With a matter of weeks until he moves into his new home, Ben Adam-Smith shares a list of ten things that he's excited about. And it's not necessarily what you might expect!
Copyright Georgina Edwards Photography
10 things I'm looking forward to about my new home
1. Living in the comfort of a house built to Passivhaus standard
In my mind this is the major advance in housing. When you experience what a comfortable house is, you won't ever want to look back. Enjoying that comfort through the winter is one thing, but I'm hoping this is all year round. With an overheating risk of 0, I am excited to see what this means going through another hot spell.
2. The ability to have family and friends to stay
I have thoroughly enjoyed living in small houses, but one definite down side is that you can't accommodate guests easily. Either they have to sleep on the floor or stay at a nearby hotel.
A dedicated guest room will change all of that. And although we only have one, we have a number of flexible spaces which can do double duty (e.g. the office can transform into another guest room).
3. Having a quick way to dry clothes and towels
Sometimes in life it is the little things! In our last two houses we have had to dry clothes inside the house in winter. It goes without saying that this is not too healthy. It introduces lots of moisture into the house, which can lead to mould, etc. And it can take forever!
So the ability of remove moisture from our wet rooms is a huge plus. It will also mean dry towels.
4. Not having a loft
I have spent way too much of my life climbing up and down a ladder into the loft. And most of the time I was carrying a heavy box or awkward shaped item!
The new house has everything from a storage room to storage nooks and crannies… all inside the thermal envelope.
I refuse to accept we need any more space beyond this.
5. Sharing my self build experience with others
In my mind, one of the best things about the self build community is how generous self-builders are with their time.
I have seen countless eco homes, and the owners are always happy to take me on a tour and reveal what they've learnt going through the process. Moving into my new house is an opportunity to give back. And I'm really looking forward that.
6. A fresh smelling house
Imagine you've been out for a while, you get back to the house, open the front door… and are greeted by a musty smell. Consequently you have to open all the windows to flush out the aroma and light a few scented candles!
This is certainly the case with the property we've been renting, but even in the Victorian house we used to own it was an issue.
With a ventilation system in the new house and I'm looking forward to a constant supply of fresh air. Hopefully stale smells are a thing of the past.
7. Developing the garden over time
The garden is a blank canvas. Although we have a plan it will have to be implemented in stages.
As someone who enjoys gardening I'm excited to witness this slower journey and see things mature.
I'll also be able to grow some veggies.
8. The ability to retreat to the far end of the house
One of the challenges of having young children is that they seem determined to keep you up for as much of the night as possible!
This means a good night's sleep is often a distant memory.
Having a big house comes with the benefit of being able to retreat to the far end (away from noise).
If you're playing tag team as a parent, this should ensure at least a few hours of solid sleep.
9. Having a dishwasher
Much as it pains me to share this one, it is true.
I've been cooking in such a small kitchen that you do one job and you have to wash up. I would be fascinated to know how much time I have spent at the kitchen sink this past year!
Anyway, First World problems. The new house has a dishwasher.
10. Seeing the house my ancestors built
One of the quirks of where I ended up building was that one of my ancestors had built his house close by.
We can't see many houses from the new house, but that is definitely one.
I will always be grateful for that.
My new house is in the countryside. That means leaving behind the town where I've been for the last 14 years.
5 things I'm going to miss (about my previous homes)
1. Compact living
We always stress how important scale is if you want to build an eco home. Well, I am moving to a house that is nearly four times the size of the house we used to own.
Even though the new house is built to Passivhaus standard there is no two ways about it, my old life was more ecologically sound.
We probably were due to upsize when we started a family but we perhaps didn't need to go this far. The plot we bought naturally required a bigger house (unless you were prepared to make a loss financially).
2. Being able to walk to the centre of town
The location of our Victorian house was pretty sweet.
So much so, that I even made a video about it.
I am going to miss having access to supermarkets, restaurants, coffee shops and the park. I barely had to drive anywhere.
Although our new home is in a village with a couple of pubs, a school and one shop, for everything else we'll have to jump in the car.
3. Completing the gardening in no time!
As you might expect, town houses have smaller gardens than houses in the countryside.
So, spending half an hour in the garden every week is enough to have a well kept garden. I am under no illusion that gardening half an acre will be so easy.
4. High speed internet
A lot of what I do is over the internet and as such I'm always happy to pay more for faster internet speeds.
In the countryside, even a stone's throw from the town where we've been, internet speeds are much more hit and miss.
What is worse is the service providers won't actually tell you whether a fibre connection is possible.
They will put you on a standard package and then investigate the possibility of getting a faster connection.
5. Old things
When you build a new house, there are lots of new things that go into it. More so with us where we're actually moving to a bigger space… and thus we need more things to fill it.
With all this comes the risk of getting precious over your new items. We've already had talks that we're going to be operating a strict ‘shoes off' policy (so bring your slippers!).
That was certainly never the case in our houses to date because everything was pretty beaten up already. Kids and new stuff is a worry.