Do I go up or go out when I renovate??

Do I go up or out when I decide to renovate is a question we are constantly asked by prospective clients….

Going up is the immediate solution that a lot of people gravitate towards when it comes to renovating, but it is often not the way that the project ends up going once all aspects of the brief are examined and the concept and pricing completed.

There are two main situations where going is up is the only answer…

1. There is no room left on the block to push out on the same level as the existing house or the client wants to avoid taking up any more of their back or front yard in order to leave room for a young family and entertaining.
2. There is a view to be taken advantage of by going up.

Note that with or without a view on offer, the sense of space and light that is achieved by going up, even with only a view of treetops or rooftops, is still often a delight.

If you have a choice to go out instead of up, then here is a list of some of the down side factors in deciding to add a second storey.

1. It is 50% more expensive on average to go up rather go out. The square metre renovation rate increases by that amount for new upstairs work so if budgets are tight, going out is the go
2. The addition of a set of stairs to the ground floor is going to have an impact on an existing area eg hallway, lounge room, study or smallest bedroom. Whilst a set of stairs will not take up the whole room, a room or area is compromised in some way eg you will be left with either a walk in study nook, sewing room or in the case of an older house, a small bedroom. Depending on what you are putting upstairs, this new area may make up for the room you “lose” downstairs
3. From a re-sale perspective, stairs can be a turn off for some people with either young children or old bones not necessarily fitting in well with a number of stair climbs each day
4. There are strict overlooking issues with regards to second storey inserts and sometimes the required 7.5 metre setback just cannot be achieved
5. As an aside, I would say that at least 75% of our initial 2 storey designs start with a balcony option priced, but that balcony disappears when clients see how much extra money even a small balcony can add to a job, as well as coming to the realization that they will be probably rarely sit out there!

As with all renovations, it is a case of looking at the budget, looking at the house and block and discussing what configuration you want to end up with – and then coming up with a concept and price that fits that brief.

To see examples of recent same level and second storey renovations please go to the Before and After page on our website.