In the days leading up to meeting Don and briefing him and his team, we definitely became 'back of napkin' architects. With zero concept of how to design a house or what was needed, we sketched up what we thought would be a fantastic design for the house. On our steep section we stepped stories up the slope and somehow managed to include a pool on top of a garage, and an overall concept that would have been monstrous on the section and on our wallets! Thankfully, we quickly put our own scribbles to bed, and instead offered DPD the following brief (copied straight from an email I sent through):
"Below is a bit of an insight into 'us' that might help out:
- Size - our style isn't 'big'. We like the idea of well designed smaller spaces that feel bigger. That square metreage we mentioned yesterday was just based on the covenants requiring 180m2 including garage. Having now talked to the developer, I'm pretty confident they would accept a floor plan smaller than that - so we're very flexible on that front. We currently live (and work from home) in a 69m2 one bedroom apartment...it's too small for us now, but equally it has given us an appreciation of what will and won't work for us re smaller spaces.
- Living space - we like an open plan living/kitchen, and would like to have at least some bench/prep space in the kitchen that lets us be in the kitchen prepping, while looking out into the living area and chatting to someone in that space. We also really like the idea of that living area opening up to an external space of some sort (deck/patio etc). The dream would be having a seamless transition from living space to deck/patio to pool. As I mentioned, I do enjoy my TV...I'd want it to fit into the layout of the living area, without it being the centre of focus.
- Pool - because we know how hot Havelock can get in summer, we are pretty sure we want to have a small pool. You might have some thoughts on this, but our hope would be to use the slope to be able to have it 'above ground' to save on installation cost, but integrated with the house at living room level.
- Rooms - we think for the next 3-5 years we would be extremely happy in a 2 bedroom, one bathroom setup, however, future proofing, it would likely become a 3 bedroom, ensuite and a bathroom layout further down the rack. We are extremely open to creating the 2 bedder with a plan to add to it in the future - but obviously that's a discussion to be had with you and Matt re how it would be done and costs of each scenario (all built now...added to in future if desired). One of the rooms I'd work from daily - so the 'second' room shouldn't be toooo dinky or dark.
- Cars/Garage - Grace works in Ahuriri, and I work at home, so practically speaking, while we would love to run only one car, realistically we would probably end up running a two car scenario. A garage would be great (I'd like to have a little bit of gym equipment somewhere in our setup - the garage being the natural place for that I guess) - but we aren't absolutely committed to that.
- Outlook/Privacy - personally I've always thought 'a view' is very important. I'd like to take advantage of the view out to the ranges in either the living/master, if possible. We chose that section because we don't want to feel like we are 'in the burbs'.
You'll see from that initial email that we tried to give the DPD an outline of how we live and what we value, without actually prescribing anything in particular. We really wanted to give the professionals a bit of creative license to be able to put together something clever that we hadn't thought of, while still making sure the things that were important to us were still in the mix. We found that balance of giving a designer a wide scope to play with, while being firm on the elements that you know will effect the way you live really, really useful. DPD created something stunning, designed for the section/setting, that we never would have imagined ourselves (see the first concept above). Don also tried to sneak a fireplace into the spot where I wanted a TV though ("you don't cuddle up in front of TV Jamie!") - but we stuck to our guns on those things that were important to us, and the end result is something we are hugely excited about getting into.
Working with DPD and Building Logic to get the initial concept completed was incredibly easy and a huge benefit to us. We had that concept completed within a month, and that initial speed may have let us starting thinking that the whole build was going to be done and dusted in record time...unfortunately....we quickly learned that when it comes to building - patience is most definitely a virtue.
Disclaimer: Building Logic is constructing the home of the author - Jamie Twigg. Jamie is friends with Matt Symonds (of Building Logic), and the founder of 543 Website Design - which created the Building Logic website. This is not a sponsored post - and is an honest reflection on how the build process goes for a keyboard jockey and newbie to construction. As such, nothing in this blog post should be considered expert advice.