We are thrilled to be moving into our new townhouse, but here’s a tip for new players – make the tape measure your friend and check the size of your front door, hallways and staircases.
Because the plans won’t show just how tight actually getting into your new home might be.
It’s an interesting process downsizing from a standard four-bedroom home to a multi-level two-bedroom townhouse, but we didn’t think that a more minimalist lifestyle would also mean moving in would be such a squeeze.
The excitement of fitting out the place with our first new furnishings in decades has been dampened by the anxiety of whether they will actually get through the front door, or even around the corner from the garage access.
One delivery has already had to go back to the store until we figure out how to get it in and up the stairs. Maybe the door will have to come off, or maybe it will have to sit in the garage.
A new couch – what we thought was the perfect purchase – has had to be reordered, replaced by one where the back can be detached.
Our new slender fridge will just fit through the door and into the smaller kitchen recess but there is going to have to be a backup one in the garage.
Oh, and don’t forget the packing that will add vital millimetres to the products you have just spent thousands on.
We are starting to understand why Ikea is so popular – and it’s not just the meatballs.
Flatpacks can pass the squeeze test but we wonder what happens when it’s time to move out. Allen key anyone?
We knew things would be tight, but a 68cm gap when the front door is open – don’t forget the centimetres-robbing door handle and stopper – doesn’t leave much room for even the most miracle-working removalist to manoeuvre, especially when looking straight up at a staircase.
And it’s not just us. The round of the furniture stores confirm that all over Canberra new home buyers are losing deposits on furniture and appliances that just won’t fit through the door, or up the stairs or down a hall.
Delivery drivers will shake their heads but at least console you that you are not alone.
Your new neighbours will you tell the same tales. Even one in a three-bedroom has had to leave a freezer in the garage because it couldn’t make it through.
Designers do wonders with space in small homes, finding efficiencies that create roominess. We love our high ceilings and tall windows, and the light it allows in, but it doesn’t have to be the Tardis.
It’s not as if we didn’t put the tape measure over everything, but it’s that killer front entry that’s put us on edge for future deliveries and the big move to come.
Does a smaller home also deserve such a tiny front door – two centimetres narrower than the Australian standard?
Some of the biggest and most reputable architecture firms in Canberra are behind many of the new developments, and they should put the same thought into the access as they do with the rest of the property.
Then there is the planning authority that approves developments. As more medium- to high-density housing is built across Canberra, it should be reviewing the rules to ensure easier and safer access.
For the sake of a few centimetres, it would save us all a lot of angst and not take the gloss off what should be such an exciting time in our lives.