Taking advantage of the view VS family friendly living

December 4, 2018
last modified: December 4, 2018

Hi all, My husband and I have been going around in circles about where to put the main living, kitchen and dining area.

We have an good view over the city and as soon as we brought the house it was definitely going to be on the top level, but it is 5 metres above our pool area. As time has gone on my thought is to put the main area on the ground level with a large deck - to be closer to the pool and put the main bedroom, Bed 2, Rumpus Room and the smaller deck up on the top level to take advantage of the views. Basically swapping the Ground and First Floor design from the stairs to the deck/balcony over??

My husband thinks that we are silly not to take advantage of the main selling feature (the view) from the main rooms and I'm thinking of the practicality of everyday living, as the last thing I want to do is to be refereeing fights 5 metres in the air??

I'm confused. We are in Brisbane so outside living & pool will be used all the time.

Any discussion points, thoughts or ideas will be very welcomed.


Comments (12)

  • oklouise

    why not try to have both with an external staircase but can't see the dimensions could you post the plans of the upstairs and downstairs separately so we can read the numbers

  • Sherry

    Thanks oklouise. Hope this might help.

  • oklouise

    i can't see any advantage to changing the upstairs but a covered area with outdoor sink and barbq at pool level, a kitchenette in the rumpus room and perhaps sacrificing bed 2 for additional downstairs living area might be useful but my first reaction would be to consider an external staircase from pool level with access to the first and second floor balconies at the southern end of the balconies near the pool gate could improve the connection between all levels but such complex stairs need to be designed on site and you would need to consult local council and your neighbours and get some quotes to decide if is a worthwhil option

  • ddarroch
    Orientation should also be an important consideration when planning a home.

    Generally, living areas should have north to take advantage of winter sunshine. Not quite so critical the further you get north, though Brisbane has quite cold temperatures in winter mornings. So I'd consider flipping the plan, so more living areas face north.

    Western sunshine is a major problem in summer. It's difficult to shade, & occurs at the hottest time in the day. It looks like that is the direction of your views, which is a pity. As you don't want to overglaze the western side of a house. Is the upstairs balcony covered by a roof? If not your west facing living areas could get very hot in summer. Same goes for the west facing master. Generally, it's not a great idea to have west facing bedrooms. If you must, try not to overglaze then badly. Use low-e glass on western windows, to reduce summer heat, & use external shutters or (vertical) awnings.

    As for your main question about upside-down living, it's quite polarising, some people live it, while some hate the idea & find it impractical (dragging groceries etc upstairs). The practicalities may tilt the scale away from upstairs living, but the views certainly tilt the scale towards upstairs living.

    It's definitely advantageous in cooler climates - as hot air rises, upper rooms are warmer, so the perfect place for living areas. I'm not so sure in warmer climates, as upstairs may get warmer, but also have access to summer cooling breezes (think the traditional Queenslander).

    Whatever you choose, make sure pool users have access to a bathroom close by, without tramping wet feet through much of the house.
  • ddarroch
    Oh, I always recommend that home builders read this brilliant government website,

  • PRO
    Dr Retro House Calls

    It looks like you have a fair amount of slope on your block, and if I am reading your plans correctly the existing pool is located at the lowest part. Your plan looks like a fairly conventional upside down house with two distinct levels partly due to the existing structure. Had you ever considered a more creative split-level approach, with the new rear stepping down half a floor to bring the lowest floor level closer to the existing pool level? Split-level solutions can provide lots of exciting opportunities for houses on sloping blocks to flow better. Depending on your budget, and your local building regulations a two storey house at the front, could be a three storey house at the rear using creative split level planning. However it does take a creative design professional to get a split-level home planned properly,

    Best of luck,

    Dr Retro

    of Dr Retro House Calls

  • genkii
    It’s the eternal dilemma with 2 story houses with a view. Personally, if I had a pool I’d want the main kitchen/living area downstairs and close to the action. Indoor/outdoor flow, supervise the kids, enjoy easy entertaining etc. also for safety. I’d be really uncomfortable having kids in the pool while I’m upstairs so it would limit the amount of time we’d use the pool.
    Perhaps an upstairs living area/rumpus room and master bedroom can make the most of the view.
  • suzi24
    We had this exact same issue when we were designing our place. Beautiful wide lake views from the top floor, smaller view from the bottom. In the end we went with living/kitchen downstairs.
    Maybe some of our reasoning will help you:
    -carting groceries upstairs
    -carting children upstairs (we worked our carting up for bed is less frequent than living areas)
    -child supervision outside now while our kids are young
    —for the future when we are older, climbing stairs all the time may not be desirable (also for current elderly guests and family)
    At times I have moments where I think it would have been nice the other way but on the whole I know we made the right decision for our family.
  • PRO
    Paul Di Stefano Design

    well, even in Victoria it's exactly the same issue with many projects we work on in that the main living zone is disconnected from the external living/pool areas. There are ways of managing/negotiating/improving it but to completely rearranging the internals of your house will be very expensive, almost to the point of not even worth considering a renovation, but it will be a complete new-build by the time you stack the numbers up on it. Probably in your case it comes down to your budget one way or the other in conjunction with what is a higher priority for you. A view and resale is one thing, but the experience of living in it on a daily basis is another.

    PD :)

  • bigreader
    I’d go upside down with the living at the bottom. With kids you will be busy living more often than you’ll pause for the view during the day. Nothing wrong with having the view from the master bedroom.
  • PRO
    3DA Design Drafting and 3D Visuals
    I am pretty sure you can achieve a double height living area with the stairwell and upper rumpus rearranged to maximize your view.
    That way although your living area is downstairs you always see the view whenever you move up and down.
  • siriuskey

    Excellent idea 3DA Design with the double height living/family/Kitchen with stairwell connecting to an upstairs mezzamine Living Rumpus, this would function beautifully as a family home, giving views of the pool from both levels and capturing the view all in one.