When designing your home or cottage, there are some basic things to keep in mind. By following the suggestions below, your final plan will conform to your personal requirements and be functional as well. Before drawing your final floor plan on graph paper, start by making several rough sketches until you feel you have it just the way you want. Tips to consider include:
1) Establishing a realistic budget. Consider how much you can afford in mortgage payments, then plan your home accordingly.
2) Considering your lot, including its dimensions, access, slope, and view. Make your house fit the lot.
3) Trying to orient your home so that most of the window areas face south in order to maximize the benefits of solar heat gain.
4) Considering your present and future needs. Don't over build or under build.
5) Starting with the kitchen. It is the most used and the most expensive room in any house, and it deserves careful planning.
6) Trying to imagine yourself living in the house you have planned. Can you move from room to room in a logical way? Will your furniture and appliances fit where you want them?
7) Deciding what kind of foundation is best suited to your needs and to the ground conditions of your lot.
8) Eliminating unnecessary corners. A rectangular building is easier and cheaper to build than an L or a T-shaped one.
9) Concentrating plumbing fixtures in one part of the house, if possible. Try to line up bathrooms one above the other on each floor to eliminate long runs of water supply and drains.
10) Choosing and positioning your windows for lighting, view, ventilation, and heat loss or gain.
11) Planning your entrances. Do you want to receive visitors directly into your living room or into a foyer?
12) Deciding on a heating system now. If you require chimneys for oil, gas, or wood, make sure you allow space for them to pass through each floor.
13) Determining whether the furnishing of your choice will fit into the rooms they are intended for.
14) Allowing for plenty of storage space. It's hard to have too much!
15) Planning your roof style to suit the rest of the house. You can get pre-engineered trusses that allow you to have lofts, dormers, cathedral ceilings, and gambrel roofs.