Lifespaces founders Elliot McLaren, Simon Babb and Grant Downie and renders of their proposed projects by Auhaus Architecture. Photo: LifespacesFive things you shouldn’t say to an architectAustralia’s best houses for 2016The worst renovations in heritage properties
A Victorian company’s innovative business model is enabling more consumers the opportunity to own a quality-built home designed by a leading architect.
Founded by three builders, Lifespaces Group offers customers the ability to purchase limited release, pre-designed plans by architects to be built by the Lifespaces team.
Co-founder of Lifespaces Group Elliot McLaren says the business started after observing consumer demand for more affordable and hassle-free architecturally-designed homes.
“I’ve always been to privy to what I believed was a gap in the market, and that was clients coming in looking for a higher-end product but not really either wanting to go through the process, or not having the budget to seek higher-end architecture,” McLaren says.
Each design produced by Lifespaces’ architects is limited to 10 uses, thereby guaranteeing customers a relatively exclusive home.
“That’s a very firm, set-in-stone part of the Lifespaces brand,” McLaren says.
“Once the tenth home is built, the plan is retired, never to be seen again.”
The collective construction experience of the founders ensures all materials and fixtures in the homes are carefully sourced and installed by the team.
“Each toilet comes from Spain, each oven comes out from France ??? We have proper limestone not acrylic baths, and the taps are all handmade out of Melbourne. Nothing comes out of China,” McLaren says.
The first five Lifespaces designs have been created by acclaimed Victorian based architectural firm Auhaus Architecture.
“We’ve used the same design principles as we do for all our regular homes, looking at light, connection to outdoor spaces, how the light moves across the house throughout the day, natural ventilation, good natural volume and connection between spaces,” says Kate Fitzpatrick, co-founding director of Auhaus.
The first Lifespaces home – the Courtyard House designed by Auhaus – is priced at $675,000. This is an upfront, unwavering price that includes the cost of architecture and construction.
“That’s a 30 square home [about 278 square metres] which equates to about $22,500 per square for the entire project,” McLaren says.
“We can hit a certain price point that sees us well below what it would normally cost to access this level of architect, and with a product that really is tapping into the raw design ethos of Kate Fitzpatrick and Ben Stibbard of Auhaus.”
According to the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia, currently only five to 10 per cent of Australian homes are architect-designed.
“Lifespaces is about creating a platform for high-end architects to design the way they would like to design as if creating a home for themselves,” McLaren says.
Lifespaces plan to eventually introduce more architects to the business who specialise in a range of residential styles and climates.
The company’s home in Barwon Heads, the Courtyard House, will be completed next month, and will open to the public shortly after.Read More