Design Process

Proper House Proportions: A Trick of the Trade

If you’re a house junkie like me, watching the home shows, reading the home magazines, and looking at houses wherever you go, then you’ve seen good houses and not so good houses. You’ve seen charming homes that seem perfectly settled; you’ve seen houses that seem “complete” – like there’s nothing you could do to make them any better. Those are often the ones with proper house proportions.

The Difference Between “Symmetry” and “Balance” in Home Design

My clients occasionally ask me for symmetrical home designs. Sometimes that’s because they appreciate the elegance of symmetry, and sometimes it’s because symmetry is easier to understand.

Symmetry is found in all kinds of artistic composition, but so is asymmetry. What’s more important is balance – balance between the colors in a painting, the elements of architectural design, or the lines of a popular song.

I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to write a song, but I can’t help but notice some similarities between what I hear in music and what I see in architecture.

9 Unconventional Ways to Improve Your Home

Conventional wisdom, as it relates to houses, is often too much convention and not enough wisdom.

Every year, somebody publishes a list of which conventional home improvements will give you the best (or the worst) return on your remodeling investment.

Remodel a bathroom. Replace your siding. Don’t build a swimming pool. Paint everything neutral colors.

Sit up straight. Get a haircut. Call your mother.

Ten Principles of Good Home Design

The design process for everything we create – homes, tee shirts, coffee makers – is guided by recognized values of some sort. How those values are interpreted by the designer is what makes the difference between good and bad design.

Everyone has their own taste, their own idea of what’s appealing, and we often disagree about what we like. But we probably can agree on the values we use to create good design.

So what are the principles of good home design? Here are my top ten:

prairie ranch remodel kitchen

REmodel; REnovate; REstore; What’s the Difference?

Clear communication between owner, contractor, and Architect is critical to a successful home design project.  Agreement on some simple definitions is a good place to start.

Remodeling” is often broadly used to describe any kind of change to an existing house.  Technically it’s more accurate to say that remodel means to change the character of a house or a portion of a house.

colonial revival back hall remodel

4 Keys To Creating A Better Family Entry

Getting the design of your house right means making it work for the way that you and your family really live. Trading off useless formal space for very useful informal space is one way to do that – and there aren’t many places in your house more useful than the family entry.

You’ve heard this space called by other names: mudroom, back hall, utility hall – but none of those terms express what this room really is – a very important space that you and your family use every single day.

Adding On, Part One – What You Need to Know About “Massing”

Some car owners love talking horsepower, torque, gear ratios, and 0-60 times. But other car owners just want their car to do whatever it is that cars are supposed to do, without having to think about it.

Turn key.  Press pedal.  Go.

If you’re going to add onto your house, you might like talking about massing, scale, proportion, and detail.

Or you might just want your Architect to get on with it, and skip the yada yada.