If you’re in the midst of planning your new home or just thinking about it, you would have considered how many bedrooms you need, whether you require an extra living space, how you want the rooms in your home to flow and how important outside space is for you and your family.
But have you thought about you and your family’s hobbies and passions, as well as your working needs? These are areas that are sometimes overlooked when building a new home, often resulting in a home that doesn’t work right for the home owner or they end up making costly changes to their floor plan mid-way through the project.
G.J. Gardner Homes Chief Architect, Peter Mannion, from Synergy Designs, says changing a home design mid-project is the number one reason for budget variations.
“It’s important for people building a new home to fully consider all the ways they and their family will use their new house,” Peter says. “You should thoroughly research your design choices to avoid changes during construction.”
Peter says it’s also important to keep your expectations realistic, as including additional spaces that you don’t really need could blow out your budget.
“People also have to remember that their house design will need to adhere to the regulations of their local council as to how the house is used, particularly in the case of using the home for business purposes,” Peter says.
So what should you be considering, apart from the standard rooms in your new home?
1. Your hobbies and passions
Think about what’s important to you and how that may evolve during different life stages. Many new home buyers now incorporate a multi-purpose room that can be used for workouts, watching movies, hobbies or as a playroom. You’ll need to consider if this room will require built-in benches or extra storage, what kind of flooring will be most appropriate and whether you require the room to be away from the living areas or close by (so you can keep an eye on the kids).
A multi-purpose room can also serve as a guest bedroom, so you may want to include an ensuite and a flexible storage area, which could be converted into a walk-in robe at a later date or when it comes time to sell the house.
2. Outside hobbies
It’s worth planning ahead when it comes to outside workshops and garages, particularly for new home buyers who have a passion for hobbies such as woodworking. Incorporating a workshop or a larger garage in your initial home design will help unify the overall design of your house and outdoor areas. It will avoid the need for future add-on structures that may not keep to the design of your house.
3. Office space
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that 30 per cent of Australians work from home, either on a full-time basis or to catch up on work. If you’re designing a dedicated office space in your new home, locate this room in a quiet location and ensure it receives plenty of natural light.
You’ll need to consider how much storage space you will need for files, printers and other office items, whether you want your desk to be fixed or floating and whether you need a meeting space for clients. Plan ahead to include all the electrical and technology outlets you will need and consider sound ergonomic and WH&S principles in your design.
4. Accommodating everyone
If you plan to have extended family visit often or live with you, carefully consider the best design to make you all comfortable within your house and compliant with your council’s regulations. Careful thought is needed when designing spaces for older people, so they include non-slip floors, adequate lighting, grab bars in areas like bathrooms and toilets, and fittings that are easy on the hands.
G.J. Gardner Homes is making it easier for new home buyers to create a home to suit their needs and has recently launched an innovative Virtual Display Village experience, which allows people to virtually walk through home designs and customise floor plans on screen.
Peter Mannion created the innovative experience and says it allows people to gain an understanding of why a house was designed a particular way.
“Importantly, the floor plan customisation feature allows people to see the effect that modifying particular aspects of the design will have on the overall house,” Peter says.