An architect-designed home is worth it because...

We Australians are house-proud people. And never before has our desire for the perfect home been more voracious.

We live in an age where, thanks to The Block, anyone who can wield a staple-gun fancies themselves a renovator. Thanks to Instagram, no one has ever been more conscious to have a perfectly lighted, perfectly styled living space to call their own. And thanks to MasterChef, we’re entertaining more in our homes, cooking perfect concoctions in our double ovens in our big, oversized kitchens.  Never before have our homes been so continually renovated, styled, photographed, entertained in, and considered.

So why buy in an architect-designed home? When we can transform our homes by a down-and-dirty renovation, or over-style a small corner of our homes to present a veneer of success, or buy a big, oversized off-the-plan home with a big, oversized kitchen, why is buying and living in an architect-designed home always worth it?

At Modern House, we intrinsically believe that good design enables better living. But rather than hearing it from us, we asked Katelin Butler, Editor at Houses, Tim Ross, social commentator and mid-century architecture obsessive andBetty Wood, Editor of The Spaces, to argue the case.

Tim Ross: “Good design is like a great sandwich.”

“When I was in Italy with my family recently, we went into a tiny supermercado to buy some things to make a sandwich. The guy behind the counter offered to make them for us. My wife bought cheese rolls for herself and the boys. I asked for Mortadella for mine and his eyes lit up. He made me the most perfect sandwich that I have ever had.

It was about the love.

Sandwiches are like houses. They can start with the same materials but it’s the consideration that makes them great.

If a house is like a sandwich – would you rather have one made by old mate in Italy, or get one from a service station?

I know my answer.

Good design makes us happy, it makes our hearts sing and picks us up and carries us forward.

If that can be part of your life on a daily basis – you simply must go for it.”


Betty Wood: “An architect-designed home a piece of art you can inhabit.”

“An architect-designed home is essentially a living sculpture: it’s a piece of art you can inhabit, where every element – from volume, to light, to texture and the most minute detail – has been considered to combine function with aesthetic beauty.

And it’s completely bespoke for you.”

Katelin Butler: “It’s about enjoying the everyday acts of normal life.”

“Everyone believes that they could design their own home, but this is regularly based on preconceptions of what a house is meant to be. Architects can elevate the enjoyment and comfort of a home immensely through an understanding of climate, context and other nuances. There is an element of surprise and delight to architecturally designed spaces – it’s about enjoying the everyday acts of normal life.

When speaking to clients of the many homes that we publish in Houses magazine, the consensus is that the result is far beyond what they expected when they first engaged an architect. In addition, architecturally designed homes are proven to stand the test of time – they can be adapted to suit different lifestyles across the course of a lifetime. The Forever House, a book I co-edited with Cameron Bruhn, is a collection of architecturally designed homes that have lasted their owners 20–50 years, and counting.”

Final thoughts.

Living in good design should do just that: enable us to live. To enjoy the space we live in, to feel enriched by it, to have our everyday needs facilitated. That feeling of what ‘better living’ means should be somewhat intangible, because it is individual to everyone; but most importantly it – and architecturally designed homes – should be accessible for all Australians to enjoy.

Why do you think that architect-designed homes are worth it (or not)? If you’ve lived in an architect-designed home, how did it affect your day-to-day life? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.