Posted by JWmHarmon on January 14, 2004 at 06:06:04:
In Reply to: New Home Ideas and tips posted by Robyn on January 13, 2004 at 11:45:39:
A good place to start with house design is Sarah Susanka's books, The Not So Big House" and "Creating the Not So Big House."
Even if you intend to design a larger house, the ideas in her books may be helpful.
Start by asking yourself, "What do I need?" and "What do I want?" The two ideas are considerably different.
All houses could be designed to be accessible to all people who may eventually inhabit the house. If not designed to be immediately accessible then the house could be designed so that it could easily be made accessible by the addition of an elevator or other modifications.
I always recommend doors that are at least three feet wide. This allows for easy access to rooms even if one is required to use crutches or a wheelchair at some time in one's life. I recommend having the kitchen near the garage or parking area. Think about how far you have to carry 8-10 sacks of groceries. Think about how you will do laundry. How far will you have to carry laundry baskets? Where is the storage space for cleaning supplies and the sweeper? Where do you put the coats or umbrellas when you enter the house? Can you reach the stove, refrigerator, and sink easily, or do you have to walk 20 feet across the kitchen to get from one to the other? How can the person preparing the food participate in conversations with the rest of the family? How can mothers and fathers supervise toddlers when they are in the kitchen?
There are all kinds of questions that need to be answered when designing a house. The ones you don't think about are the ones that become annoying inconveniences in the finished home. You may live in the house for only a few years, or you may live in it for a lifetime. Any design flaws will be there for the rest of your life, unless you remodel to correct mistakes. Take plenty of time to plan the original design.
I always recommend designing a house with the possibility that you will someday want to add on to it. (Unless its a very large house.) How will you allow for future expansion? What will the addition look like? Will it easily complement the existing house?
Best wishes! And Have Fun exploring the possibilities.
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