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So it begins...



I got the notion last week to start up a Blog on buildhub after enjoying the advice and knowledge everyone had contributed over the past year (or part thereof) since it launched. I've been on a journey to finding my own home for about two years after renting for the last 20. I thought I'd summarize where I'm at and how I got here to help others hovering around the same place and to spur them onwards to achieving their great dream too! 


So, where am I exactly? I've completed Stage 1 - I've a developed sketch, floor plan and it's been submitted to pre-planning who are happy with the design. I'm currently working on securing a contract on the land subject to planning permission before Stage 2 which is applying for same. Sounds easy when I put it like that! It wasn't but I've arrived at a place where I can visualize the spaces and have more meaningful conversations as I figure out answers to the multitude of questions that go though my head. 


I've found some great resources (not least this website!) - The Housebuilder's Bible & The Sustainable builders bible to name but a few. I've been in Dublin, Cork, Belfast, London & Frankfurt at exhibitions around renovating, housebuilding and lighting to speak to experts and get an idea of what's out there. Hard to believe that two years ago I thought all houses were built "more or less" the same. Then I discovered Passive Houses through a customer and my world was tilted - it's never been the same since! I used to ignore places like Screwfix, Wickes etc as when renting there's not much you can do to a house, the investment is lost the minute you move out. But now I'm taking a wander around and weighing up different kitchens, bathroom fixtures (my jaw dropping at some of the prices!) and figuring out what I actually like. 


Working with the Architects who developed the sketches I'm displaying here was interesting in itself. They have a very good track record on Passive Houses in Ireland, one of the main drivers behind my build. My budget is tight however so a 89 square meter two bedroom house is what we're aiming for. I got the Quantity Surveyor costings recently and we're just inside the budget I'd set so I'm happy so far. There's still a LOT that can go wrong of course but one step at a time....! 


The front of the house is facing just off south, 220 degrees or so therefore the open plan back of the house is going to be darker and colder. We've still to get DEAP/BER/PHPP done which will probably drive some changes but I love the vaulted ceiling idea in the quieter rear living space and will be interested to see how things progress in 2017.


I don't know where I'll be in a year, if I can secure that land contract then off to Planning Permission I go. As I've said to many people I'll keep ploughing ahead until someone says no....! 


I'd say I've spent about 10K so far on the Architects, Surveyor, QS, attending exhibitions etc but the expertise I've connected with has turned my dream into something with potential that shows. I'm tempted to run ahead and get more done without the land contract in my hand so I can submit planning sooner but with Christmas around the corner, I think it's time to back off, relax and little and take a breath. 


I've enjoyed reading the other blogs when they reach that build stage, where dreams meet reality. May I one day be able to contribute my own story into that Library.....







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I think you might regret having all the living space at the back with no direct sunlight.


I would re arrange the ground floor to make the Bed 1 / Living room a front to back living space to get the sun from the front, and still open onto the garden.  Granted only part will have the high vaulted ceiling.  Put Bed 1 where you currently have the kitchen.


Best of luck and hope the plan goes to plan.

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Certainly worth reconsidering, easier to change lines on a page! The original Architect worked up a design along those lines but we parted ways and it felt a bit too much like a goldfish bowl? I've a cut through to an adjacent housing estate right outside the front so there's a lot of foot traffic.

When I'm working from home I'll be upstairs in the "office" but want to retreat to the back of the house at other times.

We've allowed some light via Skylights and an interior window at the top of the stairs. I'm thinking about another window on the right hand wall of the open plan area to catch the morning sun but being honest it is marginal vs the layout you've suggested which would be better for natural light.

Something to think on!



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@mike2016 looks a great house and for the space and budget available, I think it works well. Your situation reminds me of ours, so will be interested in watching this one unfold. Keep the updates coming and good luck with it all.


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Looking at the plans, I would think about reducing the length of the downstairs bedroom from 4345 to 3745 (still plenty big enough to accommodate a bed, bedside tables and built in waredrobe, and use the 'stolen' 600mm to recess part of your kitchen, which you would switch from the left side of the main room to the right.  You would then have a choice of an L configuration open to the room, or a galley style peninsula with dedicated dining space between the peninsula and the box window.  The benefit of doing this I think would be to open up and increase the lounge space.  


I would also consider swapping the position of the store / plant room and downstairs shower room, so that the store was beside the front door.  Use this for your DHW storage and washing machine, as well as a handy space for coats and shoes.


Also think about utilising under the stairs with some form of built in storage / shelves.

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