... well, a first draft one at least - we met up with our architect today to see what initial design he had come up with, and we have not been disappointed!

One of the first things he mentioned was that due to the northern edge of the block being a reasonably short boundary, it would make it difficult to get lots of natural light into the house.  The solution?  An internal courtyard/deck area!  The logic behind it being that the courtyard would give us another north facing surface which could let more natural light into the house.  In fact, even with one entire side of our house having no windows (the side facing the neighbouring block which is uphill from us), every single room in the house has a floor to ceiling window in it somewhere.  (Barring the garage/home theatre, which are cut into the block on the lower level.)

We were amazed that basically after only being given a list of rooms, we have more or less got a plan we love on the first go!  In fact Emma and I had mentioned in the past how cool it would be to have a house with an internal courtyard .. and we hadn't even mentioned it to our architect.

I won't reproduce the plans here as I haven't checked that this is ok - but the general flow of the layout is great - the main level (first floor) goes (in a clockwise direction) children's bedrooms and bathroom; office/music room; living/dining areas, kitchen; and master bedroom/ensuite.  The ground floor houses the garage, home theatre, guest room/ensuite and laundry.  The centre courtyard extends through both levels.  There are also four decks; entry way and drying area on the ground level, and courtyard and rear on the top level.

Sadly we are still in "cost cutting" mode - narrowing the house by 1 metre in both directions could save us about $80,000.  But will we regret it later?  It's not entirely practical to add that metre back later on when we can afford it, and room size is one of the reasons we want to move in the first place.  We might have to do what we did with the current house, which is leave some rooms unfinished.

We will be spending the next week or two "virtually" living in the floor plan and doing some nitpicking before meeting up with the architect again!