The foundation of a home... PART 1: Change of (floor)plan
Well, I am going to make a quick change to this blog post. As I was writing my story I realised this contained waaaaay more info than I had planned so to make it a little bit easier to digest, I will divide this post into 2 smaller posts. For the first part, I will start by giving you a little insight into my own experience with designing house plans for personal use. The pictures I used in Part 1 may look very unimpressive but hey, I was still learning lol. On the last ones you can see I got the hang of it a bit more, so they look a lot better!
In Part 2 of this blog I will discuss the different aspects I encountered that affected which house plan we chose and how we adjusted it to suit our lifestyle in the end. By the time I am ready to start the second post, I should have started the 4th assignment of my Interior Design course which is all about designing floor plans. I am sure I can add some of that useful info into my blog as well.
PART 1: Change of Floor plan
One of the aspects of design is that it requires time and vision. The "3D" in 3D Home Impressions,
obviously stands for three dimensions. In this case, it represents my opinion on House & Interior DESIGN, which are:
2. Comfort, and
A functional floor plan can only be created if you put in the time and thought to get it right. In other words, it needs to be designed. Above anything else, the floor plan of any building needs to be functional, whether you are designing a house, office or a warehouse/shed. All man-made structures are built with a specific purpose in mind.
The floor plan of your building is the foundation everything else will rely on to function well, feel comfortable and to have aesthetically pleasing features. So, make sure you put in the time required because it is the main thing you cannot easily alter once construction start! You probably already read About 3D Home Impressions which explains a little bit more about what I mean by Function, Comfort & Aesthetic.
As a kid I loved playing The Sims PC game, building houses and never actually playing the game in the way it was meant to be played. I had a cheat code for unlimited money and the people were only in my way. I just went from empty block to empty block building massive homes, styling & decorating them as best a 12 year old could... It was so much fun though!
Anyway, enough of my childhood now... back to business!!
So, in September of 2015, Steve and I decided we were sick of renting and it was time to buy our own home. The only problem is, the house we were renting had a lot of obvious and hidden issues.
Leaking roof, blocked gutters, a water treatment system (sort of like a septic) that didn't work right, no air-conditioning or ceiling fans (yup, in Queensland Australia!), a badly positioned house meant we couldn't get any cool breezes flowing through, any heavy rain flooded the front gardens, a leaking patio roof so we couldn't have outdoor furniture, and so on and so on! All these issues just completely put me off buying a "second-hand house" with second hand "problems". Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of good houses around, but I didn't care. Steve and I live on the Fraser Coast, about 10 minutes outside of a town called Hervey Bay. Famous for Fraser Island and their winter time Whale Watching, the town has the essentials, but has no industry and is basically a slowly growing hub. The land is still fairly cheap and the views are stunning! So, if you like peace and quiet and are not after a big busy city at your doorstep, come to Hervey Bay! You'll love it!
Our mind was set... We are building a house. Steve already built a few houses in the past so he was a bit more experienced than I was, but my enthusiasm and creative head quickly got the better
of both of us!
Once we figured out our budget it was time to go land hunting and it's awesome! Fairly quickly we found an interesting piece of land backing onto some lovely trees. It was dirt-cheap because it had a water easement running through the block. This basically means that it needs to stay cleared for when heavy rain water needs to drain away. That made building a bit more tricky but it was worth it so we started the process of making an offer on the land.
At the same time, my creative head couldn't stop figuring out how to build our new house there, so I started designing. I found a great design program online (there are many
different ones, some are free, so you can pick whatever works best for you), which really helped me get started.
After a few days of browsing floor plans, I came across the right one. The website had the dimensions of the house, so I copied the details into my online design program, gutter the internal walls and started re-configuring the whole building internally. I always feel that corridors although, sometimes great for storage and aesthetics, are also a bit of wasted space. So when we redesigned the floor plan, we took out as much of the corridors as we could to make the home completely open plan. Living & kitchen areas as well as the master bedroom were positioned at the back of the house to enjoy the gorgeous trees at the back, whereas our rarely used guestroom was at the front. I almost finished designing the house, when suddenly, the bank wouldn't lend us the money we needed for the land :( BUGGER!! At the same time there was another buyer for the land and snapped it up right in front us... DOUBLE BUGGER!! I was a little sad at the time as this was my first time building, but hey, funny thing was, this happened 2 more times after that lol! So in total in my head (and on my computer), I designed 3 houses for 3 different blocks of land in a 3 month period. It was mentally exhausting, BUT, I did really learn a few neat things I didn't think much of at the start, I'll tell ya all about it in PART 2! :D
It took a while before we found another suitable block, but finally we found we one we actually built on in the end. So, while I was designing my 4th house, OUR situation changed. Steve's father lived alone in the UK and we decided it may be a good idea for him to come and live with us so he always has some family around him in case something happens. This, once again meant, a different house!! Pfffff, getting a little tired now lol!!
So... Back to the drawing board... AGAIN!
Okay, this made a heap of difference. I was basically now designing a 2-in-1 house. Luckily my skills got a lot better over time and by the time I designed the final house, the 3D model and the actual building looked pretty similar. The land we found and eventually bought, had great ocean views. So I had to make the most of them of course. But not just for Steve and I, also for Steve's dad. I found a great large 465m2 double storey house that was perfect for our new situation. The plan was to have a self contained apartment on the ground floor for Steve's father with 2 bedrooms (1 could be an office), 1 bathroom and a kitchen. The downstairs area also had a communal guest bedroom for any overseas guests that may come visit us. Upstairs was designed to be for just Steve, me and our two wonderful dogs. It had 1 large master bedroom, a bathroom, an office (that could also be a second living room or bedroom), a huge open plan living, dining and a second kitchen (which Steve built).
Now that I have given you a bit of background info as to how we got ourselves into that situation, I'd like to invite you to stay tuned for PART 2 of this blog that will talk you through an array points that I found were crucial to getting this house to function for the three of us.