Friday, February 25, 2011

Steps nine and ten in your home design adventure

Step Nine:  Think ahead.  Once your design ideas are coming together, consider the next level of detail such as what level of quality do you expect in your new home or what level of energy efficiency.  Are there specific appliances or fixtures you want in your new home.  All of these topics need to be covered in your own mind and then shared with your designer. 

If the budget allows, you should go with the best quality you can, starting with things you won't want to replace or upgrade for a long time.  Things like windows, walls, roofs, doors and insulation are things that should be the best you can afford because they are expensive and difficult to replace before their lifespan is over.  Things like counter tops, carpeting, flooring and even cabinets can be added or changed later.  I would seriously consider insulating your home to the highest standards you can, because energy cost will most likely continue to rise and it is an expense you will face every month.  I hope the American way of thinking is changing to consider energy efficiency ahead of granite counter tops.  I know that closed cell spray foam insulation is not a glamorous feature that all your friends will immediately recognize, but it is one of the best investments you can make.

Step Ten:  Have fun. Designing and building a new home should be a fun and rewarding experience.  There will be moments of stress and tough decisions, but in between, relax, dream a little and have fun with your design team, construction crew, subs, suppliers and your family.  When the whole project is done, throw a party or backyard barbecue, everyone who had something to do with your home will be happy to see the end result and it will build a basis for long lasting friendships.

These ten steps apply to new home design and remodeling projects alike.  Use them through every phase of construction as well.  Clear and open motives help make every decision easier and authentic; realistic cost expectations throughout construction will prevent costly last minute changes and second guessing.  Understand that when the excavator digs the foundation, the footprint will look small, when the foundation is in, it will look really big, when the walls and roof go up, it will look small again.  When the walls are finished and painted, it will look big again and when you move in, it should look just right.  The physical act of building the home will evolve just as the plans did.  Always be honest and communicate your needs and concerns, your design and construction team can help you see the whole picture better when everyone is calm and thinking clearly.  Have fun or find a way to have fun.  Positive attitudes are contagious and productive.

Next post:  Choosing a design professional.

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