Yes, Your Home Can Have An Outdoor Shower
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Yes, Your Home Can Have An Outdoor Shower

Design pros say owners of suburban and city dwellings increasingly want to enjoy the thrill of sudsing up in the fresh air.

By Allison Duncan
Fri, Aug 12, 2022 9:43amGrey Clock 2 min

LATHERING UP OUTDOORS is among life’s most wholesome kicks. Sun hits body parts that rarely see the light of day while water falls like rain beneath blue sky. Why must one wait for a stay at the beach to enjoy a fresh-air scrub?

One needn’t, says New York City designer David Frazier: “Outdoor showers enliven a daily task and are becoming increasingly popular in metropolitan locales,” he said. Outside stalls exemplify biophilic design—a trend connecting people to nature that has surged during the pandemic, said Graeme Labe, principal at hospitality design firm Luxury Frontiers in Johannesburg, South Africa. His studio recently outfitted luxury resort Camp Sarika by Amangiri in Canyon Point, Utah, with shower cabinets that open onto a soul-soothing vista of red-sand desert mesas.

To a greater degree than their country cousins, outdoor “city” showers must balance privacy with delicious exposure to the elements—unless commissioned by exhibitionists. Designers rely on everything from frosted-glass cubicle walls to portable folding screens to ensure discretion without killing the view or the al fresco feel, says New York architect Philip Consalvo. Mr. Frazier walled one outdoor shower in a West Point, Ga., home with a mix of pierced brick and horizontal cedar slats. Fresh air can squeeze through but nosy eyes can’t.

In a well-secluded yard, you can just slap a faucet against a wall and plumb it. Otherwise, you need walls to block the neighbours’ sightlines. In Austin, Texas, designer Claire Zinnecker and architecture firm Alterstudio were tasked with creating a plein-air shower for clients who had only side neighbours to contend with. They created a roomy but private alcove enclosed on three sides by a teak fence, a tan-brick wall and glass doors to an interior bathroom.

Lush vegetation can help. The walled garden of furniture designer Glenn Lawson’s 1920s Spanish revival home in Los Angeles is jungle-y enough that just two shower partitions sufficed. He chose inexpensive, naturally waterproof stucco to align with his architecture.

If your shower is surrounded by taller buildings, modesty requires more cover overhead. Susana Simonpietri, founder of design firm Chango & Co., topped the stall in her Brooklyn townhome’s garden with a trellis and encouraged climbing vines to make it opaque.

In Sharon, Conn., textile designer John Robshaw fitted a shower rig to his suburban home’s shingle siding so he could rinse off after tending to his garden. Though he shielded his setup from neighbours’ eyes by planting flowering dogwood, he realized his own guest-room windows posed a problem. The shower, he said, was “tricky to use when guests are in town.” Interior drapes offered a solution.

Reprinted by permission of Mansion Global. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication:  August 11, 2022.


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Expert tips for prospective buyers looking to purchase a home in 2024.

By Josh Bozin
Fri, Apr 12, 2024 3 min

For aspiring homeowners, be it a first-time buyer, downsizer, or investor, picturing your idea of homeownership bliss is the easy part. But before deliberating on furniture choices or scouting for that perfect neighbourhood coffee, understanding your purchasing power stands out as the most important step in ensuring your success in homeownership.

And with the Australian property market gaining momentum in 2024, there’s never been a better time to come to grips with your financial options.

In 2023, amid the changing financial landscape that saw rising interest rates and the cost of living skyrocket, among other factors, the total amount borrowed for property purchases across Australia was estimated at $300.9 billion, a 12.7 percent decrease from the previous year, according to PEXA’s latest Mortgage Insights Report.

Each mainland state also experienced a decline in new lending, according to the report, with Victoria and New South Wales seeing the biggest drops to $84.1 billion and $109.5 billion, respectively.

While this trend reflects the repercussions of such financial hardships on the everyday Australian, John Morello, director and auctioneer at Jellis Craig, said we’re seeing renewed confidence in the property market during the first quarter of 2024, particularly in Melbourne.

“Auction clearance rates have started the year strongly and consumer sentiment is rising. This lift is driven by cooling inflation and an improved outlook on interest rates. At Jellis Craig, as with the rest of the market, we are experiencing an increase in volume of property compared to the same period in March last year (up 28% in 2024),” Mr Morello said.

“Melbourne’s property market, in particular, is showing its ongoing evolution and resilience.”

PEXA’s report revealed that, while borrowing saw a decrease in 2023 in Australia, Australians still invested $613.0 billion in property purchases in 2023. In 2024, purchasing confidence is only going up, as prospective first home buyers, seasoned downsizers, and savvy investors look to capitalise on a flood of new property hitting the market, coupled with the lowering of interest rates across the board.

“With more certainty in the economic outlook, along with an increase in volume of property available, we are seeing these factors translate to early signs of a boost in confidence in both buyers and sellers,” said Mr Morello.

“Further encouraging data shows that whilst there is more property available to purchase, more people are inspecting property, again indicating that demand has increased broadly across our marketplace.”

If you’re in the market for a new property, the biggest question you must ask yourself is how much house can I afford?

A great starting place is to speak with your mortgage broker or financial professional, who can guide you on your lending options. This is critical, as you need to know what your future repayment options might look like, and ultimately, what you will typically be able to afford.

A useful tool for judging whether you can afford a specific property is to factor in the 28/36 rule — a rough guide that suggests you should not spend more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income on housing, and no more than 36 percent on all debts. Another useful tool is the idea of a debt-to-income ratio (DTI); a formula whereby an individual can divide all of their monthly debt payments by gross monthly income to arrive at a number that one can measure as a way of managing monthly mortgage payments.

Mr Morello emphasised the need to understand affordability and what’s feasible for each individual when looking to make a purchase, no matter the budget, on a property in 2024.

“It’s pivotal to work out what you can afford. Get your finances in order. Consider all associated costs with buying, and research what concessions and grants are available,” said Mr Morello.

“It’s easy for individuals to begin the process today. Start actively searching potential properties on a weekly basis, and research areas you are interested in. Check weekly sales results, attend inspections and auctions, to get a feel for the process. Just remember, it’s important to be really comfortable in understanding your living expenses, and what the ongoing expenses will be once you have bought a property.

“For example, mortgage repayments, council rates, water, power, owners corp fees, insurances, maintenance costs; if you are buying as an investment, the Land Tax payable on that property which is an ongoing tax. There’s many factors to consider.”

To see what’s possible for your specific circumstances, visit our Finance Portal for specific tools, guides and tips—as well as our own mortgage calculator—to assist you on your property journey.



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