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Nine Signs of Fine Design

Posted: 19 August 2015

1. Design for individuals

If a remodel doesn’t meet the needs and fit the habits of its inhabitants, it’s not a home it’s just a house. Even if you’re planning to sell once you’ve remodeled, don’t design it bland to appeal to some generalized idea of a house-buyer, design it to catch the eye and the heart of another human.


colored pencils Make someone fall in love with your house by adding the same personal touches you would want yourself. Walk-in closets with a revolving clothes rail? Spa bathroom with sounds of the forest? Fitness room with a 30-foot climbing wall? Go for it.

2. Design for changing needs

If you’re investing in a remodel, future-proof your design as much as possible – obviously within your budget and space constraints. Make sure your home can flex to give you options, so you and your family can enjoy it for longer without having to relocate.


So by all means, build that cool teenage hideout for the kids in the basement but make sure it can be re-claimed and re-purposed in a few years for your retirement hobbies. Some of our clients – those with a little spare land around their property – ask us to create smaller, single-story dwellings with elderly parents in mind.

3. Nod to the neighbors

Unless you live in an isolated area miles away from any other buildings, your remodel needs to take into account the style of nearby homes. That doesn’t mean your house has to be a clone but it does need to not clash.


colored pencilsYou and your home are part of a local community and neither of you want to go crashing in, treading on toes and crushing the sensibilities of your neighbors. A good remodeling company can give your home a unique look and feel while reflecting and respecting the shapes, colors and materials of the buildings around you.

4. Part nurture, part nature

Truly breath-taking and memorable homes are the result of great design and careful development but if you look carefully, they always take into account their surrounding environment. That means making the most of whatever nature has given you: beautiful light, undulating landscape, or towering trees.

Incorporate design touches that make a feature out of nature: a west-facing summer house to enjoy sunsets, an east-facing yoga studio to catch sunrises, a balcony window in bedrooms with a great view, a tree house or a nature trail in the garden.

5. Authenticity is stylish

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with clever use of materials and textures to create pleasing or surprising effects.But there’s a clear line between ‘clever use of materials’ and sheer fakery. If you want a wooden floor, invest in a beautiful wooden floor. Don’t choose vinyl that’s embossed to look like wood. The minute you step on it you’ll know it’s fake. In a few years when it’s peeling and warping, you’ll know it’s fake.


colored pencils People often use lookalike materials to save money. But the key to good design on a limited budget is honesty. If you can only afford vinyl, choose a great looking glossy vinyl but don’t pretend it’s real wood. An experienced remodeler will advise you when to invest in high quality genuine items and when to save money on unpretentious alternatives.

6. A balancing act

Good design is not all about crazy-haired creative types with a sketchpad and a color wheel. Though there’s a time and place in every project for the right-brained artistic approach, at the core of good design is balance. Balance is a delicate thing; it doesn’t take much to throw it off. But balance is also quite a technical undertaking: remodelers use physics, math, massing, engineering and scale to get angles and proportions looking pleasingly perfect. A thorough knowledge of construction systems and an intelligent use of materials are also essential for creating buildings that are both beautiful and enduring.

7. Is innovative

Innovative home design doesn’t mean piling on the fancy features, techie gadgets and latest gizmos. It means introducing a select few adventurous design elements at appropriate points along the way.


colored pencils Consider features or tech that will set your house apart, such as the latest energy efficient solar power roofing system or voice recognition security gates. But make sure they are much more than frivolous talking points: true innovation is always relevant and meaningful. Even the grandest architect or designer with the grandest vision should give you a design that meets the needs of you and your family and enhance the property in a practical way.

8. Quality over quantity

For homeowners, remodeling is essentially a long series of decisions. Some decisions will be easy and instinctive; some decisions will be tricky and you’ll find yourself agonizing. If there’s one guiding principle that can guide you through, it’s this: choose quality over quantity. When it comes to design, materials, finishes, craftsmanship go for the option with the greatest longevity and style. Which kitchen flooring will last for 25 years? Which front door will I admire most when I come home every day? Which fencing will best blend with my neighbors’ fencing? If you can’t afford stone carving, don’t go for cheap stucco; find a quality alternative. If you can’t afford copper standing seam roof, don’t go for cheap stucco; find a quality alternative.

9. It’s not rocket science

Just as there’s no point blinding people with science in a home remodel, there’s no point hitting people over the head with ‘art’ either. Some much-lauded architects or designers? often feel the need to turn their latest project into a ‘statement’ to impress colleagues and critics. The danger is they either create a design driven by some lofty overarching concept or they overload it with detail. Choose a designer with his or her feet on the ground; one that understands that your house is primarily a home and that it needs to work intuitively and simply. After all it’s good design, not rocket science.


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