Design Process

For me to create a design that works for you, it's important that I understand who you are and how you like to live. Like many people, these might be things you have given little, if any, consideration to before. While you might be aware that you want an open-plan kitchen-dining area so you can talk to your friends and family while cooking, you might have given little thought to the flow between your bedrooms and bathroom, the types of materials you like looking at or touching or design features that minimise maintenance costs. To develop your project brief I ask you to note down your thoughts using a form listing your wants, needs, like, dislikes and qualities. This page goes into more detail about what I mean by each of these terms.

Wants & Needs: The Vision

The wants and the needs are the physical aspects of the project. For example as a client you are probably able to list several things that you would like your new home to include. An example list might be:

1. Three bedrooms, one with an ensuite

2. A study

3. An open-plan kitchen-living-dining room

4. A separate rumpus room for the kids or watching films

5. A double car garage

6. An outdoor entertaining areas that gets sun in the evening

So, you might well ask, if those are my wants, what are my needs? Well, initially there may not be a difference but to clarify in your mind you may ask questions such as; We want a downstairs shower room but do we really need one? Do we need a walk-in wardrobe or is it a nice to have?

As the design process progresses, the necessity of differentiating between a want and a need will become clearer as compromise is usually required to accommodate constraints such as budget. Unless you are doing a new-build, have a limitless budget, exactly the land topology you want and no time constraints, you need to make this distinction to ensure you get everything you need and as much of what you want as possible. When a conflict between a want and need is found, this prioritisation means that need can be prioritised over the wants which, often cannot be fully accommodated.

That said, sometimes it's not possible to see all of this clearly at the start of a project. For example, you might start by thinking that a separate laundry is a nice to have and a study is essential. However, half-way through the process, you might realise that, while you'd like a separate study, you wouldn't like it if it's not going to get much sun. You also might realise that, while a separate laundry seemed like an unnecessary luxury at the start, it would mean that you would free-up space occupied by a washing machine and tumble dryer in the garage which would enable you to set up a space there to do the creative arts you'd planned to do in the study! Having worked on designs for over fifty properties, I am well aware that this is a natural part of idea evolution. I don't expect your wants and needs to necessarily remain fixed during the process. That said, the clearer you can be about this at the start and the more open you can be about the importance of them with me, the better equipped I will be to ensure the design I create for your home will work well for you.

Likes & Dislikes: The Status Quo

The likes and dislikes are what you like and dislike about your current house which I can use to inform the design. If you have a blank section then what is it that you like or dislike about it? Some people might like the extensive planting and privacy it provides. Others might want to cut plants back to provide more sun and allow them to feel more connected to the community around them. Unlike wants and needs, what I call likes and dislikes are not about what you aspire your property to be like in the future, but how you are experiencing it in the now.

This section helps me to understand more about how you are currently living and what is and isn't working for you. I need to consider this extensively for alterations and additions to ensure I preserve what you like and design out what you don't. That said, it's also relevant for new builds; if one of the things you most love about your new section is a beautiful native tree, I want to make sure the design I create not only protects that tree by building far enough away from it, but also that you get to enjoy its beauty in the comfort of your new home.

Another reason I like to collect this information separately is that it often delves more deeply into who you really are. I have seen families who profess to wanting all open-plan living who will then say they like the privacy the current planting around their home provides. Clearly there are instances where families want privacy from those they don't live with, but are very open with those with whom they live with, however, I am aware that it's easy to think you want something without necessarily understanding how this will impact your way of living. There are no right and wrong answers here and, often, these are areas which you will already have discussed and, to some extent, reached a consensus about; please share these findings with me.

Qualities: Your Taste

Tastes are intensely personal things. They can be examined to an extent but, unlike wants and needs or likes and dislikes, they are more a reflection of your aesthetic tastes than how you live. Knowing how you define beauty and what you find sensorially uplifting helps me to create a design that you will find inspiring to live in. For many people, myself included, expressing these things in words alone is extremely hard. It's not just that it's difficult to describe something visual or related to touch in words that I will interpret in the way you intended, it's also often hard to articulate the qualities that you like about a space in any abstract sense. For this reason, I find many clients find it much easier to show me images of interiors or bring samples of materials that they find appealing. When it comes to materials, many suppliers, such as Plantation Bamboo, are happy to provide free samples to any potential customer. Researching and discussing your tastes before we meet means I am better equipped to understand what sort of designs will be most uplifting to you. Pinterest can be a great place to look to get ideas. Besides it being a free resource, there are so many images to search through and you can quickly build a board of your tastes. If you want to see the sorts of things that I like, please check out my boards here Antevasin Design.

Below are some examples of wants, needs, likes, dislikes and qualities for inspiration.

Wants

Ensuite in master bathroom

Walk-in wardrobe

Ambient lighting

Resale value

Needs

Laundry & drying area

Open plan kitchen/diner

More natural daylight

More storage without clutter

Downstairs toilet

4th bedroom

Likes

It isn’t a square, it has character with nooks and crannies

Period Features - coving, picture & plate rails

Spacious hallway and staircase

Space for outside living, gardening and growing

Pantry/Scullery- walk in

Dislikes

No downstairs toilet

Kitchen & dining room don't work together

No direct link to the garden from kitchen

uPVC windows and windows that aren't big enough

Lack of storage throughout the house

Lack of natural daylight in the kitchen, 2nd & 3rd Bedroom

Windy outside areas

Qualities

Am I inspired by this space?

Does this space feel cosy and warm?

Does this space feel easy to live in?

Does this area feel spacious?

Is there enough daylight in this space?

Is it practical?

Do I have enough privacy?

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