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How to plan your new home! Step 4 to 6

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

Now that you have established what rooms you'd like in your home and how much space each room requires it is time to consider the opportunities and constraints you might be facing. It is also the time where some decisions will have to be made and possibly some compromises made.

4. Have a look at your property where you plan to build your new home or have a close look at your existing home and property. Draw a map of your property or use a map of the property that you have. Note the following elements on your plan:

- Note roads and neighbouring houses on your plan. Go with approximate locations.

- Record the direction of the best views on your plan.

- Describe any elevation on your plan.

- Mark the location of trees, streams, rocks, bushes, or other landscaping elements that you would like to preserve.

- Determine the cardinal direction of the property (North, South, East, West).

It is important to establish where true South is on your property (this is different from magnetic south shown with a compass). Solar orientation is crucial to determine the best orientation for your house to ensure that rooms you use frequently receive maximum daylight. Daylight is critical for our physical and emotional health. Using Solar radiation for heating is free and should be taken advantage of.

- Finally note the location where you would like to build on your plan.

5. It is time now to make some preliminary decision on your future home:

- Are you planning to have a basement?

- How many levels will your home have?

In order to decide have a look at the plan you drew in step 4 and keep in mind the number of rooms you plan to have. Consider, for example, the following questions:

- How large can your home be and how large would you want it to be?

- Is there a significant elevation on your property where you might have a walk-out basement?

- Is there an especially beautiful view you could see from a second story?

- Are you physically able to use stairs now? How about in the future?

6. Now that you have your site map drawn and your rooms drawn up on paper and cut out, it is time to experiment with arranging the rooms.

Consider the following items:

- Access to each space and leave room for circulation

- Rooms with views

- Daylight / Windows (every bedroom needs a window satisfying the building code)

- Access from the road and access to backyard

- If you have more than one level, which rooms are going to be on each level

Be creative and try as many possible solutions you can think of. If you have an arrangement that might work draw a quick sketch of the arrangement for future reference. This step is best done over a few days or longer. It is best to take breaks in between formulating your plan to avoid getting stuck on one lay-out. Below are a few samples of different arrangements:

Have fun experimenting! More steps to follow next week...

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