It is better to travel well than to arrive.
Click the image to view our renovation plans. These are not the official plans submitted for approval but are instead the plans we drew up ourselves to give to our draftsperson for refinement and addition of the necessary detail to satisfy council and the builders. Apart from some minor differences, they are quite similar to the official plans and much easier to digest in this format.
As we had lived in our home for about a decade before commencing the renovation process, we had ample time to consider our options in terms of layout and design. Early on, we had a brainstorming session with an architect, which gave us plenty of ideas to toss into the mix along with our own. Our design ideas, captured haphazardly in doodles on various bits of paper, evolved considerably over the ten years as we got to know the house and decided how we really wanted to live our lives. Most of our ideas did not stand the test of time - "sleeping on it" and revisiting after a few months more often than not resulted in further modifcations or major reworking of the plan to factor in new considerations. We arrived at our (near) final design a few years ago, only knowing it was "right" (for us) because we hadn't felt the need to change it in quite some time.
First and foremost, we loved the 1930s character and warm, welcoming feeling of our home and didn't want to do anything to diminish that. Anything we did do would need to be in character and respectful of its history. However, it was never really an option to do nothing as the years had taken their toll on the old girl and she definitely needed some TLC or she was in real danger of becoming seriously unsafe to live in.
Secondly, we wanted to attempt to renovate the place as sustainably as possible. I believe that unless you're living a traditional hunter gatherer lifestyle, it's impossible to be "sustainable" in the truest sense of the word, so we would just have to do our best given the world we live in and the limited time and money we have to work with. This meant thinking very carefully about the use of and need for additional space, plus the optimal layout of rooms, doors, windows, verandahs and eaves to improve the livability and energy efficiency of the building. Thoughtful selection of quality systems (solar hot water, solar power, rainwater collection, greywater recycling), appliances, lighting, insulation, building materials, fixtures and fittings would also enable us to ensure that the home would meet our needs and those of future residents for many years to come while minimising energy use and the need for maintenance or premature replacement in future.
More to come ...