Building your dream home? Renovating? Good planning results in value for money and lets you avoid costly rebuilds through change of mind, or missing out on energy-saving devices and designs.
It makes sense to write a wish list of everything you want your house to have, and include ideas such as ‘light and airy’ as well as specifics. After all, it’s more important how your home functions and makes you feel rather than how many square metres it is.
Light, neutral colours are recommended for permanent finishes like tiles and bench-tops, and the use of bolder accent colours for feature items like walls or decorative objects. This way when you feel like a change you can update the look cost effectively.
It’s definitely best when the living space flows from inside to outside, so have the outdoor living area as an extension of your lounge and kitchen -this doubles your living area and eases family life as children are much happier playing outside when they are close to where you are.
Considering energy-savings, ensure that there are openings on more than one side of your living area to let cooling breezes through in summer and therefore minimise use of air-conditioners. Generally place glass facing north to capture light for most of the day, and consider placing windows higher up to release hot air as it rises. Ensure windows are double-glazed with good seals to keep in winter warmth.
A good kitchen gives room to move but is of a size that allow easy reach between different activities.
– Make sure the kitchen isn’t a thoroughfare.
– Allow for generous bench space between the sink and the cooktop, because this is the most convenient area to prepare food.
– Install drawers under bench height rather than cupboards -drawers provide easier access to items.
– Locate dishwashers close to sinks to allow ease of loading. This also means plumbing is in one space and therefore saves money.
– Multi-bin sorters under sinks are a good idea – you can separate rubbish for recycling straight away.
– For safety, avoid sharp bench-top corners and factor in at least one cupboard that can be locked for harmful substances.
– The fridge uses the most electricity of all appliances, so choose one with a high energy star rating. Allow a gap around the fridge of at least 50mm for good ventilation.
5-Star Green Designing
Installing rainwater tanks allows your family to use pure water free from the many contaminants and additives that may be present in public supply. Think about the optimum place to locate tanks and wastewater systems, and integrate them with the initial design rather than having them look like an ‘add-on’ later on.
Incorporate space for an outdoor washing line and also plan for the best place for rubbish bins, recycling bins, compost bins or worm farms.
Use a mix of planting and paving, as too much concreting or paving can lead to pooling of water and drainage problems. Consider ‘permeable’ paving that allows rain to seep through to the soil underneath.
When planting trees, take care to place them so the roots won’t cause damage to walls or footings.
If you want to see some great home designs, visit Bush and Beach.