Expert Advice: How to plan your new build
You’ve got your block of land to build your dream home. But where do you start? We spoke with Christal from ZouBuild, and she shared her four top tips for a build.
ZouBuild is Chris and Christal Fysentzou, a build and design couple who have spent almost two decades building and renovating across Brisbane. They recently completed a knockdown rebuild for their dream family home, Zouhouse, so they know a thing or two about this stage of a project. They have some tried-and-trusted methods they count on, which they’ll outline with us here, like how and why you should make a wish list, how to choose your team, and how to find the right products to suit your style, and more.
Watch episode one of the Zouhouse series now.
Tip 1: Make a wish list
The first thing Christal recommends when you’re planning a new build is creating a wish list. It’s a compilation of the things that will make your house your dream home, now and in the future. This list can feature both wants and must-haves. So, think about the things you absolutely want. These might be things you’ve fallen in love with after seeing them in other projects or online. Also, keep in mind what your needs are for the house. Look at what your family needs and the spaces your family requires. Start from there.
“When you’re looking at renovating or building, you obviously need to fulfill things that you don’t have currently, so you want to make a list of things that will tick all those boxes,” she says.
For Zouhouse, Christal explains, she and Chris wanted to build an easy-to-maintain home that would stand the test of time and hold its value down the track.
Tip 2: Choose your builder before anyone else
Christal presses the importance of contacting a builder first. Once you get your builder, they will most likely engage their own team of professionals (such as designers, engineers, carpenters and plumbers) to work on your project.
“It’s always good if your team are all on the same page, that they’ve all worked together previously,” Christal says. In her experience, a team that has worked well together before will be able to work well together for you.
The best way to find a quality builder? Simple: ask around. Christal says it’s a great idea to get a referral from someone who’s worked with the builder before and can show you the quality of the builder’s work.
Tip 3: Find the right products for you
This is where your research skills really come into play. Finding a quality product is much easier than finding a service such as a tradesperson because, Christal says, a string of bad reviews always follows bad products. Christal recommends finding products that professionals and friends have used and loved.
“If you see a product in someone’s house, and you like it, I wouldn’t be shy to say, ‘What is this? Where is this from? Is it good? Do you recommend it?’ Because word of mouth is the best form of advertising,” Christal says.
Christal and Chris have been involved in so many projects over the years that they’ve seen and used many products. So, when building Zouhouse, they knew what products they would and wouldn’t use. Since they had used Stegbar products before and knew that they were high quality and had a more luxurious look than other brands, there was no question, Christal says, in choosing Stegbar’s Alumiere and Residential products for Zouhouse.
Tip 4: Have patience and enjoy the journey
Christal says patience is one of the most important things to have when embarking on a new build. There will be moments in the building process that may cause stress or make you feel like you’re losing your vision, but this is a normal part of the home-building journey.
You might encounter the problem of a product not being available at that moment, so you’d need to swap it out for something else, or the product may not be exactly what you wanted. “So, a little bit of compromise is needed, too,” she explains.
Christal’s final piece of wisdom? Enjoy the journey. “It’s always nice when you have a vision and have it laid out on a mood board for so long, and you can’t wait for it to evolve. Then when it’s finished, seeing it is such a rewarding moment. You really appreciate what’s gone into it,” she says.
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