Design Process

farmhouse kitchen remodel

5 Rules for Better Home Design

Recently a friend asked me to help him figure out the proper size for a family room addition he was designing. He was looking for some “rules of thumb” that would guarantee a comfortable, “architecturally-correct” space – a short cut to a good design, because lot of money was at stake and he didn’t want to do it wrong.

You might be surprised to hear (from me, anyway) that much of what you need to get good design is something you (the non-architect!) already have – the ability to do a little research; plenty of patience; knowledge of your own personal comfort; and reasonably good taste.

The Difference Between “Symmetry” and “Balance” in Home Design

My clients occasionally ask me for symmetrical home designs. Sometimes that’s because they appreciate the elegance of symmetry, and sometimes it’s because symmetry is easier to understand.

Symmetry is found in all kinds of artistic composition, but so is asymmetry. What’s more important is balance – balance between the colors in a painting, the elements of architectural design, or the lines of a popular song.

I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to write a song, but I can’t help but notice some similarities between what I hear in music and what I see in architecture.

9 Unconventional Ways to Improve Your Home

Conventional wisdom, as it relates to houses, is often too much convention and not enough wisdom.

Every year, somebody publishes a list of which conventional home improvements will give you the best (or the worst) return on your remodeling investment.

Remodel a bathroom. Replace your siding. Don’t build a swimming pool. Paint everything neutral colors.

Sit up straight. Get a haircut. Call your mother.

Ten Principles of Good Home Design

The design process for everything we create – homes, tee shirts, coffee makers – is guided by recognized values of some sort. How those values are interpreted by the designer is what makes the difference between good and bad design.

Everyone has their own taste, their own idea of what’s appealing, and we often disagree about what we like. But we probably can agree on the values we use to create good design.

So what are the principles of good home design? Here are my top ten:

prairie ranch remodel kitchen

REmodel; REnovate; REstore; What’s the Difference?

Clear communication between owner, contractor, and Architect is critical to a successful home design project.  Agreement on some simple definitions is a good place to start.

Remodeling” is often broadly used to describe any kind of change to an existing house.  Technically it’s more accurate to say that remodel means to change the character of a house or a portion of a house.

colonial revival back hall remodel

4 Keys To Creating A Better Family Entry

Getting the design of your house right means making it work for the way that you and your family really live. Trading off useless formal space for very useful informal space is one way to do that – and there aren’t many places in your house more useful than the family entry.

You’ve heard this space called by other names: mudroom, back hall, utility hall – but none of those terms express what this room really is – a very important space that you and your family use every single day.

Adding On, Part One – What You Need to Know About “Massing”

Some car owners love talking horsepower, torque, gear ratios, and 0-60 times. But other car owners just want their car to do whatever it is that cars are supposed to do, without having to think about it.

Turn key.  Press pedal.  Go.

If you’re going to add onto your house, you might like talking about massing, scale, proportion, and detail.

Or you might just want your Architect to get on with it, and skip the yada yada.

The Home Design Process – A Little Like Writing a Term Paper

Very few people ever have more than one custom home or major remodeling project designed for them, which means that almost every time an Architect starts the design process with a homeowner, it’s the first time for at least half of the people in the room.

It’s that “design process” that you probably wonder about the most – how does it work?