Building the Perfect Home
March 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
There are tens of thousands of people, each year, that embark on building their own home. Building your home does have a few of major draws. For a start you get to create a home that is suitable for your living needs, regarding space and layout. Space is always a big thing and this is always restricted to the building plot and of course the budget.
Secondly, building your own home can be a lot cheaper than buying one that meets your living needs. Finally, and for some, one of the biggest draws is it’s overall value when completed. Many people find that the equity in the property is above 25% of the overall cost and therefore, building you own home can be extremely attractive as a financial investment.
Building a home generally provides a number of constraints and issues. There are planning applications, architects and builders that you need to negotiate with so that you do get exactly (or as close as you an get) to what you actually want built.
When it comes to building the perfect home it all comes down to clever planning and design. Unless you are a qualified architect then you will need to employ one, but before you do think very carefully about what you want and why you want it.
The last time I built a home, I left it entirely up to the architect with some bare outlines of what I wanted. After three presentations, of plans from the architects, and three rejections, I told him that I needed to rethink the whole project. Don’t get me wrong, the plans the architect came up with were certainly nice, but nothing like I really wanted. I realized that giving a bare brief was simply not going to produce a set of plans that were to my requirements and liking.
Now, I’m not an architect, nor am I a professional designer and you don’t need to be. What you do need is pen and paper, or better some computer software, and work out how many bedrooms you want, and why. How much living space you want, and why. Do you want it open plan? Do you want a large kitchen or would a small one suffice. Ask yourself all these important question and more. For instance do you have young children? If so, would it be practical to have a playroom. Would it be a good idea to have a single storey home so that the little ones don’t have to climb stairs?
What you need to do is be imaginative and practical. Start by letting your imagination run wild – what about that Snooker / Pool Room you’ve always wanted, or maybe your own private library. There is nothing wrong with dreaming and as you work through your ideas you’ll begin to establish just how much space you’ll need.
Having space is a luxury, because the more space you require will turn into cost. Buildings are constructed on a square foot or square meter basis, so the more your require the more it is going to cost you.
It took me over 2 months to come up with some drawings. I used Microsoft Viso to layout the floor plan and it wasn’t exactly to scale, but what it did do was provide my architect with a clearer picture of what I was looking for.
Here’s an image of the ground floor. You can see that I went a little wild with the introduction of the Bar and Snooker Room, but that’s ok because this is only the first stage of the design process. No… the home didn’t have a Bar / Snooker Room, I just couldn’t justify or afford the additional cost. (You can click on the image for the full size).
You’ll notice that the swimming pool looks pretty big, in fact my design was for a pool that was 15m x 6.5m and that didn’t happen either, instead I came down to 10m x 5m when it was built, due to the costs.
I really wanted parts of it open plan and I really didn’t want the TV in the living room, so I created a Home Cinema Room. While this was kept, it was a lot smaller, but still worked.
You’ll notice that there’s also a single bedroom on the ground floor and that was designed as the Maids Quarters. Ah, so you’re now thinking I must be one rich dude if I can afford a Maid – the fact is I’m not rich at all, however I do live in South East Asia and staffing costs here are a fraction of what you would pay in the Western hemisphere. The average monthly wage of a Maid is approximately US$200-300, so having a maid is fairly inexpensive. However, the final plan did not include maids quarters – I just could not afford it.
As for the second floor, I wanted 4 bedrooms. This was practical for when friends and family came to stay on holiday. I wanted the rooms big enough so that guests, and myself, had room to relax. Living in South East Asia, and with family in Europe and the USA did mean that if they came, it wouldn’t be for just a day or two, but for weeks at a time and I needed enough room so that we were all bumping into each other all the time.
If you are seriously considering building your own home then do the initial drawings yourself. Using something like Microsoft Viso is easy, you don’t have to be an architect to use it, it’s simply drag and drop. This will give you a good idea of what you want and will certainly give your architect a clearer picture of what your requirements are. Do take into consideration the size of your building plot and of course your budget. Creating a dream home should be exactly that… your dream home, something you are comfortable in and provides the number of rooms and space you require for a comfortable home life.
I’m already working on my next set of plans and once I can afford it I’ll go looking for some land. I already know where I want to live – another beautiful island in South East Asia (I just love tropical living – can’t beat a nice day fishing or diving). I think it will be similar to the home above, although I’m not completely sure yet, but that is the exciting thing – being able to design something and watch your creation grow into reality.
I’ve been thinking and working on a few upgrades on Hometipster.com – something that will allow people to showcase their Self Builds, DIY Projects or Gardening Projects. If you have any thoughts or ideas then I’ll gladly read them.