You’ve got that buzz of anticipation flooding through your body: you’re nervous, excited and full of wonderment. You can picture yourself walking into your new home breathing in that fresh new home smell, plopping your bag down and taking a seat – wine in hand – in the sun-bathed room putting you immediately at ease.
Welcome to your new dream home… that so far only exists in your imagination.
So you’ve decided to build your dream home. You’ve found the perfect block of land nestled in the area that you’ve fallen in love with, and it’s time to get the building process underway. Now you’re coming to terms with just what a process that is!
From the design process to budgeting, to the contracts, to approving plans, to colour selection, to more contracts, to the actual construction, to the inevitable disruptions, to one glorious day where you are receiving the keys and walking in the front door for the first delectable time.
It should be no surprise then when something doesn’t quite go the way you were hoping it would, but more often than not in building, that is just the case. So what can you do about that?
Well, as Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” In some ways it’s easy: the more you prepare the better the chances that the home you are dreaming of will become the home of your reality. So in the spirit of preparedness here are a few things to think about that will help you avoid some common mistakes when building your new dream home.
The HVAC system.
That stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Getting this right is one of the most important aspects of housing. We don’t have to tell you that the Central Coast and Newcastle summers get really hot, and – to everyone’s unending surprise – our winters can bring about quite a nasty chill. A house that regulates temperature well is one of the most basic functions that make living at home a pleasure or a constant source of annoyance.
Further, a well functioning HVAC system actually keeps the air inside your home cleaner and clearer for your precious lungs. Bad planning in ventilation can lead to excess moisture and mould, which is not at all good for your health.
Finally, the running of your HVAC system can really break the bank if you get this part wrong. Having a well-running efficient system means you can keep the temperature regulated while not having to worry too much about the cost.
This aspect of planning a home can often be an after-thought, and yet it is so crucial to think about if you want a home that feels welcoming and warm. There is, of course, the irreplaceable natural light, which is in direct relationship to the layout of your rooms and the placement of your windows. Making sure you understand where your house is in relation to the sun, and planning accordingly to let optimal natural light in, will give you hours of satisfaction.
There’s nothing quite like reading a book on a lazy afternoon, basking in the warm northern sun streaming into your north-facing room.
Other than natural lighting, however, there are many ways to think about more ‘regular’ lighting – made possible thanks to electricity. From ambient lighting to task-lighting, to accent-lighting, to decorative-lighting. The main thing here is to make sure that you give yourself flexibility by having plentiful light fixtures and outlets.
This one is a no-brainer, but a few things to think about are where to ‘place’ the laundry, bedroom, kitchen, and garage. These are all personal decisions, but try and imagine yourself in your new home: do you want a quiet bedroom away from the action? a garage door close to the kitchen to easily put the shopping away? One way to think about this in terms of relationship: what is one room’s relationship to another?
One easy thing to forget is storage space! While not glamorous, having ample storage can make or break a house: not having it can end up in a home full of clutter and mess.
And finally, listen…
The chances are more likely that there are experts who have spent a lot of time studying, thinking and making (and hopefully learning from their) mistakes who know a lot more than you do. Don’t get so stuck on an idea that you are not open to listening to someone who may know better. Who to listen to is, of course, up to you, so find someone you can trust and most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the ride of building your new home!