Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The best laid plans...

Does anyone else get scared of tape measures?  Functional tools but when they retract the zooming sharp sides freak me out, I'm terrified I'll end up with a massive cut, like a paper cut but bigger.  This week I've confronted my fear as I've obsessively been measuring lengths, widths and trying to envisage room sizes because (drum roll please)...we received our plans. 

Here is the existing floorplan:

 and here is what was proposed:

Proposed floor plan

I received the plans at 9am on Monday morning with a busy day ahead  of me - excitement combined with excruciating pain, all I wanted to do was rush home and feast my eyes. 

What an overwhelming experience it was when I finally had the chance to look at them closely.  As a novice I quickly realised reading a plan isn't as easy as reading a book - understanding perspectives, measurements, elevations, roof lines - these things take time. From my experience this week, getting a feel for a plan isn't something that should be rushed.

Something that was immediately obvious, even to my untrained eye, was despite the plan ticking nearly every box on our very detailed brief it didn't solve a fundamental problem with the way we live.

It seemed that our current issue of the kitchen area being too small for two growing boys would remain somewhat. What we had wanted was a big family dining table (not just breakfast bar) adjacent to the kitchen plus a small lounge area.

James and I spent about 4 hours trying to work out different ways our need could be met with the proposed plan.   Changing the family room to a meals zone seemed like a very big space just for a table (it's not big enough for dining plus lounge) and the space adjacent to the breakfast bar called "reading" just seemed too small, I felt it would be redundant.

I went to bed feeling dreadful, in my odd way I was feeling as though not getting the plans right first go was all my fault. Was my brief too brief after all?  Were we unclear about what we really wanted?  Were we overwhelmed by Peter's enthusiasm for his initial concept of adding an extra bedroom, forgetting about what we really wanted?

I woke the next day determined to resolve this and called Peter as soon as I could.  I felt very nervous making the call, it was like ringing to tell someone you think their baby is ugly.  He reassured me not to worry, that this was a normal part of the design process and that we could resolve it.  We told him our ideas and with his suggestions we came up with this (the pink lines are what the new plans will be - hard to see I know, hoping for another plan soon!) :

We've spent the weekend with the tape measure (panic!), pacing out rooms and trying to envisage the various spaces.  It's interesting to observe the different approaches different people take to visualising spaces; some can do it on paper, some need to stand in certain directions, others need to measure out a space in a completely different place to see how large a particular size is.  Whatever works!  James and I have drawn chalk lines on the ground and in an OMG moment I didn't freak out when I saw he had drawn on the kitchen wall in permanent marker - it's all going soon enough anyway!!
The roof line - we have decided to "settle" for a hip roof over the fancy skillion option Peter provided - by doing so we will save enough to put in a powder room.

The deck - anyone ready for a BBQ?
So it's been a big week, an exciting week.  What have I learned?

When you are on a tight budget you can't get everything you want  (farewell kitchen desk nook) - it's about getting what you need (apparently I need a butlers pantry! - I didn't expect to get one! have you got one?  Do you like it?)

What do you think of our plans?  (if you can't see them leave a comment below and I will try to upload in a different manner)

PS - a BIG congratulations goes to our lovely designer Peter Latemore, not only was it his birthday his week but he won the "Designing the Dream" Award at the Building Designers of Queensland Brisbane  North Awards.  If only we had the budget that would have been spent on that house....


  1. Lovin the blog! Can feel your excitement. Revised plans look great. Butlers pantry.....v. jealous. Wish I had me one of those.

  2. Brearne Paddison24 April 2012 at 19:38

    Whats a butlers pantry??

    1. Like a big walk in pantry that also has a sink so you can just pop all the dirty dishes in there and hey presto! your kitchen looks tidy when it isn't really!!