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Architectural design brief checklist

The architectural design brief is how we understand what you like, your expectations and design style. It gives us the practical information for us to design your home. Here’s a checklist of questions and topics we’re likely to discuss at our first design meeting. Don’t worry if this list seems a bit daunting, just considering and thinking about some of these is a great place to start and we will go through this process with you.

How do you like to live?
Try to describe your lifestyle and what you enjoy doing at home? Do you entertain a lot and need lots of space to entertain at home? Do you need extra wall space for artwork? Do you need a quiet home office? Do you like watching movies and need a media room? Is there any special home entertainment equipment you want to include, for example, music, television or movie projector? Do you need areas for storage of tools or exercise equipment? What about energy efficiency and sustainable living, are those important to you?

Who will live there and for how long?
How long do you plan to stay in your home? How is your family made up – young children, teenagers or elderly parents? Do you need or want separate living areas or spaces? What about pets?

What’s your style?
Do you like modern design or a more traditional style? Do you love industrial, traditional, minimalist, contemporary, organic spaces or a combination of these? Can you describe specific spaces and rooms, materials, design features and styles? It’s helpful to collect inspiration and images for your indoor and outdoor spaces from magazines, design sites and Pinterest.

What are your design deal-breakers?
Try to describe any features that are deal-breakers for you, for example, indoor and outdoor flow, morning sun, shelter from the wind, views, private spaces and open plan living. Once again, collecting images of how you envisage these aspects of design in your home is really helpful here.

What are your space requirements?
Do you like small spaces? Do you want multifunctional spaces? Consider the number of floors, number of rooms, spaces, and description of each room’s use.  Don’t forget to include outdoor spaces. Try to describe the relationship of rooms and consider privacy and connections between spaces.

What’s already working well?
What do you like about your section, site or existing building? What are its features and relationship to sun during each season? Are there any special features like trees you’d like to keep or anything you would like to get rid of? Are there great views and what do you want to look at or exclude from your view? What is the prevailing wind? Other helpful information includes site plans, survey plans, Council information and photos that you may have.

What about outdoor areas and spaces?
What outdoor spaces would you like to create and what do you envisage for paths, gardens, food forests, water races, ponds or other features? Are these features included in your house build budget or do you have a separate budget for these?

Are there special considerations for you and your family?
Will there be asthmatics or immune compromised people in the house and do you need low or no emission materials? Are you going off-grid and need a dedicated space for battery storage? Do you have any special requirements for accessibility? Would you like built-in furniture or shelving? Are you planning to put a pool in, or in the future? Would you like a pizza oven or exterior fireplace?

What’s your budget?
What does it include or exclude like landscaping, driveways and exterior work? Do you have a contingency?