Over the years, builders, designers and architects observe patterns develop as they work with families in designing and building custom homes. These patterns combined with the feedback we receive from the hundreds of families we work with, helps give us insight into the "dos" and "don'ts" of designing a custom home.
The builder and designer professionals are a tremendous resource in guiding families through this process and helping them learn from those who have gone before them. This series will focus on some of the most common missteps or misconceptions families have when designing and building their custom home.
Our second HDM (Home Design Mistake) is the lack of furniture walls.
It Looks Bigger On Paper
When designing a home it can be difficult to gain a sense of space on a plan on how much space there is to work with.
Planning for walk spaces and furniture placement can be hard to imagine when staring at lines on a sheet of paper. Examples of flow issues include;
Walls that look large enough for a bed may only be able to accommodate a dresser.
A wall that a homeowner wishes to place a desk on may actually be a return wall that a door is designated to open against.
Placing a bar stool at a counter may seem ok on the plans but the reality is you will only have 10" of space to walk around the stool.
Placing a fireplace too close to an adjoining living space may limit the ability to have a sitting area by the fireplace.
Create Furniture Pieces
One of the most effective means of appreciating the flow issues in a home is to create minature furniture pieces that are on the same scale as your plans. By placing these minature pieces on your plans, you can see how your home flows.
Your architect can give you guidance on what scale to make your furniture. They do not have to be anything fancy, just squares cut out in the approximate dimensions of the furniture you will have in a room.
It is also recommended that you create models of furniture you may purchase in the future so you can plan for those pieces. Don't forget the pool table, large tvs, exercise equipment and night stands.
You can then place these pieces as you would in the room and use a ruler to ascertain how much space you have left to walk around or transition in the room.
Some of our families have had 75 pieces of furniture cut out which allowed them to set up their entire home prior to finishing the plans. We often found areas that needed to be adjusted on the plans.
There are some specific guidelines used in the industry for walking spaces, transitions, etc.. Your architect or builder can share these with you. I know two feet may seem like enough space to walk behind a table, but our experience shows it is not.
Less Is More
Homes should be viewed in layers. If you attempt to fill every wall on your plans with windows, doors and cabinets, you will have no space for the other layers (furniture, accessories and of course people).
Well designed plans will have several walls per room left entirely blank.
Well designed plans will consider furniture placement when placing closets, doors and windows.
Well designed plans will allow for placement of furniture that avoids blocking view through windows.
Well designed plans will have what may appear as wasted space but in reality are pathways to accommodate flow around the living spaces.
Just as you would not fill every inch of your walls with pictures and art as it would be too busy. An architect is not going to fill every wall of your home plan up with elements as he understands you still have furniture, pictures and people that need to fit into the space.
The Remedy To This HDM
The remedy to this HDM is to avoid the urge to fill every wall with a window, door or cabinet. You must also trust your architect/designer to give you the space you will need.
Ask your architect how much space he feels you will need in a particular room. He may feel comfortable that a room is large enough or he may caution you to add some space into the room to allow it function more comfortably.
The most important remedy is to create scale pieces of your furniture and place them on your plan. This allows you to "live in" your home before it is actually built.
Space is not only "the final frontier" it is also an necessary element in a good architectural plan.
Architects and builders have participated in the creation of hundreds of homes. Let their experience help your family avoid the common mistakes that we see in this industry.
If you have questions on how a professional builder can help your family design and build your new home, please feel free to call us at 817-748-2669 817-748-2669, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.garabedianproperties.com.
We are a full service firm serving the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We offer professional contracting services for custom homes, fine estates and premium remodeling. Our remodeling division offers remodeling, kitchen and bath updates, room additions, insurance repairs and roof replacement.
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