You have decided that you want to build a new house. Where do you start? First, we suggest that you purchase your land, as this will surely impact the design of your home. Second, start putting your ideas together before visiting your architect.
Start with a vision for your new home. Is there an architectural style that you prefer? Colonial? Layer? salt box? Cottage? From there, start with the basics in home design. How many bedrooms will you need? Do you want a master bedroom with or without an en-suite master bathroom? Will it be located on the first or second floor? If it is a vacation home that will become your retirement home, you may prefer to have the main rooms located on the first floor for easy access in later years. Do you want a large eat-in kitchen or a separate dining room?
Are you planning to entertain small or large groups of people in your home? Is the Great Hall of a cathedral on your priority list? Will you need a family room or media room separate from your great room? Do you have a specific hobby or interest that requires a separate room or area?
Compare all of these areas to your current home. Does the space you have now meet your needs? Write down the measurements of your space and then mark whether the space is adequate or not. Whenever possible, look for areas to reduce living space. For example, if you now have a large laundry room and you really only use half the space, mark it as a potential space saver. Every time you reduce the square footage of your new home, you’ll save money on initial material costs, but also on energy costs over the life of the home.
A home serves many purposes, but it can also satisfy numerous personal, aesthetic, and emotional requirements that may be difficult to describe in words. As you begin to envision the layout of your home, it will help your architect if you identify and communicate what you want each space to look like. feel. How?
You may find it challenging to explain how you want a room to feel. Start by doing some simple exercises. Pick up a home magazine or imagine a home you are familiar with. Find a room you like. What do you like about it? The way the afternoon sunlight casts shadows into the room? The intimacy of the room or its abundant space?
Think of other spaces you enjoy: the park, the library, a friend’s house. How does the space make you feel? What creates that feeling? Be specific and write down what you like about it. For example, you could write “I like how the color tones in the room change as the sun goes down” or “I love how the outdoors are brought indoors.” These small accomplishments will help your home design evolve from a floor plan to a custom home that is an extension of your philosophy of living.
Do this for each room in your home design. It’s also helpful to describe what you don’t like about certain floor plans, rooms, or spaces. For example, if you don’t like having to walk through your closet to get into your master bedroom, document that. Maybe you like the big room of a photography magazine, but you don’t like the TV being the center of attention. Or, you may like the space but find it lacks the privacy you seek in your home: a cozy nook where you can chat with another couple, a well-lit reading area, or a secluded place for your cell phone chargers, mail and phone. Keep all your notes together. Cut out full pages or small photos that describe your likes and dislikes. As you go through this process, you can update your thoughts with text and photos. Eventually, you’ll come to a good understanding of how you want your custom home to look and feel. Bring your notebook to your first meeting with your architect. Starting with your vision in hand will speed up the design process and ensure success.
Your custom home architect will spend time with you to guide you through this process and translate your ideas into a preliminary design for your consideration and review. The result will be much more than a home with a standard floor plan – you’ll have a custom home design that matches your philosophy and lifestyle, a reflection of who you are, your dreams and aspirations.