The first logical step to building a new home is browsing the net for design and function ideas. As having designed and built my own house I can’t stress enough the need to invest hours of research into looking at new home ideas and saving them in a scrapbook or file with notes about what in the picture you like. Firstly, just go for bulk ideas, from multiple places. Then rule of thumb – don’t go to your architect or designer and drown them with hundreds of photos – select the top 20 or 30 that you’re clearly in love with and write a short note about the picture that explains what you love about it.
But the big question – where’s the best place to find house ideas on the web?
Clearly #1, especially if you’re building in New Zealand. Archipro is where Architects, Architectural Designers, Interior Designers & Manufacturers come to showcase their latest projects and products. You’ll find hundreds of projects on Archipro with thousands of photos, many with the products in the photos having been tagged by the manufacturer to help you know exactly what product was used in the picture you’re viewing. The main benefit of this site is that it’s entirely New Zealand projects, meaning everything you look at is available in the country.
Houzz is quite possibly the biggest house idea website worldwide, and has millions of images. The search function is brilliant but there’s one downside – it’s very un-New Zealand. Full of projects from Europe and America there’s an enormous amount of photos you’ll find yourself looking through that you don’t like, as its not our down under style. Also bear in mind not all materials, furniture and finishing’s are available in New Zealand.
A great website once you’ve found the style of home you love, Pinterest has an unending supply of similar images to the ones you’ve been viewing. For example, if you know you want a ‘black barn’ styled home you’ll be swimming with ideas after 30 minutes on Pinterest. As with Houzz it’s a worldwide site so remember that not all the products you see are able to be purchased and used in NZ.
4. Architects Websites
After browsing the above three sites you’ll quickly find Architects and designers who have a certain style you appreciate. Write a list of these architects as you’re browsing then Google their company name, find their website and head to their ‘projects’ or ‘our work’ page. Many have a certain style which they focus on. You’re more than welcome to take pictures from one Architects projects and show them to your designer – that’s totally ok.
5. Real Estate Websites
These can be great sources of inspiration. Websites like www.luxuryrealestate.co.nz and www.realestate.co.nz can be very interesting, especially if you sort the properties by highest price. You may even find homes you love that are holding open homes on the weekend you can visit, getting the vibe and feel for a home of a certain style.
6. Council Property Files
Every District Council in NZ has a property file service, whereby you can order the historic files for a certain property. These files hold all resource and building consents, with the plans of the home. Some Councils have fees to get access to these files, but if you see a really nice house you like there’s nothing stopping you getting access to the building consent plans and viewing not only the floor plan but seeing which designer or Architect designed the home. Each council has a different process to follow but all you need is the homes address and simply ring the district council where the home is in & ask for access to the ‘property file’.
As you would have guessed, there’s hundreds of other places you can look for house ideas, but the above are our top picks.
And remember, the best place for house ideas is your Architectural Designer. Working house ideas into your region and site, with varying views, winds, services and sun is not for the faint hearted.