House layout - feedback please

June 18, 2019

Hi Everyone,

We are finalising the layout with our designer, and would really appreciate some feedback from the community before we push the button.

We have a nice view at the front of the block, which is also north (also noted on the drawings). We have 2 young kids (under 11). We don't want our budget to exceed 620k, we may put a pool in if we stick to or are under budget. We like to entertain and see this as our forever home.



p.s. excuse the black line across the paper, it's an issue with the copier.

Comments (20)

  • oklouise

    from my understanding of your sketch this is your plan with estimated dimensions and total over 360sqm (subject to choice of building materials and wall thicknesses)


    .did you intend to have such a large living area upstairs and .would you consider children's rooms upstairs and the balcony shouldn't be over the downstairs living area and your access to the stairs is cramped and doesn't match upstairs and down, the ensuite is not wide enough for this arrangement of fixtures and there's a lot of space used for very long hallways and what is teh intention for the space between the powder room and laundry? there a restriction for which side you have the garage, do you plan for the garage on the boundary, what is the width and length of the block and describe your climate

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  • Deborah stephenson

    Hi Ria,

    What is the frontage of your block and house? Are you looking at building yourselves, with a custom builder or a volume builder?

    Are you in a new estate or is this a knock down and rebuild?

    If this is your forever house you may want to consider having your master downstairs or a second master downstairs and having the kids up stairs.

    The placement of the powder next to the garage downstairs may need a bit of tweaking and with your kitchen I would consider having an Island bench to open the space up more.



    Interior Design Consultant

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  • PRO
    MB Design & Drafting

    Not an overly efficient design as at a guesstimate theres over $44k+ worth of hallways/circulation spaces. Also even at the bog standard builders fit out I would guesstimate you're sitting at around $700k. This is if each of the grid 1 metre.

    A volume builder may be able to do it cheaper perhaps so worthwhile getting it costed.

    The long hallway even if at a generous 1.2 m wide only serves one purpose, to walk through.

    I've done one a while back where we added little alcoves along the length for built in sun beds and a long built in desk for kids homework. However this adds costs but it does give the space more than one use.

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  • RIA AY

    Thanks all.

    Sorry, I didn't want to post plans but it did mean my measurements were out in the drawing

    Here are answers/comments to your feedback:

    • Balcony is over the front verandah, not living
    • Stairs are 4m long, 1m wide. There is a storeroom accessible from the garage underneath them
    • Ensuite width is 2.5m (excl sinks/wc)
    • Space between powder room and laundry was to put a picture window to an outdoor garden - designers idea.
    • We wanted the garage on the west side, as north is the better view/orientation. we did look at various options - e.g. drive down side with garage in back or middle of house but neither worked well for the way we wanted to live.
    • We definitely want our bedroom upstairs - we get the view much more from there and the kids wouldn't appreciate it ;)
    • Block width is 18m, and 40m+ long, we are restricted to build a minimum of 6m from the footpath
    • We have intentionally kept 3 m from the north east side for occasional drive throughs and sunlight into living/orientation.
    • Plan is to go with a smaller builder

    The hallway is quite large, at 1.2m wide - would it be better to reduce to 1m or less? We have glass windows and doors on this hallway so that should make it feel more spacious.

  • PRO
    MB Design & Drafting

    One thing to consider with front setback at 6 metres, if you park a car (guests or your own) front of garage you should aim for space either end for walking past front or rear of car as well as perhaps closing a gate behind. An average car as say 4.8 m will fit but theres only 600mm either end. 600mm seems sufficient until you walk past with shopping, etc.

    Reducing hallway is ok to say 1000mm but its still long and just wasteful of space, make it wider for example and give it more than one use as I mentioned before. Hallways are areas that you just walk along, add glazing and it becomes an expensive walkway. Also it can lose and gain heat so it wouldn't surprise me if you'll need double glazing - more expense when a redesign could save some more money. Flashy glazed hallways, entry foyers, etc. are ok if you've got some money to throw around but with a tight budget I'd be focussing on this area before anything else.

    Make the hallways as short as possible add some storage along them such as 600mm deep cupboards.

    I would also have bath/pdr next to laundry. Have B1 on one side of hall with B2 across. B3 would go between kitchen and B1 so you'd need to rework alfresco, if you get what I mean. Bit more 'standard' design perhaps and losing the spectacular glazed hallway but a smaller footprint can allow a higher budget for a spectacular fit out rather than being bigger with a standard fit out. This also means that at least 2 bedrooms get Eastern natural light where at the moment its only one. A bit of good design may even allow the other bedroom to grab some Eastern light as well....

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  • PRO
    Paul Di Stefano Design

    Unrealistic budget aside the two main issues considering your brief/scenario: 1. No kid's rumpus or MPR space, and 2. Main Kitchen/living/dining could be far better designed both for aesthetics and function for entertaining. If you like to entertain spaces need to flow and appeal. You want to walk into a house and it feel spacious, light and fresh, as opposed to what happens here which is a relatively narrow entry into the side of a pretty ordinary kitchen. If this is truly your forever home you'd want to work much harder on the design and really think about how it needs to achieve your living goals/vision. Consider design options with utilising the passage spaces for say a 2nd living area for the kids and achieving storage in cupboard spaces from passage spaces rather than having storage rooms. No issue having a master zone upstairs but make sure you get furniture on the plan in every room so you know exactly how the spaces individually and collectively are going to be functioning for you. Function is always first. There's a fair bit to iron out here IMO

    best of luck PD

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  • oklouise

    the original plan is at least 365sqm but my suggestions has less wasted space, more flexible rooms and still reduces the total size and i've also reduced the depth of the balcony and alfresco to reduce internal shading (consider a north facing alfresco with pool house)... relocating the bathroom and laundry would allow easy external access from east and western gardens and increases the size of the mudroom, powder room and extra storage and a more central location for the stairwell allows better arrangement of the master suite, doesn't compromise the garage and the void over the stairs allows northern light into the family room

    another option could be to keep the front of the house and upstairs with same configuration but reverse the kitchen, family, bedrooms, bath and laundry to the eastern side with blank wall (and lowlight windows along the hall to pool?) facing west and have the wide garden and drive through on the western side

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  • RIA AY

    Thanks everyone, they are all very valid points. I wonder if maybe we and the designer just aren't the right fit.

    We have asked for things that don't necessarily make an easy house design based on the block - maximise the house for the orientation and view (NW) - and my personal preferences (a view from the back garden through to the front garden. Wet areas have to be on outside walls, WC not too close to main living etc)

    Early on I was keen on something like I have attached below but it didn't get progressed. It's rough hewn drawings (hence the missing stairs on the ground floor!) but maybe something like this would be a more livable/less wasteful house?

  • RIA AY

    here's the upper floor proposed layout

  • oklouise

    my suggestions has views from front garden to back with options to include doors to zone rooms for heating and family activities ...what would you like me to change? if your designer can't find these opportunities with such a generous block of land and relatively easy challenges i have to suggest that they're not a designer

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  • dreamer

    On a practical sense, who will use the very large living room upstairs. If you have friends over and a pool, I would think everyone would be downstairs where the kitchen is. If this is to be your forever home, I would put the master downstairs with views over your pool area. Realistically how often will you sit and look at the view from upstairs. You said you have two children, I would have thought that most of your time is spent with sport, homework,being a taxi and preparing meals. All of these do not include going up stairs. My suggestion would be to put the children's bedrooms upstairs, with a realistic sized living room and a kitchenette. The future is unknown, and as we get older, stairs are harder to climb. When the kids leave home, you will have everything you require downstairs, and there will be no need to renovate or move home. You can still go upstairs at anytime to sit on the balcony and look at the view.

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  • RIA AY

    Funnily enough master on the ground was one of our initial ideas, but chatting with the designer we came away preferring ours at the top - i worry that if the kids only are at the top, we wont see much of them, and it becomes 'their zone'. At the top you have water and treetop views, i worry if we are not upstairs we wont go upstairs much.

    I'm now wondering if it would be better to move the kids 2 bedrooms and family bath upstairs and have a guest with a small ensuite/powder on the ground floor (that's the ground floor powder for all guest) instead. It would mean if we did get old, we could always move to the ground floor utilising the guest room. We also will be having older people stay with us for a few weeks each year. I'm also thinking to flip the living and master bed - so the master bed is on the north corner. Logic here is that the 2nd living becomes a winter living room, whist the ground is cooler so best for summer.

  • PRO
    Paul Di Stefano Design

    you need to think more about the home you need, general zoning and function requirements. There's no point resolving a detailed design until the brief requirements are confidently clarified. Often however clients are not quite sure until they actually see options mapped out on paper. The way we manage this early stage of the design process is with a Feasibility exercise that looks at rough options and combinations/formats of spaces on the site, and properly costed, so you can make confident decisions say if you'd prefer kids zone upstairs/master downstairs, or flipped, and understand properly how different options/variations of layout will impact costs.

    The problem here is you're flipping and flopping kind of trying to design it yourself, when if you engage a professional, that's their job. All you need to do is be able to describe what you'd (ideally) like in terms of requirements (specific spaces, function, zones) and then the professional (should) resolve HOW it goes together with a proper understanding of light, scaling, balance, outlook and maximising the natural assets/views/features etc of your block/context.

  • dreamer

    Yes you could put two bedrooms upstairs and two bedrooms downstairs, perfect for all scenarios. Have you lived in a two story home before? If you think you would use the living area upstairs then I suggest you install a kitchenette just with a small sink. And of course you will still see your children, If they are upstairs. Keep strong with the rule, that no food is allowed upstairs. Then you will constantly see them.
    I have attached photos of our home, we have a north facing front. The sun is wonderful on cold days, like today. We have three bedrooms. Our block is only 426sqm though. (347sqm home) our own design, but built by a project builder. You have a wonderful large block of land, so therefore you should be able to get exactly what you require.

  • ddarroch

    I don't think you've mentioned you location. Climate plays a significant part in the comfort of a home. For most Aussie climates you don't want your northern eaves to be any larger than 1m. As this will limit how much northern sun enters the home in winter. So how big is that front verandah? It is likely to shade your windows in winter, making your home colder & a bit darker. Northern eaves that are 450-1,000mm (depending on your location) are a better idea. The same goes for the upstairs northern windows, although you may want a larger eave on the bedroom to keep it cooler.

    The minor bedrooms all face west. West facing windows are a very bad idea, as they can get very hot in summer evenings. So redesign or flip the plan to change this, or plant large trees to the west. As others have mentioned, that's a large inefficient hallway.

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  • RIA AY

    Thanks to everyone who has created, and shared plans, ideas and feedback - this is a really amazing community!

    We are in Perth, Western Australia. The verandah in the current plans is 3m deep, but we did want some space at the front to socialise, what's a livable minimum depth for a front verandah?

    We did suggest to the designer to have the corridor on the west side so bedrooms would be facing east and get a better view than the hallway, but he didnt think that was a good idea.

    I also suggested the main entrance on the west side (= side entry), to put use that side for thoroughfares and reduce the walkway if it was moved, but he didn't like the idea either.

    I would like our bedroom to stay upstairs in order to get the most out of the views. I've come from Europe so am used to having all the bedrooms upstairs - even when you are 80!

    We will definitely be getting a small kitchenette and space for a bar fridge up there.

  • dreamer

    Hi, have a look at Webb brown Neaves, X designs. These may have similar to what your after, and would definitely be within your budget. They are in Perth, and can design a home for you.

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  • oklouise

    the floor of the northern verandah downstairs can be any size to accommodate space for socializing but the upstairs balcony forming the roof over the verandah should be the minimum size to avoid shading the downstairs living areas when you want northern sunshine in cold weather (a simple market umbrella can provide extra outdoor shade in summer) could even consider a Juliette/French style balcony upstairs so that you need only have fenced doors opening off the upstairs living room to enhance enjoyment of the views without stepping outside onto a balcony although as little as a 90cm deep balcony would allow space to stand outside without creating too much shade downstairs .....the issue of upstairs for elderly residents could potentially be overcome with a stairlift on easy access central stairs with wide entry and exit....a bigger downstairs guest room (bed 1) would be useful for now and later as a master suite and a future north facing pool house could incorporate a guest/pool could be useful to explore other ideas for a side entry but my suggested shorter front entry incorporating the stairwell keeps the void central and makes more direct access to every part of the house eg kitchen to front verandah and allows the side garden to be secure and private from uninvited guests and i'll make another plan with downstairs bedrooms reversed to see how that could work

  • oklouise

    alternate downstairs with bigger guest room and north facing alfresco and two options for laundry and pantry

  • PRO
    Kitchen and Home Sketch Designs

    Hi Ria,

    This is my FORTE' making a plan work you YOU. But this platform is not conducive to easy communication. Would you like to contact me thru my email and I can create the layout that I believe you are trying to achieve. A few other questions would have a plan sorted easily for you. Cheers Margot