Selecting Your Design


Prior to making your design choice consider the environment in which you intend to place your new home. Do not locate the house on a hill or sharp incline, or in any location that will break the horizon. Avoid locating the house in the central area of a field, locate the site with two natural boundaries if possible. Avoid complicated roof lines, excessive bulk and fussy elevation treatments. Use natural stone on the exterior, front and sides, or a napped plaster or dash finish. Reconstituted stone and brick features should be avoided. There are many guidelines available on how to locate a new dwelling sensitively in the local landscape, and most Local Authorities have published a Rural House Design Guide. The design guides should be taken in context of course and a pre-planning consultation with the area Planning Officer will assist greatly in your ultimate choice of design.
You must consider an extension of the existing local environment by way of tree planting and new earth banks with hedge treatments together with the proposed floor level and overall height of the proposed dwelling. Use species native to your area and avoid exotic species. Blueprint Home Plans will draw up a basic landscape design for your site if required.
Observation of existing developments in the area of your site will assist you in making a design choice. For example an area where either bungalows, two storey, dormer or one and a half storey are predominant will determine your choice of design. Blueprint Home Plans offer a wide cross section of design ideas to suit current preferences.
Your personal design concepts may be influenced by many factors including media, photographs, magazine articles, holiday memories, internet sites, books, family history and of course your available budget. Such influences result in the variety of houses we see located in the countryside. A fair balance needs to be achieved and we at Blueprint Home Plans, with many years of design experience, will assist you where possible in your final design choice. In your initial budget exercise, take into account, not only the cost of the structure, but also the cost of ground preparation, landscaping, entrance details, waste water treatment systems, water supply, sustainable energy installations, professional and Local Authority fees. When you finally arrive at an approximate floor area use the following check list to assist your further:
(1) How many living spaces do we require? Sitting room, family room, study, kitchen/dining room or working kitchen only and a separate dining room. Do we require a sun room?
(2) Circulation between living rooms. Is direct connection required between the kitchen and the sitting room/family room? Perhaps we could consider a semi-open plan layout with minimal corridor spaces?
(3) Fireplaces and heating. We would like to retain the traditional fireplace. We could fit an enclosed stove in the fireplace to supplement our heating system. What type of heating system should we have? Combine solar and ground/air sources? Oil fired, supplemented with solar and solid fuel? Underfloor heating or radiators?
(4) Utility areas. These general areas are important to the layout of the new house, and in most cases located adjoining the kitchen area and providing access to the rear or side of the dwelling. The laundry room could be self-contained to accommodate laundry machines, freezer and coats storage. Some clients consider a pantry area located adjacent to the kitchen. The general area can incorporate a ‘visitable disabled’ assisted bathroom.
(5) Sunlight. The orientation of the building is important and all living areas should have a South and West aspect to take advantage of sunlight. Roofs facing South are ideal to accommodate solar collection panels.
(6) Bedrooms. Family circumstances will decide on the number of bedrooms required. Do we require two, three, four or more bedrooms? Should we have all double or twin bedrooms or will we have single bedrooms that could function as a study instead? Wardrobes may be freestanding, walk-in or standard built-in type.
(7) Bathrooms. Should we have a main bathroom with a bathroom ensuite with the main bedroom? All bedrooms could have a bathroom facility ensuite if required, although most of our clients regard this as unnecessary. Do we require a wet room with a floor shower for the main bathroom or bathroom ensuite? Will we have a free standing bath, corner bath, jacuzzi bath or no bath at all? Could we include a sauna? Do we require a separate room for the toilet and wash basin?
(8) Hot press. One of the most important rooms in the house in the opinion of Blueprint Home Plans. The hot press is really no longer a hot room, given that your water cylinder and all pipes within the press are now fully insulated. Supplementary heating within the hot press is essential and the area should be walk-in and shelved with a mix of spar and plain shelving. The room should have a safety light and adequate ventilation.
(9) Finishes. List your preference for construction type, external finishes, window design, roof finishes, domestic garage, storage areas, sustainable energy, draught porch and entrance details etc.
This check list will greatly simplify your design choice, but if you remain uncertain, please contact us by email and we will assist you where possible.
An important consideration will be external storage ancillary to the dwelling. Now or in the future you will construct a garage and storage room. This may incorporate a boiler room or a stable for the pony! Blueprint Home Plans have a variety of such building plans available on our website and a good advice note; submit your garage plans along with your house plans when making the Planning Application, as the current life of a Planning Permission is 5 years.


Blueprint Home Plans. Bective Square, Kells, County Meath A82 F9X3.   t: 353 (0) 46 9240349    e: