SEPP design principles for boutique senior developments


If you have the right block of land, SEPP Senior housing developments offer a strong investment. But you need an architect who really understands how to maximise the return on your investment.

At Playoust Churcher, we are the Sydney SEPP Seniors living experts. We can look at any block of land and assess the feasibility of a project by determining the highest and best use. And we have decades of design experience to create a bespoke boutique development that will deliver you a solid return.

Dining and living room area

The downsizer market


Luke Playoust, Director here at Playoust Churcher Architects, is our resident SEPP design expert. He understands the market inside and out… and knows what it takes to design a high-end development that speaks to the unique needs of the market.

“The market for SEPP Seniors developments is downsizers,” explains Luke. “They are generally selling their house and going into a unit or villa, so the indoor/outdoor relationship is really important. There needs to be a good flow between the kitchen, meals and family room, out to a covered courtyard or terrace.

Generosity of space is critical for this market. They want the spaces to look generous and to be generous. We focus on generous living and master bedrooms as well as plenty of storage, to give this market what they are looking for.”

It’s also important to understand the local market, as a development on the Northern Beaches will have a more beachy look as opposed to the North Shore which is probably more conservative. Within the market you will also have variances in finishes and final price based on the location.

Overview of a beautiful big house

Bespoke SEPP design


There is nothing standard or average about the SEPP design work we do. We design boutique developments that are as unique and individual as they are functional for the end user. And we achieve that through bespoke design, as Luke explains:

“Each design is tailored to the individual site and then to each unit within the development. I like to give each entrance a unique design so it’s not just a mass block.

For a lot of the units, particularly those which have been purchased before or during construction, we work with the owners to tailor the design. This often results in an individually designed kitchen or sometimes the removal of walls to create a more open space. They can choose their tiles, colours, carpets, flooring, cabinetry and benchtops.

Because we are working on smaller bespoke developments, this is a service we can offer.”

We consider every element of how the residents will use the property and design with flow and ease in mind, from the position of the master bedroom to capture the morning sun to the location of the letterbox.

“It’s about understanding who is buying the properties and how they will use the space,” says Luke. “I like to group the entry, letterbox and vehicle access in the same area so the resident can pull up, get their mail and then pull into the basement garage. It’s these small details that add to the boutique nature of the development.”

Overview of a beautiful big house

Privacy and screening


Individual privacy – both from within and from without – is an important design consideration in SEPP design. The market for these boutique developments doesn’t want their privacy compromised, either by neighbours being able to look in or being able to look straight out onto their neighbours.

In large unit blocks, privacy is often compromised… but the more individual you can make the design, the more private they become.

“Often, in the smaller developments, there’s a number of different stair wells and lift wells, so that immediately adds to the boutique nature of the development.

We also use screening, both physical screens and planting layouts, to help with privacy. Generous green landscaped areas and planter boxes of screening trees also help create the perception of less built work and more landscaped work.”

The SEPP Senior specialists


At Playoust Churcher Architects, we have been working on boutique SEPP Senior developments for many years. Our expertise and skill have cemented us as the SEPP Senior specialists.

Contact us to discuss how we can bring our SEPP design principles to your seniors living development.

Read more articles about senior housing design.

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