September 29, 2016

Why a holistic strategy delivers the best in architecture, interior design, and landscape for a connected whole home design

When I’m starting a new whole home design project it feels like Christmas Eve – every time I am SO excited! There are so many possibilities, each more thrilling than the next. These beginnings are always filled with a mix of trust, anxiety, and tons of creativity – and as I consider every possibility for creating the most satisfying result – very little sleep.

I admit, I tend to become a bit obsessed with projects at the beginning as I consider all the logistics, details, and creative angles that can be explored. There are infinite questions to be answered, and it is my job as a professional architect, interior designer, and landscape architect to determine where best to begin and how to prioritize and hone our focus as we proceed.

Gathering the facts at the outset is just the beginning – from the footprint and square footage, to defining the overall design style, confirming the homeowner needs, wants, and goals, and incorporating what the land tell us or demands. A lot needs to shake out before something functional, beautiful and realistic begins to take place. Creating a whole home design is about every part of the home.

One of my current projects is new construction on a footprint of a teardown “shack” located on a waterfront property. With this short sentence, come a lot of parameters that I have to design within:

FOOTPRINT: we have to stay within the existing footprint of the house.

SETBACKS: The site is literally pie shaped and a very small corner of the house is situated over the property line onto town property. Because the house is located on the Harbor, there are strict setbacks from high tide. This means that we are dealing with stringent Shoreline and Wetland State regulations.

VOLUME: We can only expand the volume by 30%, which impacts the square footage.

HEIGHT: we are limited by the height of the existing structure and can only expand on it by 8’. This too will limit us on square footage, and it starts to determine what the house style will be.

All of these “restrictions” give me good guidance for a whole home design. Every single aspect of the project impacts architecture, interiors and landscapes. The beauty of a “whole home design” strategy is that all of these elements can be integrated seamlessly and intelligently in the flow of the interior and exterior space of the property. There is an awareness and connection from the interior to the exterior, and from the structure of the interior to the items that adorn it and make it function. When people hire different experts that only focus on architecture, or only focus on interior design – they lose cohesion and flow. They lose having the most harmonious result possible.

Architecture

The more efficiently architectural elements are determined, the quicker we can move into putting a detailed plan forth. For example, windows and how the house must look from the outside as well as the views and how you see them through the frames inside the house as you look out. Both are important considerations. Rooflines are also crucial, they determine so much about design style and create potential opportunities or constraints in terms of square footage of living space.

CLICK HERE to read a blog post related to architecture

Interiors

There are always parts of a house that people want and need. But putting it together in a ways that is both functional and lovely to look at and live in is my job. It is always a complex but enjoyable process, and I ensure their taste, design style and lifestyle are reflected in the outcome. It’s not my home – so I need to get to know my clients well, and the process is one that I involve homeowners in very specifically.

CLICK HERE to read a blog post related to interiors

Landscape

Lot coverage is the footprint of the house on the lot, including the landing and stairs. This is an important
consideration in the “Whole Home Design” process and the landscape often intersects directly with practical elements of the architecture. For example, if we need to raise grade in order to accommodate a new septic system. As a result of raising the grade, I will need to add stairs and a landing, all of which will impact lot coverage as well as take up valuable square footage on the interior. The design of outdoor space and how it is accessed impacts the location of doors and windows. And land use is important to understand as well. How you want to enjoy your outdoor space will impact the lot coverage – whether you’re an avid vegetable gardener and cook, a lover of lush green lawn, or you’ve always dreamed of a stone patio for entertaining or a water feature as the centerpiece of your property.

CLICK HERE to read a blog post related to landscape (Part 1)

CLICK HERE to read a blog post related to landscape (Part 2)

As you understand how the landscaping impacts the architecture and the architecture impacts the interiors – you start to understand what I define as “Whole Home Design”. I’m thrilled that I’m able to offer these services to my clients. As I think about how each aspect impacts another, it becomes like an intricate puzzle that only looks right when all the pieces are connected properly. Let me know if you have any questions about your interior design, architecture or landscape and we can talk about how any of these important elements of your home can harmonize more beautifully and successfully with the others, to create the ideal result for you.