Posts Tagged 'space planning'

Space Planning. Which comes first, the space or the furnishings?

floorPlans1bedA regular reader of this blog, recently asked if I would talk a bit about space planning. She and her husband are working with an architect on a remodel of their beach house. The question is…Does one plan a space around furniture or design the space and then determine the furniture placement?

The answer is neither and both. Let’s assume that the parameters of the remodel have been established, i.e. footprint of the house, budget, timeline, etc. The structure of the house really shouldn’t be driven by the contents. That’s a bit like the tail wagging the dog. You want to consider the function of the space, traffic flow and maximization of any available views, passive solar, etc. And of course you and your architect want to make sure that the space will accomodate your needs…how many beds, how many do you want seated at your dining table, or do you want/need separate living and family rooms? The physical space should allow for these functional considerations.

That said, you and your architect need to make sure that the the design will accommodate the obvious…a sofa, dining table etc. I know that seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen plans that don’t allow adequate space for the basics. Also if you have pieces that may need a specific type of space be sure to plan for them. Maybe you have an antique armoire or an art collection. Be sure to allow enough wall space to show these pieces off. Many open floor plans today have very little wall space, especially if you are lucky enough to have a view. Perhaps you have a large sectional sofa you really want to utilize in the media room. Will the room accommodate it and still allow for easy traffic flow? Once you and your architect have considered all of the options, you’ll know where you can compromise and where you need to redesign.

So JCM, have I answered your question? Feel free to contact me for more direction. Now what design challenges can I help YOU with?

Design Plans: Your Road Map to the Home You Imagine

20770-se-hollis-007Plans…business plans, financial plans, vacation plans, weekend plans…love ’em or hate ’em we all utilize plans in various areas of our lives. They are our roadmaps, they guide us, direct us and keep us from going too far astray. So why then, do so many of us neglect planning the one area meant to nurture and support us the most…our homes? Left to our own devices, most of us go about decorating our homes in a shotgun manner. We move from room to room, idea to idea in a scattered, haphazard fashion. No wonder so few of us feel like we have that pulled-together look we want and desire for our homes.

One of the most common things I hear from my clients is “Nothing feels finished. I know the look I want, I just don’t know how to get there.” They have spent the last several years accumulating furnishings in a fractured way…chasing sales, trends and moods. The result is often a home that is somewhat functional and schizophrenic in design. Not surprisingly, the first thing I do is a room-by-room master design plan. It covers everything from remodel ideas, if appropriate, to suggested furniture, lighting and accessories. Then, together with my clients, we prioritize the projects and set budgets. Working room by room, means that we can complete a vision and feel good about the finished product. Then as time and budget allow, we move to the next project/room on the list and get it completed. The design plan is our road map. Design plans are even more important if you are going to work in stages. In other words, you have the budget to complete the living room this year, but the guest room will have to wait until next. It’s so easy to forget where you left off. With a good plan to refer back to, you won’t lose your way.

mm_0022_wOf course, like any plan we make, it can revised, updated and tweaked – nothing is carved in stone. The important thing is to make the plan so that you are able to make informed decisions and real progress toward your goal of a beautiful, functional home.

So do a walk-through. Make a list. What needs to be done in each room for it to be complete? If this seems overwhelming or you’re not sure what your home needs don’t be afraid to consult a designer. It’s what we do. And who knows we may surprise you with what we come up with.

Define your space.

wow1-11One of the most common problems that I see with interior decorating is that the space lacks definition. That is your rooms become multi-purpose and consequently don’t function and support you as they should.

Let’s say you have a home-based business. You designate a room for the office and because you don’t want to appear territorial, the family TV comes to roost, the kid’s computer joins the club and before you know it your home-based business is fighting for it’s very existence.

Now the children each have their own rooms as well as a “play room” for their activities and friends, your husband has his “man room,” and then there are the communal rooms; kitchen, living room, etc. So what happened to your income-generating office? It’s become ill-defined, disorganized and inefficient. So reclaim your space! The TV can move into the living room or den, the kid’s computer  can move into the kitchen nook designed for that very purpose, and you are now free to redesign and reorganize and revamp your office to suit you and your business. You’ll be happier, more productive and wondering how you ever did it before. And who knows, now that you have your very own space maybe you’ll carve out a corner for the art studio you’ve always wanted.


Contact the Author

martha@mmdsf.com 541-330-5899 www.marthamurraydesign.com

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