Design pitfalls and mistakes

Whether you are designing a new home or a unit development, there are some basic design principles and understanding of products you need to follow.

The sun is key. Position your home & windows to best capture the northern sunlight. This will assist in keeping your home well-lit and warm in the colder months and also keep your home cooler on the hot days.
Many homes (especially volume builder ready houses) designs are set and not designed to best capture light for all blocks, they are normally design for aesthetics.
Of course, you want a layout that flows well and looks good, but you are not always getting the best thermal result.
What you should really think about first when buying a property is to get a block that best suits the suns orientation. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but if you are spoilt for choice, then chose one with the northern sun facing the backyard.
The worst possible is north facing the front of the house.
Position your utilities to face south and minimise west facing windows.

Sealing around windows properly is another key component which is constantly over looked during a build. Getting double glazed is new agey and great if needed, but are completely useless unless you seal around the frame. Doing this will stop air and sound transmission and will optimize what you have just paid extra for.
You lose 10% of your heat through your windows, couple that with your 35% lose through your walls, then essentially having air gaps between your windows can cause up to 45% of your heat lose and gain.

Ducted heating & Cooling. Looks pretty compared to split systems, but did you know you lose 25% of your heat through your roof? Ducts being the biggest culprit.
Using duct covers over the winter will help keep the rooms warmer by limiting draft.

Be flexible.
A lot of people know what they want. But present a designer a home layout for a 16m wide frontage to fit on their 12.5m site is just not feasible and made worse when they are not willing to compromise on the size.

Work out a budget.
Having a massive wish list is awesome, but if you don’t have a budget in place then your wish list is going to be very disappointing when your project is finally completed.
Having a maximum budget in place and letting your designer know what it is will help everyone keep on track with your overall design. Specialized ceilings and certain materials are costly, so if its not your design is big and grand, these things might be the first to disappear to save the overall size of your home. Sometimes the style might just have to come at a later date if possible.

Not every style works and can coexist.
I get some clients who see all these different ideas they see across a huge range of display homes and or magazines. But not all these can work in 1 home.
Coffered ceilings look great, but don’t work in a modern style home. You also can’t then add in other wall elements that interest with the ceiling.
All this also interlocks with my last point.
Pick a style and stick with it.
You really need to be doing your research before you see a designer. Not knowing what you want will not allow your designer to get ideas on paper.
find a style you love and work with the designer to bring your plans to life.
Taking a seamless modern and sleek façade idea to your designer and then wanting a French provincial kitchen just doesn’t work. It will make your home feel confused.
The more research you do the better it is for you as much as it is for the designer, it will make the ideas and work flow much better.

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