Can House Design Really Make a House Feel More Like a Home?

Do you have fond memories of certain homes from your childhood? Did each house design result in wonderful spaces on the interior, or do you remember them because of the character of the exterior of the houses? You might remember beautiful landscaping features that made the home sites great places to visit and play. Maybe this describes your own childhood home. 

Can The House Design, The Home Site, And How I Place The House
On The Site Really Make It Feel More Like A Home?

Why settle for a house, when you can have a home? We have enjoyed designing and building homes that have memorable character, and want to share practical advice so you can do the same.

One reliable method is to take your inspiration from fine older homes and newer residences that appeal to you. We're not saying that you should duplicate them - just draw inspiration and ideas from them.

1930's Cottage

1930's Era Cottage

Here is an example of how you can draw quality inspiration from a home that has pleasing, enduring character. Notice the way the new house (below) incorporates similar massing and materials as those found in the Cotswold cottage pictured above. The new home triggers memories of the older neighborhoods, and new materials and methods offer modern durability.

Front entrance of one of the houses we designed and built.

Home Built in 2008

Consider these factors when planning your home:

1. Property or site considerations, such as location, views, slopes and trees. 
2. House design is a key element in determining the character of your finished home. Designers work long hours to develop quality home designs and the construction drawings. Likewise, you should also spend plenty of time on design, making sure that your new house will be the home you really want. There are basically three ways to settle your house design.  Depending on your approach, you may experience success or disaster. 
3. Visitability for older and less mobile guests, and handicapped access for disabled occupants of the house. 
4. Building codes and regulations. 

House design is big business! Just look on the magazine and book shelves in your local stores, or on house plan web sites. The thousands of choices reflect the various tastes and styles in residential design. It's easy to get confused. 

Unfortunately, economics can influence the design of our house more than we would like, so work hard to not let cost control too many decisions. It can be a balancing act, and only you can determine whether you will lean toward beauty or economy. You can usually have both.

The father of some friends of ours built his own house, and our friends were bragging about how much money he saved by using 2 foot by 4 foot lay-in ceiling tile and 2 foot by 4 foot recessed fluorescent light fixtures (not what you would describe as "homey").

He also skimped on decorative trim mouldings almost everywhere, and the mouldings he used were the smallest shapes available. (Although such wasn't the case in this house, the minimizing of mouldings can be a correct design choice in certain home styles.)

When I walked through that house, I was struck with the obvious absence of two of the most important elements of a memorable home - pleasant spaces and beauty. I've known individuals who preferred such a house, but not many. Write this down so you won't forget it:

Bad Design Is Remembered Long After Cheap Price Is Forgotten.

Consider these key elements of design that are often overlooked or ignored by individuals designing and building their own home:

1. Beauty - it is not just in the eye of the beholder. 
2. Order and logical arrangement in plan and on the property. 
3. Pleasing approach to the home from the road or street. 
4. Desireable views from the windows and exterior doors. 

Mid-20th Century Cottage

Also, Don't Design Your Home Only For Yourself!

Good Design Sells! Not only is a well-designed home more pleasant to live in, but it is usually easier to sell. A home that is attractive and desirable to others gives you a better advantage as a seller.

We've seen so many times how certain houses sell quickly while houses next door stay on the market for months. Often the only real difference is that the quick-selling houses are well-designed and attractive.

Whether you want to build a modest residence or a house that is more grand, either type can be designed with enduring and memorable character. For some of the best advice on house design, spend plenty of time looking through the pages in this section of our web site. We wish you the best! 

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