How apartment customisation and adding a home office is driving off the plan sales

Chris McCue, managing director at architecture and design firm Carr, says he has seen the demand for a tailored home office space continue right through the pandemic

How apartment customisation and adding a home office is driving off the plan sales
The communal office space at Seafarers. Image supplied

As the return to the office stalls due to ongoing lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne, discerning apartment developers are pivoting their approach to apartment design.

If not already as standard, a number of developers are going hard on the work-from-home office space, whether it's part of the wider development or within the apartments.

More than one-10th of Melbourne's office floor space was untenanted in July, the Property Council of Australia's Office Market Report showed. The St Kilda Rd precinct had Melbourne highest vacancy rate at 16.3 per cent, followed by Southbank by 15.2 per cent.

Chris McCue, managing director at architecture and design firm Carr, says he has seen the demand for a tailored home office space continue right through the pandemic.

"The multitude of workspaces within a single dwelling has definitely risen as we move to more longer-term workplace flexibility and adaptive environments," McCue said.

The customisable apartments at Riverlee's mixed-use Melbourne development Seafarers had a recent buyer re-jig the floorplan, taking out the laundry sink which was moved to the ensuite to accomodate a study nook large enough for two people, fitted with cabinetry and shelving.

The developer Riverlee also focused on the home office boom by adding shared facilities in the 123-room development, located in the same Flinders Street building as Australia's first 1 Hotel.

Residents will have access to a number of meeting rooms and breakout areas, an 800-seat function space, a residents-only library and communal lounge. There's also onsite building support staff who can assist with printing.

The home office facilities, as well as the access of exclusive privileges when staying at a 1 Hotel worldwide, has seen a big uptake in purchases by entrepreneurs and executives.

Seafarers was designed by Fender Katsalidis on the banks of the Yarra River. They were tasked with reimagining the heritage-protected Goods Shed 5, preserving the only intact remnants from the days before containerisation.

McCue said Seafarers faceted exterior does more than create a striking urban presence, it yields uniquely large floorplans.

"From the four-bedroom penthouses to two-bedroom residences, each interior is meticulously planned to maximise natural light, external views and connection to the textures and rhythms of its riverfront setting," McCue said.

"Luxury can mean so much in terms of spatial and service amenity and is where Seafarers achieves luxury in many ways.

"From a service inclusion and connection to 1 Hotels, to the kitchen joinery and fixtures inclusions, to the inclusion of generous and highly-functional storage.

"There was a lot of consideration around house-like storage amenity, as well as spatial amenity and flow through spaces and connection.

"Our key spatial thinking and beliefs include connected indoor and outdoor living spaces, controlled and extended aspects, extended views that are aligned with internal planning."

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Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is a property journalist based in Sydney. Joel has been writing about the residential real estate market for the last five years, specializing in market trends and new developments across the country

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