Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Size Matters

When someone first calls me to inquire about what I do and if I can help them, they will blirt out the most irratating aspect if their current house.  I've had people tell me they don't want any hallways, they need LOTS of closets, that they want a kitchen the size of a gourmet restaurant or they don't want any steps anywhere.  That gives me a pretty good idea as to the issues they are dealing with on a daily basis, but their solutions are not usually very practical.  After all, hallways serve many useful purposes, such as, traffic flow, sound and visual barriers and buffer zones between public and private areas.  They don't have to be long, narrow and dark passage ways that detract from the room you left or the room you are entering.  They can be open, bright and serve dual purposes such as, galleries or contain nooks for display or storage, bookcases or mail drop areas.

My job is to find out what bothers people about specific areas they struggle with and find solutions that eliminate their negitive feelings about that area.  A small, cramped kitchen may not be any better if we double the space it occupies but don't consider the work zones within it.  Huge walk in closets that take space from minimal sized bedrooms may not be the solution either.  A majority of people will solve their house issues by adding space, lots of space, and then find out that too big is as bad as too small. 

I usually assign my clients homework in the form of measuring all their current rooms in their house or apartment and measuring all the furniture they have or hope to have in their new home.  Most people don't have a very good idea how big 12'x14' really is and if that is big enough for a queen sized bed.  I can often show them by increasing that room size by only inches, that their new home will fit and feel much larger than they think.  I have  had some clients who don't do their homework and continue to guess at how much bigger they need to go with their new house.  If I could point out to them the size they requested for their bedroom is equal in size to their current family room, they would probably realize quite quickly that that's probably more than they need.  Measuring furniture is just as important, not only for the client to evaluate what they are really willing to move, but for me to plan spaces for oversized pieces.  I will never forget the family I worked with for many months on designing the "perfect" home, only to get a call six months later asking me where I thought the baby grand piano should go.  Not once during all our meetings, discussions or personal conversations was a piano brought up, much less, a baby grand.  That's when I began assigning homework.

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