The design brief communicates your high-level requirements. The act of writing down what you want is also very powerful in helping you to shape your thoughts.
While thinking about what your building will look like, take time to record how you like to live, as this will influence design decisions.
This is how we specified our brief...
Size and Style
We are looking for a small home of two to three bedrooms and would like simple interior design that combines great materials and smart construction, to create high quality finishes, and warm and inviting spaces.
We expect open plan living/dining/kitchen, with good indoor/outdoor flow.
We imagine the use of tall glass windows and expect the building to be positioned to make best use of the siteís northern aspect and provide a small, sunny, private garden.
We have busy roads on three sides. The building should meet a very high standard for noise and vibration.
Heating and Ventilation
We would like to minimise requirements for additional heating and cooling. Our preference is for floor-mounted heat-pumps, if heating is needed.
We would like systems to avoid grime and dust from the surrounding roads.
We only need a single garage (with off-street parking for one other vehicle).
We don't want a leaky home - the building should be weather-tight by sensible design and construction techniques. We want minimal requirements for ongoing maintenance.
The site is just a few metres from the Wellington faultline, and the building should be engineered for earthquake resilience - to maximise continued use and to minimise the difficulty and cost of repairs.
We will have an electric oven and ceramic/induction hob (no gas). We have a normal size fridge-freezer and under-bench dishwasher. We don't need a walk-in pantry, and slide out drawers are preferred to cupboards. We both cook most nights, so the kitchen needs to work for at least two people at a time.
We have a small coffee machine, toaster and microwave. There are no special requirements to cellar wine.
Normally our home will have two diners, but we have one or two guests fairly frequently. A large gathering at our table would be eight.
Two rooms will have ensuite bathrooms. A separate toilet with vanity will be close to the living areas.
We need a separate compact laundry for stacked frontload washer and dryer (not located in kitchen). A laundry bench would be nice to have
We need a separate (accessible) place for a place for a filing cabinet and printer.
We don't want to have to worry about looking after carpets, and would prefer wooden floors and rugs.
We enjoy music and have a small system. May want small separate speakers if the space is large.
We have a flat panel smart-TV with disc player. We donít want television to be centre of attention, but will want to enjoy news, movies etc.
There are no special requirements for storage outside of wardrobes and hall cupboards. We will need garage storage for bikes, skis, boxes, suitcases etc.
We would like the home wired to use fibre and provide good high-speed wireless throughout, with option to have guest access to internet only (not local network).
The house will have high quality locks, and will require motion lights/cameras, alarm and smoke detectors (with remote monitoring).
Pets don't need to be considered.