Closing time for open-plan living?

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Is anyone else over open-plan living?

I, for one, have found myself craving walls and doors for the last year or so. Honestly, where did all the walls go?!

The whole open-plan movement seemed like a great idea at the time. It was hailed as the answer to the modern lifestyle, where the kitchen is often the hub of the home.

But it definitely has it drawbacks and they’re starting to become more and more apparent in our household.

“Isn’t this great guys, we can chat while I’m cooking dinner.”

“What did you say? I can’t hear you over the rangehood, TV and little Robbie’s iPad.”

The competing sounds, the unwelcome smells – I’m pretty sure no one really took this into account when we all decided to get out our sledgehammers and let loose on the kitchen wall.

More architects and homeowners are now moving away from open-plan towards split-level or “broken-plan” living with areas that are linked yet separate.

If you’re thinking of the sunken lounges and split-level arrangements of the 70s you’re not far off – but picture that with less orange and garish prints.

Broken-plan living allows for living spaces to be visually linked but have separate, distinct areas that can give families more room for privacy.

Steps, different ceiling heights and contrasting textures are what sets broken-plan apart from open-plan.

Here are some great examples:

                                                                                                                          Novak + Middleton Architects

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                                                                                                                                       Alamy/Guardian.com

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                                                                                                                                                 Patrick Reynolds

I don’t think this layout hugely helps with the noise-pollution issue but don’t worry researchers are working on combatting this problem.

Quiet kitchens without noisy kettles or deafening range hoods are on their way.

An instant hot water tap could have you kicking that kettle to the kerb and a rangehood with a motor outside the home will mute that annoying humming sound.

Researchers have even come up with a sink with deadening pads to prevent the metallic sound when water hits the bottom.

I’m still not sure that’s enough to bring me back around to open-plan living – but broken-plan sounds like a great compromise.

 


What do you think about open-plan vs broken-plan living? How do open-plan or traditional living areas work for you? Let us know in the comments below or on our NZ and AU Facebook pages.

 

 

 

Landlords: Is It Time To Go Pet-Friendly?

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A visually-impaired sheep is one of the latest casualties of the soaring housing market.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Poor old Coco the elderly arapawa ewe had to be surrendered to a sanctuary after her owners’ rental home was put on the market and they were unable to find another suitable for her.

Coco is just one of the sheep, goats, hens, ducks and dogs in the same predicament, with renters struggling to find homes for themselves and their pets.

With landlords selling up to take advantage of the hot market and only a small pool of landlords willing to take in pets, it’s little wonder it’s a growing problem for renters.

But research from Barfoot & Thompson has found that it can pay for landlords to go pet-friendly.

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I’m not suggesting letting Coco the sheep crash at your inner-city pad. Obviously the council wouldn’t be too keen on that idea either.

But the data reveals landlords who make their rental properties pet-friendly are able to widen their pool of potential tenants, keep their properties rented for longer and even maximise their profits.

Typically, pet-friendly landlords are able to charge more on a weekly basis, due to high demand and competition, according to this research.

And tenants with pets have been found to stay on average a further 7 months than their non-pet counterparts.

But what about protecting your investment?

Here’s some advice for landlords looking to make their rental pet-friendly:

  • Add a pet clause to the Tenancy Agreement.
  • Think about the size of your property and what it can manage – does it have fencing? – is the outdoor area appropriate for larger pets?
  • Check references and ask for a pet resume – if a tenant has been allowed pets at a previous rental, your property manager will be able to ask their referee about how the tenancy went and flag any problems or allay any concerns.

Pet Resumes

Renters, a pet resume is a great way to emphasise that you are a responsible pet-owner.

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                                                                                                                               Cathy Klein, PetResumes.Net.

For dogs, you can mention:

  • obedience training
  • the number of times your dog is walked a day
  • whether they go to “doggy daycare”
  • the dog’s temperament, size, age.

It’s a great way to let a prospective landlord put a face to your pet’s name.


Landlords and property managers – what do you think about pet-friendly rentals? Renters – have you had any trouble finding a rental that will accept your pets?

Let us know in the comments below or on our NZ and AU Facebook page.

Top 10 Strange Place Names in NZ and Australia

What’s in a name? Well I’m sure the occupants of Gross Avenue would like to assure you, not much.

The street is just one of the weird and wonderful monickers given to Australian and New Zealand roads and towns.

Our Open2view photographers will have seen their fair share of noteworthy street names while shooting properties on both sides of the Tasman.

Some place titles are regarded affectionately by locals and give tourists a quick chuckle as they drive through, while others can be outright offensive…

A plan to change the names of Nigger Hill and Niggerhead in the South Island to the less offensive alternatives, Tawhai Hill and Kānuka Hills respectively, has stirred up 61 objections. Alternative names are due to go out for public consultation this month.

But putting the offensive titles to one side, let’s take a look at some of the best place names hailing from our shores.

10. Cape Foulwind, New Zealand

I dread to think what stench was pungent enough to earn this West Coast headland this unfortunate name.

9. Disappointment Hill, Australia

The story goes that explorer Fran Hann climbed the Western Australian hill in 1903 to find no water and was disappointed. It doesn’t sound like things have improved that much for the hill since.

8. Come By Chance, Australia

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The small country town with the unusual name is situated on the Baradine Creek in northern New South Wales.

7. Lois Lane, Australia

Australia is home to a host of streets bearing the name of the fictional reporter and Superman’s love interest.

6. Gross Ave, Australia

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Two Aussie streets carry this title – one in Queensland and one in New South Wales. In fact, Australia is actually littered with “Gross” streets and roads.

5. Little Wart and The Pimple, New Zealand

These hills are located in Otago and Marlborough respectively.

4. Fashion Parade, Australia

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Strike a pose. This Melbourne street has actually very little connection with the catwalk.

3. Snuffle Nose, New Zealand

Snuffle Nose is a point in Canterbury with a delightful sounding name.

2. Nowhere Else, Australia

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There’s nowhere else quite like this Tasmanian town … except there’s a place in South Australia which bears the same name.

1. Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu, New Zealand

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We couldn’t do this list without giving a shout out to the world’s longest place name. At 85 letters long, this Hawke’s Bay hill holds the world record. Now take a deep breath and see if you can pronounce it.

Honorary Mention: Matata, New Zealand

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What other gems have you come across in your travels around New Zealand and Australia? Let us know in the comments below or on our AU and NZ Facebook pages.