How do I Realize Success in my Home Design or New Addition?

It is exciting to consider the benefits that come from adding onto a home; even more when thinking about designing and building a new one. Here are eight ‘must do’ considerations when putting your plans together:

1. Financial: Does your house addition makes sense? There are quite a number of things that could be done to add value to your home. The most direct and quick way of assessing whether you should proceed with a house addition is to have a realtor run comparable sales in the neighborhood, or even if you do a search on Zillow.com, you will be able to generally find out the price range of houses in your area.

Most of the time, the ranges are based on the size or area of the home, as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. If you were to sell your home, you would be able to get a higher asking price if you have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms as the highest house in your vicinity or the nearest most similar neighborhood. Making a house addition allows you the opportunity to substantially increase the property value of your home should you need to sell.

2. Emotions: Does it feel good? As far as the design goes, consider the feeling or overall impression that you want the people to have who live there. The overall impression of the space is your first consideration. It is easy, when in the midst of purchasing furnishings or having to decide between ones you already have, to get confused or lose your focus. Having a clear understanding of how you want people to feel when they enter a space is a most important guiding consideration. Additionally, try to think beyond the ‘light and airy’. The average designer will inwardly groan when hearing this… what is ‘light and airy’ to you is not necessarily what is ‘light and airy’ to another person. Having specific concrete terms is more helpful. Here are a few: bold, dynamic, diverse, eclectic, etc. are all terms that are descriptive and meaningful.

3. Functionally Fitting: Is it you? Consider the narrative – what is the story you want to tell within the house? In your imagination, begin with the thoughts you would like the person who sees your house to have, and proceed from there. This simple exercise of going from room to room and imagining the activities that will be performed in the spaces will greatly assist you in coming up with a plan of attack on the design of your space. Additionally, think about the little things that you would need to acquire once the space is functional. Do you need an additional laundry basket to fit with the new washer and dryer? Plan for a contingency fund to acquire the small but often forgotten objects that will truly make the new construction a functional space.

4. Framed: Does it look right? Go back in time. Think about the style of the room. If you like a specific historical style and have examples of it from magazines, so much more the better. But, if you are unaware of the various types of interior designs available, feel free to check out magazines such as Architectural Digest, Sunset, or others. As always, the internet is a helpful tool in being able to assist your search. These sources will have a variety of images that may spark your imagination. But, beware! The pictures in these magazines are professionally tailored to be attractive. A certain photograph may be appealing, but the style may not be the style that would fit right with who you are and the feelings (see number 1 above) you would like to evoke. Collecting these images will assist any designer who will be hired to coordinate the visuals that you create.

5. Problem Seeking – Seek out problems that the new work will eliminate from your life. Do you hate bringing laundry downstairs? Why not shuffle the rooms around to include an upstairs laundry? Need more storage? Plan to convert the attic. Need more social space but can’t expand your structure? Consider adding outside rooms covered with a canopy or awning. Have a lot of clutter? You will be amazed at the innovative storage solutions which exist that can declutterfy your living space. The possibilities are indeed endless and can add overwhelmingly to the enjoyment of your house. We have (secretly) considered for years the benefit that having a self-cleaning kitchen would have in the life of a family.

Now is your chance!

6. Future Costs – Bills will never completely go away, but now is the time to also consider the amount of money you will need to pay for your house to function into the future.

Will the independence that comes from having a solar electrical system be worth the cost of installation? What of replacing windows and doors with higher efficiency models? What about using greywater systems to utilize and irrigate your landscape? Now is the time to consider how you want to live for the future.

7. Rethink the possible – After reinventing the interior, think about the exterior. As an architect, exteriors of buildings are extremely important to me, and having dramatic curve appeal can greatly enhance the value of your home. But, since you are living there, think about it. you spend more time on the inside of your home than the outside, right? I advise all who are attempting to re-work their existing homes to start with the inside living space first. Want that new sound system? Why not redesign the interior to perform acoustically with the sound system you desire? How about with the music you listen to most often?

8. Outside Matters – It is true that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but the condition of a house’s exterior can tell a lot about the care and diligence that is applied to the living spaces on the inside.

The exterior of the house is the first thing that people see, and is thereby the source of first impressions. Make your redesign count my insuring that the impression you want to create is rock solid in its impact, landscape architecture notwithstanding. By making all of these considerations, you are addressing the reasons ‘why’ you want to do the work that you want to accomplish.

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