Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 #GC2018

The Games Village for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Parklands.

Memorable homes from Grand Designs UK

Grand Designs, possibly the best TV show of all time. View a slideshow of a few memorable homes from the UK series at Memorable Homes from Grand Designs – I like the Berkshire home, which is your favourite?

Berkshire Home

DIY Hacks for Spoiled Dogs

These DIY Hacks for Spoiled Dogs Are Either Genius or Insane…via Unique Hunters.

dog urinal drinking fountain

Featuring: bottom drawers used to house dog bowls, hotel awnings for dog doors, indoor dog houses, garden fire hydrants and walk in showers designed specifically for cleaning off your pups.

All of them are clever solutions, but are they going a bit too far? Or can you never do enough for our best furry friends?

Buying a block of land to build a new home? Four things you should know

Congratulations! You have decided to buy a block of land and build your own home. The decisions you make next could determine whether the project is a success or a journey full of frustration.land for sale

Four things you should know When Buying a Block Of Land

Before proceeding with the purchase of your chosen site it is recommended you start talking to a registered architect. This may or may not cost you 1 or 2 hours of their time but it will be a worthwhile investment before making this substantial purchase. Your architect will be able to give you feedback on what is possible on your chosen site and address some important questions:

1. How much space can i build on this site?

Building sites often have limitations on the amount of space you can gave on the block often referred to as site cover or floor space ratio. i.e. if you are planning a 800 square metre mansion on a 500 square metre block of land I would suggest rethinking your purchase to avoid possible planning approval implications.

2. Will Building on A sloping site be more expensive?

In general, yes, having a sloping site is likely to be add to the cost at slab stage. But, this is often influenced by the builder you select. In my experience, builders that are not used to building on sloping sites will often add a premium to the construction cost to cover themselves for construction methods they are not accustomed to using such as split level slabs. High volume project builders have a reputation for trying to turn sloping sites into flat platforms to accommodate their standard designs. Quite often the money you save (in these instances) in slab cost is later spent on additional excavation costs and landscape retaining walls. Builders that are not deterred, and have experience with sloping sites, will tend to take a more conservative approach. A builder will often suggest the best design for the site based on the types of construction techniques they prefer to build. Your architect will provide unbiased suggestions on the best and most cost effective way to design for the site then suggest builders that are better suited to your project.

3. How will the planning controls affect my project?

When you design your home from scratch and it is designed within the planning controls, it means you avoid a lot of the headaches associated with the approval process. An architect with a thorough understanding of the planning controls associated with your site will be able to educate you on the planning constraints that exist for your site.

4. Is it important which way The site faces?

The north point will indicate the best position for your living spaces on the site relative to the opportunities for views. If your ideal site views are to the east or west your architect may suggest some form of screening or other design solution to accommodate.

In summary, it is always best to have your home designed from scratch to best cater for the topography, planning constraints and views that exist on the site. A brief consultation with a registered architect will paint a clearer picture of what can be achieved prior to settlement on your dream block of land.

Feel free to contact me via Facebook or my website www.mdarchiects.com.au with any questions.

Architecture for kids

Good design is not only for grown ups, kids also have a right to inspirational architectural design. Here are some inspiring cubby house designs that are sure to impress your little ones.

The Grubby, a designer cubby house by Cedar Woods Properties, was one of the stars of the 2014 Kids Under Cover Cubby House Challenge.
The Grubby, a designer cubby house by Cedar Woods Properties, was one of the stars of the 2014 Kids Under Cover Cubby House Challenge.

The Grubby, with a unique design based on children’s building blocks, kids are encouraged to immerse themselves in a world that they will build themselves, with the aid of an interactive pegboard wall, climbing net, dress-ups, chalkboards and other creative activities.

'Switch' by Sabi Designs and Harris HMC
‘Switch’ by Sabi Designs and Harris HMC

‘Switch’ was designed to allow all kids to “switch on” their imagination using tools within the cubby designed to foster their curiosity through interaction.

The Switch cubby, by Sabi Designs, was created to “switch on” children’s imaginations.
The Switch cubby, by Sabi Designs, was created to “switch on” children’s imaginations

 

Bright colours and fun touches abound inside the Switch cubby.
Bright colours and fun touches abound inside the Switch cubby.

 

The Hatch, by Porter Davis Homes, was designed to be part of the surrounding landscape in any backyard.
The Hatch, by Porter Davis Homes, was designed to be part of the surrounding landscape in any backyard.

‘The Hatch’ was specifically designed as a monolithic sculptural piece to be part of the surrounding landscape in any backyard. With angled walls, the cubby demonstrates visual stability that gives it a more natural form. Inside, there is a bench to play games and draw on, a comfy seat in the corner to chill out and relax on, or sit back and read. it also has its very own ball pit.

The Hatch at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.
The Hatch at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.
The Grubby at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.
The Grubby at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.

 

Caravan Me Happy, by Little Green Room, was inspired by childhood summer holidays .
Caravan Me Happy, by Little Green Room, was inspired by childhood summer holidays .

‘Caravan Me Happy’ was inspired by the long days of childhood summer holidays. It uses only sustainable products because the designers at Little Green Room want the planet to be happy and healthy when the children of the world grow up.

Caravan Me Happy, won the Best in Show award.
Caravan Me Happy, won the Best in Show award.

The cubby houses were designed for the 2014 Cubby House Challenge to raise money for Kids Under Cover. They were then auctioned after being displayed at the 2014 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show. ‘The Hatch’ was the biggest fund raiser, followed by ‘The Grubby’ and ‘Caravan me Happy’

#Quote of the Day

A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars, it’s where the rich ride public transportation. Enrique Peñalosa, Mayor of Bogota, 1998–2001
“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars, it’s where the rich ride public transportation.” – Enrique Peñalosa, Mayor of Bogota, 1998–2001

Ask an Architect: Aren’t architects expensive?

Question:

Aren’t architects expensive?

Answer:

There is a conception that utilising the services of an architect is only for high-end, big budget homes. But, not all architect designed homes are expensive to build. If fact, architects often design homes on tight budgets and their quality design skills can even save money during the build and afterwards in terms of running costs.

Coomera Waters Residence by Matthew Dean Architects http://www.mdarchitects.com.au
Coomera Waters Residence by Matthew Dean Architects http://www.mdarchitects.com.au

This architect designed home is located in Coomera, Gold Coast, Queensland, 252m2 in size and constructed at a cost of $320k. It is situated on a sloping site with street frontage to 3 sides. Originally, quotes from builders came back 20% over budget. By making changes to cladding materials, finishes and fixtures (e.g. benchtops, taps, fans, lights, basins, toilets, etc.) and negotiating with the builder, the architect was able to bring the cost back into budget.

The home comprises three levels and steps easily down the site. Different materials were used including stained plywood, corrugated metal and rendered masonry, to provide contrast and depth to the facades. The timber clad boxes at the front and rear of the home with flat roofs minimise the height and scale of the building to the street.

Inside, it has three generous bedrooms, open plan study, two bathrooms, open plan kitchen/living/dining, a media room and double garage. One of the main features of the house is the vaulted ceiling over the entry and main living areas. This creates the feeling the space is more generous than its actual proportions.

Despite being in Queensland, the home has been designed without a reliance on air-conditioning. The ceiling fans and carefully placed window locations allow the home to remain cool through the use of cross ventilation and evaporative cooling. The polished concrete floors act as a thermal mass to help keep cool underfoot.

The owner (my wife!) tells me the house is very comfortable home to live in. Actually, we both love living here. The house was designed specifically to meet the needs of my family and sits wonderfully on its sloping site overlooking bushland to the rear and parkland to the front. Also, it is in a wonderful community at Coomera Waters.

So, engaging an architect can actually save you money. Their problem solving and negotiating skills can often prove more cost-effective than having a set of plans drawn up without the expert advice and guidance you get from an architect.

Ask a Question

If you have any questions you’d like answered regarding architecture or home design, comment below or contact me via Facebook.