House Design Tips
Shawn and Rocky
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You as the client have a tremedous and positive influence on the overall outcome of a design. A 'must' requirement to have is a reasonble trust in the ability of your designer to create an excellent design for you. If for any reason, (whether real or perceived), after an interview with a designer, you do not trust him/her to do a first rate job for you, continue searching for a designer with whom you feel comfortable with, and has the talent, conviction and (intuitive) ability to do the best job for you. After you have selected a qualified designer, you can expect the beginning of a very enjoyable process.

The more information you can give the designer, the more accurate the designer can zero in on exactly what you want. You should have a reasonable idea of the 'program' of the house you want. Things like, number of bedrooms, main floor laundry, home office, etc. Secondly, you should have an idea of the 'feel' (style) of home that resonates with you. Their are many kinds of contemporary and traditional homes, and being an individual, their are some styles that you feel more comfortable with than others.

Going through house decorating books may help you. As well, with your designer, he/she should be able to draw out of you some items that you may not of considered. After ther intial meeting with your designer, he/she will prepare a preliminary design based upon what you discussed. After carefully reviewing the preliminary design, if necessary, fine tuning of the design is done at this time. Not until the design is to the full and complete satisfaction of the client, does the designer proceed with the working drawings (the detailed drawings in which the house is constructed from).

Upon completion of the working drawings, you now are ready to proceed with selecting a builder.

Tip #2 - DETAILS

What are details? Details are those elements that give a home character and personality. Without them, the home may come across as o.k., but plain.

Why don't we see more details on homes? Two reasons . . . not putting the proper attention to areas that warrant details, and the slightly added cost. (With proper detailing, the pleasing results more than justify the costs).

Details are applicable on many varied styles. Some particular details lend themselves to some specific styles, and not others. (With the list being almost endless), some examples of details are stucco build-outs, keystones, trimboards, lintels, motiffs, false supports, arches, shutters, metalwork, etc., etc., etc.

In good design, the execution of details must be kept in proper scale and proportion, to ensure the overall cohesiveness of the design.

With proper attention, the wise use of details can add wonders to your home.


Location, location, location. Choosing a site in which to build should be the very first thing to do in designing a home. The site will determine many factors of the home, such as, the orientation of the rooms, the form of the house , and even the exterior finishes. Their are basically two types of sites, urban and rural.

In a rural setting, the general building area is usually known, because it is on an existing farm or acreage. In pinpointing the exact building site in a rural setting, several factors must be considered, including: interesting views to take advantage of, lay of the land (to ensure positive drainage away from the house ), access to and exiting from property, proximity to gas, power (and water), location for septic field, use of any existing trees, and protection from wind. Generally, in a rural setting, it is easier to pick a site, because their is more land to choose from.

Selecting a site in an urban locale takes a bit of a different approach. Other than the standard real estate considerations, such as the neighbourhood, proximity to amenities, and size of lot, you must consider your orientations, such as, do I wan quick melting of snow/ice on my driveway(south facing), do I need protection from the strong westerly winds in my backyard (west facing), or do I desire lots of light in my kitchen in the morning (east facing). Also, to consider in selecting an urban site is a corner lot or an interior lot, the slope/grade of the lot, if the style of the house being considered will fit into the neighbourhood, and finally if you feel comfortable with the neighbourhood.

These are just some of the items to consider in determining where to build, but with a little homework, and perhaps some self questioning, a more than suitable site can be arrived at.


Exterior colour is extremely important in creating a unique, interesting, and pleasing home. Generally (with very few exceptions) it is best to stay away from monochromatic colour schemes (i.e. varying shades of one colour). This can lead to a bland and uninteresting feel. Consider going to a theme of complimentary, yet contrasting colours. The materials/elements that have to be taken into consideration for appropriate colours include the roof, facia/soffit, wall finish, window trim, masonry, doors, and details. Also, an important idea to take into consideration is the design of the home, e.g. contemporary or traditional. There are colour schemes that are more suited to certain styles than others. An example would be black roof, creamy yellow walls and steel blue facia for a traditionally styled home. As well some items and details almost always cry for an interesting colour. Examples such as the front door or shutters can definitely enhance an otherwise mediocre colour scheme.

So whether you are considering renovating or building new, carefully consider the exterior colours, and at little expense you can uplift your home, and more compliment who you are.

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Sungreen Design
2109 - 20th Ave. S.
Lethbridge, AB.
Canada, T1K 1G4

(403) 320-6825