The Importance of Great Design

by Vivian Szczepankowski  “The House Whisperer”

Imagine living in a home that is beautiful, relaxed, warm and inviting, that flows well and is great for entertaining, a home that supports all those who live within its walls.  This is a home which delights from both within and without. Not only is this home appealing to the senses, it is also energy-efficient and easy to maintain, utilizing natural materials and energy sources and meshing well with its environment.

Can one home do all this? YES!
All this is possible when you start with a Great Design.

Find Your Design Team

Involve your entire design dream team early in the design process.  This would include: your custom home designer, builder, interior and landscape designer and any product specialists.
Don’t skimp here…even though you’ll be tempted. The benefits of hiring professionals to help you in the design process will more than offset the dollar cost, and can actually end up saving you time and money.

Your Custom Home Designer will help you to delineate your dreams into reality by putting them down onto paper and/or creating 3-D images to work with.  Your custom home designer’s expertise is in making your home both beautiful and practical, artfully combining design elements, creating good use of space and traffic flow and providing a sound structural design.

Your Builder will become your greatest ally in bringing your dreams to reality, and will give them shape and form, while all the time working to keep your costs down, keep the work running smoothly, and deal with the bureaucracy of government building agencies.  Your builder will become your unsung hero as you navigate the building process.

Your Interior Designer will help you to envision and decorate your home with beautiful surface materials, window coverings, furniture, and accessories.  Like the custom home designer, your interior designer’s expertise is also in traffic flow and use of space, but with a greater emphasis on furniture placement, color, pattern, fabrics and selection of artwork and surface materials.

Your Landscape Designer will assist you in surrounding your home with the ideal setting, creating the perfect ambiance for outdoor living with plants, water features, statuaries, walls, trellises, decks, patios and more.  His design will also ensure that your plants flourish with proper plant selection for size, hardiness, and appeal, as well as good support systems such as irrigation and erosion control.

Your Product Specialists include any artisans whose work you would like to include in your finished home.  These would include muralists, faux finishers, glass workers, tile mosaic artists, sculptors, lighting specialists, kitchen designers, cabinet makers, concrete workers and more.

When selecting your design professionals, look for all the following:

Each of your team members should have several years of experience in their field, an extensive portfolio, and impeccable references.

Great design requires great imagination and a well-honed aesthetic sense, coupled with a good dose of practicality. Look for members who have all these qualities.

Good Communication Skills
Look for people you will enjoy working with and who are willing to work with the other team members to give you exactly what you want, while helping you to stay within your predetermined budget.

Know What You Want

Theme Your Home
Come up with a theme or mission statement for your dream home. How do you want to feel when you come home? Do you like the feel of slick, sophisticated Modern Architecture? Or are you more comfortable with the warm ambiance of a casual Country French estate? Are you stimulated by a colorful, playful environment? Or do you want to relax and unwind in more peaceful surroundings? How do you want your guests to feel as they enjoy visiting your home? Is your entertaining style traditional and formal, or is it more relaxed and casual?

The answers to these questions will be the foundation for your Design Theme and will help you and your design team to stay on track while bringing your dreams to fruition.

List All Your Activities
List the various activities that occur in your home. What are your hobbies? What space and equipment is required for each one? How do you like to entertain? Do you like to invite your guests to participate in the kitchen? Do you need to provide space for large groups? Do you like to entertain outdoors?

The answers to these questions will help you and your design team to create a home that provides a place for everything you want to do.

Know Your Style
Collect pictures of houses you love, favorite materials, decorative details, landscape ideas, furniture styles, etc. Then notice which styles of architecture and decorating are repeated most often. What delights and stimulates you? What makes you feel comfortable and at home? These are the building blocks your design team will need in order to give you exactly the look and feel you want for your home.

Do Your Part

Be open to the many possibilities and suggestions which your design team will offer. Allowing for creativity on the part of your design team will encourage tremendous synergy between you and all its members, and a final design that will be better than anything you ever imagined!

Start Now
Begin planning early. Start planning a new home or extensive remodeling in the fall of the year to ensure groundbreaking by springtime next year. This will give you plenty of time to complete the design process during the winter months and to build while the weather is good. Then you’ll be ready to entertain for the holidays.

Doing these few things will help you to get exactly what it is you’re looking for and to enjoy the journey as you create your own beautiful dream home.

Above all, remember to have fun!
Designing your dream home is your chance to really express who you are and to create the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. 

Vivian Szczepankowski, BA Interior Design , has been creating beautiful, innovative and practical custom home designs since 1983. Her sensitivity to the needs of her clients and over 26 years of experience as a custom home designer, illustrator, and feng shui consultant, combine to make her unique in her field.
For more ideas about design and how to get what you want when remodeling your home, call to set an appointment for a complimentary consultation: (916) 521-3263. You can also send our ideas by email to House Arte.

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