What did the council say?

The council rejected the plan!!! GAHHHH! And just before I left for my 2-week holiday in Singapore too! I felt gutted. I thought I did a pretty good job, reading up on council regulations and adhering to every single line that was relevant. But their answer was no, and I had to have the plans revised. Before I go on, here is a little background to the story:

The house is going to be built on sloping land, which meant that cut-and-fill and retaining walls are going to be necessary. The retaining wall was going to come up to almost 2m in height where it abuts the Council’s reserve, and they did not like that. Their suggestion was to make it a split level so that the height of the retaining wall can be reduced.

I spoke to the builder, and they said that it is probably the only way to go, and I was absolutely panicking because I knew that would mean more added costs. And I could almost hear all the “I told you so”s from people who have warned me about the difficulties of trying to build a home. I was desperate to get it happening, being tight for time and all, so I said yes to getting the plan re-drafted by the engineers for a split-level design, and I hoped for the best.

The Bellbird’s Anatomy

When I was looking around for floor plan designs, I was quite disappointed by most of the standard floor plans available from many of the builders. Also, the land is not the usual rectangular block, but rather I would say it is more of a trapezoid, which restricts the size of my house if I were to put a standard single level house on it. So I decided to take a chance at drafting what I wanted.

I guess everyone had some sort of an idea what they want in a house. Probably not down to the type of kettle they are going to use, but probably what they want in a house that would suit their lifestyles. As for myself, it started off with something simple. 3 bedrooms and a study, with a nice open kitchen and a living room.

And then I decided that I love cooking big meals and having people over at my place for dinners. So I will need a pretty big kitchen, with lots of storage to accommodate all sorts of kitchen appliances.

Annnnnnd I decided that wasn’t enough, and I will need a whole butler’s pantry to store all the food in the house. Also, I thought it makes sense to have a hidden area from the kitchen for all the mess if I were to have people over for meals, right? Yes, I know, I found myself more excuses.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnd I decided that I need to have a door in the butler’s pantry that leads to the outside of the house, right where the kitchen is looking into, where I am going to have a veggie patch. The ideas kept coming as I kept drawing!

I also found that I had some trouble with the way I designed the garage and the bedroom sitting next to it, and the perfect solution to that problem was to have a shoe room leading out of the garage into the hallway. I swear I did not design the place to fit a shoe room in (although I have always loved the idea of that), but everything that I wanted just seems to fall neatly into place!

 

The style of the house is supposed to be rather contemporary. I have a thing for black doors and satin black framed windows, so I have selected them to go with the white walls. Black and white, I guess I could almost never go wrong with the colour combo. To make it a little cosier, the flooring will (hopefully) be a dark brown, timber-looking laminate across the entire house.

So the design was done, very briefly, and the drafters did a great job of making it look absolutely gorgeous and professional on the paper. It’s gone into council, and I have heard back from them, but that will be for a later post.

 

At the beginning…

… there was land.

A block of land I found on Gumtree. Odd shaped. But beautiful. Right next to a reserve, with views to the hills. Quiet location but very accessible by transport. It ticks a lot of boxes on my list! Attracted by all of the above, and also driven by desperation for the lack of desirable land around, I decided to go check it out.

Now, I know that the standard procedure is to find a block of land in a suitable location, pick a generic floor plan from the builders’ and build the house on it. I, on the other hand, have this obsession about making sure that I fit all the criteria that I want in a house on the land before I would buy it.

So, I did some research on council / building guidelines, and set off to draft out a floor plan for the house. Here are some of the challenges I faced:

1. I refused to stick to a rectangular floor plan, and just had to draft an odd shaped house to maximise the use of land.
2. Trying to draw things to scale to make sure they fit on the block. Odd shaped land just about triples the level of difficulty.
3. My lack of experience with drafting. It was only the 2nd time in my life I tried to draft out a floor plan. The 1st time was weeks before that, for another plot of land which I didn’t end up buying.
4. Only God knows what the dimensions of doors and walls and kitchen benches are.
5. Time wasn’t on my side, the builder was going to raise prices of building.
6. To top it off, I was nursing a broken finger which certainly didn’t help in any of my challenges.

Nevertheless, I survived all that and have come out of it really proud of my handiwork. The dimensions were pretty accurate and the draft had less alterations done to it than I thought it would be.

Thus the land was bought, the contract signed with Rivergum Homes, and the next step was to anticipate the arrival of selections.