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Choosing a sympathetic building design in a heritage area

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If you are looking to rebuild your home in an area with a lot of heritage homes, you may need to choose a design that is sympathetic to the overall pattern of the neighbourhood. Here are some things to consider as you start planning your building design. 

Visual appearance of the front of the house

If most of the houses in your area are made of red brick and have tins roofs, it may be hard to get approval for a rendered frontage and tile roof. It can be useful to walk around your neighbourhood and take in some of the common features such as verandahs and brick styles so that you can incorporate these in some way into your house design. Equally, the fencing can make a huge difference to the way that your house fits into the 'streetscape'.

Set back from the path

While land can be a premium, especially in blocks that have been subdivided, it's generally important to have the house set back to a similar level from the street or path rather than directly butting up to one of the block boundaries. Your council may even give specific guidance on how far the house needs to sit from the front boundary. 


While more houses in traditional areas expand upwards, it's good to monitor the eyeline so that the majority of the second storey sits back from the front of the house, rather than the house being taller at the front of the home. This provides an appearance that is more sympathetic to an area where there are older and lower styles of houses. 


While much of the focus on sympathetic designs is around the front of the house, the sides and back of the house also need to blend into the neighbourhood. This includes the need for back-facing extensions and second storey homes to have windows that don't allow them to look into their neighbours' living areas and yards. Home designs can be modified so that they still include a lot of natural light. This can include high slit windows, frosting on windows and windows that face into roads and lanes rather than yards. 

If you are looking to get a building approved in a heritage area, then it can be useful to get an experienced contractor to write a report to the council, detailing how the design is sympathetic to the character of the nearby homes. This can help speed the review process and increase your chances of gaining building approvals. 

For more information, contact a company like Bill Jacobs Pty. Ltd.