As you may have read on my home page I believe Design and Function are the cornerstones of building. These key elements on their own are simple to talk about but together they define the difference between a house and a home. When I work with clients on their Home Renovation Plans I incorporate the same building philosophy – Home improvements need to provide improved function, comfort and convenience for the main stakeholders in the project. But what I find is that when I ask homeowners what challenges them most it’s being overwhelmed with the design choices which are available. That’s why I always start with the function aspects of changing or adding a space. With this in mind it’s important to set some goals for your Home Improvement Project – goals that will address the things you want to change and new features you want to incorporate to enhance your lifestyle.
Thank about your day-to-day experiences living in your home as they currently are. This might include current frustrations and also your wishes, dreams and desires. Then describe the ideal outcome for your renovation project. Don’t be concerned with the “nuts-and-bolts” of doing the actual work (that’s my job!) instead think about your vision of the the end result. For example – your kitchen may now be outdated because your young children are now teenagers – everyone is tripping over each other and meal times that require expediency (breakfast) often end in fights and frustration. Now describe how your ideal kitchen would work. How could it be different so there is peace and harmony in the morning and everyone leaves feeling good about beginning their day?
When you describe your home renovation goals in this personal way, you can focus on the real goal of your home improvements – how it will “improve” your home and your lifestyle rather than how the work gets done or what it looks like. This is the first priority – Function – later we can blend in the design elements so you get the look you want.
When creating your Home Renovation Goals, there are a few important points to think about:
- Use of Space – How you plan to use a place in your home will determine the amount of space required. You might think about it in terms of how you can best achieve your Function Goals ie. What kinds of activities will happen in this place? Does that require the space to be more open or more closed? Do you have existing furniture that needs to fit into the space? Will sound be a consideration? etc.
- Lighting – When you think about the uses and activities planned for this space what are the lighting requirements? Does the space have existing windows that will provide adequate light? Does it require a feeling of spaciousness or are you wanting a more cosy feel? Will the space be used during during the day or more in the evening? What kind of artificial light will be needed? Does the use of space demand more general lighting or task oriented lighting?
- Movement – Thank about the traffic patterns in your existing space and how they might be improved. Does your new space need to provide access to other areas of your home, like your kitchen or a bathroom? Will traffic patterns conflict with the new activities you have planned for this space?
When you take the time to think about and clarify goals for your Home Improvements you won’t get overwhelmed by the extensive choices which are available to you.
To help you with your Home Renovation Goals you can download this Worksheet from the CHBA (The Canadian Home Builders Association).