Luxury Architecture: The Key Considerations

Through our work on several high-end homes, Thextonsmith has developed a distinct design philosophy on the what brings true comfort and atmosphere to a space. Whether it is the details that can never be skimped on or the broader architectural challenges that must be faced head on, our architectural game plan means that no house is left lacking.

Below are the four key design considerations that face high-end projects.


1. Site Selection

Finding the right site and correctly positioning a home can make a tremendous impact on the realised potential of a home. When our clients are seeking sites, we outline the key aspects that enable the best outcomes and longevity.

One aspect is to find a site with views or an outlook that cannot be built out. This can be a site directly fronting to parkland, the beach, a river, a harbour, city skyline, or other gorgeous scenery. Sites on an incline can have an advantage here, with outlook out and over houses below.

Once a suitable site is selected, maximising that site’s potential is the next step. Anticipating how an area may develop and allowing for future neighbouring development in the design will ensure a better result over time. Generally, this means focusing on outlook to the front, and minimising outlook to the sides and rear, where neighbouring buildings may be located.


If a view is not desired or possible, as may be the case when a client is purchasing a site in a very built-up and highly desirable suburb, other factors come into play when choosing a site. For example, privacy, proximity to local facilities, distance from main roads, mews or laneway access, north-facing, among many other considerations. Remember, in extremely built-up areas, opportunities can come in surprising places. For instance, a corner site might sound unappealing, but if you’re permitted to build several stories high, this can provide the potential for great views, and a low likelihood of being built out.


2. Basements

Anywhere your land costs are high and limited land sizes outweigh basement construction costs, it makes sense to dig down. Depending on the proposed use, a simple basement car park can cost approximately $1700/m2, far less than the cost of using valuable land to for parking. Additionally, sloping sites are an obvious scenario where semi-basements can prove very successful.

When excavating, a decent floor-to-floor height is necessary to enable various uses of the space. We suggest 3.0m floor to floor as a minimum for residential applications, ideally 3.5m.

In addition to car parking, games rooms, bars, home gyms and cinemas are ideal spaces for a basement where light is limited and cannot be brought in. Where a light court can be utilised, any room type can be positioned in the basement.

It helps to think creatively – for example, we have had properties where a swimming pool is adjacent to a basement space, separated by a glass window, allowing light to permeate through the pool into the basement.


3. Space

Space is a luxury. It’s not necessarily about having an abundance of space (after all, who wants to have to call or text family members in your own house?); it’s about having well designed and functional spaces that enhance movement, comfort and entertaining. The extra 500mm that enables ease of movement past a dining table without having to shuffle chairs. Being able to cross a living area without stepping around occupants. Hosting that birthday or event and being able to accommodate the full guestlist comfortably.

Space is key, and it is effective and functional use of said space that is paramount.

Often clever design and use of space can enable areas to ‘borrow’ space from one another, for example having a passage open to living areas instead of walled off, or having a living area open out to an outside space. A good solution is having a larger space broken into various smaller spaces. This is typically done with living, dining and kitchen, but can also include a library, study and/or games area. These areas can be set up as their own space, while also being able to be brought together for events.


4. Natural Materials

Natural materials provide a visual and textural element that is hard to replicate, as well as a natural timelessness and quality to the products as they age. Natural products also tend to give off less harmful chemicals as they settle, resulting in a healthier home.

Using natural materials such as quality stone, wood and other supplies can create a luxury escape or hotel-type feel. In today’s fast-paced 24/7 world, more homes are trending towards creating a luxurious private sanctuary in the master bedroom, ensuite and retreat spaces.

While these products do generally attract a higher price tag, the aesthetic results add immense value to your home. Also remember that these finishes often last longer and age better than synthetic materials, which may have future implications.

True quality cannot be cheated. There are no half measures that can be taken when creating your dream home, especially one that will last and stand the test of time, and we believe that all the points above must be seriously considered.

These items are important to consider when undertaking a luxury residential project. At Thextonsmith, we can help guide you through the entire process from choosing a site to selecting finishes and project handover. Get in touch today for a no-obligation chat.


Peruse examples of our architectural work through the link below.