You may have specific ideas about what you want in your future home.
But will your home be too big? And will it cost too much?
Here’s 5 tips before you begin working with an architect or designer, to help you during your pre-design phase.
If you’re starting out on your design process, or perhaps you’re still researching and getting ready.
Now … as you pull together all your wishes and wants for your future home, and identify the rooms, spaces, items and inclusions …
Do you really know what you’re asking for?
I find that it’s really common for homeowners to have specific ideas of the things they want their future home to include …
They present their ideas to their design professional, who then starts the design process, and the clients anxiously await their first concept presentation …
And when they all come together for their first meeting, those clients are then quite shocked to see just how BIG the house is that they’re asking for.
It’s not uncommon for this to happen.
And – also not uncommon – they then have to begin the process of reducing and removing, to bring the home down in size, figuring out what they’ll forego, or shrink overall.
For some, the next steps to do that can be a no-brainer. When they’ve seen the outcome of their written brief presented as an initial concept drawing, there can be an immediate realisation of..
“Oh no – we don’t need that much – let’s fix that up now and make things smaller, or eliminate that space, etc etc!”
For others, the next steps to do this can feel quite tortuous. Especially if they’ve had input on costs early on which have set a target for the total square metres of their home size, they know they’re exceeding it, but they can’t work out what to give up.
So how do you learn more about what you’re asking for, before you get a design professional to draw it up?
Here’s 4 tips to help you do this:
#1 Start with maths
Inside HOME Method (and it’s also included in my mini-course, Set + Stick to Your Budget), I have a budget spreadsheet that includes a calculator to work out the total square metres of the home your brief is outlining.
To create this for yourself, you simply need to calculate the area of each room you’re wanting to include, then add some room for storage, hallways and general circulation (we have percentages in the UA calculator).
Don’t forget to include garages, covered outdoor areas, and any other built elements you’re including.
Once you’ve got all those figures, you can add them up for your home’s total number of square metres. That’s the maths bit 😉
#2 Review the areas of homes you see online and in your research
Australians build amongst the largest homes in the world, with our average being around 240m2.
For many, that figure of 240m2 actually sounds really small … so it can be a shock to think it’s an average, AND that it’s a large average.
But, 240m2 is still a lot of space when it’s designed functionally. And homes smaller than this can feel spacious and enjoyable for families when the design is done well.
This blog has a great diagram in it by shrinkthefootprint.com that compares our average to that of other countries (it’s in square feet, which you can divide by 10 to get an approximate for the equivalent square metres).
As you start to review and audit these home areas, you can compare them to your total. Another helpful resource is this article which shares suggested m2 per person in the home based on different home sizes as well.
#3 Audit your wish list
If you’ve discovered your wish list creates a bigger home than you anticipated, then it’ll be much easier to reduce / remove and change whilst it’s words in a brief, than when it’s a floor plan you’re reviewing.
You’ll find you can be much more objective when revising a written document that outlines your desired inclusions, rooms and spaces.
Once your home starts being designed, and you start to visualise occupying and enjoying future spaces and rooms, it becomes much harder to maintain that objectivity and cull if necessary.
Really think about how you’ll live in your future home, and prioritise the spaces you’ll use the most. There’s a great article that quotes a 2017 book called “Live at Home in the Twenty-first Century”.
The book includes 32 case studies of families moved about their home. It found that over two-thirds of the time in the home was spent in the kitchen / living spaces. Then 18% in the bedrooms, and 1 to 6% in the other spaces (that includes all those expensive bathrooms and ensuites!)
Thinking like this can be helpful with rationalising and prioritising what really matters, and where to invest your budget and create space for your lifestyle.
#4 Start your design process to help you prioritise
If you’re still struggling with doing this yourself before you dive into your design process, you can get your design professional’s help.
Get early cost advice to determine realistic and current square metre rates for the standard, finish and location of your future home.
Divide your total construction budget by that square metre rate, and you’ll have a target size for your future home based on your budget.
Plus, you have a list of all the spaces and rooms you want in your design brief (that can be larger in size than your budget currently allows).
Ask your designer, as the first round of concept designs, to present you with:
- a concept design that meets your budget,
- and a concept design that meets your brief.
This will help you see the consequences of what you’re asking for – and where priorities may need to shift. And it’ll be much simpler to determine how important your requests are to you, when you see the consequences of what you’re asking for in a floor plan design.
Once you see both options, you can then decide that:
- the option that meets your budget still delivers on the goals you have for your home OR
- you can extend your budget to achieve the option that meets your brief, because it represents value to you OR
- there’s a solution to be found somewhere in between those two options
If you’ve never done a project before, and you’re not someone who is used to dealing with floor plans and home design, it’s totally understandable to not know the impact of your initial wishes and wants, and what they mean for your home size overall.
Help yourself get a realistic understanding of what you’re asking for, so you can work effectively with your team, and save time at the commencement of your project.
Avoid the scenario that so many get themselves into, where they’re at the point of commencing construction, and their tender prices all come back significantly higher than they can afford. By then, you’ll be very invested (emotionally and financially) in the design you’ve created.
Or worse still, is moving into a home and realising it lacks intimacy and cosy comfort, because the spaces are oversized in scale.
Set yourself up to be clear on what you’re really asking for, so you can get a home that suits you, your budget, your site and your lifestyle.
This course will guide you to make your future new home or renovation a reality whilst staying on track with your $$$ >>>>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/courses/set-stick-to-your-budget/
Square Metre Rates: What are they and how can you use them? >>>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/square-metre-rates/
How to create your design brief >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-how-to-create-your-design-brief/
Access the support and guidance you need to be confident and empowered when renovating and building your family home inside my flagship online program, HOME METHOD >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/courses/the-home-method/
Learn more about how to get started with your home design with the Happy Home Design mini-course >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/courses/happy-home-design
Access my free online workshop “Your Project Plan” >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/projectplan