Putting your own stamp on a stan­dard de­sign is eas­ier than you think, writes Chelsea Clark

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - Pic­tures Sup­plied More Eden Brae, eden­, Met­ri­con, met­ri­, Raw­son Homes, raw­son­

While many of us will dream of a cus­tom-built home, the cost is of­ten pro­hib­i­tive. Go­ing down the tried and tested route of a project build­ing com­pany can make more sense be­cause you know ex­actly what you’re get­ting and how much you’re up for from the very start.

They can take care of ev­ery­thing from per­mits to manag­ing the build.

When you choose to build with a project home com­pany though, you are work­ing within their de­sign suite and with their list of sup­pli­ers, ma­te­ri­als and fix­tures.

But be­fore you write off project de­signs as the “cookie cut­ter” op­tion, speak to the builders to see ex­actly how you can put your own stamp on a pre-de­signed floor­plan or­plan to build some­thing truly unique.

Ask what’s pos­si­ble

Your best bet in find­ing out ex­actly how cus­tomised your project home can be­come is to talk to the build­ing com­pany about what’s pos­si­ble.

“Know­ing what fea­tures you want in your new home is cru­cial,”,” says Met­ri­con’s Ja­son Bi­asin, gen­eral man­ager, north­ern states.

“Speak to your sales con­sul­tant who will dis­cuss what’s pos­si­ble with your cho­sen home de­sign — it’s im­por­tant to us that homes are tai­lored to each unique buyer to best suit their in­di­vid­ual needs.”

Talk with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from each build­ing com­pany you are con­sid­er­ing so you don’t com­mit to any­thing be­fore find­ing out the al­ter­ations you want aren’t pos­si­ble.

“We recog­nise that stan­dard de­signs aren’t go­ing to suit ev­ery­one, so do al­low some de­sign flex­i­bil­ity,” says Eden Brae Homes state sales man­ager Bill Hawie.

Open a win­dow

Chang­ing the po­si­tion­ing of win­dows, walls and doors is one of the eas­i­est ways to switch up a stan­dard floor­plan.

Raw­son Homes mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive Natasha Dun­smuir says the com­pany al­lows clients to cre­ate taller doors and/or win­dows but some re­stric­tions do ap­ply.

““Buy­ers should take note of the windo win­dows of the homes on dis­play be­cause these would have al­ready met the Basix 5 star en­ergy rat­ing, ad­dress­ing cross ven­ti­la­tion, ori­en­ta­tion and pri­vacy con­cerns.”

If you’re con­sid­er­ing mov­ing win­dows, make sure the new po­si­tion frames a nice view and think about adding frost­ing, lam­i­nat­ing or shut­ters where there is a need for pri­vacy.

Some struc­tural al­ter­ations might be pos­si­ble in­ter­nally to change room sizes or the ori­en­ta­tion of cer­tain rooms but talk to your builder early be­fore your heart be­comes set on that ex­tra large mas­ter suite.

The wash-up on bath­rooms

Here’s where you can re­ally put your stamp on your new home by choos­ing from the builder’s range and pair­ing colours or tex­tures to­gether for a unique look.

If your bud­get can stretch a lit­tle fur­ther con­sider re­plac­ing the stan­dard van­ity with some­thing cus­tom de­signed. Most builders will re­quire you to fit this af­ter han­dover.

Ac­cord­ing to Ja­son, the kitchen is of­ten the space sub­ject to the most changes by clients want­ing to per­son­alise their home.

“Kitchens are of­ten con­sid­ered the most favourable com­mu­nal space,” he says.

“We see a con­sid­er­able amount of change in this space, with pop­u­lar op­tions for up­grades in­clud­ing cus­tomised join­ery and stone bench­tops.”

To­tally floored

Floor and wall cov­er­ings are a great way to per­son­alise your home.

Most builders will have a wide se­lec­tion of tiles, tim­ber, floor­ing and car­pet styles avail­able so ask to see the en­tire range — not just the stan­dard in­clu­sions.

Eden Brae, for ex­am­ple, of­fers tra­di­tional floor tiles and car­pet se­lec­tions as stan­dard with tim­ber floor and tim­ber lam­i­nated floor­ing of­fered as an up­grade.

If you love the look of con­crete floors, ask your builder if they have any con­crete-style lam­i­nate in their range which gives the same look with­out the hefty price tag.

On the walls, con­sider cre­at­ing a per­son­alised fea­ture wall post-han­dover or add some stand-out wall­pa­per.

Lead­ing lights

Don’t for­get about light fit­tings which can re­ally set the tone for your home.

Be­fore build­ing starts con­sider what type of mood you want in each space and how that will im­pact on your light­ing plan.

Are down­lights the best op­tion? Do you want the op­tion of a dim­mer switch?

Af­ter you’ve moved in, add some style with unique lamp­shades.

The great out­doors

If an alfresco liv­ing space isn’t in­cluded in your de­sign talk to your builder about adding one from one of their other floor­plans to ex­tend your home’s liv­ing space.

Land­scap­ing of­ten isn’t in­cluded in the price of your project home so, if bud­get al­lows, em­ploy a rep­utable land­scaper to get to work on cre­at­ing a us­able space. Think care­fully about the plants you choose in terms of the cli­mate and the time you can de­vote to tend­ing a gar­den.

ChooseC build­ing ma­te­ri­als such as bricks, tim­ber and tiles care­fully to get the fin­ished home you de­sire.

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