What the experts would never have in their homes

See what design feature the property gurus would advise that you avoid.

Want to know what the experts would never have in their homes? We asked architects, builders, designers and stylists to talk about the design features they want to avoid.

Polished concrete

“The one thing I wouldn’t have in my home is polished concrete,” says Craig Spratling, owner and licensed builder from Create Construction in Sydney.

“It certainly can look amazing but it is very difficult to achieve. If you pull it off and it turns out the way you want, there is a chance of it cracking, (movement joints are required to reduce the risk) and there is ongoing maintenance and cleaning.

"Even the best sealers don’t prevent all stains, and once stained there is no going back. Even using the wrong type of cleaning product can degrade the sealer, leaving areas like the kitchen prone to stains from food spills even if wiped up straight away.”

Marble benchtops

“Being a builder gives me insight into design and building features that work and don’t work,” says Con Mihas from Home Impact Architecture and Construction in Sydney.

Mihas says he would never have marble benchtops in his home. “They are aesthetically pleasing, however they absorb so many stains and are not practical, particularly for the price.”

Glass balustrades

Mihas says he would avoid these in his home too. “This comes down to simple high maintenance. They only look good if they are immaculately clean and as we know with kids, that is impossible.”

Inflexible spaces

“I wouldn’t have any inflexible spaces,” says Richard Middleton from Richard Middleton Architects in Melbourne. “Space is a premium and places need to be flexible and functional. We are increasingly finding with our residential projects that ‘the good room’ has become defunct,” he says.

“Our clients want one central space in their home that is a flexible ‘heart’ that can be used for casual living but is also presentable and adaptable for entertaining. We are also designing kitchens with large work benches that almost morph into large dining surfaces or extend into entertaining spaces and living rooms that flow out into gardens and courtyards.”

Servery kitchen windows

“While in theory they sound like a great idea and look great,” says Mihas, “the reality is flush servery windows are not as functional as one would think. They are rarely watertight and are often subject to leaks and drafts, no matter how well executed.”

Floor boards in the kitchen

“As a builder this baffles me,” says Mihas. “It looks amazing but it is the most impractical choice. Oil spits, spills and high traffic all wear down even the most durable hardwoods.”

Stack stone

“I would never have stack stone or cultured (engineered) stone cladding in my house or in houses I design,” says Katrina Malyn architectural designer at Design Projector in Sydney.

“If you would like to use stone in your interior or exterior design, it is preferable to go for solid stone, rather than stack stone. Of course, a large feature wall may be beyond budget but you can introduce stone in other ways that will create a similarly powerful visual effect.

"It is the imitation that robs stack stone of the power of natural stone. Once the stone is reduced to just a thin cladding it loses its structural strength and the stone, in my view, loses its appeal.”


“People love the idea of extra storage or having a man cave,” says Mihas “but these are expensive to build and can be subject to flooding issues.”

This article was originally published by Domain on 6 July 2016. It represents the views of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the views of AMP.

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© AMP Life Limited. This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.