I often receive emails from homeowners asking if I can ‘draw up plans’ for their new home or renovation. They usually state that they know exactly what they want and attach a rough not-to-scale sketch of their intentions.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that they are giving it a red-hot crack. However, TV shows like ‘The Block’ and ‘Fixer Upper’ have given homeowners the false impression that a design professional is redundant and that you can do it yourself. But what you didn’t see on ‘The Block’ is what happened before the contestant’s got stuck into it. There would have been a building designer or architect designing and documenting the home and arranging the required permits.
So, if you choose to undertake your own design, ask yourself the following questions?
- Have we considered how the spaces will be affected positively or negatively by sunlight?
- Does this design represent the best flow and connection between spaces?
- Will my floor plan translate to a beautiful façade design?
- Does the proposed siting take into consideration environmental sustainability?
- Is my design in compliance with statutory requirements, or will it trigger a planning permit?
And this is just a select few questions from a very long list.
As a design professional there is much to take into consideration in each and every design. Like any professional in their field, we have undertaken the necessary studies, then honed and developed our skills over time. We have the ability to see outcomes and opportunities for a home that could be easily missed by someone without the same level of experience.
I know that I would never try to do the work of a surgeon or a dentist; it’s too risky and could go incredibly wrong. But designing your home without the necessary skill set is also too risky and has the potential to go horribly wrong.
So, when it comes to designing your new home or renovation you need to consider whether you are saving by doing the design your yourself or risking your investment. Are you willing to risk the pending considerable build cost by saving a few thousand on the design?
The homeowners input into the design brief is paramount. That is where the homeowner’s investment is best made. When clients have gone to the trouble of preparing a hand drawn sketch, I keep it as part of the design brief. It can give me a glimpse into the spaces that are important to them. On more than one occasion my clients have proclaimed after seeing their design for the first time “it is everything that we wanted, and nothing like we expected”.
There are lots of ways to save but don’t let the design phase be one of them- The success of your new home or renovation begins and ends with the design.