Building your dream home? Renovating? Good planning results in value for money and avoids costly rebuilds because of a change of mind, or missing out on energy-saving devices and designs.
Consider writing 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 using bolder accent colours for feature items like walls or decorative objects. By doing this, when you feel like a change you can update your whole look cost effectively.
The best 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 because children are much happier playing outside when they can see indoors where you are.
Considering energy-savings, ensure that there are openings on more than one side of your living area to allow breezes through in summer and 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. Make sure windows are double-glazed with good seals to keep in winter warmth.
A good kitchen has room to move but is of a size to allow easy reach between different activities.
- Make sure it isn’t a thoroughfare.
- Allow for bench space between the sink and the cooktop, because this is the most convenient area for food preparation.
- Include drawers of differing depth under bench height rather than cupboards -drawers provide easier access to items.
- Situate dishwashers near sinks for ease of loading. This also means plumbing is in one space and therefore saves money.
- Multi-bin sorters under sinks are great – you can separate rubbish for recycling straight away.
- For safety, avoid sharp bench-top corners and factor in a minimum of one lockable cupboard for harmful substances.
- The fridge uses the most electricity of all appliances, so choose one with a high energy star rating. Make sure to 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 present in the public supply. Consider the optimum location for tanks and wastewater systems, and integrate them with the 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, worm farms or compost bins.
Use a mix of paving and planting, 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 damage walls or footings.
If you want to see some great home designs, visit Bush and Beach.