For many people, a self-build home project is the ultimate blank canvas to create a dream home. But, it can also be a great responsibility, for every choice needs to be carefully considered to ensure that it is right for you and your family.
It can be quite daunting to know where to start in terms of layout and design – but the easiest thing to do is to simply list the physical requirements, for example; what rooms would you like to see in your home and are there any specific requirements, needs or a wish list for any particular rooms?
From this list you need to consider which are essential to you; as this will then allow you to work out a realistic arrangement of rooms which you can then use as a starting point, adding or removing rooms as space and budget allows.
Before setting your heart on any design and layout, we recommend you take advice from your local planning department, who are able to dictate on many aspects of your home, including materials used, size, shape, height and orientation all of which could heavily impact on your design. A discussion early on in the process could save you time and energy throughout the process.
The rooms you may wish to give extra special consideration to are the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms.
Often referred to as the heart of the home and the room in which many families spend the majority of their time, the kitchen is possibly both the most complex and most personal in terms of design.
First consider the type of kitchen you’d like in terms of size, shape and of course whether you prefer a large open plan ‘living’ kitchen in which you could entertain, or a smaller, more contained kitchen area. Also consider whether you wish to incorporate any sort of dining area, perhaps an informal space for the family or a breakfast bar.
Once you’ve made your decisions on the type of kitchen you’d like, it’s time to factor in its location within your home. If you’re keen to have a large area in which you’d like to entertain, you may wish to fill the space with natural light by utilising the position of the sun within the room’s location, ideally it would flow out into the garden opening the space further for summer barbecues, or allowing an ideal vantage point to keep an eye on the children playing outdoors.
The design is also key and is very personal to your own usage. Take a look at your current kitchen and make a note of all the elements you use regularly. Is anything you could dispense with? Are you planning on having laundry equipment incorporated, or are you looking to have a separate utility room? A great rule of thumb when designing your kitchen is to use the idea of the kitchen working triangle, a concept used by many professional designers. It seeks to connect the three main areas of the kitchen; the sink, the refrigerator and the cooker, whilst providing sufficient space to work effectively. For example, the rule suggests that the distance between the areas should be between 4-9 feet, whilst the sum of the sides of the triangle should be between 13-26 feet.
The first consideration is how many bathrooms would you like in your home? Many modern homes now have a WC downstairs, the main family bathroom plus an en-suite to the master bedroom. However, dependent on the size of your family and whether you have guests over regularly, you may wish to either increase or decrease this number as size and budget allows.
In terms of design, there are many things to consider based on your own personal preferences. If you plan on the main family bathroom you may wish to think about bathing facilities in relation to the space available; perhaps a separate shower and bath, a shower only, or a wet room. Often forgotten in the bathroom is adequate space for drying damp towels along with plentiful storage. However, this commonly neglected issue can be resolved by utilising the wasted space beneath the sink area, installing a sunken sink within a cupboard unit, or, if floor space is at a premium, you could consider wall units.
There are so many options available for bathrooms, and you really need to take into consideration how you and your family wish to use the space as this will have the biggest bearing on the final design.
The number and size of bedrooms is the very first decision to be made and this needs to meet your specific requirements. The master bedroom tends to be the largest in modern homes and is often complemented with an en suite and, for extra luxury, a dressing room.
If you enjoy either the morning or evening light in your bedroom you may wish to locate it accordingly. Or, if you would like to take full advantage of an impressive view, you might want to make the most of it with an impressive feature window, a Juliette balcony or even a balcony on which you could sit out on and enjoy.
In many new homes, particularly developer built homes, little in the way of thought or design has been put into providing space in secondary bedrooms for essential wardrobe space and other additional furniture, often proving frustrating for homeowners. It is therefore highly recommended that this is a consideration in your home design as storage space remains a premium in most homes!
The most important thing to remember whilst designing your dream home is that this is your home and it should reflect you, your style and the needs of your family.
Make a new house your new home by making it unique to you!
Images supplied by:
Kitchens By J.S. Geddes (Kilmarnock)
Creative Interiors Ltd (Derby)