It takes more than just a basic idea to build your dream home. Whether building new or renovating an existing structure, creating a new home is a journey of discovering who you are, what you want, how you want to live, and where you want to be. Many architects and home designers enjoy showing all the things that a builder can do with a simple house plan and a little know-how. For the owner, the decision to building your dream home is one that is rooted in wanting to have something that you worked on yourself. This is a chance for the house owner to define your relationship to the world, to your family and to yourself. Creating a home is more than just building “3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms.” If you’re going to be building the home of your dreams, it’s very easy for you to get carried away.
As with any journey, you’ll want to do some research and plan your trip. You’ll want to have a sense of what the end result should be and how much it’ll cost. And while you’ll no doubt be able to go it alone, having a seasoned and experienced guide show you the way will likely mean a more enjoyable, more enriching and overall better journey.
Let’s look at the steps, involved in creating a home.
FIND SOME LAND or an Old House
Where do you want to be? How do you want to live? What are you looking for? Maybe you want that house in the mountains or with the ocean view, but it’s not in the cards right now, for economic or other reasons. No matter; you’ll likely be able to reinvent yourself later. For now, it’s the burbs with the good schools or some other place. The point is, find a spot on the globe that you can claim as your own and build what will be a home.
CHOOSE YOUR SITE WELL
This has an impact on a number of factors. First the consolidation of the earth on a site can make it more viable to use a particular foundation. If a site is well-compacted, then less money needs to be spent on the foundation and more can go into the actual construction. Secondly, your site will be the location you intend to live after the house is build. Choosing a good neighbourhood that is growing and developing is generally a good idea for a new homeowner.
Creating a new home for yourself is all about setting goals and taking the steps to achieve those goals. You’ll want to establish the answers to a whole host of questions so that you can set these goals. By the way, a goals statement is what architects refer to as a program. So, when your architect says “program,” just think “goals.”
Questions to ask:
- What do you want to achieve?
- Where do you want to be?
- What will this cost?
- Can it really be achieved?
- Does plan A make sense?
- What’s plan B?
ESTABLISH A BUDGET
While a budget should be in any goal statement, it’s such an important piece that it’s included here as a separate task. When making your budget, of course you’ll begin with what you can afford, and how the cost of your house fits in with your overall plans for the future. When you’re ready to get down to details, include everything that will go into the project: the cost of the land, local fees and taxes, design and engineering fees, construction of not just the home but the landscape, plus furniture and decorating.
And don’t forget a healthy contingency. As with any complex project, things will happen, and the road from point A to point B will have a detour or two. Make sure that these little side trips won’t send you over the edge.
A spreadsheet program such as Excel is a good tool to use for developing a budget, as you can continuously update and modify it as you work your way through the project.
PLAN SOME MORE
Every large project I’ve ever worked on has had this one thing in common. The owner, whether a private developer, government agency, or corporate entity, knew the importance of planning the project in detail before starting to build. These owners knew that moving walls on paper is a whole lot cheaper than moving walls after they’re built. So, embark on a robust planning and design phase.
MENTALLY (OR VIRTUALLY) WALK THROUGH THE HOUSE PLAN
A house plan is a general layout for what you want your dream house to look like. In order to get building plans passed, architects need to show plans which represent how the house looks from the outside. Modern architects instead utilise 3D CAD to give their clients a virtual walk through of the house to better experience what the house will look like from the inside. This is a very useful feature, especially for clients that have a hard time ‘seeing’ themselves in the house from just the floor layout.
ASSEMBLE A TEAM.
While you might think you can go it alone, assembling a team of tried and true professionals is the better approach. After all, you wouldn’t represent yourself in court. So why wouldn’t you entrust your single largest investment to an experienced team that won’t be learning on your dime?
An architect and a builder (if not one and the same) are going to be your most important team members. These people will act as guide, therapist, advocate, and counsellor throughout the journey that creating your home is. And, as with all good professionals, the right guide can ensure that the journey is all the more enjoyable.
As you embark on this journey, you will likely want to add team members. A kitchen and bath designer, perhaps; maybe an interior designer, too. Certainly, a landscape architect who shouldn’t be the last person hired when all the money is gone; you want to create a beautiful yard that will complement the house.
ACCEPT THE INEVITABLE
You’ve made the plans, gotten the permits and secured the money; now the only thing left to do is build your house. You’ve accounted for everything, so it should all come together as smooth as silk. Easy, right?
How you and your team react to these hiccups will be important. My advice is to stay calm, keep your sense of humour, and work with your team to address the issue. This is where having the right team in place can pay dividends. An architect, a builder, and others who can work together and share ideas without criticizing one another will go a long way to helping you keep your sanity.
Some tips for staying sane during construction:
- Don’t change your mind. Early on make all of the decisions you have to, select all of your finishes and don’t change your mind. Yes, you’ll be enticed by that new thing that comes along. Just remember that once construction starts, it’ll cost you time, money, and perhaps a trip or two to a therapist if you change your mind.
- Turn a deaf ear to the goings-on. Every construction site is filled with workers complaining. After all, who doesn’t complain about his or her job? Who hasn’t wanted to vent about the boss? The best thing you can do is ignore it. Don’t worry; if it really is an issue, you’ll be told about it.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS IMPORTANT
Green Building is a modern method of residential building that focuses on sustainability. Over the lifetime of the building, using energy efficient appliances and outlets can make for a much more environmentally sensitive construction. This sustainability continues to impact how a building functions well into the future. It’s a good consideration for those who think that building a home might have too much of a negative impact on the environment.
ENJOY YOUR NEW HOME
You’ve worked hard and spent more than a few cash to create your new home, so enjoy it to the max. Revel in the way the light falls across a room and how it changes with the seasons. Find unexpected places to talk with family members. Discover how this place gives shape to your life and allows you to become the person you want to be.
Designing and Building
Getting design done in a timely and efficient manner is one of the challenges that faces people who want to design the home of their dreams. Luckily, consultants exist that allow clients to explain what they want to see in their home and design based on those ideas. The Skyaphix is one such company that puts the dreams of the client at the forefront of home design. Contact us today to find out how we can aid in designing your dream house with your help!
In the end you’ll be amazed that your new house is so much more than the sum of just its three bedrooms, living room, and so on. It’s the place you get to call home and make uniquely yours.