Home Forums Welcome Hello! Building a new house

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  • #159132
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    In the next two years, my husband and I are planning to build a new house in the countryside in Victoria, Australia. It will be a modest, simple, sustainable house. We currently live in a compact terrace house in Melbourne, so our new house will be somewhat bigger. I am currently designing the storage spaces and considering our requirements. I thought I should ask the experts in this forum for their best space saving, practical and “clutter-less” ideas for a simple clean look.

  • #180892
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Building a new house

    we built a new room last year and the window seat is all cunning storage underneath.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pattiflynn/5265303578/
    the middle part is a huge roll out drawer and i keep the ironing board and vacuum cleaner in there.
    the side bits lift up and have large storage spaces beneath them.
    i keep out of season bedding in there.

    in the other room we’ve got elfa shelving for office and wardrobe.
    it wasn’t cheap, but we can swap it around easily.

    the key is to declutter first and then, when you are down to what you really need, have a think about your storage needs.
    i know i saved a fortune by getting rid of the excess first.
    i had visions of huge big wall closets and in the end, i just needed a window seat!

  • #180897
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    Building a new house

    I’m actually planning on building a house too; no budget or anything yet but a dream nevertheless. I’d do exactly what bandicoot says and then add just a tad more storage, but to allure oneself with a lot of excess storage space is to ask for trouble in my opinion.

    I have a favourite kitchen company that is Danish. It might be too expensive in the end, but then I’d like to have something similar custom made. I think it’s great that there are so many kitchen options out there, but they all work on the same type of thinking, whereas I found out that I’d actually like something more in line of the Ikea Billy bookcases, only with many more shelves and also a pair of doors to close. This would be a pantry, but none of the mainstream kitchen companies think like this, so custom it will be. Here’s the Danish dream: http://www.hansenkitchen.dk/

    I think the most important question for every room is “What do we do in this room, how do we behave here?” and take it from there. Just because someone says that you should eat in a dining room or in a kitchen, doesn’t mean that you can’t make a comfortable eating arrangement in front of the tv if that is where you as a couple eat a lot. Or a Finnish example would be “Oh my, you’re not installing a sauna?” and the answer to that “No because we would use it so few times a month that it’d be a waste”. I’d love to have a bathtub though! And some mood lighting to go with it, maybe some music too.

    If you have a huge film collection you might want to keep it close to where you watch them in a designated shelf system. If you like to cook a lot, analyse your behaviour before beginning to lock yourself into ideas; where do you need counter space, and how much?

    I didn’t know before my dreaming began that I’d love to have a decent laundry room. It’s location would be close to both main entryway and kitchen so that I will be able to do some laundry while cooking, not being forced to run to another floor of the house. And close to the entryway? There will hopefully be dirty paws and small feet to clean fast before they do any damage indoors and so mommy would simply lift one after the other for cleaning in the laundry room.

    I’ll stop with my examples because they’re mine, not yours; sorry for sort of replying with more questions than real answers :D What do you want from your home? Good luck and let me tell you I’m very excited to hear you share in the future too, if you feel comfortable doing so!

  • #180899
    Avatar of JuliaJayne
    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Building a new house

    My favorite space saving idea is utilizing the spaces between the wall studs. There are a few ideas here http://architecture.about.com/od/buildyourhous1/qt/spaceinwalls.htm

    My kitchen is small, so when we redo it, I plan on adding cabinets between the studs on one of the walls, which isn’t a good spot for traditional cabinets anyway, to store spices and most pantry items. The shelves will be 6 inches deep (about 15 centimeters). I also plan to do this in the bathroom because it too is small without a lot of storage space.

    I have a bunch of photos scanned from library books with ideas. You might want to check your library.

  • #180901
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    Building a new house

    I forgot to add this collection of organizing ideas: http://www.marthastewart.com/organized-index I have a lot of my functional thinking from Martha and even though the visual part might not be my cup of tea, I agree with many of the ideas.

  • #180908
    Avatar of Ella
    Ella
    Member

    Building a new house

    I love the idea of building a separate dressing room adjoining the bedroom, with walls of built-in closets and drawers in there, to minimize any clothing clutter that might end up on the bed or bedroom floor. I’m a believer in keeping the bedroom only for sleep and sex. No electronics, no media, just tranquility.

  • #180932
    Avatar of lucy1965
    lucy1965
    Member

    Building a new house

    @Jackthetiger You might consider looking at design books from the turn of the last century, especially those dealing with Craftsman bungalows: the storage and design in those houses were specifically designed to deal with a household being managed with as little effort as possible.

    As ninakk hinted, we’re one of those couples who don’t eat in the dining room and don’t have an eat-in kitchen: it’s simply not how we live. We have trays on an ottoman in the family room, or we eat at our desks in the office. And after ten years of tromping up and down a narrow twisty stair (and five years before that of living on four levels), I will never again have a laundry room on a separate level.

  • #180939
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Building a new house

    yes yes yes to the idea of a dressing room!
    it seems like a wild luxury, but it really isn’t.
    it’s smart design which will save you having to have dressers and wardrobes and other clunky bits of furniture for clothing storage.
    a decent-sized dressing room could also house linens.
    this is my very next project around here…..carving off some of the gigantic bedroom to make a dressing room.
    i want to make it so that the (yet to be designed and built) new bathroom will sort of flow naturally into the dressing room.
    one can emerge from the shower and drift over to look for clothing, without passing through the public areas of the house.

  • #180940
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    You make it sound so stylish, Bandicoot. Like something from a 1940s movie! I read my husband all your posts and he said that you were all so sensible and generous with your comments. He now understands why this is now my preferred website.
    You have all made some excellent points. I think living in such a tiny space has made me over-estimate my needs.
    I was thinking of a false wall in the bedroom to hide away all clothes and use elfa baskets. I like the way they are open and allow air to circulate around the contents. I also thought we might have a small window to ventilate this further. I agree with Ella that the bedroom should be tranquil!
    I really like the clean designs of the kitchens, Ninakk. I think I will go with lots of drawers again because we have many different pots, pans and utensils in regular use. Things can’t hide at the back of drawers as easily. We will require a large kitchen bench to stretch the sourdough bread each week. JuliaJayne, the space between the studs is also a nice hidden resource.
    We only have a laundry cupboard now, so I would like more space there so that everything does not have to be stacked. It is a bit of a hazard although it looks neat enough.
    Lucy, I had not thought of looking at books from the last century. I do like modernist architecture like the Esher house and will hit the local library and get scanning.
    Thanks again everyone. We are spending this year planning and preparing and we will start to build next year. Any more ideas would be welcome.

  • #180944
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Building a new house

    i am insanely jealous of your opportunity to build the perfect home right from scratch!
    and a whole year to plan and prepare is just right.
    you’ll need every minute of that to pore over the design blogs!

    i love my elfa shelving.
    i like the airing aspect of it too.
    i like the open wires and how there is very little chance of collecting dust.
    it takes no time to dust down the wooden frames with a damp cloth every now and then.

    we renovated our kitchen almost 2 years ago.
    we went with natural-edged local timber (qld maple) and mini-orb…..it’s very aussie bush-style, which suits our repurposed farm machinery shed house.
    the timber is covered in layers of polyurethane and is very forgiving of the odd bang and scratch….but it doesn’t play well with heat, so i always use trivets.
    i wanted units on industrial castors, so i could wheel them out and clean behind them.
    i wanted big deep drawers to house stuff.
    i wanted a pantry that was reminiscent of an old meat safe, with the fly wire netting.
    i wanted lots of stainless steel commercial kitchen style racks for my pots and pans (it is the only way to store them in my opinion). the stainless steel seems to be the only thing that doesn’t get banged up by the pots eventually.
    i also wanted my tools to be hanging out in the open for easy grabbing.
    i’ve got a tiny bit more stuff hanging up there now, but it is all stuff i use every day.

    it was a very inexpensive kitchen….almost the most expensive thing was the faucet, after the oven!
    a couple of very young guys hand-built the whole thing….almost to my specs, lol.

    a couple of other things we have installed in this home:
    solar hot water
    a wood stove with a wetback and an oven
    we have free hot water year-round now (unlimited rainwater too).
    i highly recommend both, especially in light of the way energy prices are set to soar.
    i’d also recommend passive solar design, it will save you a lot of money in the long run.

    double glazing is an awesome idea too.
    some parts of victoria get so cold in the winter!

    while i am on the energy-saving bandwagon…..we had an opportunity to position power switches so that we could turn lots of things off at the wall with one switch.
    my entire office shuts down from one switch: 2 laptops/desk light/printer/hard drive/another hard drive/modem/shredder/peripherals.
    tv/dvd/speakers all shut down with one switch.
    if you have an accessible switch, it is sooooooo much likelier that you will turn the stuff off.

    o wow.
    none of this has much to do with decluttered storage and more to do with decluttered power bills!

    and one more thing
    in my perfect house, i’d have polished concrete floors throughout.
    so easy to clean and maintain.
    and so beautiful.
    especially with a few fabulous rugs strewn about.

  • #180947

    Building a new house

    We have a dressing area in our master bedroom with works really well, especially if one person is getting ready for work while the other is still sleeping. It runs the length of the bedroom and can be closed off with a pocket door.

    You step into a sink area with a long counter. Turn left, and there is a toilet, shower and large linen closet, all semi-screened with saloon-type swinging half-doors. Turn right, and there is a medium-sized walk-in closet, where we have installed wire shelving and drawers, plus the two fixed wooden shelves that run all around the perimeter of the closet and, of course, hanging bars.

    The bedroom itself is divided into two parts. One half is the bed and two nightstands and a chair (plus, I admit, a 3-shelf bookshelf and a TV armoire and DVD storage, which I would like to eliminate some day.) The halves are divided by three arches, two of them fenced off with railings. The other half of the room has a fireplace and a french door leading to our sun porch. DH uses this half of the bedroom as his home office, so it has a desk, table, two more bookshelves and a comfy reading chair.

    It’s a very good design that has worked well for us.

    This isn’t a big house — 1507 sq ft, plus the utility/laundry room (171 sq ft.) the enclosed sun porch (255 sq ft) and the 2-car garage (380 sq ft — which also has a bump-out in the back for a workbench-shop area.)

  • #181012
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    Building a new house

    Jackthetiger, what a wonderful opportunity! I think regardless of what you will do, you will probably know AFTER the house is finished what you would do differently the next time, LOL ;o) What is the opinion of the people in this forum who have already built a house or remodeled one – if there was one thing you would definitely do or not do next time, what would it be?

    The only tip I have is that you work with the sunlight you get. When my parents built their house (one of three row houses), they surprised (more like: unsettled) the other two neighbors by switching the floor plan around: They knew they would spend time in the kitchen in the mornings for breakfast, so they put the kitchen where it would get sunlight in the morning, and vice versa with the living room. (The living room opens to a patio, which is also much nicer to sit on in summer evenings when there is sunlight.) My current apartment also gets sunlight in the mornings in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen – great to wake up to – and from about 2 p.m. on, the living room and balcony get direct sunlight. So when you plan your new house, think about which rooms you use during which time of the day, and whether you want to have sunlight with these activities, and plan accordingly :o)

    When you mentioned sustainability, I immediately thought of Dome houses – I think due to their unusual shape there must be some smart storage built in everywhere!

  • #181013
    Avatar of JuliaJayne
    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Building a new house

    When planning a build, people have a tendency to focus on what their current living space lacks without taking into consideration what they liked and what worked places they previously lived.

  • #181080
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    JuliaJayne, you are right. There are many things I like about our current (tiny) terrace house. The kitchen is almost all drawers with two small cupboards for food storage. I love our spice cupboard (2 metres x 1 metre and only 10 centimetres deep with frosted glass doors).
    I am hoping to extend my space for clothes as I currently have only 70 centimetres of hanging space. Also, the kitchen does need more drawers and the laundry will be bigger.
    I know I am very lucky to have this opportunity. I never thought I would undertake such a project or live in the bush. Bandicoot@ double glazing is so important where we will be living. There is a great contrast in temperatures. It can get down to 0 C on a clear, cold night in winter, and the summer temperatures are extreme. It can regularly be over 40 C with hot dry winds. (I was visiting my husband’s family once and it was 49 C!) We plan to have a long thin house – about 20 metres long and 6 metres deep with the windows running north and south. This will give us plenty of passive solar value and should reduce our need to heat in winter. It will also give us those nice sunny spots Trillie. The house will be bigger than I had expected because we will need to be self sufficient with water, so we required more catchment space on the roof. (Our rainfall average is 400 mm a year.)
    I also like the central cut off switch. I had not considered this. Susanintexas @ The dressing room option seems to be very popular and I like the idea that one person would not wake the other when dressing – especially if I am the sleeper!
    Thanks for all your ideas.
    Jacki

  • #181084
    Avatar of Claycat
    Claycat
    Member

    Building a new house

    Hi Jackthetiger! I would love to build a sustainable house. My dream would be a strawbale home with radiant floor heat and a metal roof for rainwater collection. I would also have solar panels.

  • #181093
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    Hi Claycat, We will install photovoltaic panels – probably 8. We will connect to the grid and put electricity in throughout the day. At night, we will redraw what we need. We will have a metal roof. We have one now and I like hearing the rain – when it comes! I would prefer floor heating – no clutter at all – but my husband does not like it. We will have hydronic panels instead. Many people like the straw bale house. It is certainly very efficient in a thermal sense, but not quite my style.
    I think this post has got some people dreaming and planning….

  • #181094
    Avatar of Zora
    Zora
    Member

    Building a new house

    Do you need to worry about fire-proofing your house? I still remember those terrifying Australian fires …

  • #181219
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    Hi Zora, There are some materials that retard burning, but it is impossible to completely fireproof your house. On days rated “Code Red Catastrophic” the temperatures are so high that all moisture is sucked from plants and the winds can be fierce and unpredictable. It is a consequence of living where we do. There are commonsense measures such as limiting ground fuel and overhanging Eucalypt branches (exterior decluttering!) and having a fire plan.
    If our area is threatened by fire, we will prepare as best we can, then leave the property with our animals. I do not want anybody to risk their life trying to save our house. Sad as it would be, it is all replaceable.

  • #181306
    Avatar of Claycat
    Claycat
    Member

    Building a new house

    Now they have hydronic floor panels! I did not know that!

    http://www.warmzone.com/hydronic-radiant-floor-heat.asp

    One thing I really like about natural building materials is that they are more fireproof. This includes strawbale, cob, adobe, and rammed earth.

    I’m currently living in a house that has walls made of expanded polystyrene. They are good insulation, fire retardant, and low vocs.

  • #181316
    Avatar of lucy1965
    lucy1965
    Member

    Building a new house

    We couldn’t afford to buy land and build a green house, but the flats we’re looking at (in less than three weeks! Holiday! Whee! Sorry, it’s been a while and I’m excited) are LEED Gold certified. Yes, it’s going to cost more, but the utility bills will be very small and there will be practically no maintenance.

  • #181417
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    Enjoy your holiday, Lucy. The flat sounds great and the simple life does not have to be rural. We will be living in the village where my husband grew up and it will be much cheaper for us to live in the country than in inner city Melbourne. I like to think we have lived a simple life here by applying sustainable principles, but at this time in our lives, we want to be more in touch with nature.

  • #181446
    Avatar of lucy1965
    lucy1965
    Member

    Building a new house

    I am thrilled that you are able to do this! There’s no work for either of us in the town where I grew up; only my brother still lives there, and he’s leaving within the year. If we were wealthy or retired, it might be an option . . . .

    The flat is at the head of a 15-mile walking/hiking path, 1.5 miles from the river, and there are allotment beds just around the corner; we’ll be an hour’s drive from the Pacific Ocean. It’s the best compromise we can come to.

  • #181491
    Avatar of STLMom
    STLMom
    Member

    Building a new house

    I love the idea of this post, because my husband and I will be building a lake cabin, starting next August. I’ve never built a home before. It’s interesting to think about how to design a home that will be used only in the summer (in the winter it will be closed down, water drained, electricity turned off) but needs to have room for lots of guests. I would love to think that we’ll spend all our time outside, but there are always rainy days, and after dark we’ll need to be behind screens to stay away from the mosquitoes.
    I’m thinking about open shelving in the kitchen, so guests will be able to easily help find dishes and put them away. If I keep them away from the stove area, do you think the dishes and shelves would get really messy? I could cover them with towels when we close up for the winter. For food storage, I think a pantry is convenient, and probably cheaper to build than extra cabinets.
    For the bathrooms, I think we’ll want open shelves for guests’ toiletries, and lots of hooks or pegs for towels.
    Is it silly to think that a vacation home should be designed differently than a regular house?

  • #181499
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    Building a new house

    I like the idea of open shelves for the dishes. One thing that might work better for winter than towels is the plastic window coverings. These are sold for people who have old house with inadequately sealed windows. They are applied on the inside and sealed tightly with a hair dryer. Kind of hard to explain if you haven’t seen them, but the thought is that they would seal your cupboards tightly and keep out the dirt. Even with the towels I think you’d be looking at washing all the dishes and the shelves every time you opened up the house. Just a thought.

  • #181503
    Avatar of irishbell
    irishbell
    Member

    Building a new house

    in our lake cottage (northern michigan)i wouldn’t dream of leaving dishes out of cupboards- the cobwebs multiply overnight, seriously!lol. we actually keep our dishes, cups, etc. in the pantry area. it works great.
    lots of hooks, or towel racks, a clothesline area outside for set suits and towels. you definitely want to design it with an eye to keeping things simple and easy to clean and maintain. easy to clean finishes in kitchen and bathroom, no carpeting, laminate or tile flooring, slipcovers for furniture, neutral colors for easy accessorizing.
    open shelves are great if you don’t mind looking at your guests toiletries all the time, or cubbies even.
    we spend alot of time at our cottage in the summer, and i don’t like to spend my time cleaning and fussing at others to keep it clean.

  • #181602
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    Lucy, It is so frustrating in the modern world that people are required to leave small communities. We lose part of the fabric of our society. My new neighbour is a linguist and works as a translator from home. Your new flat is in a great location and should allow you plenty of scope to get out for a walk.
    Irishbell, STLmom and pklmain, I think the idea of hooks and open hanging space sounds good because if the house is shut up during the winter, things could end up being a bit rank inside closed cupboards. I am not sure if your holiday houses are in humid or cold places.
    In a holiday house, it is important for EVERYONE to have a break, so I like your attitude irishbell. Who wants to be nagging instead of enjoying oneself??
    Good luck with building STLmom. We are daunted at the moment, but enjoying the planning.

  • #188439
    Avatar of peterpabol
    peterpabol
    Member

    Building a new house

    I love to have a hall separately. Combined kitchen and dining room will save the place and also gives a simple and beautiful look. A small dressing room between bedroom and attached bathroom would be more comfortable.

    New Roof Installation

  • #188443
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Building a new house

    Oh wow, I missed this post last time round! How is your planning going Jackthetiger?
    My dream house would have: a dressing room, a laundry room with a clothes airer on a pulley and room for ironing, a hall closet with room for shoes and wellies, and a larder. My current house only has the latter, but I agree on deep drawers for pots and pans :)

  • #188537
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    I have not thought of this thread for ages! We are very busy seeking out the correct designer for us. We want to build a sustainable house and it will be around 8-9 stars. (10 stars is entirely passive requiring no heating or cooling) We will require some cooling in extreme temperatures, but hopefully not too much. Some designers have their own barrow to push with regard to materials and processes that they “only” use and others that they would not recommend. It is taking time to sort out the best systems for water recycling and solar power, not to mention the important issue of how many cupboards will be needed and their configuration!

    Our first plans were really too vast; the rooms were larger than we needed. I suppose we were compensating for the tiny house we live in now. The advice from the Unclutterer community was really helpful in reminding us that we did not want to build space to house stuff. We will have a false wall in the bedroom for dressing with storage for clothing, bed linen etc. I am a huge fan of the Elfa baskets. We will have a laundry with a drying rack for those times when the washing can’t be dried on the lines. This laundry will also double as an air lock to keep out hot winds in summer and the cool ones in winter. We will store our work boots there. The kitchen is the central room with a large island bench big enough to stretch many loaves of bread dough. It will have all under-bench drawers to store our kitchen utensils in an orderly way. I am going to put my foot down about stacking in the drawers and also make a one in one out policy! I hope!! You have no idea about the number of times I open a drawer to find that, for example, the square cake tins have suddenly doubled in number! It is likely that we will not need any new furniture except a queen sized bed for our guests.

    So to answer your question Lottie, there is a long way to go and no actual building yet. However, we have planted lots of indigenous calistamons and grevillias as they flower in winter and provide a food source for the honeyeaters and parrots. A couple of weeks ago we planted a copse of four different apple trees, a fig tree and three olive trees. We will be planting a pomegranate and a persimmon in the next few weeks. Next year we will plant copses of peaches, apricots and plums. There is a large mob of kangaroos who graze in the area, so there is always plenty of good manure!

    It is daunting and exciting, but we are having fun planning the elements for our simple sustainable life.

  • #188542
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Building a new house

    Wow, it sounds amazing!!

  • #188592
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Building a new house

    It does sound amazing, Jackthetiger.

    I have a dream sustainable house, if the housing market ever picks up and lets us unload this place. Having to put final plans on paper is daunting, though!

  • #188748
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    Building a new house

    I have been drawing house plans since I was in college. If all goes to plan, DH and I will be able to actually buy or build within the next 5-10 years (for our retirement property). We live in Los Angeles and buying a house to live in during our working years was just never even close to a good idea – we’ve been much better off as renters.

    “Easy to clean” and “economical to run” are going to be my two top priorities when our time finally comes, with “low environmental impact” running a close third.

    Love hearing about Jackthetiger’s plans and all the other comments.

  • #188767
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    Building a new house

    Sounds lovely, although I can already imagine a new thread in the future on how to declutter the kangaroo manure since they decided to start using your garden as a toilet while happily munching on all those wonderful fruits :D

  • #188860
    Avatar of pwm78
    pwm78
    Member

    Building a new house

    What a wonderful project! I have often dreamed of the ideal custom home, small and cozy and efficient.

    I saw a combined laundry/linen closet/clothing/dressing room in a book about closets. It was very luxurious, but incredibly efficient. Set up as a place for storage, cleaning, ironing, sorting, and dressing. I’ve wanted it since I first saw it! It used lots of Elfa units, floor to ceiling, a central table, a bench, a shoe storage wall, washer and dryer (though no sink in this one), and a full wall of closet space for each person’s clothing, along with space for linens, towels, etc. Imagine not needing to schlep everything from room to room before and after laundry!

  • #188893
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    Nina, we have had to fence off the plantings until they are established. Kangaroos love grazing on fresh growth. Wallabies tend to sit and eat the whole plant, but they eat smaller plants. We already think the kangaroos are using our land rather frequently as a toilet. We suspect that they hang on all day when we are working, and relieve themselves as soon as we leave!

  • #188901
    Avatar of genny
    genny
    Member

    Building a new house

    If I were to build a house, one thing that I would have is built- in storage closets on the inside of the outer walls. It would add an area of insulation from the outside by effectively making the walls “thicker”, and provide great and tidy storage behind closed doors. Other than that, I would include handy walk in closets.

    I would also consider a manifold type of water supply system that allows one area of the plumbing to be isolated off in case of problems, rather than having to turn off the whole house when there is a problem. And, I would want a system that did NOT carry water pipes through vulnerable closed in walls and ceilings. Easy access to water and electrical systems would be high priority on my list.
    My dad always designed and built his houses with the kitchen and the bath area back to back so to keep the plumbing simple.

    Also, I would design movable walls that are complete with electrical wiring so that you could move the wall and still plug it into an electrical supply.
    Hey, I spend some time with home design software! I love this stuff!

  • #188918
    Avatar of lucy1965
    lucy1965
    Member

    Building a new house

    I’d still like one of these, sigh. I’ll settle for the flat if we can find work there . . . .

  • #188953
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    Wow Lucy, These houses are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing the link.

    Genny, our bathroom will back on to the laundry and the kitchen so it will centralise the movement of water, particularly hot water which we will not want to waste. Moveable wall with wiring, now that’s an idea……

  • #191045
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    It was a beautiful sunny winter’s day with the temperature in the low 20sC at our land today. We planted a patch of indigenous grasses using seeds collected by our nephew. They will complement the existing grasses and smaller plants. We have also set out more of our orchard area and have a quandong, a pomegranate and a persimmon ready to put in next week.

    Still no building, but we have chosen our designer. We have gone with the first people we interviewed; http://www.sunpowerdesign.com.au/ We now have to start finalising the things we do like and things we don’t. Very excited :)))

  • #191057
    Avatar of KeKeD
    KeKeD
    Member

    Building a new house

    Jackthetiger, congrats on the progress and deciding on your designer!

  • #191076
    Avatar of lucy1965
    lucy1965
    Member

    Building a new house

    Hooray for progress!

  • #191078
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Building a new house

    We want regular photo updates, JTT! Start a blog or something for us so we can ooh and aah appropriately :)

  • #228753
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    I have not posted on this thread for ages, but I thought I would let you all know that the building will finally start NEXT MONDAY!

  • #228754
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Building a new house

    congratulations, jack!

  • #228755
    Avatar of luxcat
    luxcat
    Member

    Building a new house

    what wonderful news, thanks for sharing jackthetiger!

  • #228756
    Avatar of irishbell
    irishbell
    Member

    Building a new house

    Jack- an exciting adventure, congrats!

  • #228782
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    Building a new house

    woo hoo!

  • #228800
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    Building a new house

    yay, JTT! excellent news indeed

  • #228802
    Avatar of liag
    liag
    Member

    Building a new house

    Enjoy the ride, and then the destination. Happy for you.

  • #228867
    Avatar of glossta1
    glossta1
    Member

    Building a new house

    Jackthetiger, what a lovely thread to start, and many congratulations on the Big Start. Lots of luck with it all. I hope you keep posting – I will follow with great interest…

    …because I have a dream to build my retirement cottage on a small plot my father gave to my sister and I before he died, in the village where we were born and brought up. I too would like to design and build on sustainable principles. Here (UK) there is a monthly magazine called Homebuilding and Renovating, and I am now a faithful subscriber so that I can gather thoughts and ideas ready for when it is time to seek planning permission. And now I can start thinking carefully about planning storage for optimal unclutteredness in my little cottage too.

  • #229103
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    I have just posted a 3D model of our house on flickr. It will give you a VERY rough idea. It is bigger than we originally intended, but it does include a work shed and a carport. We needed the roof space to collect sufficient water as we are totally dependent on the rain. It is long and skinny (5 metres wide) so that each room faces north for the thermal mass in winter. In summer, the northerly windows will be shaded. It rates between 8 and 9 stars in Australia; 10 means entirely passive with no non renewable fuel inputs or waste produced. We will produce no waste, because we have a worm system that will treat all water to first quality and return it to the water table. There is so much to tell you all, but I may have to start a blog if I get the time.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/92080483@N03/

  • #229105
    Avatar of happymonkey
    happymonkey
    Member

    Building a new house

    Awesome! I sooooo hope you’ll start a blog! What is the expected finish date? I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product. My husband has just started drawing the plans for our future home (probably 2 years away) and I’m so excited!

  • #229107
    Avatar of glossta1
    glossta1
    Member

    Building a new house

    @happymonkey, that is exciting! Is this a long-held dream of yours? My dream is a recent one, but my dad, who died last year, would be so pleased if the plot he gave my sister and I turned out to be the site of my eventual retirement cottage. Even better if both of us could fit a cosy cottage on there.

  • #229113
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    Building a new house

    Fun to be gettting started Jack! We have friends with a similar long skinny house in the Gulf Islands off the western coast of British Colunbia. They are also on a steep slope, and wanted all the rooms to have a water view! It’s lovely.

  • #229129
    Avatar of happymonkey
    happymonkey
    Member

    Building a new house

    @glossta1, it’s really been more of my husband’s dream, but I’ve been coming around to the idea more and more lately. I love the idea of sustainability and eco-friendly features, and I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing about all of the details of Jackthetiger’s house. It’s so exciting to create something in your mind and watch the dream come to fruition.

  • #229133
    Avatar of luxcat
    luxcat
    Member

    Building a new house

    Jack that house sounds (and looks) amazing! I am very impressed at the committment to only use rain water, such a thing is unheard of around here as it just does not rain enough inches in the year. People do harvest what they can and grey water systems are becoming more common, but rain water only? Impressive!

  • #229139

    Building a new house

    wow! I want to live there too!

  • #229151
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    I have also added a couple of photos of our bush block. They were taken in winter, so it looks a lot greener than it is now at the height of summer.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/92080483@N03/8368921779/in/photostream/

    Luxcat, it averages 270mm of rain per year and with the large roof space, this will collect enough for us to have 150 litres per day. No long showers or wasteful practices!

  • #229157
    Avatar of Joless
    Joless
    Member

    Building a new house

    How exciting! We finished a year long complete renovation of our place in May and it was so exciting to plan all the details we wanted into it. It wasn’t a complete new build, but we changed enough to make most of what we wanted possible. We have plenty of good storage and a laundry room and a fabulous kitchen with loads of glass and sunshine at the moment :-)

    God luck with the project! I hope it runs smoothly and you can get everything you want out of it.

  • #229158
    Avatar of happymonkey
    happymonkey
    Member

    Building a new house

    Jackthetiger, beautiful trees! What an amazing setting to build a house.

  • #229171
    Avatar of Sky
    Sky
    Member

    Building a new house

    It is so rewarding to build a house. I’ve built 2 and while it can be frustrating, there is nothing like moving into a home you have planned, dreamed of and chosen all the finishes.

    So happy for you, jackthetiger!

  • #229231

    Building a new house

    Beautiful setting. I like the windows and the overall outside house design, too. What kind of tree clearance or pruning do you need to do for fire safety? Do you also plant trees for shade?

    I’m curious because I live in a dry climate where trees have to be watered for the first few years, then some can survive on their own.

  • #229238
    Avatar of glossta1
    glossta1
    Member

    Building a new house

    Jackthetiger, it looks lovely. I am excited for you, and will watch this space with interest.

  • #229254
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    Building a new house

    Excellent news, Jack! House looks lovely.

  • #229260
    Avatar of Netleigh
    Netleigh
    Member

    Building a new house

    Jack, I’m excited about your house, thanks so much for putting the 3d illustration and photos up for us to admire. The whole concept of collecting your own rainwater and being as low impact as possible is a fantastic way to go.
    As an old or ageing ‘environmentalist’ living in the overcrowded south of England the ability to build anything like this is a pipe dream. I’d have to win the lottery first to be able to afford the land.
    I spent my very idealistic youth campaigning on a lot of environmental issues, we have seen a lot of changes in the 30 odd years but found it wryly amusing when our friends daughter did her thesis on how our environmental credentials had changed over the years with the reality of life with children and work pressures. Going from our 2 bicycle, one tandem, one motorbike way of life to a two car model is just one example of how we compromised!

  • #229347
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    I will try to answer all your questions!

    Yes, I will start a blog and hopefully keep it up to date!

    Mad_Scientist: We have had to remove two trees to build within the “envelop” determined by the shire council. There used to be few restrictions on trees and houses, but when the huge fires wiped out towns and caused so many deaths four years ago, the building codes were changed. I think the rule is a 20 metre clearance (I will have to check) with no overhanging branches. We must also limit the ground covers for 10 metres. We also live in a relatively dry climate, so trees take several lifetimes to grow to the size of the one pictured. We have established an orchard and have begun to plant indigenous bushes which handle the dry conditions. These include grevillia and callistemon which provide habitat for native birds.

    Netleigh: we all compromise as the reality of working and living in our society imposes on us. We also have a car which I drive to work most days. The public transport does not really go where I need it to. I think we have to do what we can and that’s why we went with this option. We will use all our resources to build the house and then should be able to live with a fairly passive footprint.

    The windows are not floor to ceiling throughout the building because they are a “weakness” in the overall fabric of the house. I have not explained that well. The windows will be double glazed which is uncommon in Australia.

  • #229373
    Avatar of TatiLie
    TatiLie
    Member

    Building a new house

    I love all the sustainable issues that you’re taking care of!
    We may be buying this year and we already have our eyes in a house with a great insulation (we’re in Ireland) and solar panels. To build something like your house is very out of our league for the moment, but it’s great to see your house and feel inspired to pursue that dream.

  • #230159

    Building a new house

    Warning! Warning! Long post follows!

    We’re looking to build too. We have the block – also steep slope. Planning overlays to be addressed before building include landslip investigation (needs a geotechnical report) and bushfire hazard (building certifier can give direction on exterior cladding).

    Because it faces west (we bought it for the view over the valley towards Flinders Peak) and we are just south of Brisbane, Qld, we aren’t going for long and skinny but what effectively amounts to a modern Queenslander (sans vj walls or real wood floors due to expense). The current design has a ‘winter’ verandah out the front (west) and a ‘summer’ verandah on the south. We’re looking to acquire the old slow combustion heater that one of DH’s colleagues has removed from their place as part of a renovation, intend to re-use some of the doors and windows from my parents’ old house and have composting toilets (if we’re going to be on rainwater, why would I want to flush most of it away?).

    There’s some good things to think about here and, while having all wet areas together is good if it can be done, it doesn’t work so well for us. Here are some of our considerations for our house on our block:
    big main bedroom – so sick of kicking toes on furniture legs plus I’d like a chair to sit in within the bedroom – facing the views west and south;
    direct access from main bedroom onto both verandahs;
    direct access from lounge and other ‘bedrooms’ (2x) onto at least one verandah or other external access;
    min of two accesses in each room (except visitor bathroom areas);
    all required living areas on one floor (watching my parents’ struggles and my uncle’s – when he broke his leg – I don’t want anything like the only toilet or laundry being downstairs);
    wide ‘passage ways’ to give easy access for less ambulatory people (e.g. wheelie-walkers but not nec. motorised wheelchairs);
    at least two accesses into house at ground level;
    kitchen in northern-eastern side to get light in winter.

    I’m designing the main bedroom with a wall behind the bed that separates the sleeping area from the walk-past wardrobe. I’m also having an en-suite; water saved on toilets should allow me to have a bath occasionally. ;-)

    Laundry is next to guest bedroom at south east corner (back of house – ground level). Kitchen is next to carport, dining and craft rooms and, by walking through the ‘breakfast nook’ / study that DH requested, one can access the winter verandah. Unfortunately, with this design, one has to go across the dining room and down the hall to get to the summer verandah but I might put the old fridge (we’ll get a new one when we move in) on the summer verandah – water can be obtained from the laundry or ‘powder-room’ hand-basin (this is not the one in the visitors’ toilet).

    Staircases are expensive so at this stage we’re not having any – the builder we’ve been talking to says that they can be added later if we want. The builder also includes solar HW and rainwater tanks as part of his fixed price…and he understands these requirements well because it’s what he’s done with his own place.

    Non-toilet, water waste will probably be dealt with using a household sewerage treatment plant (septic requires more flat area than our block can probably provide).

    Our council planning regulations allow for 3m exempt clearing (i.e. no permit required) on your own side of a property boundary and, if no building envelope, 25m clearing around an approved dwelling. Our challenge will be to get permission to take out some trees within the environmental buffer zone (there’s a council owned reserve behind us and its 100m buffer zone impacts on our property) to build the house.

    Due to the steepness of the block and amount of weeds, we intend to have a couple of goats to keep the grass down. But probably our first activity before building will be to get some boundary fences in to stop horse-riders from down the road from trespassing and bringing in more weeds from the council reserve.

  • #230452
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    Wow Laetitia. You are well on the way. We are now up to building and it has taken a long time to get to this point. I don’t know what the regulations are in Queensland, but we have been amazed at how many permits (and costs) are required. Permits for sewerage, planning, building, wild fire approval, land capability assessment, soil tests..it just goes on and on. Our bushfire classification is BAL 29 (out of 40) so we have to provide a dedicated water tank for fire trucks and we have limits on overhanging trees.

    Your building style will differ because you don’t get the extreme temperature differences. We go from the high 40s to winter mornings with frost on the ground. I always think the Queenslander style is so practical in your climate, particularly the idea of air circulating under the house and cool shady places to sit and catch the breeze. I can’t picture your house from the description. Maybe you could draw a design and put it up to show us. Maybe you need to start a blog too :)

    We are also having a false wall for bedroom storage with a window at either end. No closed off cupboards!

    One last thing – goats do not eat the grass but all the trees. Sheep are much better lawnmowers.

  • #230629

    Building a new house

    Jtt – our block has bushfire hazard (so will require 5,000 litres of fire-fighting supply water) and has environmental / buffer zone overlays so getting approval will be a challenge.

    I hesitate to put a picture up as on review I can see several problems with the design I described (e.g. security at laundry entry; potential for mud tracking through kitchen or craft room). DH thinks we are now far enough along to chat with a drafter to see if he/she has clever ideas to resolve some of these issues. I’ll try to remember though to do it once we have settled on a design and it’s been approved by council.

    Our ‘grass’ is that long stuff including blade grass which, from my memory of the pet goats we had when I was a child, they will eat. I’m also happy for them to eat the ‘wild’ tree saplings (native or not) and environmental weeds as there are so many of them. Another reason for goats over sheep is the steepness of the block.

  • #232273
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Building a new house

    A few people mentioned that they would like to keep abreast of our project. The promised blog has not yet materialised because I am to flat out at the start of the school year.

    I have posted two photos on flickr showing our site cut and the preparation for the concrete slab. The larger square at the front is the carport and shed, and the thinner section is the house. It is all one roof space to collect every precious drop of rain as we will be reliant on tank water.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/92080483@N03/8480753662/in/photostream

  • #232278
    Avatar of luxcat
    luxcat
    Member

    Building a new house

    @Latitia

    here is a second vote for sheep rather than goats. unless you have had goats in the past and know what you are getting into.

    congrats to you and JTT on the house progress- many photos please!

  • #232293
    Avatar of glossta1
    glossta1
    Member

    Building a new house

    So exciting to see your projects coming to fruition. No sheep or goats for my tiny rural plot, but there are cows in the adjacent field. My brother-in-law will soon be checking out the location of underground works nearby to verify the viability of our plot for building (my sister and I own it jointly), so I have my fingers firmly crossed for that.

  • #232387
    Avatar of glossta1
    glossta1
    Member

    Building a new house

    Wow, JtT, you’ve sparked an editorial on the Home Page!

  • #234187
    Avatar of glossta1
    glossta1
    Member

    So pleased to rediscover this thread…. :)

  • #234206
    Avatar of Boogie
    Boogie
    Member

    Hi – I’m new but can’t find an I’m new’ thread.

    My niece has just built her own house – solar panels and wood burning stove. It’s great!

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