Sep 11, 2007 11:40 pm
Looking for some opinions and advice before signing with a builder in Perth, WA .Being first timers we’re a bit nervous about missing obvious pitfalls or good inclusions, especially ones which may be costly or not possible to add down the track during the build process.
The Plan - 4x2 with study, activity/games and alfresco 31c in main living and alfresco, attached below.
Some queries we have, but feel free to comment on any aspect.
* General layout - One of our main aims with choosing this design was to open up the living areas to the North - ie we assume with right eave/window design this is a good design to achieve this? Also, we wanted the option to have a pool and think this can be achieved with this design using the space to the side of the house.
Double brick internal walls - would these be recommended in any locations? Eg for sound proofing, running of services such as lighting, power, tv/sat, etc (is chasing of walls satisfactory for the running of most cabling and services?)
Ceiling heights – We like the effect of 31c ceilings (approx 2.7m?). Is worth considering even higher ceilings or extending the higher ceilings to other rooms
Sliding doors - Should we look at a sliding door for the theatre room or other rooms?. Are there any concerns with sliding doors in general? eg more noise penetration, cost, installation issues?
Theatre room - Size 5.25x4.48m, Ideally we want a projector system – could this be run satisfactorily along the 4.48m dimension? We’ve read the threads on raised floors with tiered seating but don’t think we have the space for this, even if setup along the 5.25m dimension, although this probably would allow us to have a larger screen (does this make sense?).
Also for the H/T we probably should modify proposed the doors to open outwards, or change position or go with sliding doors?
Privacy - our house will sit approx 1m down from the street level and given that our neighbour on the north side has a driveway which runs along the boundary wall all the way to the rear of his property, we're interested in exploring options for privacy. We'd like to avoid plant/trees especially if we may put a pool in, so far we're thinking along the lines of a 800mm or so high limestone wall with colorbond fencing on-top but not sure on what this would cost or whether it would look okay.
Based on the current plan and the attached list of specifications the current price is approx 240k.
(ignore all the advertising that pops up when you click on the link and just click the download link to open the file vmspec.txt)
We already had someone point out the spec didn’t include exhaust fans and TV/phone points, where we would have thought at least some of these items would have been basic inclusions. We will definitely be looking at an upgrade to kitchen appliances and benchtop, but welcome any other comments.
Re: Our House Plan - Suggestions & Comments Welcomed2
Sep 12, 2007 8:10 pm
From what everyone is telling me with mine is get the 9ft ceilings. If you dont the rooms look smaller and i think it just looks better in general.
With our theatre room we have double open out doors with a full glass panel, looks really good but depends on room etc.
Every builder has a lot of extras. Ours doesnt include floor coverings eg. carpet/tiles. Shop around a bit and sus out. I think if you go with bigger companies eg Porter Davis, Metricon, Henley, Simmonds etc you get a better selection of colours and features etc.
One thing I was surprised with Henley is that amount of choice and what you choose. Everything from major choices like bricks to things like grout and mortor colour.
Soil test are always the unknown but you guys probably already know that by now.
Re: Our House Plan - Suggestions & Comments Welcomed3
Sep 12, 2007 8:54 pm
I'm currently designing my house so I'll give you some of my thoughts.
General layout - You'll need eaves (or some sort of sun shield) on the north wall that protrudes about 750 mm (depending on lower edge of windows). You're current eaves look too small. See www.greenhouse.gov.au/yourhome/technical/index.htm for details.
Double brick internal walls - These would cost a lot, chew up a lot of you're available floor space and probably not have any benefit. Admittedly it's hard to run future electric cables with brick walls. I'm thinking about getting white-set plaster, which is smooth, so any future cutting into the walls can be done and fixed without leaving a marked difference.
Ceiling height - I think 2.7 m is perfect.
Sliding doors - I've also got double doors on my home theatre, however mine will open into the main living area so there is a benefit in effectively enlarging the living area. I note that yours open onto a foyer so I would have thought that there would not be much of a benefit to having double doors. I'm tossing up between two bifold doors and two sliding doors. The problem I see with sliding doors is that they are rarely shut. With doors it can easily be shut. Sliding doors always seem to have a gap when they are casually closed. If you go for double doors, can I suggest that they open outwards and that they can open 180 degrees (that is, flat against the wall).
Theatre room - I think having the screen on the longer wall would just be OK. Having the screen on the shorter wall would be better.
The garage on the north side is less than ideal. You want living areas to the north and capture as much sun as possible.
With the theatre room with double open out doors with a full glass panel, wouldn't this let in a lot of light?
Demolition August 2009, Construction Started September 2009, Completed December 2010
Re: Our House Plan - Suggestions & Comments Welcomed4
Sep 12, 2007 9:59 pm
I like your house design! My thoughts on a couple of your issues:
High ceilings definitely make a room feel so much bigger. We're getting 3m ceilings as all our previous houses (period properties) have had this and we think it's worth it.
Double brick walls - I would have thought there is a better way of sound-proofing a wall?
Question - what is a comp recess (outside your minor bedrooms)?
Re: Our House Plan - Suggestions & Comments Welcomed5
Sep 12, 2007 11:04 pm
Definitely move the garage to the left of the house
ie south side.
Have a think about the master bedroom not being so close to the home theatre- if one of you is watching a movie and the other is reading in bed - it's nice to have some P&Q.
Same if the kids are watching "their movie" nemo or the wiggles for the 20,000th time - do you really want to hear it
Maybe shuffle the activities and master around a bit ? Most of us go to bed when our guests are gone and hey who needs to sleep beside the road.?
re the fence - not an issue - work out the angle of the sun in winter, then make the fence the right height for privacy but still get the early winter sun to land on the ground in front of the kitchen aned into the kitchen (CBLO) , and maybe juggle a small alfresco area up closer to the kitchen for those nice sunny winter morns / early sat arvo drinks .
And be creative with the roof line.
If you lift the roof on the northern side up really high - like 4 or 5 metres, with wide awning angled upwards (4 to 5 foot wide), then you'll get the sun right into your kitchen for winter (nice and warm) have really nice high ceilings and as a bonus have a fantastic heat bank for the rest of your house. And in summer it will be shaded.
Re the doors to the theatre room - don't go sliding doors - sliders are noisy – and let lots of air and noise around them. Solid normal doors that open the 180 degrees as casa says are much better.
I'd put the activity room opposite the theatre - then the kids can be playing - & you can be enjoying the company of guests and it will all fit in well.
RE bed 5
hmm do you reckon you could get a mattress in there - I'd move the storage area to another part of the room as it blocks the doorway way too much. Maybe run the door on the right and pu the storage on the left hand side and accessed from both sides. ie the kitchen and the bedroom.
And I'd change the access into the computer recess area making the entry via the back-left hand corner of the family room and make the walkthrough area blocked off - your losing a lot of useable space the way it is.
Re: Our House Plan - Suggestions & Comments Welcomed6
Sep 12, 2007 11:04 pm
thanks for the replies.
consensus so far:
internal double brick walls - confirmed that no real benefit, more negative- I'm convinced
ceiling height - 2.7 ok, bigger is better, but need to balance heating costs.
Donuts, comp = computer recess (an open study/work area for the kids)
From the gov sustainability site
So for example if we wanted floor windows we would need eaves or protrusion of about 1.21m? Would it be abnormal or costly to have eaves that large (when do they become a verandah), I've definitely heard of 900mm eaves? I was hoping that given we told the sale consultant that the solar design aspect was important to us that they would have provided an appropriate option - the 400mm on the plan see way to small. Another area for us to research in a bit more detail.
the garage - given the shape of the block we chose the RHS to minimise the gradient as we have a 1m drop from street level. Also building the parapet wall solves part of our privacy problem along this side of the house.
theatre room - thanks for the advice, probably will look at doors that open outwards for this design. I like your idea of being able to use bifold doors to allow one room to flow into another. We had another design we liked and wanted to do something similar, but from what we were told ventilation regulations would prevent us doing this. Plan is attached below for your reference.
We initially proposed that the games room would have no doors from the entry hallway and double doors or sliding door into living areas, but we were told we need permenant fixed openings? We still like this design, except for how the Games room entry and fixed openings are. Do you have a view on this?
Re: Our House Plan - Suggestions & Comments Welcomed7
Sep 12, 2007 11:40 pm
I like the first plan better.
Being in Perth you need to be aware of the hotter summers and windier colder winters.
As i said earlier - open the mind - lift the roof and think outside the norm.
Have fun planning.
Re: Our House Plan - Suggestions & Comments Welcomed8
Sep 12, 2007 11:43 pm
hi Yak_Chat (steve),
some very good points.
Computer Recess area - The suggestion to close off the area and change the entry position, totally agree. Something we'd actually thought of previously but had forgetten about, so thanks for highlighting.
RHS Garage - may rethink, but besides issues mentioned in our previous post, we have our neighbour's driveway running down this side (all the way to the rear of his property) and as they are shift workers they wake us up most mornings when their big commodore rolls on by our main bredroom. (we probably should have mentioned we are knocking over and rebuilding, and our current 3x1 'cold' home has all its bedrooms on the Northern side boundary wall.). Also the neighbours two story home casts a reasonable shadow over the northern boundary region of our property. Given this we probably wouldn't have windows facing north in the main bedroom? Based on this do you think the RHS garage is ok?
Roofline - really like your suggestions, although I can imagine the face on the builder's rep when I bring it up?
Sliders - agreed, consensus seems to be avoid if possible.
Bed5/Study - agreed needs better design. We do like the idea of not having the bedroom right at the front, so will have a bit of think about some of the suggestions you've made to see what we can come up with.
Re: Our House Plan - Suggestions & Comments Welcomed9
Sep 12, 2007 11:58 pm
Thought you may have lived there when I saw the place slammed on the left hand side - (thats good) and it;s good to see you have some sympathy with what you need to achieve to enjoy the place.
re the noise - double glaze and that will get rid of the noise - and hey - it'll be good thermally
Garage must still be to the left !!!.
Hmm the second story next door changes it a bit - you need to get up off the ground to be be able to catch the sun. Or further south - but thats not an option.
You obviosuly love the place - location wise - so maybe compromise on what you build now - size wise - build what's ideal now - ie 2 story to get what you need - and then when needed - have it so that you can do what you need in the future to esntend to better furnish.
Good designs can cope with strong roof and non structural internals allowing you to add them later.
I actually love northen bedrooms - but if you're an early to bed person - they can be abit warm at night - hence the main living areas are there.
But a bit of double glazing and curtains can help that.
You know you place heaps better than any "home builder" so go with waht you think is right.
Where do the good breezes come on those hot summer nights?
Where does the Freezing wind come from in winter, where do you like to sit in winter, where are the noisy neighbours - OK you know that bit.
Maybe go a custom design and build now - and reduce what you get now to get what you really want longer term?
Bed time 4me
Re: Our House Plan - Suggestions & Comments Welcomed10
Sep 13, 2007 4:25 pm
The plan looks good
The only thing I'd do is swap the living area and the theatre room around . It would allow you to make the theatre room slightly bigger if need be.
I'd maybe swap bed 4 and activity room as the afternoon sun will belt down on the western side of the house where the bed 3 &4 are located?
The alfresco area will also be belted by the afternoon sun a bit in summer
How big is the house in sqm's? Good luck with it.
Re: Our House Plan - Suggestions & Comments Welcomed11
Sep 13, 2007 10:31 pm
Sorry the scanned figures on the plan didn't come out too well. The total house is approx 360sqm (this includes the alfresco 33sqm & Garage 50sqm).
And yes, as yourself and others have recommended we will be looking a bit further at the general orientation of the house and location of the rooms, but in the end as probably with all homes there will need to be some comprise in some places.
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