When Remodeling, Planning Matters
Layer One – Architecture
If you are planning on remodeling any part of your home, the first job to tackle is planning the changes to your structure. Perhaps you will be updating your house by rearranging your walls or remodeling your kitchen, this will be the first step in making your dreams come true.
When considering a renovation or redesign, there is a lot to consider. You will, of course, have a list of problems you are trying to solve as well. You also have to make sure everything fits right, and your changes don’t adversely affect adjacent areas. Not to mention your wish list, some of which may or may not fit into the plan. But wait, there’s more! What about the thousands of possibilities regarding products and materials? And then there is the ever popular task of trying to stay on budget.
At this point, you may start to feel overwhelmed. How do you make sense of it all and keep everything organized?
You take it one step at a time or layer by layer as I like to say. Work the problems, carefully, methodically finding solutions. Remember, I’m always here to help, and I will be more than happy to find practical, functional, beautiful solutions for your project.
My first layer of design is the bones of your house. Switching things around is usually expensive and permanent, you’ve got to make sure it is right before you start. Therefore, you must have a concrete plan.
It is sometimes very challenging to find a happy medium between function, budget, and beauty. You will hear me talk about functionality a lot because, if your home isn’t working hard for you, then it isn’t doing its job and we need to find a solution that works. Customizing a home is about making your daily lives easier, livable and beautiful.
Whenever I begin a project, I always start off by looking at the problems and brainstorming possible solutions. I always have clients complete questions about their project. It may help you to do the same, not just have them in your head, but written down. This way you can reference them and they will help keep you on track.
- What is the scope of the project?
This is simply stating what will and won’t be included. You might be doing the master ensuite but not touching the closet.
- What problems am I facing with this space that I want to change?
Go ahead, make a list of anything and everything that bugs you about your current space.
- Who will be using this space and what activities will take place here?
The who is vitally important to the approach taken during the design phase. For instance, a bedroom that will become a nursery will be very different than if an elderly person was to occupy it.
- Are there any safety concerns or building codes I need to work into the design?
This will take into account many issues for making things safe for everyone from toddlers to seniors. It will also encompass ADA regulations for special needs. Or you may simply want to make sure your children can see well enough to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without turning on harsh lighting.
- What style ideas do I want to build into my space?
This is where you make a wish list of all the ideas you have been coming across on Pinterest or HGTV.
- What can I afford to do?
Make a short list of your priorities for your space. Valuing a timeline over a tight budget is quite common. Maybe you value quality pieces over having to replace them over the course of time. Or my favorite, getting that one show-stopping piece just right, even if it cost more.
The answers to these questions will tell you what to do. Consider the different nuances of your life, now and in the future. What situations and scenarios will you need to plan for?
Give yourself an opportunity to explore several options while designing your architecture. While I can’t tell you what you should do with your specific room, unless of course, you hire me to, I can help guide your thought processes so that you can use your home improvement dollars more wisely.
COLLECTING IDEAS USUALLY TAKES TWO FORMS
The first thing you should do is to collect some inspirations images that are similar to what you have in mind. This will get some creative juices flowing and give you some ideas of how to work out the problem or add a bit of style.
Sites like Pinterest or Houzz, are a good source of inspiration. You can create boards to keep track of the things you like. Once you start collecting a number of items, you will start to see patterns emerge. Use this information to find similarities, and they will help you decide what to do in your space.
Another way to help guide your decisions would be to look at stores that specialize in that area. For instance, if you are renovating your bathroom, you might look for a showroom that specializes in bathroom fixtures. You’ll find many wonderful ideas and products there, and the salespeople are very knowledgeable. They will be able to answer your questions and steer you in the right direction, this will help drive your design forward.
CHANGING THINGS UP
You’ll want to think about your traffic patterns and workflow. If you’re living in an older home, most likely you have very small rooms. Rearranging the walls may be the best way to create the kind of open floor plan that you desire.
By looking at your floor plan on paper, it will be A LOT easier to see how the walls can be changed and which ones are weight bearing. Don’t be afraid to work and rework an area until you get it right. Often there are all kinds of little issues that arise when doing this since changing one thing affects another. It is advisable to work out all the bugs here first, on paper, where all you need is an eraser if something doesn’t work quite right.
Additionally, keeping standard measurements in mind will help. Here are a few you will need.
- Hallways can be as small as 2’10” but usually 36″
- Walkways are 36” or 48”
- Interior doors are 30”, exteriors are 36”
- Double doors are at least 48” if not 60”
- Sliding doors are 72”
- Closets are 27” deep
- Space between coffee table and sofa or chair is 12”
- Base cabinets with countertops are 29” deep and uppers are 14”
- The kitchen triangle is between 13’ and 26’
Many times you might be trying to open up your common areas to create an open concept floorplan. This usually isn’t too difficult to figure out which walls should go, but there are a few things to consider when doing this.
If you want to remove a weight-bearing wall, you will need to make sure that you create a stable header over the opening to ensure your home is safe. Consulting a professional is essential if this is really what you have your heart set on. Otherwise, you will have to look for a different solution.
Working around plumbing, HVAC, and electrical wires that all hide inside the walls of your home can be tricky too. You will either need to reconfigure them or work around them. Again consulting a professional will save you a lot of hassle and money and is strongly advised.
If you are working with a kitchen or bathroom, there are obviously more things to work out because of cabinetry as well as plumbing and appliances. When considering workflow in these areas, you will want to ask yourself, “Am I able or willing to move the plumbing or electrical fixtures?” If the answer is no, that gives you your starting point. You can still do some major reworking of your space without moving these items.
You can see in my pictures that I worked on a home that had the kitchen sink overlooking a covered deck. The wife didn’t like that it didn’t let enough natural light in, this was problem number one. She also didn’t like that you had a full view of the kitchen from the front door, (not seen) problem number two. She was not willing to move the sink or stove if it was possible not to do so.
You can see that we eliminated two walls to enclose the deck, this created a large open kitchen. But it also created problem number three. We needed to remove a weight-bearing wall. We got an engineer involved and he gave us a solution to reinforce the header, once we did that, we were good to go.
We included big windows that let in the light. With the new footprint, we were able to reconfigure the interior walls and cabinets without having to move the sink or stove at all.
So you can see that there are many things to think about when reworking the structure of your home.
Of course, I am always here to help. Simply, go to the A La Carte page and select the appropriate options.
Don’t forget to download a copy of My Elements Within Layers document to help you determine what elements of your design are included within each layer.