Design Process

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.

The Home Design Process – A Little Like Writing a Term Paper

Very few people ever have more than one custom home or major remodeling project designed for them, which means that almost every time an Architect starts the design process with a homeowner, it’s the first time for at least half of the people in the room.

It’s that “design process” that you probably wonder about the most – how does it work?

How Burning Down Your House can Benefit the Whole Community

It was late in the day when it finally happened.  A puff of smoke appeared just over the rooftop at the far right side of the house; then another appeared, near the chimney.

Within moments smoke was pouring from the entire roof and flickers of orange flame began appearing in the windows.

A cheer went up from the assembled crowd as the flames grew; soon the roof weakened and began to collapse.  A dozen firefighters stood by, cheering along with the crowd.

The Top Five Home Design Requests from my Clients

Years ago, I attended a trade show for kitchen and bath products in Dallas. You know the kind – huge convention hall, lots of booths, vendors hawking the latest in…whatever the latest is.

After a couple of passes around the trade show floor, filling my canvas tote bag with catalogs and brochures, I popped in on a seminar, where a representative of a national homebuilder was talking about new home design to a room full of eager builders.