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HOW TO DESIGN AND BUILD YOUR
CASTLE; AND REMAIN FRIENDS WITH YOUR FAMILY!
A house is often a
collection of different ideas that, ideally, come together as an
attractive and functional unit. We all have favorite rooms or spaces we
want to incorporate into our new home. "Aunt Martha’s bay window
is the coziest breakfast nook I have ever seen!" Well, guess what,
Aunt Martha’s window may not be cozy in another house in
another setting! Her east side window where everyone gathered for
breakfast and read the morning paper would be cold and dark on those
same mornings if moved to the west side of the house, and in the
afternoon might be too hot to sit in! Same window, completely different
setting, therefore a completely different feel!
It is the
overall relationship of spaces to the site and personal preferences that
make a home "feel" right. Instead of focusing on the bay
window, think about what kind of space you want to create. Try to deal
with CONCEPTS rather than specifics at the start of the design process.
For example, think in terms of a kitchen with lots of storage and
counter space rather than tying yourself to an "L" shaped
kitchen with a stove in an island with white countertops and oak
cabinets. Perhaps you are stuck on having a bay window in the living
room; when in reality it is the expansive feeling and sunlight you are
actually drawn to.
your criteria generalized at the start, you keep many more options open
and have a greater chance of achieving harmony with conflicting
On a piece
of paper, list everything you want to include in your new home, in as
conceptual a form as possible.
4 kids; Good natural light; Kitchen for 2 cooks; View
from living room;
bedroom; 2 car garage; Outside play area; Could
play area; Handicap accessible; View from Master Bedroom;
room; Morning sun at breakfast;
Kitchen gathering area.
entire family add to the list over several days. You should start
thinking about the RELATIONSHIP between these criteria, but try not to
become involved with details at this time. You will want to visit your
building site first!
We have all
seen those homes that just FEEL right. A major reason for those
successful designs is that they are in harmony with the site! Before you
get involved with exact room layout and sizes, or style of kitchen
cabinets, spend some time at your site. Camp out there, notice where the
sun comes up, what the predominant winds are and what the night sounds
Take a sketch pad
with you and do a simple drawing of the area including everything of
significance or interest. It might look something like this:
Now is when you
REALLY get to utilize that idea of dealing with concepts before the
details! Tape a sheet of tracing paper over the site plan and draw
CIRCLES to represent the various areas of the home - living area,
kitchen, garage, bedrooms, etc. The first circles drawn would represent
the areas that are the most important to you and those that have the
LEAST AMOUNT OF SITE FLEXIBILITY; therefore, such mundane features as
the garage need to be sited fairly quickly! In this way, you establish a
RELATIONSHIP between spaces without getting bogged down with details.
RESIST THAT TENDENCY TO SLIP INTO MAKING RECTANGLES INSTEAD OF CIRCLES!
The RELATIONSHIP of spaces is the most important principle at this
point. You can select the floor covering and stain the kitchen cabinets
later! A representative layout might look something like this:
HMMM... maybe I
would prefer a non-attached garage and more separation of the
Tape on another
sheet of tracing paper!
You might end up
with quite a stack of tracing paper with little circles - but in the
process you formulate an excellent spatial relationship for your house!
The circles allow you to "live" in the "house",
walking from one room to another, thinking about the view, how your
family is going to live in the spaces, what to do with the bags of
groceries. NOW you can work on the details of the design! You have the
start of a plan that will function well and evolve logically as the
details are worked out! Your carpenters can also concentrate on doing
the best job for you, without doing double duty in conflict resolution!