Chances are, you started picturing your dream new house at an early age – as a young child building sandcastles armed with a bucket and a wild imagination. Back then you may have been limited by the scant resources of the kindergarten sandpit, but that didn’t stop you building something great to house your favourite toys. Whilst obviously now your circumstances have changed, the premise hasn’t.
Building your dream pad begins with developing a great house plan that encompasses your needs, your wants and your limitations. Everybody will tell you that the decisions you make at the design and planning stage are crucial, but what’s more important is taking your time to make them. With so much money and happiness on the line, it doesn’t make sense to rush into anything. Take a few deep breaths. Practise Zen and the art of Buildism. Remember that no house is ever completely perfect and that at least this house is completely yours.
“Take a few breaths. Practise Zen and the art of Buildism.”
Spend some quality time identifying your current and future needs
Think about the things you consider essential when building a new home, and what you could do without if you really had to. Turn this into two lists: the ‘have-to-haves’ and the ‘nice-to-haves’. Friends and family can be invaluable sources of input at this point. Be prepared to strike a lot of items off your ‘nice-to-have’ list, but stow a copy of it away for future reference. If nothing more, it might provide comedic fodder down the track.
Study your plans, and take note of a few things:
- Your block – What surrounds it, and where is it situated on the street? Is it a narrow block, is it sloping block, where do you access your driveway?
- Light and outlook – will you get northern sun in your living spaces, is there a view?
- Layout – Which way do your doors open, is there enough cross-ventilation, will traffic flow through the house easily, can you section off areas for heating/cooling, have you considered the work triangle when planning your kitchen?
- Fittings and fixtures – Speak to experts about energy-efficient appliances, consider wear and tear on your fittings and choose styles that won’t go out of fashion quickly.
- Also, don’t forget to put power points in logical places!
Draft three ideal new house designs
Even if you have a clear vision of your ideal new home build, putting down three viable plans gives you wriggle room if certain elements prove unworkable after you talk to your architect or home builder. A well-written house plan should suit your existing needs and also accommodate potential lifestyle changes. Do you want to start a family? Get a pet? You’ll need to incorporate that. If you’re bringing furniture you already own along, make sure it will fit into your new spaces.
You can choose to leave a few elements open to be retrofitted at a later date, but try to opt for fittings and finishes that will resist fashion trends and still appeal to you in a few years’ time. The most important thing is that your new house design is liveable, functional and within budget. Everything else is the icing on the cake.