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Designing your New House

House design is an exciting and highly enjoyable process – it is the moment when your dreams start to become reality. It is important to remember that the design stage is the most critical element of any project. Bad design is easily the biggest contributing factor to projects that have problems, while all successful projects start off with a sound, intelligent design.

The key for us as architectural designers is to get inside of the mind of our clients and attempt to come up with a design which is the realisation of what you have in your head. This is easier for us when we can see what kind of thing that you imagine your dream home to have rather than for us to have to guess, and for this reason it is a very good idea to start a scrapbook filled with images and ideas that you find exciting. The idea is not necessarily to create a list of features that we should include, but rather to give us an impression of the kind of things that you like in design terms.

Another critical element in the design process is for us to analyse the plot you are intending to build on. Every plot is unique, not just in its shape and size and slope, but also in its orientation and surroundings. Factors like views, orientation and overlooking will have a critical impact on the design process. An initial assessment of the site and its context will ensure that the house design that we come up with maximises its potential. Some sites may make certain design ideas unfeasible; others, for example those with slopes, may make some design ideas (such as upside down living, or basements) much more of design priority. If finances are an important factor it is very important to consider the end value of the house you intend to build at this early stage, in terms of style, fittings and number/size of rooms.

The final external factor that will influence the design will be local planning guidance. While individual local factors are too complex to go into here, we would make an assessment of the neighbours to see what style the houses have been built in, and make an informal first approach to your local planning department to see how they react to the initial design ideas.