After we chose our architect it was time to get into the design process proper. For our second meeting, Michael checked out us in our own home to talk about how we lived and what was crucial to us in the new house.

Inside Out or outside In?

With our first selfbuild we probably allowed the exterior look of the house to influence the internal layout too much. this time we are absolutely working from the inside out instead.

Design Brief

As part of our preparation over the months that lead up to this point we had distilled our wish list down to a fairly concise series of bullet points that included…

Target size ~2,300 sq ft

Low Energy

Contemporary Design

Open plan Kitchen, Dining, Living

3 Bedrooms (with Master on Ground floor)

South Facing

Attached Garage

High Ceilings (2.7m) & Vaulted Ceilings

Solid Floors Upstairs

Solid walls throughout (no stud walls)

Low maintenance finishes

Ground mount location for Solar PV

Target Sizes

I arrived at that 2,300 sq foot target size by creating a spreadsheet with all of the rooms in our existing house along with their dimensions. then I set goals for each room in the new house with those dimensions as starting points.

TIP: get a Laser distance Meter to measure rooms swiftly and easily

We need fewer bedrooms in the new place and we also want to change the size balance between certain rooms too, especially the Kitchen, Dining, Living area.

We were delighted to minimize some room sizes – you can see from the spreadsheet that we had a largish utility in the old house that we felt was lost space. On the other hand our walk in wardrobe was always a bit small and we wanted a lot more space to have a proper dressing room this time.

The proportions are pretty fixed for some areas, for example it’s hard to deviate from the shape of a double garage. Others are pretty flexible though, a bedroom could be 3.5m x 4.0m or 5.5m x 2.5m, so it’s the area that’s a lot more crucial in that case.

Ultimately these targets were just that, something to goal for. and while they are not the room sizes we ended up with, they were a terrific starting point for the design of our floor plan.

We dithered over the need for a snug. In the end though our architects strongly encouraged us to have a second reception room, to help with any future sale of the house if nothing else. This, along with the addition of a study / 4th bedroom indicate we have over shot our target size substantially.

TIP: To convert from square metres to square feet, multiply by 10.76, eg 10 sq metres = 107.6 sq feet

Measure measure Measure

As I’ve already said, it can be hard to visualise a 2D plan in 3D. So it’s really beneficial to compare real world rooms with your dimensions as you are drawing up your requirements. We did this anywhere we went while we were working on the floor plan. hotel rooms, shower room show rooms, even the homes of our pals and family weren’t safe from our laser measure

I have notes in the cells of the spreadsheet to remind me for example that one particular dimension was from a show house we visited. Whenever I see the note I am quickly able to visualise that size of room instead of just seeing a number.

As ever this is just an example of some of the work that lead us to our final design, but hopefully there might be something here you find beneficial on your selfbuild journey.

Næste gang

Next time we’ll look at our building site as we get closer to revealing our final design. You can follow along with our project on the links below to make sure you don’t miss it.

Remember to check out our Instagram to follow the project, read the rest of the Automated home 2.0 blog articles and find the links to all the products we’ve used in our self-build.



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