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2 Important Steps to Writing Your Home Extension Design Brief

Extending your home is one way to transform a poorly-designed, cramped house into the home of your dreams. Executed properly an extension can not only have you living more comfortably, it can also increase your home's value and curb appeal in leaps and bounds. Being a major renovation project, careful thought must be put into the entire process in order to ensure that you have the best results for your investment.

The design brief is the document that outlines all details of the extension, including what you need and how and when it should be accomplished. You and your architect will sit to create a brief before the project. The following are the most important points to consider when drawing it up:

1. Begin with a general outline

Ask yourself: What do I need? Think in general terms rather than going into specifics about where and how. One way to do this is to start with what you don't like about your current home plan/layout. For instance, you may need an extra bedroom for a new family member, en-suite facilities for the master bedroom, more space in the kitchen or living room or an entertainment centre for your children/guests. You may also want to repurpose under-utilized spaces such as lofts, basements, garages and extra-large or poorly-shaped rooms.

Once you clearly know what you want from an extension, the architect will then offer ideas on how to get it considering the design, practical and structural aspects of your home. You may find that he/she has even better solutions than you were thinking!

2. Go into specifics

Go into the details of how you'll get what you want – this is where the architect will have the most input. Sometimes, given your problems and desires, you may need a remodel rather than an extension. Remodelling is often cheaper and less time-consuming, and it allows you to retain much of the external space in your lot.

Alternatively, you can remodel the current space to give you what you want and then have an extension for a different purpose altogether, e.g. an external guest house or pool house etc. Also, consider your future needs during the planning e.g. different-gendered children sharing a room may need their own rooms as they grow older.

The best extension is the one which is built in such a way that it seems like it was always part of the house. This means matching styles and materials so the outside looks balanced. However, you can also opt for a deliberately different but complementary style to the extension. If you ever plan to resell, talk to your property managers to find out what buyers favour most to avoid investing highly into house extensions that will give minimal returns at the time of resale.