9 Tips to Get Your De­sign Just Right

Timber Home Living - - Annual Buyer's Guide -

1 Visu­al­ize your home. Imag­ine your­self liv­ing in each room of your home. How will it look and feel? What will you see in front, be­hind, above and be­low? What sounds will you hear?

2 Show, don’t tell. Give your de­signer a notebook of clip­pings (or images saved to your com­puter or tablet) of homes and fea­tures that speak to you so he’ll have an idea of what you want your home to look like and an in­di­ca­tion of the qual­ity you ex­pect.

3 Chart your life­style. Con­sider your fam­ily makeup (adults only, adults and kids, ag­ing par­ents), how you live (for­mal or ca­sual, hec­tic or re­laxed) and whether you like to en­ter­tain or have spe­cial hob­bies. For ex­am­ple, a ca­sual cou­ple won’t need a for­mal en­try­way or din­ing room, whereas high-oc­tane fam­i­lies should con­sider cozy, peace­ful spa­ces to re­group.

4 Size things up. Big­ger isn’t al­ways bet­ter. It does cost more, though. Be­fore you waste space, make sure the num­ber, type and size of rooms reflect what will take place in them. Think of your rooms in terms of ac­tiv­i­ties: In­stead of “kitchen” and “liv­ing room,” think “cook­ing” and “fam­ily time.” Some ex­perts rec­om­mend down­siz­ing square footage by as much as 30 per­cent and putting the money saved into higher qual­ity ma­te­ri­als.

5 Ma pout a plan. Iden­tify ac­cess points for ve­hi­cles and pedes­tri­ans, then within those bound­aries, de­ter­mine the shape of the house and di­rec­tion it will face. Use your list of ac­tiv­i­ties to po­si­tion rooms. Start by break­ing down your list into pri­vate and com­mu­nal ac­tiv­i­ties and iden­ti­fy­ing where each one should take place. Then use bub­bles to rep­re­sent rooms and group them ac­cord­ing to where you pre­fer they be po­si­tioned. Fi­nally, square off the bub­bles to cre­ate a rough floor plan, adding enough space for walls.

6 Ac­count for ex­tras. Ar­chi­tec­tural com­po­nents are in­te­gral to your home, but they can hog space and cost money, so don’t for­get to fig­ure them into your bud­get. Some pop­u­lar el­e­ments: win­dow seats, large win­dows, mas­sive trusses, dorm­ers and hipped or gabled roofs.

7 Com­pro­mise. If you can’t af­ford ev­ery­thing you want, make cuts that work for your life­style, whether it’s shav­ing off square footage, min­i­miz­ing spe­cial fea­tures or re­duc­ing qual­ity. (Be care­ful with lower-qual­ity items; some things you shouldn’t skimp on, like win­dows and doors.)

8 Cus­tom­ize a stock plan. In­stead of start­ing from scratch, look at your tim­ber com­pany’s stan­dard plans for ones you can tweak to fit your life­style and home site.

9 Talk it out. Pro­fes­sional ad­vice is cru­cial through­out the en­tire home-build­ing process, but this is your home, so make sure you dis­cuss ev­ery sug­ges­tion thor­oughly. And don’t be afraid to get a sec­ond opin­ion if you have con­cerns. Also, you want to work with some­one who’s as ex­cited about your project as you are.

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