The Gruen Eco Design blog about how to convert your dream from an energy efficient home into a reality.



When we bought our land/house I was excited and wanted to get started with the design straight away. Well, I did start with some rough sketches. But then over the last couple of months life got in the way. I got the flu and then we went on holidays. So actual paid projects got more important and nothing was done on our dream home. Well, no sketches or drawings. But we are constantly talking about it and what we need and want for our family.


When I came to Australia I started working for a company that did a lot of development and investment projects. But also worked on quite a few renovations/extensions and new homes. One thing, that a lot of my clients back then had in common was that they wanted at least 5 bedrooms. Why? Is what I then usually asked. And yes, there was the odd family that had 3 or 4 kids and needed also a guest room on top. But there were also a lot of couples with no kids, families with 1 or 2 kids, or families where the kids had already moved out. But regardless. They all wanted at least 5 bedrooms.

Back to the question. “Why? “

“For re-sale purpose.” Is what all of them said. “That is what everyone wants and needs” (according to the real estate agents) Then I asked again. “Do you need so many bedrooms? Or how would you use them?” And like I mentioned before, very rarely was there a client that really needed all those bedrooms and extra guestrooms and studies.


Leading to the question. Why are so many 5 bedroom + houses/mansions out there? Especially in those new estates, if barely anyone needs them?


So take a step back. Don’t think about what everyone wants. Or what real estate agents tell you what every one wants. IT IS ALL ABOUT YOU!


Think about you. Your family and your needs. What is that that you really need?

How often do you get guests or friends staying with you? And if they stay, do they stay for a night? A month? Do you really need a designated bedroom? One entire room of the house that is used for nothing else, just to house a bed, that someone will sleep in for a few days a year?


Same goes for a home office/study? Do you work from home every day? A few days a week? Or maybe just a few hours every now and then? Do you really need one entire work room? Or could you maybe have a build in desk with some storage somewhere, that can be closed off?


What about a multi-functional room, that works as a study/home office during the week with a sofa bed or a murphy bed. And then turns into a guest bedroom when needed?


Then there is the pantry and laundry. Most people ask for huge laundries and huge pantries. Don’t think about what everyone else is doing. Think about your day to day life. How you use your laundry, what do you do in your laundry? Do you actually iron in the laundry and therefore need a big space in between workbenches? Or do you rather iron in the living room in front of the TV? If you iron at all that is J In that case, maybe you only need a long wall with build in storage and room for a washing machine and dryer, in form of a European laundry.
Will you be cooking or preparing food in your pantry? Or just storing food and appliances?


How much build-in storage and robe space do you need? Do you really need walk in robes in every bedroom? Does every bedroom really need its own bathroom? What about sharing and teaching the kids how to share and be nice to each other?


Do you need a garage? Or is a carport sufficient? If you want a garage, why? To protect your car? Or to store things? If you want to store things, you are probably cheaper off building a carport and then some additional secure external storage.


These are just some suggestions.


In the next blog I will talk a bit more about our family. And what rooms and things we need and want for our home.


PS. The sketch shows my family drawn by my 3 year old daughter J