Welcome to Shane's first Design Chat post! I am so excited to turn the reins over to him today :)
Hi, everyone! I am so excited to be able to talk to you about the possibilities of your home and how you can make it more about you and/or your family’s lifestyles while keeping true to to your home's architecture. To try and find some basis and direction for my posts, I would like to break up this very broad subject into parts, or else this could feel like one of the longest run-on sentences you have ever experienced. I would rather not bore you all to death with my love and passion for the subject, so I will give you small drinks that you can try to digest instead of turning on the firehose. So here we go…
Why Add Architectural Interest?
I believe that one of the most personal things that each person possesses is their home. It is where you can be the most private and comfortable, or, in other words, the place you feel the most “You”. Your home should speak the most about who you and/or your family are individually and together – what you love, what you enjoy doing, what you believe in, what you live for. Creating this environment can be achieved through a number of ways, like color, furniture or design.
Understanding Your Home
Let’s play the architect for a bit…
How you decide to design and decorate your home, and rooms within, should take into consideration the history and style of your house. Here are some key things to learn about your home:
Learn about the style of your home (i.e. Country Cottage, Victorian, Colonial, Prairie Style, Craftsman, etc.).
To give an example, our home is a country cottage style home. Between Stacy and me, we have a very eclectic variety of individual interests and tastes. We could try to decorate our home to have a very contemporary or modern feel with clean, straight, square lines, but rooms like our entry/family room really can't work with that style of decorating because the room just isn't designed for it. This room has a rounded entry door and an arch, a built-in niche, and a coved ceiling (where the walls curve to become the ceiling) – these are all very traditional cottage style home elements. We need to take these elements into consideration with any change we make to this room in order to account for these variables.
Learn some basic information about where your home is located.
Many homes are part of a HOA (Homeowners Association), or have city zoning restrictions. A call or an online web search to your local City Hall Zoning Department can quickly give you some criteria and guidelines of what you can and can not do to your home.
Learn about the climate you live in.
Homes in very snowy areas, rainy areas, coastal areas or desert areas are very different in design choices, and this can help you decide what changes you can make to your home. Also, observing neighboring homes can help guide you in some of your decisions. Some design choices are not just to aesthetically "fit in" with the area but serve a purpose like creating shade, or lasting over time in extreme weather.
Learn about the amount of sun or shade that your home has throughout the year.
The number of windows and/or skylights, and their locations in each room can have a very dramatic result in your choice of paint color or stain, and in fabrics and furniture pieces. The placement of trees and vegetation outside your home can greatly obstruct the amount of lighting and views to the outside world – sometimes a good pruning can do wonders! But if there are other buildings or walls that obstruct your view,you'll have to get creative and decorate with lighter colors.
Learn about the time period it was constructed.
You can find that with older homes, even ten years back, there can be very similar or very different methods of construction. Again, to use our home as an example, our walls were constructed with lath and plaster. This can sometimes be tricky to consider anchoring or support if you want to hang heavy objects. And it is very messy when it comes to removing walls. Sometimes we have to change what our plans were because of the way our home was constructed.
What will making permanent changes do to your home?
If you are in a position that you are beyond decorating choices, and you are ready to rip down walls, be cautious! There are many walls that are constructed to hold up the house (called weight bearing walls). You don't want to mess with these without professional assistance! But you absolutely can make these kind of changes to your home without hurting the architectural integrity of your home as long as you are thoughtful about the new layout.
What about resale value?
It may be good practice to step back and look at your choices with a critical eye. I believe that there are two ways to look at things here, one for “resale value” and one for “staying value”. Many people are worried about making choices and having them affect the price of their home down the line. Using a realtor’s approach to making home improvement choices can help guide you, but my opinion is that your home is your home – make it yours! If you want to make a room into something that it typically isn't, make sure you understand the pros and cons of your choices, and then go with it if you feel it’s right. In other words, take the whole "resale value" thing with a grain of salt unless you are planning on selling soon.
By understanding the history and style of your home you can create amazing, beautiful spaces. You can give interest to things that otherwise may not have had the same interest or uniqueness. You can create a truly inviting and engaging space, that you can be proud to show family and friends.
Thanks for reading! And stay tuned for the next part in our discussion about “Adding Architectural Interest to Your Home”!
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