Design Brief Budget Guarantee ensures your design brief won’t go over budget. It doesn’t guarantee you won’t want more than you can afford (that’s out of our control), but if we understand what you want, we can certainly help you work to your budget and brief.

What help will Wilson+Hart give me in the process?
  • Direct access to a design professional
  • A suite of information and tools to help you work through design considerations
  • Insight into the planning and technical parts of the process and the timeline to get your home started and completed
  • A professional interior decorator to help you theme your home to make it a true reflection of your unique style and personality
  • Access to tools like 3D modelling if required.
How long does it take to build a custom home?

There are four main factors that determine how long your custom home will take to build.

  1. The final design’s compliancy with council planning codes
    This stage can add 2-3 months to the design process. An experienced designer can minimise council approval turnarounds by understanding the rules and requirements applicable to your block to minimise the time spent in council and their planning department.
  2. The size and complexity of the home
    This affects the design and the construction phase. As an indication, a custom designed two storey home is likely to take 12 months to build.
  3. Complications
    Block, demolition, retaining, site fill or adding a concrete pool may all add time to construction.
  4. The level of finish

Some owners want to complete the fitout and landscaping themselves, while others lean on the builder to deliver a turnkey solution, both of which affect build timelines. Wilson+Hart customise timelines for each project and will happily develop a model to give you an idea of when your new home could start and finish.

I have a strange shaped block/sloping sites – can you help me?

Narrow, weird shaped and sloping blocks (sometimes all three) often necessitate the creation of an individual design. Wilson+Hart’s design team can review your block, check the local council’s planning requirements and listen to what you want in your new home. If you are looking to buy a block to build on, especially if it has a home to demolish, download our free e-book. It explains in detail the things you really should check before making that big decision.

We know what we want but don’t want to pay for an architect to draw it for us. Can you help?

Architects can be expensive and in some cases don’t give you a lot of control over the final budget of your home. At Wilson+Hart we understand that good design is as important as good value for money. We also understand that your budget is important to you – there’s no point in us designing a home for twice the price you can afford. Talk to us about our unique custom home design budget guarantee for peace of mind knowing you’re in control of your project.

How can I minimise problems associated with a home construction project?

Almost all problems can be solved before they even occur through clear communication and planning. While Wilson+Hart prides itself on a promise to be flexible with changes, the most seamless builds are those where we’ve worked with our clients and confirmed all selections from the outset. By starting with the design concept, followed by the technical drawings and detailing of rooms (like the kitchen and bathrooms), we’ll understand how everything will fit together before we pour concrete and lay a brick.

For instance, tap selection may seem quite straight forward – yet there are at least four different locations for a tap installation and several different tap configurations, multiplied by probably 10 locations in the home. This small example should give you an indication of how changing just one tap set mid-construction can result in unwanted problems that slow the process.

Can I build from my own plans?

Yes, many of our clients come to us with their own designs. These will range from hand drawn sketches (that are not even to scale), all the way through to professional designer or architect plans. We work with you to understand your budget and specifications, then help fine-tune your design to find ways that will make your vision one that can exist in reality.

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