priority - the importance of design
The most important aspect of any residential project is, by far, the design – whether you are going to build a new home or cottage, planning an addition / renovation, or even ‘re-working’ your existing spaces.
visual appeal & character
How attractive and pleasing your project is, entirely has to do with its’ design. A well-designed project will ‘fit’ the lot & the surroundings, and look as though it really belongs there.
But this doesn’t just happen by chance; it is the result of careful & deliberate effort. For lasting appeal, the ‘design elements’ have to work harmoniously together - the ‘three-dimensional forms’, the rooflines, the heights, proportions, window arrangements, use of materials, & so on.
How well your home or cottage functions and fits your everyday living is a direct result of its’ design. This begins with how well your layout is conceived, and how it relates to your site - taking advantage of all opportunities, locating certain ‘spaces’ to receive direct sunlight, or affording privacy from a neighbor. Is the kitchen positioned close to where you will be bringing in groceries? Can you overlook the backyard or lake when you are preparing a meal? Is there a washroom conveniently located for quick access from the outdoors?
The design of individual spaces is equally important – are they properly sized for realistic furniture layouts & circulation, do you have enough counter space and cabinets? Is the main entry large enough for your guests, with space for a bench to take off boots? Are the bedroom closets properly sized – for all of your clothes? And so on.
Design will also affect a less tangible, but equally important quality: the comfort of your ‘spaces’. You may not realize this, but comfort really has nothing to do with the quantity of space; it has to do with the quality of space. (For example, bigger isn’t always better – often charm, coziness, character, & comfort may be sacrificed with spaciousness.)
For your spaces to be comforting and ‘feel right’, careful consideration must be given to a number of design elements, such as proportions, sizes, heights, scale, flow, balance, contrast, natural light, and use of materials, to mention a few.
Poor design is fairly easy to find: ‘spaces’ that are too tight, a garage appearing to have more importance than the home, a cramped and unwelcoming entry; having to close one door to open another; a kitchen layout that just doesn’t work, and so on.
And unfortunately, the effects of poor design are most often long lasting – and generally can not be ‘fixed’ very easily or economically.