The Global Liveability Index doesn’t lie, and Melbourne is still in the top three in terms of the most liveable cities on earth. There are plenty of reasons for that, and one of them is just how stunning our homes are here. From Art Deco to Edwardian, standalone homes to units, villas to semi detached duplex. And no matter which one you live in, the answer is yes: you can add an extension to it to make life even better.

Supercharge your semi detached duplex Melbourne wide

Do you call a semi-detached dwelling home in Melbourne or beyond? Sharing a common wall but with separate ownership, hardly anyone turns their nose up at your ‘semi house’ anymore. Because as those house costs skyrocketed, today they stand for the perfect blend of affordability, suburban spaciousness and urban efficiency. You can still express your individuality, strike the perfect balance between privacy and community living, and the answer to whether you can renovate a duplex whether it’s in classic Victorian or a fully contemporary style is a big YES!

While there’s a bit more leeway when it comes to renovating or adding a second story extension to a standalone home, what are the special duplex renovation rules laid out by Melbourne’s most experienced home renovators? Our 6-step guide to a successful extension for semi detached houses should help make it a little clearer:

Step 1. Build up… or out?

If you’d prefer your duplex extension to go horizontal rather than vertical, you’ll need to ensure you’re not encroaching on your neighbour’s dreams as you pursue yours. So for a semi-detached home, it’s not just about space – it’s very much about symmetry and structure.

If you’re building up, don’t forget about the height of the adjoining home, because mismatched heights can be a visual misfit from the street’s perspective. You also need to think about the weight on the shared wall, and whether your plans will block out the natural light for your neighbour.

Remember, harmony is the name of the game.

Step 2. Chat with the neighbours

There’s already a lot to think about, and a lot of it involves your happy neighbour. Remember, you share more than a wall – you share memories! So knock on the door, chat about it over a cuppa, and ensure you get as much of their goodwill on board as possible before the hammering begins.

Step 3. Council capers

Ah, local Melbourne councils – gotta love ’em! There’s going to be plenty of box-ticking to do here, especially in places where heritage overlays or specific design guidelines are in play. Better to research than repent!

Step 4. Unique duplex dynamics

We’ve said already that symmetry matters with a semi-detached extension, but also give some thought to addressing some other things that bug you about duplex life whilst making those plans. It’s the perfect time to soundproof the common wall, for one.

Step 5: Maximise the space

A detached extension can add something really special to the already-obvious special vibe of your duplex, so take Step 4 a step further by thinking really smart. Under-stair storage, skylights and courtyard gardens, for instance, work wonders in limited spaces.

Step 6. Get expert advice

Think you can do this without an architect or building designer? Think again. Navigating the nuanced world of semi-detached extensions and renovations is truly tricky – and we’re talking about even more than the really important things like the structural integrity of the shared wall. Don’t forget about your shared drainage systems, limited access for the builders, privacy considerations relating to windows, balconies and open areas, and much more.

Your House Extension Specialists

If you're building a new home, house extension or renovation, RFT Solutions offer peace of mind. Our goal is to save you time, money and achieve a result you love.

Ask Melbourne’s masters in semi detached extensions

At the end of the day, extending a semi-detached home is sometimes more like choreographing a dance than getting stuck in with the hammers and saws. Collaborate and communicate before you celebrate supercharging the unique charm of semi-detached living, and the easiest way to do all of it is with RFT Solutions.

We’ll help you design and draft that extension, obtain the permits you need, obtain & assess quotes from Melbourne builders, and guide you through everything from a blank sheet of brainstorming paper to turning your new key in the front door. Find out how to slash up to 20% on your usual semi-detached home extension costs by chatting to RFT Solutions today.

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