So, what makes a great floor plan? A beautifully designed home starts with a beautifully designed floor plan. But what needs to be done to creating this? Whether renovating or commencing a new build a great floor plan will be one that gives you the space that will be for your lifestyle not someone else’s.
Simon’s training and experience is an essential part of the process to create the perfect floor plan. As a qualified Building Design professional with a wealth of experience in the creation of functional floor plans for all types of building structures whether that be for new homes, renovations or commercial projects, together with individual ideas of architectural space this creates one-off designs to suit our clients. So what makes the perfect floor plan?
EXTERNAL & INTERNAL PLANS
The majority of people believe that floor plans relate to the internal planning regardless of the external relevance. However, external elements play a huge part in the design process starting with simple things that are often taken for granted by clients such as:
Natural Sunlight, Views & Ventilation, Position of the building on a block for most usable space and exterior use, Where are the service connections on the block, Where does any noise potentially come from …………..and so on.
We will address some of these issues as follows.
Sunlight has a huge impact on your floor plan.. Design has to take into consideration the use of the most valuable resource being that of natural sunlight, which can reduce your power consumption and ensure that major lifestyle areas are protected from glare and heat.
Simon always says that “a compass is his best friend”! By mapping the footprint of the site and taking into consideration where the natural sunlight will be at different times of the day and seasons, allows him to promote natural sunlight throughout a building and ensure that specific rooms and spaces that require natural sunlight are well noted in the plans. At the end of the day most people would prefer natural light to electric and is cheaper and healthier to get this mapped onto the site from day one.
Once the direction has been mapped, the creation of a floor plan that really take advantage of that natural light in the rooms and spaces will be taken into account. Simon’s role at this stage is to guide a client towards the most advantageous floor plan taking into account of the natural light however, the final decision will be the preference of the client. You are the only one that knows your true lifestyle and we would not presume to now that better than you.
Outdoor living spaces are virtually as must have and should be carefully planned to ensure that they remain comfortable during the hotter months. Other areas that need to be considered where direct sunlight hits at it’s hottest are the external walls. The quickest way to live in an “oven home” is to design a floor plan that will cause this effect. So clients also need to listen to the designers advise.
Views & Ventilation
If you are lucky to have a block of land with an amazing view how wonderful is that! However, the majority of homes do not have this choice being limited perhaps to a single prospective or an uncontrolled outlook especially on newly developed large scale estates. So you need to ask yourself which rooms do you want to take advantage of any view you may have? Our suggestion is that less desirable views for rooms such as a laundry, extra bathrooms, toilets or perhaps a spare bedrooms should be in areas on the floor plan that will not be effected by the view. When planning a living room, kitchen, master bedroom and alfresco entertaining areas you might like to consider taking advantage of natural ventilation. Planning for cross flow ventilation o give the advantage of potentially reducing running costs and aids the ambient temperature inside the home comfortable inside. I am passionate about how natural ventilation needs to be taken advantage of in a great floor plan.
If your proposed property or renovation is adjacent to a busy road, shops, car parks, schools etc then this to be carefully looked into as an intrinsic part of the design. The floor plan both internal and external will be taken into account and in some cases acoustic fencing or internal acoustic walling may be suggested but this will be dependent on budget and sometimes people like noise around them. This comes back again to this being YOUR house not someone elses!
As a designer I understand the benefit of seamless flow from internal to external areas of the home and in so many of my designs has given the feel of extra space becomes aesthetically pleasurable. Most clients appreciate a design where their garden, patio or balcony feels part of the total expanse of the home. I refer to it as the “outside in plan”.
I have covered some of the external reasons that need to be considered now its time to plan the internal footprint of the home. This is often a complex decision making process for both client and designer and often the longest part of the design process. In my opinion this can also be the most exciting part drawing designs that are generated by client ideas together with design principles and budgetary consideration.
So what is important to you?
So ask yourself what are your specific room needs as in living areas, bedroom numbers, bathrooms, do you need a home office, a dedicated media room an alfresco area and so on. These are just some of the many areas that can be thought about in the following questionnaire I have put together for you prior to me drawing a conceptual floor plan allowing each room to achieve its full potential.
FUNCTION AND AESTHETICS
At the concept stage, the functionality and aesthetics are important but so many people get hung up on colour and finishes that they lose sight of the importance of a functional floor plan. We have had on occasion had clients showing us on plans where they are going to put a vase of flowers and yet have no idea what is going in the bathroom!
Of course, the vase of flowers is important but at the right time. In creating a functional floor plan I will discuss with you certain personal touches that your require to make your house a home. Some people have amazing artwork or statues that they want highlighted whilst others have minimalistic attitudes towards interior function. All are personal and are considered within the design brief.
As designers my role is to ensure that scale versus balance are in relative proportions. For example, a client wants an entertainers style home but has forgotten that the kitchen needs to be adequate to cope with whatever is thrown at it. Having the benefit of offering all our clients the advantage of 3D modelling, several of the issues which we may feel need consideration are actually solved during a 3D presentation. This is where we have placed furniture and the odd vase of flowers! in the rooms together with the adoring family pets on view making it “real” to the client. Visualisation for me and designers in general is a given however, we appreciate that most people do not have the training or a natural ability to see plans just on paper they need to “live” it and it is always exciting for me too!
Of course, there does come a time during the floor plan process where I have to think about materials and finishes. The options are guided by the overall design with input from the client being essential. Whilst I may not always agree with their choices, they are the ones going to live in the home however, I work towards a general consensus of what would be the overall best solution for subject areas.
So many times we can show a vision in 3D of what the client proposes and their vision changes compared to our recommendations and all of a sudden it becomes a “lightbulb” moment for them.
Many homes suffer due to the floor plan being the only consideration. A home has to cover so many areas of function and aesthetics together with balance and proportion. I delight in planning functional spaces with aesthetics to match.
It is always wise to remember that whether you are planning a renovation of an existing home or looking to build your dream home, a great floor plan will be the one thing that is created for your ongoing enjoyment .
I know I have asked you to think about several things in this E-book that you have either never thought about or may even feel confused about. The most important thing to remember regardless of your own skills base a good floor plan needs to be designed by a professional with years of study and experience behind them.
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About the Author: Simon