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Kyal and Kara Blue Lagoon Build - Episode 3

21 April 2020

It’s a race against the clock for Kyal and Kara in Episode 3 of Blue Lagoon Build. They're feeling the pressure to get the build into lockup phase before a family surf trip to Fiji!

Building a brand-new home from scratch gives to the opportunity to quite literally bring your dreams to life and create a dwelling tailor-made to suit your family's needs and lifestyle.

Different to a renovation, where you have to work with and improve what you've got, a new build allows you to experiment with different layouts, design features and materials (within budget, of course), without being restricted by an existing structure, orientation or heritage.

Seasoned renovators Kyal and Kara are currently building their dream family home on the NSW Central Coast from the ground up and while they've assisted clients with new builds before, this is the first time they've designed and built a brand-new home for themselves.

Here, they share their top tips for planning a new build including, design, budgeting and surviving the construction stage, based on their own experience with Blue Lagoon Build.

How is planning a new build different to a  renovation?

Although we've assisted clients with new builds, this is our first new build for ourselves. With all our renovations, we've always loved the challenge of working with the original home. A new build is exciting as you can literally start with any style – the options are endless – but it can feel a bit daunting!

There are generally a lot more options when planning a new build, which can feel overwhelming. Planning a renovation means working with what you have to begin with – which generally helps to guide initial structural decisions.

However, there are plenty of similarities when it comes to planning. We'd encourage people to start with working out their property goals and budget. For example, is this going to be your forever home? Or a 3-5 year plan. With this in mind, establishing a budget initially will help you keep plans within the scope of budget.

Top tips for others planning a new build

Really narrow down your style by collating images, samples, swatches that resonate with you. These days, it's really easy to do this digitally with apps and websites such as Pinterest. However, we encourage people to start a physical moodboard. It doesn't need to be fancy, it could be images and samples on a pinboard or a tray – I have always found that having a physical board means it's easier to see what's working well together and, maybe more importantly, what's not working.

Tips for surviving the construction stage

Having a build schedule is a great idea as it allows you to work backwards and ensure you're organised for each new stage. This is particularly helpful to ensure you're keeping your builder or trades moving.

Ensuring you have good communication with your trades is a big tip! We've seen it all too often, clients that assume their tradie understands their vision. Being present and available for questions helps. A good example of this is, meeting your tiler to go through tile set outs. I encourage people to refer back to their moodboards and be specific with what they're after. For example, mitred tile edges vs using an angle or a herringbone vs basketweave tile set out.

What were the biggest challenges involved with Blue Lagoon build?

The curves were a big challenge, particularly the curved walls of garage. Using square blocks to form round edges is definitely something new for us. Not to mention the 7 metre-curved wall that runs through the house, which we cladded in Blackbutt timber.

 Kyal and Kara Ep 3 scaffolding

Curved walls, round windows and blackbutt timber cladding give Kyal and Kara's new home a bespoke feel.   

How long did it take you to get to lock up?  

It took about six months from demolition to getting locked up.

Did it all go to plan? 

There's certainly been challenges along the way. I think when you set out to complete a large scale build or renovation, you know that there are going to be challenges. We've had all sorts of challenges in this build including delays due to bushfires, floods and COVID-19 - who could have predicted!

 Kyal and Kara Ep 3 Kyal and Kara

Kyal and Kara in front of their new garage door.

Budgeting tips for a new build   

  • Make sure you have a good indication of how much the build will cost before you start, and allow a buffer, as it's not uncommon that building costs blow out. 
  • Keep on track with where you're at with the budget often. For me personally, I spend time everyday entering any expenses or invoices into our budget spreadsheets. When building or renovating, expenses can add up fast! If you're not checking in with your spend regularly, you may fall into strife.  


Originally published on Homes to Love as “Kyal and Kara share their tips for planning a new build”.


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