Homeowners need to establish a clear goal of their home project before calling an architect or designer. Normally, the first meeting with your architect involves a healthy discussion of your vision. The architect will ask you the purpose of the place, the home features that you need and have always dreamed of having. To make it easier for you to communicate your ideas, we encourage you to write a design brief — a long wish list which discusses all the aspects of your new home. This will be the point of reference for everyone involved in the design and construction. The more information you share during the early stages of design, the more efficient the decision making and problem-solving will be in the future.
Here’s the truth: writing a detailed design brief is not easy, particularly when it’s your first home or renovation project. In that case, the architect and designer must guide you in providing the details they need. It’s the only way they can proceed to the next step: planning the design of your new home.
We crafted this simple Q&A to help you describe the things that you want and you need in your new home in details:
The Little Details about Your Next Home
Describe your current home to us. What do you like and dislike about it?
What is missing and what do you want to change? What would you like to see in your newly extended or renovated house?
How many people will live in the new home? Do you have pets or kids who need special accommodations?
How many floors and rooms do you prefer? What’s the use of each room?
What additional areas and functions do you want in your new home?
What particular areas would you like to be more private than others? Which rooms or areas would you like to connect?
Do you like the open floor plan layout?
Do you have any specific ideas or plans for the outside spaces that you would like us to connect indoors?
What kind of style do you require for the project? Are you into contemporary, traditional, industrial, nordic, modern, shabby chic, minimal, or rustic?
Do you have any images from magazines/internet that show us the style or the home features you like?
Explain to us how important are these home features to you. Rank them from most to least important.
What specific materials or surface finishes do you prefer?
“What you need and what you think you want aren’t the same things.”
– A reminder from a responsible, friendly architect
There are low and high maintenance building materials. How much time and energy would you be willing to invest in maintaining your home?
Do you have any specific accessibility requirements? Are you planning to age in place?
Would you like to add sustainability and energy efficiency features? Is there a particular system you would like to use? i.e. solar panels, dual plumbing, etc.
Do you have specific time requirements or a deadline for this project?
How much is your budget? Can you leave at least 10% of it as the contingency, in case some issues come up?
How do you see your home’s final look after construction?
Taking advantage of the construction site
Is there anything about the construction site that you particularly like or dislike?
Which of the views from your home is important to you?
Where do you want your outdoor space? How are you going to utilise it?
Matching your new home and your lifestyle
Which of the rooms and spaces are for entertaining people?
Do you or would you like to work from home?
What type of entertainment systems do you require? Where do you want it?
How much time do you spend in your indoor and outdoor spaces?
Do you need a home gym or workout space?
What type of storage do you require? Do you have a hobby that requires lots of storage space? Do you need a huge wardrobe?
A clear what and why enables the how
– another friendly reminder from our architects and draftsmen.
With your design brief at hand, you have a document which clearly describes how you want your home designed. Use it to find the right people to work with. Feel free to ask for your friend for a recommendation, surf the net for local design firms, or search for them in your business directories. Only do business with a designer with experience, qualifications, ability to deliver the home which you indicated in your brief.