demolish and build: which features to keep?

If you're after creative options when it comes to your home, you may have considered knocking down your old home and building a new one. Or perhaps your demolish and build plans came about as the result of a strategic plan. Whatever the case, buying a run down old property in a great area and erecting a new two-storey home may be just the ticket to securing the most ideal possible home in a desirable location.

Once you're set on this course, you have a lot of decisions to make. This can be daunting, as well as very rewarding - after all, you get to shape the future of your home.

When new home building takes place, the house is generally designed and constructed to take advantage of the natural features of the block. This means that the house you are demolishing could probably provide some very helpful clues as to how to maximise the use of your land - or what to avoid in the future.

Air flow

As Perth builders, we know that houses in Western Australia could certainly benefit from a cool breeze every now and then. While opting for air conditioning in your new home is a great choice, being able to take advantage of natural climate control can be of some use too. This can a great way to cool your home in an energy efficient manner and take in some fresh air.

When thinking of your new home design, take a walk through the old house and see if it takes advantage of cool breezes. If the house is passively cooled by an onshore breeze or cool air rolling down a hill or slope, you should take note of the orientation of the doors, windows and elevation of the home. Choosing similar properties in your new home could save money in the long run and keep the mercury down on those hot summer days.


Older homes have often been enveloped in more modern subdivisions, causing them to lose their views. Single storey homes which may once have had a brilliant vista may now be crowded out by newer buildings or trees that have matured and are blocking the outlook.

Restoring these fantastic views to your house will not only increase your everyday enjoyment of the new home, but will probably add value to property as well. In order to take advantage of this aspect of your land, look at building a two storey home with the master suite facing the outlook, or an 'upside-down' design with the living areas upstairs to maximise your enjoyment of the open aspect.

Hardscaping and pools

Adding hardscaping or a pool can be an expensive part of home building, so if the current property has serviceable features, you may wish to hang on to them. Features like retaining walls, paved outdoor areas and large water features can be costly to buy and even more costly to install.

If you do decide that the pool is in desperate need of replacement, try and retain as much of the original work as possible to cut down the costs. Using the same space will reduce digging costs and some hardware, like pumps, may last a few years yet. If you do decide to replace these big features, consider access to your backyard once your home is completed.

If you have a narrow lot design, you may wish to get the diggers and excavators out back after the demolition, but before the commencement of new home building.

Character features

There are certain aspects of older homes that are worth hanging onto. If your property has developed trees or shrubbery, rather than pulling these out, consider pruning and shaping to reduce on your landscaping costs later, as well as providing additional privacy.

Other features of the home, such as the layout or colour scheme may be tied into the character of the area. If you'd like to incorporate some of these design elements, talk to your apg building consultant at Prestart to see how you can work in some of the character and charm of your old house into the convenience and sophistication of your new home.