House Design Tips
Shawn and Rocky
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Tip #9 - HOME OFFICE


Home offices are increasingly popular in todays homes. They can range from a modest alcove, to a large elaborate space. To incorporate a home office, many factors have to be taken into consideration, such as: how often will it be used?, how many members of the family will be using it?, will it be used full time for a permanent business?, will clients be coming over?, how much furniture and equipment will be in it?, does it have to be completely private from the rest of the home?

Based upon how you answer these questions, there are generally 3 locations to situate the office in the home. First, just off the foyer (so it is convenient for clients to come and go, without disturbing the household). Second, just off the kitchen (so it is convenient for the homemaker and kids to use, without being shuffled over to a remote part of the house). Third, in the lower level, or basement (so it is secluded, private, and utilizing the extra space normally found in this area).

The home office has to match the needs required of it, and careful planning will ensure a well functioning and useful space.

Tip #10 - ROOF PITCH (AND OVERHANG)


Roof pitch is the slope of the roof, and is usually determined by the feel or style one is trying to achieve. A general rule of thumb is: a more contemporary design has a lower roof pitch, a more traditional design has a higher roof pitch. In concert with the roof pitch, is the roof overhang. As far as proportions and design goes, larger overhangs work well with a low pitch roof, whereas, a smaller overhang works best with a high pitch roof.

Another important item related to the roof (pitch), is the fascia (a horizontal band at the end of the roof overhang). The width has to be considered to ensure it ties in, and enhances the roof. A too narrow fascia can make the roof appear 'weak' or 'spindly'. Conversely, a too wide fascia can make the roof look too 'heavy'. An experienced building designer can determine this quite well.

Flat roofs are generally reserved for a more 'modern' design, and if tiered roofs can be incorporated, all the better.

As shown, the elements of the roof is quite important, and careful consideration should be exercised.

Tip #11 - DEFINING THE FRONT ENTRANCE


The front entrance acts as the 'mouth' of the house and should never be obscured or placed in a less predominant part of the design of the house. As one approaches the home, one should immediately know where the front entrance is , without a second thought. The entrance should be designed to be inviting, welcoming and protected to some extent. Tied in with the front entrance is the main door. The door should be special to some degree, accomplished by colour or material (ideally solid wood).

Tip #12 - CEILING HEIGHT/ INTERIOR VOLUME


Standard ceilings heights are 8 feet. Ceilings can easily be increased to 9 feet (without increasing room sizes), and still retain proper proportions. 10 foot high or more (flat) ceilings are normally seen in large homes and generally more of a traditional feel. Dramatic ceiling heights (18,20 feet or more) are normally designed for that reason . . . drama. Seldom does it evoke and encourage a cozy, relaxed and comfortable feel. These type of ceilings are normally found the the foyer and living room.

Ceilings can also be sloped (depending on the exterior roof slope or bottom chord slope of the roof trusses). This can add interest and, depending on how the ceilings is configured, the opportunity to incorporate large windows.

The thing with interior volume (accomplished by ceiling heights/slopes) is that almost anything can be considered, PROVIDING, the proper scale and proportions of the space is kept in the forefront.

Tip #13 - MECHANICS OF A GOOD FLOOR PLAN


The floor plan (room/space layout) is one of the most important aspects of the house design. A bad floor plan is one where the layout is disjointed, incorporating items such as long hallways, poor traffic flow (where one has to go through one room/area to get to another room/area without an option of going around it), poor stair locations, etc.

A good floor plan is one where it feels easy to get around, and it generally flows. In many cases, it may operate like an octopus, where at one central point, you can branch off to any area of the home, directly, without having to go through another area/room of the house. It is always best to go past a room, as opposed going through it, to get to another area. An example is the living room. If you have to go through it to get to another area of the home, it creates a very unpleasant and unrelaxed feel in that room, where you are always being interrupted with traffic flow. In a good floor plan, their should be no superfluous or wasted space. Any dollar put into square footage, should be returned in usable and enjoyable space of at least equal value.

Lastly, the most successful floor plans, are ones that suit and fit the client to a tee, where the client can come to say (after being in the home for awhile) ... 'it just feels right'.

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

Phone:
(403) 320-6825


Email: sungreen@telus.net