The dream home master plan


The dream home master plan

If you are only taking a short-term view of your needs when designing your home, we’re sorry to tell you, you’re making a big mistake. A mistake that could potentially cost you a whole lot of money.

This is your dream home we are talking about… do it once, and do it right. Future proof it with a master plan.

When we meet with our clients to discuss their home design, we always ask about both current and future needs. Why? Brett Churcher, Playoust Churcher Managing Director, says it best:

“If it was my house and my money, I’d want to future proof it. I’m not going to take the risk.”

And the cost of building a home that meets all of your current and future needs just isn’t always possible… that’s where master planning comes in.

Master planning

Master planning = future proofing


Imagine that you’ve built your dream home for your young family. When the kids are little, they are happy to share a bedroom – and the one living space, even though it is full of toys, serves its purpose of bringing your family together…

… fast forward 10 years and all of a sudden those little kids are now teenagers who aren’t so keen to listen to a bedtime story together and you need somewhere else, other than your bedroom, to escape from the teenagers who are taking over the living room. You’ve outgrown the house.

Upfront costs of building

We see it happen all the time. Whether it is a growing family, or perhaps elderly parents who may need to move in at some stage in the future – not to mention how the property prices might deter your adult children from moving out as early as you would like – building a plan for the future into your home design is always a smart move.

Having a master plan sets you up for the future without the upfront costs of building everything in one hit.

We can stage the design to allow you the flexibility to build each stage when you are ready. It comes back to smart design and doing it right the first time.

Spend a little to save a lot

Spend a little to save a lot


Brett takes a practical view of master planning from his knowledge of the market trends and what people want and need from their home:

“So often when we have the conversation about construction costs with our clients, they get nervous… and that’s why master planning can help. We can design spaces that allow for future flexibility and stage the build process, setting up each stage to build on the next as we go.”

We worked with a client in Northbridge, on Sydney’s lower north shore, for an initial brief of a five-bedroom home. The construction costs to do both the ground and first floor were too high given the quality the client was looking for, so we staged the build. As part of the ground floor build, we put the floor structure in place for the first floor to save a lot of money on costs when stage two came around.

DA’s and master planning

DA and master planning


The client with the Northbridge staged build ended up moving back to Melbourne and selling the house.

The people who purchased it had four kids and bought the home because they knew there was approval to add a first floor with extra bedrooms.

The beauty of master planning is that if you get a DA for the whole design – even if the build is staged – once you have commenced construction on stage one, the DA stays in place indefinitely.

So, for our Northbridge client, we were able to move immediately to create the construction drawings, engage a builder and finish the master plan we had created with the original owner of the home.

Brett understands the risks of not doing the master plan process correctly:

“If your home is located in a conservation area, the rules do change… what was once a doable plan for your dream home is now not possible. It really does pay to have the whole approval in place and build it in stages. Even if you then sell the house, the new owner can come in and see that it has a heritage DA approval and still build what was approved.”

Our process helps to de-risk any council changes and set you up from the beginning with a flexible dream home that can be adapted to your future needs.

Stick to the plan

Stick to the plan


One caveat on master planning is that it only works if you stick to the plan!

We have done work with clients before who have taken a master plan approach.

They complete stage one and then come back to us years later when they are ready to complete the next stage, only to tell us that they have spent tens of thousands of dollars on renovating a kitchen or bathroom that was ear-marked on the master plan for where the stairway was to go.

“It’s important that you communicate with your architect if you have a master plan in place. Putting expensive items such as kitchens or bathrooms in the wrong places and not thinking about that in the overall scheme of things is a really costly thing to do.”

We love nothing more than seeing our clients happy in their new dream home. It’s why we do what we do. And master planning is a big part of that.

If you are ready to build your dream home, contact us to chat with one of our experienced North Shore Architects.

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