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Preparing your custom home design brief

Many clients come to us with scrapbooks of design flourishes, concepts for the entryway, or the overarching style that they’d like to capture in their home. You’ll find inspiration ad infinitum for interior design on Pinterest, and custom home designs allow for so much freedom. Whether it’s about including the latest trends, like the double-sized shower or chef’s kitchen, we also need to look at your new home from a practical perspective: what sort of lifestyle will it afford you.

Here comes the sun: energy efficiency in custom home designs.

The vast majority of new home constructions since the early 2000s have been scored with a star system by the Federal Government’s Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS). It’s not just token ‘feelgoodery’ – the rating matters for a few reasons.

Firstly, the higher your star rating, the lower the cost to heat and cool your home throughout the year. Secondly, a higher star rating is more appealing to buyers, should you choose to sell.

The sun isn’t going anywhere (for at least a few billion years), so it makes sense to build with a solar passive design wherever possible. Even if it costs a little more now, the long-term savings can be enormous.

The orientation of your block (north-south vs east-west in length) will determine where you may want to install solar panels, windows, or a conservatory. In a coastal location, it may also play a factor in the materials you choose in custom home designs to stand up to the elements.

Energy efficiency has become another hallmark of a quality home and something we include as standard in our pre-designed homes.

What’s your storey?

When choosing between a single, double, or even triple storey custom home design, there are a few considerations. Firstly, can you get the council and community approval to build to that height, in keeping with regulations and neighbourly privacy?  Will the orientation of your block mean a taller home will get you a view, but also cloak your garden in a grim, permanent shade?

A multi-storey house is an efficient way to maximise your space. However, if you’re building a home you intend to grow old in, stairs may present a problem as you age. This may impact your home design’s layout, determining what’s included on the first floor; i.e. master bedroom, ensuite and kitchen.

You may even want to consider widening hallways or installing an elevator.

Custom home designs can mean speciality rooms.

It’s an obvious starting point to work out the number of bedrooms and number of bathrooms you’ll require. But is that fourth bedroom really being used for a bed? Or is it perhaps going to be repurposed as a home office or reading room?

If a specialty room is your preference, with custom home designs, we have the opportunity to alter the layout, perhaps giving you more desk space by leaving out the walk-in robe, or including a built-in bookcase instead.

We always recommend designing a home that’s adaptable and will grow with you and your family.

The budget for a custom home design

It’s worth thinking: what’s a change worth to you? Each alteration from a standard plan does tend to increase the cost. Once you know your budget for all the areas of your home (including things like a pool, gardens, paving and fixtures), you can then determine your customisation in order from must-haves to nice-to-haves and keep within budget.

These are just a few of the things you’ll need to consider when embarking on a custom home design project. Chat to a Canny consultant about what sort of lifestyle you want to achieve and how your home design can help facilitate your dreams.

Our process involves an exclusive walkthrough of our latest concept home and discussion about your intentions. We’ll talk about your expectations and goals, before conducting a site assessment to understand your block’s specifications. Based on our years of knowledge, we’re then well placed to discuss how our custom home designs will work on your block.

For more information or to start your home building journey click here.


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9A Hall Street, Hawthorn East VIC 3123 Phone: (03) 8532 4444