Knock Knock

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.

colonial home office attic remodel

5 Ideas for Built-ins for Your Home Office

A big home office used to be a fairly common room in the homes I’ve designed, back when “working from home” required a separate, private room.

That’s not the norm these days – with laptops, tablets, and home networking in most houses, Mom and Dad can get work done from almost any room.

But the home office hasn’t disappeared completely…it’s just taking up a lot less space.  Sometimes it’s a much smaller room, and sometimes it’s a wall of custom built-in cabinets and shelves, like the ones in these RTA projects:

When Is A Design Trend Not A Trend?

A client of ours called the other day to tell us she’d just returned from the local “Street of Dreams” (also called the Street of New Homes, New Home Show, Home Parade, or something similar depending on where you are), and said she had a few new thoughts about the home design we’re working on with her.

Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes that’s bad, but generally, we don’t recommend that our clients make a habit of visiting home shows for design ideas.

Great Ideas for Custom Built-in Bookshelves

I clearly remember everyone talking about a “paperless society” a few decades ago.  It was the dawn of the “digital era”, and all the buzz was about how email and digital documents would soon almost completely replace printing anything on paper.

Digital documents have certainly become a preferred method of data transfer for many of us (how many emails do you send and receive every day?) but there’s still plenty of paper around.  Some things, it seems, just don’t work quite right in a digital format.

prairie ranch family room

8 Great Built-In Seating Areas

You probably have a special piece of furniture that you sit in at your house – a chair, couch, sofa, recliner, rocker, or bench – maybe it’s a chair so comfortable that it moves with you from house to house, until it’s worn to threads.

You might also have a special place to sit in your home – a chair by a sunny window, a recliner with a perfect view of the TV, or a front porch where you can chat with neighbors.

Or maybe your house combines both, like the built-in seating in these homes.

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.

6 Custom Built-in Ideas That Might Fit Into Your Home Design Plans

Most of the homes and most of the remodeling projects we design include some sort of “built-in” somewhere in the house.

Built-ins are custom-designed, made-from-scratch parts of the house that are designed for very specific purposes. Sometimes they’re bookshelves; sometimes they’re built as seating, and sometimes they hold wine bottles – built-ins can be designed to do whatever you need them to do.

The 3 Big Things That Have the Most Impact on the Cost of Your New Home

You want the best house you can get, with an interesting, family-friendly layout, an attractive exterior, and nice finishes – without blowing up your budget.

But if you get heavily invested (emotionally and financially) in a design before you have a handle on potential costs, you’ll end up cutting costs at the very end of the process, resulting in an unsatisfying, stripped-down house.

Controlling costs early on isn’t just about how much you spend on finishes, it’s about size and complexity, too.