What do you really need your house to be?

The point of this exercise is to identify how you live and then tailor your home to accommodate your life, rather than assuming that every house should have the same set of rooms.

Take a look at your existing home. Make a list of all of the rooms, including the approximate square footage of each space. Under each room name, list what you do there. Next to each activity, list who does it and how often it happens. Finally, rewrite the list of rooms in order of most to least used.

This exercise often offers surprises. In many homes, the largest rooms (such as formal living and dining rooms) are the rooms which are used least often. If this is true for you, it may be time to give some thought to the way you use these rooms. It is possible that a new piece of furniture or a different arrangement of the items in the room will make that room much more useful. For example, adding an overstuffed chair with an ottoman to a formal living room might entice you to spend a half hour a day there with a good book. On the other hand, it might make sense to completely change the function of a room if it is used only once or twice a year. Does it make sense to dust that dining room table every week? What would happen if you moved the table and chairs out and used the room as a music room or art studio?

(Adapted from The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka, 1998)

Making a wish list and checking it twice

In order to more clearly define what you want your home to be, you should start by making a wish list. This list should include all of the dreams that you have for your home, even if they seem unattainable given your budget. Relax and think of all of the comfortable and beautiful rooms, homes, and places you have been or have seen in a magazine. What was it that made these places so special? Imagine including places like these in your own home.

After your wish list is complete, go back through it and identify which of the items:

  • you absolutely must have
  • are desirable but you could live without
  • are really just dreams.

Next, take each of the items in the "must" list and make sure that you have described it in detail -- with words, drawings, or pictures.

Even though you may feel that it is not helpful to make a list of unattainable dreams for your home, each of these lists will be helpful to your architect. Not only have you listed the quantifiable aspects of your dream home, you have a list of the qualities of "home" that are important to you. Also, you never know how your architect may be able to fit in little features from your dream list!

Cost = quality of materials x size

Many years ago, Frank Lloyd Wright was asked if he could design a house for $10,000. He replied that, yes, he certainly could. However, he added a qualifier: he could not design a $20,000 house for $10,000.

Although Wright might sound like a wise guy, he pointed out an important principle.

Cost = quality of materials x size

If you are concerned about cutting costs in your project, you need to understand this simple equation. It is impossible to reduce the cost of a project without lowering the quality of the materials or making things smaller. Conversely, if you cannot sacrifice quality or size, you must be prepared to pay more.


What do you really need your house to be?

The point of this exercise is to identify how you live and then tailor your home to accommodate your life, rather than assuming that every house should have the same set of rooms.

Take a look at your existing home. Make a list of all of the rooms, including the approximate square footage of each space. Under each room name, list what you do there. Next to each activity, list who does it and how often it happens. Finally, rewrite the list of rooms in order of most to least used.

This exercise often offers surprises. In many homes, the largest rooms (such as formal living and dining rooms) are the rooms which are used least often. If this is true for you, it may be time to give some thought to the way you use these rooms. It is possible that a new piece of furniture or a different arrangement of the items in the room will make that room much more useful. For example, adding an overstuffed chair with an ottoman to a formal living room might entice you to spend a half hour a day there with a good book. On the other hand, it might make sense to completely change the function of a room if it is used only once or twice a year. Does it make sense to dust that dining room table every week? What would happen if you moved the table and chairs out and used the room as a music room or art studio?

(Adapted from The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka, 1998)


Making a wish list and checking it twice

In order to more clearly define what you want your home to be, you should start by making a wish list. This list should include all of the dreams that you have for your home, even if they seem unattainable given your budget. Relax and think of all of the comfortable and beautiful rooms, homes, and places you have been or have seen in a magazine. What was it that made these places so special? Imagine including places like these in your own home.

After your wish list is complete, go back through it and identify which of the items:

  • you absolutely must have
  • are desirable but you could live without
  • are really just dreams.

Next, take each of the items in the "must" list and make sure that you have described it in detail -- with words, drawings, or pictures.

Even though you may feel that it is not helpful to make a list of unattainable dreams for your home, each of these lists will be helpful to your architect. Not only have you listed the quantifiable aspects of your dream home, you have a list of the qualities of "home" that are important to you. Also, you never know how your architect may be able to fit in little features from your dream list!


Cost = quality of materials x size

Many years ago, Frank Lloyd Wright was asked if he could design a house for $10,000. He replied that, yes, he certainly could. However, he added a qualifier: he could not design a $20,000 house for $10,000.

Although Wright might sound like a wiseguy, he pointed out an important principle.

Cost = quality of materials x size

If you are concerned about cutting costs in your project, you need to understand this simple equation. It is impossible to reduce the cost of a project without lowering the quality of the materials or making the project smaller. Conversely, if you cannot sacrifice quality or size, you should be prepared to pay more.

Dawn Zuber, AIA
Studio Z Architecture

190 N. Main St., Suite Z
Plymouth, MI 48170
houzz interior design ideas architecthouzz interior design ideas architect

studiozarch.com

phone: 734.394.9400
email: dzuber@studiozarch.com

Dawn Zuber, AIA
Studio Z Architecture

190 N. Main St., Suite Z
Plymouth, MI 48170

studiozarch.com


phone: 734.394.9400
email: dzuber@studiozarch.com
houzz interior design ideas architecthouzz interior design ideas architect

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