Its not every day you get to design and build your own home! 

Even as building company owners we go through the same thought processes and have similar desires, fears and constraints to everyone else when it comes to our new home.

This series of blogs is all about our build journey!………… What we learn, what worked well and how we work through any hurdles that arose.   We will experience similar situations to our clients and maybe by following our journey you may learn something, or perhaps feel more relaxed, or confident, about the build process, or at least have a laugh!

Selling our own house

So, currently we are awaiting the sale of our house!  We have purchased a section on the west side of Rangiora and have started the concepts.

The starting point!

The first three questions we ask any potential client is:

  • What is important to you? (Your Priorities)
  • What are you looking at building – including non-negotiables?
  • What is your budget?

So, this is what we considered…………

We are fortunate in that we do have a good idea of what the budget can cover BUT this does not stop the emotion, and less disciplined parts of our brains, playing their part.  Brent wanting that extra garage space for his workshop and me wanting the light spacious kitchen with a window splashback and two ovens (not that I am much of a cook but I can pretend right!!??!)……..But Whoa there!!  Let’s bring it right back and start with our budget and a list of what we won’t compromise on, AND those areas that we are happy to – we are talking bigger picture here – not tapware and kitchen appliances!

The following are in approximate order of consideration…..

Our main priorities are:

  • Warm healthy home with year round comfort (even constant temperatures).
  • Energy efficiency – the technology and experience is there so we intend to make the most of it.
  • Open plan family area (regardless of how much hair we lose, we actually do want to spend more time socialising with our kids in our home!!).
  • Low maintenance materials as a very busy family.
  • Modest size & try to limit wasted areas – efficient use of space.
  • Natural light and a light airy house – good outdoor flow from living area.

Once we had established our priorities, what are we are looking at building:

  • A passive house providing a warm comfortable indoor living environment throughout the home year round for minimal heating and cooling costs.
  • Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) construction – walls and roof.
  • Attached 2.5 garage – not included in the SIPs thermal envelope to save on costs.
  • Large open living area with good outdoor flow. Open raking ceiling in living areas.
  • Four bedrooms as likely to have 3 teenagers in this house in 3 years!…eeeeek!
  • We have decided to not build a guest room. This is a conscious decision to avoid building a room which remains unused most of the time.  Two of our children can easily share a room for the small amount of time we do have guests staying.
  • Limit hallway length as much as possible with our long thin site…..harder than you think (!).
  • Two bathrooms (main bath to have a separate toilet).

What are our limitations

Whilst we are willing to compromise on some things to achieve a low energy, warm, healthy home, there are some things we cannot control – that of the section, family size, and importantly our budget.

Alongside budget, the major limitation in many new builds is that of the site, and indeed this is the case with ours.  A long thin section oriented east/west.  The house will be designed therefore with a long north side, and the main living and outdoor areas will be west facing.  This will have an effect on the design in order for the house to meet our design priorities for a warm, comfortable and energy efficient home.

Design Build is a great example of how no one family, or person, fits into an exact box.  The uniqueness and individual preferences of every single person will be different, as will their needs and emotions.

So, we await our concept plan draft – designing the house to suit our family and lifestyle, with budget, site limitations, and priorities in mind. …… let’s see how patient I can be! 😊

For more information on about building with Structural Insulated Panels grab another of our free guides here!