MEET: Design Plus Drafting

MEET: Design Plus Drafting

On July 6 2018, if you found yourself sensing an ever-so-slight seismic shift, or the vibrating of a celestial body in the earth's lower ionosphere, or just a frisson in the atmosphere, it might have been the NSW Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code coming into effect.

In case it passed you by: this little piece of policy is aiming for the happy medium between providing more housing and avoiding the streets becoming dominated by apartment monoliths. Our friendly neighbours over at Design Plus Drafting speak the code fluently, so offered to chat through it.

Plus, if you mention Young Henrys when you engage Design Plus Drafting to create the building plans for your terrace reno, extension, attic conversion, granny flat or duplex, you score a free case of Newtowner tinnies!

‘Low rise medium density housing code’ sure is a sexy name! Can you elaborate on what it means for our neighbourhood?
Tell me about it! That’s why we came up with “Keep Newtown Low Rise” as a campaign slogan to keep the message simple. In a nutshell, this new code is great for the Inner West because we can increase the amount of affordable housing around here without destroying what makes this part of town so special. The pollies have realised that massive unit blocks to accommodate our growing population aren’t popular with voters, so they’re encouraging homeowners and developers to focus on terraces, duplexes and co-living by making it easier to get council approval.

How do your services work with the code?
We specialise in designing exactly the sort of housing this new code encourages: renovating terraces to make them more practical for families, creating dual occupancy homes on compact blocks, building ‘granny flats’ to utilise underused spaces.

How do you see it impacting the character of the area?
Hopefully it shouldn’t. Low rise is no higher than four storeys so no new structures under this code should dwarf the existing streetscape. And as we’ve seen with the redevelopment of commercial buildings like Newtown’s Crago Flourmill – home of Design Plus Drafting and just round the corner from Young Henrys – it’s possible to pay homage to an area’s industrial heritage while transforming it into an awesome place to work and live.

Do you think it reflects what’s going on in the rest of the country?
The ‘tiny house’ movement wouldn’t be so strong if there hadn’t been a big shift in our attitudes towards how we should live. Australians are recognising that our wellbeing doesn’t depend on unused rooms full of stuff, and the planet just can’t support the self-indulgence of that. The sense of community that comes from living closely together is something people are finding more appealing.  

How do you feel about home reno shows - yay or nay?
Totally yay, I’m obsessed! Grand Designs is great for creative inspiration and often shows the warts ’n’ all of building and dealing with council, but my guilty pleasure is Selling Houses – those ‘before’ sequences are a scream.

Any top tips for terrace living?
Embrace the space – or lack of it. Be really smart with storage solutions and realistic about what type and size of furniture will suit. And bear in mind that most terraces were built before insulation was even a thing, so load that roof cavity, update the glazing or if you’re a renter, invest in some thick curtains. That will help you stay cool in summer and toasty in winter. 

Design Plus Drafting, 205/3 Gladstone St, Newtown NSW 2042 


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