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Home Design - Hints & Tips


Here Are Some Things We've Learnt


Outdoor/indoor flow is vital for modern living but –

  1. Make sure your doorways have shelter from rain with eaves or porticos
  2. Outdoor living in New Zealand can be done for much of the year in northern climes, less so down south, but it is essential that shade is provided. Consider waterproof shade either through shadeclothes that are waterproof or solid roof materials
  3. Think about sun-lines. Shade at midday may be inadequate in the early evening and the sun can still be brutal at that hour
  4. If you can’t afford to install outdoor heating, make provision for it by running gas pipes or electrical wiring during the build
  5. Look at running your music outdoors with outdoor speakers. It’s actually more considerate for the neighbours as you don’t need volumes up as loud to be able to hear it
  6. Sightlines for children’s play areas can be incorporated into your design early in the process
  7. Separate spaces for children (no matter how old) can be a very valuable asset to living
  8. Lighting is vital to enhancing a home’s natural features and ambience and don’t forget to install outdoor lighting, or cable it up even if you can’t afford the lights yet
  9. Run speaker cable and computer cable throughout your house, even if you cannot afford to install computers and speakers – add them later!
  10. Ensure the materials you build your home from are of good quality from reputable suppliers – from the framing you choose, to the cladding, electrical cabling and plumbing to glass, roofing and interior linings. Fittings can be changed out – you cannot change your framing
  11. Spend money on quality fittings wherever you can
  12. If you’re building, site leveling beforehand can be an excellent way of making the full use of your property – making space for entertaining areas, kid’s play areas or parking. Don’t be scared to move dirt around – it’s never cheaper than before things are built.
  13. Look for inspiration on our Pinterest Page here...

Above all else, think about how you want to live in your new home and build it around your requirements, needs and desires – this is the ultimate benefit in building your own dream

For more inspiration visit our new Design Guide website



Deciding What You Want


  1. What style of house – traditional or contemporary, Tuscan villa or modernist masterpiece?
  2. How do you live your life – lots of outdoor living or sheltered retreat? And if outdoor living, what amount of shading do you want and how will you incorporate into your design?
  3. Open plan or many rooms?
  4. How do the various rooms interact with each other – living room with kitchen, living spaces with sleeping, and work spaces with leisure?
  5. What kinds of things do you want to do in each room – some will be specific and can be purpose designed, others will have multi-use requirements?
  6. Do you have children? How old are they and what spaces do they require? How long are you planning to stay there and what will your children want/need in three, five or ten years’ time?
  7. Are there any features – indoor or outdoor – you want to highlight? These can include special views or interior design elements such as staircases
  8. Where do you want your rooms? Bedrooms at the front or rear of the property? Living on the sunny side or shaded side? Kitchen and bathrooms to the shady side or rear of the property?
  9. Did you want everything on the same level? What kind of contour is your chosen site? If it’s sloping then you have the option of levelling the slope or having different parts of the house at different levels.
  10. How will you incorporate new technologies into your design for home theatre, telecommunications and smart home technologies?
  11. How will your entranceway work for things like dropping keys, shoes, bags, coats, etc? Will it have shelter from the weather? Will you step straight into your living area?
  12. How does your planned home relate to its neighbours for privacy or to maximise the sun? Does your design move outside the district plan and building envelope, meaning you will need resource consent?
  13. Where will you put the laundry and what access will it have to outdoors; where will the clothesline go?
  14. How many toilets/bathrooms do you want or can afford? Do you want the toilet(s) separate?
  15. Where do you want the garaging and what do you want to use it for – just for parking cars, or storage (inevitably) or workshop?
  16. What level of sustainable building/energy efficiency can you build in now? If you can’t afford everything now, can you prepare by running pipes for grey water recycling or solar hot water? Can you put pipes into your concrete slab with a view to installing hot water heating (from whatever source) later?
  17. Do you have space or budget for a pool and if so where is the ideal place?
  18. Now is a good time to consider landscaping design – where do you want trees planted for privacy, shading, pleasure; paths?


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Here's a great piece of advice on how to read a floorplan...