by monica khanna designs

​11 things you should know before building a house

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Of all the life-changing decisions one has to make, building your house is definitely one of the biggest. And not to scare you or anything, but we do recommend that you put in a hefty dose of research and a careful assessment of what you want and need, in addition to seeing what’s out there, what’s considered trendy, what are the most practical options, what relates to your budget, etc. 

So, before picking up that first brick, take note of these 11 crucial factors to help you get started.

1. A door that makes a statement

In our first example, the front doors were chosen to stand out from the rest of the façade. This style noticeably draws one's attention to the entrance, also working perfectly for when you want to shift the focus away from the yard or driveway.

2. For the tropical style

Ever considered the tropical style for your house? This one makes good use of airy spaces, wood, bricks, and clay, amongst others to achieve that laid-back vibe of tropical countries. Think of the beach, the sun, and the general relaxed ambience and how those can be translated into the architecture.

3. The modern style

For the modern design, make use of geometric patterns. This means creating areas like a lawn that fills a rectangular spot or having a small rock garden with white pebbles that are decorated with round shrubs. Complement these with striking artificial lighting effects.

4. Something retro

Retro can be anything from the past that's not covered by classical design, although the word itself retro is associated with the 60s. Take a look at the house featured above: it doesn't have many windows, but it does feature an interesting set of double doors with an elevated porch that centralizes on the main door and polished flight of steps. Pillars also decorate the corridor. Obviously, this doesn't quite fit the modern description and it somehow recalls a bygone era – but hey, if that’s what grabs your fancy, then more power to you.

5. Going the minimalist route

The minimalist is probably the simplest of all designs because having less is basically its point. This house, for example, opted not to have high-pitched roofs, elaborate cladding or lots of windows. In fact, it doesn't have much except for the clean choice of minimal colours and clean-cut look. As they say, “less is more”.

6. Note the physical design

Picking the main design style of your house is quite vital, because apart from aesthetics, having a particular design is a great way to express your personality. If having elaborate designs don't really interest you, it's always safe and sophisticated to go for a classical design. 

This example, for instance, channels a classical style through its small porch by the entrance with some greens adorning the façade. The architects even took it literal by choosing classical arches and columns to decorate parts of the exterior.

7. Playing with traditional elements

Borrowing inspiration from modern and eclectic styles, this house was built higher than the ground, but that element is only noticeable through the marble-tiled stairs that magnificently complement the grey hues of the walls. The architects also chose to go beyond the norm of having typical doors and went instead for folding ones that can be set aside to allow air and light inside the home.

8. Combine materials

Vary the look and feel of your house by mixing different textures. As a safe start, you can choose wooden panels against concrete, as seen in this example. And notice how the bottom part of the house flaunts a stone-textured surface that is significantly darker than the rest of the façade – a touch of contrast to stand out beautifully.

9. Elevating the modern style

Elevate the modern style by literally elevating your house with Asian-styled elements, like this small wooden porch added to the front and side of the structure. 

When it comes to elevating the modern style, you can basically mix and match this style with other styles to come up with a truly personalised look for your home.

10. Keep it chic and cool

Your house can look elegant without even seeming like it’s trying to be. Combining different elements to your façade can result in quite the cool and graceful look. 

See how this example combines flat- and sloping roofs, various textures, and different materials all rolled into one house, yet it looks effortlessly put together. The neutral and colour-coordinated palette contributes greatly to the ‘cool’ look of this house.

11. Have fun with landscaping

If you're one with a green thumb, then make good use of that skill by constructing a lovely landscape to decorate your house. It can be done along your fence, by your house's entrance, around the house, at the back, or even inside! 

Of course there are a multitude of professional gardeners and landscape architects who can help you out here if digging around in the dirt is not up your alley.

Keep in mind these 8 silly mistakes to avoid when gardening.

Planning on designing/building your own house? What tips would you like to share with us?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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