Almost all discovery processes used by home designers focus on the use and space requirements of the rooms in the house. This is good, but too little attention is given to the personal needs of the people actually living in the home. Without performing a comprehensive assessment of the clients functional abilities, identifying areas of the home where modifications are necessary is often overlooked.
A clash of floral designs in the drapes and the furniture fabrics can look very discordant, while a fabulous plain fabric for your sofa that matches your carpet and drapes - an even the wall-covering - could make all the difference between a beautifully designed and furnished room and a disaster! Not that you would ever make disastrous decisions, but why not see what is possible before making your mind up? Act in haste, repent at leisure is what they say, and nothing was ever truer. You might be surprised if you take advantage of one of the many furnishing design services available online. In fact, you could combine that with a floor planner that allows you to fit furniture thumbnails into a scale diagram of your floor.
Most home designers will have some type of discovery process that will help identify the basics for your home design. It will start with the configuration of your lot and proceed through items such as privacy requirements, work areas, outdoor spaces, etc. Although this process is critical to your project, it rarely drills down enough to transform your design into a home that will serve your needs for a lifetime. Here are two keys of good home design that must be addressed up-front: a) assessing the homeowners current needs; and, b) anticipating the future needs of people living in the home. Before you say Yeah, yeah...Ive heard this all before! lets take a closer look at what current needs entail.
Does this level of service cost more? Yes, probably. But a couple hundred dollars up front to hire a qualified designer who will accurately assess your lifestyle and evaluate your future needs, pales in comparison to leaving your design to chance. The number one secret to good home design is to avoid cutting costs at this stage of your project and find a home designer who is an expert in assessing your needs and applying the design criteria that will make your house a home for a lifetime.
Fortunately, universal design is beginning to take root in modern home design. Ron Mace, Founder and Program Director of the Center for Universal Design, give us the following definition of UD The intent of universal design is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities. Because the principles of universal design are inclusive for people with disabilities, the application of UD in home design is appropriate and addresses many of the needs of people who wish to age in place.