Saturday, 31 August 2013

Designing our home has taken 18 months, just designing – going around and around our ideas, bouncing them off some professionals (builder/designer; architect; house designer; builder) – trying desperately to incorporate all the passive solar and eco-friendly principles we had decided on.  First lesson learned – it aint easy thinking what you might want and need for the foreseeable future and fitting it all together!  This process and getting my brain to think ‘designing’ was pretty much a nightmare from my perspective - I was stressed by it, spat the dummy a few times and can definitely see why architects get paid!  Shame too, the one architect we approached didn’t end up following through on our enquiry (despite the fact we had a one hour face-to-face meeting with him).

Silver lining - the best thing about designing our home ourselves though has been the knowledge gained – it has really forced me to think hard about what we *needed* (and what we wanted) – and what were things to compromise and/or forget.

I actually found this part reasonably easy to do – I found some online ‘lists/worksheets’ that showed a few methods of considering every person in your household (including guests) and what amenities they needed/enjoyed.  But the thing that helped me the most was reading Andrew Morrison’s blog.  Andrew is a big believer in living simply/living small – as a way to help our planet, but just as importantly, a way to help ourselves.  And it just so happened that we had lived ‘small’ for nearly 6 weeks last year (when we were purchasing our block) as we travelled down with our camper trailer.  Living in a 36m2 space for our family of 6 (plus occasional guests) – and only camping amenities – gave me a really good understanding of what our family enjoyed, what we missed from our usual lives, and what we didn’t!!

So that is tip number one for designing your home – live with what you think are only the bare essentials and see if you miss anything – and importantly, what you find you really enjoy!

Friday, 30 August 2013

The story so far:
So the kids are getting older and had started to make noises about moving 1600km away (school and uni) – what’s a mum to do – but start thinking about moving too!  We knew the approximate locale we wanted and started to look for the perfect house – eco-built, shed for the hubby and a hobby room for me and my crafts.  Plus room for the backyard farm we have always wanted.

Yeah – no such luck with that order!!
But we found a block we really liked that fit the bill – but I specifically didn’t want to build! – so we journeyed back home and kept an eye on the property market from afar.

Our next visit down to house-hunt, led us back to the one same conclusion – no house that fit our wants and that nice block we really liked!  So, after a long, hard think we bought it.  Yay!
Then the fun began – we had a year before we left the town we had known for 15-26 years – and plenty of house designing, building, packing and moving on the ‘to do’ list!!!

Sounded easy at the time – I didn’t want to build, so we would take the sensible route and get a builder to do it all – eco builders are around right and how hard could it be to find one?!  How hard could it be to find one, and get on with building our dream house to be ready in one year?
Waaaayyyy too hard, it turned out.