Everything in the previous home designs of this blog is intended to help you clarify your overall goals for your project. But the goals outlined in your Criteria Matrix will need to migrate into a specific design. It’s time to start playing the “Design Game.”
Home design is a skill that many people train for and practice for years, and it may seem belittling to call it a game, given the amount of knowledge and experience that informs good design. However, approaching the initial stages of your design with a sense of playfulness can relieve the “performance anxiety” that often accompanies building design. If you embark on an adventurous investigation of possibilities, you will accumulate everything you need to know to inform a good design, whether you hire a professional to help you or complete the design yourself.
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We typically associate home design with home plans, but they aren’t the same thing. Refrain from immediately putting your ideas into a floor plan drawing; instead use the Design Game as an information-collection exercise. Once a drawing is put on paper, it is all too easy to become locked into the box you’ve drawn. Give yourself some time to consider broader questions first answering these will make it easier to draw plans when the time comes.The first and most important step in the design process is to understand what you need and want from the design. Ask yourself the questions plainly, and take enough time to list, compile, and sort all the answers. There is no point too large or too small to be excluded from this list, nothing too obvious or too obscure. Build on this list daily, if possible by taking notice of the built environment around you: consider your current home, the homes of friends, things you see as you move about and travel, elements of public and work spaces that you appreciate. From the shapes and volumes of spaces to little details like knobs and handles, these are all pieces that can inform the more formal design process to come.
The Internet Era has introduced a whole new element to the Design Game, allowing you to find and archive photos from a nearly infinite source. While accumulating images, be sure to take note of what it is you find appealing in each photo: What is the image saying to you? Is it a specific element, a feeling it creates, the colors?
A library of images is much more helpful if you understand what it was that first appealed to you. We now have instant access to the world’s rich architectural history. Enjoy it and revel in it!
Sooner or later, you are likely to see some patterns emerge in the things that attract you. When your explorations start to deliver variations on similar themes, it’s probably time to move on to the next steps.
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