Among the many things Australians have learnt this year is the pleasure and privilege of living in a well-equipped home.
No longer simply a place to rest and retreat, home is now the place many of us work full-time, virtually socialise, and exercise – and savvy apartment developers are taking notice.
One of most sought-after amenities in new apartment buildings are concierge services, as seen in the premium Melbourne development The International Brighton.
The concierge’s sole purpose is to support and enrich residents’ lives, by undertaking tasks such as collecting deliveries (which are safely stored in residents’ valet pods), liaising with tradespeople, arranging dry cleaning, car washing, and booking appointments on their behalf.
The concierge can also organise use of the building’s private office spaces, which is especially valuable for those working from home.
Another drawcard of The International Brighton are the high-end kitchens – part of the luxury interior scheme designed by leading architect Sue Carr. Highlights include Gaggenau appliances including wine fridges, butler’s pantries with secondary dishwashers, natural stone island benchtops up to eight metres in length and generous dining areas.
This investment in kitchen design reflects the growing consumer interest in home cooking and entertaining across the country.
“People are taking the money they might have spent on a two-week overseas holiday and are investing it into the other 50 weeks of the year by updating their home,” says creative director at Olio Interiors Andrea Higgs.
Interior designer Jane Thomson has witnessed this shift firsthand, most notably in a recent project that saw most of the $70,000 furniture budget reallocated to the kitchen.
“People have always been open to spending more on a well-crafted kitchen, but now even more so,” she says. “Recently I’ve noticed requests for better bench space, cantilevered benches to accommodate seating, and eating areas built into the kitchen island.”
With health and safety still a concern in public spaces, designers say the interest in home cooking and entertaining will only increase as a result of the pandemic.
“I feel COVID has changed the way we look at our homes and our lifestyles in general forever,” says Naomi Brand, interior stylist and founder of Brand Collective Property Styling.
“Overall, I feel our eyes were opened to the beauty in our homes, and it pushed us to make the changes required so that we could enjoy every space now and for years to come.”
This sentiment is echoed by interior designer Tennille Joy from Tennille Joy Interiors. “We know that we need four walls and a roof to survive but to feel at our best, we know that colour and the way we arrange our space is so transformative,” she says.
“We’ve had a lot of time to think about how we live and how we would like to secure that feeling of being protected.”
Another area predicted to experience an uptick in consumer investment is outdoor spaces.
“Outdoor areas are a feature Australians especially will never overlook again,” Brand says. “The secret is making these spaces welcoming and comfortable through the use of textures, lighting and materials.”
Outdoor areas have been carefully considered at The International Brighton, which encompasses 870 square metres of communal space including a rooftop garden with expansive views of Port Phillip Bay and the Melbourne CBD.
“Our purchasers love the fact that they will be able to have their wine collection stored in the wine cellar room and arrange with the concierge for a function at the private dining room, where they can entertain their friends and family,” says Chad Arbid, senior director of residential projects Victoria at CBRE.
“After lunch or dinner, they can go to the rooftop terrace to watch the amazing views of our beautiful bay and city.”