Building your own home is stressful and expensive. Every dollar you can save and every mistake you can avoid is worth knowing about. That’s why we asked custom builders across America about the mistakes they see most often.
Once you have decided on the location and neighbourhood where you want to live, the next step is to identify the best lot for your new home.
We never thought it would come to this but for better or worse we are all finding ourselves confined to our homes and not by choice. For most this will be the longest time we’ve spent in our house since we were children. For many it will be the first time we’ve spent weeks surrounded by only our family or roommates.
Imagine the great room, kitchen, living, dining as your city squares, boulevards and plazas. Your hallways, landings and circulation areas are the avenues and streets, while your master suite, bedrooms and other single activity rooms are more like the private spheres (the houses) of your town.
Rearranging your furniture and moving items from one space to another can give your home a new lease of life.
Take a fresh look at how you live in your current home before you think about moving, extending or building a completely new home on your existing lot.
The success of any home building project hinges on making the right decisions early on. The first crucial thing, in our experience, is to fully understand all of the characteristics of your site and to allow those insights to drive the design of your home. Whether you’re building a home in the deep countryside, the middle of the city, or in the leafy suburbs, recognizing the ways in which you can optimize the positive features of your site, and mitigate the less desirable ones, is key to creating a home that is more than the sum of its parts. So, where do you start?
What not to forget outside the home. When it comes to building a new home, getting the major things right, such as orientation and spatial flow are key, but once you’ve got those things sorted, it’s the little things that can make a huge difference to how your home functions. We all have those niggly annoyances in our homes, those small features or functions that don’t quite work for the way we live. Building a new home is an amazing opportunity to avoid those irritations, so we’ve created a list of things that, when carefully considered and well designed, can really help to make your busy household run that little bit more smoothly.
Architects’ top tips My friend Lisa lives on a narrowboat moored on a London canal. With a total area of under 40 sq.m one would expect it to be a tight squeeze inside, but it feels surprisingly spacious. Life on the water though, isn’t for everyone, so I got to thinking about how we might be able to take some of the principles of boat living and apply them to small houses. After all, going small is a great step in the direction of sustainable living (have you seen Downsizing!?) and when designed really well, small homes can be extremely cost-effective.