Is it something you’ve always dreamt of ….but where do you start? Building a new home can be incredibly daunting. To some it’s a lifetime aspiration; to others it’s a grand venture opportunity. Whichever the reason, it’s vital to achieve a well-considered design and one that’s detailed to you.

The design needs to reflect who you are, and how you live. Don’t let glossy magazine images steer you off track! Then there’s also the responsibility of fitting in well with the neighbours and landscape. A planned design approach really is crucial to a successful end result. We dig deep with some industry professionals to get their skilled advice and design essentials.

Eva-Marie Prineas, Principal at Architect Prineas

The exterior of a house is viewed by all. Eve-Marie reinforces her thoughts on how the interior is about the individual, the exterior about the collective. ”My favourite towns and neighbourhoods from around the world are the ones that have a consistency. How the house is perceived from the street is about how it treats the boundary to the street as a public space.”

Prineas states how she’s been lucky with her projects. “We’ve been fortunate to build projects that we love, and equally that our clients love too. Not every project fits into this category however, so it’s important to be open about this if there appears to be a strong disconnect in architectural styles.”

Kazoo House

Kazoo House by Architects Eat – Photography by Derek Swalwell

Eid Goh, Director at Architects Eat

It’s important not to have fixed ideas or opinions on the house design before you start. The site often determines the initial design direction in terms of determining critical views and solar considerations, and design progresses from there. “We use these aspects to govern the pillars of the design process and assess how they affect the internal spaces. For us the form and massing of the building is the by-product of the chemistry between the environments and the critical spaces.”

Goh also recommends not hastening the contract phase of the building project. When you first embark on the journey it’s unthinkable that friction may ever result, however of course it’s highly feasible when dealing with the many variables and personalities involved in a housing project.   “The biggest advice is communication – if all parties communicate effectively during the whole process then the contract serves as a reminder of the ‘to-do-list’. The contracts are there if the relationships fall apart.”

BE Architecture

St Vincents Place house by BE Architecture – Photography by Derek Swalwell

Andrew Piva, Director at BE Architecture

In the beginning stages it’s important not to be too headstrong with your design ideas. Having a good hit list or design brief stating all the parameters is important, however the architect is a skilled professional and it is important to listen well to their guidance.

If you’re working with an existing building the final outcome results after assessing all the pros and cons. “Sometimes an existing building is so greatly compromised in its layout and condition, that as lovely as the charm of that house may be, it may not be right to retain it to meet the clients brief both spatially and financially. Ideally approaching the start of a project with an open mind will yield the best results.”

Don’t think shopping around for pricing yourself will save you money, or give you the right answers. Architects have years of experience costing and sourcing components of a project build. Andrew strongly advises to be accepting of cost information advice as it’s delivered. An Architect’s advice saves you time and money – what some clients find out for themselves the long way round.

Piva adds lastly, “Don’t think you can’t use an Architect from interstate or further afield. Use professionals because of their merits, not just because of convenience.” Numerous architects work locally, nationally and internationally and have a strong support network.

Simon Perkins, Principal at Plysier Perkins

Trust and respect are important pre-requisites when embarking on a building venture. That is one of the main reasons you’ve enlisted the Architect – so use them to their full potential. The client, architect and builder all need to have this confidence in each other. The moment trust or respect diminishes the project can start to alter course.

“A successful architectural project requires a productive and rewarding collaboration between a talented architect, a willing client and a highly skilled builder.”

Pleysier Perkins

The Craftsmans House by Pleysier Perkins – Photography by Dan Hocking