Now that your site survey is ready and your design brief completed, the next step for our home designers is to get started on your first concept design.
The first step for our designers is to check any particular building covenants and any local government policies or guidelines relevant to your block of land.
You might be surprised just how many variances there are when it comes to building policies for the various local governments. We never assume that just because one particular council or shire allows certain designs, that another will. In fact, we don’t even rely on the policies for one particular council being relevant from one week to the next as they can change their minds so regularly!
Furthermore, local building policies are not always readily accessible on council websites or by phoning the council office. However our designers are skilled in obtaining all of the information that they need and they always research thoroughly before proceeding with drawing up plans.
Once our designer has all the background needed, an initial concept sketch is created. We generally do this to ensure what we’ve discussed with you during the design brief is being translated to your expectations with the design concept. This will be modified until you’re happy, then a final sketch is prepared.
Let’s look at an example of a design concept and how it evolved. In Stage 1 we introduced you to our clients in Swanbourne and we shared the notes from their design brief. With a reasonably challenging 444m2 narrow block and pretty comprehensive wish list, our designers set to work to come up with the ideal home design for our clients.
The initial concept sketch came back like this:
With the floor plans concept sketch like this:
We were pretty happy with the way this came out and when we presented the concept to the clients, they loved it! Unfortunately, they decided however that the home was too big as it was the same size as their current home and they really wanted a smaller home to reduce cleaning time and clutter (or filling up with junk just because they had the room – as they put it).
So we sat down and discussed some other options and ways we could revise the home design to really achieve what they were looking for. Being a narrow block, there are several considerations which are really important, which we’ll cover later.
This was our second concept we delivered after listening to the changes the owner wanted to make based on the first concept:
The updated floor plan:
When we presented this plan to the clients, BINGO – we’d done it. It addressed their main concern of overall home size and the revised elevation also achieved a few things like reducing costs by incorporating a pitched roof but kept the cube feature to the balcony area.
This narrow block double-storey home design in Swanbourne captures the important views to the front of the home with the main living areas all having views both upstairs and down. The swimming pool is a central feature of the home and can be seen from most areas also (The owner was oscillating between having the pool out the front or in the courtyard – their final decision was to keep it in the courtyard which I think was a good one). We’ve achieved fantastic cross ventilation for solar passive design as well as protecting the western elevations with screening and cover.
More important than anything we achieved, the clients are absolutely rapt with the custom home design for their narrow block as it meets their design brief fully.
That’s one of the many advantages of working with us to design your new home – as we mentioned earlier, we’ll alter the design until you’re happy.
Want to see another great example of our flexibility throughout the design process?
Narrow Block 2 Storey in Mt Pleasant
This was another narrow lot design on a 486m² block in Mount Pleasant. Everyone we meet has a different set of design priorities and especially when we get narrow block house designs. For these clients their primary concern was the liveability with their kids, and the look and feel of the front elevation of the home.
Firstly we sat down during the design meeting and ran through the wishlist – the usual 4 bedroom x 2 bathroom plus a study was what was wanted, along with a fantastic open plan living area with a focus area around a swimming pool. The master bedroom was to be on the ground floor along with a home office / theatre room if possible.
Having young kids under 5 years old also meant they have toys strewn all over their current home as the kids drag them out along with them no matter where they go. Ideally, a front room on the ground floor that could be used as an activity area would be idea and being able to lock it away from view when guests came over.
The left side of the house was going to be facing north too, which was a concern as the neighbouring home was probably going to be demolished and rebuilt as a double storey which meant there would be some elements of overshadowing during the winter months. Capturing the sun is always important, especially with narrow block house designs so that rooms don’t become dark and then feel too small.
Here’s the first design we came up with for our clients:
The Floor Plans:
There were parts of the initial concept sketch that we just couldn’t squeeze in to the design – the main one being the extra room downstairs for the activity/nursery. While we could have positioned that room where the courtyard is we really didn’t want to because of the amount of light that area brings into the master bedroom and hallway/living areas.
So we thought it was best at this point to get some feedback from our clients and they requested these design revisions:
- Increase the grassed area at the rear and reduce the swimming pool to 6m long and 2.8m wide.
- Add a store room to the left side of the garage extending it out to the boundary and adding an access door to the rear that leads straight to the drying court. We then suggested adding a bin storage area to the front of the garage so the bins weren’t inside.
- Change the steps to the left side to a sloping path so the client could push his lawnmower up the path from the new store area.
- Change the ceiling heights to 32c down and 30 upstairs instead of the 34c/32c we had originally designed. This was more of a budget consideration as that change would reduce the price by approximately $7,500 – $10,000.
- Change the double door entry to a single 1.2m wide pivot door.
- Change the elevation to a lighter colour stone (this was purely for visualisation more than anything).
- Modify the elevation as the flat roof over the garage meant we needed significant brickwork above to hide it. Instead, adding highlight windows over Bed 3 would help bring the design elevation into proportion as well as adding more points of interest with the elevation.
- Add another window to the front of bed 3 and exaggerate the vertical mullions also adding to the height.
- Add timber lining to the balcony (again for visualisation more than anything as this is normally done during the specification stage).
- Add a gatehouse to the front creating a bit more security for the home. Provide a similar roof system/design as the portico with the exposed steel.
Here are the changes we made to the plans, which came together really nicely in the end and ticked all the boxes. We’ve managed to bring a great amount of light into the home as well as provide excellent living areas, swimming pool integration and more lawn area for the kids.
Here’s the final floor plans:
The final finished design in all its glory:
So, as you can see from these great designs, we were able to revise our initial concept drawing to make our clients completely happy. For more samples you can click here to see some great home designs.
The advantage of engaging Your Building Broker is that you get your own unique design based on your family’s requirements so it may not look like anything we or other builders have ever done before.