Jun 18 2024

Designing the Perfect Granny Flat: 5 Key Factors to Consider

Discover the essential elements to consider when designing a granny flat for older parents or relatives that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. 


Designing for Mobility and Care:


As we age, mobility can become a challenge. Consider features that promote easy movement within the granny flat. Design an open floor plan to minimize obstacles and create a feeling of spaciousness. Make sure you have wider doorways and hallways to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs. Generally you'll need 1050mm clear width in hallways, 860mm wide doors, and 900mm minimum clear space around beds. For wheelchairs a 1500mm diameter clear turning circle in the kitchen, bathroom and main bedroom is a real advantage.


Ensure a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor living areas, with easy access to a patio or garden. Doorways should be level entry with a maximum 20mm lip between inside and outside. Bathrooms should prioritize safety with walk-in showers with grab bars, and consider installing ramps and handrails in strategic locations for added support.


A second bedroom is a good idea if there's the possibility of a live-in care giver at some future time or the occupants have hobbies such as art or sewing. Also this maximizes the potential future value of the property for rental or resale. 


Climate Comfort:


Keeping older people comfortable year-round is crucial. Invest in a heat pump system that provides both heating and cooling for efficient temperature control. Proper continuous ventilation is essential to prevent moisture build-up. Strategically placed windows and doors can promote natural airflow, thermal heat gain, and natural light. Airtight construction and performance glazing will help retain comfortable temperatures. Finally, don't skimp on insulation - good insulation in walls, floors, and ceilings will contribute significantly to maintaining a comfortable environment, at a low cost. In the article below you can find out more why this is so important.


High performance homes - Find out more


Blending In or Standing Out?


The granny flat's exterior should complement the main house while maintaining its own identity. Consider the overall style of your property and choose a style that fits in visually. Remember, a well-designed granny flat can add significant value to your property, and poor design may do the opposite. It's really critical that a 


When it comes to materials, prioritize durability and ease of maintenance. You won't want want to be spending a lot of time maintaining, cleaning or repairing your new dwelling. 


Building Options - Finding the Perfect Fit:


There are various ways to construct a granny flat, each with its own advantages. Traditional on-site builds offer maximum customization, but may take longer to complete and will likely be more expensive. This will need to be the chosen method if you want an internal garage, brick cladding or if you're doing it as an alteration to an existing building.


Prefabricated options, including transportable, modular, and kitset granny flats, can offer a faster and more cost-effective solution, with a variety of pre-designed layouts available.  Carefully research reputable builders who specialize in granny flats and have a proven track record of delivering high-quality projects that can be customized to meet your specific requirements.


It's important to understand all the costs that apply with any method of building. The below article breaks down all the costs which can apply when using prefabricated transportable method.

Find out all the costs of a new prefab home

Navigating Regulations:


Building regulations are constantly evolving, so staying informed is crucial. In New Zealand, the good news is that regulations for building granny flats (also known as Minor Residential Units or MRUs) are expected to be streamlined in the 2024 and 2025 financial years. This means obtaining building consent and resource consent for granny flats under 60sqm should be a more cost-effective process. However, it's still essential to choose a qualified builder who adheres to all necessary standards and ensures the project complies with council requirements.


Manor Build


By carefully considering these 5 key factors, Manor Build can design you a granny flat that is not only functional and comfortable for you or your older loved ones, but also complements your property and adds value to your investment. Remember, a well-designed granny flat can be a place where older people can thrive and continue to live independently for years to come.


At Manor Build we've designed and built a lot of granny flats and can help you all the way through the process. Contact us if you'd like to find out more


Browse our full range of prefab house plans

Tags: Housing Market Trends Design Options Granny Flats