There are a number of things we considered when designing our house. Firstly, as owner builders, the design and construction method needed to be fairly straightforward. We also knew we wanted to build a modest house with a minimal environmental impact. Another factor for us was having enough space for our family as it grows and to suit the way we live.
We started by thinking about the size of house we wanted, deciding that around 150sqm would keep our overall build cost down, while still giving us a house that functioned the way we wanted. From there we looked at some sample floor plans, both from David Baetge at Post and Beam and from Google Images.
We played around with some floor plans like the one above, and had some really helpful input from family and friends. Below is a list of some of the things in our brief:
- Solar passive design – difficult as our view is to the south, as it meant that to be heated by the sun and take advantage of the view, the living space could only be one room deep
- Deck – to be able to have friends over, have extra play space and enjoy the view. I can’t wait to sit out there with a glass of wine and watch the sky change colours
- Large pantry – we buy a lot of food in bulk (think 12.5kg bags of spelt flour), so room for our storage tubs and growing array of preserves is important
- Kids bedrooms separate to ours – for noise and privacy, for them and us
- 2 toilets, 1 bathroom – we didn’t feel the need to have 2 full bathrooms, so we will put an extra toilet near the kids’ rooms
- Open-plan living/dining/kitchen – after living in our Katoomba house, one thing I really wanted was to be able to be in the kitchen, and see what was going on in the living room and to have a warm inviting place to spend time with people we love.
This is what we came up with:
And then our architect John Van der Have of Bio Building Design had some great ideas, which led us to this:
We are really happy with the way he has kept a lot of our ideas, but had some more imaginative ways of using the space.