top of page

Dual Occupancy & Townhouse Builder

Carmel Homes Finalist Best Custom Home 2

Melbourne's Most Discerning
Dual Occupancy Builder & Townhouse Designer


A smart and successful investment property requires a high-quality custom builder. That’s exactly what you’ll experience when you engage the experienced team at Carmel Homes. Whether you’re looking to build a unit development or a dual occupancy property, we’ll craft homes with luxury inclusions and exceptional finishes that will have prospective buyers flocking to the market and discerning owner-occupiers' lifestyle perfectly met.

We can guide you through everything from the early planning stages, and offering guidance on the best way to subdivide, to selecting the right areas to spend and save for the best results. Our skilled team have the experience and design knowledge to make the development process simple and straightforward.

When you undertake a unit development with Carmel Homes, we offer our full Design & Construct service, or we can work with your existing plans. Regardless, the results will be spectacular and you can be assured your project will be delivered on time and within budget, supported by our fixed price contract.

For a free consultation with one of Melbourne's most respected
Dual Occupancy and Townhouse Designer & Builder

Thanks for contacting us. We will be in touch very soon!

They say the two things you can’t change about a property are location and aspect. These two features are even more important once we start thinking about dual occupancy.

In fact, there are several important factors to consider, and mistakes to avoid when thinking about whether or not to build a dual occupancy. So, we have put together this guide to help answer the most common questions people have.

Leather Sofa

First up, what exactly is a dual occupancy?


In short, a dual occupancy is two buildings on the same block. These days it is usual for them to share one common wall, but they can be separate buildings. They might both have street frontage, or one may sit behind the other, depending on the shape of the block.

Coffee Table

There are several big reasons why dual occupancies have become so popular. Firstly, they provide a way to live in an area that might otherwise be outside your budget, and location is a major driver of all property decisions.


For many people, the desire to be in the locations they find attractive will outweigh any other consideration, and so people can often settle for a poor-quality property in order to be in the location they love. Dual occupancy changes that, as a high-quality property can be built by leveraging the real potential of the land.


Next, dual occupancies make sound financial sense, by allowing you to optimise the value of the land, effectively building two properties on land that would historically only been valued for one.


Moreover, the second property can be treated in many ways; you can hold it and derive a rental income; you can sell it and make a profit; or you can even use it to accommodate an extended family, without living on top of one another.

ia-2016.07.25-Oswald 27 - #103.jpg

Previous Projects


Luxury Modern Dual Occ Homes 


Showcasing an exhilaratingly long list of high-end fixtures and fittings.

ia-2016.07.25-Oswald 27 - #028.jpg
Single Level Dual Occupancy

Modern Single Level Duplex


A masterpiece of precision with a no-expense spared home creates a superlatively spacious backdrop to a lifestyle of incomparable luxury & sophistication.

Bambra Townhouses Dual Occupancy.JPG

2 Level Luxury Modern Dual Occs

Cascade 2

A medley of living zones ready for absolute relaxation and magnificent entertaining.

northcote 5.jpg
northcote 11.jpg

Classic Design Dual Occupancy

The Willows

These compelling town residences of approximately 40 squares each, blend refined design elements with practicality.

How long does construction take for dual occupancy townhouses?

Unfortunately, this is a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question. There is no simple answer. But, there are steps you can take to ensure the build time is compressed as possible.


Apart for the weather – which everyone talks about but can do nothing about – the other big variable is getting approvals through council. And, because we’re effectively talking about two properties, it is not as straightforward a process as it is for a single dwelling.  That said, an expert builder knows how to streamline the process and limit the risk approvals will get snagged or delayed.


The best advice for clients, if they want to ensure timely construction, is to start talking to your preferred builder early.

17 Northcote 1.jpg
ia-2016.07.25-Oswald 27 - #040.jpg

Do dual occupancies represent value-for-money?

Last but not least, a hard nose and a sharp pencil are required to make sure any planned project will make sound financial sense.


Dual occupancy properties can, and mostly do, represent great value-for-money. If they are done right. The biggest upside how you capitalise on the value of the land, which, in simple terms, can be thought of as a two for one deal.


Depending on what you choose to do with the second property there can be other financial advantages. For example, if you hold the second property as an investment you will obtain generous depreciation offsets on what is a relatively low maintenance property.


Beyond the straight economic advantages, other factors also have a value and these need to be part of the overall equation, such as:


  • How valuable is it to you to be living in an area you love?

  • How important is it to you to have your elderly parent(s) living in close proximity?

  • What price do you put on having a home designed with your specific family, and its wants and needs, in mind?


We can’t give a financial answer to these questions, but we all know they do have a value, and so they should be part of your thinking and decision making.


One thing that really helps is seeing. Seeing good examples of the type of property you might have in mind. Or, be even more open-minded and start by exploring the range of possibilities that can be realised. That is as easy as a coffee conversation with an expert builder.

Dual Occupancy: Things you need to know
Carmel Homes Standard Inclusions in every
Dual Occupancy Home

Solid stone splashback

Solid stone benchtops

2-pac emporite  cabinetry

Miele appliances

European oak chevron parquetry

Kitchen chandelier pendants

Butler kitchen

Custom cabinetry design

Kitchen Inclusions

Double glazing in all external doors and windows

ia-2016.07.25-Oswald 27 - #137.jpg
Bathroom Inclusions

2-pac emporite  cabinetry

Solid stone benchtops

Floor to ceiling quality porcelain tiling

Fitted feature mirror

Overmount porcelain basin

Freestanding bathtup

Double glazing in all external doors and windows

Quality porcelain tiled floors


European oak chevron parquetry

Picture frame strapping plaster moulding

Double glazing in all external doors and windows

Feature bulkheads and delux cornices

Feature chandelier

Extensive inbuilt air-conditioning and heating

Custom inbuilt 2pac emporite cabinetry

Solid stone benchtop

3000mm high ceilings

Living Rooms Inclusions

Security system

northcote 5.jpg
Exterior Inclusions

Concrete tiled roof

Double glazing in all external doors and windows

Solid timber feature door

Brick veneer rendered ground floor

Custom designed modern and classic facades

Remote controled garage door


How does good design add value to a
dual occupancy?

The real secret to successful dual occupancy properties lies in the design. The first thing clients will want is to work with a builder that has a proven design capability and, most importantly, a one that has a track-record producing intelligent, practical designs for this special type of property.


The design must be good for both of the homes on the block, and so that requires careful consideration of the block’s aspect and how the site will be used to the optimal value.


The design must also be aesthetically pleasing, balancing function and feel. Today. Good design endeavours to be both modern and timeless, which is why we often see classical features working well with modern floorplans and family uses.


Above all, the designer must be a master of space yet have a clear understanding of the buildability issues that designs must overcome to ensure a value-for-money solution is going to be achieved.

Modern outdoor entertainment area
Contemporary bathroom
Outdoor / Indoor living
Stunning modern kitchen
When it comes to dual occupancy townhouses and duplexes, what do councils care most about?

The truth is, there is no one thing, as the perspective and interests of local councils vary from place to place.


Some councils are very encouraging of dual occupancies, while others are more reluctant, sometimes bordering on obstructive. So, again, it helps to have plenty of experience on your side. You need builders who understand the differences between councils, what their priorities and gripes are, and what you need to do to ensure your approvals sail through the application process as smoothly as possible.


Dealing with the council can be frustrating, time-consuming and expensive, especially if you need to make design revisions. And this starts with site selection.


There are some sites, that no matter how ingenious your design might be, the council will never approve redevelopment as a dual occupancy. For example, a 12m is pretty much the minimum width, or frontage, required for dual occupancy. This allows for two driveway crossovers and, in most cases, will still allow for one on-street car space. If you have a site with 12m frontage or less, contact our design and build team for a free consultation about a knockdown and rebuild solution.


Most councils will be reasonable and helpful if they can see that you have a team that knows what it is doing, a team that understands that particular council’s values and preferences. Typically, this means understanding the key heritage issues the council cares about, demonstrating that your design has been developed to not just fit in with, but enhance the streetscape and sense of neighbourhood, which obviously means the immediate neighbours are of high concern to council and should be too to you and your design team.


There are also the various technical issues that must be right, and any snag, no matter how tiny, can cause delays in approvals. That means things like easements, setbacks, overhangs, driveway crossovers, and so on, all need to be done by the book for that particular council.


Dealing with council can be a nightmare for the novice, but it’s second nature for specialist builders.

  • What are custom built homes?
    These are unique houses built around the specific layout and materials suggested by the client. A custom-built home reflects the architectural and functional preferences of the homeowner. For instance, if you need an extra cabinet built into the wall, you have the freedom to get it built. As opposed to pre-designed home, a made-to-order home lets you tweak the floor plan, external and interior design and many other aspects of homebuilding. These homes fully meet the needs of your family.
  • I don't have any designs or plans in mind. What do I do?​
    Every custom home is designed to meet the client's unique desires and needs. With that in mind, at Carmel Homes, we have a design and build process we like to follow. We specialise in custom home building, so we encourage you to be involved in the design of your new home – it is such a rewarding experience!
  • Can I customize my interior layout?
    Every custom home project we do is unique. We encourage our clients to be actively involved in the design, inside and out. Bring photos of your inspirations or even better, use our inhouse interior design experience.
  • Do we have to use your Architect/Designer or can we use ours?
    We have no objections to building your home from your plans and specifications. We can build anything as long as you own your design, as copyright applies.
  • How do I keep track of the progress of my custom designed home?
    We keep you up to date with your construction schedule every step of the way with a detailed report which includes images of how things are progressing. You will also have regular contact with our Directors who will be project managing the build of your home to ensure you are receiving the best possible service.
  • Is it Cheaper to Custom Build?
    A custom home builder will usually be cheaper if you are planning to knockdown and rebuild an existing home. While site remediation is an important part of the knockdown and rebuild process, most sites will still have some issues (easements, significant trees, etc.). Many volume builders will not accept jobs with these conditions or charge a premium for variations from their set design. Learn more about of whether it is it Cheaper to Custom Build?
  • Will I see you on site after we sign the contract?
    You won't be able to keep us away. From the moment we have our first meeting our relationship will begin to flourish. We pride ourselves on quality; you cannot get quality unless you have proper supervision. Our name and reputation is on the line, when you put on other people to do your job, they just go home at night and their livelihood is not affected at all if they do not supervise properly. With years of on-site experience, and our background as a detail oriented quality builder, only we can say if a job is good enough or not. Too many builders have young unapproachable supervisors with their own ideas but not the experience, not us. From day one to final hand over, you will be dealing with one of the directors.
  • Can I have access to the site during the construction of my home?
    We encourage you to come and see the progress for your self, it's an exciting process. Just make sure you contact us first so that you have someone from Carmel Homes showing you around. We adhere to a strict safety policy with all of our tradespeople, suppliers and visitors to site. It is imperative to maintain this policy throughout the course of construction.
  • Where are your floor plans for your custom homes?
    Carmel Homes never starts with any base, stock or ‘cookie-cutter’ type of floor plans. We have found that our clients really appreciate having a truly one-of-a-kind custom home tailored for their specific block of land and around their unique lifestyle. Being able to start designing "from scartch" allows the architect/plan designer the artistic freedom to take advantage of the specific features of the block of land eg: surroundings such as views, streets, neighbors, etc. That said, feel free to contact us so we can show some other home designs custom house plans we are building for inspiration.
  • Is site selection part of custom house building?
    Not all who dream of building their own house possess a piece of land. If you are one of them, we provide a Full Service Project Management service that helps you find the most ideal property. Decide on the location and what amenities you need nearby and our local builder’s knowledge shines through as we can give you valuable inputs site suitability.
  • What happens if I want to make some changes after construction has begun?
    We have regular site meetings to ensure that your custom designed home is being built exactly the way you imagined. At any stage, you are welcome to make changes if time permits and the changes don’t affect the structural integrity of your home. We understand the need for flexibility during the construction phase to ensure the home of your dreams is being built the way you want it.
  • What constitutes a difficult site?
    We love "difficult sites", this is where great custom designed homes show their true value most. A difficult site may be that the area in which construction is to take place is isolated or the land may be gently sloping, up to a cliff. The type of soil may mean there is specialist engineering for footings required, weather its highly reactive clay, sand or rock it may be difficult to build on. The design may require basement parking or large retaining walls, big excavations or large amounts of fill. All of these type of sites require specialist engineering and also these type of sites usually have unique quality’s making a truly magnificent architectural home stand out.
  • Do you offer dual occupancy or duplex solutions?
    At Carmel Homes, we a custom design and build company and so we have the expertise on managing the entire dual occupancy process, from design, townplanning to construction. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
  • My property already has a house on it, do you take care of the demolition?"
    We are a knockdown and rebuild specialist. Almost all the homes we build involve demolishing the old house, designing and building a new luxury custom home. Please contact us a free consultation.


1129 Toorak Road

"Builder of dual occupancy homes, and boutique townhouse in Melbourne's premium suburbs for over 25 years."

bottom of page