Aug 4, 2017

Designing Your Home - What Comes First?

A client asked me this question recently: "What comes first in the design process, the floor plan or the outside of the house?"

Good question - the answer is a little complicated, and subjective, and contradictory...but doing it right can make the difference between good design and mediocre design.

I remember an interview with Elton John a few years ago, the interviewer wanted to know whether Elton wrote the music of his hit songs first, or if Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics first.  Elton said in almost every case, Bernie wrote the lyrics - then Elton put it to music with very little collaboration with Bernie.

Voila - mega hit song.

Jul 22, 2017

Moving Day

It's a good time to take stock - of what you have that you use, and what you have that you don't use. Of what you need and what you don't need. What you've kept for love, and what you've kept for vanity.

Moving is difficult enough, without having to dig useless, forgotten things out of the crawl space or from the corner of the basement - and then bury them in the crawl space or basement corner of your next home.

Boxing up all of your belongings and physically moving them to another place - it's literally your life's baggage - is a good time to purge yourself and your life of things that are weighing you down.

The thought of the effort of moving your belongings can put a cloud of dread over the excitement of planning a new house, or planning a remodeling, but it can also be a welcomed opportunity for a fresh start.

While you're planning your home, consider how much space you might have to build just to hold old things that you could live without.  Consider the cost of that space, and how you might use the money for better things - maybe better finishes in your house, or maybe for something completely unrelated to it.

And consider others who might make better use of things that are useless to you. Is there a family in your town that would cherish the children's bikes your kids haven't ridden in ten years? Is there a cub scout pack that could pass your along your old camping gear to a less fortunate family so that they could join in the fun?

Need expert Residential Architectural advice for your new home or remodeling project? Contact Richard Taylor, AIA at Richard Taylor Architects to arrange a meeting or an online consultation.

Jun 7, 2017

4 Ways to Give Your House That Lovin’ Feeling

Your house helps keep you alive.  It keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  It keeps you safe from animals and insects that might find you (and your house) tasty.

Your home provides a place for you to sleep. It brings you water, it keeps your food fresh.  It filters the air you breathe and safely carries nasty waste away.

In almost every way you can imagine, your house loves and cares for you.

But -it’s a two-way street, this relationship between you and your house; if you stop loving your house, it will stop loving you – very quickly.

May 21, 2017

Should You Choose a Style for Your New Home?

When you’re thinking about working with your Architect to design a new home, you might think you need to start out by choosing what “style” your new house should be.

That’s not a bad place to begin if you’re in love with a particular architectural style: we can discuss what you love about it, and figure out how to make that style fit your needs.

But choosing a style first isn’t always necessary. In some cases, it might actually might it more difficult to design the home you’ve been dreaming about.

The Briefest Possible History of Home Style (read more about home style here)

Up until the late 19th century, home style was ruled by the fashion of the day. There were only one or two fashionable styles to choose from at a time; today, it’s easy to guess the age of those homes by their style.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries that began to change rather dramatically, as new building methods and the influence of Modern architecture allowed Architects to become more creative in their designs.

And especially in the mid-20th century, American lifestyles became more informal – and that had a big influence on house design.

Apr 12, 2017

How To Avoid The Twin Demons Waiting to Sabotage Your Remodeling Project

Two demons wait for unsuspecting homeowners, hoping for their chance to gobble up time and money on new home and remodeling projects.

The Ripple Effect lurks quietly in the background. Just like the movements on the pond surface for which it’s named, The Ripple Effect starts out small and grows, expanding until it engulfs the entire project.

Project Creep is a silent menace, staying out of sight until it's too late to avoid and putting the whole job at risk.

Pebble In The Pond

The Ripple Effect is the remodeling budget’s worst enemy and can wreak havoc on small and large projects alike.

A window replacement is simple, isolated project, right?. But the interior and exterior trim must be replaced and painted and the exterior siding may have to be reworked, especially if the new window isn’t the same size as the old one.

And that’s just the beginning. Once that window is replaced and the new window trim painted, the rest of the trim in the room looks bad by comparison and so you decide to paint that, too. A pebble’s been dropped in the pond, and the ripples have begun to spread.

What started out as a simple window replacement ends up as the refinishing of an entire room.

In new home projects, the ripple effect is more pronounced in open plan designs. With fewer walls to separate spaces, it’s difficult to make flooring transitions from one room to another so more expensive floorings often cover more of the house. The lack of interior walls also requires a more expensive structural system and makes the placement of ductwork and plumbing more difficult and expensive.

Mar 15, 2017

What Is Quality Construction?

First published on Zillow Blog

A friend of mine put me on the spot a few years ago when she asked me over to take a look at the new home she’d just purchased.

“What do you think?” she asked, “It’s good quality construction, isn’t it?”

For what she paid, sure, it was decent quality; it wasn’t in danger of collapse, the doorknobs weren’t falling off, and water wasn’t dripping through a leaky roof – but it wasn’t a showcase of construction skill either.