-Thoughts from an Architectural Designer

The size, type, placement and interconnection of rooms in your house should reflect your lifestyle.  Whether you are designing a custom house, remodeling, or just shopping for a pre-owned house, considering how you live now and how the amenities of a new house could make that lifestyle better is a good way to start   

This post is partially inspired by Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project’s blog post entitled “The importance of knowing what you LIKE to do, and then doing it.”  I specifically like this quote: “I have an idea of who I wish I were, and that obscures my understanding of who I actually am.”

So for example: maybe you wish you were the sort of person who enjoys cooking up elaborate meals to serve at formal dinner parties.  But instead you really are the sort of person who likes to have lots of friends over informally and lay out simple but delicious snacks. What you wish could lead you to invest a lot of money in an enormous kitchen isolated from both the living and dining rooms – all of which will be minimally used AND get in the way  – as opposed to focusing one big beautiful gathering space, a kitchen open to a great room with room for guests to cluster and flow.

Or, maybe you wish you threw big parties, but in reality you like intimate gatherings.  So instead of an enormous central space, your home should have moderately-sized rooms with lots of cozy alcoves that have lovely indoor and outdoor views. 

Another example: you wish you were the sort of person that worked out at home every day.  But you actually love socializing while jogging and going to Pilates, so skipping the home exercise room and choosing a house location near trails and a gym is the best option (maybe with space for a tucked away elliptical machine to be used on snowy days).

Another thing to consider is that the larger your home and yard, the more you’ll either need to spend time maintaining them or paying someone else to maintain them.  You may actually be the sort of people who enjoys the routine of gardening, repair, and cleaning OR believes the funds to pay others for these things is a worthwhile investment towards living in a large, beautiful home.  Or, you might just be planning out a big house for the lifestyle you wish you had and some unlikely possibilities for the future.

If you don’t want to pay extra for a house huge enough to allow for all eventualities, then think through how the rooms of a house can really work for you.  Talking to the designers, like the ones at LGA Studios, can help.  You may find that with a unique plan some rooms function for more than one purpose and that there are other rooms that you really don’t need.  Building view corridors, interesting ceilings and abundant built-in storage throughout the house are ways to make each square foot of the house more powerful and efficient.  If your family will use every room of the house you are planning on a regular basis and they will expand your family’s lifestyle by giving you better resources and maybe even more time, then the house plan is a good fit.

One more radical thought to close:  why are master bedrooms usually three times as large as other bedrooms?  Many children spend a lot of time playing and doing homework in their rooms, while adults mostly just use their bedrooms to sleep.  Consider how all of the members of your family will use your house.  Maybe your children would benefit from larger bedrooms or a play/study area.