Thursday, 18 October 2018 05:51

Tips from an architect: Key design elements to look for when purchasing a house

Written by Nebojša Zaklan

If there is someone whose views in house hunting we should be relying on, it would be of an expert who knows what and how to build them, whose expertise is to add value to the property through a design that will save you money and from a heartache, someone who knows what materials to use and why. Nebojša Zaklan, an architect by profession and serves as a Partner and Chief Creative Officer at Case3D, a global real estate marketing consultancy offering property visualization solutions for property developers, shares some tips on what to look for when purchasing a house and making it your home.

Functionality and livability

·         A primary consideration when choosing a house should be the durability of fixtures, fittings and furniture. If you are planning to live in the property, they should stand the test of time, from the framing, electrical cabling, glass to roofing and interior linings. You can change the fittings in time but not the framing. Another question to ask is, will that wall be easy to clean with drawings by your children on the wall?

·         As years go by, you will have to renovate - it is inevitable. A trick for not spending a lot of money and making future renovations less complicated is plan for the long term and find an adaptable layout and structure from the very beginning. For example, wood partitions are easier to knock down compared to concrete. If your budget is not yet enough for the ideal things you wish to have in your home, start small but choose something that can grow over time.

·         Think about all the senses that you can experience from the design. A stunning view is as important as protecting your house from unwanted noise or smell. Also consider the feel of cool concrete and warm wood, and the sound on a metal roof when it rains.

·         Privacy and security are often neglected especially in building apartments. You don’t want to feel like Big Brother is watching while you have dinner with your window facing your neighbor, or while you lounge in your balcony with the wall that separates it from your neighbor is too low.

Green performance and sustainability

·         Look at designs and architectural features that could optimize building orientation and have an impact on heating and cooling your home. These are features that allow you to turn to nature and maximize the use of natural sunlight, air, and water – e.g. expansive floor to ceiling windows and skylights. Sustainability is also about being cost-effective as it reduces energy and water bills. Think of the cost savings that you will make and how you’d help Mother Nature. And to top it off, the elements of nature spark beautiful designs for a home.

·         A high ceiling makes the room airy. It makes the home feel cooler, so you can keep your A/C off occasionally.   Soaring ceilings create space and movement, it makes a space feel larger than it is in floor area.


·         Full length sliding doors can give you panoramic views and a natural blending of indoors and outdoors.

·         If the space is small, check the provision where you can put up a mirror to help make it seem bigger.

·         Sculptural elements with soft, curved corners will make your humble abode look like a piece of art. Mix bold designs with understated elements.

·         Storage can make or break the look of a home. Even if you have state-of the-art fittings and furniture but not enough storage to keep your things neatly together, it can ruin the whole look and feel of the property.

·         Lastly, if you are considering buying an older home, be cautious with poor quality renovations. It might cost you more money in the end.

Too often when looking for a house, we get overwhelmed by different factors – budget, design, functionality - and end up complicating things. Architects do not only think about what to do with spaces where the sun rises or where the wind comes from, they are schooled to solve problems and simplify things by editing down to the most essential components. That is why, their expertise is valuable when developers need to present their properties or home owners need to have their houses designed well.