Decisions to Make Before Hiring an Architect
Building a home that is ideal for its residents is a daunting task. Advice from all quarters, some of it unsolicited, can confuse the members of the house. For best results a few basic decisions should be taken before contacting relatives and friends or even hiring an architect.
Estimate Time and Money
Realistic estimates of the money and time that can be spent for the project are essential. It should be taken in to consideration that both will be exceeded by at least 25% during the course of construction. Under estimating can also cause problems especially in the finishes, leading to a lower quality than desired. An architect may put in tiles when marble flooring could have been budgeted due to an error in communication.
Work Out Likes and Dislikes
All the members of the family should work together to identify what they like and dislike about their present home. It could be that wall colour (too plain vanilla) or a comfortable window seat. Special requirements for the new house should be listed (i.e. sun room, study, grand front entrance, etc.).
Pictures of house facades and individual rooms cut out from magazines or seen on the internet can help an architect understand preferences. It is vital that these are clearly thought of and unanimously agreed upon before external influences are invited.
Visualize the Future
Where will the family be in the next 10 years? No one knows better than the members themselves. A couple might foresee an addition to the household in a few years or parents might realize that their children will soon need their own rooms. The house can be planned as a whole or left open for future extension.
Activities can also change after a period of time. A family which does not entertain much may do so later when the children have grown up or a child may soon need his/her own parking space.
Another aspect to take into consideration is the health of the members. Older residents may not be able to climb stairs or navigate over too many levels. An aging parent might decide to move in permanently after a serious ailment.
All these factors will decide the size of the house and the use of its spaces.
Filter the Advice
The mass of advice piled onto the occupants needs to be properly sorted out. A firm list of what will be decided within the house and what choices will be made by the architect will help keep out spam. If there is a painter in the family he can easily pick out the wall colours or a tile manufacturer may not need advice on flooring but they might have to leave the plumbing and lighting decisions to the experts.
Once the owners of the house know exactly what they want they are not as easily influenced and mislead by outsiders. It also becomes easier for an architect to visualize their needs and draw out the plans for a home ideally suited to them.