The best approach for designing and building sloping block homes

The best approach for designing and building sloping block homes

Over the past 20 years, we have continued to perfect our processes for working with sloping blocks so we can design and deliver the very best home for each sloping site. We collaborate with you throughout the pre-design process to ensure we create a home perfect for you, your site and your lifestyle. Our approach is one of informed pre-design – only once we’ve gotten to know you and have gathered all the information about your sloping site do we begin the design work; ensuring your home meets the brief, suits the site, and falls within your budget. 

Continue reading to find out more about the Destination Living approach, and to see if this option is right for you when creating sloping block house designs.

Advantages of the Destination Living’s approach for sloping block house designs

1. Feasibility assessment

Sloping blocks can be rife with challenges and unexpected complexities, so we undertake extensive feasibility assessments before we design. We know all about your site – from council and authority constraints, to the impact of trees and neighbouring properties. Taking some time at the start of a project to adequately research the site will help you avoid a redesign and surprises in construction (therefore saving you time and money).

2. Tailored to your site

At Destination Living we never use set plans; instead each design is individually created for your sloping site. This means your home will take full advantage of the elevation, views, natural light and landscape of your site. 

3. Extensive briefing process

Our thorough briefing process is what makes our approach so successful. We take the time to understand how you want to live, what’s important to you, what you like, and how this aligns with your budget before we put pen to paper.

4. Making the most of your block

As part of our feasibility process we get to know your block from above. We use drones to set viewpoints on your block and identify everything that your site has to offer. The best way to find the nicest views on your block, is to fly up and see for yourself!

 

5. Built for you

We ensure that the design and build process is a collaborative one. We get to know you, what you need and what you love so we can create a home tailored for you and your budget. Not only that, we do our research on your site to ensure the plan is ideally suited for you. 

6. Bright living spaces

Natural Light is one of the most critical elements of good home design. It helps create the mood, ambience, as well as lifting the overall aesthetic of a home. Unlike set plan homes, our homes are designed to maximise the availability of natural light, and our living spaces always have northern light even if the orientation doesn’t facilitate it.

7. Collaboration

Our approach is a highly collaborative one, as we know how effective it is to work together and not in silos. You will work with three key stakeholders from the start to the end – the architect, interior designer and builder. To prevent heartache, we price along the way to ensure you are aware of the costs as you move through the design phase.

8. Immersive virtual reality

We use 3D design work and immersive virtual reality to bring your home design to life, meaning you can open the door and submerge yourself in your new living spaces. This allows you to experience the design, see how the light fills a room, and feel the flow of the plan. Not sure if the scale of the island bench is going to work for your new kitchen? You can use our VR experience to stand behind your island bench and survey the space as though you are in it.

 

The Destination Living approach to building on a sloping block is best suited to homeowners who want to make the most of their investment. Our approach of informed pre-design means an extensive and rigorous analysis of your site to uncover and assess your site’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats before we start designing.

We create bespoke home designs tailored to you, your lifestyle and your budget. Our designs maximise the natural features of your site to make the most of the views, the landscape and the natural light. Find out more about building on a sloping site

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The ‘quick concept approach’ for creating sloping block house designs

The quick concept approach is the building industry’s equivalent totry-before-you-buy’, and is often preferred by architects, custom builders and building designers. The designer will quickly draw you a concept for little to no cost to see how you like it. 

This approach to creating sloping block house designs may seem like a bargain… however, keep in mind heavy discounts on price do come at a cost.

Building on a sloping block – the pros and cons of using the ‘quick concept approach’

Sloping block homes which follow a quick concept approach can deliver plans with plenty of design flair, maximise natural site features and offer a customisable approach to design. However, the reality is that often the designs aren’t feasible and plans usually need redesigning, as there wasn’t adequate time to understand and work with the complexities of the site. Cheap home design, lack of design personalisation, and lack of collaboration between designers and builders could eventuate to a budget blowout.

Read below to find out if the quick concept approach is right for you when creating sloping block house designs.

The advantages of using the ‘quick concept approach’ when designing and building on a sloping block

1. Design flair

One of the most attractive advantages to taking the quick concept approach of designing your sloping block home is that your custom builder/architect is likely going to demonstrate more exceptional design flair than homes using the pre-set plan approach. This is done to woo you and your business. It’s an aggressive (and powerful strategy) which can ultimately come at a cost.

2. Maximising the natural site features

Quick concept designs are more likely to make good use of beautiful sloping site features, like elevation, views, and natural light. Unlike a pre-set plan, your architect or custom builder has the flexibility to consider the features of the site and design to suit. Views are considered and assigned to the most suitable living spaces, natural light sources are used to enhance the mood of the home, and the floor plan is designed to best suit the layout of the site.

3. Customisable approach to design

Homes are a huge investment. Whether you’re building your dream home or an investment property, it’s crucial that the design of the house meets your needs. Having the ability to customise a plan is so important when designing a home, as it ensures that the flow and features of the house enhance the liveability of the home. Being able to customise the plan to suit a sloping block will also enhance the saleability of the home.

The disadvantages of using the ‘quick concept approach’ to designing and building on a sloping block

1. Cheap home design

Deep discounts on design come at a cost. Quick concept designers often don’t take the time to complete a full site feasibility assessment before drawing up the plan, meaning that critical components of the design may be impacted by the features of your sloping site. Often your quick concept design will result in drainage difficulties, landscape challenges, soil retention issues, or require additional structural materials to complete the build ultimately rendering your original sketch useless.

2. Lack of design personalisation

Quick concept home designs are turned around quickly, but this comes with significant drawbacks. It’s unlikely your architect or custom home builder has taken enough time to get to know you and your requirements in detail. Without this critical briefing step, the designer is not going to understand what you really want in a home – so you probably won’t like the plan.

3. Lack of collaboration

It’s essential when designing a home that you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat – after all, building a new home is a significant investment. The internal processes for custom builders are silo driven rather than collaborative. Instead of communicating directly with the designer, a client manager will take you through the design process and direct any of your requests onto the designer. It can often result in a time-consuming game of ping pong to refine the designs. Think Chinese whispers with real-world implications.

4. Budget blowouts

It’s not just the designer-client relationship that lacks collaboration. In the quick concept approach, the architect and builder processes are also silo driven. Once the architect has completed the detailed design, it is then sent to the builder for pricing. The lack of collaboration between the architect and builder often results in heartache when the design comes in significantly over budget, requiring redesign. 

The quick concept approach usually seems to be the affordable option when building on a sloping block, but costs can creep up if redesigns are needed, due to the lack of collaboration between the designer and the builder. Make sure you consider these risks when deciding on the approach you’re going to take when building on your sloping site.

Destination Living’s approach to building on a sloping block

At Destination Living, we create bespoke home designs for you. Our designs work with the land, your brief and budget, and champion the elements of your sloping block. We have continuously perfected our processes of creating house plans for sloping blocks over the last 20 years to ensure we can design and deliver the very best home for each sloping block site. Find out more about Destination Living’s approach to building on a sloping block.

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The ‘set plan approach’ for creating sloping block house designs

Pre-set plans are preferred by volume builders due to their speed and efficiencies, and are a ‘one-size-fits-all’ option for your sloping block build. With little to no customisation allowed, many builders tend to avoid sloping blocks due to the necessary modifications, or simply cut a hole into the site creating a flat floor plate for the home. 

It is essential before choosing an approach that you are aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, as there are short-term and long-term financial implications for each option.

The pros and cons of using a ‘set plan approach’ when building on a sloping site

Sloping block homes that follow a set plan approach can deliver plans which are cheaper and faster to build/design. You can even tour a previous build to alleviate the fear of the unknown. However, they can also result in trade offs including design incompatibility, ignored opportunities, lower quality materials, inadequate passive design principles, build centric processes, inexperienced consultants and limitations of 2D plans.

Read below to find out if the set plan approach is right for you when creating sloping block house designs.

The advantages using a set plan approach for designing and building on a sloping block

1. Homes are cheaper to build 

The set plan approach is best suited to builds with tight budgets. The compromise for financial savings however is a reduction in design elements such as orientation, site layout, natural light and architectural design.

2. Fast and inexpensive design process 

Since you are choosing from a selection of set plans and inclusions, the design process is much faster and cheaper than a custom build. This is because they are making an existing design fit your block, rather than starting from scratch and custom designing each room.

3. Tour a previous build 

Building a new home without first being able to inspect it is a daunting experience. With the set plan approach, the team has likely built a similar house to yours before. This allows you to check out the property prior to starting your build, and help mitigate the fear of the unknown by identify any lurking design flaws you may not notice in a 2D plan.

4. Faster build time

Perhaps the most appealing benefit of using a set plan approach for building on a sloping block is their quick build times. The builders have likely built the home (or variations of it) many times before, meaning the house will be move-in ready before you know it.

Disadvantages of using a pre-set plan approach for designing and building on a sloping block

1. Design incompatibility

Out of the box pre-set plan homes aren’t explicitly designed for your sloping block’s orientation and fall of the land. The set design will be modified to suit your slope, and because of this you may face several design issues, awkward room sizes, and a disjointed flow. Set designs can hinder how natural light is captured in the house – impacting the warmth and mood of the home. Views over the surrounding landscape are often gifted to the wrong rooms, or missed entirely. It’s a costly decision to give the best views in the house, say, to the spare bedroom and not the living room.

2. Opportunities Are Ignored

It’s the subtleties of your sloping block that should be considered and even celebrated, but a one size fits all approach is not going to achieve that. Little to no consideration is taken for the opportunities or limitations present on your sloping block with a set plan approach. You’re taking a design and reworking it to fit, rather than designing it to hero. Similar to buying an ill-fitting shoe, you could be in for some pain in the long run. 

3. Lower quality materials

Wiping tens of thousands of dollars off your build quote may seem attractive when you’re starting the project, but can cost you more down the track. Cheaper materials may settle, rut, wash out, warp, fade, break, chip or corrode, diminishing your profitability long term.

4. Inadequate passive design principles

The passive design principles exist to ensure new builds take full advantage of the local climate and the surrounding landscape to regulate the temperature of the home. Passive design can reduce or eliminate the need for heating or cooling systems impacting the ongoing energy spend of the homeowner. 

In pre-set plan homes, the passive design principles of the house are likely to be inadequate despite meeting the minimum 6-star rating.

5. Build centric process

The set plan approach is entirely build-centric. The focus is placed on getting the build completed as quickly as possible at the expense of good, thoughtful design. This can be an expensive trade-off long term and will likely impact the future saleability of the home.  

6. Inexperienced consultants

Designing a home for the complexities of a sloping block requires enormous skill, training and experience. Unfortunately, builds following a pre-set plan approach can be critically impacted when design modifications are requested. This process is typically managed by untrained sales consultants, rather than professionals trained in the field of design.

7. Limitations of 2D

Many set plan homes are designed in 2D format, impacting your ability to read and really feel the spaces you are creating. Being able to immerse yourself in the design of the home is especially important on a sloping site where depth, scale and orientation can make (or break) a design.

The set plan approach will undoubtedly expedite both the design and build phases of your project, and will also save you money in the short term. However, are the long term financial risks of choosing a pre-set plan home persuasive enough to shift you towards a more customised, tailored approach to building on your sloping block?

Destination Living’s approach to building on a sloping site 

At Destination Living, we create bespoke home designs for you. Our designs work with the land, your brief and your budget, championing the elements of your sloping site. We have continuously perfected our processes working with sloping sites over the last 20 years to ensure we can design and deliver the very best home for each sloping block. Find out more about Destination Living’s approach to building on a sloping block.

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How do I choose who to design and build on my sloping site?

A guide to choosing the right designers and builders for sloping blocks

If you are looking to design and build your dream home on a sloping block, it can be difficult to know who to work with as sloping sites have many complexities to be considered.

To help, we have quickly summarised the 3 most common design and building approaches taken to sloping sites.

 

1. The Set Plan Approach

Favoured by volume builders, they have set plans to choose from and there is little to no customisation allowed. Often they won’t do sloping sites because of this, but if they do, the common approach is to cut a hole into the site and create a flat floor plate for the home to be built on.

Set plan custom builders also have a range of pre-designed plans for sloping sites. They then choose a plan for you that best suits your block and customise it to make it fit.

More on the Set Plan approach >

2. Quick Concept Approach

Favoured by architects, custom builders and building designers – they’ll quickly draw you a concept for a nominal or no cost and see how you like it. They may even have you order a survey and soil test.

This approach to a sloping site is a sales tactic and a great bargain, however, it’s likely that whatever they have drawn won’t work and will need to be redesigned as they haven’t taken the time to complete a full feasibility and understand what you want and how that will work with your sloping site and your budget.

More on the Quick Concept approach >

3. Planned Pre-design – Destination Living’s Approach

We have continuously perfected our processes working with sloping sites over the last 20 years to ensure we can design and deliver the very best home for each sloping block site.

We have an informed pre-design approach, meaning we seek to gather all of the information we need about the site, what it has to offer, what the issues are, and what you want for your home and lifestyle.

Only once we have gathered all of the information above do we begin the design work. This ensures that we have captured everything you want, and we understand everything the site offers as well as its constraints and how it fits your budget. This is why we are consistently able to deliver unique, well-designed homes for our clients.

Click the link below to learn more about Destination Living’s approach to designing and building sloping block homes.

More on the Destination Living approach >

We create bespoke home designs tailored to you, your lifestyle and your budget. Our designs maximise the natural features of your site to make the most of the views, the landscape and the natural light. Find out more about building on a sloping site

 

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Bathroom trends and ideas

Lots of new and ever fabulous bathroom trends and ideas are emerging. In this blog we will be exploring the come back of feature tiles, the use of concrete as a material and look, timber & greening your bathroom with plants.

Fabulous Feature Tiles

Feature tiles are big news in bathrooms right now. Feature tiled create visual excitement and an unexpected luxury when used well. The sterile minimalist bathroom seems like a distant memory, instead replaced with stunning tiles that really create a gorgeous warm and welcoming bathroom.

Chevron tiles

Chevron pattern tiles are also very popular in bathroom design this year. The design has all the hallmarks of the luxury of times past. However we are seeing a more contemporary take on chevron, and combined with contemporary materials and sleek design, these beautiful V-shaped tiles really do look absolutely stunning in bathrooms.

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Where to start your design journey

The start of a renovation or building a new home is always very exciting. We immediately turn to magazines and more increasingly, the internet for inspiration. Today there are so many fantastic mediums that specialise in absolutely everything for your home.

Social Media Forums

The increased popularity of sites like Houzz and Pinterest offer a plethora of visual images. Sites such as these are incredibly addictive and hours of looking on these sites, turns into weeks which can turn into months of laboriously trawling through the minefield of visual information that is so readily available at our fingertips. This can become incredibly overwhelming and incredibly frustrating.

Tips:

  1. Create order with  individual boards by room, theme or colour rather than one big bucket of images
  2. Periodically cull them as your tastes may evolve and change on your journey
  3. Look for patterns in what you pin, you may find you repeatedly pin the same colour or style

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Enlist a the help of a professional

Enlisting the help of an Architect and/or Interior designer can immediately help you in a myriad of ways. They will take all of your collateral that you have spent sleepless nights and endless days collecting and start to make some sort of sense of it. More often than not, when we are too close to a subject we end up being able to see the forest for the trees and we can end up feeling helpless. Many people actually get to a point where they feel like they have lost track of what it is they even wanted and become disillusioned.

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How an Architect & Interior Designer can help

The Brief

Seeking the help of an Architect for the structure or an Interior Designer for the Interior, will help you get back on track. Initially a client brief will be undertaken with you. This is an opportunity for you to sit down with your Architect or designer, and really start to have a verbal catharsis. It’s quite incredible the sort of information that they will be able to extrapolate from what you will say. While there may be information you don’t see useful, they will actually be able to take all of your likes, dislikes ,hopes ,dreams and visions that you discuss in the meeting, and turn it into a document that actually makes sense !

This document will immediately allow your Architect or Interior designer to discern what it is that you actually require. From the number of bedrooms right down to how many ovens you will need. The brief is a remarkable tool that allows the Architect or Interior Designer to start formulating conceptual ideas relatively quickly.

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Story Boarding

Your visual collateral will also be sifted through, and interestingly at this point, what no longer may make much sense to you, you’re Architect or Designer will be able to start to see definite patterns and similarities forming in the collection of selected images. A select amount of images, along with the insight gained in the briefing session can then be used to create story boards. These boards are a great too for you to instantly have a visual reference of the vision for your home.

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Finishes Board

Once these have been agreed on, all of the information gained up to this point will be reconciled to ensure that budgets are aligned with wishlists! This can be a more complex phase and involves a lot of managing to ensure the very best outcome is achieved. For instance, finishes in one area such as a laundry, may need to be more modest to allow for a feature stone on a kitchen island. The next phase becomes very exciting as forms and shapes and materiality starts to take shape.

Stay tuned to a future blog for what you can expect for the next fascinating stage of how your home gradually starts to appear.

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New Bathroom Trends & Ideas

Lots of new & ever fabulous bathroom trends & ideas are emerging. In this blog we will be exploring the come back of feature tiles, the use of concrete as a material & look, timber & greening your bathroom with plants

Fabulous Feature Tiles

Feature tiles are big news in bathrooms right now. Feature tiled create visual excitement and an unexpected luxury when used well. The sterile minimalist bathroom seems like a distant memory, instead replaced with stunning tiles that really create a gorgeous warm and welcoming bathroom.
Hexagonal tiles in all sorts of sizes are bang on trend in bathrooms. These look stunning as splash backs in a smaller format tile, or fantastic on floors and walls in a larger format.
Colour is important when selecting hexagonal tiles. Selecting neutrals and shades of grey, white or blacks, will ensure that this look stays on trend.

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Chevron Tiles

Chevron pattern tiles are also very popular in bathroom design this year. The design has all the hallmarks of the luxury of times past. However we are seeing a more contemporary take on chevron, and combined with contemporary materials and sleek design, these beautiful V-shaped tiles really do look absolutely stunning in bathrooms.
Consider to combine this look with black, copper or gold fittings to really give your bathroom a fashionable look.

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Cool Concrete

The concrete trends just keeps pushing through and staying strong as a trend in interiors design in general and bathrooms are no exception!
Making applying this trend easier than using actual concrete slabs, supplier are now manufacturing products that look like concrete, making it lighter , more versatile and user friendly. For example Caesarstone now do three different colour ways of “concrete”. This product also has the bonus of the added benefits of quartz, making it the perfect hard wearing solution for vanity tops or feature panels.
Most tile suppliers are now manufacturing porcelain or ceramic tiles that beautifully replicate the integrity of concrete. These tiles serve to again, be more versatile and user friendly- as well as right on trend!

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Transform with trending timber

The gorgeous warmth of timber is another trend that works beautifully to ensure your bathroom feels welcoming and more like a retreat or day spa. Natural timber is still popular in bathrooms, however we are really seeing the trend of using grey based man-made timber products such as the timber look-alikes available from Polytec. The range of Ravine from Polytec is available in a great range of timber colours, with actual grain embossed into the surface. Unlike natural timbers, there is no concern with using in wet-areas.
Using timber on fronts of vanities, floating shelves and storage items, will give your bathroom a lift and a real sense of warmth.

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Gorgeous Greenery

In addition to creating warmth and interest with feature pattern tiles, concrete and timber, emerges the trend of greenery in your bathroom. This really can enhance your space, making it appear welcoming, as well as on trend. Most commonly we are seeing greenery in bathrooms in the form of potted plants, rather than the traditional vase of flowers. Whether placed on your vanity top, hanging off a wall or from the ceiling, or placed on a floating shelf, this is a gorgeous look that creates a sense of earthiness and again enhance that day-spa feeling.

Placing plants in on trend pots will further enhance your bathroom space. Think of silver, black, gold or copper pots. Also consider the fashionable geometric shapes that are very popular.
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