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The possibilities are practically endless when it comes to designing your new home from scratch. It’s exciting, but can also be a little overwhelming. However, by breaking it down into bite-sized pieces - each with their own role to play in the overall finish of your house - you can create a home that you’ll absolutely love to live in.
Here’s a few of the basics we recommend you begin with.
Floor plans are about thinking ‘big picture’ when it comes to the layout of your home. It will ultimately result in the overall function of your home, of how you move from space to space and the kind of lifestyle you will enjoy.
Your budget will likely impact your floor plan in some way, so it is always a good idea to start with a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. It will help you to be clearer on what is non-negotiable, and what can be crossed off if the budget doesn’t allow for it.
One of the most important things to consider with your floor plan is sun orientation. Most houses in New Zealand have their living rooms facing north, in order to capture as much natural light in the areas that will be most frequently in use - it’s also great if you want to include passive heating in your design.
Of course if you have an amazing view facing south from your site, then it may be worth compromising on that typical design orientation. Knowing your preference is important, as well as understanding how accommodating your builder can be with the floor plans (i.e. whether it is a house & land package or a design & build).
You should also be looking at where the neighbours will be (and how close they will be) - if their outdoor entertaining space is right next to your bedroom window, it could be a bit disruptive at times. Then of course there are the usual specifications like the numbers of bedrooms, the amount of storage space you need, and garaging requirements.
Most families today like to have a balance between common and private spaces - so factor that into your floor plan as well. Is there somewhere everyone can come together for cooking and meals, and also space for everyone to retreat for study, work and relaxation?
It’s also worth thinking about how big you want your home to be overall. For some housing developments, there are minimum and maximum sizes that will need to be worked with, but you can still have a say in some instances. If you’d prefer to have more outdoor space to kick a ball around, then look to compromise on your floor plan by using smart design practices that can offer you flexible, multi-use spaces - for example, having sliding doors on the lounge so that it can double as a spare room when guests come to stay, instead of a bedroom that goes unused most of the year.
Remember, bigger isn’t always better when it comes to your home - smart home design is about functionality and making sure no space is wasted.
The details are all about personalisation. They are the smaller design choices you need to make which will provide the look and feel of your home, and these can typically be done after you’ve worked out ‘the big stuff’.
It’s about adding the ‘wow’ factor through carefully curated tapware, fixtures, fittings and flooring.
But before you rush in to choose the first thing that catches your eye, there are some important considerations to be made, because while some things look great, they may not actually work in your home with your lifestyle. If you have young children, or you’re not one for making guests take their shoes off at the door, have a think about low maintenance finishes - like surfaces that can easily be wiped clean, and hard-wearing materials that won’t need to be protected from bumps and scrapes.
If you have a lot of sporting gear, what would the ultimate storage space look like to keep it all off the garage floor? And if you like to cook up a storm in the kitchen, what would the ideal prep space look like? Lighting is a key detail too. It’s often added in as an afterthought, but has the potential to really enhance the different areas of your home.
Don’t forget to future-proof your home too, with things like charging stations in the garage for electric cars and energy generation elements - like solar hot water pipes, and solar panels for the roof. These will not only benefit your life, but will add to the resale value of your home (if you ever want to leave that is!)
Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Well, the good news is you don’t have to make all these decisions by yourself. At some stage of your home building journey you’ll be working with experienced builders and designers, who have gone through this process many times.
But the overall success of this journey can come down to choosing the right company to work with. It almost goes without saying that you need someone who is reputable in the market, but more than that, it’s about a team who won’t try to make your ideas fit into a ‘box’ of pre-packaged solutions.
Keen to find out how we are different from the rest? Give us a call today.