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Can You Build a 2-Storey Granny Flat?

Two storey Granny flats have become very popular with families and investors. These 2-storey flats come in different shapes and layouts. Like the single storey Granny flat, the internal habitable measurement is restricted and this restriction depends on the state where the Granny flat is being built.

Layouts to maximise space

With the Granny Flats Design, an architect can be as innovative as he wants to, provided he keeps to the required compliances. Some layout ideas to maximise habitable space are:

  • A good layout for a 2 storey Granny flat would ideally have:
    • The deck and a double garage on the 1st floor and
    • Everything else including the bedrooms to the bathrooms, kitchen, a laundry, dining and living area etc. on the second storey.

    There is a reason why this layout is called the ideal 2 storey Granny flat layout. The Council allows a maximum of 50square metres of habitable space. The garage and deck are not considered habitable space. Hence, in this layout, the total of the 50square metres of habitable space provided can be utilised upstairs.

  • Having the ground floor deck connect to an open plan spacious living room that further opens into an open deck is another brilliant 2 storey Granny flat idea. Placing the kitchen, laundry and bathroom on the ground floor and the accommodation rooms upstairs allows privacy and plenty of storage.

Adorning bedroom walls with large windows provides beautiful views of the outside and lets in plenty of natural light thereby making the rooms look bigger. A smaller house does not necessarily have to mean smaller living. When designed properly, these 2 storey Granny flats can house a full family.

Staircase placement

One question that is likely to intrigue a Granny Flats Builder is the placement of the staircase. The staircase has to comfortably connect the two storeys yet take up minimal space. It can be made to look either elegant and classy or simple enough to blend in with the décor.

Two types of staircases can be incorporated within a Granny Flat. They are:

  • The regular straight staircase: This is more common. The steps are straight and large enough to carry furniture upstairs. The space beneath the staircase can be used for storage. This staircase is versatile and allows people to ascend and descend easily.
  • A spiral staircase: This is a modern design built around a central post. A set of curved steps are placed and attached to this post in a way that people have to swivel around the post to go up or come down. The steps are steep but they take up less space and are aesthetically pleasing. Installation of this staircase is easy and cheap. However, old and elderly people might find it difficult to navigate.

Floor restrictions

Since the habitable space restriction remains the same, maximising upstairs space calls for good interior planning and designing. Installing an upstairs balcony helps to increase space yet comply with the restrictions, as the balcony does not constitute habitable space.

While the cost of building a 2 storey Granny flat might be more, it offers a unique opportunity to increase the perceived space. It would be prudent to mention here that Council regulations state that taller Granny flats require larger setbacks. Thus when building a 2 storey Granny house care should be taken to keep the height within 3.8m.


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