You’ve bought the block you love, those stunning views and the chance to live in Canberra’s most forward-thinking suburb.
But the most incredible part of designing your new life at Denman Prospect is creating a new home from scratch; a dwelling designed completely around the next chapter of your life and a lifestyle you love.
Co-owner of The Mill: Architecture + Design Shannon Battisson is in the process of designing her own home on a sloping block with beautiful views at Denman Prospect. She says there are four things to include in the design of your new home that will truly feel like you’re receiving a gift every single day.
1. The gift of warmth – the second you walk in the door
Blackett Homes Display Home – Denman Prospect Display Village
Shannon, a specialist in solar passive design, says in winter, Canberrans often spend the first hour at home after work with their coats on.
A true gift, she says, especially given it’s cool in Canberra for about eight months of the year, is allowing as much natural warmth as possible to gather in your house during the day.
“If you’re building a project home, find the plan that works for you, but ask them to flip it,” Shannon says.
“Just because a house plan faces a certain way, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.
“Flip it so that the living areas are on the north, and limit windows that are on the east and west.
“It’s really easy to do, and it doesn’t cost you anything extra. It really doesn’t.”
North-facing windows and living spaces make a huge difference in how much it costs to live in your home, Shannon says.
“Despite a career spent promoting the benefits of lower energy dependent housing, the thing I had completely underestimated was the feeling of walking into a house that is comfortable without you needing to do anything. The feeling of being able to walk through the door on a cold night and just relax is incredible.”
A good quality building envelope – including a high level of insulation and high-performing windows – are also on Shannon’s list of recommendations.
2. The gift of smaller, ‘whisper quiet’ bedrooms
Rawson Homes Display Home at the Denman Prospect Display Village
It’s often ‘the larger the better’ when it comes to bedroom size, but Shannon says bedrooms should remain small.
“For us, personally, we do all of our living in the living spaces, and bedrooms are for quiet and for retreat,” she says.
“Over the years we’ve had challenges with the kids and their sleeping habits. So we’ve always kept the kids bedrooms to a minimum. There are only beds and books and quiet play items in the rooms.
“Our bedrooms are quiet zones. We keep our bedrooms smaller, and then put that space into our living rooms, which is actually where we spend all of our time.”
3. The gift of a house designed around stunning views
Kolak Living Display Home at the Denman Prospect Display Village
It might sound simple but the higher your living spaces, the better the view.
“Think honestly about where you spend most of your waking hours at home,” Shannon says.
“For most people, it’s about 80 per cent living area and 20 per cent bedroom. So you want to spend that 80 per cent admiring the view you’ve paid for.”
Shannon purchased a steep block at Denman Prospect for the express purpose of having living areas upstairs, exposing the family to 180 degree views of Canberra every day.
“I’m really excited for that view – we can see right from the Brindabellas through to the arboretum – and I feel like it will be quite private. There’s nobody to look in when you’re a bit higher,” Shannon says.
“The steep block allows us to do is have all of our living areas on the top floor, but they’re actually level with one side of our block meaning you enter at the higher level.
“Downstairs is then reserved for bedrooms and quiet living. The outlook is grass, trees and garden, and is completely private from the street making the need for curtains during the day nonexistent.”
4. The gift of retaining the furniture you adore
Krown Homes Display Home at the Denman Prospect Display Village
“This dining table was actually my great, great grandmother’s kitchen table,” Shannon says of the table she’s sitting at for our interview.
“And in the new house [at Denman Prospect], we’ll have a chaise lounge in our bedroom that was given to us by my parents – they’d had it since they were first married.
“As an architect, furniture is my thing. I love anything with a story.”
Shannon says every item of furniture you truly love should be included in the design of your new home.
“Make sure you know the measurements of each item and include them in your thinking from the beginning.
“Your home can and should be a mix of old and new furniture, and tell the story of who you are”.