Building a New House in Sydney - Tips on Building a House that Suits Your Individual Needs
Building a project home does not necessarily mean being restricted to what you can see on display.
There are so many changes you can easily make to the design and layout of a project home that you
may end up feeling you have designed the whole house yourself.
Personalizing Your Home - Major Changes without Major Hassles
- When you walk into a display home, you will see rooms laid out to a specific plan. You may
like how it generally looks, but perhaps the master bedroom faces the front whereas you would
prefer it to face the back. Frequently, this can be arranged at no extra cost. When large builders
create the plans for a project home, they often create several versions of the home. In fact, for
two-storey homes, they often create several versions of the ground floor and first floor that you
can mix and match. So you can ask the builder if you can have, for example, the ground floor reflected
(in a left-to-right fashion) and the first floor in a version where the rumpus area is at the front
of the house instead of the back.
- Extra garages can be added. For example a double garage can be changed into a triple garage. This is
much less hassle than building a large shed or workshop. Surprisingly, it all means you can fit your
cars into the garage - lots of people with say, two cars and a double garage, can't fit the second
car in because of stuff they're storing in the other car spot.
- Location of entrances can be changed. For example, we wanted to reflect the entire floor plan of the
house except for keeping the garage on the same side as previously. This meant the entrance from the
garage to the house had to be through a different room. This change didn't cost us anything.
- Doors can be set to open in the other direction to the default one - this may be particularly useful
in the case of sliding doors.
- Extra rooms can be added to the house, at a lower cost than an extension would require later.
- Small changes to the design of the roof can be made. We wanted the roofline to be continuous
along both the house and the garage. This required a few small changes to the roof design and
raising the entire garage about 10 centimetres. It cost us a few hundred dollars.
- The location of internal walls can be modified. For example in one project home we were
considering the laundry was rather small and the rumpus area was quite large. We were told it was
reasonably easy to move one wall to a different place so as to make the laundry larger.
Another example is walls that partially divide one part of an open-plan area from another.
Extra walls can be added to create two rooms. If a wall is not a structural one it
can be removed to create one large unbroken space - this can sometimes be done even if the
wall is a structural one, if you're willing to pay for some extra beams to be added to the
frame of the house.
- Extra height can be added to the ceilings. Note than in a display home, this will usually already have
been done for ground floor areas, and that the default height is lower and much more claustrophobic.
Individualizing the Plan of a Project Home - Examples of Details you Can Change to Suit You
- Some ensuites do not have the toilet in a separate room. I really didn't want that, but it only cost
a few hundred dollars to change the plan of the ensuite to fit that requirement. Unfortunately we did
lose the second hand-basin and mirror due to space restrictions, but that does not always happen.
- Within a bathroom or laundry the location of sinks, tubs etc can be changed depending on
whether it would affect the location of the plumbing pipes.
- The location of the broom cupboard can be changed. In the house that we bought it was in the kitchen,
we asked for it to be placed in the hallway between the downstairs bathroom and laundry.
- Other small changes can be made to the walls inside the house. Our bedroom had a bulkhead where the
space created for a bedhead was just a few centimetres too narrow for our bed. It looked unchangeable
as there were all beams right up to the edges, but we got it widened at no extra cost.
- The material of the piers that hold up a veranda can be changed. For example, instead of
replace wood with brick that matches the rest of the house.
- The materials used inside the house can be changed - benchtops can be granite instead of
polyurethane, for example, and stair rails can be polished rather than painted wood.
- The height of towel rails in bathrooms and clothes rails in built-in and walk-in wardrobes can be
changed, as can heights of shelves in wardrobes and cupboards.
- Extra storage space can be created under stairs. If there is no access to this space in the plan
a door can be added, this cost us one to two hundred dollars.
- Some parts of an otherwise brick house are frequently built out of weatherboard. A common example of
this is hexagon-shaped dining or rumpus areas. If you prefer them to be built out of brick you're looking
at a thousand dollars or more, but it can be done.
- The height of shower screens can be increased for a small extra cost - good for tall people
who would otherwise hit their heads on the top frame going in and out of the shower.
- A bathroom tub can be replaced with a spa. This costs extra, depending on how expensive the
spa itself is.
- Extra soundproofing can be added to walls and ceilings.
- Kitchen cupboards can be extended to reach to the ceiling to create extra storage space.
What Else Can Be Done to Personalize the Home You are Building?
- There may be other possible modifications available not listed here. If you want something,
ask the builder if they'll do it and what it would cost. And please leave a comment about it
below so everyone can benefit.
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