Sekisui House project director Taku Hashimoto with interior shots from the new Shavida display homes at Ripley, which are being launched this week.
Sekisui House project director Taku Hashimoto with interior shots from the new Shavida display homes at Ripley, which are being launched this week.

New Ripley homes, and why size isn’t everything

The extraordinary speed of residential construction on Ipswich’s southern outskirts is something that has to be seen to be believed.

In only a few years, open spaces once occupied by paddocks, livestock, bushland and the occasional house has been completely transformed into a type of high-density suburban development never seen in this part of the world.

In estates like Ecco Ripley, 300 sqm is now all developers need to accommodate a family home, and Sekisui House has been churning out hundreds of them.

The Japanese home builder has already put 700 new houses into the Ecco Ripley estate, and this week announced its new Shavida brand with the unveiling of four new display homes.

An interior shot of the largest of the Shavida display houses.
An interior shot of the largest of the Shavida display houses.

The philosophy behind the homes is to make the most of limited space, with Ecco Ripley project director Taku Hashimoto saying designs were being fine tuned to the tastes of Australian customers.

“We try to be conscious of space efficiency, and how people move around a house,” Mr Hashimoto said.

“We look at things like the location of cabinets, light switches, the pantry area, and how people come in from the garage after bring the groceries home.

“We try to bring a lot of knowledge into Australia.”

The new display homes range from a two-storey, four bedroom house taking up 234 sqm on a 300 sqm block, down to a three-bedroom, 142 sqm single storey.

An interior shot from the largest of the Shavida homes, which has a floor space of 234 sqm.
An interior shot from the largest of the Shavida homes, which has a floor space of 234 sqm.

All the new designs have outdoor living areas and small yards.

The dimensions sound small on paper – a point Mr Hashimoto readily admits is brought up by customers – but he says attitudes change once people see what can be done with the space.

“People tend to judge a house in terms of square metres, but then once the step inside they will say it doesn’t feel that small,” he said.

“We use all that knowledge from Japan – where the houses tend to be very small – all those calculations relating to things like the location of windows and furniture.

“A lack of that type of thinking in a big house will mean that while you have lots of space, you might not be getting the most out of it.

“This is where our strength lies.”

Based in Osaka, Sekisui we be responsible for a share of the 50,000 new houses set to be built in the Ripley area by 2036.

Sekisui House project director Taku Hashimoto says lessons learned over 30 years have helped create maximum use of limited space in the new Shavida homes at Ripley.
Sekisui House project director Taku Hashimoto says lessons learned over 30 years have helped create maximum use of limited space in the new Shavida homes at Ripley.

The current forecasts are for more than 133,000 people to move into the suburb by then.

Mr Hashimoto said Ipswich was the only place in Queensland that Sekisui was building at the moment.

“The reason for that is we want to be able to ensure quality and customer service, so we don’t overstretch,” he said.

While the four new Shavida homes were opened to industry experts on Wednesday, the acid test could well come this Saturday when they are opened to the public for the first time.

Mr Hashimoto said the ideas that worked in Japan didn’t always translate perfectly into Australia, and he was keen to hear what people had to say.

This Saturday’s public launch of Shavida will be staged outside the new display homes at 12 Parkview Pde, Ripley, from 10am-1pm.

The day features entertainment, food and activities.