I know everybody who writes a blog mentions you must ensure you add enough storage, they do this because there’s a good reason to……its pretty hard to add more later if you need it and, it really is important as it helps you keep your home in order. Inevitably the longer you stay in a house the more you accumulate. We all have good intentions of clearing out clutter and removing one thing whenever we bring a new item into the house but really, who sticks to this rule? Keep this in mind and add as much storage as you can. I like to include walk in storage rooms where the design allows, most people tell me that this space becomes one of their favourite rooms in the house after they have moved in and it’s not something they would have considered including.
PRACTICAL FLOOR PLAN
Seems obvious I know but it doesn’t always happen and it’s not just about the overall floor plan, the kitchen, bathroom(s) and even the relationship between indoor and outdoor areas need a practical approach. I often see practicality thrown out the window in favour of WOW FACTOR. This is especially evident in show homes where cavernously sized living spaces open onto similarly oversized additional living spaces. If all these rooms were used at the same time, could you imagine how hard it would be to enjoy a conversation, hear the television or concentrate on a good book? It is imperative that you look at all your existing furniture and work out how it will fit into your new home. If you’re buying new furniture just be sure that what you have in mind will work. You also need to think about the future and how you plan to live in ten or twenty years, it’s called future proofing and it’s not easy but it certainly is worth spending the time trying to figure out.
Things get serious when you start to talk about kitchen designs….one of the most frequently occupied spaces within the house which many people now describe as the “HUB” of the home. There are theories on what the most effective or practical layout is, but none make as much sense to me as the “Kitchen Triangle”, sometimes called “The Golden Triangle”. This is ensuring your kitchen sink, cooking appliances and refrigerator are all placed so as you can form a triangle between them and is said to be the most productive way to work in the space. This is a great start however I believe more thought needs to be put into the entire design i.e. drawer units are more functional than cupboards as everything becomes so much more accessible. Also think about what utensils you use where and store them close by. My best advice here is speak to a professional kitchen designer to get the low down on the optimal layout, they will also be able to advise you on the latest products on the market.
Think about how you like to spend time outside, if you don’t like to spend all your time gardening then look at low maintenance schemes with smaller garden spaces (remember you may be required to have minimum areas of garden or turf so you probably won’t be able to concrete the whole yard). If you’re a BBQ entertainer, then ensure you have the space to suit your BBQ and enough room for all your guests. If you’re adding concrete or other hard surfaces it’s a good idea to add a pipe or conduit underneath especially if it completely cuts one area off from another, you never know if you will need to run cables or irrigation later and the last thing you want to be doing is cutting up your newly laid concrete. Another consideration is lighting, if you want to include garden lighting you should have your Electrician run the cabling early before you landscape and ensure switches are in a practical location. Finally, something that’s not always top of mind are garden taps. If you are building with a volume builder, they generally only give you one tap in the front yard and one tap in the rear yard which is not always enough. If you take the time to do a rough draft of your garden layout then you will know where you will need to place the taps to make watering your new garden stress free.
This is super important, make sure you communicate all your thoughts and ideas and keep notes, this includes dealing with designers, the builder and all trades. Not everything will make sense or be understood the same way by all people and due to this you may experience some level of stress (the whole nature of building will bring with it a level of stress anyway so the less the better). If you can show your ideas with the aid of sketches or photos this should go a long way to removing the uncertainty. Remember everything also needs to be in writing – If you can’t describe it in words, it could be an issue!