Every piece you read about building your own home talks about the importance of your brief. Writing a brief seems like a sensible thing to do while we talked with possible architects - but how do you write a brief?
A good resource we found early on in our search was the briefing datasheet from ASBA, Briefing Datasheet. This sets out a lot of detail and certainly gave us a structure to work within.
Deciding on some parts of the brief was easy. We knew we wanted a house that
- was designed to Passivhaus standards
- took advantage of the views
- provided open plan primary living space
- had 4 bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms
- was contemporary in its styling
Moving to the next level of detail was harder, but undertaking exercises such as trying to map out how we spend our time helped.
Alongside this we started using [Pinterest](https://www.pinterest. com/) to "pin" images we liked and also (as suggested in an excellent talk we saw by Allan Corfield similar to this article he wrote) a board with dislikes. These provided a source of information we have kept revisiting and refining.
Working on the brief also forced us to face the realities of financing the build. How much could we afford? For that amount, what could we build? Having been looking for a long time we already had a reasonable idea, but a quick chat with the very helpful people at the BuildStore finance team was reassuring.
Given how personal a brief is the fact that so few people publish them openly is understandable. The amazinglyrics detailed blog published about the Marsh Flatts Farm build is an exception and their brief is available online. It was interesting to read and reassuring that we weren't going too far from what could be considered a path.
We ended up with a brief we were happy with, but one that was just a starting point and which has seen many changes. The process of creating it has been invaluable.