There are countless blogs on interior home design. So many, in fact, that I struggled with titling this article. Home design and interior design definitely need to play nice with each other. But the structure, shape and style of your home comes first. When you have people over and they pull up to your house, they’re not immediately impressed by those throw pillows you spent eight hours hunting down. They’re blown away by an elaborate front facade or that custom shou sugi ban siding.
I’ll wait while you Google shou sugi ban.
Back? Ok. So how do you 1) discover the possibilities you’re not aware of and 2) choose the right ones to fit into your budget?
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know:
A lot of this blog, I feel, is going to cook down to, basically, “how to use the internet.” And that’s ok, I guess. But for this first part, I really can’t overstate how you can apply this logic to anything you ever want to do in life.
Just like you (probably) didn’t know what shou sugi ban was until you looked it up, there are a lot of design flourishes out there that you’re just not going to get unless you ask for them. And unless your full time job is centered around keeping up with housing’s external design trends, you’re not going to know what to ask for.
You can use our online house plan library, sites like Pinterest or even just plain ol’ Google. Think of your day-to-day routine as you move about your home, chokepoints in your current layout and how a dedicated office or an open floor plan might help. Do searches for “unique house designs” and save pictures of everything you like, even if you don’t know why.
You’re casting your net wide. You want as many sources of inspiration as you can find, so you feel like you’re making as informed a decision as you possibly can. It’s like getting a tattoo. If you get a butterfly on your wrist but then you later find out you could have gotten a dolphin with angel wings
jumping swimming flying over a rainbow on your lower back… well… that would just be devastating.
Don’t be a square, Sarah.
Look at the outside of houses. Note which kinds of roofs you like. Maybe this is the day where you find you’ve had a latent fetish for cantilevered gables and the supple, jutting peaks of a solid pair of dormers. Maybe you like how simplicity and grandeur meet in the Colonial Revival style. Maybe you like the English cottage-on-steroids look of Tudor Revival.
In some ways, these styles can inform the layout of the house. A Victorian is going to have a tighter, more vertical layout than, say, a wider, boxier Colonial Revival. A Craftsman is going to have a more imposing silhouette and complicated, stacked roofs, versus the elegant sprawl of a Bungalow. A Tudor Revival doesn’t care. It’ll do whatever it wants.
Not that any of those are hard and fast truths, just that you can use the styles to help find your way.
Decide On What You DO Know:
Obviously, there are things you’ll know without needing to consult the World Wide Web. I presume you aren’t made of infinite money and it’s a universally understood truth that five bedrooms cost more than three of the same size, that two and a half bathrooms plus a master bath is more than, well, less than that. You see where I’m going with this. Ballpark what you want, with a hard limit for as low as you go.
You know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you absolutely need. You can size those rooms larger or smaller and add more as you start to talk to your designer and have solid budget numbers. If your family is big on cooking or loves to throw dinner parties, then, even if you don’t know the exact design, you know you need a larger kitchen or dining area than a more standard (read: less cool) family would need. If you eat out a lot or have no friends, you can save money on those areas.
It’s Go Time:
Here’s where you start to pare down. You can’t have a Victorian Tudor Craftsman Colonial Revival Revival Revival Bungalow. The science just isn’t there. And besides, I think it was outlawed in the Geneva Convention.
So settle on a few looks. You don’t have to be 100% exact yet. But get your little stack of pictures or your Pinterest board or whatever it is you put together and talk to a Certified Professional Building Designer. We’re going to be able to take that list and help you limit it a little further.
If you don’t really care, you just have a list of features you want in the home, then let your home designer work their magic. But if you do care, if you have a lot of specific thoughts on the layout of the house, relay all that to your home designer. They’re not mind readers. But, be prepared to potentially have to change something.
More than once, we’ve had clients ask for a certain layout and we’ve had to tell them no, because implementing their ideas would require us to break the laws of physics. I’m sure you’ve seen those funny pictures on Facebook of design fails, where a huge beam is cutting across a hallway because the client had an idea, whoever drew up the plans decided not to correct it and then the contractor who built it was like, “I just do what I’m told.”
Yeah, we don’t do that.
There’s no way we can quote what the house is going to cost to build because markup differs so much from contractor to contractor and the cost and type of the materials themselves vary so much. Your builder or contractor is the best person to give you a building quote. They’ll need our finished plans in order to do that. So it’s a bit of a catch-22.
For regional building cost averages, check out this report. That’ll put you in the ballpark. What we can do to help further is point out features of your home design that will increase or decrease the final building cost. We just can’t say how much it will increase or decrease.
Features That Increase Cost to Build:
Complexity costs more. A nonstandard foundation is going to be more expensive than a standard box. That means jogs or even just going with a 31’ instead of 32’ because foundation forms and floor joists come in 2’ increments. So if you go with an odd number, everything has to be cut down to fit your design.
Ceilings: Big volume ceilings like cathedral, or unique designs like tray or coffered are going to add to the final cost of your house. Roofs: Basically if it isn’t a straight line with two slopes, it’ll cost more. Dormers, bumpouts, wings, all that’s extra.
Extra bathrooms or kitchens add up too. The fixtures can be some of the most expensive parts of the house, so, obviously, adding more will raise your cost.
Same goes with all the little finishes. If the house is the body, then extra fancy details would be the clothes and jewelry. Stone, cedar or that aforementioned shou sugi ban siding is all gonna cost more to build than vinyl. Any window that isn’t a standard rectangle will cost more, and the brand will affect the cost as well. I’m not sure how stairs fit into my clothes and jewelry metaphor, but if they’re anything other than a straight run, it’ll be more costly. Designer… zipper… maybe?
If your budget can’t quite cover all of it up front, let your designer know. Design in stages. Make the layout of the house conducive to additions or minor remodeling down the road. Some things like those wings or window replacement to add dormers can be done later. Others, like going back in time and adding a cathedral ceiling to your living room, cannot.
This house you want to build is only limited by your creativity. Well, and bank account, but I can’t really help with that one. The internet is a near-limitless source of inspiration. Spending just a night looking up examples can really raise the unique character of your home and with it, your happiness.
Contact us today here at Home Designing Service Ltd. We’ll help get you started.