Home design tips
Maximise your use of natural light & warmth
Living in the Southern hemisphere it is better if the living areas of your house face towards the North. The extra light will make these spaces more enjoyable to live in and increase your thermal comfort in winter. But to avoid the burning summer sun you should have 90 centimeter window & door overhangs which will provide shade during those hot months and allow maximum penetration of sunlight in the winter. You should also have lower window sills in living areas to allow maximum penetration of sunlight in winter. Finally: whenever possible avoid putting garages or storage spaces on the North side of houses as it will reduce access to sunlight for other areas of the home.
Balconies, decks & verandahs
Do not put balconies off bedrooms. Balconies off bedrooms are rarely used.
Decks, balconies and porches should never be less than 2 meters wide. They become almost unusable as their width decreases below 2 metres.
Size (and space) matters!
Try to design all spaces in 60cm increments. Most building materials are made in some multiple of this length.
Bedrooms should be a minimum of 3 metres by 3 meters - anything less starts to become uncomfortable and/or unusable.
Have an open plan (common space) area centered around the kitchen. Separate living, dining and cooking areas are a design hold-over from a bygone era where affluent people (i.e. those who lived in more than a one or two bedroom shack) had servants they wished to keep out of sight.
Australia has a wonderful climate and it makes sense to create a spacious outdoor area accessible from a common (open plan) area.
If you can, provide a private/quite area for individuals in the household where they can pursue there own activities and interests. This can include spacious bedrooms or separate dens, alcoves, rumpus rooms, workshops, etc.