Automated home 2.0 – #37 Our top ideas for Self home builders

They say you need to do 3 self-builds before you get it right. After completing our second I reckon that number might be closer to 33 Here’s a collection of random ideas if you’ve made a decision to join the madness build your own home.

Get Your ideas Together

Get out there and check out as lots of houses and showrooms as you can. Each time you are out at a shower room / tile / kitchen place or a show house or self build exhibition you’ll pick up something new.

Even before you’ve got your plot, start talking to several architects. See who feels ideal and who you could work with easily. Hiring the ideal professionals is crucial to a successful design.

TIP – check out the beneficial architects links at the bottom of this page.

Plan for low Energy

Plan for a low energy home from the start. You are building in the 21st Century so make sure to take advantage of the best technology around. step to electric heating now and consider not burning anything at all.

Current building regs can be pitifully poor so while we wait for them to catch up to our electrified future, try to go above and beyond, especially with your insulation and airtightness measures.

Tip – read about our heat pump experience so far

Room Sizes

Get the balance right. For example, we made a decision the utility in our previous house was mainly lost space and created everything we needed into 5.5 sq m in the new house. It works terrific and savings like this indicated we were able to give our kitchen Living dining room the larger airy feel we wanted.

TIP: check out our thoughts on room dimensions, to help you arrive at your target house size.

Images & 3D Renders

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and it’s never been much easier to get hold of some inspiration from the virtual world. These are 3 of the the best image sources you can use. For example searching for a phrase like ‘contemporary living room’ gives the following results from these 3 platforms…


Take some of your much-loved images to the first meeting with your architect, it’ll save a lot of time.

Once you have your design, do get a 3D render of your plans, not just from your shower room and kitchen suppliers, but of the entire property.

TIP – check out the affordable way we did this

It is hugely valuable for spotting issues. and beneficial for making decisions on finishes and seeing details that need resolving that are tough to spot on a 2D drawing.

Inside Out

I feel that with our first self build we spent a lot more time worrying about how the outside of the house looked than how the inside worked. So I’d say work from the inside out instead. While you want the outside to look good, don’t try to fit the interior layout you really need around an exterior image.

Be an Optimist (Mostly)

There are lots of challenges ahead, it’s probably going to take several years from start to finish so you’ll need some staying power and a certain amount of blind enthusiasm. So be upbeat and optimistic, you may need it just to get through the planning process. There are plenty of satisfying experiences too though, so remember to have fun along the way.

Be a Pessimist (Sometimes)

Don’t let that stop you from putting down sensible costs in your spreadsheet though. We found it was very useful to err on the side of caution when we were budgeting.

For example, you’ll get quoted prices per square metre for tiles, as well as a cost for laying them. but when the time pertains to pay unexpectedly there’s adhesive and grout and trims to pay for too which no one included and can really add up. So plan for the worst and hope for the best.

More Detail, less Extras

One of the things that really grinds my gears was some of the extras we were hit with. When things go wrong everyone just turns to you with their hand held out for more.

You can’t get absolutely everything tied down, but try. really try. The less you leave to chance the fewer issues you’ll have once it comes time to start building.

And that includes seemingly basic things like planning where your underfloor heating manifolds are going to choose example. very carefully plan and confirm plumbing, MVHR and other mechanical installations. Where is your plant going? Your airing cupboard? That bank of switches in the kitchen? tie it all down from the start.

Sneak in extra storage too where you can, especially if you’re going for a clean minimalist look, you’ll need it.

Assume Nothing

We had generic baths and toilets shown on our drawings from the architect. These bore no resemblance to our actual shower room designs but our builder went ahead and installed drains in the footings for these layouts. Don’t assume people will ask.

Just because you know the colour of that soffit or down pipe don’t assume your builder does. tell them from the start to make sure everything is confirmed with you first.

Be On Site

I cannot anxiety this enough, BE. עַל. אֲתַר. daily preferably, especially during first fix.

From the second fix on things unexpectedly get even a lot more manic. The daily bombardment of questions reaches fever pitch and decisions you thought you’d already made unexpectedly require a lot more thought as all the finishes come together during the final few weeks.

Tip – here are details of every product and service we used in our build

Think of the Future

Try to plan for the future, especially in regards to wiring. You only get one chance to run cords in your walls so make the most of it, better to have an extra point you never use, than to find out you need one a week after you step in.

TIP – here’s our electrical checklist of non-standard items to wire for.

One of our much-loved things in the new house is our downstairs bedroom. If you really are building your ‘forever home’ think forward to a time when your children have grown up and moved out and your old bones feel like mine. even consider making provision for a room downstairs to be converted to a bedroom later.

Simplicity is Easy, Right?

We found out that creating the clean lines and semi-minimal look that we wanted is actually much a lot more tough than our previous, a lot more conventional style home.

In addition, vaulted ceilings leave zero backup plan for running future pipes or cords so there’s even a lot more onus to get everything ideal first time.

Stick to Your Guns

There are a hundred reasons not to do something special in your new build. The cost, difficulty finding the ideal people or sourcing the products. but if there’s something you really want to do, do not get talked out of it.

We found that it’s the little details that cost little or nothing extra in the grand scheme of things that make all the difference when you are living in the house. The floor to ceiling glass shower screen and the niches for your shampoo bottle, the socket behind the sofa for your laptop, the smart switch beside your bed that shuts down the entire house. We had some bespoke mirrors made for not much a lot more than similar regular items too.

Leave your finish choices as late as possible – things change over the multi-year course of a build and that can include your taste.

The value of Lighting

While our primary reason for the Loxone system was for overall building management, I cannot anxiety enough the affect that its terrific lighting has added to our home.

It’s wonderful for helping to zone larger open plan areas for different uses and can even bring a little drama to the smallest rooms in the house too. While we had to take our lighting design out of the budget we were able to benefit from the lighting experience of our smart home installers instead.

עיניים על הפרס

Despite your best plans you are unavoidably going to realise some things during the actual build you never considered. For example when our doors went into the stone wall we needed some oak trim to cover the door frames.

It’s tempting to add in extras without minimizing something else in turn. but if you have a fixed budget, and we certainly did, then when you’re adding something to your spreadsheet – remembered you need to be minimizing somewhere else to pay for it.

Manage with these complimentary Cloud Tools

A few complimentary online tools were an absolute godsend for managing our project. three things in particular were utterly indispensable.

Dropbox is your complimentary hard drive in the Cloud.

Everything from my laptop was sorted into folders in my Dropbox.

This indicated every drawing, quotation, invoice and specification were quickly available on my computer and importantly, my phone too. This was dazzling when out and about and needing to check a dimension or some other info and indicated I could quickly share our plans with the vendor we were visiting.

Google Docs – Our entire project was managed from one substantial spreadsheet. I have tabs for each room, beneficial for making notes on things we wanted. Tabs on costings, tabs on dates, dimensions, tiles, doors, M&E – everything that went into the house.

Apple notes – I used the built-in Apple notes app extensively on my iphone and Mac. This was really beneficial for keeping a running list of impressive issues or decisions required for each part of the build,

Walking around the site I added issues as I saw them, then they were all there next time we met the the builder, electrician, smart home company, shower room and tile vendors etc.

Quick fire Round

Finally, here’s a random list of some things to make sure you are thinking about.

Add both hot and cold taps outside for automobile washing etc
Budget for beds and furniture that you’ll want in your new home. We sold nearly everything as we left our previous house and it was the ideal decision.
Talk to other self home builders – read case studies in Self build mags and join forums and Facebook groups like these.
Minimise reliance on wireless sensors and battery powered de. קווית קשה תמיד יהיה טוב יותר.
תחשוב על המיקום של מתגי הדלת שלך המוסך שגורם להם הקלה ביותר לפתוח כמו שאתה ראש למכונית שלך.

יש לך רעיונות להוסיף? להשאיר אותם בסעיף הערות להלן. בהצלחה עם הפרויקט שלך!

זכור לבדוק את Instagram שלנו כדי לעקוב אחר הפרויקט, לקרוא את שאר הבית ביתי 2.0 מאמרים ולמצוא את הקישורים לכל המוצרים שהשתמשנו בבנייה עצמית שלנו.

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