Ok, it’s time to stop faffing about and action something for our ‘Forever Home’. I’ve spent enough time looking through Pinterest, Instagram, magazines etc and really my initial design hasn’t changed that much so I’m ready for the next steps.
There are a few things that we’ve worked on before this point which always help us to stay on track:
- Establishing a budget: If you know my husband you’ll understand this is always the first step. We set the budget and then a contingency (I’m sure he has an additional contingency for my last minute ‘must haves’) up front. It becomes the backbone of our planning process and helps us stay on track; what can we afford, what are we comfortable spending on this, where do we need to compromise, are we ok with spending extra/going over budget, what else could we do with that money. It also helps with the inevitable arguments down the road – we both know at some point he with raise the cost of tiles/tapeware/cabinetry and I’ll be able to refute it with cold hard budget numbers. win win!
- List mandatories: we’ve renovated a few homes and been talking about our ‘forever home’ for years so we both have a pretty solid idea of what we’re after and how we live our lives. Rob’s ‘must haves’ are a spacious bedroom and 4 car garage (he might need to comprise to 3, so I’ve started prepping him for this!). Mine are open plan (we’ve lived in a lot of houses, particularly new builds and never used ‘formal dining rooms’ or ‘theatre rooms’ so why would we start now?), connection to the outside (with 2 kids, 2 dogs and a hypo husband this is necessary, plus we bought the house mainly for the yard!) and built-in design features (benches under windows, well designed cabinetry in the wardrobes etc.).
- Set design brief: how do we want the space to feel? Our past renos and builds have been about ‘clean’, ‘tidy’, ‘easy to maintain’ or ‘appealing to downsizers’. I’ve put together a few mood boards, word clouds and ideas to help articulate our design to the architect.
- Narrowing down architects: this part was a little tougher. Architects website are by and large rubbish. Not sure why they don’t showcase their projects better, but a lot of the ones in Newcastle have terrible websites and zero social media. I spent ages trawling around, driving around and talking to every person I met to narrow it down to 4 architects.
I’ve called the architects and set-up initial meetings with them (well 3 of them, the 4th hasn’t returned my call so they’ll probably be scrapped from the list. If you can’t return the initial business call what hope do you have of communicating throughout the process? #personalbugbear)! It seems so real now I’ve started talking to architects!! 🙂
PS. I know I’ve used this image a thousand times, but love how it shows exactly what we’re after – light, bright, fun, space for the outdoors/kids.