Have you ever driven by “THE House”? The one that looks Good? You may not be able to explain what it is, but you slow down to take it all in. Maybe its the color or style that draws you in. Words in the family of Wow, Amazing and possibly even an Awesome float through your mind as you imagine what it would be like to be the proud owner. Ok enough about my weekly trips to the grocery store.
What is it that makes some houses stand out from the rest? The materials are the same – framing, insulation, windows, shingles etc. The difference is Design. As we spend time designing projects with our clients it has become increasingly clear that they want more than a larger or a different house. They want a place that helps their family to live life together and with others, focusing on increased efficiency in an original package.
What does it take to make your house “THE House”? Here are a few things that have helped our owners take it to the next level:
Start with the plan – I never design the outside of a house without finalizing the plan. The plan has to work or it does not matter how great the exterior is. Do spaces work together? Are the preferred views to the outside maximized with extra windows? Is there enough privacy from the outside? Is an open plan preferred? Will the kitchen have enough storage and will it feel tight or have adequate circulation space?
Style – If you are adding on to your home, take a look at the existing house and repeat major forms and styles. Roof style, exterior material, window style and arrangement etc. If you are building new, collect pictures to get a sense of what you like as a style. They say pictures are worth 1000 words, for me they are worth many times more because they drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to get to the house you are desiring. To learn how to collect pictures for your project you can click here.
Details -The small things can take your house to the next level. Varying the pattern of siding, adding some extra trim or overhang, using more than one material helps to break up the mass of your home or splurge on a front door that is special can highlight your main entrance.
Color – Take time to chose a color palette that accents your home’s positive features. It might be one color if you have lots of natural materials. A Victorian home would require multiple colors to accent all of her “details”. Tan might be the color of homes in your area, don’t be afraid to step out of the earth tone zone when selecting a hue. If this seems too daunting of a task, find pictures of homes that you like the color of and consider their colors for your home.
Scale– This can make or break you. Your home might look attractive, but it can feel uncomfortable to stand near the front door if the porch is 20′ tall or if your front door is so large that your guests feel like ants as they wait for you to greet them. This means your scale is to large or not “human sized”. This can happen as homes get larger.
Proportion: relative size: the correct or desirable relationship of size, quantity, or degree between two or more things or parts of something When proportion of items on the exterior (or interior) of your house is correct it looks “good” and is not often noticed. If one or a few features are too big or too small those items will make the entire composition look “wrong” and everyone will notice. Examples: the roof is too tall for the house, the windows are too big or too small, the slope of the roof is too flat or too steep, the columns are too tall or too thin.
Your home is one of your largest investments. When considering an addition, remodel or building a new home it is important to include design as one of your first steps in the process.
picture 1 and 2: Charlie Simmons @ Charlie & Co. Design Ltd.