You need to know this because it’s important to understand the logic of the decision process and your role in it.
One way to see it is that, together, we are plugging your functional and aesthetic needs into a framework of requirements for zoning and construction. To learn more, read the articles and click on the subjects listed at the bottom of the page. Be sure to look at “How to Begin”; it’s an expanded version of this page.
HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR NEEDS
A list of rooms works pretty well. However, it’s best to think further about the needs of each room:
- the windows
- the orientation
- the cabinets
- and so on
Beyond the interior, we need to think about the look of your house from the outside.
For most houses, we need to blend with your neighborhood and for additions; we need to blend with your existing home.
HOW ZONING WORKS
Of all the external forces affecting your design, zoning has the greatest impact. Your existing house is not affected, but any work on a new house or addition is tightly constrained in volume, height, width, and land coverage. These constraints vary by the zone in which your house is located, its use, and the accessory structures you need. To understand these requirements, see the “zoning” articles below.
ABOUT HOUSING STYLES
Like clothing, housing style is an issue of personal choice. However, it’s important to understand how style can impact the shape and volume of your house. Style is also influenced by your neighboring houses. To learn more, see the “Housing Styles” article below.
ABOUT CONSTRUCTION EFFICIENCY
In construction terms, efficiency and cost are almost interchangeable; but cost and value are not.
The same tends to be true for beauty and efficiency. If a house is a nondescript box with all the windows exactly the same size, it will be efficient but it will almost never be beautiful. The trick is to recognize an appropriate balance and design accordingly. As you can imagine, this balance is very subjective and it varies with each homeowner.
To understand better, see the “construction efficiency” article below.
HOW TO BEGIN
If you’re never done it before, you don’t know where to start. The article below outlines all the steps.