You can look at houses for hours. We loved it, but you can't have it all.
Narrowing down the floor plan without being distracted with extra bits and bobs is hard!
How often are you going to use that spa bath? is that window to the ensuite bathroom really nescessary?
Will you really use both those alfresco area's?
We fell in love with a few designs, but only very few of them actually suited what we needed. I found that houses that offered a zillion rooms, but at what benefit? Its hard to see how you could use:
A family room
A rumpas room
A dining room
A formal lounge
A play or kids room
A sun room
All in the same house - and thats what it seems a lot of builders try to cram in. I know every single house I ever lived in, that we had unused space. How many times did you really use that formal lounge?
Finding a house without 'dead' spots or no-go zones is difficult. I'm not sure why, because everyone we have spoken to acknowledges that all that extra space tends to go to waste.
For our place, we decided that an open living kitchen is the way to go. We loved the designs with the 'family room' (couch and TV) and the dining room (place to eat formally) in the same area.
I suspect everyone is different, and some prefer the more traditional home. But it was hard to find a reasonably priced builder with these sorts of layouts.
One of the first places we looked was Allworth Homes. They came recommended as Anna's parents built their house with allworth almost 20 years ago. The house has been absolutely solid, and met their needs well. They are also really well priced, but when you walk in, you know why.
We were horrified with their houses at homeworld. It looks like the kitchens and bathrooms went out of fashion just after the first testiment was written. Striking that off, we went to the next 'value' builder - masterton. But again we were struck by how dated the designs were - I mean the bathrooms were not even up to date by standards 20 years ago. Peach fitting with aqua floor tiles - what were they thinking? To their credit, they have more updated and modern designs at warickfarm, where we will visit next weekend.
Even though the homes at homeworld were built about 6 years ago, you can find some builders that have kept up to date with the times. McDonald Jones for example has some fantastic houses. We have not fully scoped out the pricing and options, but I suspect they will be a little over our budget. They also have very friendly staff and and extremely helpful architect onsite.
Still - the houses at the ponds display village were more what we were after, moden fiscades, minial formal area's and open plan living.