Having your guests stay over

Apr 6, 2018 Architecture

Tennis courts were popular in the 1980s; so too, were spa baths that almost filled an entire bathroom. As land prices headed north in the noughties, having both these features in a home started to wane.

Those that put in tennis courts then are now hiving them off and living on smaller and more low maintenance blocks. However, certain features, such as providing separate accommodation for guests, are featuring strongly, with families wanting to share their hospitality.

Finnis Architects regularly includes guest accommodation in its homes, particularly its larger homes that extend over two levels. “I would estimate that 90 per cent of our homes include guest bedrooms,” says architect Les Finnis, director of the practice.

“Guests can meander out to the back verandah or use the front living room if they happen to come home late”

A new two-storey house in Brighton designed by Finnis Architects includes a guest wing at ground level and basement car parking for six cars. This guest accommodation includes a bedroom, en suite and a small sitting area located toward the front of the house. Rather than feeling cut off from the rest of the house, there are views to the garden. Finnis also points out the lift nearby the guest quarters that connects to the basement car parking and the adjoining home theatre. “All the other bedrooms (including the main bedroom) are on the first floor, giving guests a certain degree of privacy,” says Finnis, whose clients often have a parent stay overnight or for a few days. “They also have friends coming from interstate,” he adds.

Photo credit: Tom Roe Photography

For Finnis and his team, the purpose of a guest bedroom is to allow connectivity within the entire house, but at the same time, a level of independence so people are not living according to Finnis, “in each others pockets”. “Guests can meander out to the back verandah or use the front living room if they happen to come home late,” he says. Including a guest bedroom at ground level also allows the owners to stay in the house for 20 to 30 years. “If they can’t manage stairs and there’s no lift, this bedroom can be used as the main one,” says Finnis.

Photo credit: Tom Roe Photography

Accommodating overseas guests in Port Melbourne

Molecule Studio also includes guest bedrooms in its designs, particularly for those clients who regularly have friends coming from overseas. For a two-storey penthouse in Port Melbourne, the owners are a couple, who met in London; one is Australian, the other is American. “We designed the renovation over two stages, including a new kitchen and butler’s pantry, as well as refitting the dining area,” says architect Anja de Spa, who worked closely with her life and business partner, architect Richard Fleming. A new powder room and study also formed part of stage one. A guest bedroom and en suite, recently completed, formed the second stage of this project.

Photo credit: Shannon McGrath

Originally one of the bedrooms, this guest suite was modified. The bath in the en suite was taken out and replaced with a shower, with the additional stage given over to extra storage. The owners use part of this new storage area for items such as suitcases, and the remainder is given over to hanging space for their guests’ clothing. “When you have people staying over, they don’t require metres of hanging space,” says de Spa, who sees an increasing demand for guest bedrooms, irrespective of whether they are used on a regular or irregular basis.

Photo credit: Shannon McGrath

Others are combining home offices with guest bedrooms when space is a premium, and when space isn’t a constraint, kitchenettes are provided. “Guests enjoy having that sense of independence, but they also want, at times, to feel part of the family,” adds Finnis.

Finnis Architects can be contacted on 9948 9900
Molecule Studio can be contacted on 9663 4455

About the Author: Stephen Crafti

Stephen Crafti has been writing about design and architecture since the early 1990’s and is a regular contributor to DesignBUILD. Inspired by the architecture around him in Melbourne, Australia, he was keen to share the things he saw, whether buildings, furniture, fashion or other stunning pieces of contemporary design. After many years of writing about his favourite things, and with numerous books and articles behind him, Crafti still delights in discovering and promoting exhilarating design. He is a regular contributor to several Australian newspapers and local and international design magazines.

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