One of the key things to do when you are embarking on a building, home improvement or renovation project is get clear on what you want first. No matter how good any builder architect or tradesman appears it pays to get a second independent opinion and review of any plans.
Most people are about to spend a substantial amount of money and often do not know exactly what they are getting and tend to go completely on trust without getting that second opinion. The following story outlines a process I went through with some friends and ensured they received the project they really wanted.
The friends were building a retreat home on the coast of Australia.
The home had been designed by a draftsman and included the basic requirements of their brief.
During a dinner one night, the friends showed me the plans and I could immediately see some very basic flaws in the design of this simple square shaped, 2 bedroom home.
They admitted they could not really understand the 2 dimensional plans, and trusted the draftsman knew what he was doing.
Like many of us, we need to see things in 3 D, to really get a feel of a space
We decided to do a review session of the plans. I sat them in the living room of their Sydney Home with the plans and a tape measure.
We then proceed to measure out that space the size of each room and create imaginary walls, so they could get a feel for the rooms in their new retreat.
Within each room, we measured out the size of the likely furniture. For example we measured out where the bed and wardrobes fitted in the bedroom, they were able to walk around and get a feel if it worked for them.
We made some changes to the size of the bedroom, the way the door opened and some other minor things.
We then proceeded to go element by element in each room.
The things we checked were –
1. Ceiling height – It was 2.4m (8 feet) and they wanted 2.7m (9ft)
2. Window Locations and sizes. The windows were located 900 (3 feet above the floor) – they wanted to see the views around them when sitting in a lounge chair – we dropped it to 450 above the floor and standardized the size of the windows.
3. The front door was a sliding door opening directly to the kitchen bench !!! We created a swing door which opened into the main living space.
4. The kitchen benches were 600 wide (2 feet) They are gourmet chefs and love to spend time in the kitchen. We widened the benches.
5. We also checked some basic feng shui concepts.
There were many other minor adjustments, however you can get the idea of how powerful using a tape measure, set of plans and standing in an existing home which you know well can produce simple but important changes to how a home will be built, renovated, improved or extended.
They loved the home, they did not need to change things along the way which would have cost them more money and time and they had a completed retreat home without those things which can often bug you consciously or unconsciously.
The lesson is, that for a few hours planning, talking and thinking you can get exactly what you want, save time, save money, save hassles.