Wanting to change the layout of my 80m2 apartment.

September 7, 2016

My apartment is on the ground floor. There are currently windows in the sunroom which we are hoping to change to stacking doors so that we can have access to the front garden. If all goes to plan with our strata meeting.

If this does get passed I was thinking of making the front bedroom and sunroom the lounge area and knocking down the wall in between the bedroom and sunroom. I know that I would need to get an engineer plus approval from the body corporate to see if this is possible. I want to make the current lounge room off the kitchen into the new kitchen and the current kitchen into a bedroom. I would prefer to not have to knock down too many walls as this can be very expensive especially putting up beams. However,

Ohh, and of course I was hoping to move the back door adjacent to where the back door is now. It would be in the living room.

I am certainly no architect an would love some advice as I don't know if having a bedroom off the kitchen is a bad idea. I have two young children and thought having more living spaces is better than just one.

Comments (25)

  • Vy

    time to move??

    from your description it's a lot of work and with apartment prices as they are you might be over investing..

    with young kids I'd move..give them some room ..back yard etc

  • 111mel111

    Hi Vy, very happy where I live and if we get the front yard we will have at least another 60m2 on title. Sadly it isn't as easy as you think to just sell up and move. I am wanting some advice on the configuration of the apartment not where to live. Many thanks

  • Vy

    111mel111..sorry not very helpful..good luck with it all..with apartments it's particularly hard as structurally you might not be able to move much that's all..it's like opening a can of worms..

  • bigreader
    You might want to listen to Vy before being dismissive.

    1. As you've said you need body corporate approval. I can imagine that the levels above you have more invested in saying no to the removal of walls than yes. Why would they agree to risk, noise and mess when there is no gain to them?
    2. You already know you need a structural engineer report at your cost. Have you priced them? They aren't cheap.
    3. You'll most likely need your local Council's approval with planning/building permits. $$ Have you called them?
    4. Unless you have sufficient cash tucked away you'll need to talk the bank into lending you money for work that whilst it improves your lifestyle may not significantly increase the value of your property. Have you discussed with them what equity or avenues are open to you?
    5. You'll need insurances for a) both your own building work and b) to protect the properties above. a is fairly easy to get, b isn't.
    6. You'll need to find a builder or construction company willing to do the work.
    7. You'll need to live through 6-8 mths of mess.

    Before you go too much further down the thought process you need to set your budget and do some sums. You wouldn't be the first, and def not the last, who've calculated that it is indeed cheaper to move.
  • bigreader
    I've just read about the addition 60m2 being add to the title in your comments. Does that mean in front of the sunroom is currently communal and you are trying to buy off the body corporate?

    Out of curiosity does that mean you have to do a sub division from the communal title and get it added to your title?
  • PRO
    Dalecki Design


    Firstly shifting the bedroom further away from the bathroom and next to the kitchen so you have to pass through the kitchen to access it is very bad design. Your house actually functions really well from a floor plan perspective with regards to every things location and zoning.

    Secondly the works you are looking to do are massive and I don't think will be money well spent as you are compromising the overall layout and its appeal to future buyers when / if you sell.

    If you were a client that came to see me I would recommend a move too unless budget and re sale was not an issue.

    Sorry and hopefully this helps you.

  • Mel N

    Obviously it would be nuts to turn down the opportunity for 60m2 courtyard on your title. However you are achieving this, go for it. Getting direct access from your sunroom makes perfect sense then.

    As for anything else.....I agree with a comment above "can of worms". Structural delap reports will set you back anything from $1500-3000 per report- and that is before works and after works.

  • LesleyH
    You have a southern aspect which is a harsh light in Australia. I would also consider moving. Better to buy a place needing renovation with a good aspect and putting your money into this renovation than putting a lot of money into a unit that functions well in a design already but has a poor aspect.
  • Vy

    good pick up lesleyhawkins..

  • scottevie

    If the main aim is to give the kids more space could you shift them into the bigger bedroom and make the sunroom a play/casual living space off their room. The second bedroom would be 'cosy' as a master but might do unless you have a massive bed or there is a wardrobe not shown on plan.

  • girlguides
    Why not use sunroom for kids playroom and swap your BEDRM with theirs
  • hagan_38
    I also think current floor plan is good and agree with previous suggestion to turn big bedroom into kids room and make the sunroom a playroom for them.
  • bj605
    I don't think the floor plan changes you are suggesting will work well. The front yard and stacker doors sound awesome though. If your location can't be beaten and you were not wanting to move, you could look at reconfiguring the whole apartment to work better for you.
  • bbear
    Moving the bathroom and subsequent plumbing will be expensive. Drafting of plans, engineers report, permits and DA / BA applications to council can take a huge chunk of your budget before you even begin.
  • bigreader
    I don't think the Opening Poster is coming back. Must have been a just thinking aloud post.
  • georgi02

    I think that everyone's points are accurate - what also needs to be remembered are the following: as an owner in a strata apartment - you own from the paint on your walls in - so basically you own air space; if you want to have by-laws changed that will give you exclusive use rights then you're going to be looking at some SERIOUS cash (legal costs, engineering costs and use buy-out costs and by increasing your units of entitlement on the plan, you're potentially increasing your levies and fees too); you will struggle to get approval to move plumbing if it impacts on any other apartment or common property area, you'll need to also indemnify the Owners Corporation for all the work that you do...

  • LesleyH
    I think you are right bigreader. Time for us all to move on.
  • 111mel111

    Having a father who is a builder and who has offered to do all the renovations for me I thought great. The money which I would be outlaying in comparison to buying a bigger home is less than I would need to move on and purchase a bigger place.

    My father is aware of all the rules, checks and costs.

    I thought the change in the current plan may not have been all that bad. How I was wrong!!

    My children are currently in the bigger room and I am in the smaller room which really works well at the moment.

    My concern was walking through a kitchen to a bedroom would not work and from every comment I have read this really is not a very good idea.

    I wanted to not have to walk through a bedroom to sit out in the front yard.

    Many thanks for all the comments and advice. I think I will just leave the apartment how it is and renovate the current layout.


  • PRO
    alsoCAN Architects

    The sunroom at the front looks like an old verandah, this could possibly mean that the front wall is structural and on top of that having apartments above, you'd definitely need a body corporate approval, structural engineer design approval and may also need a planning permit (if it's in a heritage area).

    For overall planning advice, having a living room connected to your garden is a great idea, however, you usually have all your sleeping zones together, separated from your living zones (kitchen and living area). Separating the kitchen and the lounge area means that you're mixing up the noisier areas with the quieter areas. Have a think about what you're going to use the back bedroom for (your kitchen now) - if it's a guest room/study this could be perfect.

    It all depends on how you live in the space. Some people want to have the living area separate to the kitchen. Again, I would think about how you want to live in your spaces and how you want to use each space.

    Keep us posted with your project!

    111mel111 thanked alsoCAN Architects
  • bj605
    Is the walkway to your front door shared? Or could you add that into your front garden space so you're not going through the kids bedroom to get out there?
    111mel111 thanked bj605
  • bj605
    Or make the bedroom smaller and create a walkway through to the sunroom for a small sitting area connecting to front yard?
    111mel111 thanked bj605
  • 111mel111

    Fortunately the wall is not structural. This has already been approved from the body corporate.

    The back room was going to be for my children and not a guest room.

    I thought having two living areas would be ideal as my children and I are out and about so much. I thought if they had friends over that having two living spaces would be more suitable as I could either be in the kitchen or the living area if they wanted to be play away from me. And of course having the lounge area leading onto the front space would be ideal.

    Their current room gets all of the beautiful afternoon sun and light which would be ideal for the living area.

    The walkway to my front door is shared.

    Many thanks

  • oklouise

    i've attached my suggestion which doesn't knock down any walls or change the entry and only includes an 1800 wide sliding door on the side of the sunroom (with or without matching windows (cheaper than doors) across the front, big stackers are more expensive to buy and install, very expensive to add security doors or flyscreens and take up more floor space with bigger tracks) and i hope the sliding door on the side would be less obvious and more acceptable to the body corporate.

    i suggest you keep the living room as is, change the old kitchen to a bedroom and install a new kitchen/diner/laundry in the old bedroom without knocking down the wall into the sunroom although you may wish to remove the double doors if they take up too much space..if you keep the separate sunroom it can be called a third bedroom, if you ever decide to sell...the new plumbing is on the external wall, close to the existing plumbing and it could be convenient to keep a small sink in the new bedroom to use the old plumbing...should be relatively economical and achieve your main goal, hope you like!!

    111mel111 thanked oklouise
  • bigreader
    Oklouise. You put a lot of effort into your comments. Great work :)
  • 111mel111

    Wow Louise. So very grateful for your suggestions.

    The exclusive use of the front garden would only be accessible from the front of the sunroom where a deck leading to stairs will be. Exclusive Use has finally been agreed and approved. Unfortunately the position of the side windows would lead onto the side driveway which runs along this side of the building.

    A special levy has been paid for replacing the side windows and replacing the front windows to doors. I guess the type of door could be changed as we have not finalised the go ahead with any quotes.

    Thanking you for all your insight and appreciate your help Louise.