Let's take a short tour of the do's and don'ts of Floor plan Layouts by looking at some other houses for Sale in South Africa.
Many South Africans have no real clue how to choose a layout when they start thinking of building a new home. The question of South African Architecture is in a sense also the question of identity. Older European cultures have a very strong identity to be found in its architecture, but our relative younger Western Culture in South Africa seems to go through somewhat of an identity crisis. If we're not conforming to our neighbours, we tend to copy silly things from our European Ancestors.
Not convinced? Ask yourself this: Is your house a South African? Probably not! Many of us would have to agree that their homes are not really South African citizens, but are instead overweight Italians. Some would have to say that their houses are in fact a snobbish little British Queen. Heck, I'm sure in Cape Town many people can almost hear their homes say "Één bijzonder goede avond toegewenst" when they arrive back from work!
Rule #1: Go for something South African.
Yes this is a case of taste and preference, but you know you can't go wrong when you go local. South African homes are sturdy, strong, no frills and in the local sense an absolute classic. A good example is this house in Rietondale in Pretoria:
In my career I have seen that a very important rule when dreaming up your new home, is to follow functionality. It is quite remarkable how easy the Aesthetics follow if you simply stick to this rule. To cut a long story short,
Rule #2: Keep it functional
To quickly estimate the value of a house, we would count bathrooms and bedrooms. Remember to put a function to each room, and think about sizes. A fourth bedroom for example could very easily be too small for any real purpose, or force you to shrink your living area to a dysfunctional size. A good example of good function is the top floor of this property in Equestria in Pretoria, where the size of the guest bathroom was kept functional without falling for the temptation to increase the stairwell or room size.
Another great example of good functionality is the patio area of this property in West Beach, Cape Town, that can easily be closed off to double as a dining room, when the weather changes.
Rule #3: Think about your lifestyle
We normally move or build new homes when our lifestyles change like when we get married, have kids or change jobs. Quite often the actual lifestyle is different to the one we expected. Have a good look at how things will be, will you really be home that much? Will a braai area, bar and Jacuzzi really be used as much as you think?
Check out picture nr 3 of this property in Willow Park Manor in Pretoria, can you spot the White Elephant? (Hint: It's white, and you can fit an elephant in it)
Rule #4: Think about the future.
Time passes quicker than you think. Think about what will happen in the next seven years. Make sure you pick something that you can change easily when your needs change. A good example is this property in Table view in Cape Town: goodbye third garage, helo gym!
Rule #5 The North Face
Do not for a second underestimate the value of a large North facing surface. In the Southern hemisphere the North face brings in all the light and heat to a property. Think of any home you fondly remember for its warmth and pleasantness, then notice its large northern facing surface. Especially bedrooms and living areas should face north. Sometimes one is forced to have some rooms face south. Try to give these rooms extra large windows, and make sure it is not rooms you will spend lots of time in. Watch out though, you spend much more time in a kitchen than you think! A cool trick to have your house have more North facing rooms, is to go for a Southern entrance if possible.
We can find a good example of this method in this suburban home in Bryanston, Johannesburg.