Starting the Conversation

Writing your thoughts down provides a very good starting point to help open up discussion. Use it as an opportunity to clarify what you want in your home, and to give your architect an idea of who you and your family are, what you value, and what your new home or renovation means to you.

Here are some things you might like to think about covering:

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All about you

What makes you and your family tick? Write a couple of paragraphs on who you are and what you are hoping to achieve in your new home.

Thought starters:

  • Who are you and your family? What is important to you as a family/ as individuals?

  • Why are you building/ renovating?

  • What does your home mean to you?

  • Why here?

  • What sort of lifestyle do you have?

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Our homes are always a reflection of ourselves to a greater or lesser extent. Think about what really matters to you in a home? Do you want it to be casual and welcoming? Airy and spacious? Edgy or low-key? Do you view your home as a private sanctuary, or a public statement?

Think about how you want your home /renovation to feel. Write a couple of paragraphs or more.

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Think about what's going on in your neighbourhood or your immediate environment and what impact that will have on your home, or your home might have on it.

What sort of neighbourhood is this?

What do you like about it?

Why did you buy here?

Are there homes nearby that you admire?

Are there any environmental features that are important to you – eg: Trees, Views, Privacy, Light

Do you want to blend in or make a statement?

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Thinking ahead

What changes are you expecting in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years? How will they impact on the way you use your home? Think about what your requirements are in terms of flexibility and future-proofing.

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Be clear about what is non-negotiable . For example, number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Do you want a separate laundry, a workshop, or sound-proofed teenage room? Think about other things that might be particularly important to you – for example, privacy and security, capturing a particular view, retaining particular trees. Be specific – if you need off-street parking for your boat or caravan, or lots of storage space, now is the time to say so.

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Specifics: Likes and Dislikes

While it's good to be open to suggestions and ideas you might never have considered, it's also a good idea to let your architect know if you have specific likes and dislikes – for example, cladding materials, what sort of heating you prefer, floor covers, lighting, landscaping, walls and fences.

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Overall Priorities

Can you sum up in one or two sentences, the most important things you are looking for in your new home or renovation?

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Unless you have unlimited funds, it's likely that you will need to sacrifice some things on your wish list. Your architect cannot be expected to design a palace on a bach budget, but they can advise you where you can save money and where you shouldn't compromise. Make sure your budget is clearly defined. Is it for building only, or does it include, landscaping, furnishings and architect's fees for example?

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