For years people have bought a house based on a number of bedrooms, school district, commute to work, or a price point. All logical reasons to include when purchasing a house. Perhaps put a coat of paint on the walls and, the next thing you know, the moving truck arrives. I had a client say they bought their house, brand new, in the 70’sand they were not allowed to see the house until the builder selected and finished the house (without consulting the buyer on the finish options). The environment for buying a home has evolved. Once acceptable that new home finishes would be selected by the builder, most clients are expecting to be much more involved in the design, and now there are more inputs than ever. The evolving family; Children changing the use of the home, the empty nesters, or maybe an adult child or parent moving back in with you. Then there is how the space makes you feel. How it looks. Or maybe even as Marie Kondo says “does it bring you joy”.
I remember growing up in a ranch home in Virginia built in 1963 on a 1/2-acre wooded lot. I don’t ever remember actually eating in the dining room or sitting in the living room although they had the best views of the lot, they were the formal areas of the house. How could you re-design the house to incorporate the best views or connect with the outdoors?
How does this relate to holistic design? Don’t stop at the logical questions you started with; the number of bedrooms, distance from work, location, schools, etc. Now that you have found the house or even after all these years are thinking of downsizing, re-imagine how your perfect home would look, feel, and function! Here are some ideas to start re-imagining your current space, where you have built your community in, by asking more questions.
- What do I like about the house? What are the challenges of the design of the house? What are some of the constraints of the home? Prioritize a list.
- How does your house connect you and your family to the outside? Do you have a nice wooded lot? Do you have an expansive kitchen window that opens it up? Is the home easy to access and or see friends/family inside and outside when you entertain?
- How do you enter the house? Sometimes a house may have a beautiful entry foyer, yet family and friends use the side door. Let’s re-imagine how the side entry may be improved. Side entry foyer, mudroom, lockers, message center, charging station for all your portable electronics, etc.
- Is the kitchen the most used room of the house? How is working? Do you like how your kitchen looks? How it works? Do you have ample counter space? Are the appliances user friendly? How does the kitchen connect you to your friends and family in adjacent rooms or outside? Would you like to interact with guests while cooking or keep the kitchen more private? Are there other connections you wish to make from the hub of your home?
- Prioritize. What are the non-negotiable requirements to keep you in the house and what would be “nice to have’s”?
- Ask yourself; how would I feel about my decisions in 1 year, 5 years, 20 years to look at a bigger picture and ensure the best results?
- How does the area we are thinking about remodeling impact our current family, good or bad, and in what ways?
- How could the space affect our family in the future? Kids coming home, parents moving in, accessibility and adaptability.
- How could the space affect visibility? Do we have aging parents that would like to visit for a day, for a week, for 3 months? How should we look at the space differently?
- If money wasn’t influencing my decision, what would I do differently? Dream a little, sometimes you can incorporate a few nice little details by dreaming big and then prioritizing what is important to you.
In summary, ask more questions about your requirements such as, how you use the space, and how you would like to use the space. Pull out the blank sheet of paper and start imagining. For over 30 years Sun Design Remodeling has been transforming homes in the Washington Metropolitan Area, building great relationships along the way. Visit our website www.sundesigninc.com/events to see the next time you can take a Remodeled Home Tour of a clients’ home we have transformed to get a better understanding of what modifications your neighbors are making to their homes or join us for Remodeling + Design Seminars in our office to share what designers are seeing as trends. You can also plan for a Design Consultant to come out to your home and get a personalized free consultation.