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House design

Blog by Cliff McCool | February 6th, 2007

House design and construction

Planning on having a house built or buying a condo that hasn't been built yet? Trying to make decisions based upon floor plans? That is a major challenge for most people because we don't readily transform two dimensional drawings into 3-D images in our mind.

I am an amateur designer and have some experience with that. I am not a total amateur as I do have my Site Planning from UBC which is all about design. I don't design for other people but I have personally designed 3 houses, 6 condos and 20 cottages so I do have a fair bit of experience in this field.

If I have only one piece of advice to give, it is wait and think. When you get a draft from your designer, take it home and think about it overnight. then put it away in a drawer for a couple of weeks - then pull it out and have a fresh look at it. Do this two or three times. you will be totally amazed at the tweaks that you will come up with to suit your particular lifestyle. And that is what it is all about - having a home custom suited to yourself.

Is it going to cost more? - hopefully not. The designer would love to do a slam bam design but if you explain from the outset that you want some time off in the process to digest things, he should be willing to work with you. Of course, that means you are going to have to work with him - he is not going to drop everything because you had an epiphany one night. This design process will take time, but if you end up with a house custom tailored to your way of life, then I think it will be worth the wait.

Once the paperwork is finalized, you still aren't finished with the design process - you must know the design is never finalized. As soon as the exterior walls are standing, have the contractor draw the interior walls on the floor and look at them before he starts standing those interior walls. Have a good look at room sizes, closet sizes, door placement etc. Moving a wall 6" might have minimal effect on a large room but huge effect on a small bedroom. Look at that now before the walls are framed. It adds no cost to make a few changes at this stage. And if the contractor rolls his eyes or balks at making the changes, just remember - if you were ordering a custom suit you wouldn't let the tailor go until the suit fit perfectly. Your home should not be any different.

If you ever want to discuss a home design or any other real estate issue, please don't hesitate to drop me a line.

Thanks for reading

Cliff McCool
Your West Coast Realtor