Once you’ve secured your land, it’s time to put your design down on paper. You will have no doubt collated ideas before this point but you are now at the stage where a more detailed plan needs to be created to move forward with the project.
There are a number of aspects to think about when designing your own home:
- Plot – a significant factor; the size will dictate how large you’re able to build, and there’s also the shape of the space, the solar path and the outlook to consider. You’ll want to maximise site opportunities as well as recognising the constraints. Are there any features you want to make the most of? There may also be planning requirements attached to the land and neighbouring properties will need to be taken into account.
- Location – take a look at your setting, this will influence what type of exterior finish will be appropriate; does the local architecture use stone? brick? render?
- Budget – although this is your dream home, it needs to be based on a realistic budget. Maximise the finance you have by focussing on key aspects you can’t do without, and think about long-term quality.
- Timescales – how much time do you have? The more complicated the design, the longer it will inevitably take to build.
- Requirements – how many bedrooms do you need? How many reception areas would be right for your family? Is one-storey living the best option for you? Is low maintenance a priority?
- Layout – are you a lover of open plan or do you prefer separate living spaces? Think about how you and your family want to live, how you plan to use the rooms, how connected they are and what would suit your lifestyle. Efficient use of the square footage you have is important in good design. Also – don’t forget to include storage.
- Style – how will your home look? Do you envisage a contemporary structure with clean lines and an abundance of windows? Or would you prefer a traditional-looking property that has character and charm but with the benefit of modern technology? Do you have any special features you’d like to incorporate such as a balcony or gable glazing?
- Eco – caring for the environment also helps keep energy bills low so design ecologically. Optimise solar heat capture, use quality insulation and ensure your home is air-tight. Consider the renewable energy options available to you.
- Future – A self build home is a major investment, so you don’t want to outgrow the property in a couple of years’ time. Create a design that can adapt with you, a flexible space that will suit your family’s changing needs.
To help shape your vision visit self-build exhibitions and show homes, read architectural/home publications and scroll through Pinterest to gather inspiration, it may give you an idea that you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.
By the end of this part of the process you should have a design brief detailing precisely what you would like to achieve with essentials and ideals, as well as sketches of floor plans and elevations. Hand this over to an architect or architectural technician, they can draw up professional and structural plans specifying everything that planning and building regulations will need, as well as giving practical advice and helping bring your design to life.