Find out how to make property aspect work for you.
It’s week six of The Block 2015 and contestants are just over the halfway mark. While some of the renovation rookies recently learned that their budgets are in the red and now have to seek permission from Scott Cam before making any purchases, others copped a $1,000 fine for using power tools after-hours (thanks to Whitney’s video evidence) – living room week was draining both fiscally and mentally.
Featuring bespoke coffee tables, sliding artwork, home entertainment theatres, and the “Octagon Motor Inn” key canvas display, the living rooms were decked out with beautiful styling and ornaments but despite this, living room week was all about aspect.
While some contestants hit the nail on the head by demolishing walls and flipping rooms to leverage the layout and aspect of their space, others didn’t quite catch on to the importance of aspect for the living area.
When critiquing Kingi and Caro’s living room, the judges were perplexed by the contestants’ decision to place the couch with its back to the view, as Neale said “It’s all about the (north-west) aspect”.
So how important is the direction of your property, and when buying property what is the most desirable aspect or compass configuration?
Different aspects explained
In Australia, the most sought-after aspect is north or north-east as this direction creates a greater flow of natural light, creating a sense of warmth and spaciousness. In particular, it’s important to have frequently used areas, such as the dining and living rooms, facing north. This is because during summer, the light is directly over these areas while in the winter, its low position means the light will still get through.
North- or east-facing
Properties that are north- or east-facing are typically the most desirable as they get the most direct sun during the day and create a natural flow of light.
While east-facing properties may enjoy an early sunrise and morning light, that will be short-lived. Keep in mind that during winter you won’t get much heat from the sun at all.
A southerly aspect won’t offer much sunlight and without careful consideration for natural light, the property may be dark and condensation could become an issue due to the different temperatures that can create moisture and mould.
Properties that face west should generally be avoided from an aspect perspective as the afternoon sunlight generally comes in at a horizontal angle which can be intense. The sun from a low angle can be hard to manage, particularly if you’re living in an apartment and you don’t have sufficient glazing or awnings in place.
How to make the most of your aspect
Not all of us will be able to score a north-facing property, so here are some ways that you can work with what you have.
- Install skylights that are orientated to the north.
- Add a north-facing pitched roof.
- Use light or neutral coloured paint on walls and ceilings.
- Enlarge existing windows to north-facing walls to encourage airflow and light.
Living room reveal results
It seems that second-chance siblings Luke and Ebony, as well as Tinder enthusiasts Andrew and Whitney, could be the dark horses of the competition, as both teams have bounced back and finally broken their losing streak. On the flipside, Dean and Shay sit on the bottom rung (which is a first).
As they won $10,000 in the glasshouse challenge, things are looking up for the second-chance siblings.
With the decision to knock down some of their walls, Luke and Ebony created three large spaces in their open-plan living, Neale said: “That is going to make it feel so huge, it’s going to put this apartment in a different lead to the ones below”, he said.
Darren particularly liked the artwork with the sliding panel door: “I love the fact that you don’t have to look at the TV all the time, and you’ve got the artwork so it's symmetrical…”, he said.
Shaynna described the colours as a “knock-out” and she thought that the pair are finally beginning to “own” their style.
However, the judges weren’t as thrilled about the bar, as Shayna said: “It looks cheap and nasty.. a really cheap laminate feel”, and all judges felt that the tiles should be replaced with a mirror.
As the only couple that haven’t won $10,000 and one of two couples to find out that their budget was in the red, Andrew and Whitney needed a win this week more than ever.
While Shaynna and Neale felt that the contestants had got the orientation right, Neale was not a fan of the artwork: “That seriously overwhelms me, I hope they’re going to find a cashed-up 25 year old to buy this apartment”, he said. Neale felt that the artwork may have been better suited for a studio apartment in Fitzroy, but not a luxury apartment in South Yarra.
As usual, Darren begged to differ about the styling and artwork: “I think it's young and hip and cool and all those things you want to see in a poster or in an artwork that you can take off the wall or in a magazine…”, he said.
Darren commended Andrew and Whitney for their time management this week: “In a week that’s really stressful, they’ve had real timber floors laid, they’ve had pieces like this made (coffee table), it shows planning and foresight and courage and all the good things we want to see and in a tight timeframe, and with no money”, he said.
All judges were impressed with the automation and quality of the sound system.
Neale said that the living room will tick a lot of boxes in terms of layout and furniture choice, but Andrew and Whitney need to adjust some styling to create an emotional connection with future buyers.
With the delivery of their living room, Kingi and Caro slipped a little this week.
The judges had some reservations about the orientation of the space and couldn’t understand why the contestants would place the couch with its back to the view: “To me, they’ve gained nothing by the orientation here it doesn’t feel bigger because of that and they’ve already cut their selling by 50% by the orientation with what they’ve done with this room”, Shaynna said.
Neale was also concerned about the function of the living room: “I feel like I’m in a home theatre waiting for the movie to start...I don’t feel like I’m in a living room”, he said.
In terms of the “Octagon Motor Inn” key canvas, Neale said that he felt as though he was in a “1970s travelodge”, however Darren thought it was really authentic, yet he did feel that the room had lost some of the urban edge showcased in the other rooms.
Upon discovering that they were $30,000 in the red, Suzi and Voni were desperate for a win this week.
While Shaynna commended the contestants for their consistency, the judges thought that the wine fridge was “dominant” and “bizarre”, and Neale described it as the “drinking den.”
When they saw the electric fireplace, Shaynna said “Sorry, that is probably the most hideous thing I’ve seen this series so far.”
Darren thought the mirror in the bar was clever, as it reflected the view from a different perspective.
Neale commented that the styling this week was not up to scratch, when he said: “Danger of being tacky.. it’s not classy, it’s not lux, it’s not glamorous, and it’s not South Yarra.”
Despite the judge's advice for the girls to get rid of the fridge and replace it with a bookcase, Suzi and Voni want to leave the room exactly as it is for auction day.
This week Dean and Shay made the gamble to change the layout of their apartment by switching the living area and the kitchen, to make the most of their aspect.
However, as the flipped living area is on the opposite side of the building, construction works were still underway which meant that the pair could not deliver a room this week.
Despite this, Dean and Shay made progress for planning a gas fireplace and styling the room by presenting the judges with a “tasting platter”.
However, the judges weren't convinced about their decision to flip the spaces, “It’s one of those cases where it’s change the plans at your peril”, Neale said.
The window height is different to all the other apartments, and that the windows in their living room are kitchen windows, “The impact is lost in here, once you sit down the view is lost entirely..it’s a bit of a tragedy…” , Neale said.
However, the judges will wait and watch the “grand plan” unfold.
The next episode of The Block 2015 airs tonight, Monday October 19 at 7:30pm on Nine.