Building your dream home? Renovating? Good planning means value for money and lets you avoid costly rebuilds through change of mind, or missing out on energy-saving devices and designs.
Consider writing a wish list of everything you want your home to have, and include qualities such as ‘light and airy’ in addition to specifics. It’s more important how your home functions and makes you feel rather than how many square metres it is.
Designers recommend light, neutral colours for permanent finishes like bench-tops and tiles, with bolder accent colours for feature items like walls or decorative objects. This way when you feel like a change you can update your style cost effectively.
It’s definitely best when the living space flows from inside to outside, so have your outdoor living area as an extension of the 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, make sure there are openings on more than one side of your living area to let cooling breezes flow throught in summer and reduce the use of air-conditioners. In general, place glass facing north to bring light into the house 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 offers room to move but is of a size that allow easy reach between various activities.
- Make sure it isn’t a thoroughfare.
- Allow for bench space between the sink and the cooktop, as this is the most convenient area for food preparation.
- Install drawers of differing depth under bench height rather than cupboards -drawers offer better access to items.
- Situate 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 great idea – you are able to separate rubbish for recycling straight away.
- For safety, avoid sharp bench-top corners and have 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 an air gap around the fridge of at least 50mm for good ventilation.
5-Star Green Designing
Having rainwater tanks means you family can use pure water free from the many contaminants and additives which may be present in the public supply. Consider 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.
Leave space for an outdoor washing line and also plan for the best place for rubbish bins, recycling bins, compost bins or worm farms.
Plan 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 down to the soil underneath.
When planting trees, take care to place them so in the future, their roots won’t cause damage to walls or footings.
If you want to see some great home designs, visit Bush and Beach.