Monthly Archives: April 2018

Custom Home Design Tips

The planning stage of home design often determines whether or not your custom home design will fulfill the dream you had envisioned. Victor Hugo wrote, “Where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.” Hugo was certainly right as far as custom home design is concerned. To avoid wasted time or chaos follow these six tips to help your designer create the perfect custom house plan for your family.

1. Start simple.

It isn’t necessary to invest in fancy software to begin making decisions about your custom home plan. All you really need is a pencil and a piece of paper. Brainstorm and sketch your ideas. Making lists of features you want each room to have will help you get your idea onto paper and into your custom home design.

2. Think about the future.

Consider the future of your family and how you will accommodate for different scenarios, such as having children, accommodating grandchildren and grandparents, taking care of elderly parents. Even accommodating extended family for holiday occasions should be considered in your house plans. Similarly, if you hope to transition from an office job to operating your own business out of your home, your custom home design should include an office or flexible space. When you think about the amenities in your custom home plan, be sure to not limit yourself or the growth of your family.

3. Prioritize features.

Once your ideas are recorded in rough form, begin prioritizing features for your new house. Custom home design can easily exceed a budget if you let your fancies run amok. With so many luxuries to choose from, it’s important to prioritize the most important aspects of your design. For instance, if you’ve always dreamed about a box window in the kitchen where you can grow herbs, you may want to prioritize that over installing a line to facilitate a gas stove.

4. Consider function and flow.

As you and your designer begin playing around with where various rooms should be located, consider how your final design will flow and how your family might function in each space. For instance, to reduce noise in sleeping areas, it’s wise to place bedrooms away from the communal areas of the house. Likewise, if you’re the kind of family that tends to gather around the kitchen, an open floor plan with easy flow between the living room, kitchen and dining area will suit you well. This kind of design also allows for excellent flow between rooms.

5. Reflect on light.

Light has a powerful influence on humans. Indeed, in areas that see little natural light during the winter months, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is not unusual. This disorder brings feelings of depression, along with weight gain, daytime sleepiness, social withdrawal and lethargy. If you have suffered from SAD in the past, or if you’re moving to a place with long, cloudy winters (such as the Pacific Northwest), it is smart to add skylights to your custom house plan in order to maximize the natural light in your home. Heck, even if you’ve never felt sad on a cloudy day, skylights are smart because they reduce the need for artificial light and provide as much as 30 percent more light than vertical windows.

Natural lighting should also be figured in the floor plan design in a custom home plan. As an example, if you want to enjoy natural morning light in your dining nook, it would be wise to face the nook east, where it will catch the morning sun.

It’s also wise to think carefully about how electrical lights in your home will facilitate comfort. For instance, a custom home designer would suggest installing bright task lighting for kitchen countertops to facilitate food preparation. Lighting can also create a mood – for example, dimming sconces in the bedroom can create a sense of romance or peace.

6. Showcase and maximize the lot.

Usually, those in the market for custom house plans already own the property where the home will be built. If you already know where your custom home will be situated, be sure to consider the topography, size and best features of the lot. For instance, if your lot overlooks a beautiful natural setting, you might choose to face the living room toward the feature so you can showcase the wonderful view. Alternatively, if you have a brook or stream running though your property, you might choose to place bedrooms nearest the stream so you can enjoy the beautiful sound of running water while you sleep.

Changing the Home Design Trends of Today

Whether you are considering a home renovation or exploring designs for a new house, one of the common suggestions that you will get both from architects and engineers is to make it adaptive and earth-friendly. For those who may not be too inclined on the technical details of home designs, “adaptive” and “earth-friendly” are just words, that also often appeal to be expensive and complicated to achieve.

However, with the ever changing trends in home designs, we need to start equipping ourselves with knowledge on economical yet safe home design choices. With this, we will try to look into the basic concepts of earth-friendly and adaptive homes – two concepts that are closely interrelated.

Earth-friendly Home Designs

These designs are born out of the campaigns of several countries for an environment-friendly lifestyle or sustainable living, which of course includes house designs. Along with this, professionals in home construction and design have also innovated their skill set to meeting these new standards.

When we speak of environment-friendly home designs, this has a lot to do with the materials used to build or renovate the house. For instance, some architects have been practicing the use of biodegradable materials in house interiors.

These design techniques closely resemble that of the ancient times, when majority of the house materials come from natural sources. Even the paint products for the house have to be eco-friendly, which is not only safer for the walls, but for the occupants’ health, as well.

Other strategies being applied by architects is the creation of outdoor rooms in the house.

This means using natural light and air to save on energy for the room. All these, along with eco-friendly household practices easily contribute to having an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

Adaptive Home Designs

This type of home design deals with two major things:

1) the ability of the house to adapt to the changing lifestyle of its residents, and 2) ability of the house to adapt and withstand the various environmental changes.

Also operating around the concept of sustainable living, these designs are meant to make the house last longer and the family living in it safer. Common feature of these homes are sturdy lumber and concrete, insulated panels, and dome-shaped ceilings. These type of house built has been proven to be more resistant to storms, tornadoes, and even earthquakes by the Wind Engineering Research Center. With natural calamities hitting the country almost every year, it pays to be keener in the construction materials used for your house.

When it comes to adaptive spaces for home, this is where secret rooms and sliding door comes in. This is also an innovative trend that architects and interior designers are looking into, in order to make a house with limited floor area still spacious enough for a growing family. Aside from choosing space-saver and multi-purpose furniture, it is also important to choose a house design that is easier to renovate in case the need for expansion arises. And this is exactly what your architect mean when they speak of adaptive home design.

The Secrets of a Good Home Design

This article is not your basic primer on selecting your “dream home”. Nor does it contain the list of “items to ask your designer” – these things can be found on any designer’s website or Google search. As important as those items are, what we are going to do here is drill-down into the design a little, bypass the fan-fare and talk about some specific concepts that will really make a difference in your life.

Matching your house to your lifestyle begins with an exploration of your needs and wants. Most home designers will have some type of “discovery process” that will help identify the basics for your home design. It will start with the configuration of your lot and proceed through items such as privacy requirements, work areas, outdoor spaces, etc. Although this process is critical to your project, it rarely drills down enough to transform your design into a home that will serve your needs for a lifetime.

Here are two keys of good home design that must be addressed up-front: a) assessing the homeowner’s current needs; and, b) anticipating the future needs of people living in the home. Before you say “Yeah, yeah…I’ve heard this all before!” let’s take a closer look at what “current needs” entail.

Almost all “discovery processes” used by home designers focus on the use and space requirements of the rooms in the house. This is good, but too little attention is given to the personal needs of the people actually living in the home. Without performing a comprehensive assessment of the client’s functional abilities, identifying areas of the home where modifications are necessary is often overlooked.

For example, the needs of a child and his / her ability to live comfortably in the home are rarely addressed at the design stage. It’s necessary to evaluate the child’s current abilities and design an environment that works and grows with the child. Some easy adaptive design elements would include adjustable shelves and rods in the closet. As the child grows, the shelves and rods can be moved to better accommodate their reach. Appliances present a similar situation as it is necessary for the controls to be accessible. Front mounted controls on washing machines and dryers enable their use. Safety also comes into play. A child trying to use a microwave placed overhead is a recipe for disaster!

Of course, the above example is very simple, but it illustrates the point that design needs to be done from the perspective of the individual and his / her ability to carry out daily routines in the home. This is why a good designer will perform an assessment of the client and specify the needed design modifications.

There are a couple of tools that a designer can use to evaluate the needs of their clients. One of those tools is the Comprehensive Assessment and Solution Process for Aging Residents (CASPAR). CASPAR was designed for healthcare professionals to evaluate their client’s ability to carry out routine activities in the home. This is also useful in determining the requirements of people who have disabilities.

Anticipating the future needs of individuals may prove a little trickier, but we can start by understanding the process of aging. Whether we like to think about growing old or not, it is inevitable, and people’s functional abilities diminish over time. A well designed home will easily adapt to these changing needs and allow people to stay in their homes longer.

Fortunately, “universal design” is beginning to take root in modern home design. Ron Mace, Founder and Program Director of the Center for Universal Design (NCSU), give us the following definition of UD: “The intent of universal design is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities.” Because the principles of universal design are inclusive for people with disabilities, the application of UD in home design is appropriate and addresses many of the needs of people who wish to “age in place”.

Adaptable design is different in concept from universal design. Where universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities, adaptable design allows the home to be modified for a specific need. An example of adaptable design would be designing a two-story home with “stacked closets” (a closet on the first floor directly below and aligned with a closet on the second floor) so that a residential elevator or lift could easily be installed in the future. In contrast, a universal design item might be the installation of lever door handles that are easier to use for people who have lost the ability to grip a standard round door knob. These lever handles also benefit anyone who may have their hands full with groceries and want to release the door latch by using their forearm or elbow, for example. Children also have an easier time using lever door handles.

Distinguishing between universal and adaptable design may seem difficult at first, but when one realizes that these principles have less to do about the installation of specific items and are more about a designer’s perspective, it all begins to make better sense. And the designer’s perspective is heavily influenced by a thorough client assessment.

Does this level of service cost more? Yes, probably. But a couple hundred dollars up front to hire a qualified designer who will accurately assess your lifestyle and evaluate your future needs, pales in comparison to leaving your design to chance. The number one secret to good home design is to avoid cutting costs at this stage of your project and find a home designer who is an expert in assessing your needs and applying the design criteria that will make your house a home for a lifetime.

About When Planning for Your Home Design

Planning for your home requires a more extensive approach and a lot of decision making to do compare to when buying one. Finding the perfect building lot is already a challenge, designing how your future abode will look like is another challenge. Putting together your dream home design on the current lot that you have as well as balancing the act of planning and budgeting can be quite difficult and may require professional help.

Here are some of the ways that can help you on your way.

Research for your dream home design

One must decide on what type of home they are about to build before actually designing how it looks like. It would be advisable to have a list of the things that you want your home to have prior to creating the blueprint. House styles today have different offerings, so it would be wise to browse for ideas before actually putting all these ideas into paper.

A quick sketch would also help in conceptualizing your dream home. Since you do not have to implement this design yet, you can still get ideas and mix and match the things that you want to have inside and outside your home. However, it is important to know the basics that would be included in your home such as the number of rooms, family areas, dining rooms, garage, kitchen features and bathroom features that you would want to have. Planning for internet connections as well as the cable and phone connections is also advisable.

Check local zoning laws and building permits

Upon the completion of your blueprint, the next step necessary would be getting the necessary permits and existing zoning laws and standards in your area. Be sure to implement structural specifications required for buildings that are constructed in your area. This can save you many headaches that you may experience during the actual construction of your home.

Designing within your budget

No matter how stunning you may want your home to look and feel like, you still need to shell out a certain amount of money to be able to execute your plan. Compare your current plan with the budget that you have and willing to spare for your dream home and adjust accordingly to fit. Take note that spending too much may lead you not having enough to buy furnishings for your dream home. Plot where your current budget can get you through with the construction of your home and budget accordingly on what you can really acquire as your budget during the actual construction. It is better to adjust now with your plan rather than having to sacrifice the quality of the construction of your home once your budget starts to hurt.

Design to fit your plot

Consider the actual lot area that you have prior to implementing your house plans. Do you want to have a large lawn and a backyard? Do you want to locate your home just a few meters away from the street to maximize the area of the plot that you have? Slopes should also be taken into consideration to be able to control backfilling and excavation costs that may be required to execute the design that you want for your home.

Locate bedrooms in areas where you get to enjoy the privacy that you require and place windows in areas that will help in making your homes more energy efficient.

What is a Home Designer

A home designer specifies design, materials, stylishness, as well as details for residential building projects. In lots of states in the US home designers aren’t mandated to have an architectural diploma or architectural license. Many people may evaluate these kinds of home designers not having these qualifications to be an undesirable factor. Basically that is definitely not even close to the truth. A professional within the field of non commercial design a “home designer” is the most suitable choice that will lead you through the design and building undertaking.

A great home designer generally possesses years of expertise not only designing and drafting the construction docs in addition will often have put in many years on actual construction sites performing the actual job themselves. Now this isn’t at all times the situation however, these people with this kind of knowledge are usually best to design your home. Not just because of their experience and expertise in the profession but their rates tend to be more affordable when compared to a registered architect’s charges will be.

The rates a home designer, as well as an architect command has proven to be completely different. Architects attain four years or more of college getting an education and studying the particulars on architect home design as well as architectural design of almost everything else all varying from little homes to large high-rise buildings. Architects are registered to approve numerous facets of building not employed for individual houses. Because of these two details architects demand very high service fees to create an architectural design in addition to a set of construction drawings for houses. The majority of architect’s charges vary from 7% to 15% (sometimes greater) for his or her services on a housing project. Almost all home designers’ rates for this exact same service vary from 3% to 8%. This particular large variation in rates combined with the undeniable fact that each commonly possess the identical or the same level of expertise in residential design is actually the reason why the majority will probably select a home designer above an architect for their housing project.

Even though design capacity can virtually, be trained, the most effective jobs are the effect of a mix of skill and knowledge, therefore your choice in who to employ shouldn’t be exclusively selected simply for their reduced rates or education. A home designer needs to be selected as due to their outstanding results of their labor.

Home designers make use of numerous sources and instruments accessible to them to assist in communicating their architectural designs as well as the construction documents into the completed product. Many home designers continue to utilize pencil and paper in addition to numerous types of color goods to symbolize and express their design to their clientele. Even though this can be a great method of communicating a design to a customer it really is outdated and doesn’t consistently accomplish the job the home designer developed it for, to help the customer to fully grasp and picture the design. Nowadays there’s a large amount of computer programs that enable a great house designer to provide their house design to their clientele. These types of graphic tools as I prefer to refer to them include things like 3D colored renderings, walk-a-rounds, as well as walk-throughs.

Therefore, when you’re looking to select a designer it’s also advisable to consider exactly how they show their designs to their clientele. Not everybody can easily figure out a conceptual drawing of a 2D floor plan. In fact ultimately it will come right down to what home designer you sense you might have more suitable connection with and you feel the most confident with.

Building a residence signifies one of the biggest monetary assets the majority of people is likely to make within their lifetime and very few comprehend just how complicated the procedure will be till they’re involved with a lot of restricted covenants, construction requirements, zoning ordinances, design and style choices, material options, suppliers as well as builder options and so forth. Do your family as well as your bank account a favor and locate a home designer to partner with and to who you’re confident with.