Social media marker Designing Your Own Home - Forme Homes

Designing Your Own Home

Designing Your Own Home

Full exterior view of lavish custom home with garden bed- Custom design on sloping block YOUR IDEAS. DESIGNED. MANAGED. BUILT. Left side White bracket shape two angles Right side White bracket shape two angles

Designing Your Own Home

One of the most exciting parts of a custom build is designing your own home. Imagine creating a beautiful space that reflects your personality and style. You can have a say in every part of your dream home, from the floor plan to building materials and internal design features. With careful planning, a visionary goal, and professional collaboration, you can create a home that reflects your unique style and personality. Whether building a new home or renovating your current home, the design phase is the first crucial step toward making your vision a reality.

Designing Your Own Home

Important Things to Consider When Designing Your Home

If you are taking the plunge to create your customised dream home, there are a few things to consider
der before you commence. In this article, we will guide you through the pros and cons of designing your home and discuss the options of doing it yourself or hiring professionals. Our eight-step guide will help you through every stage and milestone of the design process, from creating the first brief to choosing the designer, site analysis, and beginning the build.

Why Would You Want to Design Your Home?

Designing your home is the most effective way to customise the property to your unique lifestyle and personality. Every aspect of the home is tailored to your wish list. Custom builders and the design team work closely with you throughout the planning and design process to ensure every need is catered to. Let’s look at some common questions about designing your own home.

  • Is it worth it to design your own house? Whether or not designing your house is worth it is a personal choice. However, most people say designing their house through a custom builder has many benefits, particularly as it is a unique reflection of your lifestyle and personality. Your home is a place you spend most of your life and celebrate milestones. It is where your family grows up and where you may retire to. Crafting the perfect home from the ground up allows you full creative freedom over the environment you want for your family.
  • What are the pros and cons? The pros and cons of designing your own home are varied. Pros include having a personalised and unique home, more design options, potential energy-efficient features, technology options, and pride of ownership. Conversely, a custom-built design can take longer to build, it can be difficult to find appropriate land for your design, and upfront costs can be more expensive.
  • Can you do it yourself? You can certainly begin the process of designing your home by yourself. At the initial research stage, it is often a good idea to start jotting down a wish list and even trying your hand at designs. However, when it comes to drawing up plans, it is advisable to utilise a professional like a draftsman, building designer, or architect.
Why Would You Want to Design Your Home

What are the Differences Between Starting a House From Scratch or Renovating?

If you have outgrown your home or simply looking to change the layout, you might be considering your options. If you renovate a property, you make changes to the existing structure. Renovating is ideal if your home only needs a few upgrades. A new build, on the other hand, is building the house from the ground up, with everything new. Starting from scratch can entail selling up and building a new home on an empty plot of land or opting for a knockdown rebuild. By considering a new build instead of a renovation, you’ll be able to solve for outdated housing designs, poor builds, and weak land utilisation. Basically, you are still starting the building from scratch, so you can let your creative juices flow with designing a new home.

Steps of Designing Your Home

Step 1. Design Brief

In the initial stages of the design process, it is important to think about what you would like to achieve with your new home. This is the time when you can let your imagination run wild by jotting down your wishlist for the home in a preliminary brief. When starting from scratch, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the range of choices available. Here are some helpful tips on how to find the perfect design inspiration for your home.

  • Check out photos online. Scroll through social media, online magazines, and even real estate websites, and you will find plenty of variety for your home inspiration. Pinterest is a great place to bookmark design inspiration as it is mainly image-based. There are also plenty of house and garden shows on television and streaming channels to help you decide the style of home you want.
  • Tour the neighbourhood. A drive or stroll around any area is a great way to see different styles of homes. From the outside, you can understand the type of homes that appeal, how large the block is, and the landscaping inspiration.
  • Take photos when you see something you like. These days, with phones in our hands, we always have a camera, so take photos when you see something inspirational. It could be walking past an appealing property, a stunning garden, a display home, a commercial building, or a friend’s home. You never know when inspiration might strike.
  • Architecture publications. Go straight to the source of inspiration by checking out architecture publications or blogs. They are a great place to start looking for innovative ideas and are experts in industry knowledge and current trends.
  • Understand your budget. There’s no point having visions of your dream home and discovering you cannot afford it. By knowing your budget and keeping a close eye on it, you will likely avoid overspending or budget blowouts. It allows your builder and design team to have a pragmatic approach to your home build. They can look out for ways to add value to your project and source alternative solutions and create designs that are more conducive to your budget.
  • Needs of your home, present, and future. A home is a long-term investment, so think about what your needs will be now and in the future. Our lives change, so it is important to create a home that is flexible and can adapt to the changes. Consider what your needs might be in the future and incorporate that into your design. Maybe you will be having children or scaling down as adult children leave.
  • Find a location. Maybe you have already purchased a block of land, or you are doing a knockdown rebuild, but if not, choosing the location is a big deal. Take into account your lifestyle and long-term needs. This might include commuting to work, having schools close by, or public transportation. When looking at land for your new build, you must also consider the block size, shape, orientation, and soil types. It is also important to think about the size of the house you would like to build when looking at a location.
  • Sketch your ideas. Whether on a plain notebook, sketch pad, or a more upmarket 3D design floor plan app, sketching your ideas is a great way to create conceptual designs. Jot down the initial thoughts with your “must haves” and complement them with a rough floor plan or sketch. This imaginative approach is often the catalyst for further ideas and can help you visualise the final space.
  • Organise & refine ideas. Once the initial research has been done, organise and refine your ideas. Create lists and plans of your wants and needs for the new build. Prioritise what is non-negotiable and what is flexible. List the number of rooms you want, living spaces, extra features, designs, and styles that appeal. List functional requirements like building materials and technical details, as well as creative and fun elements like starlights and your own sauna.

Step 2: Choosing the Designer

Choosing the person to design your home is an important step in the process of your custom build. When you work with a Building Designer, Architect, or your builder’s design team, you are creating a unique design for your home. They will help you develop a floor plan, incorporate sustainable design elements like the best orientation for the home, and choose materials, finishes, and extra inclusions like appliances. The right designer will work with you to develop a design that suits your budget, lifestyle, and personality. To help decide the best designer for your home, consider the following:

  • The type of Designer. The experts in designing homes are usually Architects or Building Designers, and both have similar responsibilities in creating home designs. Both have proficiency in technical designs, procedures, and dimensions. The main difference is an Architect is likely to have extensive tertiary qualifications of seven-plus years. A Building Designer does not need formal qualifications; however, most have completed two to four years of tertiary study. An Architect is often used for large projects and buildings over three stories tall. A Building Designer, formerly known as a Draftsperson, is ideally suited to residential and small commercial buildings. Forme Homes have their own dedicated Building Designers in-house, so if you’re looking to go from design to build with a single team committed to making dream homes a reality, contact us today.
  • Initial consultation & finding your ideal designer. Meeting potential designers in person will help you gauge how well the communication flows, and whether they actively listen to your opinions and desires. Requesting references and client testimonials will allow you deeper insight into their previous projects. Ask to see the designer’s portfolio to help you determine if they can respond to your specific design requests or site issues. Remember that proven experience with challenging or sloping blocks can be highly beneficial. Check out their qualifications to ensure they have the appropriate credentials for your property, and compare quotes and relevant services between multiple designers to determine your budget and the best quality and value for your money.
  • Talk through the brief. Sit down and talk through your preliminary brief with a prospective designer. A good designer will want to know your hopes and dreams for the project. They will be able to articulate the features that are possible and those that may be more tricky and perhaps offer suggestions or alternatives. Communication with your designer will be the key to a successful and rewarding building experience.
  • Revise and review the brief. Make sure you include as much information as possible in your preliminary brief. Working with your designer to evolve your brief will ensure all your expectations and desires for a new home are properly discussed. Bring along any photos, Pinterest links, magazines, real estate blogs, and 3D floor plans to give your designer a solid foundation on where to begin. Conceptually agreeing to details like budget, functionality, number of bedrooms, living areas, wish list, and “must have” features will assist with both framing the next steps of the process and finding which designer you are most comfortable proceeding with.

Step 3: Site assessment

Once the groundwork is done and your building designer is chosen, the next crucial step toward creating a viable building design is site analysis. Examining factors like the location, zoning regulations, traffic conditions, and weather conditions of the block you want to build on gives the design team an insight into how it will influence the structure’s design and layout. A typical site analysis will include:

  • Location analysis. When analysing a site to see if it is suitable for building, the designer needs to look at it from a professional perspective. This means researching all the aspects of the block to see how it will affect the structure’s design and adjusting the brief where necessary to incorporate the geographical aspects of the property. The designer will look at site topography, whether the site is flat, plain, or uneven, the orientation by analysing the sun’s path and wind direction to get strategic ideas for building positioning, and potential views from the property, which can also impact the positioning of the home.
  • Examining. Zoning regulations, traffic conditions, and weather conditions will be examined to give the design team an insight into how they will influence the structure’s design and layout.
  • Researching. Climate trends, site dimensions, type of soil, and service connections like water supply, waste disposal, and drainage will also be researched when buying a block for your new home.

Step 4: Formal design brief

At this stage, a more formal design brief will be created by the Building Designer or Architect. The designer will use the information from the original preliminary brief, discussions about your expectations for the project, a record of agreed decisions, and site analysis research. This informative document means you can have more control over the project. Items in the formal design brief include:

  • Concept plan preparation. Your designer may give you multiple concepts with alternative options to look at, ranging from high-tech drawings to simple sketches. At this stage, the designer seeks feedback based on the brief. When you look at the concept design, consider elements such as space and layout, the look and feel, and passive design principles.
  • Budget planning. A greater understanding of what is involved in the build and design from talking to the designer and the site analysis means you can start to plan a realistic budget. At this stage, it is important to realise the design brief is still a work in progress. If the build exceeds your budget, talk to your designer from the beginning to clarify any changes you may need to make.
  • General cost estimations. With the site analysis and planning expectations clarified, the designer can estimate the costs and fees associated with the building design. As a rule, most designers work with a cost per square metre, and this is based on the size of the block and home to be designed, site difficulty, the construction system, materials, as well as services and accessibility.
  • Signing off. Signing off the formal design brief is the first major step towards an agreed design and cost for your new home to be built. It is an exciting time when you can see the vision for your home becoming a reality.

Step 5: Concept Design

Your designer will now develop a range of concept designs for you to look at. This is the designer’s initial response to your requirements and the first true design stage. At this stage of the project, concept designs are there to gain a greater understanding of the client’s requirements. The stage includes:

  • Collaborating to create the design. The concept design is an important stage for collaboration as this is when you are working towards the final design for your new home. It is important to verbalise anything you are not sure about or don’t like in the designs so that the design team can create an accurate house design for your needs.
  • Major house elements. Another fabulous part of the design is choosing the major house elements. It is time to decide if you want to build a sustainable house, the type of heating and cooling, or take it one step further and have some innovative inclusions in your home.
  • Choose a concept design. With concept designs, you see what your home might look and feel like. There is no formal plan or layout yet, but you will be able to agree on which concept best suits your needs.

Step 6: Developing & Finalising Design

Once you have chosen the concept design, the designer can develop it into a preliminary layout. The development and final design stage will include:

  • Floor plan detail. This plan includes room sizes, window measurements and placement, and indoor and outdoor flow to visualise the living design.
  • Layout and look. You can ask the designer to include scaled furniture drawings to see how everything will look in the room and experiment with the layout.
  • Reviewing the original brief for clarity and continuity. At this stage, it is a good idea to revisit the preliminary brief to ensure everything is included.
  • CAD or 3D software for visualisation. A computer-aided design (CAD) program is often used to help you visualise the home’s design. You can view this 3D model on a computer or tablet, and it is an invaluable tool for imagining what your home will look like.
  • Fittings and finishes. Choosing fittings and finishes is a fun part of the final design and is included in this process stage.
  • Landscaping. This step includes a brief of external finishes as well. At this stage, you can start to consider landscape design, creating outdoor entertainment and leisure spaces.
Builders working on floorplans

Step 7: Planning & Approvals

If you and the designer are happy with the final plans, the next step is to seek approval. This three-step process includes:

  • Approval of the plans. This is the final stage, where the client and designer approve the plans. Examine the plans in detail and revisit the original preliminary brief to ensure the build is exactly what you want.
  • Local council approval. Once all parties approve the plans, it is time to send them to the required authorities. The approvals required before building are planning approval and construction approval. The planning approval is through the local government, and the construction approval is through a registered private or council building surveyor.
  • Notifying neighbours. It is a good idea to let neighbours know what construction work is taking place, when it will start, and the expected duration, as well as how the building work might affect them.

Step 8: Assemble Builder Tender Package

At this stage, a builder tender package is assembled to allow builders to provide a quote for the work associated with your new home build. Through this tender package, you will choose the builder for your new home. This process has five steps, as explained below:

  • Putting together the package. The builder tender package is a comprehensive document with the final draft of the building plan, which includes soil tests, engineering documents, material details, fixtures, and fittings. This will help candidates assess their costs and put a submission forward to do the work. A quote will include various details; however, the most important to consider are the pricing project description, timeline, and contract type.
  • Choosing potential builders. After understanding the importance of choosing the right builder, you will have a shortlist of preferred builders. Now is the time to send the tender packages and invite them to submit a building proposal. Forme Homes are the experts in custom building, with a commitment to build your home through a personalised journey.
  • Receiving a formal building quote. As tender packages usually have a deadline, you should receive the formal building quote by the due date. Examine all the quotes, considering it may not be the cheapest quote that is perfect for your build. When you are satisfied with your decision, notify the builder that they have been successful.
  • A final review. This final step allows you to review the building quote and read the building contract once again. Avoid assumptions and clarify that everything is clear in the contract and that the price and terms listed are correct. After that, all parties will sign the contract, adhering to legal obligations, which signifies the execution of the contract.

Step 9: Begin the Build

This is the moment when all the hard work has paid off. You have a stunning building design that reflects your personality and style. Your budget is set, and you are delighted with the team of professionals that will bring your vision to life. Soon your site will be cleared, getting ready for the foundations to be laid. The frames will be up, and before you know it, your dream home will be handed over to you.

If you are looking for the best custom builder, chat with the team at Forme Homes. With their carefully handpicked in-house design team, skilled trades professionals, and over 50 years of building experience, you can be assured that your home designing and building journey will be everything you wish for.