6 planning tips from the pros
Creating a floorplan can be one of the biggest challenges you’ll ever face. That’s why we asked members of the timber-home industry to share some of their best advice for building a masterpiece. Here’s what we learned:
Tell the truth.
You’ll bear your soul in the relationship you have with a designer, so be ready to be open and honest — especially when it comes to your budget. The initial design probably will be over your target budget, but that’s okay. Start with the dream and then rework it as you go.
2 Go with the flow.
Think of the design in terms of movement through the plan, and break it into three elements: pathways, transitions and places. Create interesting walkways or hallways that lead to grand spaces. This allows even the simplest plan to have rich details.
3 Mind the slope.
Terrain — especially slopes — can be deceiving, because your eye follows the grade. So when you visit your home site, take a carpenter’s level, string line and measuring tape. You may find you’ll need a ladder to envision your view from the edge of the great room.
4 Think about privacy.
One of the greatest strengths of a timber home is its open floorplan. But if your home isn’t designed well, this openness can lead to a lack of privacy. Work with your designer to ensure that some rooms are tucked away from public areas.
5 Beware of wasted space.
Reduce hall lengths and large areas that don’t serve any purpose. For every room in a home, avoid long narrow spaces; they’re hard to furnish and hinder traffic flow. Also, place doors toward the corners of rooms rather than the center, as this provides more usable space. When you’re drawing your rough design, also imagine the direction of the door swing, and visualize which way is the most practical.
6 Create a comfortable entryway.
The minimum size for a main entrance is 8 feet by 8 feet. This area should provide enough space for your family or guests to comfortably enter and remove their coats and shoes. Even though a closet is located in this area for convenience, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be your main coat storage.