Design Session #2

Design Session #2 - The Middle - Defining The Components

Ideas For Interior Spaces-  After you have identified your architectural style, favorite materials, and other special exterior features, you can focus your attention on developing the interior spaces. In many cases, the spaces you select, along with their locations and size, will determine the exterior appearance of the new home, so give this Design Session your full attention and concentrate on the details.

Today's Ideabooks

Entry -  The entry, or foyer, is usually the first space most people encounter upon entering a house, so it should be treated with some respect and given the attention it rightfully deserves. Entries are the most used transitional space in the house and often make the first impression of your interior that your visitors and guests experience.  In most average homes, the entry is little more than the front door, maybe with a sidelite on one side, and a guest coat closet with a small floor area of tile or vinyl.  In larger homes, the foyer becomes a grand space inside a large covered porch area with high ceilings, perhaps with a staircase, large windows, a ceiling fan, and a transom window above the door.  The entry doors are often taller than normal or consist of an ornate double door with large polished metal locks and hardware.  The Chinese place a lot of emphasis on the entry to the house and it plays a significant role in the ancient practice of Feng Shui with regard to the flow of energy into the structure.  [houzz= w=380]


Porch- The porch is one of those spaces steeped in tradition and that has evolved from it's humble beginnings.  It may have begun as a covered lean-to area on the side of a log cabin or a grand marbled entrance on a southern mansion.  It has taken many forms over the years and has been especially identified with country homes, Victorian styles, ranchers, and many contemporary styles.  [houzz= w=380]


Living Room -  The living room is often adjacent to the entry and is the space where the family spends the most time together, besides the kitchen and dining room.  This space can be a very formal room with special furnishings and only used to entertain guests, or it can be used as a casual entertainment area for kids with a large screen television, sound system, sofas, chairs, and other comfortable furniture and lighting.  [houzz= w=380]


Family Room -  The family room is sometimes located next to the Living Room, but often it is a separate space entirely, and could be located in a basement, or some other part of the house where the noise levels will not interfere with the sleeping areas.  This room is often used for entertainment, television, games, a pool table, exercise equipment, and can even have a second small kitchen and dining area adjacent to it.   [houzz= w=380]


Kitchen-  Without a doubt, the kitchen is the most popular space in the whole house.  It is where guests gather during parties and every member of the family passes through it several times a day.  After all, the most used door in the house is found in the kitchen...which is the door to the you have to give this room a lot of thought.  It usually has expensive cabinetry, countertops, and large appliances, which makes it one of the more costly spaces to build in most homes.  Often there is a pantry built within the cabinetry or as a separate storage closet nearby. It is also the location where most of the energy other than space heating is used for cooking, cleaning dishes, lighting, and refrigeration.  This space is the heart of every home, so spend some time designing it to fit your family.  [houzz= w=380]


Dining Room - The dining room can take on many different styles and uses depending on the people it serves.  Some dining rooms are simply a small table and chairs on a patch of vinyl flooring where the family gathers to eat their meals every day.  For smaller homes and couples, the dining room may be just a breakfast nook or even an elevated snack bar on one side of an island in the kitchen.  Some dining rooms are very spacious, formal areas and host an over-sized ornate table and captain chairs with large buffets, china cabinets, and expensive chandeliers.   [houzz= w=380]


Family Bath-  There may be several family bathrooms in a home, and each may be designed to serve special needs or special occupants.  Baths can be just a toilet and lavatory or they can be large rooms with several sinks, a tub, a linen closet, a separate doorless shower, and large mirrors.  Family bathrooms are generally close to kids bedrooms, guest rooms, and in basements or upper floors often separated away from the floor containing the master bedroom and master bathroom.  [houzz= w=380]


Powder Room-  The powder room is a small toilet room, sometimes referred to as a water closet, usually with a lavatory.  It often is located on the same floor as the master bedroom and master bathroom and provided for guests so they don't have to use the master bathroom or the family bathroom.  Generally these are small enough spaces that they can be located under staircases, or close to a kitchen.  [houzz= w=380]


Closets-  These spaces are essential for the storage of clothing, vacuum cleaners, games, winter boots, coats, and an infinite number of other personal belongings.  They are so important to the average house that it always seems there are never enough of them.  Although these spaces are usually tiny compared to others, they can be well designed to maximize the storage capacity.  There are numerous shelving systems available at most big box home improvement stores, so it has become easier for owners to design each closet to fit their storage needs.  [houzz= w=380]


Hallways-  These spaces are transitional in nature and only serve to allow people to pass through them on their way to some other room.   Halls only provide passage to other spaces and have very limited practical  functions beyond that.  In my designs, I try to minimize halls as much as possible.  They often take up a lot of valuable floor area and cannot be occupied or even decorated very well.  Most building codes restrict them to a minimum of 36 inches in width, but many modern designs favor 42 inch and 48 inch wide halls in order to move furniture and to facilitate wheelchair traffic.  [houzz= w=380]

Bedrooms -   Bedrooms can take on many forms, styles, sizes, and shapes. Usually they have several feet of  pole and shelving in a closet for clothing.  Most bedrooms are sized to accommodate several sizes of beds, dressers, drawers, windows,  and doors.  Some have walk-in closets, some have balconies or window seats, some have nothing at all except painted walls and floor coverings. Bedrooms are very personal spaces and tend to reflect the occupants personality and tastes.  The walls, ceiling, and floor become canvases for vivid colors and materials which are just as important as the furnishings.  Health districts use the number of bedrooms, not toilets, to size septic tanks and drainfields.  Generally, any bedrooms located in basements must have a legal egress window in order to be "conforming", however, many basement bedrooms do not have any windows and therefore do not meet current building codes.  One of my customers argued that he did not want to spend a lot of money on the bedrooms in his new house because he said they are intended for sleeping and the people who occupy them are unconscious most of the time anyway.   To each his own.....  [houzz= w=380]


Master Bedroom - The master bedroom suite is a very personal space and generally reflects the owner's personal tastes and personality traits more than any other room.  In many modern designs, the master bedroom is located on the other side of the house, far away from the kid's rooms, not only for privacy, but for sound control as well.  The master suite is usually larger than any other bedroom to accommodate larger furnishing and many times it has access to an exterior deck, patio, or balcony.  Master bedrooms can have glass french doors with blinds, a coffer ceiling, wood paneling, wallpaper wainscoting,  chair rail molding, high baseboard trim, ceiling fans, touch plate electrical switches, a fireplace, built-in libraries, large screen television sets, recessed lighting, or perhaps a bay-window seating area.  These spaces not only provide a quiet refuge from the daily grind for busy parents, but they are the private place in the house for rest and romance not intended for outside visitors.  Usually these rooms have large closets, perhaps a walk-in closet, and are connected to a master bathroom.   [houzz= Bedroom w=380]


Master Bath -  The master bath can be large or small.  The smaller versions usually have a tub-shower, a toilet, a small linen closet, and a vanity with two sinks.  The larger bathrooms have a large soaking or jetted tub, a doorless walk-in shower with tile or marble, a separate toilet room (water closet), and a large vanity with two sinks and two large mirrors.  The lighting is often recessed spots.  The flooring is usually tile around the wet areas and carpet or laminate elsewhere.  A large walk-in closet is often built adjacent to the master bath to facilitate dressing and extra storage for off-season clothing can be stored under the bed or in basement closets.  [houzz= Bathroom w=380]


Laundry -  This room gets used almost as often as the kitchen on a daily basis.  This can be simply a large closet in a hallway with bi-fold doors in front of a stacked washer and dryer, with small cabinets to one side, or it can be quite large and combined with storage closets, a laundry tray, and ornate cabinetry.  Generally, aside from the side-by-side washer and dryer, many designs include a separate closet for a water heater or furnace room, a 50 cfm ceiling fan, an operable window, a built-in ironing board, a linen closet, a vacuum cleaner closet, and a broom pantry for cleaning chemicals and detergents. The cabinetry usually includes a folding table or a large granite countertop on cabinetry with a deep junk drawer.  The electrical service panel is frequently located in this room and bright florescent fixtures are used to provide plenty of light.  [houzz= w=380]


Gym -    More homes are now being designed to accommodate exercise equipment in a separate room so Americans can stay in shape.  Home gyms used to emerge in a separate back corner of the basement with just a small set of barbells and weights, then expand as more equipment was purchased.  Home gyms can start out with just a cycle, stair-stepper, treadmill, or a rowing machine, then expand to include a jetted hot tub, a large weight machine, and a sauna.  Some designs include a large screen television set, a sound system, wall mirrors, floor mats, benches, and dozens of the latest workout equipment.  [houzz= w=380]


Bar -  Private built-in bars are popular for entertainment and generally are located next to family rooms, game rooms, decks, patios, or formal entertainment areas.  Usually refrigeration is required and an ice-maker.  Some are built with bar stool seating, while others are just a modest cabinet in the corner with a bar sink.  Usually a bar will have a nice countertop and the cabinetry is used to store beverages, napkins, glasses, and similar items.   [houzz= w=380]

Wine Cellar -  These spaces have become quite popular with certain owners for obvious reasons.  Wine cellars  that started out as just a small closet in the basement have now evolved into a climate-controlled room with ornate cabinetry, beautiful wood wine racks, polished metal hardware, wood flooring, recessed lighting, comfortable sitting areas, sound systems, and beautiful wood doors.   [houzz= w=380]


Staircase -  This space is another transitional area which obviously enables people to go between the different floor levels.  Much like a hallway with stairs, these rooms can be very simple and unadorned, or they can be an expensive focal point of the house. Most building codes mandate that stairways be a minimum of 36" wide and have at least one 2" diameter handrail with safety returns at each end and positioned on one side 34" - 38" above the nosing of the steps.  Staircases can be straight runs, switchbacks, L shaped, winding, circular, or semi-circular made with many different materials and styles.  Some stairs have decorative wrought iron railings, some have wooden turned-spindle railings, some have glass sides, while others are flanked by solid walls or half walls with hardwood caps.  The steps can be just as diverse and be simply carpeted lumber, or lacquered hardwood, or glu-lam planks with carpet inlays, or polished tile, terrazzo, stamped and dyed concrete, brick, stone, half logs, glass, plastic, or ornamental metal.  [houzz= w=380]


Fireplace -  This design element  is the most popular focal point in most moderate and colder climate homes, besides being a functional heating appliance.  Fireplaces come in a wide variety of styles, materials, sizes, types, and cost ranges.  Most modern fireplaces consist of a manufactured firebox, a hearth, a mantle, a flue, and a chimney.  Early fireplaces were hand built out of brick and mortar and required strong foundations.  Many contemporary fireplaces must meet strict fire and building code standards and have been designed to minimize fire danger, while reducing the need for large foundations.  Fireboxes are generally a metal box lined with firebrick and equipped with doors, fans, damper controls, and other devices.  Some are fueled with LP or natural gas while others burn wood.  Chimneys range from interlocking metal pipes to brick and mortar shafts with pumice liners which must meet fire department regulations.  Hearths are usually 18" wide and can be made of stone, tile, concrete, metal, or some other non-combustible material.  The face of fireplaces can be decorated with masonry, wood, painted drywall, stone veneer, wall paper, or any other material that appeals to the owner.  Mantles are often a rough timber, a half log section, masonry, or a decorative carved and lacquered wood piece.  The portion of the chimney that protrudes through the roof is often enclosed in a wood box that has masonry veneer applied to the exterior for decoration.  Some chimneys are plain metal and remain exposed and unadorned,  while some masonry chimneys are clad in expensive brick or stone veneer. [houzz= w=380]


Decks -  These spaces have become a popular part of the American culture for summer fun and leisure because they are the place for barbeques, parties, and plenty of catnaps in the hammock. Decks are usually made of wood or some composite resin material and are built in many different shapes, styles, colors, and locations.   [houzz= w=380]

  Patios-  [houzz= w=380]
  Pools-  [houzz= w=380]  
  Kids Spaces -  [houzz= w=380]  
  Nursery-  [houzz= w=380]  
  Home Office -  [houzz= w=380]  
Basement -   [houzz= w=380]  
Home Theater-   [houzz= w=380]  
  Sun Room -  [houzz= w=380]  
  Garage and Storage -  [houzz= w=380]  
  Lighting -   [houzz= w=380]  
  Windows -  [houzz= w=380]  
  Doors -  [houzz= w=380]  
  Decor -  [houzz= w=380]  

Landscaping-  This category of work is so broad and diverse;  you might say it covers a lot of ground (pun intended). Landscaping consists of a huge variety of plants, decorations, ground covers, trees, shrubs, water features, pools, ponds, fountains, boulders, ecology block retaining walls, walks, paths, terraces, arbors, gardens, lighting, gazebos, and other design elements.  This section of the work is often overlooked in the initial construction budget because most owners think they will add it later as they live in the house.  Usually owners put in the front and back lawn and gradually develop the other amenities as they feel inspired and their budget allows.  I advise my customers to budget a small amount for some trees in the initial construction because they take so long to grow to maturity and several deciduous trees placed on the south and west sides of a new house can provide shade in a few years, which will reduce air-conditioning bills.  [houzz= w=380]