Home' Homes : Homes 2011 Contents 98 Scoop Publishing | WA’s Best Homes & Design 2011/12
Briefing the designer
Use your wish list to fill
out a briefing template for
your designer. This gives
them your priorities and
expectations and a starting point for discussion.
Include pictures from magazines of what you like
– and, don’t be shy – what you don’t like.
Will it fit?
Check specifications for
everything from the size
of a double garage to the
space in the kitchen for
a fridge because a builder or designer’s standard
specifications may not meet your needs. There
aren’t any industry standards - they vary. A
garage that won’t fit your 4WD isn’t much use.
Group together the rooms
you heat or cool most
often and ensure they can
be closed off from other
rooms. While open-plan living and high ceilings
suit much of WA’s climate, they can make
heating and cooling inefficient and expensive.
In addition, grouping together wet areas can
save on plumbing costs.
Discuss these with your
designer. Is your home
to be a meeting place
for a large family and
children? Does it need to include areas for a
home-office? Large open-plan living areas can
be noisy, so if they’re for a family with children,
sound-proofing must be considered.
The fine details
Ask about the details such
as where the power points
will be placed and if the
planned storage areas will
be right for you and meet your needs.
Engage a landscape
designer if your home
designer isn’t providing
this service because
clever outdoor design can add a lot to the home’s
value – plus they can help with regulations.
Get them together
Bring in the landscape
designer early - at the
initial draft stage – with
the building designer
because they often advise that doors be moved
and levels changed, to create more seamless
transitions. Simple things such as connecting
outdoor paving and indoor flooring materials
can make a big difference.
This should maximise
your site’s characteristics.
For example, by placing
living areas on the north
side because it’s warmer in winter. Making the
most of the sun for warmth and light can lead to
huge savings in energy costs. And place windows
and doors to capture summer breezes.
Getting building and
planning approvals can
be the biggest battle for
both new builds and
renovations. It can take as long as construction
itself. To limit delays, hire an architect or
designer who is familiar with the workings
of your particular local council. Ask if they
have a good relationship with it and how
many of their designs have been passed by
that council in recent times.
The opinions of council
employees can play a part
so get them involved early.
Architects and builders say it
can be a game but early consultation about what
you plan to do and what it will look like help.
Talk to local council planners at sketch stage so
potential problems can be identified early. It goes
beyond regulations – even when plans have met
all planning codes and comformed to council
by-laws, council employees and councillors have
been known to reject building proposals because
they simply “don’t like the look of it”.
Energy and water-saving
requirements are becoming
the norm, whether you’re
building or renovating.
There’s also nothing to stop you exceeding the
minimum requirements, especially if it saves on
running costs or adds value. Rebates apply for
the installation of some sustainable features. See
page 100 for our Shades of Green feature.
The design phase
“Showing us what you
don’t like gives a designer
a much clearer picture of
your taste and leaves less
of the decision-making
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