An extension can add more to your home than just extra space

The popularity of improving existing homes is evident, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting that an estimated $29.6 million was spent on alterations and additions to residential buildings from July to September last year.

Increasing the size of your home has never been easier with the invention of strong, durable and lightweight modern materials, however, it's important to make the most of the opportunity by adding not just room, but life to your home.

"While increasing square feet is an obvious benefit, it should also be an opportunity to consider your block and how you live, to define the new space and redefine the entire home," said architect and James Hardie ambassador Joe Snell, who has the following tips for planning your extension.

Know your needs, now and in the future

Focus on your most important times of day and build from there. For example, if you're a great entertainer or enjoy family meals you might consider an extension to create a dining alfresco space that can be used year-round. Conversely, if ensuring the whole family enjoys a silent night is a must, you may choose to build a well-insulated second-floor addition.

Know your home

The basics of home design rely on five key concepts (light, sound, space, view and air). Creating an addition offers the opportunity to harness these concepts to improve the experience of living in the home. An extension toward the back of the home will generally create a quieter space away from the street and if placed on the ground floor can open up long lines of sight, giving a feeling of additional space.

PEACE: An extension toward the back of the home can create a quieter space.

PEACE: An extension toward the back of the home can create a quieter space.

Make more room

Using new products (other than brick) can add up to 100 to 130 millimeters additional depth at each external wall, as they have a thinner profile.

Due its lightweight formulation, premium fibre cement cladding is naturally lighter which means it is generally less expensive to create cantilevered upper levels. This gives your designs the opportunity to establish more cost-effective floor space upstairs at the same time as creating dynamic and shaded areas downstairs.

A good addition doesn't have to meld seamlessly into an existing building, In fact, there is a trend toward making Modern a statement that departs from traditional facades.

Joe Snell

Create contrast and continuity

The trick here is making the two work together, not against each other. An addition creates the opportunity for a contemporary transformation but it also has to work with the existing building by creating common ground.

James Hardie's range of cladding can be mixed and matched to a specific look or to create a personal style. Most come primed and ready to paint and resist flaking, warping or swelling, meaning they require less maintenance.

Whether you're making room for a growing family or to get more out of your home, it's important to think about adding more life to your home, not just more space.