Create an ideabook for your next remodeling project!
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1. Create a budget and a wish list. The first step in any project is to establish what you want, what you need and what you can afford. So creating a budget and a wish list — something architects call a "program" — is essential.
This is what Mike and Leann's new house looks like now. They need three bedrooms (one of which will be a home office/guest room) and at least two full bathrooms. They both love to cook, so they will need a kitchen large enough for the two of them. And they want the kitchen open to the views and located at the center of the home.
2. Define your story. In addition to the practical necessities and functional needs, your home should tell your story. So when starting out on the design, it's important to define what that story is.
This photo of another house offers an idea of what Mike and Leann are looking for. For them, the story is about having immediate access to the gulf waters (Mike and Leann are avid boaters) as well as celebrating the casual, inside-outside Florida lifestyle. Big openings with walls of glass that can be pushed out of the way are a must. But since this is Florida, a way to keep out flying insects is also a must. Something clever, like these retractable screens that fill in large openings, is what we'll be opting for.
3. Find inspiration. While not too long ago you had to buy all those magazines, tear out the one or two pictures that inspired you and then toss the magazine away, you can now just browse Houzz and save inspirational images in an ideabook. And while before you had to keep all of those bits of paper in a folder somewhere ("Where are those clippings? I know they're around here somewhere"), you can now e-mail a link to a photo or collection of photos to your architect.
Which brings us to this wonderful ceiling. Mike and Leann would love a tall, vaulted ceiling. While browsing Houzz, Leann came across this photo and sent me the link. She loves the sense of space the ceiling creates and the white painted wood finish. So if the budget (there's that pesky budget issue again) and other issues allow, we'll develop a ceiling similar to this one.
6. Develop some basic sketches. My favorite question to ask as we brainstorm design ideas is "What if we ... ?" With Mike and Leann, we explored how best to arrange the interior spaces to suit their needs. Each time we'd come up with an idea, we'd develop a 3-D sketch (using Sketch Up, my favorite drawing program) so we could see the implications of the idea and weigh its pros and cons.
Because creating an open floor plan with a kitchen at its center is a critical element in our project, having sketches such as this helps us visualize that open plan. The sketch also lets us see how we can incorporate a big, wide opening at the back of the house.
Importantly, sketches such as these can be done quickly and relatively inexpensively. Let's face it, moving walls on a piece of paper is a whole lot easier than moving walls that have been built.
7. Look for possibilities. The design of every project is the process of discovering the inherent possibilities of the site and existing structure while considering the needs, wants and budget. So architects like to ask questions such as "What does it want to be?"
With the intercoastal waterway and bridge to the mainland forming the backdrop, Mike's and Leann's new home wants to be open to the view out to the water and the bridge and up to the sky.
The new home wants all of that blue sky and blue water to infuse the interior with light and space. So we'll look at raising the ceiling to get views out and up as well as create that big opening to capture views of all that water and across the waterway to the bridge and the mainland.
8. Record the decisions. During the process of designing the project, Mike and Leann have made a whole bunch of decisions: room sizes, furniture placement, floor finishes, light locations and more. How the finished project will look, feel and function is going to get recorded on the construction drawings. These construction drawings will then be used to communicate our decisions to the St. Pete Beach building official as well as to the builder and all of the other contractors and suppliers who will work on the project. Obviously, the more decisions made, the more complete the drawings will be — all of which will result in better communication that will save time, money and aggravation as the project gets built.
Next: Securing the permit and starting demolition
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